Friday, 31 August 2012

Baby Brain and the Bath

Really I`m just crazy tired and a little absent minded... but even though it`s been over a year, I refuse to give up the excuse of baby brain. Especially when I almost flood our bathroom.

The evening held such exciting possibility. There was a glass of red wine, Baby Daddy was out developing his bromances, there was a season finale episode of True Blood downloaded on my computer ... don't judge me. I'm entitled to an hour of bubble gum for my brain once a week. If it happens to be in the form of a show with a loose plot line that has lots of violence, AND I get to see a particular werewolf take his clothes off, SO BE IT! 

But I digress. There was also a giant cast iron claw foot tub just waiting for me. 

Now, if you've ever used a cast iron tub, you know the tub itself needs to heat up. Or else you end up in a deep pool of hot water with your ass feeling like ice. So the method is: pour in a cup of salts, fill it almost all the way with nothing but hot. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Adjust temperature if it's still too hot with a bit of cold. Grab novel, enter and soak. ahhhh.

Not quite how it went down. I started the bath, came back downstairs and continued to watch my show. Distracted by a particular half naked werewolf because of baby brain, I realize the tap had been running far too long, sprang out of my seat and ran upstairs. I found I had not flooded the bathroom, but would have if it wasn't for that little drain by the faucet that sucks out the excess water. PHEW! I went back downstairs and enjoyed the last few minutes of the finale. (Awesome, if you were wondering).

Knowing I had to give it 20 minutes or so before the bath wouldn't be scalding I thought I'd be productive and fold the basket of clothing on the bed. Half way through I realized I was folding a basket of dirty laundry. Awesome. I then decided I need to just get in the bath and soak while finishing my wine... Only when I stepped into the tub, it was FREEZING. Turns out when you let your water run that long it empties the hot water tank, filling your tub with ice cold water. 

And that's how this mama ended up in bed at 9:12pm. 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Mama's First Year

We all want to say that having a child doesn't change us. But IT DOES. It doesn't have to consume you but it still causes a shift in our worlds. Penelope turned one this summer. ONE! I started this blog post on her birthday back in July and in true baby brain fashion, forgot to post it.

So, it's over a month late, but here's "Mama's First Year"...

Over the past 24 hours I have been reliving and remembering the labour, the delivery and the oddness that was our first year together. I thought about posting my birth story to commemorate the event, and celebrate that we're both still alive, and then I read through it. All ten pages. TEN. So I'll save you the read and just tell you that parts of it were magnificent, like when the back labour stopped and I got to experience how cool contractions really felt without the searing pain in my back and hips.  And the part where my girl and I danced to West African drumming and her papa singing until she was ready to come out. And, some parts sucked, like the shitting during contractions. Jesus H, the poop part sucked. No one tells you about the poop. And the primal moments where I growled at my midwife... actually come to think of it, that part was horrible but liberating and awesome at the same time....

... what was I writing about? Right, the last year. (baby brain) Okay here we go...

A year in the life of a new mama

Month One You're so excited to have the baby in your arms instead of pushing on your bladder and kicking you in the pubic bone and ribs you don't even notice the chapped nipples you've developed. And if you have a summer baby, you sometimes don't notice that you're not wearing any pants! Plus it's still to early to really know what sleep deprivation feels like, so you venture outside as much as possible, showing your wrinkly-kind-of-looks-like-an-old-man baby off to the world. If you're lucky, people have left you alone for a week or two and then brought you delicious food, knowing that you're far too whacked on baby hormones to cook.

Month Two The midwives give you the okay to exercise again. This is exciting not only because you're body is screaming at you to do more than walk around the block but your skin misses the water. So, it's back to aquafit, where, after 3 years of taking class together, everyone wonders where you've been for the past 5 months and you have to explain that the pressure on your bladder while pregnant simply got to much to handle. Getting out of the pool 3 times in a 45 minute class to go pee just wasn't cutting it. Oh, and then you had a baby. Then there was the whole healing thing. yeah. You could tell them to stuff it and just go sit in the sauna but you're so excited to be talking to an adult you don't care. 

Month Three You realize that the baby weight isn't going away quite that easily but continue to swim and return to yoga classes in the hope that your sanity restores itself. Both are delicious escapes from the screaming that ensues through the night. 8 times Baby, really?

Month Four It's Hallowe'en and you are determined to make an awesome costume. One with meaning, originality and that is totally bad ass. You realize that no baby of yours is going to be a cute fluffy bunny (no offense to the bunnies). You also realize that your baby still isn't sleeping, so neither are you and the thought of actually sewing something hurts your brain. You then realize you can just glue things together to create a costume.... until you try to use a hot glue gun with baby brain. 

Your unique costume idea gets shoved aside and your baby ends up in a plush baby costume like the other 12 babies in your mama group. UNTIL you realize that underneath baby's wearing a black Harley onesie and black pants. Add the biker boots and you finally get your bad ass costume. Then you vow that next year will be different, and hope that you get to sleep before then. 

