Tag Archives: Family

Halia at 8 weeks

7 Jan

Halia hit the 8-week mark today.  She’s starting to be a lot more responsive, smiling happily and cooing at us when we talk to her, and especially when we play Mother Goose games with her.  Her favourite one is this:

The moon is round, as round as can be (making circles around baby’s face with a finger)
Two eyes, a nose, and a mouth (point to eyes, nose, and mouth)
Just like me! (tickle baby’s tummy)

mirrorAlthough we have the occasional pre-bedtime cry-fest, they seem to be diminishing in length and intensity.  I suspect Halia is sensitive to some of the things I eat, but I haven’t pinpointed just what yet.  She has occasionally slept for as long as six hours, although since I transitioned her to her crib a few nights ago, she is waking a little more often.  She occasionally sucks on her thumb or fingers, but doesn’t seem to have figured it out as a self-soothing mechanism.  In the meantime, I’m her human soother as she gets boobed to sleep each time.  I don’t mind… when she sleeps well.  But it’s pretty frustrating to nurse a baby to sleep, only to have her wake up again in less than five minutes.  Fortunately, she’s getting a pretty good track record, and even sometimes puts herself back to sleep after waking.  If you’re wondering, yes, I have tried giving her a soother, but she spits it out.  I’ve tried shoving it back in (gently) a few times, but after ten or so repetitions of shove, spit, shove, spit, shove, spit, I figure it’s time to give in.  Besides, she takes in quite a bit of milk when I nurse her down, so I don’t want to deprive her of the nourishment.halia-feet

Hitting 8 weeks means that Halia is almost 2 months old, which brings with it a new worry.  She’s due for her first round of vaccinations and I’m not sure what to do about it.  I know that vaccine injury is a highly controversial topic.  I know folks who are staunchly against vaccines of any kind, and others who fiercly believe that not vaccinating is extremely irresponsible.  I’m not convinced that Jade’s epilepsy is connected to her vaccinations, especially because her seizures didn’t start until 10 months after her last shots.  But what if it were? I think I’ll ask our doctor about thimerosal-free vaccines (which I asked about before Jade’s shots, but they weren’t available here) and look at doing a delayed vaccination schedule, with more time between individual shots.  Your opinions and advice are entirely welcome, by the way.

Enough of the medical stuff!

sleeping-haliaHalia has had a pretty exciting time in her short life.  A summary:

  • She has been to three Big Band rehearsals, a sound-check, and an actual Big Band gig.  (It was pretty stressful for me to do this, especially the sound check, which Jade came to as weall.  It’s hard to concentrate on playing an instrument when there’s a baby crying for milk and a toddler eager to play with the sound board controls.  At the gig I tore Halia off my breast at least three times when I realized there would be a short piano solo bit in upcoming tunes.  I won’t be playing with the Big Band again until after she’s on solids or at least on a bottle!  Especially without Nai Nai to accompany her backstage.)
  • Just before Christmas, my friend Heather hosted a shower for Halia.  It was great because our friends all got to meet the baby (and she, of course, got passed around, which is something I’m usually not a big fan of, but I was okay with it this time).  Happily, we didn’t get tons of toys and clothes we don’t need (because we pretty much have it all); instead, Heather made it a food shower, so our deep freeze. plus a cooler out in the shed (which is staying very cold in this weeks-long -35 weather) is full of prepared meals.  How great is that?!
  • Besides her Nai Nai, who was, of course, around for her birthday, Halia also got to meet her Opa, Auntie Nem, and Uncle Mike.  halia-with-pedro-and-nem
  • She celebrated her first Christmas.
  • She got to be the baby Jesus at Christmas Mass.  (I’m so sorry I haven’t got a picture to post — my mom did take some but you know how candid shots in dim buildings go.  Someone looks demented or fuzzy in every single one. )
  • She got baptized surrounded by her family on the Sunday after Christmas, also known as the Feast of the Holy Family.

Not a bad resume for 56 days old!

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Halia's baptism on December 28

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Everyone put a hand on her to share in the moment of her baptism

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Halia's baptism dress -- the same one Jade wore for her baptism last year

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She also got to wear a sweater knitted for her by Pedro's mom -- isn't it sweet?

bright-eyed-halia

The beginning of a smile

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Jade tickles Halia's feet

wide-mouthed-halia

I know this is almost the same shot again, but her wide-open mouth just cracks me up!

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This is one from today. The shot with her really big smile came out fuzzy, but this one's pretty cute!

