Tag Archives: parenting

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?

First post

23 Feb

Well, I meant to at least write a New Year’s post here in January because 2012 was an amazing year for me. But I didn’t do it.

I also meant to write a blog post about Jade turning 7, because she is a truly amazing kid. But I didn’t do that either.

But since the last post I wrote over here, I’ve written seven posts over on my other blog. (Sorry, guys. Not sure how that happened. Lots of them are just really status updates.)

Bedroom Voice 300

And guess what else? I finished recording my very first album. This project I’ve been breathing and dreaming forever is actually wrapped up, and the actual honest-to-goodness CDs are being manufactured right now. The album is going to be released in less than a month.

Anyone else feel like squealing with me???

Back in real life, the laundry is overflowing (and I just discovered that the cat’s litter box has been tipped over, onto some of that there laundry on the laundry room floor…ugh) and the dirty dishes are propagating at an alarming rate. And my blog reader is into the hundreds of posts I haven’t read, too.

But, dammit, life is good right now.

How are you doing?

Walking together

17 Apr

Jade and Halia are walking to their friend’s house (5 doors down) to play. I suggest they hold hands and tell them to stay by the side of the road when they walk.

Jade: “Yes, we will.”

Halia (to Jade, after the door is closed behind them): “You will hold my hand, so the cars don’t get me and make me dead.”

I can see them walking over, jumping over the cracks together, one dark sweater, one bright pink shirt. And life is beautiful.

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

The definition of good timing

9 Mar

…when your daughter, who is drinking way more than she ever has in her life (in an effort to prevent kidney stones) crawls into bed with you in the middle of the night and snuggles up, only to wake you an hour later because she peed in your bed.

…and the arm of your pajamas are soaked, so you strip her, and you strip yourself and put everything in the washing machine, and freeze a little as you dig a set of freshly-washed PJs out of the dryer.

…and you head back to the bedroom to check out just how bad your mattress is.

Then you’ll be glad you didn’t get around to changing the sheets on your bed this week. Well, that’s good timing, I guess, you might think to yourself.

Then…

…you wrestle with the heavy mattress, which has just one slightly-damp spot on it, because it really needed to be flipped and rotated, anyway.

…and you wonder where the heck your husband disappeared to as you grunt and sweat to flip the darned thing over.

…then you put fresh sheets on, and while you’re at it, change the pillowcases, too.

…and you trip all over the clothes lying about the floor as you switch from one side of the bed to the other, tucking the fitted sheet under, lining up the flat sheet, noting that it’s taking you a good 10 minutes to get it just right so that the scratchy Hudson’s Bay blanket is encased in the flat sheet so that it won’t grate your face in the night, thinking this would go so much faster if only another adult were around at the moment.

…and you finally, finally, settle back into bed, in those cool, crisp sheets, read the alarm clock (4:55), and switch off the bedside lamp.

Then…

…your husband walks in, having snuggled a very distraught girl back to peaceful sleep in her own bed.

Then you might tell him he missed all the fun of helping you change the sheets on your bed, and doesn’t he have excellent timing?

A few disjointed thoughts…

20 Jan

On Decisiveness

Michael’s been pretty sick this past week and a half with a doozy of a virus that just won’t quit. It’s left him drained in the evenings, occasionally to comic effect. Yesterday evening when I asked him if he was going to band practice, he gave me this unequivocal answer. “No! Maybe… Yes. I don’t know.” Yes, that actually came out of his mouth.

(He went.) (And played between bouts of coughing.)

On Health

I’ve been wondering for a while if I have hyperthyroidism; there’s some history of it in my family. I have many of the symptoms (irritability, insomnia, fatigue, sweating, increased appetite… and did I mention irritability?) but don’t have many others (intolerance to heat, hair loss, weight loss…). I had a doctor’s checkup yesterday (you know, that yearly thing we ladies need to do) but the doctor was running a bit late so there wasn’t time to discuss signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism, as I hadn’t done any research before going.  The only thing I already knew about hyperthyroidism is that it can make one irritable.  (Theme? What theme?)

