Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Things have not really improved on the time management front. Because I want you to still like me, though I don't blog hardly at all, please leave me a comment and I will email you a cute picture of my boy for you to admire. Maybe even a cute video, if I can manage it all.

Hope your holiday season has been more peaceful than mine.

P.S. This fourth Christmas without C. has been hard. Really hard.

Monday, December 01, 2008

A Working Mom's Nightmare

To cope with the unreasonable expectations that have resulted from too many "yes's", I have resorted to lying as to why I cannot attend this or another meeting, etc. and so forth. Now I have the impossible task of managing my lies, remembering who I told what and why, and realizing that I have no end in sight.

Actually, now that I think of it, there is an end in sight. Year end. God help us all.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Take your poo and stuff it.


DO NOT ask me how old my son is, determine your son is two weeks younger, and ask me if BB is potty-trained. And DO NOT stand there with your eyebrows arched in a slight expression of triumph, mouth battling back a smirk. I am not in some Mom-Olympics competition with you.

I do not agree with your perspective on this battle-ground of potty training. Your manifesto - they say that if kids aren't potty trained by the time they are 30 months, they lose interest, especially boys - is essentially flawed, in my opinion. I don't believe that children are little robots that have to programmed before explicit deadlines or they lose power to essential systems. And I don't see very many 16-year-olds walking around in adult diapers because their mothers missed some magic window of time.

And while we're discussing how you are missing the point, let's try looking at the definition of "potty trained." To me, that means a kid who knows he has to use the bathroom, tells me he has to use the bathroom, then goes to use the bathroom. I may or may not help him, he may or may not miss the mark on rare occasions. But mostly, a potty trained kid is a kid who does the deed by himself.

What you described to me does not meet my definition. Putting my child in a cloth diaper so that he will feel wet is not "trained". Sitting him on the pot when I think is needs to do the deed is not "trained". Dealing with daily misses is not "trained." I could perhaps accept the argument that those things could be a part of training, but certainly not meeting the definition of "trained."

Lady, your kid is not toilet trained. And I don't care that you think you are superior to me because I am not going through the futile effort of "training" a kid who isn't ready. It is fully my intention to wait until he is ready for the process - and with this comes the hope that we can reach the end result of "trained" in a very short period of time (let's talk days/weeks, not months). Maybe it will work or maybe it won't. In the long run, I don't see him wearing diapers to kindergarten.

In fact, my babysitter (who has done this for 17 years and has toilet trained literally hundreds of kids) doesn't want to start that battle. BB is happy. He is not interested in toilet training. He is busy playing. She doesn't have time to run him to the pot every 15 minutes and she won't start with him until he can get into the routine quickly. (And p.s. - she thinks you're kidding yourself.)

So, let's be clear. This is not your business. Spouting off about how and when I should be toilet training my kid is not appropriate. Live and let live, I say. I won't tell you that I think you are nuts for trying to train a 22 month old and I expect you to exercise some of the same restraint.

But, since you started it - YOU'RE NUTS. Now back off.

Respectfully yours,
A Mom With Her Own Approach.

P.S. Now I feel better. This griping stuff is good for the soul.

P.P.S. Those who have done it, potting training war stories to share?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gripe of the Day

Mostly, I walk around writing complaint posts in my head. You know, when something bugs me, I imagine writing a post about it and having the Internets respond with a resounding "Right On, Man!" So, I am going to try out a new feature - Gripe of the Day. We'll see if it catches on.

Since this is my first go, I will probably gripe about several things:

  • I am so sick of celebrities, I could just go crawl under a rock on an uninhabited island and live there in isolation until eternity passes. I am especially sick of pregnant child celebrities or possibly-pregnant Brangelinas. PLEASE STOP TELLING ME ABOUT THESE PEOPLE AND TRYING TO PASS IT OFF AS LEGITIMATE NEWS!!!!!

  • I don't know why the "Original Moritz Icy Squares" aren't as icy as I remember them, and it bugs me. (Doesn't stop me from eating them into oblivion, though).

  • Why doesn't my work software run on a Mac platform? I would switch, if I could....

Was that a boring list of gripes? Perhaps this feature won't grow my readership in the way I had hoped.... [Mental note: Become more witty by the next post...]

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Looking on tempests

It is hard to know how to love C.

The thing about love is that we have been trained to analyze it from all angles.  We work very hard to place definitions or descriptors on our love.  We write songs and poetry and sit in analysts offices dissecting the beast.  

It's more of the quality of love that I am talking about here, not the existence of love.  I love C. deeply and through every fibre of my being.  But it isn't a dynamic love, changing and growing with the fluctuations of time and intimacy.  It is a love of memory.

How is it possible to love someone entirely in memory?  What definition do we give to that love?  It isn't something that I have ever wanted or had even imagined.

When I held BB in my arms that first time, it was like the confirmation of love; I knew I loved him - desperately loved him - from the moment I first knew of him.  Seeing his eyes gazing into mine, suckling him at my breast, smelling his soft, baby sweetness - this just confirmed what I already knew.  Every one of the past year and ten months has gently nudged that love around - I love him for his sense of humour, his dimples, his laugh, his attachment to his stuffed dinosaur, the way he calls himself "baby".  The love I have for him changes every day.

With C., the confirmation has never come.  It will never come.  So the love I have for him feels like the stuff of dreams.  Something sweet that I imagined once for me and for my husband, but something that we don't get to have now.  Something that didn't materialize.

The quality of the love that you feel for the people who live in the here and now can never be the same kind of love that you feel for those who are gone.  I accept that.  What is harder to accept - no, harder to understand how to live with - is the feeling that it just shouldn't have to be this way.  That I am somehow loving C. in the wrong way because it is impossible to love him in the way that I love BB.  The relationship that I have with each of my boys is so very different that the two experiences could hardly even be compared.

I know there is no right way or wrong way.  I don't need reassurance that I am doing this right.  It just is what it is.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

Today Canadians look to those who have fallen in war with the deepest of gratitude and  the utmost pride.  Every country honours these men and women in its own way.  Today, we celebrate the identity-defining heroic acts of The War to End All Wars and we think of those young men and women who have fallen in the last few years in the deserts and hills of Afghanistan.

Much of our national identity and our national sense of pride is derived from our proud military history.  Rightly or wrongly, we Canadians see ourselves as Defenders of the Peace.  These conflicts that we engage in have rarely been "our" wars.  Instead, our young people have travelled great distances and made the ultimate sacrifice to defend the ideals that our nation holds dear.  In recent history, we have not fought to gain territory or resources - to die for an ideal is a remarkable thing.

Today, I encourage you all to learn a little bit more about Canada's participation in various international conflicts by viewing this stunning documentary at www.nfb.ca/frontlines, or following some of the links in this article.

Lest we forget.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Could anyone care less about my last posts? Honestly, I can hardly care less. When I find a moment to read other blogs, it generally make me feel rather shameful about my own.

My Ravelry invite arrived. I only had time to sign up. I have no idea how to work the thing yet. I will keep you posted (because maybe one person cares, right).

In a knitting related theme, I was thinking about how Joan Sutherland would sit and knit between her scenes during rehearsals. I was contemplating how I could work some of that into my life - what would be my equivalent of knit-one-purl-two-slip-one-knit-two-together, stand up and blast off some high C's, then settle back into the pattern...?

And it hit me. The last time I seriously contemplated this (because it has come up before), I was frantically stitching a gloriously fluffy boucle blanket for a boy who didn't ever come home. I knew I had mere weeks to finish it. Those weeks were actually days and the blanket was never finished. Now it lies tucked into the casket of a tiny boy; an unfinished blanket for a boy who didn't even get to start.

It always takes me off guard how a seemingly simple and uncomplicated train of thought can so easy turn into a train-wreck.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stitching Update

Because I am sure you are all on the edge of your seats (and more truthfully because I am so relieved) I am glad to tell you I was able to finish the front panel of the sweater with the yarn that I have.  So, hopefully Ravelry will help me track down one more skein of yarn in a close match and I will actually be able to finish this thing.  If they would just send my my invitation...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dear Kate,

I am joining Ravelry.

