Wednesday, December 31, 2008

To Paisley: Eleven Months Old

This past month has been a whirlwind of dinner parties, cleaning, cooking and other Christmas related activities. Your Dad and I have been thinking, and talking, a lot about families, traditions and what we want Christmas to look like for you as you grow up. We definitely don't want the focus to be on material goods which is partly why we didn't really buy you any presents this year. That and the fact that you have everything you could ever need or want and routinely snub toys for the packages they came in. We want Christmas to be about family, and spending quality time with the people you love. Getting together at Christmas really brought it home that you are the newest member of a great group of people. Everyone got so much joy from seeing you and spending time with you and it felt good to see you being so loved. I am glad we have so many more Christmases to look forward to.

I weaned you this month and I was so, so sad about it. I had every intention of nursing you until at least a year and probably much longer. Until you bit me or said "Mom, really, I would prefer a peanut butter sandwich if you don't mind" - whichever came first. I've been having all kinds of issues with my thyroid since you were born and as a result have been really struggling to lose weight. Another side effect is that my milk production dribbled to almost nothing and you were starting to lose weight. When I realized what this meant for you, and for me and our precious, warm moments together I was so upset. I didn't feel ready to give that up yet and I felt like a failure. It was hard for me but the idea that you were going to bed hungry was much harder yet. So, I moved you to a bottle and you never looked back. You took to the bottle so quickly and the rejection stung a little. But you're happy and putting on weight and HALLELUJAH!! sleeping through the night consistently. I wish I could have nursed you for longer but the first rule of motherhood has been learned: I am not in control.

This month I bought you some super shoes. They are designed for babies learning how to crawl/walk and they have been great. The laminate flooring in our house is nice and all but it offers no traction for your tiny little socked feet. Once you put on your shoes you can climb the stairs, and have even started crawling like a "normal" baby. I always loved your little army crawl but had a hard time with the holes in the bellies of your sleepers. Now, you use a hybrid of both, crawling for the most part but when you need to get somewhere fast, you drop to your tummy and drag yourself like a slug on crack. You have also started making this very funny/ugly face and I don't really know what it means. It's definitely happy and although it may not be cute in the traditional sense, I laugh every time you do it. Which might be why it isn't going away.

You are standing up on everything still and love your walker. The walker provides you with independence, options and the ability to actually, well, walk. A couple of weeks ago you stood up against the electric fireplace in the living room, which unbeknownst to me, was on. I was in the kitchen and as soon as I hear that cry, I knew something was wrong. I ran in, scooped you up and put your little hand under cold water. You wouldn't stop crying and I didn't know how to help you. I gave you Tylenol, I cuddled you , I fed you, I talked to you and while you tried heroically to be happy, I knew you were in pain. By the time your Dad came home we were both in tears. Your tender skin blistered and I felt like the worst mother on the planet. That night you whimpered in your sleep but by morning you were back to normal. The whole episode gave me a fright - being a mother is a huge job with a lot of responsibility and sometimes it scares me. Sometimes I would prefer to abdicate to someone else...someone with advanced medical training, a PhD in both child psychology and Nutrition and who can fly around the room using only an umbrella.

I remember putting up the Christmas tree this time last year - it was romantic, peaceful and full of expectation for the things to come. This year it was the three of us. You ripped the box of ornaments to pieces and ate a part of the tree. I'm so glad you're here.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I had a realization yesterday that left me feeling a little sad, somewhat nostalgic but also very lucky. With Christmas quickly approaching and it being Paisley's first I have of course, been thinking about my own Christmases gone by. I loved this time of year as a child and there was a sense of magic that I can recall, if I can't explain. I have such fond memories of parties, fancy dresses, Santa, dancing, music, delicious food, anticipation, warmth, love and happiness. Christmas was, and is, my favourite time of the year. As I grew older, that magic started to dissipate. I still enjoyed Christmas but the wonder was gone. I had always assumed that when I had children of my own that it would return. Yesterday it dawned on me that in fact, that magic was gone forever. I have no doubt that it will be better as Paisley grows up and that I will recapture some of that excitement and anticipation but since I will be the one doing the cooking, wrapping the gifts, organizing the parties and trying to limit the intake of sweets, it will be different. No presents will magically appear on Christmas morning, no wonderful smells will escape from the kitchen while I lie on the living room floor with a book, no one will carry me up to bed, past the Christmas decorations and lights while I lie in a sleepy haze, full of turkey and chocolate. It made me a little sad but at the same time, very happy that I have those memories at all. Some kids didn't have what I had growing up and that would be far, far worse. The best I can do is make sure that Paisley has those same warm, magical recollections when she is older. And maybe, when I'm in my nineties, I'll lose my faculties and swear I saw Santa coming up the drive, will sing dirty Christmas carols with abandon and I'll be lucky enough to have Paisley carry me up to bed.

