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Retreat

19 Jul

My house just keeps getting worse. Summer is so chaotic . We just want to be OUT, but there’s still dishes and laundry piling up and toys always underfoot and half-finished colouring pages and used sleeping bags and half-empty bottles of sunscreen and that dead fly-covered vole Crook somehow caught despite being leashed in the backyard. Plus the actual work work that needs to be done. I’m running from one urgent must-do to another and never catching up.

I don’t mean to complain, but the truth is that the havoc wears on all of our nerves.

Today I have a rare break from the urgency — no gig coming right up that I need to write charts for, no emergency underwear situations, so I will wash a few dishes, haul out a few camping supplies to the shed… and get ready for my 3-day retreat.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever spent more than a few hours completely alone. Sunday, I’m packing up the car with food, some paper and pens, and a good book or two and I’m heading to a friend’s cabin for two nights all to myself. I’m not sure what it will be like. I can’t possibly imagine getting bored, but will I get lonely? I think I’ll be okay.

I envision some time just sitting in the woods (weather permitting) or by the lake, some serious reading time, maybe time to write down some thoughts, or even new song lyrics. I intend to do some meditation. I might even do some work… some enjoyable work that I can complete from start to finish without outside interruption.

Two nights. The possibilities seem limitless, don’t you think?

And now for a poop tale

31 Mar

I’ve had this deep philosophical post planned out in my head for weeks now, but haven’t got round to committing it to, er, pixels. These things take time. But here’s a post about  this morning, as told to my sis via Skype. Because I notice the last post I did was about pee, so of course we’ve got to up the ante. Be sure to picture it all clearly in your mind for maximum comedic effect.

So Nem and I were just chatting about summer plans, like so…

[8:08 AM] {blah, blah, blah, plan, plan, plan, plot, plot, plot}

[8:09 AM] Fawn: hang on – poo emergency

[8:09 AM] Nemmy: I keep telling him the Dempster will still be there later ;)

[8:09 AM] Nemmy: we’ll discuss it over breakfast… and no problem, poo comes first haha

….

[8:19 AM] Fawn: well, that was fun :P

[8:20 AM] Nemmy: the poo emergency?

[8:20 AM] Fawn: yeah

[8:20 AM] Nemmy: what happened?

[8:20 AM] Nemmy: (baby just knocked the castle over… she’s such a brute… lol)

[8:20 AM] Fawn: Halia was in the bathroom crying and I asked her if she was okay

[8:20 AM] Fawn: She said, “Waahhhh, I got poo on it!”

[8:20 AM] Fawn: brb – bacon needs flipping

[8:21 AM] Fawn: Okay, so I go into the bathroom, and there’s runny yellow poop all over the floor in front of the toilet

[8:22 AM] Fawn: Halia’s upset that she didn’t make it to the toilet

[8:22 AM] Nemmy: awwww

[8:22 AM] Fawn: there was no toilet paper left on the roll

[8:22 AM] Nemmy: awwww

[8:22 AM] Fawn: (all in the toilet)

[8:22 AM] Nemmy: bahahaha

[8:22 AM] Fawn: and so she took a brand new roll out

[8:22 AM] Nemmy: wait, she put the toilet paper in the toilet???

[8:22 AM] Fawn: Yes, she tried to clean up the mess

[8:22 AM] Fawn: by herself

[8:22 AM] Fawn: and the poop was smeared everywhere

[8:23 AM] Fawn: got it all over herself, of course

[8:23 AM] Nemmy: lol

[8:23 AM] Fawn: and on the newspaper that was on the floor that I hadn’t had a chance to read yet

[8:23 AM] Fawn: (darn you, Michael!)

[8:23 AM] Nemmy: ah, the glamour of motherhood

[8:23 AM] Fawn: and the brand new roll of toilet paper was in the puddle of poop

[8:23 AM] Nemmy: lmao

[8:23 AM] Nemmy: a perfect storm

[8:23 AM] Fawn: :D

[8:23 AM] Fawn: Poor Halia

[8:24 AM] Nemmy: ok, i better get baby all dressed

[8:24 AM] Fawn: K – ttyl

[8:24 AM] Nemmy: give her a hug from me

[8:24 AM] Fawn: Okay

[8:24 AM] Nemmy: loooove you

[8:24 AM] Fawn: Looooooooove you more

Mom mornings

12 Jul

Jade is sleeping in the basement here at the cabin, so that she and Halia don’t disturb each other at bedtime, and because the basement is far cooler than the top bunk she was sleeping in upstairs.  Michael is sleeping with her down there, while I’m upstairs with Halia, with a fan pointed at my body to ward off the heat.

At 6:30 this morning, Jade climbed up the two flights of stairs and came into my room, weeping.

“I’m hungry!” she wailed.  This is my regular wake-up call most mornings.  But I shushed her groggily, not wanting Halia to be woken, not really wanting to wake up myself.

“Why didn’t you tell Papa you wanted breakfast?” I whispered to her.

