Monday, June 22, 2009

An open letter to my man

To the father of my child:

Thank you for taking this journey with me. When I told you two and a half long years ago, when you were known to me, but not familiar, that I wanted to bear your children, I was serious. Your pause and mischevious smile showed that you knew I was, too. It was maybe a strange kind of flirting, but in all our time together, we've had a sense that it was somehow our duty. And even though neither of us believe in fate or gods or mysticism, we can't help but use those words when our child is involved. Our miracle, our blessing, our angel.

I didn't think that being pregnant would be such a couples activity. Or that when I couldn't eat anything, you'd bring me glasses of juice, ad infinitum. When I couldn't watch food on tv, you'd turn it off. I didn't know that when the baby's kicks became so strong they were visible as ripples across my skin, that you'd stay awake while I slept, watching him. You and he, cut of the same cloth, nightowls together. I didn't know that all of it would make me love you, and him, even more.

Now, as we navigate this terrain, where we've had to cast aside our long nights out on the town for early ones at home, I am as glad to have you with me as ever. When our babe finally sleeps through the night, his face suddenly adult with all the composure of sleep, I feel like we've accomplished more than a million roadtrips across the country and back.

With much love,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

mommy solidarity

I went back to 'the country' again this weekend. We had thought that Mike might have to go to Ottawa for work this week, so rather than spend it by myself, lonely and stressed at home, I thought it would be a good idea to go to my mom's place. While we haven't always got along, I'm finding spending time at her house increasingly comfortable. Ender and I can relax, and leave the cooking and cleaning to my mom and Don! It turned out that Mike didn't have to work in Ottawa after all, but I stayed anyway for a few days.

My visit included a baby welcoming party for a girl I knew from highschool. She was blessed only two weeks ago with a tiny little baby boy. Her family is enormous, wonderful, and I really enjoyed being surrounded by kids and moms. There were so many of them! Plans were then made for Jackie to come visit at my mom's place and I got to meet her precious little girl. While I've poo-pooed the idea of mommy groups already, I think I'm starting to get it. There's something just plain invigorating about being around other moms. There's no need to explain the dark circles beneath your eyes, your messy, just-swept-into-an-elastic hair, or the fussy, drooling baby in your arms. Everything is silently understood over a cup of incredibly strong coffee. There is a solidarity in parenthood, which is severely lacking here in the city for me. So I guess I should try one of the GTA mom's groups after all.

I'm relaxing on my couch with a can of pabst blue ribbon (pabst, how I missed thee) watching my baby sleep. He has started smiling. It melts me every time. Every day my connection with this little person grows. When I used to be tired of holding him, eager to pass him to Mike, I find myself holding him a little longer, a little closer, whispering little secrets in his ears. He may not understand the words, but he certainly understands the tone. I find him more relaxed lately, sleeping and cooing and staring at things instead of crying all the time. I envy his blank slate when his eyes widen at something new, a recognized face, or a new sound.

I need to start packing. We have people looking at the apartment this weekend and it has made me start to think about how incredibly difficult it's going to be for me to pack! Ender sleeps probably a total of 4 hours a day, 2 of which I use for a nap when I feel like I'm going to fall over. Where is the time to pack? Or find boxes? Eep! I definitely need to start now. If I pack for an hour a day, I just might have it all packed in a month and a half. We'll see...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The challenging baby

The shopping trip went off without much of a hitch. I mean, I only went out for two and a half hours, and bought only three items, but it was nice to go out!! I was checking my phone constantly, and when Mike called to tell me everything went fine, I could hear his little wail in the background, and before I knew it I was on the bus home. It seems the 2 oz I pumped wasn't enough for the little monster, and Mike was left with a hungry baby. I was so happy to see the little guy when I got home, I don't think I'll need to leave him behind again for a little while.