Since my poll showed that the greatest demand was for updates on the girls with pictures (those weren’t all your votes, were they, Marian?) I hope you’re all happy for now.  It’s technically the day after Halia hit 8 weeks now because it’s almost 1 a.m. on Wednesday.  And Michael’s going to be out of town all day, so I get to do the night shift and single parent all day.  Methinks me had better hit the hay…

Goodbye, “my Kim”

24 Oct

Michael’s brother Tim loaded up his trailer today and left Whitehorse for the sunny shores of Ottawa.  (What?  There are rivers there.  Rivers have shores.)

He says he’ll be coming back to Whitehorse, but he’s been known to change his plans, so he put up with a lot of ribbing today as he was transporting his bed, his dresser, his tools, and all the rest of his life into the trailer.  None of us knows if he’ll really be back.

One thing I do know: I miss him already.

Going to the Petitot

13 Aug
Michael, Jade, and Nanuq wade over to the sandbar in the middle of the Petitot river.  A sunny holiday wouldn't be complete with time at the "beach".

A sunny holiday, complete with time on the "beach"

Michael just put up a great post about our trip to the Petitot Gathering.  Click on over to read about our adventures, good and bad, and to see more cute pictures of Jade.

Michael’s Meanderings: The Petitot Gathering

In which I realize the importance of familial harmony

17 May

I certainly haven’t been very on the ball with the blog this week.  But count yourself lucky, because it’s been one of Those Weeks.  You can be glad you missed it.

Jade followed up her bout of chicken pox with a nasty coughy cold that was somehow much worse than the chicken pox ever were.  We’re not sure if it’s because of the cold, if it’s her last four molars doing her in, or if it’s just the fact that she’s two and testing her boundaries, but this past week the whining and the crying and the recalcitrance took me and Michael to the end of our patience, both with her and with each other.  By mid-week, we were both tired, stressed, and feeling unappreciated.  And we were both fighting colds, too, which didn’t make things go any smoother. 

I went into work in tears on Thursday morning — which is always so very professional — and was pretty embarrassed when my boss stopped by my desk as I was still trying to compose myself.  One of the shining moments in my career.  (Thank God I have such a great boss.)

Sometimes you’ve got to hit these kinds of lows to get things back into perspective, though.  It seems that every once in a while we need a reminder as to how important it is to treat each other with the care and the patience we would naturally extend to others out of politeness.  It amazes me how the people who are closest to us are sometimes the ones we treat the worst when things get tough.  Ahem, anyway… Michael and I managed to regroup, and so our planned evening out on Thursday at The Wolf’s Den restaurant seemed almost celebratory to me. 

By the way, if you’re ever coming to Whitehorse, The Wolf’s Den is a great place to check out.  It’s a bit of a drive out of town (unless you’re driving in from the south) but the setting is lovely and rustic.  Our server Cheyenna entertained Jade with toys and lots of attention, and even gave her a small box of Smarties for dessert.  (Jade didn’t know what they were and rattled the box contentedly until Cheyenna opened it for her.  She shared one or two candies with us before she realized how good they were and started shovelling them in.  I was glad the box was so small!)  From the adults’ perspective the food was enjoyable; my New York steak wasn’t perfect and Michael found the Jägerschnitzel a tad salty (but isn’t Jägerschnitzel always salty?) but my fancy salad was truly fancy and delicious and Michael and I agreed that we haven’t had such fabulous spätzle in a long time.

Anyway, all this made Friday a much better day.  I was crazily over-busy at work all day (as I have been for a couple of weeks, as I’m working two jobs right now because I’m covering for Norris while he’s away in China — oh yeah, didn’t you know he’s a co-worker, as well as a neighbour and friend from university days?) and I came home exhausted, but Michael, bless him, already had dinner mostly done.  I had a nap while he put Jade to bed, then I went and got groceries, like all the cool people do on Friday night.  Depsite the fact that I hate doing groceries, it seemed like the most relaxed and unharrassed evening I’d had in months.  Hunh.  Isn’t that interesting?

Today’s been kind of like that, too.  There was a neighbourhood clean-up and barbeque and I started organizing the chaos in our basement, so it’s been a busy and productive day, but it’s seemed so relaxing.  Ya think I’ll remember this lesson again next time life starts getting stressful?

A post about Jade, involving many body parts

2 Mar

Warning: This is a PG-13 post in which actual anatomical parts are named.

SnowsuitOriginally, I was going to have my boobs in the title of this post. The last time I wrote about them, I was comparing them to Angelina Jolie’s, and the comments the post generated made me chuckle. But I haven’t had a Jade update in a while, so weaning will only be a part of today’s entry.

Yes, I am actually weaning Jade now. Even though she’s two and really doesn’t need breastmilk anymore, and even though I want to stop, I still feel conflicted about it because Jade doesn’t want to stop.