“Because he’s still asleep,” she sobbed.

*sigh*

Breastfeeding a toddler

4 May
Occasionally I read the Globe & Mail online.  Today was one of those days, since it’s been a slow day at work.  I was interested to see that they were having a Q&A session with Dr. Jack Newman.  For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Newman is a world-renowned pediatrician and breastfeeding specialist; some might even call him Canada’s breastfeeding guru.  He’s also a somewhat controversial figure, as he is outspoken, critical of a medical system that he sees as detrimental to successful breastfeeding, and, while some would say candid, others would say arrogant.  Instead of talking about the benefits of breastfeeding, he speaks of the risks of formula-feeding — something that rubs a lot of people the wrong way. 
 
Indeed, when one of my friends made this same statement in an e-mail to our midwifery advocacy group, I quickly replied to her and asked her consider her choice of words.  After all, there is already a lot of pressure on women to breastfeed, which, to my mind, is actually more harmful than helpful.
 
As I have mentioned in passing on this blog, I am still breastfeeding Jade.  She’s 15 months old, and although no one has actually made any nasty comments to me, I do often get the amazed, "You’re still breastfeeding.  Wow!"  Sometimes this is followed with a, "Good for you!"  Many times not.  However, sometimes I do wonder what they’re muttering to themselves or to each other behind my back.  I don’t really care if they think I’m weird — I don’t know if they do – but I do wonder why it is that people have such violently emotional reactions when it comes to breastfeeding.
 
I guess it starts even with pregnancy, with unsolicited (and opinionated) advice and strangers unable to restrain themselves from touching that beautifully swelling belly.  I never had any huge problems with this, but many a friend has.  I did, however, have a single friend who heatedly told me that it’s inexcusable that two parents might want to take parental leave at the same time because, "That’s just overkill".  (The EI rules are that either mom or dad or both can take a combined total of 50 weeks leave, so if both parents take leave at the same time, the benefit lasts for just half the year.)  And then there were the conversations, even during pregnancy, about breastfeeding and how old is too old for a child to still be nursing.
 
Now, I admit that I’ve been thinking about when a good time is to stop breastfeeding, but I don’t feel any urgency to stop.  I certainly don’t think I want to be nursing Jade until she is 4 or 5 (especially since I hope I’ll be having another child at some point before then!) but then again, before Jade arrived I didn’t think we would ever have her in bed with us.  And then it just very naturally happened, from the minute she was born.  So I don’t like talking in absolutes.
 
It’s not just childless know-it-alls who have strong opinions, of course.  Other mothers, even other mothers my age, have very strong opinions on how long I "should" breastfeed, or rather, when I should stop.  (This is based on conversations I had with them when Jade was still very little.  If they’re thinking about it now, they certainly aren’t saying it to my face.  That’s the advantage of being a b!tch…)
 
The Globe & Mail also had an article entitled "Breast Friends" that discussed the re-emergence of the wet nurse or "cross-nursing".  One glance at the comments section of the article show that opinions run just as strong here.
 
If I don’t wean Jade soon, I figure she’ll probably end up weaning herself when I get pregnant again.  In the meantime, it’s the best band-aid in the world when nothing else works, and sometimes when I’m giving her her bedtime feed, we’re both so drowsy and comfortable, we fall asleep together*.  Breastfeeding a toddler really isn’t about feeding; it’s all about nurturing.  And what is wrong with that?
_____________
 
Here’s one of my favourite bits from the Q&A with Dr. Newman:
 Q: Dr. Newman, my wife is now extended nursing our little girl (2 1/2 years old), but sometimes we get stares and snide comments from friends and family. Could you summarize some of the benefits of extended nursing for mother and child? Also, are there supplements that my wife should take (calcium?) to protect herself while nursing?
Jack Newman: Your wife doesn’t have to protect herself while breastfeeding. If her diet is adequate, she shouldn’t need any sort of supplements.
 
As for breastfeeding a toddler, it is the best time for nursing for many mothers and babies. Toddlers love it. Mothers also usually love it. It’s a great pleasure for both mother and child. Breastfeeding is so much more than breast milk, and that’s why it’s so special. In our messed up society where breasts are seen only as sexual, nursing mothers often get stares and silly remarks. Your wife and you should be proud to be in this situation, and those who stare should only avert their eyes if they are offended. It’s their problem, not yours.

And yes, breast milk after a year contains antibodies and dozens of other immune factors that protect the baby against infection, growth factors that help develop his immune system, his brain and his gut as well as other systems, still contains the long chained polyunsaturated fatty acids that help develop his brain (and the formula companies make such a fuss about), still contains appropriate proteins. If it’s good for a baby, why isn’t it good for a toddler?

Breastfeed toddlers, and breastfeed them in public. Damn the stares.
 
Remind anyone who dares to question your wisdom in nursing a toddler, that both Health Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society recommend women breastfeed to two years and beyond. So does UNICEF.
 
*Just to clarify, most nights Jade goes into her crib awake and falls asleep — without crying — on her own.
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