Last night, I wondered if I should call the doctor to ask about adding a thyroid function test to the routine bloodwork he was sending me for.  When I looked at the lab requisition, guess what was already checked off? “Suspected thyroid disease, not yet diagnosed.” So, was that just a coincidence, or did the doctor notice something he didn’t mention to me? Either way, kinda freaky.

On Cold Weather

It’s been a deep freeze around here all week, with temps dropping down between -35 and -40 °C. Yesterday, I was driving home along Robert Service Drive, which runs along the Yukon River, in the semi-twilight. The sky was a beautiful dark blue, and one star (actually, I suspect it was a planet…  I don’t know enough about these things) shone brightly directly above the cliffs. The road was perfectly clear, but above the river, the ice fog rose up straight and still. Looking out the driver’s window, my eyes hit that thick fog and gave me the feeling of driving next to a wall, most jarring when one expects to look out across the water. Very eerie and very cool at the same time.

On Improvising Crafts

Halia is on a painting kick.  I have a plastic egg carton that I use to portion out small amounts of tempera paint and she goes to town on a stack of scrap paper.  Last week, I had no yellow left and was running low on red, so we improvised. I had a jar of ModPodge and figured it was a good “white base” with the right consistency. So I filled three egg compartments halfway with ModPodge and let Halia mix drops of food-colouring in. This is great for working those hand muscles AND for a counting exercise. (No more than TWO drops, Halia. No, I said TWO. THAT was four.) Then a Q-Tip in each compartment for mixing, and we had beautiful colours that dry to a glossy finish.  The only problem with it is that the pages DO get sticky. And ModPodge doesn’t easily wash out of clothes once its dried, so smock up the kids!

On Being a Special-Needs Mom

None of us has enough hours in the day. I don’t care how simple your life is, these days we’re very good at filling up every minute with stuff we “have to” do.  Sometimes I have to stop to remind myself that it is literally impossible to do it all. Yes, I would love for the dishes be done every night, the beds made every morning, and the laundry folded and put away every afternoon, but the only way I could accomplish that would be to give up on everything that makes my life exciting.

Now, Jade does have special needs. But she’s loving school so much and growing intellectually by leaps and bounds, and besides that, one day we’ll be able to wean her off the keto diet, so I feel there’s nothing for me to complain about. But sometimes, I have to stop to remind myself that there is extra work involved. I don’t just mean preparing her meals and snacks. On good days, I can make three meals and two snacks for her in about half an hour. When it’s suppertime, assuming I have the ingredients on-hand, I can make her meal in about five minutes.

But there’s other stuff. Like dragging her to audiologist and ENT appointments that start three hours after they’re scheduled.  Doing paperwork to get funding for some respite, or to cover the few medications she’s on (all of them for combatting side-effects of the keto diet). Spending literally seven hours trying to get a prescription for antibiotics to combat an ear infection, because the antibiotics must contain fewer than 100 milligrams of carbohydrate over the course of the day. And then there’s the occupational therapy activities we’re supposed to do every day. Balance, hand strength, core strength… How do you fit that in between the end of school, downtime, and making supper?  Even if it’s just for 15 minutes? I don’t, that’s how.

On Succinctness

Yep, this post isn’t it. Whoops. Didn’t mean to ramble on so. Look, I can’t even stop when I’m talking about being succinct.

Ctrl + Alt + Delete please

3 Jan

Art by Anne Taintor. I totally borrowed this image without permission, so I'm linking to the store where you can buy these awesome sticky notes. (Click image.)

It’s one of those Murphy’s Law days, where it feels like anything that could go wrong, is going wrong.

I had a long list of stops to make today, with Halia in tow, so I wanted to be out the door by 9:30.