I think it’s been about five days — I can’t even remember when the last time was because I wasn’t thinking, “This is it. No more after this.” I was originally just trying to cut out the pre-bedtime session, but after several mornings of Jade getting up late and having a bottle as we were on the way to the daycare, it just kind of turned into full-on cessation.

Yesterday morning Jade woke up crying around 6:30 and for the first time in days actually asked for “booby”. When I said no, she started sobbing in a heart-wrenching way. Not her usual two-year-old I’m-so-upset-because-I’m-not-getting-my-way wail, but a real my-heart-is-breaking sob that completely tore me up. It’s exactly the way I cry when I’m really devastated. Michael got up and made her a bottle, which calmed her down — whew. She loves her bottle. We can go through 4L of whole milk in less than a week, as she’ll request her bottle several times a day when she’s at home.

play-doh.jpgInterestingly, on the days when she’s at daycare, she happily goes through the day without a bottle. She also doesn’t use a soother to go to sleep there, although she doesn’t always nap as well as she does at home. As soon as she sees me or Michael at the door to pick her up, though, she runs straight for her lunch box to grab her bottle. She also eats way more at daycare than at home. It’s like she’s a different kid when she’s with other kids.

Besides the trauma of weaning (yes, I’m exaggerating) Jade keeps growing and getting cuter. (Of course I’m not biased, don’t be silly.) Her favourite word these days is “Whassat?” “Whassat?” at the butterfly decorations hanging from the ceiling at the library. “Whassat?” at her eyebrows. “Whassat?” at the Zans and the Wump in the Dr. Suess book. “Whassat?” at the lady in front of us in line at the grocery store.

Besides “Whassat?” Jade loves to point out body parts on herself, on us, and on all her toys. She’s particularly fond of pointing out bums, for whatever reason, and getting us to diaper all her toys. I just pretend to diaper her dolls, but Michael actually made a tissue diaper for her blue cat on Friday.

PaintingWe’ve also finally come to the point where we had to make a decision about what to call girl-parts at our house. I’m all for using the real words, but which one to use? (I know, what a hypocrite, since I say boobs instead of breasts, but all the girl-part words just seem so ridiculous and much more obfuscating than “boobs”.) The issue got complicated for me some months ago when someone pointed out that while “penis” is pretty straightforward, girls don’t pee out of their vaginas. But “urethra” is a bit of a mouthful and isn’t exactly all-encompassing either.

We settled on vulva, which is more inclusive and is easier to say, but I must admit it’s so clinical that it somehow seems like a dirtier word than vagina. I’m trying to get over it, though, because it really shouldn’t be a dirty word. I must remember to go and re-read The Vagina Monologues. That should shore me up. Anyway… Mommies of girls, if you have any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.

Jade’s Teeth March ‘08Let’s see, I think we’re done with the body parts. Oh, wait. There’s the latest report on Jade’s teeth, which isn’t nearly so interesting now that they’re almost all in. For some reason, the two canines on her left side are being very slow; it seems they’ve been coming in for months. But the points finally are out on both of them, anyway. The top one is so sharp, it’s like a little fang. Now she just has her last set of molars to come in and she’ll have all her baby teeth.

Since we’re still on the topic of body parts, let’s talk about Jade’s hands for a moment. She is suddenly so much more dextrous than she was just a few weeks ago; I literally felt an overnight change one day. She found her lunch box and managed to zip it shut and then open it again by herself. She took the wooden train tracks out of their container and started piecing them together herself. She builds tall structures with her Mega Bloks. Yesterday, she and Michael were making a watercolour paining together. Suddenly, she’s so much older.

TrainI suppose the next milestone we have to address is potty training. Michael’s been keen to start for a few months, but I’d rather wait for nice weather outside when it’ll be easier to let Jade run around making puddles in the grass rather than on the kitchen floor. But she gets a lot more milk out of a bottle than she ever did out of me, and we’re noticing it on the output end of the things. We still haven’t fully learned to limit her in the evenings so that she doesn’t end up waking up soaked through in the morning. Who said potty training is all about the kid?

Once every other blue moon

29 Feb

I just did a quick Google search to see how often a blue moon happens.  Apparently, it’s every two or three years.  Which is more often than we see February 29th come around.  I have a friend or two who have their birthdays on February 29th, but for me the most significant event for the date was this day in 1996 when my Opa died.

Because I grew up in Canada and all my extended family lived in far-flung places like Germany and Taiwan, I’d never really gotten to know any of them (except for my cousin Heidi, who lived with us in Thunder Bay for one year).  But when I graduated from high school in 1995 at the age of 16, having no clue what the heck I’d want to study for my post-secondary education, my dad arranged for me to spend the year in Germany, living with Oma and Opa.