Now stop hassling me. :)


p.s. Thank you a zillion for your detective work!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Major Stitching Problems

I am hoping that one of you can give me some guidance.  I have made the classic blunder.  I am almost finished the front panel of the sweater I am knitting for BB and I am sure that I won't have enough yarn.  I am using Classic Elite Yarn "Two.Two" in colour 1504, which went out of production in fall of 2005.  Any suggestions?

If I can finish the body in the yarn I have, a close match would be okay to use on the cuffs.  It doesn't have to be an exact match.  This yarn looks like the same colour, but who can tell from pictures?  But it has a completely different colour number - 1557.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Alternative

If my son was alive, I wouldn't know you.

I would say things like "It's okay - they're young and can have another one" or "Maybe it's all for the best."

I would get all awkward and change the subject if someone mentioned a death or a pregnancy loss.

I would imagine myself to be empathetic and understanding, even though there would be no possible way for me to understand.

I would think I can't possibly imagine, while tucking my two living sons into bed at night and thanking God it happened to them, not me.

I would think that people still talking about miscarriages 10 years later was kind of sad - why aren't you over it yet?

I would still think that taking pictures of people after they're dead is creepy and weird.

I wouldn't know any of the following terms: idiopathic cardiomyopothy, subsequent baby, abruption, ectopic, and worst of all cord accident.

I would have no idea who Jason Collins is.

I wouldn't use the words "try" or "if we're lucky" or "maybe" in regards to having a baby.

I would think that having annual memorial events for people who didn't even live was incredibly self-indulgent.

I would not have a blog.

I wouldn't know any of you.

If my son were alive, I wouldn't know you. In so many ways, I hate that I know you. But every day I am deeply thankful that I do.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Two posts in one day?

Shocking, isn't it. I just had to say this:

Pictures of sleeping babies are a whole lot cuter when you haven't had a dead baby.

To Give Thanks

I just realized that I didn't actually give thanks for anything last weekend, Thanksgiving here. The most obvious moment to do so would have been during the church service we attended, but the sermon was about a fund-raising effort and no mention was made of giving thanks. So I just forgot.

For the record, I am thankful for a multitude of things. I just didn't remember to make note of them last weekend.

Besides, this is what we woke to on Monday:

It's mostly melted now, a freak storm in an otherwise warm autumn. It should be lovely tomorrow when we attend our annual Walk to Remember.

No denying it, though. The cold is coming.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15th

Loving you and thinking of you today. As every day.

My boy.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Positive thinking for the spring garden.

Because I am likely to forget, and because I am firmly entrenched in next-year-territory, these are the bulbs that I just planted.

Two allium bulbs by the arbour in the front, allium/tulip combos to hide the gas meter, and tulips around the Morden Blush roses at the back door.

Likely I have planted them too late and not deeply enough to actually have results next spring, but here's hoping.  Here are some pretty pictures from other people. 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dear World

It is possible for a perfectly healthy baby to die for no known reason after the "scary" first 3 weeks. Please attempt to remember that.

(Sorry. Feeling particularly inundated with kittens-rainbows-and-sunshine pregnancies today. By people who should know better. WHEN the baby gets here, indeed. And please dump the annoying Facebook ticker. Arg.)

OK. Now attempting to rationalize that they are normal and I am not. It is normal to be expectant and confident. It is not normal to see death as the possible 50-50 outcome of any pregnancy. It's just my fucked up brain controlling all my emotions again. Ignore it. Just ignore it.

Excuse me while I go writhe in jealousy at the naivete.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Is this somehow better?

It is just so weird how far away and long ago it was that I was pregnant with C. I never thought I would say this, but it feels like it didn't really happen to me. Like it was all a bad dream.

The days just move ahead. Life moves ahead. BB grows and changes and fills my days. C. doesn't. I don't know how to bring the memory of C. into the here and now.

Fundamentally, the problem with the memory of a person is that it doesn't move forward. When the memory barely has a chance to exist - when there are no stories that friends can share, when there are no firsts to reminisce about, when there is no sound of a voice, a scent... well, you get the picture. What am I supposed to do with that?

I will never be satisfied with my relationship with C. It is one sided. It can never grow. I can never get to know him in any real way. How is a mother supposed to find any satisfaction in that?

I don't think of him every hour of the day anymore. His memory is less concrete than that. I feel his existence in my bones, at some base level. It is something primal, something instinctual. He is the reason my stomach flips dangerously at the sight of a pregnant belly. Or when discussions of babies and pregnancies are overheard.

So, has C's legacy become a smattering of negative, heart-jerking emotions? Are those the only times that I think of that perfect little boy? I don't know. I don't think so. But those are the things that I feel most deeply.

I think of him when I take BB to the swimming pool. He screams his head off with excitement when the older kids, kids about C's age, play with him. I always think about how I would be managing two boys - would I be able to keep both of them within reach? Would I have fun swimming with my two boys or would I just be frustrated by it all? Is the patience I (usually) have with BB be more or less if C was still here?

I don't know what the point of all of this is, other than to say that I feel so unsatisfied with the position that C holds in my heart and my life. I don't really know what to do about it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not really helping the women's movement

In an effort to end a really boring conversation, I just told my boss that "I don't worry my pretty little head" about things like money or the economy.

Don't worry; I am a unionized worker for the provincial government. He can't fire me.

Also, he knows a joke when he hears one.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Radio Flashback

I asked my good friend, a brilliant pianist, to play something beautiful for C's funeral. I secretly hoped she would play Satie's Gymnopédies No. 1.

I'm glad she didn't.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The hustle and the bustle

Well, I want to tell how it's going with my office-mate. El Stinko. He actually smells fine in the morning - the odor is something that develops over the course of the day. That makes me think that he does wear deoderant, but that it doesn't work very well. And as far as the job share goes, things are trucking along in an abysmal fashion. He has no respect for my experience or knowledge and will not take any suggestions from me. Never mind that I have been doing this job for 6 years and he has done a part-time portion of it for 12 months (12 of the months I was on leave).

He asked me how many kids I have now. Duh. Idiot. You filled my position for both of my maternity leaves. That is how you got the job. Think, moron. I have thus far held my tongue and refrained from hitting him. Amazing self control, I think.

I am unhappy with the sharing portion of my job, but some of my project work was transferred into a sector that I am pretty good at. Always a mix of the good and the bad.

Now that I have figured out a back-door way to access Blogger (that our work firewall doesn't disallow), I hope to post more. When I will find time to read, I haven't figured out yet.

On an unrelated note, how do you feel when your MIL helps out at your house with laundry and cleaning, unasked? Because I should be grateful, but mostly I just feel embarrased that my house was such a disaster and annoyed that I can't find my dishes. Ah, the complexity of our near vacinity to my in-laws.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Possibly the world's most boring post.

Well, it seems as though my work firewall doesn't like Blogger. I can read from work, but I cannot seem to log in to post or to comment. They are working on the network, so maybe this is temporary, but I am not sure what to do with myself on my coffee break. It is cramping my style.

I put up 20 pounds of peaches, 10 pounds of plums, and made 10 pints of applesauce. I think I am done preserving for the season. "to put up" - where does that phrase come from and why do we use it in reference to home canning? I should post a photo of the peaches - they look pretty. The peach rum sauce is to die for:

  • 6 cups diced peaches
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups rum
  • Simmer for 20 minutes, ladle into sterilized half-pint jars, process in canner for 10 minutes (for elevations less than 5oom; add 5 min for each increment of +500m).
  • Eat on ice cream. Try not to hurt yourself when you swoon.
Really, there is little new here. We did the classic Labour Day weekend thing, and sat in the cold and rain watching our favourite CFL team win. Then we came home. Now I am read to sleep.

We are all working our way through a cold that came home from daycare.

My baby isn't very small anymore.

I'm tired.

The End.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What I was thinking on my summer vacation.

There was always something about saying goodbye to C. that made me feel so ancient. It was a weight that pulled me down. If I sat around in a room of eighty year olds, I would feel like I was the oldest person in the room.

This is not something that has slipped away from me. I still feel old. After 30-odd years on this planet, I suppose most people would consider me in the tail-end of my youth. But I just feel old.

I don't know if or when I will shake this feeling. Perhaps it is something that I will just grow into. Instead of feeling old, I will just be old. Who knows?

