Thursday, September 25, 2014

When I Was A Kid {Bubbles are the worst}

Nostalgia feeds little gumdrops to the parts of our brain that want everything to have a happily ever after. Childhood has it's own flavour of nostalgia, Initiated by memories of tricycles....fruit roll ups....rubber boots. You can sense the edges of these objects in your hands, taste their sugar at the tip of your tongue, pinpoint the bruises and scrapes that left stories on you left knee.

Then you become a parent and start to bring out these tokens of childhood for your own child's wide eyes and open hands. But like the 'ugly lights' that come on after last call and save you from a bad decision, you gradually realize these toys and games and jelly shoes were the worst.

Bubbles are the worst

Your toddlers can't read but they know that large translucent jug of mystery liquid anywhere! YAY! Pat yourself on the back for buying all the bubble juice and paraphernalia available at the dollar store. You are a 'Super Fun Awesome Mom!' There you are. laughing in the sun on your porch as your kids dance through your non-stop, mind-dizzying, shower of glorious bubbles. Man, this is too easy!

Until your kid realizes that THEY should be controlling the bubble release and placement.

So a painful and unsuccessful lesson on exhaling rather than ingesting is carried out and the Wand of Power is handed to your child.
You are gripping their beloved container of bubble liquid, clearly holding it hostage from them so they constantly adjust your finger hold. Meanwhile, they ram that crappy wand into the jar and slosh it around spilling half of it all over you and the ground. This only makes the bubble-making harder because the bubble container quickly empties to that point where your kid can still see liquid, the wand can't reach it, and their brains can't connect the two.

So you offer assistance, and (against their will) help them to get that wand evenly soaked in liquid. They bring it to their lips, right on their lips, blow/eat the bubble wand and eek out two and a half fragile shimmering orbs. Your kid squeals, reaches sticky fingers out for that bubble and POP! In that nanosecond of complete glee your kid believed they lived in a fairy tale. And they are hooked on that childhood nostalgia high.

So right back to furious dunking to resume their caveman attempts at bubble production. Everything is getting soaked in sticky liquid. They refuse every offer for help. Chubby, clumsy hands desperate for their next bubble. You see the drive in their eyes, hear their deep grunts and it kind of scares you a bit. You begin to waffle between threats to quit the bubbles all together and gentle offers to have you take over.

Neither is a desirable option to your toddler.

And there you are with a crying toddler who just wants to make bubbles, you sticking to the porch and your hands gingerly holding that cursed bubble liquid at the perfect angle for futile wand dunking and to demonstrate to your kid that you aren't death gripping their adored container of crappy magic liquid.

This is about the time you willfully let more and more liquid fall onto the ground, even dumping it when they turn their heads to look for non-existent bubbles, until you can declare "it's all gone now".

Cue waterworks. Act swiftly to hide the bubble liquid.

Get in your car, drive to Walmart and buy the bubble machine you thought was a ludicrous waste of money and an insult to a childhood rite of passage.
But you and I both know you will keep that bad boy swimming in AAAs as long as those sweet darlings of your want those stupid mystical bubbles.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Dear God, it's me, Still Pregnant. {Faith & Birth}

They say that babies aren't born on due dates. They are born on birth dates.

That sounds comforting and respectful of life's natural rhythms.....up until about 29 weeks of pregnancy.

With this third pregnancy I wasn't honouring my due date let alone a birth date. I was in Prangry mode from the first false labour and every day forward felt like a whole other trimester. After weeks of on and off contractions, I was seeing that this was a lesson in waiting and patience after the 'normal' amount of waiting and patience had been exceeded.

At 38 weeks my sister stayed the night and laughed at me when she saw my search history: 'trusting God's timing in delivery'.  By this time I had been 'mildly' induced for a few days, was having contractions on and off all week and my kids were conveniently at their grandparents but ready to come home.  I had some definite thoughts on what was 'proper' timing for this baby to come and it included the words 'flipping' and 'yesterday'.

The entire nine months of my pregnancy were like one big bad long hangover. Each day I felt like I had scraped together just enough energy to feed, dress and play with my kids. I felt like I was slugging by, dressed in a costume of my worst possible self.