The van wouldn’t start because it never does when the thermometer dips below freezing. Stupid battery. So I hooked up the booster pack and then proceeded to break my fingers uninstalling Halia’s carseat from the back row for reinstallment in the middle row. Now that her cousin’s carseat is no longer in the van, Halia insisted we move her seat back to its rightful place.

After successfully moving the carseat, I tried starting the van again, in vain. I had to interrupt Michael’s client meeting to get him to boost the van from the truck.

As soon as I got the van started, it dinged at me to remind me the gas tank was close to empty.  I’d had to drive around for a few things on January 1st, when no gas stations were open, so the tank was getting down to its last fumes.  I was halfway out of the neighbourhood when I remembered the banking paperwork I had to take with me, so I drove home. Then down to the gas station. (Made it! Whew!) Where the van wouldn’t restart.

A gruff old guy was kind of enough to give me another boost (after I’d dropped my keys in the gas station garbage, fished them out again, and made a fool of myself trying to untangle the booster cables) and he even peered into the engine to tell me the alternator was working, but it looked like one cell of my battery had boiled.

Every month I have to go to the bank to take care of some business that is stuck in the dark ages and can’t be done online. I walked into the bank and was delighted to see there was no lineup.  One teller was just coming free, hurrah, and it was… oh no, it was the guy I dealt with last month who had no clue what he was doing and caused me to be in the bank for over 45 minutes.  I will say he was a bit quicker this month, but I’m sure the long line of customers that formed behind me didn’t appreciate that I was taking up two tellers after he got stumped.

Then there was the soaking of my jacket sleeve by the faucets at the library bathrooms, forgetting things at the grocery store, and the frightening cost of Nanuq’s medication refills, but the coup de grâce was when I decided, after all the other tasks were over, to let Halia have a snack in the van while I quickly ran into the pharmacy to buy her vitamins.  I left the van running this time, to keep it warm and to prevent the need for another boost, but when I got back outside, the van was locked! This never happens.  The van doors only lock when the van hits 30 kmph, or when it’s manually locked, and I sure as heck did not lock my kid into the running van.

I phoned Michael, who was on the road heading for another client meeting.  He had to turn around and go home to get the other van key for me, making him late for his meeting. Thank goodness Whitehorse is so small; I think it took only about 20 minutes for him to get there, maybe less, but I was freezing my buns off by the time he arrived.

Halia was fantastic through it all. I hope it wasn’t just because I’d promised her a chocolate-chip cookie if she kept her listening ears on all day. But you know, on a day like today, I’m not at all above bribery.

And I’m not above having a chocolate-chip cookie for myself, either.

The best of times, the worst of times

30 Nov

For four days now, I have skipped putting Halia down for her afternoon nap.  The first two days, she slept for 12 solid hours.  Last night she woke up once at 3 a.m. and wanted some boobing.  Tonight I’m hoping for the 12-hour miracle to repeat itself.

Now if I could just get myself to bed at a reasonable hour, I might become a productive member of society again.

No, really, I am sooo happy with my set of problems right now.  Balance is a hard thing to find.  Working, even half-time, has added a lot to my plate, so that fitting in parenting (single parenting a lot these days, with Michael on the road), keto cooking, music, advocating for Jade, blogging, and sewing are all jostling for attention, and they can’t all win.  Or else they do, but then I’m a cranky miss crankerpants to everyone around me.  Let’s not even talk about stuff like exercise because that just doesn’t happen.

But even though it is exhausting, it is good.  Jade has gone six months seizure-free. (!!!!!) Halia makes magic everywhere she goes.  What more could I ask for?

But! Yes.  It is exhausting.

I was talking to a good friend the other day; she has two grown sons just a little younger than me, and one of them had some very strict food allergies as a young child, and also required some accommodations when he was going to school.  When I talk to her, I feel she understands a lot of what I’m going through now.