Recently, I was listening to Stuart McLean read a Vinyl Cafe story. In it, a 40-something Morley is asked to stand up for her friend's second marriage. The friend has a 20 year old daughter who is horrified at the idea of her mother marrying a younger man. Morley recognizes the "confidence of youth" in the daughter's self assured dislike of the marriage.

It was this phrase that struck me. Frankly, I think this is what I am missing - this is what I lost in January 2005. I lost the confident arrogance that fuels the spirit of the young. It was this loss that left me feeling like a wrinkled, withered up old shell.

During my pregnancy with C, I distinctly remember feeling irritated by those who wished us luck. I was appalled that these people would imply that anything bad could possibly happen. I took prenatal supplements and read about the "right" way to be pregnant and went to the breastfeeding class and avoided soft cheeses. I did everything right. I believed I knew how the story went. I believed there was only one ending.

I remember feeling a certain envy for my great-grandmother in those early days after C. died. She had at least 2 children die before their second birthday. However, she would have had a much better sense of infant mortality than I did. She was a European immigrant who was homesteading in the middle of the Canadian prairies, with the nearest neighbour miles away. There was an understanding that every pregnancy is risky - for both the mother and the unborn infant. That isn't the world we live in - we live in a world where tragedy is defined as not getting the crib linens we want.

I regret being so over-confident in my youth and I regret losing that confidence, both at the same time. I see young people around me all the time; I hear what they say. They see nothing but opportunity in the world and they have all the answers. I would have liked the lose that with the passing of time. This way was impossibly hard.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Still not much worth reading here.

Whew. I just updated the Babyloss Directory. That always takes a round out of me. I had updates dating back to May. 54 emails to address.

I am smarter now, though. I don't read any of the new blogs, other than to quickly glean necessary information. I know I can't deal with it, not without incurring the pain of a downward spiral of grief.

Suffice it to say, the miniature epiphany that I had during our holiday will have to wait. I'm spent.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Home again; for now.

Well, we are home long enough to do laundry and pack the RV. I love to be on holiday. I might write more or post pictures to the other site while I'm here.

Oh, and sorry about starting the BO controversy. I knew that post would cause nothing but trouble.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Though I have hardly been a prolific blogger as of late, it is about to get worse. We leave on a week's holiday tomorrow, then home a few days, then another 10 days away.

'Til then, be well.

Friday, July 04, 2008

A very rare photo of us.

[photo removed]

Well, I never post photos of us here. But I could not resist. I will be removing it tomorrow (or tonight, if I get too nervous).

I feel fairly confident those who read this blog don't know me in real life. So, I would just like those who do to have a quick look at us. I think we look like your typical Canada Day celebrants, don't you? It was a good day.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I need some advice. (also entitled: Please don't think less of me because I over-used parentheses in this post)

I am desperate. I don't know what to do. In a mere 8 weeks, on Fridays, I will share my office with a man sporting terrible BO. How terrible, you ask? This guy used my office for a year while I was on maternity leave. When I returned after Christmas (the office had been vacant for two weeks), the smell lingered.

There is absolutely no possibility of me saying "hey, you stink, why don't you try a shower and some deodorant?" That's just never going to happen. Besides, I guess I should give him the benefit of the doubt that this is some sort of medical problem. I'm sure his wife of 30 years would have tried the "you stink" route by now.

Any suggestions on stink-masking? Scented candles aren't really an option (a scent-free workplace... except BO, apparently), but maybe one of those scent-removing ones would be okay (as long as the fire inspector doesn't catch me). Probably some sort of spray would be better.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

You can finally relax.

Here is the promised photo. Pretty, isn't she?

The rain has ceased. If you need me, I will be in my garden. Summer, oh glorious summer.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Darn it.

While I was pregnant with BB, and in the subsequent months after he was born, I no longer was consumed with that desperate combination of envy and hatred when I looked at another expanding tummy or heard gentle noises coming from a baby carrier. I was able to focus on what I had and I more or less ignored everything else.

Well - it's back, with a vengence. Yet again this thing called grief spins me around and points me in a direction that I don't want to travel. Turns out it was merely a temporary reprieve from the ugliness of my worst emotions. I thought that I had bid that part of me a final farewell.

I don't look forward to continuing on until the end of my days feeling desperately jealous/angry towards those who are welcoming new lives. I can only hope that the reprieve will return with the passage of time. There is no hiding from yourself, not really.

I can't have what I want. He's not coming back.

Friday, June 06, 2008


(photo from website, not my yard)

I bought a Snowball Bush (Viburum opulus 'Roseum') 3 years ago and put it in with my hydrangea. Nice combo, hey? My hydrangea was my surrogate baby for those intervening years... (check the sidebar for 2005 photos)

Anyway, the snowball has either aphids or whiteflies (I just can't decide). I tried treating it organically with a rhubarb leaf tea mixed with soap. Ken Beattie's tried-and-true aphid treatment (though I don't know how it works on white flies). I think there were more insects when I was done spraying.

Every single cluster of leaves had at least one that was curled around an army of aphid-looking things. So I chopped it off. It was only 3' tall anyway, but now I am sad. I don't know. Maybe I should have left it - maybe the ladybugs would have cleaned it up in a couple of weeks. But I didn't want the infestation to spread and I didn't want to use an insecticide like Cygon. I left a couple of branches that weren't really infested and will continue to treat them with the rhubarb tea.

I hope someone out there has pruned a vibernum hard and had it come back threefold. I would love it if you would tell me that story.

Or what do you do for aphids?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Dirty Girl

After 5 years of truncated gardening efforts, my back garden is now getting the attention it deserves.
2004- morning sickness
2005 - built new garden in front as grief therapy
2006 - morning sickness
2007 - 6 month old
2008 - a whole weekend in the back yard, with toddler in tow, and sun on my face - and it's barely June!

I think I spent more time in my back garden this weekend than I did in all of June last year. It feels good. It feels normal.

You should see the new garden accent my husband bought me. I will post a picture ASAP.

Happy blooms to you.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On the losing end...

...of a nasty stomache virus.

Here's hoping that today marks the end of it all.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Another farewell

I squirmed with discomfort when my office-mate responded to the sad news that my cousin's wife miscarried again with "My sister hasn't even gotten that far."

Admittedly, I have not miscarried. I also haven't experienced true infertility (our diagnosis of secondary infertility between the boys was too short lived to count for much). So I can't say that I have much personal experience with either situation.

Nonetheless, I cannot help but feel the comment was inappropriate. Because I don't think my cousin or his wife count themselves lucky to be able to get pregnant but not bring home a baby. And I don't think my office-mate's sister would be very thrilled to get pregnant and lose the baby, either.

Maybe I am wrong (feel free to contradict), but I can't imagine how miscarriage could ever be construed as better than infertility. The both suck in equally shitty, though slightly different ways.

Oh well. My office-mate also makes other inappropriate comments. And mispronounces the word "sometimes". Not exactly bosom-buddy material.

But, sheesh.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Not Really Any Closer

Another week passes between posts. Oh well. I hardly imagine anyone out there is hanging on to my every word. Gardening (yay!), BB, and cruising in my new Corolla - well, that takes up time!

Back to business - Thanks for all of the advice re: the BIL/SIL situation. I think it would be worth while to "talk it out" a bit here.

Firstly, we do see each other on common ground a few times a year. We pretend that nothing is amiss and then carry on our merry ways. I don't know why, but I feel like that is not enough. I guess it doesn't match up to that Hallmark-family image that I have in my head. The question is starting to become "what is enough and what is reasonable to expect?"

What I do appreciate, though, is that I am not the only one in this type of situation. I admire those of you who have had the guts to say "it's not worth it" and let it all go. But I am stuck in that place where my mind and my soul are warring against one another. My head says "OK, maybe this is just how things are going to be and it is time to feel like that is enough." My heart says "NO! Families are supposed to be close, care about one another, and spend time together. You just haven't tried hard enough yet."

In truth, I haven't really tried to repair the damage caused by the distance of the past 3 years. Partly that is because I don't know where to begin. I don't know if I am blowing things out of proportion. I don't know if I am being self-centered in wanting more out of the relationship with my in laws; more than an afternoon here or there and a cursory family dinner at Christmastime. Not every family is close; I have to realize that.

