Sunday, 28 July 2013

"Motherhood" (or "It's Criminal")


LilCriminals

Motherhood is last Tuesday morning.  The morning you choose to make waffles for a treat on the too small waffle iron that seemed romantic on the wedding registry.  Waffles are made and doled out, two squares at a time, with you at the end of the queue. Every time it seems like you might be able to eat, a child calls out, "one more, Mommy?" 

And just as it seems your moment has come, 45 minutes later, long after the kids are done, and you sit down with your waffles and newspaper with a sigh, both children (soon after exchanging a glance - how else could they coordinate?) yell at the top of their lungs "poop!"  As if there has never been an emergency so great as at that moment.  So you leave the waffles to get everyone where they need to be on time: "go, go, go!"  As you hustle along, you make sure the underwear is out of the way, and upon request deliver the proper reading materials. 

With everything settled, you return to your cold waffles, but with grunting on the potty ten feet away and the other in the powder room still within sight, you've mostly lost your appetite.  And now the living room no longer smells like waffles.  As you go to open a window, you do so in frustration, and your hand slips, and you rap you knuckles hard on the sill.  "Arg!" you proclaim (though you want to say something saltier), as you shake your hand in pain.  And just then, you daughter jumps up: "oh, mommy!  Oh, mom!  You okay?  Me kiss, me kiss!"  She runs over to kiss your hand and hug your leg.  And then your ovaries betray you and launch chemical warfare on your logic and you can't help but think, "I suppose another might be nice."

Pizza Muffins

pizzamuffins

Summer lunches have gotten tricky.  My picky little vegetarian has decided he would like a break from nut butters.  Some sort of butter on some sort of bread or fruit was our routine.  I'm looking for suggestions.  So far, my brilliant neighbour has suggested waffle sandwiches with cream cheese and fruit (he ate cream cheese!) and pizza muffins.  Both delicious.

The pizza muffins will take time - our first go, his were strictly the batter - but I have high hopes that he will venture into the land of the unknown (the unplain, oh my!) gradually as it becomes more familiar to him.

Wicked Good Pizza Muffins
(from Canadian Family)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) each salt and dried basil
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) baking soda
  • 1 cup (250 mL) tiny cubes orange cheddar
  • 1 cup (250 mL) plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) butter, melted
  • ½ cup (125 mL) finely chopped red sweet pepper (optional)
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) pizza sauce, or sliced tomato
  • ½ cup (125 mL) shredded mozzarella
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, basil and baking soda until combined.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, eggs and butter until smooth. Stir into flour mixture just until well combined and no dry spots remain (this is where you take a little batter out for a picky eater).  Stir in sweet pepper and cheddar cheese (batter will be very thick). Spoon batter into muffin cups, dividing evenly. Spoon 1 tsp (5 mL) pizza sauce on top of each muffin or 1/2 slice of tomato; sprinkle each with shredded mozzarella.
  3. Bake about 20 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in centre of one of middle muffins comes out clean. Let muffins cool in pan at least 5 minutes before removing, then let cool completely on a wire rack. (Freeze muffins in an airtight container for up to 1 month; defrost at room temperature.)
Fun Fact:
In the winter, when he would try new things, his common most logical response was, "I don't like it.  I think I will like it in the Spring."

Not-So-Fun Fact:
He did not like any of it in the Spring.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Stress and the Abnormal EEG

EEGNevin

It has been a stressful week.

The picture above wasn't stressful at all -  it is from a month ago, when we were just "making sure."  It has been a busy month.  Nevin has had a couple fainting episodes, so our doctor ordered a whole battery of tests:  ECG's, bloodwork and an EEG.  We have a fantastic doctor - he is kind, thorough, and cautious.  The results started coming back: normal, normal, healthy.  Last Tuesday, I got a call from our family doctor: Nevin's EEG results were back, and they were abnormal.  Sure, I am science literate, but when it comes to this sort of thing, I haven't a clue.  That is when I got stressed.  I had no idea what "abnormal" could mean, and unfortunately, since its not his area of expertise, neither did our family doctor.  We would have to wait until Friday, and our appointment with the pediatrician from the city for more answers.  (Another huge applause for our family doctor: he referred us to a pediatrician long before the tests were in, to make sure nothing was missed).