“I don’t want to complain,” I said to her.  “I know plenty of people who’ve got it a lot harder than I do.”

“Yes,” she said.  “That may be.  But you can still acknowledge that your life… your situation is a lot harder than most.”

That made me pause.  Thank you, friend. Thank you for letting me feel that I am allowed, at least once in a while, to not like being exhausted.

There are lots of reasons why I don’t want to complain, lots of reasons to feel that it’s ungrateful to do so.  Everyone lives with the same reality of 24 hours, seven days a week, and the miracle of tasks that expand to fill every last square inch of time.

But maybe today I’ll try not to feel ungrateful just because I’m not glad that Jade has to be on a ketogenic diet.  I can be grateful for the miracle it has wrought without liking the daily consequences.

Maybe today I’ll acknowledge that leaving the dishes for tomorrow morning — or even tomorrow night! — might just be the best thing for me to do.

Maybe today I’ll go to bed at a reasonable hour.

(And maybe, just maybe, Halia will sleep through the night.)

Pure joy

29 Jan

I really wanted to blog last night.  I really did.  But I couldn’t because Michael was busy on his computer AAAAALLLLL day and all evening, too.  And I couldn’t use my laptop because when I tried to, I got the evil Blue Screen of Death three times in a row.

AAAAAAHHHHH!

Apparently, a series of brownouts in the morning fried our router (no more wireless in the house for us for a bit) along with my computer.  I don’t even want to think about several hundred photos that I never got around to backing up.  Waahhh!

But actually, the post that I wanted to write last night was a good one.  A happy post.  So you’ve got to know that it must’ve been a pretty terrific day to overshadow the deadness of my laptop.

What made me so happy?

It was a beautiful sunny day.  Halia was napping, so Jade and I bundled up (but not too much because it wasn’t very cold) and went out.  I dragged the sled, but Jade wanted to walk.  We walked at a nice, normal toddler pace.  Jade chased Nanuq.  She explored the woods off-trail.  She picked herself up from the ground after her many falls (not from seizures, but from stiff boots in slippery snow).  She didn’t want to come back inside after Michael phoned to say Halia was up and needed feeding.

In short, Jade was like a normal toddler.

Let me say it again.  She wanted to walk.  We walked at a normal pace.  She explored off-trail.  She was able to get up when she fell.  She still had energy at the end of it all.  (So Michael knocked off early and went out with her.)

For a “normal” mom, this would have been a pleasant afternoon.  For me, it was pure joy.

Pure joy.

It’s a mom’s life, take 2

15 Jan

In what surely must be my proudest moment of environmental awareness, I realized that I’ve now boiled the same kettle of water four times.

First time, it was before supper, when I had a hankering for a cup of hot chocolate.  And then I thought, well, I’ll be eating with Jade, and we’re already having mashed potatoes and corn, which she can’t have, and corn is a former favourite of hers.  So I’ll forego the hot chocolate for now.  (She didn’t care a whit about the corn, by the way.  She was having carrots and she pointed at our corn and said, “Carrots!”  Strange.  But better than a tantrum.)

The second time was after Jade was in bed and I thought I’d go ahead and have a hot drink.  But then Halia decided she’d have enough of the swing.  So I nursed her for a bit and then realized it was getting late enough to get her ready for bed.  So I did.

About forty minutes later, I came back upstairs and settled down to read the latest posts in my feed reader.  The water went on again.  And then I heard a wail that meant Halia wasn’t asleep, as I’d though.

Another forty minutes, some of which was spent sitting on my bed contemplating my knee as I waited to see if the grunting and snuffling baby next door would fall asleep, and I’m back upstairs.  I boiled that darned water for the fourth time and I finally got to have my cup of hot chocolate.  As a consolation, I even stole some of Jade’s whipping cream and whipped it up for myself as a topping.  Yum!

At least it was only about a cup of water, not the full two litres the kettle holds.  That’s gotta count for something, right?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 71 other followers