Partly, the reason I haven't tried is that I am chicken-shit. I don't want to make things worse. And I think it would be easy to make things worse. (Defining worse: I imagine a scenario where I bring up the topic of the estrangement, they play nice, pretend that they have no idea what I am talking about, and then really make sure they stay away from the crazy emotional woman with no sense of propriety. I do get the feeling that my in-laws prefer the "lets pretend everything is okay" way of life and wouldn't appreciate any sort of "OK, let's deal with this" conversation.)

One of the hardest things about this is the contrast between my own siblings and my siblings-in-law. Though, admittedly, I wasn't always super-close with my own siblings, I have always had a sense of closeness with them. And, these days, I talk to them all several times a week and we are always trying to find ways to minimize the hundreds of kilometers between us. I guess I want that with my in laws, too.

I think what is happening is that I am reaching a cross-roads. I am soon going to have to make a decision. I am going to have to either let it go or try to make it better. Neither option is very appealing at this point.

I'm no longer looking for dead-baby-support from them. All I want is for our families to spend time together (which we do actually still enjoy, despite the void in the intervals) and for our kids to get to know each other.

But maybe I should let it go.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thanks, a Dance, and a Questions

Thank you for all of your comments - you have me thinking and a post is brewing.

Until I find a few moments, I will leave you with my happy dance. My new car is here. If you see me this weekend, I will be driving around in this:

Now, a burning question. I sing:

Ring around the rosey,
Pocket full of posies.
Hush-a, hush-a.
We all fall down.

What words do you sing? Did you know it varies by region?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Off my chest

There are very few people that I have been unable to forgive for the stupid things they have said or done. Generally, I don't hold a grudge very long. I may be upset for a reasonable period of time, but as the waves of time wash over my anger, it fades, quiets and disappears.

For example, when I called my high school friend from my hospital bed and she suggested that C. was a test child, you know, so that I "would know what it was like to be pregnant." - well, I actually don't hate her. Mostly I feel sorry for her. How can you really blame someone for having the emotional maturity of a 16 year old when all she worries about is when can I see the coolest new band in Vancouver? She is an emotional child; I don't hate her. I'm not even angry anymore. (more bewildered, actually...).

Sorry, off on a tangent there.

But I just read this post and it has me thinking about that third that have behaved in a way that I would never have imagined it possible. And there are two faces that are burned into my retina, smiling and happy and so out of reach; people who should have been there, but weren't.

When the phone call went out to my BIL/SIL on that cold, dark, impossible January night, I tried to be reasonable when they told us they couldn't come. They couldn't bring their young children on a 2 hour road trip on such a cold night. I tried to ignore the voice in my head that was pointing out that almost every other person in the room had travelled the exact same distance, in the exact same weather, at the exact same time.

When my BIL arrived alone the next day, I tried to understand his reasons for not bringing his wife and my nieces - people who I needed to hold in my arms and to hold me. He probably gave reasonable explanations - I honestly no longer remember.

I still struggle to understand why they chose not to bring the kids to the funeral. But that was a parenting decision that I am forced to respect. Though I do respect it, I missed the living, beautiful faces of my nieces on that horrible, horrible day. And I felt like the questions I was forced to answer in the weeks that followed might have been curtailed by having the girls there.

There was no doubt in my mind, however, that they would be there for us, no matter what, and that they would understand. My SIL won a battle with cancer in her early 20s, but lost her ovaries in the process. They built their family through adoption. They would know something of loss and of starting over. In this train of thought, I leaned as heavily as a thought I could. I leaned like someone who needed to be carried.

I wasn't sure what was happening when they didn't seem to be checking in on us as much as I thought they might. Or why it suddenly became harder to get them on the phone.

A couple of months passed. Then came the conversation with my SIL when I shared an experience that was very difficult for me and she tried to make me see it through the eyes of someone much further down the road of grief. I was hurt that she tried to push me like that. I didn't say anything, but I think she sensed my hurt and that was when the Great Deep Freeze of '05 began.

When I called in July and left the message on their machine (Hi, it's me. We aren't doing very well. Maybe we could come on our days off and spend some time with the girls - take them to the water park while you are at work. I think it would do us good to spend time with them), and we didn't get a call back... well... I knew the Deep Freeze was now in full effect.

She was tired of me. Maybe, they were tired of us (don't know about that, though. Maybe it was all me...)

Since then, we might see them 5 times in a year. Maybe talk on the phone 3 times. A mere fraction of our previous interaction. Sadly, these were people that I thought would be one of the foundations of our lives. When I married my husband, I was thrilled to be gaining an older brother and sister. Advice, camaraderie, growing families together - it was going to be like a Hallmark movie.

Where are we now? They screen our calls. Last year, my BIL declined to become BB's godfather. My husband and I speak resentful words about them in the privacy of our own home. Every interaction with them seems to bring a new low.

I don't know what to do. The obvious thing would be to talk about it, right? But, talk about WHAT? It's like the early years of Global Warming - no one had any proof. Scientists couldn't point to statistics and data and explain exactly how they knew what was happening. It is all stuff that happens in unspoken and unremarkable ways.

There are no specifics. I suppose I could say "I think you don't like me much. I think you screen my calls. I think you avoid me. I want to be your friend and your sister and an involved aunt, but you don't seem interested. I want my son to know you and your children. I want the Deep Freeze to end."

However, studied in the bold light of day, that type of conversation seems like utter nonsense. I cannot think of any scenario wherein I would feel any sense of assurance that this conversation would get me anywhere. I just don't think it would fly.

So, if you've stayed with me this long, I have to say I don't know what to do. Maybe there is nothing to be done. Maybe I need to get about the business of getting over it and moving on (ha!).

I am sad that these people aren't in my life the way I expected.

Thanks for listening.

P.S. Of course, there are so many intricacies and subtleties that I am glossing over here. I understand, intellectually, many of the choices they have made over the past 3.5 years. It's my heart that is calling foul, not my head. It is all complicated and layered and drives me to distraction.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Fits and Starts

I don't know why, but I have been feeling quite sorry for myself the last few days. It is because C. isn't here, but he wasn't here last week, either. I don't know why this week is so trying.

On the other hand, it feels like spring might be here to stay. An hour with BB in the sunlight, under a huge, blue sky, is perfection - like I am watching a made for TV movie.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sunlight and Shadows

I continue to subject myself to the ups and downs of attending a local playgroup. On days when it is the "same old faces", I do pretty well. But, since it is a drop-in, some days are crazy, with too many kids and too many pregnant bellies. But the promise of socialization for BB and the possibility of friends for me is too much of a draw for me to let it go. And I am a creature of habit.

As I load BB into the car and drive the 10 minutes to the group, I try not to wonder what the next 2 hours will bring. I try to keep myself in a positive frame of mind. I already have a pretty good idea who will be there and what the conversation will sound like.

There will be a lot of discussion of pregnancy and babies. There will be certainty in the tones of the speakers: when they have their next baby, when they get pregnant again. There is no if. Sometimes it rolls right off my back; sometimes I choke on the distance between my reality and theirs.

Today, as we drove, BB listened to the music on the radio and gazed with intent interest out at the passing scenery. The sun shone with the promise of summer. Without warning, the image of another boy, an older boy, a big brother, was there before my eyes. My heart lurched. I had no choice but to smile at the boy who is here, to turn up the tunes, and to try to sing the heartache away.

This is my life. One boy, not two. No use in crying; may as well sing.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I checked Face.book this morning and my friend from high school had listed his status as "anxious about the new baby". Worried, I sent him a quick message to find out if things were okay. He messaged back to say that they are expecting in May and are excited and everything is well. I suppose by "anxious" he meant "can't wait".

Frankly, his interpretation of "anxious" and mine are quite different.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Well, I have managed to get over the first major stressful period since I returned to work. And, happily, I have nothing pertinant to do at work until May 26. It is sometimes hard to deal with a work level that ebbs and flows, but I do appreciate those weeks when I have little work to do.

