Monday, 22 June 2015

Malcolm at 6 months


Alternative post title: How I know I'm Done Having Babies.

1. He turned 6 months last week, and we meant to feed him solids.  Really, we did.  But every day, we were busy and we said "lets just do it tomorrow."  We still haven't.  I think it will happen tonight.  Maybe.

2.  He is teething.  He usually sleeps reasonably well, but two nights ago he slept for 45 minutes at a time.  The entire night.  I am not exaggerating.  When I woke up for the last time in the morning, I could barely move my neck from holding him so much (with a clenched jaw).  And I had a sore throat.  I'm not sure if its related.

3.  I have not bathed him in close to a week.  The Bad Night, two of the times he woke up, the main part of his ear was folded over and suction cupped to the front part.  I'm not sure if the adhesive was ear wax or dried spit-up.  Or maybe a combination of both?  Either way, I still haven't bathed him.  (Although, in truth, the issue seems to have resolved itself.  Or maybe the dog licked it clean.)

The sum of the evidence shows that our life is full.  Don't misconstrue the message here: He is an adorable, easy going baby, we are completely in love and he cracks us up all the time.  His needs are being met, and truthfully, I think our laid back attitude has contributed to his calm disposition.  But we know our limits, and we are approaching them.  We are about one dependant goldfish away from tipping over the edge, and so it is with great clarity that we can rejoice both at Malcolm's existence and at leaving this stage in our life.

p.s. We had our 6 month check-up today.  Totally healthy, huge, and perfect.  30" tall and 22 pounds.



Setting the stage: One of Scarlett's favourite stuffed animals is a Tweety Bird, but she misheard his name when they were introduced, so he will forever be known as Chicky Bird.

Warner House.  7:06 am.

Scarlett: Dad, my stuffies are going to have nicknames now.  Because sometimes, people just shorten their name and its a nickname.
Shawn: Oh yeah?
Scarlett: Yep.  Now Chicky Bird is sometimes just Chick.  And Giraffe has one too.
Shawn:  Okay.  Whats Giraffe's nickname?
Scarlett: Debbie.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Birthday Reflections

(Photo from the last time we brought our camera to the trails)

In the days leading up to and including my birthday, three things happened:
  1. An old friend died of cancer.  The friendship was old, not the friend.  She was 33.
  2. I ran into two three-year-olds at the park, separately, who said "its my birthday!"  It was mine, too, I told them.
  3. A middle aged couple died in a motorcycle accident just outside of town.
On their own, each event might have given me pause, but combined together surrounding a my birthday -- a natural time for reflection -- they have me in a huge bucket of life-contemplation.

The friend was young, she minded her health and did everything right.  She was a mom of two kindergarteners.  Yet, a couple months after her last marathon, she was told she had terminal cancer.  It makes me think about my own mortality, and the defining moments of my motherhood.  If I died yesterday, what would I have left for my children?

The two children weren't twins.  They didn't even know each other.  And there definitely was not 600 people at the park, to make it more statistically expected.  It was random.  Two three-year-olds jubilantly ran into my life on our special day to remind me about how great it is to be alive.  Or, if they were typing this they would probably say HOW GREAT IT IS TO BE ALIVE!  LOOK THERE'S A CATERPILLAR THIS IS AWESOME!  I can't say I'm right there with them all the time and I wonder: how do I bring a little more of that into my life?

The couple owned 100 acres just outside of town.  They built trails all through it, and where their trails met the creek, they even created a couple of raft ferries that operated on a manual pulley system.  Though the woods, they made whimsical little sculptures out of scrap metal.  My kids love that place.  Here and now, in a time when it seems everyone is worried about getting sued, they said anyone could go there - this secret little gem that all the locals know about.  It actually, tangibly made a difference in our family's life.  We have good memories, thanks to these people.  They took what they had and shared it.  And of course, this brings us to the biggest questions of all: am I using my gifts to help others?  Am I making a difference?

Somber thoughts for a rainy day.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Importance of Asking "Why?"

"Sometimes the person who is most logical is the person whom we call insane."
- Kevin Spacey

In conversation with Nevin, I asked him if he wanted me to come with him to supervise his class field trip.  His quick, confident response was "NO."  No?  Has my son already got to the stage where he's embarrassed of his mom around his friends?  He wants to pass up an opportunity to have an exciting day with mom?  I was so disappointed.  And then after all these assumptions and more, I breathed deep, braced myself, and calmly asked "why?"  (The calmly partook about 3 minutes and half of a Dairy Queen blizzard flavoured with self-pity).  You know what his response was?

"At the end, I will be too sad when you have to go."

He hates having to say goodbye to me, so his most logical solution was for me to never say hello.  The problem was so different than I had thought -- in fact, the exact opposite -- and it made all the difference knowing that.

Flash forward a couple weeks.  Scarlett and I are driving in the car.  Scarlett says to me, "I don't like that my name is Scarlett, I wish you named me something else."  What?  Listen hear kid: I grew you, threw up for you, birthed you, lost a lot of sleep for you, bathed you, cuddled you, and all you have to say is that you hate your name?  The very core of the identity that I've worked so hard to help you build?  Um, I'm feeling just a wee bit offended, kiddo.  After my mental tirade, I paused, promised myself I'd have an open conversation about HER feelings and asked "why?"

"Because I love that name, and I wanted to name my daughter that."

So, I don't understand my children.  I've been watching the older families around me and I don't think its going to get better.  However when I remember to remove my own assumptions from the conversation, I get to have a little peak into their world and it might not be quite as crazy as it seems.
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