Tag Archives: parenting

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.


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?


14 Jan

My Facebook status earlier today

Fawn is having the kind of day where a curse is always on the tip of her tongue.

And then Halia smiled at me.

It doesn’t make everything all better.  But it does make it better.

Confessions of a bad mother

12 Jan
  • I let the the kitchen counter gets covered in dirty dishes, pots, and pans — quite an achievement considering we’re hardly cooking anything since we’re getting food contributions from neighbours and still have a cooler full of frozen meals.
  • I’m starting to hate Mondays and Thursday because I try to keep the kids from under Michael’s feet all day (because he’s working) and then I have them all evening (because he’s at band).
  • I sometimes let the baby cry in the swing or in her bed while I finish reading my blog feed.
  • I sometimes go for three days without showering.  My most recent shower (not saying when it was) involved the baby in a seat outside the shower stall and the toddler on the floor of the shower.  This kind of thing does not make me eager to have another shower even though I hate the way my hair feels.
  • I don’t eat enough fruits and veggies and I don’t drink enough fluids.  I’m totally aiming for hemorrhoids and kidney stones.
  • The baby spends a lot of her non-sleeping time in her swing cradle.  Sometimes I wonder whether she’s not getting enough human contact.
  • I’ll wear the same clothes for a week.  Even the socks.
  • The baby hardly ever gets any tummy time.  She doesn’t like it and I can’t stand more crying when most days I already have an emotional toddler, too.
  • My blog is neglected, leaving far-away family out of the loop of my kids’ lives.
  • Some days I don’t let the toddler wear panties even if she asks for them because I know she’s not going to pee in the potty and I just don’t want to deal with another panty-load of poo.  Just. Can’t. Do. It.
  • I have been very bad about giving the baby her Vitamin D every day.  She hasn’t had a dose in over a week.
  • Many afternoons, I have no idea how to fill the time with my (almost) 3-year-old.  The amount of television (or online videos) she has watched in the last three months surpasses the amount of television she got for the entire first two and a half years of her life.

Don’t worry.  I know I’m not really a bad mother.  On days when I’ve had plenty of sleep and the girls’ schedules are meshing, I think, “Hey, this isn’t so tough after all.  Even if the laundry and filing isn’t getting done…”  Other days, I feel like a drudge with an uninspiring to do list a mile long and zero human contact.  Guess what kind of day this is?

Herding cats

2 Sep

It’s lunchtime. It’s time to take a break. It’s time to savour some food and catch up on my e-mails. In short, it’s a time that’s completely the opposite of most work mornings.

Mornings go more like this:

Are you done with your breakfast? No? Okay, I’ll just go pack our bags. Where’s your… Oh, you ARE done? Yes, I’m coming to help you down. Just a minute while I… Yes, just WAIT!

Okay, let’s wipe your hands first. No, that’s not a boogie, that’s a piece of oatmeal. No, it’s… Okay, fine it’s a boogie. Uh oh. Did you go poop? No? Whew. Well, do you have to go to the potty? Are you sure? How about I give you a cookie if you go on the potty? Yay! What a big girl!

No. No. No more. You can have another cookie when you go pee or poo in the potty. No. No more cookies.

All done? Good girl! No, you didn’t pee or poo in the potty. Let’s go get our jackets on! No, this way. THIS way. Okay, you can take your baby with you. Put your arms out. Arms OUT. Stand UP! Stop pulling my scarf, that’s not nice. Stop it. STOP! Can’t you stand still for just one minute?

{If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands! If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!} Okay, Mama’s got her coat on, let’s go. We have to go, sweetie. Out the door. Yes, you can take your baby with you. Out. OUT. Nanuq, STAY! Out!

Let’s go to the car. No, I can’t carry you, my back is sore and I already have three bags. What? Your back is sore? Does your back need a kiss? Okay, there you go. Now let’s get in the car. Baby wants a pinecone, does he? Okay, you’ve got the pinecone. Now get in the car. Mama’s in a hurry, sweetheart. We’re late. No, you don’t need that leaf. GO TO THE CAR!