So I am considering taking an online Ph0t0Sh0p class. This stems from my (probably insane) desire to begin digi-scrapping. I like computer stuff, and I get nowhere with the cut-and-paste variety of scrapbooking, so.... maybe. Depends. I start plenty of things that I don't finish (at least, don't finish right away). But Ph0t0Sh0p is always a good resume item, right? Any suggestions regarding classes to take? Any digi-scrappers out there.

We are also thinking it is time to buy a Mac. I am very excited about that.

Oh, and BB started walking this week. And I am weaning him from his before-bed nursing (now just nursing him first thing in the AM). What an eventful (and hard) week.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


My best friend (M.) from high school called this week to tell me that she is expecting her first baby. She and her husband (her high school sweetheart) are very excited.

I expected the call for some time now. It's inevitable, really. When you know that kids are on the "someday" list, the day is sure to come. The people I know just don't have fertility issues or lose babies.

If there is anyone in the world that I could be happy for, it is M. But I am cautious in my happiness. And very worried that she is even considering a h0me birth with a mid-wife. I won't debate the issues surrounding h0me birth; I don't care what you think. I want every single woman in the world to deliver in a fully equipped hospital, and be damned with "good birth experiences".

First babies are so hard for me. But I am happy that M. is happy. She has been the best friend that she could possibly be.

In other news, my event was last night, and it was a resounding success. I think that I can hold my head high over the work that I did, even comparing it to the technically superior work of the other guests. My confidence took a blow over the past two weeks, but I think I am slowly recovering.

Oh. my. god. was it a lot of work, though. Which is part of why I have been missing in action for so long.

But today the sun is shining and the warmth of the sun caresses my face. A good day to visit the cemetery, maybe.

I miss my boy.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A post a week?

Life just doesn't slow down, does it? And all the waiting until "next week, things will be better" doesn't actually help anything.

Perhaps I shouldn't stretch myself so thin...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Congratulations Rosepetal!

The best of news! Welcome, Beanie.


I have always projected an aura of self-confidence to those who know me, but the reality is much more stark. It is a facade. It is a protectionist device. I am not so confident.

I don't cower in corners, but I truly struggle with the idea that I am not as good as other people. In many ways, it doesn't bother me. I am not as good an actress as Emma Thompson - that doesn't even register. But where I rank in my job, where I rank in terms of my favourite hobby - well, that's a different story all together.

I am currently working on an event related to my hobby. It will feature work of mine and work of other people who I have invited to partake in the event. It has been a lot of stress to plan and prepare for.

So the problem that I am having is one of confidence. I know that at least one of the other contributors is better than me - I knew that when I asked her to be part of the event. What I didn't expect was that she would have a certain snootiness about her. She has rejected my request that she submit the most challenging of her work and has instead chosen things that will appeal to my poorly educated (in her opinion, I assure you) audience. And through the course of it all, she has managed to injure my confidence in small, cumulative ways, such as explaining some of the most simple terminology to me.

She has a master's degree; I do not. She has made this her career; for me it remains a hobby.

The difficulty for me is that I don't know how to balance my complete understanding that she is better than me while keeping enough ego alive to put my self out there in front of an audience next weekend. It is my event, after all; there's no backing out now!I made my choice a long time ago to not pursue this career. Instead, I attempt to keep my passion alive by hosting these type of events. It isn't very helpful when what is meant to help me feel impassioned and alive instead makes me feel small and amateurish.

Don't get me started on how this woman popped out 2 baby boys with no problems, 2 hours labour for both, without gaining a pound or missing a moment of her fantastic, rising career.

Okay. So maybe I'm just jealous.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Trust me, I do.

I don't know how the average 1 year old interacts with the people around him - my experience is limited to one child. But judging by the comments that every stranger on the street corner makes, BB is a particularly happy and socially engaging baby. He makes eye contact, smiles, and giggles for almost everyone he sees. It is an endearing trait.

Not surprisingly, most people make some comment regarding their own experience. The older generation with their "I remembers" I can easily tolerate. It does take a few minutes out of my day to make these trips down memory lane, but I can almost always afford the time. However, the comments from people who have children between the ages of 10 and 18 always cause me to pause and think. Generally, the begin with some complaint about their child's current behaviour patterns and they always finish by saying "Enjoy it while you can" or some near approximation.

I think I understand where they are coming from and I know it is just idle chitchat. But I am often tempted to say something to try to make them understand exactly how much I am enjoying my son.

I think we are blessed with an extraordinarily even-tempered child. Which makes our time together so enjoyable. I would have to be a hard-hearted bitch to not enjoy my son. How could anyone resist those baby giggles, so rarely interrupted by baby tears? I am certainly not so used to him that I fail to comprehend the magic of each breath he takes.

Yesterday we went swimming, just the two of us. Today we went to the park. He is my world and I am his. I fully and completely appreciate how brief this moment in time is. I marvel daily at everything that he is and everything that he is becoming.

I have my frustrations, but I must admit they are few. He is such a good-tempered, easy baby. Through no virtue of my own, I find my role as mother a (relatively) simple task. I know that will change, but for now I am wholly content as things are.

So I write my reply here: I am not missing his babyhood. I do not count the minutes waiting for him to be more independent. I am enjoying every moment of the person his is today. And tomorrow, when his cries of "DAAAAADDDDD!" wake me and wake his father at 6:30 in the morning, I will happily make room for him on our bed, wait for his father to bring him in, and securely gather his warm body in next to mine for his morning nurse. I will marvel at the little hands that play with my pyjama buttons and his stuffed animal as he nurses. And this will merely begin my day of wonder-filled moments. And the day after that? I know I will enjoy that, too.

I can still hardly believe he is here. The juxtaposition of his life to his brother's life constantly sends my mind reeling in disbelief. How is it possible that he is here and sleeping in the next room? But he is. He's my son and he's here to stay.

I can't help but enjoy him.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I have a weird thing. I am upset by people who don't acknowledge C. I get more upset by people who over-acknowledge him*. Or something. I think an example is in order.

We went to the cemetery on Easter Sunday. And for some reason, I imagined that my MIL had been there and that she had been crying. Which is weird, b/c I knew she hadn't been there. But, whatever, the image popped in my mind. I was momentarily furious. That she would have the gall to cry over my son. And I feel the same way about some of things that my sister says about C. (I can't think of an example). But why????

It is such a weird combination of emotions - wanted people to talk about him and cry about him because he is so important to me, and feeling that something is being taken from me if the level of intimacy expressed is too high.

Do I just want people to feel sorry for me? I hope not. But there may be some of that in there somewhere. Is it because I am terrified at the idea of "sharing" him, since I have so little of him to carry with me? I think that is definitely a part of it.

But it is tiresome.

I had boundary issues when BB was born. I really didn't want other people holding him or talking about him in possessive terms (my grandson, or my nephew) or thinking that they knew what his little coos meant. Even now I have my little struggles when he is so happy to see his grandma (which is a good thing that I fully support, btw).

I just wonder if this is all a normal part of who I would have always been as a parent. If C. had lived, would I have felt these jealousies? They seem so small and petty. Is it an innate part of my personality - that I want to be all and everything to my children, with the rest of the world unnecessary? Or it is more than that; something that grew out of my grief?

There is no way to know where this comes from or why I feel this way. Just one more thing on my list of things I would like to let go of. I don't know how possible that is.

* This excludes my husband, of course. He is the only person 100% "allowed" to grieve for C. as much as I do.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lifestyles of... me.

Last night I organized our pen drawer. I went through about 300 pens/pencils, throwing out pens that don't work and sharpening all the pencils. Fun times on a Friday night.

Go and read Julia's post. You'll probably need a box of tissues; I did. I found this so moving. When C. died/was born, my niece was 5 years old. She idolized me. She always wanted to pet and hug my belly. I was so excited for her to meet her cousin and she was too. But because I am not her parent, I have not been the one to walk through the mess of emotions with her. Three years later, we have lost the closeness we once shared. I don't know if it was because she felt that I let her down, if she was afraid to be around me in case she upset me, or if it was natural for her to outgrow her auntie. Sadly, the relationship we once had with her parents has lost it's footing, too. There is a lot of pain in my soul for that loss.