My family is heading to the Delta Kananaskis today for Christmas. I am really excited to get away and relax. They have all kinds of programs running like yoga, sleigh rides, skating, tobogganing and of course, tons of food (and no dirty dishes to clean!) to eat so it should be a blast. A Merry Christmas to all of you out there and I hope that you all have a safe, warm, and happy holiday!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Caroline's Life: December 21, 1991

5:32pm In my Bedroom

I'm so scared about what the teachers are going to say about my attitude, its gotten worse since my report card! I kinda like Colin Lush in my class but he's gonna ask Lindsay out. Lindsay is just being a tease. Antoine is a good friend of mine, Colin liked me majorly a while ago but now he does.t/ I'm never gonna make it in life, it's soooooo scary. I don't know what I want for Christmas yet!

I have a few things I really want to do this year:
Dancing: (Fast but mostly ballet, slow etc.) I'll dance in my room in front of the mirror.

Skating: What I really want to do. Go to the rink outside or the arena and practice.

Gymnastics: Stretch exercises and do splits in my room.

Drama: I don't really know what I want to do about this. I could practice crying and making faces in my mirror.

My Uncle Mac and Auntie Dee are coming tomorrow, I can't wait. For xmas I want:
A pair of Vans
Guess? Jeans
An Abercrombie & Fitch sweatshirt
A Polo rugby shirt
My ears pierced again
A Skirt

Well, I gotta go right now, I've decided to be myself at school, forget about popularity or guys, just be everyones friend. Almost Merry Christmas!

Love, Carrie

(Carrie existed for about as long as the cheer leading did - so maybe 3 months? Three syllables was apparently too many to shout out when you were throwing pom poms in the air so I became Carrie. Ugh.)

Monday, December 01, 2008

To Paisley: Ten Months Old

Ten is a round number. It is substantial and in years would mark a decade. For some reason, ten months has held unusual significance for me and so this past month hasn't been wonderful, in fact I've felt sort of sad. You are growing so fast and every day you learn something new. You are exploring, growing, eating, singing, laughing...all the things you are supposed to do and boy oh boy do I wish some days that you would just stop.

I'm not ready for you to be a "kid" yet. I'm not ready for you to start walking or talking or to stop being my little baby. I can't believe how quickly you are changing and quite frankly, it scares the hell out of me. One morning, a few weeks ago I went into your room just as you were waking up from your morning nap. Waking up from this nap is usually a happy affair, with very little crying. I usually hear you chattering away to yourself in your crib and leave you for ten minutes before I make an entrance. This day was no different, except, it was. I went in and as usual you were standing up and grinning away at me. And, for a fleet second I caught a glimpse of an older you. A grown up you and you looked different to me. Maybe I was hormonal, maybe you had a growth spurt in your sleep, either way you looked different somehow and less like a little baby. My world sort of froze for a second and then I scooped you up and cuddled into your neck and took a deep breath. You smelled like sleep and baby and a little bit like sour milk and I cried. I held you and cried while you ma-ma-ma'd in my ear because my heart was hurting from so much love.

We started this month on a high note. The United States elected Barrack Obama to be their next President and your Dad and I couldn't have been happier. In some weird way I felt relief that maybe the world would be a little safer, a little better for you despite the fact that he'll be gone by the time you grow up and oh yes, we're Canadian. Still, Obama's election signified a turning point that I am hoping will continue for many years. Despite your Dad's best efforts, you still haven't said "Obama".

You have three teeth now and another one nearly though! This really helps you in your efforts to climb, well, THE WORLD, since now you can grab onto table ledges and bookcases with your mouth and you really get a grip. You are climbing into, onto and under everything in your sight and while it can get tiring to have to chase you around the house I have to admit that I get a kick out of it. I was that kid too, who couldn't see the point of playing with toys from a toy box when you could be IN or even ON the toy box. I take you to the mall where there is a play area for kids and you love it! All the other kids in there are walking or at the very least crawling like normal babies but that doesn't stop you. You love the kids and you will drag your little limbs right into the thick of things and yell and squeal and laugh. It is great to watch and I love to watch the looks on the faces of the toddlers when they are bowled over by a blur of pink, dragging her self around the floor.

We are still trying to figure out who you look like and so far, no solid conclusions. I see your Dad in you sometimes and sometimes your little cousin Eden and very often, your Great Grandma Hannah. I have been looking for myself and was always a bit sad when I couldn't see it. And now? Well, now I know exactly where I fit in. Your personality is very similar to mine and I often laugh at how things turn out. I was such an energetic, rambunctious and intense kid and so far, you are very much the same. You are always happy but happiest when you are busy, surrounded by other kids and lots of people to play with. It's good that I'm the same because I have no qualms about getting down and playing with you, or letting you climb anything you want. I know what it feels like to be so excited by the world that you can hardly stand it and I'm happy that we can stand there, shaking with anticipation, laughing and drooling...together.