It was a great opportunity.  I learned to speak German, learned about the culture of northern Germany, made some great friends, and learned a lot about music.  But the best part of it was the opportunity to get to know my grandparents.

Opa was a complex man.  He is supposed to have spoken seven languages.  (Dad says wryly that Opa’s linguistic ability is like a fisherman’s tale; with every retelling, he could speak more languages.)  He’d been a teacher of music, math, and physics at the advanced high school; when I went to school there, some of the teachers would reminisce about being in his classes.  He wrote haikus, some of them railing against God and religion and proclaiming his own atheism (but Oma insists he wasn’t truly an atheist).  He would forcefully close the doors to his study, adjacent to the music room, when I practiced piano in there; he told me that every time I hit a wrong note it hurt him like scalding his tongue on hot soup.  He loved to cuddle his grand-daughter and was pleased to offer up his always stubbly cheek for a kiss.  He told me I pronounced my name incorrectly and wouldn’t be convinced that he was wrong until we looked it up in the dictionary.  He continued to pronounce it his way, anyway, turning it into a pet name for me by adding the German dimunitive “chen” to the end: “Faenchen”, meaning “little flag”.  Glaucoma blinded him in the last decades of his life and he lamented the fact that he hadn’t seen more, such as how many petals does this particular flower have?  He lamented no longer being able to play the piano because he couldn’t read the music anymore, although I heard him at it once or twice.  When a Japanese visitor told him his long earlobes were a sign of longevity, he said, “Don’t curse me like that!”  Every night before he went to bed, he would ring the gong he’d brought back from a temple in Taiwan.  It could be heard throughout the house, a sweet and melancholy note, tucking me in for the night.

Everyone thought it fitting that a man of such contrariness should choose this day for his passing.  Contrary, imposing, loving, and proud.  I am so grateful that I got a chance to know him.

Sayin’ “I love you”

14 Feb

When I was growing up, my family was never the type to say, “I love you.” It just wasn’t done. I went to Catholic school and once we had a mass in the gym where the priest gave a homily that I don’t remember much about, except that he inspired and encouraged us to go home and tell our families that we loved them.

I went home and nervously approached my mom in the kitchen and sheepishly mumbled, “I love you.” Because I did, after all. She came right over and gave me a hug, looked at my sympathetically and kindly asked, “What did you do?” Needless to say I didn’t try that experiment again for a long time.

Over time, different forces changed my family so that we did, in fact, begin to say “I love you”, and now we say it often and naturally. It’s important to me to mean it, to ensure that it’s not just a throw-away phrase at the end of our phone conversations.

I guess it’s always been important to me to be truthful or at least careful about using this particular phrase, maybe because we didn’t say it much when I was growing up. I remember the first time a boyfriend told me he loved me. We were standing in the entrance of my house and I was completely stunned and didn’t say anything back, which must have been rather disconcerting for him. But I didn’t want to say it if I didn’t mean it, and I hadn’t figured out yet what I was feeling. Poor guy.

A friend in university had a boyfriend with similar feelings of restraint. I love the story she told me about how they were parked somewhere one evening and he was compelled to say, “I… I… LIKE you STRONGLY!” Ahh, there’s nothing like a little conviction to sweep a woman off her feet.

It’s only in the last year or two that I’ve been able to start saying, “I love you” to the rest of my family — by which I mean the family I married into. It’s not that I haven’t loved them for years, it’s just that I don’t often hear them saying it. Michael’s not too mushy with his parents, and his dad in particular is not given to flagrant displays of emotion. But with distance and Granny’s battle with cancer, we’ve all become more able to say it. Well, at least the women have. I’ve told Marian and Lindsay and both Granny and Pop that I love them. But I have a feeling that Jim would squirm. And so would Tim. So for them, I just feel it; perhaps we’ll grow into it eventually.

I’ve been promising to post my latest song (which isn’t even my latest song anymore), but I’m still having some issues with my throat, so haven’t been able to record it. Here’s a little something in the meantime, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. It’s the song I wrote for my sister and her new hubby (hi Pedro!) for their wedding this past November. I admit that it doesn’t exactly have the deepest lyrics, but I wrote it as a way to say “I love you” to them, and so I share it with you today as a way to say “I love you” to all my family and dear friends.

The song is called “Together” and I’m accompanied by Mani Mobini. Please feel free to watch him instead of me in the video. (He’s cute, isn’t he? Sorry ladies, he’s already spoken for.)