Totally unrelated? I posted more pictures of BB on the other site (the first time since before Christmas). And video. Check him out - he is such the toddler these days.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The project

When the wonderful Julian's Mom was kind enough to send me yarn in the mail a couple of summers ago, I wasn't ever sure what type of project I would make. I believe it was before the arrival of Natalie and just after the conception of BB... maybe. I wanted to make something that was kind of special and that would use the beautiful merino wool to best effect.

Fast forward to the past weekend, where I unearthed the glorious stuff in the grand moving-everything-to-paint-the-basement episode. And a road trip where I would have 10 hours in the car to stitch away.

Then I realized that what I wanted to knit required a different weight of yarn. After much consultation with my mother, I came up with this:

The ribbing on the cuffs and colar will be a aqua-white-orange strip. The body of the back will be orange. The arms will be white. The front will be aqua. And I think that I have exactly the right amount of yarn to complete the project, in each colour. If there is extra, a matching scarf might happen. Or mitts - I have never made mitts before...

Thank you a million times over for this yarn. I am having fun!

I think I am a nerd?

Do you ever just need Bach in your life? I do.

Couple St. Matthew's Passion with an unhealthy dose of sugar/caffeine, I am starting to feel like a human again.

P.S. There is no excuse for sleep deprivation when your child goes to bed at 8:00 and doesn't wake up until 7:00 the next day. I will post photos of my new knitting project, though, so you can see what is keeping me up these days.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In Canada, it's called "English Meadows"

Well, things have improved on the home front. We were away for the weekend, so the basement is still not quite painted, but it is half done. I don't like the colour. It is a green (click on the colour selector and find "Pastel Sage" on RC16 -it's close to this), and it looks too old. However, I am not finished painting the trim white and I haven't accessorized, so things may improve after those two tasks are completed. No matter what happens, I am not changing it. It is too much work. It will be whatever it will be. The general consensus is that greens are hard colours to find satisfaction with.

BB is finally well again and not coughing. We returned the nebulizer and I am happy to report that he settled into using it quite easily. He only cried the first few times.

I am struggling to keep up with work. It is difficult to put in hours of overtime when you aren't passionate about the work. It is okay work, I am just not excited about it.

I am also setting an important personal goal of being less snippy with my husband. He will be glad to read this, I am sure. When I get stressed out (which happens when the housekeeping is less that perfect - read: all the time), I sometimes take it out on him, unfairly. Perhaps it would be more productive to discuss housekeeping strategies or hiring a housekeeper rather than sniping at him. What are your strategies on this point? Or do you have one of those magical houses that keeps itself?

I may quit going to the playgroup that I used to love for BB. Basically, half of the women are pregnant and I just can't deal with it. The further I get away from BB's birth, the less I am able to handle pregnancy and pregnancy talk. I HATE IT, PEOPLE! I can hardly deal with the baby pictures I get in the mail from all of my cousins who are new parents. Purposefully subjecting myself to random strangers once a week at playgroup is nearly completely unbearable. If only I could create a new and better playgroup of people who are not and will not be pregnant....

That's it, that's all.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Week of "Holidays"

I am painting the basement. BB has a lingering cough from his MMR shot, which seems to be morphing into a full-blown cold. We are going away this weekend.

So. Tired.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I never get tagged

Niobe wrote:

The rules are simple. Look up from the computer, look around the room where you're sitting and pick up the closest book. And closest really means closest. No cheating by running upstairs to unearth your pink-highlighted college copy of The Critique of Pure Reason or the Prolegomena. Open the book, turn to page 123, count down to the fifth sentence on that page, and then post the next three sentences.

and then she tagged me.


GARDENIA, Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides) - 6'h - 2- to 4-inch, very fragrant, double or single, waxy, white flower in mid-spring through fall. Dark green, glossy, leathery leaves. Zone 8, full sun or partial shade; rich moist, acid soil. Use as specimen, in tub or border, or as houseplant in North - not as hardy as camellia.

Sounds wonderful, no?

Between this, the above average temperatures, and Rosepetal's beautiful photos, I am getting that itch again. And no, I wasn't rolling in poison ivy (its all still frozen here).

From the cold of zone 3b, I tag Rosepetal, Kate, Catherine, and Monica. Feel free to ignore - I rarely do memes (out of pure lack of imagination).

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I guess you would call this an update

I hate going a week between posts. The good news is that I am fine. The bad news is that my work laptop is not fine. It is as dead as a doornail. Hopefully, the tech people can save my files - yes, I am the idiot who hasn't backed up her files to the network since she started back to work. Oy.

We are well into toddlerhood here in our house. I am amazed each day at the changes in my boy. He has likes and dislikes (mostly likes, thank goodness). He is thrilled to discover new things almost every day. His poops really smell (thanks, solid food).

Is is getting boring for me to say that I still can't believe that C. isn't here? His life and my soul shattering grief feel like a distant dream. Then it all comes rushing back at me at the strangest moments. And because it moves away from me so often, the attack of grief it so unexpected that I almost don't know how to respond. For example, the other day I was reading through a list of current clients and happened across a person who share's C.'s name. Not really strange, considering that his name has been a traditional English language name for centuries. I have read his place in dozens of places in the past 3 years. And yet this time it almost levelled me -almost starting a torrent of tears that I wouldn't have been able to control (or explain, if someone walked into my office). And, as so often is the case, I sat there in bewilderment at the depth of emotion that I have trained myself to set aside for the majority of each day.

I am enjoying the PBS* series on Masterpiece showing film versions of the complete** works of Jane Austin. She has been my favourite author for years - I reread my collection at least once a year. This go round I am struck by the maturity of situation that I see in Persuasion. Simply, the main characters have a romance when they are young, are separated by well-intentioned meddlers, and have a second chance at love eight years later. I think this concept of the second chance is what I find so appealing. Anne, our heroine, now has the life experience to seize her opportunity at love without bowing to the expectations of others. She had to suffer greatly to gain this steadiness and resolve. And it turns out happily in the end (how could anything else happen in such a novel?).

I don't see particular parallels in my own life, other than the obvious suffering-one-dead-child-but-having-the-extraordinary-luck-to-raise-a-glorious-second-child thing (which I don't see as the same, what with not really getting a second chance - C. will always be dead, after all). I think what draws me to this story is the idea that we all should get second chances. I like that idea.

In her typical satirical fashion, Austin writes in the opening pages of the novel that if her character Anne had been afforded the chance to travel, meet new and interesting young men, and follow a happier life that the one she led in the intervening years, she would have forgotten her first love. The romantic in me (and admittedly, the bereaved mother in me) prefers to think that Anne would love Captain Wentworth eternally, regardless of situation. I like the idea that love, once nurtured in the soul of a human, can never be fully extinguished.

I am no scholar - so maybe my interpretation here is off the mark. But it is what I felt and experienced when I watched (then reread) Persuasion this time. And that has to count for something, right?

P.S. Isn't Rupert Penry-Jones (Captain Wentworth) delicious?

* I cannot explain why all of Western Canada has PBS Detroit included in cable TV packages, but we do.
** of course, the lesser early works aren't included

P.P.S. I can't comment on your blog, complicated mama. Wordpress hates me. Email me, okay?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ah hah!

Well, here is one of the reasons for all of the melancholy of late: 'tis that time of the month, ladies. Apparently, I am not entirely stable when all hopped up on hormones.

This cycle has been a real pain in the patootie - nothing where I expected it to be. I used 3 hpts this month - knowing that they must be negetive, but doing them out of complete puzzlement. I chalk it up to nursing, but wonder why I had a number of completely normal cycles when nursing more, now this crazy one when nursing less.

Work is getting me down, too. I think part of the problem is that we have had a number of bank holidays, etc. recently (and more coming) and it feels like I don't have a good routine.

I had one day this week where I stormed around, furious at everyone, because C. died. That was unexpected.

Grief is so unpredictable. Friggin' frusterating.

I just want to hold on to every moment with BB. I really think that I am living in the moment with him. My time with him is so precious. I don't want him to be older and I am not feeling like I missed his babyness. Well, maybe a little, but it is something I can accept. I am happy with him right now. I don't want more or less from him. For now, he is perfection. There are times when I don't want to put him down for the night.