I've been reading a parenting book these days, and I found an interesting section called "Do you have a challenging baby?" and a subsection headed "The active baby." It read "babies often send the first clue that they're going to be more active than most right from the uterus." check. The ultrasound technician, midwife, obstetrician and myself all commented on it. He never was still, even in his 'resting' periods, I got regular jabs poking all over the place. "Dressing sessions become wrestling matches..." check "...and baby always ends up on the opposite end of the crib after a nap." partial check. He's not mobile enough for that yet, but still manages to roll himself onto his side sometimes when he sleeps, freaking me out in the middle of the night. (I wonder if the increase in SIDS literature has lead to an increase in sleepless nights for mothers?) I guess what I find interesting about this is that they call this a 'challenging' baby. I can't imagine it any other way, and I certainly don't find how active Ender is a challenge. He usually takes only two or three naps a day, and spends the rest of it entirely awake. I love the way he's constantly staring at something, interpreting and figuring things out. And also, how is any baby not a challenge? They are fickle, emotional creatures. A breeze or a loud sound is enough to elicit sobs. But just as people have been telling me that I am the perfect mom for my baby, it works the other way around too. He is the perfect baby for this mom.

Update on home purchase/interior decorating: We finished up all the paperwork for the house. It's ours. We have two visitations to do before we move in July 20th, so we can take some measurements and figure out what will fit and what has to go. I've decided on two 'accent walls' to be painted a charcoal colour that Mike hasn't protested against. Easy, right? Wrong. There has to be about ten million shades of grey available. Some with hints of blue, green, red, and so on. I think I'm settling on a greenish/olivey shade of charcoal. Good God. This is why I hated working at the fabric store, staring at three swatches of beige fabric while a woman deliberated on which was 'ballet white'. I also need to pick a shade for Ender's room. It's pretty small, so I think a lighter shade will be best. Blue is too boyish. I'd like something soothing, gender neutral, and modern (since his crib is ikea).

Also, we purchased a baby bjorn carrier, which I'm totally in love with. I went to the store and put him in each one. All made him cry except the baby bjorn and the ergo. I couldn't actually do the ergo myself. You have to put newborns in in this awkward sideways way with a padded insert, since the space between the legs is too spread out for younger babies. I had a salesperson and Mike helping me, and I still found it difficult to put him in. The bjorn puts him to sleep, or in a happy dozy state staring at stuff, almost immediately. It's easy to put him in, which is good since it doesn't set him on a crying jag as mummy fumbles with snaps and buckles. I feel a lot more secure knowing I can go to the store by myself while Mike is at work, which I did today. Very liberating!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

promises, interior decorating, and guilt!

We bought a townhome. In a way, we have to 'eat our words', to quote Mike. We both swore we'd never live in a condo. But I might as well put that on the growing list of things I swore I'd never do: Live in Toronto, get married, have kids, stop smoking...hell, I even said I'd never own a home at all! I even recall saying I'd never like boys when I was five. Now they're the two best things in my world. So there, dear reader, is a testament to the changeability of life. Absolute statements are worthless.

The home is beautiful. It's a bit small, pretty much the same size as where we are now, but there are two rooms, and three levels. The top level features a rooftop terrace that looks out over King street. My favourite parts: the view, the dishwasher, a washer and dryer of my own, and walls I can paint and pound nails into ad infinitum. It's scary though, there's all sorts of payments that I've never even thought about and I'm terrified of owing the bank so much money. But it's better than renting, and I'm excited! We move in July 20th, which gives us some time to paint and remove some of the disgusting (AWFUL) wallpaper that the previous owner put up. My head is swimming with thoughts of design and the best way to use this precious little space. As usual, I want to make it look like a Victorian brothel...complete with red velvet, chinoiserie wallpaper, and candelabras. Also as usual, Mike finds my taste...exorbidant. We'll see who wins out. I'm going to guess the budget will.

Tomorrow the plan is for me to go to the mall by myself to go get some new clothes. I'm afraid. I'm afraid Ender will cry the entire time and traumatise himself AND Mike. I'm afraid that the meagre amount of breastmilk that I've pumped (I'm terrible at pumping, by the way, it seems I make just enough for him to eat and that's all) over the last month won't satiate him while I'm gone. I picture him crying, his little face all red and scrunched up.

Hell hath no fury like a mother's guilt. I'll let you know how it goes.