So stressed.

Fortunately, on Friday we were calmed.  The pediatrician told us that yes, Nevin does have some abnormal patterns, but it is nothing to be concerned about.  It likely means that when he "fainted", it was actually seizures, but his risk of seizure is only slightly higher than an average person, and only when he has several stressors that would contribute.  He is a perfectly normal abnormal boy (which is probably how I would have described his mind long before any professional looked at the circuitry).  The best part was that the doctor took the time to walk us down every path possible, and was completely unambiguous.  He thought it was best to refer us to a neurologist and get an MRI to confirm what he believes to be true, but he was completely forthcoming about why, and explained to us why it wasn't likely epilepsy or a lesion.  When he took the time to describe the different scenarios, it made perfect sense and put our minds at ease.

So why share?  Have you Googled anything health-related recently?  I tried to stick to brushing up on my brain anatomy and seizure vocabulary in preparation for the appointment, but in the periphery there were a lot of unsettling stories.  Sometimes its nice to have a health-related story that says, "nope, there's nothing to worry about - abnormal can be normal and everything will be fine."

Folks, my boy had an abnormal test, and everything is fine.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Accents and Beer

milkstout
(Dispatches from Shawn's iPhone)

Beaupre, Quebec.  Thursday, 4 July 2013.  6:00pm.

Waitress, with thick French Canadian accent: Would you be interested in trying one of our local beers?

Me: Definitely.
Conversation ensues and beer selected.  Waitress leaves.

Shawn:  At first I thought it was kind of presumptuous that she would ask us if we were interested in Low Cal beers.

Ste. Anne de Beaupre

Last weekend I visited the Ste. Anne de Beaupre Basilica.  I spent a couple hours there on Saturday, and returned on Sunday morning for mass.

It was moving.  There is so much to see and so many invitations for prayer and reflection.  It is hard to describe the experience without sounding evangelical, but even an atheist would find an indescribable serenity, beauty and truth at this place.  I prayed a lot.  The Santa Scala.  The Stations of the Cross.  The statues of Saints.  The mosaics and murals.  Sitting on a park bench watching the wind in the trees, listening to the Stations of the Cross being recited and sung by a young priest.  I was so glad I went alone and uncluttered - it allowed me the opportunity to linger.  My cup was filled.

If you ever do go, although impressive just to see, the basilica can be better appreciated with a guided tour.  Every window, mural, and mosaic has meaning and significance.  The time and gifts were used to create the space awe-inspiring.

When I took the kids the next day, Nevin really soaked it up.  His eyes were wide and he kept asking his sister to slow down.  There is this steep hill that he wanted to climb to see the view from the top.  The easiest way takes you past the Stations of the Cross.  Somewhere along the way, he started asking about the statues.  This place draws you in.  We ended up going stopping at all the Stations and talking about what was happening and how the people in the scene must have felt.  At the last station, when I told him it was the end and Jesus died, he responded, "Oh!  Don't worry, Mommy.  He comes alive again on Easter."  (Who knew?  I guess he is paying attention at mass when he's humming his Hot Wheels around the pew.)

When we got back to the hotel both kids were excited to tell Shawn about their experience.  Nevin's highlight, besides how short mass was ("Mom, it wasn't like at home at all... it was waaaay shorter!"), was that it was big enough for two masses to be going on at the same time and the English mass was in the basement.  Nose-scrunching, mind-blowing news for a four-year-old, I guess.  Scarlett's experience would be much more profound if she were any older: when Shawn opened the door, she opened her eyes wide and exclaimed, "me saw JEEDSUS!"

NevinBasilica1

StAnneNevScarlett

StAnneNevBasilica

StAnneNevinicecream copy

StAnneCrossesNev

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