His wonderfullness:
- sleeps through the night, falling asleep on his own
- started signing a bit
- talking more
- all toothy grins
- hilarious sense of humour
- still snuggly (though in a squirmy-boy way)
- loves to mop and vacuum

Okay. Crappy post. Nothing profound here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pneumonia? Nope...

Can you take a sick day when the thing that is wrong is that you are emotionally disabled today? When the problem is that you just want to go home, crawl back into bed, and cry your face off? Because you know that would be the best way to deal with this huge lump of emotion that you are carrying around.

But, since that is just not an option, and because you know darn well that "heartbroken" really isn't a valid reason to leave work, you push it all down inside to that chamber of hurt. Instead of dealing with it right now, you will have to deal with it another time, in another place.

Putting off the pain is a healthy way to deal, isn't it? No? Well, I guess no one told The World. Because that is what you are expected to do.

P.S. There are too many pregnant women coming to playgroup all of a sudden.

Friday, February 15, 2008


What do k.d. lang and stillbirth have in common? Nothing, as far as I know.

Except that her Hymns album was released sometime near those dark, dark days of 2005. I love the album; in some ways, I think it saved me. I listened to it that often and it made that much of an impact on me.

When my iPod shuffled its way on to those songs today, my heart went right back to that place, barely noticing the time and space between now and then. It is easy - too easy - to find that dark place again.

Sorry k.d. As beautiful as this album is, and as much as I need it in my life and will keep listening to it, it just isn't happy for me. I know that isn't what you had in mind.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

For Sale: One Green-Eyed Monster - well used

I have an almost unbearable jealousy for all people who "keep" their first baby. As in, that ugly green monster that lives in the recesses of my gut is clawing at me, trying to tear his way out and do irreparable damage to those around me.

In the past year, three of my cousins have had their first babies. I can barely stand to be in the same room as someone who is talking about these babies. It eats at me whenever I think of it.

I just want the jealousy to leave me alone. I am tired of it. It isn't fun to feel this way. And there are only more first children coming in my future; that's life.

Up until this point, I have allowed room for my jealousy. A normal part of grief, I rationalized. Understandable, I thought. But I am tired of it!!!

I know that we need to accept and embrace our emotions, etc. etc. yadda yadda. But doesn't there come a point in time when we need to let go of what hurts us and re-enter normal life? Is that totally impossible to do? Do I have to accept that I am damaged beyond any hope of repair? Do I have to accept this is my new reality? I know that it isn't possible to turn back time to the point where I didn't have this horrible envy. But shouldn't there be some way for me to heal enough?

Do you have any suggestions? Have you stumbled across anything that makes your equivalent hurt easier to deal with? What can I do with this emotion that I don't want and I want to get rid of?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Type A

I feel like I am directionless. I have no goals. Sure, I dream of a perfectly clean and tidy house, with precooked meals in the freezer and all the laundry neatly stacked in drawers. Who doesn't? But those things don't happen and they certainly couldn't be considered life goals.

That is what I feel is lacking. Direction. We have some random purchases that we have talked about making in the near future (we need a new car seat, for example). We have booked an RV site for July. Also not life goals.

Through the course of my life with my husband, we have always had direction. We were getting to know each other. Then we were getting married. Then we were trying to have children. Then anticipating the birth of our first child. Then trying to survive tragedy and cope with trying to get pregnant again. Then waiting those agonizing months to bring home our perfect little boy. Then learning to become parents.

Now that we have settled into a groove, I wonder what our direction is. Or, perhaps more to the point, what my direction is.

I work a job that is okay (as far as jobs go), but that I would not cry tears over losing. Perhaps it would feel a little less random if we had some financial goals that we were working for. When I got up in the morning and got ready for work, I could remind myself that it is worth it because it will allow us to do _________.

Personally, I am without any real direction. I just finished my degree. Now what? I don't do anything with it. I have no plans to do anything with it. The subject matter is the passion of my life, but I have no plans to continue my study. What is the point of it?

Maybe this is all just mid-February blues. I think not, though. I think I need to get my feet under me and set some more goals. And I think that this need is a sign of maturity in my grief; a desire to plan for the future is something that I am just getting back, three years later.

How do you set goals in your family? Do you talk it over with your spouse? Do you struggle to find common goals? Are you a "goals" person at all?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

To admit

In an email today I made this admission:

I have started telling strangers that BB is my only child.

How sucky does that feel?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Barely treading water this week. Behind at work, my husband is sick, etc. etc.

I am really trying to avoid any news regarding this story. I was avoiding it, then made the mistake of listening to CBC Sounds Like Canada when in my car, heading to the grocery store. I was nearly sobbing. They were babies. Just babies.

Not to mention the 7 month old abandoned in Toronto.

I am going to think about kittens now.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Daycare is kicking my butt.

Daycare was tricky to find, since I work afternoons only. I wanted a home daycare and I hoped for something in my neighbourhood. I found both, and the care provider has 17 years experience. She is kind and gentle and caring. BB seems to like the situation just fine.

That is, he seems to like it when I'm not around. The first days he spent there, drop-off was no problem. He happily went to play with the other kids. He cried when I set him down on Day 3. He cried when he saw the care provider on Day 4. He cried when he saw the house on Day 5. He cried when I put him in the car yesterday. Today he started to cry when I pulled his snowsuit out of the closet.

This is not his way of telling me that he is unhappy with the daycare situation. When his dad picks him up at the end of the day he cries because he doesn't want to leave. He kisses his care provider goodbye.

Drop-off is the problem. It is horrible for me. He wants to be with me. And, frankly, I want to be with him. I assure you that I don't exacerbate the problem. Smiling, I kiss BB goodbye and hand him over; no lingering. He doesn't cry long after I leave.

It is heartbreaking crying that he uses to try and convince me not to leave him every day. And it is especially difficult for me because I am not convinced that my job is that important. When it comes right down to it, I guess that I think the best person to raise a child is his parent. Even though BB is only away from us for about 4 hours a day, it often feels so wrong to me when I drop him off.

People scoff at me saying that BB is just manipulating me using guilt as a tool. If he were 3 years old, I might buy that. But he is just a year old. All he knows is that he would rather spend his afternoon with his momma. And his momma pretty much feels the same way. It is incredibly difficult for me to let my baby go.

I suppose we could look at the feasibility of me letting go of my job. It would certainly mean changing our lifestyle quite drastically. Many of the plans we have would have to change. I guess we aren't ready to go that far.

I could also work from home; my skill set would easily allow that. However, I doubt I am quite enough of a self-starter to be particularly successful at such a venture. And then I would have 2 jobs: full-time SAHM, part-time worker. Not really a better situation for creating family time.

What I want is a salary to be a stay-at-home-mom. How do I get one of those?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Weather Report

Well, BB got past whatever it was that was bothering him last night and I got some sleep. I am in a much better place. Oddly enough, I don't function well physically or emotionally when I get only 2 hours of sleep.

I apologize in advance, because I am about to write about a topic that I make every effort to avoid on my blog: the weather. Why do I try to avoid it? Because it is the topic of conversation in my part of the world. And not as a small-talk thing, either. So I am tempted daily to write something here regarding what Mother Nature is doing outside. But I doubt anyone reads this because they are interested in meteorology. So I resist.

Never the less, here I go. It is cold outside. Almost -40 degrees. And since Mr. Fahrenheit and Madame Celsius meet at -40, there is no need for translation. Cold.

These cold days are easy enough to deal with. Stay indoors. Plug in the block heater on the car and start it 15 minutes before you go anywhere. Wear your snowsuit, scarf, and tuque if you need to be outdoors for an extended period of time.

When the temperatures start dropping, I can feel it when I breathe. I have lived here my whole life. I know what -40 feels like when I breathe it into my lungs. It crackles as it passes through your nose. The crystals of snow take on the consistency of baking powder and the sound of the snow beneath my boots takes on a recognizable crunch.

Three Januaries ago, it was cold. It was -30 on the night C. was born. I always laughed that it would be cold on the night my son was born: I was right. That temperature was the excuse my brother-in-law used to avoid coming to the hospital that night. You would be right if you guessed I haven't forgiven him that. The whole rest of our family was there.

When it is this cold, the days are always sunny and bright. A meteorologist would likely explain that the cold Arctic air of the high pressure system clears away the clouds. All I know is that when it is cold, the sun shines.