Deep into the last trimester became a reflective time for me as I realized I could look at this as a time to grow some fruit or a time to shrink back and snark. Reluctantly, I knew I should take it to God. Reluctant because I didn't want to give it to Him, I just wanted it to work in my timing and my ways.

I believe that pregnancy and delivery are times we can get very close to God. We can really hear him as he slows us down. As he makes us wait. As we go through all the stages of labour.

It starts with letting go of housework, of plans, of expectations on all we can get done. Moving into halting our day, making us lie down and rest in Him, turn off our brains and just restore ourselves.

It moves into trusting His timing. Knowing that things might not mirror our plan on paper, but trusting He will still take care of the details that stress us out.

Then into the labour, the delivery. I am no hero that is for sure. My pain tolerance is embarrassingly low and paper cuts, let alone labour, scares the ish out of me.

With my first delivery I felt very calm, the contractions were slow and mild. Yet the labour was so long I eventually needed an epidural to get some rest. I didn't really need to go to a head space designed for dealing with overwhelming pain I would have with subsequent deliveries.

With my second delivery I was so focused on having a VBAC that I would deny any epidural for fear it would lead to a C-Section. The contractions were like a hurt-tsunami knocking me down and drowning me. My over arching emotion in all of it was fear. It almost felt like the pain was coming from an external force. I had no regard for the fact that this was MY body causing this and that it was for good. I believed it was Me vs the Pain and it was up to me to prove I could make it through.

Coming into this third delivery I wanted to reflect on ways I could let go of those fears. I wrote cards of scripture, I prayed, I read other mom's stories.

Then the morning the strongest contractions started and began to surge my resolve buried its head in the sand. I laid in my bed planning the scenario: I would walk into that maternity ward, sit on the bed and advise the nurses I would take the epidural and c-section now. I was going to that scared place again.

But of course that didn't happen.

One by one, the contractions mounted higher and longer. I put in my headphones with music blaring, I breathed in the the gas. I told myself each time 'I can bear this one'. Each time 'I can bear this one'. I wanted to stay focused on trusting in God's strength in my weakness.  I wanted a distraction from the contractions.

I know birth is a very personal experience that each woman owns. I don't think God expects us to all to have the same experience. For some trusting in God through delivery might mean doing it at home with absolutely no medication. For others it might mean maintaining peace and making it through a C-section without feeling overwhelming anxiety. For me, it meant trying to get through it without an epidural. With the caveat that if I needed a C-Section again I could trust there would be supports enough to help me and my family through it.

We don't have to be a hero. We don't have to 'prove' ourselves to God. We can let our exhaustion seep it's roots through our bodies and relax all the tension. We can ugly cry in our bathtub and pray for His mercy and grace. We can urge our hearts to believe the words that come out of our mouths when we repeat 'not my way but yours' 'not in my time but yours'.

He prolongs us. He extends us to what we wish was the end, and then pushes a little a further, and a little further. To the point where we can't deny that situations are beyond our strength and abilities and our rules. Because Jesus meets us at our point of NEED. Of need. The place we might hate being the most.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

You're the Worst, Please Cuddle Me (my day with cranky toddlers)

Sometimes my children find me appealing as wearing socks. Translation, the worst ever.
Lately they've been drawn to me like all the 'please don't eat that' floor food under the table.

It started last night over dinner. In sporadic preparation over four hours, I pieced together a nice pasta dish of roasted zucchini, baked chicken and roasted tomatoes with fresh basil and oregano. Or if you are under four then just noodles, thank you very much.

Lenayah ate three bowls of noodles (yay) but with every.single.noodle she would ask me 'what's that mama?'. response 'it's a noodle'. reaction 'oh....can I eat it?'. response 'yes'.  It went on so long that I was cleaning up the dishes and reassuring her that they were all noodles and she didn't have to ask me each time. She was horrified I would suggest such a thing and continued on her questioning with more shrill persistence.

