Monthly archive for January 2014

Wonder week

Have you heard of the Wonder Weeks? It’s a book based on the research of a pair of Dutch psychologists who studied a large group of babies and discovered two things: their development occurs in leaps and bounds on a very predictable schedule based on their due date, and when a baby is having one of these developmental leaps he or she is prone to fussiness, poor sleep, and a change in eating habits. I agree it sounds sort of crazy (also it has a dumb name, but we will not hold that against them) but we found with Ellie — and also now with Zach — that it was weirdly accurate. Zach, in fact, keeps so closely to the chart in the book that I’m starting to wonder if he has a copy squirelled away somewhere in his room that he references when we’re not looking.

His current leap is projected to be about five weeks long and includes the four month sleep regression, so I’ve been watching the countdown in my iPhone app as though he is some sort of ticking bomb. Much like his sister, when he is having a rough day he insists upon being held while standing (standing ONLY! no sitting allowed! even if nothing will change in his position if you sit! his development is fuelled by your discomfort!) and I think he must have gained some weight since his last wonder week because we’re only two days into this one and already I’m hobbling and limping around like I engaged in some sort of vigorous athletic activity.

This afternoon, after a lengthy period of being a crankopottamus, he finally fell asleep on my chest, deep enough that he gradually slid over until he sort of tipped over backwards onto my lap, where he remained asleep. I, however, was awake through this whole process, so I’m sure you can imagine my surprise to rise from the couch an hour later and discover a large bug bite on my cheek. It is mid-winter in Ontario so I assume all of the mosquitos are either dead or at their condos in Florida, which means a spider crawled across my face, completely unbeknownst to me, and lingered long enough to bite me. Mike always says what’s the big deal if a bug crawls on you and you don’t notice, but I like my spiders where I can see them. (Also dead or in Florida.)

No segues

Nice kitty

I think I said I was going to try to post every week? That has turned out to be too ambitious, for this month anyway. I was sick all last week, and then on Monday my grandmother passed away and we had to have Max put down. So things are okay but they also kind of suck. I am so tired today (in that way where you get up in the morning and think, “I did actually go to bed last night, didn’t I?”) that I have had many cups of coffee today. Let’s plan to all meet back here at 1 a.m. when I can’t sleep. We’ll watch some infomercials or something.

There isn’t any kind of segue that will get me smoothly from that last paragraph to a more cheerful topic, so I’m not going to bother. What I’m talking about is well-travelled ground anyway: I would like to know what is the deal with toddlers? There is just enough of this kind of stuff:

Ellie: My scared, Mommy.
Me: Why are you scared, Ellie Bean?
Ellie: Where’d my belly button go?! Oh, there it is. It was under my onesie.

to keep you from putting them out on the curb with all of their stuff and a big sign that says “FREE TO A GOOD HOME” when they epically melt down over, I don’t even know, having to wear a pair of pajamas other than the polka dot ones. Or your insistence that they occasionally keep their clothes on inside the house. Or the fact that they have had their One More Minute and it is time to get out of the bath tub, this time I really mean it.

I’m never sure what to do in cases like these. I don’t want to dismiss her concerns (nothing makes me fly into an impotent rage as fast as being told to “relax”) especially since a lot of the things that get her all worked up are the same things that get ME all worked up, so I can really sympathize … but it’s also my job as her mom to teach her how to navigate difficult or frustrating situations. Maybe I am over-thinking things here. Toddlers freak out over stuff, right? It’s practically in their job description.

Since we’re not doing segues today, I will also tell you that Mike came home from work a few weeks ago and told me that someone had told him over lunch that the little town we live in is known for having a lot of swingers and there is even a certain thing you can do to your house to alert people to the fact that you participate in this lifestyle. This GREATLY piqued my interest because come on, who wouldn’t want to drive around town and see if any of the people you know have whatever it is outside their house, and also what if we are doing it unintentionally? (Is it a brown doormat with turquoise flowers? WE HAVE A BROWN DOORMAT WITH TURQUOISE FLOWERS.) However, Mike didn’t ask what the symbol was AND he doesn’t remember who it was that brought it up, so there’s no way for him to obtain this information for me without sparking a lot of gossip at the office.


The best part of 2013

One of those minor things that shouldn’t bug me but somehow bugs me nonetheless is when people talk unceasingly about how busy they are. You’re not that busy! You just need to prioritize better! Allow me to tell you how to fix your life! Etc.! I especially felt that way about how parents would talk about life with kids. You do so have time to shower! You just need to prioritize! Except now I have learned that parents who don’t have time to shower are indeed prioritizing, and sometimes sitting on the couch drinking a cup of coffee takes precedence over having clean hair. This is basically what I have found with keeping up this blog. I probably COULD blog more, and in fact I have a million half-written blog posts stored in my brain, but I don’t often have long stretches during the day when I don’t have at least one child requiring my attention, and when I do, I’m not usually in the sort of headspace required to craft a coherent post. But I do love posting here, and I think I am going to make it my goal for 2014 to do so at least once a week, even if I don’t have time to obsess over the wording of every last sentence before I hit publish. (If you are thinking to yourself, “This … is the result of spending lots of time thinking and writing and editing? This right here?” you are free to wonder that. I sometimes do as well. You are also welcome to wonder why I post so often about going to the dentist. I don’t know either.)

Christmas was lovely this year, and due to a rare confluence of events, it was a low-key holiday that didn’t require us to sleep anywhere other than our own beds, which is something I am always, always in favour of. (I love my own bed. It has a memory foam topper that might even be a better invention than the printing press or air travel or peanut butter.) We went to our own church on Christmas Eve, and then spent Christmas Day at my parents’ beautiful new home in Mitchell, and then spent the afternoon on Boxing Day with Mike’s family eating brunch at the Elmhurst Inn. Opening presents is so much more fun with a toddler, although I will admit there is a bit of extra stress involved, what with worrying about pleases and thank yous and appropriate reactions and all of that. Ellie was quite taken with all of her gifts, which was gratifying to watch, and Zach was mostly indifferent, which is to be expected because he is just a baby and is too busy learning how to suck on his own fist to be wowed by the many gifts showered upon him by generous family members.

New Year’s Eve was a bit of a bust, because Zach was completely out of sorts during the day, and then Mike spent the evening with Daisy at the emergency vet clinic waiting to be seen for what we correctly suspected was a UTI, which is slightly more serious in her case than it would usually be, because she was diagnosed with kidney disease in the spring. (Our formerly fat orange cat Max is also fairly sick with something, and has lost a lot of weight for reasons we’re still not totally sure of, in spite of spending a lot of money trying to figure it out. It is a sad testament to how much money we have spent at the vet this year that when Mike got home last night and reported the appointment was $150, I said, “Whew, that’s not bad at all!” I’m glad we have the means to treat their health problems, but even after many years of pet ownership, I still have no idea where to draw the line. So expensive! We could feed so many starving kids with this money! But it’s my Daisy and my Max, who I love. Sigh.) He got home around 10:30, we went to bed around 11:00, and it was 2014 when we woke up. It seemed like a fitting way to spend the last day of 2013, which wasn’t a BAD year by any stretch of the imagination, although many parts of it were inconvenient or expensive or sad or worrying, with the sick pet stuff and the pregnancy stuff and the NICU stuff and all of that. Other parts of it were good or even spectacular (specifically Exhibit A up above, smiling baby with Pooh bear) so I’d consider it a win overall, even if I did spend most of the year on the couch. Totally worth the permanent butt divot in the upholstery.