On those long, cold days three years ago, I sat huddled under the blanket on my couch. My cat sat purring on my lap. And I stared. I stared at the wall for hours. And cried. And stared. And cried.

I used to love winter. I don't hate it now. But I don't love it anymore either.

It's cold.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Today I hate my job

Last night I got 2 hours sleep. I kid you not. Well, perhaps you could call it 3 hours (if you added all the times I nodded off and jerked awake in the rocking chair). Poor little dude is probably cutting some major teeth. He has never had this much discomfort before. Maybe eye teeth or molars.

So instead of napping while the baby napped, like a sane person would, I had no choice but to get into the shower, wash my hair, dry off, do my makeup and get ready for work. And we were still late. I was finishing the Powerpoint presentation for my 1:30 at 1:32. Anyone spot the problem?

My husband was up with us, too. Here is the problem. Since we are both working, we are both getting up in the night, and we are both exhausted. Perhaps we should consider taking turns with crushing exhaustion....

Stop it. I cannot entertain thoughts of giving up my job. Because it isn't likely to ever happen. Maybe we need to invest more in the 6-49.

And amidst all of this normal life with a one-year-old, my whole physical being continues to scream out C.'s name. There is no answer.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I bet you thought I was just busy (or lazy)...

...but actually, we were away to Toronto this weekend. It was really a lot of fun, if you ignore the 3 hour delay by Air Canada that saw us arriving at our hotel at 4:30 a.m. instead of 11:00 p.m. We had a half day of sightseeing (going here and here) on Friday, then I went to my convocation on Saturday, then home today. I so wish we could have stayed longer. Already, I am scheming about returning. After all, I didn't get to see this.

Thank you, everyone for all the support (regarding the previous post). I am not feeling particularly sad; I am just in a place of memory right now. Nonetheless, every comment makes me feel as if C.'s life mattered. Or rather, that C.'s existence was and is important - and not just to me. I suppose that you can expect more reminiscences following the same vein.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It began on a Thursday.

We had ham that night, cooked in the slow cooker. It was a decent enough meal, but I didn't have the energy to clean it all up. The slow cooker pot went into the sink, to "soak" until morning.

I snoozed on the couch, half-watching TV. My husband did some overtime in the basement. It had been a long and somewhat disappointing week. We had a few little thrills of worry - the Thursday before had brought us a questionable BPP (no breathing movements). But maybe the baby was just a late bloomer, no big deal, really. We saw the OB on Monday, another questionable BPP. Long NST. All good. No reason to induce. We saw the high risk OB on Tuesday. His tech saw the breathing movements. No worries. Go home for birthday cake.

My day had been long. We saw our GP in the morning, nice FHR around 150. No dilation - so disappointing. I "worked", which meant cleaning out my office for my replacement. Went for long coffee breaks and gleefully answered "no baby yet?" questions. So, so, SO normal.

I went to sleep for the night in the nursery, where we had set up an air mattress that was easier on my SI joint while I slept. Before I closed my eyes, I read my mom's 25 year old copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. So dull, really.

I awoke to an odd sensation around midnight. I tossed and turned for a while. I didn't know I was going into labour. I didn't know the turn my life was going to take.

I didn't know.

It's so hard to think about those days - those few days before the world exploded. And yet I have been living with those what ifs as I dealt with these anniversary days. These birth/death days.

I have to write it here: what if I had pushed the OB to induce on that Monday night those 3 years ago? would she have listened? would she have cared what I said? what if my opportunity was there and I let it slip by so unknowingly?

Those questions don't rip me apart with pain anymore. But they are there. I don't know if they will ever leave. They are always there.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

So far...

...not so good. Things have NOT improved on the time-management front. I know what I need to do to accomplish all of my to-do items in a day: curtail my "enjoying the baby" time to the bare minimum and completely give up all leisure activities.

I am not very good at doing either.

Something I learned when C. was born: nothing makes you feel like a guilt-riddled failure quite like becoming a mother. The sensation has only grown exponentially since then.

Speaking of failing, I made the mistake of reading about all the wonderful teaching moments that I have let slip by in BB's life. One year old and I have already coddled him too much. He's not walking yet and doesn't really eat much on his own and can only handle pureed (not mashed, etc.) food that I feed him in small bites (though large portions). Here's the thing, though. I don't feel guilt over those things. I won't push him; he is the most amazing child (everyone says so) and he can move at his own pace. But then I do feel like crap that I haven't managed to teach him a handful of words, that he is an individual person, and to communicate in full American Sign Language sentences.

Oh, and I think he might stop nursing soon, of his own accord. That is going to hurt my heart, it is. I fully intended to nurse until the summertime, albeit only morning and bedtime. He just isn't interested anymore.

I am too freakin' sleep deprived to make sense (we have all been very sick). OK. I have no idea what I am saying here.

I need a fairy godmother or a robot to come along and take some work off my list of things to do.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


...that my new lifestyle, wherein I am a stay-at-home-mom in the mornings/evenings and sell my soul working for The Man in the afternoons, will be the death of me. Seriously. Who thought working a 70% position in 50% time was going to be a good idea?

Playing Scrabulous with my sister on Facebook will definitely help this problem.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Happy Birthday, my very sweet little boy. I wanted to write long posts for you and for your big brother on these special days. But you are so miserable with your head cold, all we are doing is snuggling and trying to make you feel a little better.

I love you. You adorable, goofy little boy.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Happy Birthday, my little love.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

It's okay, I guess

So I have managed 2 days of work. BB seems to be okay at daycare and, frankly, I don't have the time in my work day to even worry about him. I am glad that I found such a trust-worthy care provider (though I am certain that she lets him CIO for naps, which I am not thrilled about, but realize that she really doesn't have much choice).

I was very nervous the night before - silly really. My contract gives me 8 weeks holidays in the summer and I am never nervous when I return after that. I guess 12 months is different.

I am trying very hard to process everything that is happening in my life. I know I am going to struggle to keep up with work. It will ebb and flow, but generally I will have to deal with overtime several nights a week.

C. and BB's birthdays are coming up. I am trying to plan a couple of parties for BB and trying to plan a couple of memorial things for C. I am so glad that they don't share a birthday, but having them one day after another is kind of hard, too. It would have been nice to have a buffer day between them... but, oh well. Nothing I can do about it.

We had BB in for his 12 month check. He is in the high percentiles for all measurements. He is tall, heavy, and has a big head. He made our doctor coo and smile, which I think is a nice gift for her, having been there for us through both pregnancies.

I feel like this year I should devote some more time and energy and emotion into memorializing C. I really feel like he got short-changed on his birthday last year, what with me being in labour and all. I keep thinking this will be his second birthday. Nope. I should have a three year old.

I have this weird expectation that everyone around me should recognize what a miracle BB is, in the intense way that I do. In the sense that he has survived my uterus and spent nearly a year as a living and breathing part of the family. But, no. To the world at large, he is just another one year old. Drooling and teething and covered in dimply smiles. It irritates me, in some small way. I guess I want people to gush and carry on every time they see him. Is that normal, or is that a grief thing? Don't know.

There has been major improvements on the sleep-front. BB now falls asleep on my lap, not rocking or nursing. He squirms around and cuddles in and falls asleep without intervention from me. So not "falling asleep alone" but rather "falling asleep on his own", if you can appreciate the difference. It resulted in 10 days of sleeping through the night (though teething and daycare-related separation anxiety have made for waking the last few nights...). Things are so much better, though, I don't dare to really complain.

This working mommy thing is going to be tiring.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Tomorrow I return to work. I know most of you live in places where maternity leaves are substantially shorter than the year that we get in Canada, however, it still feels too short. I knew that I would feel this way, but it doesn't make it any easier.

Thankfully, I will only work afternoons, though I am moving into a 70% position (meaning I will have a lot of overtime work that I will have to do in evenings). It is a salaried position, so I am expected to get my work done, no matter how many overtime hours it means. Unfortunately, my husband does similar work with similar expectations, so I have to admit I am worried how we are going to balance family and work.

My resolution for this year, blogging-wise, is to post more. My stats tell me that I am getting half the visits I used to. I don't blame anyone - this is getting to be a really boring blog.