I love the toddler stage for so many reasons but the perpetual interrogation is like sauntering along a beautiful path with a rock in your shoe. And the shoe is duct taped and super glued to your foot.

Wherever I am going/thinking of going/just went.....
Anything I am eating/cooking/wearing/applying/standing on/staring blankly at.....They want to be part of and if access is denied then cue the smattering of undesirable emotions that we get to sit and talk about.

Conor has been back to work since Wednesday. Usually its the last, and not the fifth day, that their 'I'm a toddler and life is bitchin' DNA cells mutate into 'put me back into the womb and play another Dora show' cells.

Usually we would jump into the stroller for a walk to the park but today I did something I have never done. I took all three kids into town, on purpose, just because, to get out of the house. Like every other mom, I was trying to reopen the door to carefree and happy with some distraction and adventure...and chocolate chip cookies.

It didn't work.

Lunch was spent rocking a baby in a seat on the table and consoling to two toddlers who wouldn't let go of my legs but hated all the decisions I make with the fervour of scorned fifteen year old drama queen.

So while Levi is waiting another five minutes to ask to be released from Quiet Time in his room and the other two are napping, it's just me....and the food dehydrator whirring. So I will smush all of the selfish luxuries of solitude into these next four and a half minutes...... now off to google weird shit til I find the end of the internet.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

SCARY MOMMY!! 9 Reasons Pregnant Ladies Make Stellar Wingmen

Check this off my blogging bucket list! Ok, first I have to make a list. Rest assured this would be numero uno on the list.

Find me over at SCARY MOMMY (capital letters emote my enthusiasm) talking about keeping your resident preggo as part of the social scenery. Why?! Here's some reasons....

Monday, September 8, 2014

Holding a full house and showing all our cards {Life as a family of five}

With one change in a family, everything changes. Change is a wind that comes bustling up, tossing everyone up into the sky. We all land in a new spot.  With the addition of a new baby into our family, everyone is taking on new roles....

Levi maintains his previous role of 'Commentator of All Mundane Daily Events'. He has also added some more impressive titles to his resume: Assistant to the Diaper Changer; Tiny Toe Inspector; THE Fastest; Nap Striker; which goes hand in hand with Afternoon Train Wreck. Levi has always been gentle with babies, and to see him kiss and coo at Dawson makes me smile in a way that my face has never moved before. He has moved from Big Brother to Biggest Brother and he is showing Lenayah the ropes. 

Lenayah has been promoted from Squeaky Wheel to Sea Monster. Though she can flex between the two like a saloon door, she now leans to the side of sea monster. Meaning she silently and sneakily lurks around the house and then pops up unexpectedly to noisily menace the nearest brother or bystander.  She has followed her older brother's suit and loves on her new baby bro, but with some mauling and grabbing. There is a high chance she may think he is cross between a piece of furniture, a puppy dog and robotic baby doll. 

Conor took a few weeks off after Dawson's birth, he did ALL of the things. From menu planning, to diaper changes, to bedtimes, to 'lie to me and tell me these bags bring out the colour in my eyes'. Yet, now that I am up through the night I realize he is also our resident White Noise Machine, broaching close to possible sleep apnea territory. I was nervous about adding another baby, after the difficulty we had together with number two - but we seem to have hit an ebb and flow this time around. We are slow learners but the dance of co-parenting is getting less clunky. 

As for me, I've been plunked back into some old roles that I am enjoying in a new way. Going from one to two kids was like being hit by a bus, for some reason adding a third one has been more gentle and treasured. Maybe because I know it's the last time, maybe because he's still so new and sleeps a ton during the day. Either way, I do old things with more fervour now - like drinking coffee, cherishing some stolen moments alone, getting all the kids out of the house, day drinking and of course, an old specialty of mine: lactating. Yes, some of us are blessed with modelesque looks, some of us with brains that can multiply numbers by nine, me - I lactate. 

Dawson is one month old now. Other than some tongue tie issues he is a mellow little trooper. He puts up with two siblings who have no sense of personal space or decibel levels. Though he's yet to show me a bit of who he is, for now he is 'the Adorable Reason I Don't Sleep'. 

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