It goes on, but I’ll spare you the details. When will I learn that a two-year-old can’t be hurried?

If you haven’t already, you’ve got one more day to comment on the delurking post for your chance to win the giveaway!

Jade at (almost) 31months

24 Aug

Michael and Jade got home from Vancouver early yesterday afternoon, both very tired but happy to be back.  Even though Jade had a soother in her mouth, was reclining in her stroller, and was drooping with sleep, her eyes lit up when she saw me.  She pointed at me, smiled around her soother, and exclaimed, “Mama!”  That does a mother’s heart good.

The trip went pretty smoothly, from what I understand.  The EEG on Thursday went well; because it took place during her nap time, she fell asleep much faster than she did for her first EEG.  Friday was a “reduced activity day” at the hospital for some reason, and Michael said it made for a much more relaxing visit when they met with Dr. Demos, since the appointment wasn’t as rushed.

Dr. Demos tested some of Jade’s reflexes, did some exercises with her to test her comprehension, and asked questions about her development.  Even though Jade has now started make three, four, and five word sentences, the doctor thinks it would be a good idea for us to look into some developmental testing, since we were concerned about it for a little while. 

The doctor also said that they want to treat Jade’s epilepsy aggressively because of the sudden onset; apparently it doesn’t always start so violently.  We have a schedule for increasing the dose of Jade’s medications; if that doesn’t help, we’ll be referred to a neurologist at the Children’s Hospital who specializes exclusively in epilepsy and will start looking at the ketogenic diet.  I rather like this approach because I do think Jade’s condition has improved, so we’re seeing progress and it makes sense to me to stay on this path to see where it leads, but we also won’t be expected to try ten different drugs before considering an alternative method of treatment.

Dr. Demos was concerned about Jade’s weight.  Funnily enough, we were quite worried about her gaining too much weight on the Valproic Acid, since that’s one possible side effect.  Instead, we haven’t seen much of a change at all and in fact, from the hospital’s records, it appeared that Jade had lost weight.  Michael and I both think they got a bad reading when we were there the first time because every other time we’ve weighed her, it’s been pretty consistent.  Apparently, not gaining any weight at all in three months didn’t seem right to the doctor, either.  I don’t know.  I think toddlers tend to grow in spurts and Jade hasn’t been eating much lately, but she doesn’t seem hungry.  I’m not sure it’s something I should be too worried about right now.

I’m sure the best part of the trip to Vancouver by far was all the visiting Michael and Jade got to do with my sister and her husband “Pedro”.  They moved to Vancouver just a month ago, and I’m so excited that they’re so much closer to Whitehorse now.  The four of them had supper together every night and they had breakfast together before heading off to the airport yesterday morning.  I understand Jade and my sister get along swimmingly.  Nem also gave Jade a monkey wearing nurses scrubs, which Jade has been dragging around everywhere since she got home.

Let’s see, in other Jade development news, Jade has finally decided to start counting from one once in awhile; just a few weeks ago, she insisted on always started at three.  She’s also getting very good at identifying colours and can tell us that things are yellow (her favourite, apparently), red, green, blue, or pink with deadly accuracy.  Orange is “yellow” in her world, but we’re working on it. 

She can partially dress herself now; she puts on her own socks and pants, although pulling up the back of the pants is challenging.  She needs help getting her shirt over her head, but does the arms herself.  We have to do buttons and start zippers for her, but she’s a champ at taking everything off! 

Jade’s also still very much into music and has taken to asking Michael to play her Elmo’s Song (from Sesame Street) every time he gets out his laptop.  She can be quite insistent and emotional when we tell her it’s not time for Elmo’s Song.  I must admit, it’s quite catchy.  Listening to it once will have it in my head for days…