Month Five You discover the bumbo. And drooling (teething is awesome.) But the bumbo is your new best friend. It lets you shower. *cue angelic music It lets you eat with two hands. 
Best. Invention. Ever.

Month Six Ah, your baby enters her 6th month at xmas time. The perfect half way point. You check in with how you're making out during the in laws family dinner, and realize you've already downed 3 beers and aps haven't even been served. Turns out you haven't been drinking nearly enough over the past 14 months.

Month Seven Your baby has been eating solid food for a whole month. She's been picking off your plate for even longer so you figure she might as well have her own. Avocado is still being washed off the wall. But solid food equals solid poop and life just got much much easier. 

Month Eight After a couple months of comfortable (to you) maneuvers to go within a four foot radius, Baby has decided to start crawling. No more bum shuffles. No more reach and sits. You know it's only a matter of time before she's bombing around on hands and knees and you bow your head in defeat.

Month Nine You realize your child is nine months old already and you still haven't taken those professional shots you planned to do when she was 3 months old. And thanks to baby brain you totally forget to put on make up for the photo shoot, forgetting that family photos are going to include you too. 

Month Ten If you're like me you decide that since you're going to a wedding in Scotland, you might as well go early and see the UK... alone. Just you and the baby. Sure you have family for the first little bit of the trip but because they are new to her, you still don't ever get a break.

Seriously though, it was amazing and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

Yes. For real. But it is hard, I won't lie. Like the time I screamed in frustration in the middle of the street in Dublin (in front of a group of junior high school aged kids) because you needed a car seat for everything and that was the one thing I didn't pack. Yeah, THAT happened.

Month Eleven Because you were so determined to enjoy the final month of your pregnancy sitting around in your new backyard and sipping non alcoholic sangria in the sun, you have to go back to work before baby hits one. It's surprisingly easy and you rejoice over being able to self identify as something other than a mama and realize you don't necessarily hate daycare. 

Month Twelve All you can think is, "wholly shit, it's been a fucking year!?!?!" as you relive every moment of the labour, and try to remember the last year. 

That and, "wholly crap, it's been a year and she is really determined to climb on EVERYTHING".

You also think that it's pretty amazing that your baby is sort of almost talking. Penelope says "Enya", "nah", "Mama", "Papa" and my favorite, "booo" which I'm pretty sure means "book" since she's removing every. single. one. off our bookshelf.

You also wonder how long it will take before you stop getting teary eyed over the intentional hugs and kisses. Yeah, she does that now. Ask my mom. She apparently needed to be warned because she cried in front of people when Penelope leaned in for a smooch. hehe SUCKA.

Don't judge me. I need someone to cry with over this stuff.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Mama’s Retreat – getting there isn’t just about leaving the house

Written at the end of day one at the cottage...

It’s 7:18 in the evening and I’m ready for bed. It’s not from a hard day of chasing around my baby toddler. It’s not from working a long day on the job. It’s not from physical exertion or from staying up too late the night before. It’s from fresh air. It’s from fresh air, in the middle of the woods. It’s from fresh air, in the middle of the woods, on a lake! It’s from fresh air, in the middle of the woods, on the lake, without the little one or her father! It’s been the craziest, most marvelous day. Alone.

Please don’t misunderstand, I miss my little girl. There is something to be said however, for taking time for you. And I don’t mean an hour and a half for a yoga class (which I HIGHLY recommend), but true solitude. I won’t deny it’s unnerving, but I certainly won’t pretend it’s not glorious. It took a long time to get here but I’m so glad I did this.

This morning I was starting to doubt that this getaway would even happen. After ensuring I had indeed chosen the proper night to be away and that there was plenty of milk in the fridge, P lost. her. shit. Maybe it’s because she got her shots yesterday, or maybe it’s because she’s a little psychic. But today she clung to me like she knew I was planning to leave her for a whole 18 hours.

She saw me put my things in my back pack, grab a hat, and the bug dope and then refused to let me go.  Literally, she was clinging on like there was no tomorrow. She screamed, she punched, she wailed and she bit. It’s like she saw the yearning in my eyes for the scent of pine and felt the need to protest against my decision to escape to the woods. After two hours of struggling, including a short car ride to get her to pass out for a nap before dropping her at daycare and having to return home to grab the five things I forgot, (in true baby brain fashion, I still forgot my sleeping bag) that’s exactly what I did: escape to a cabin in the woods. 

Problem was I didn’t know what to do with myself once I got here. What to do with a giant lake in front of you, a beautiful old 40s cottage, and a big deck with prime afternoon sun? Or a screened in sun porch overlooking the lake that I would kill to have at home. What’s so hard about that you ask? I knew I had come up here to be alone, to ground and reconnect with myself (and maybe if I was lucky to sleep through the night), but how?

I knew I wanted to write while I was here, but what? Should I sit on the dock and write in my journal about all the craziness that has been happening in my life over the past week/month/year? I could work on that event proposal or get a jump start on the column? Do I do yoga on the deck? Maybe I should go for a swim? Lunch seems like a good idea, and just walking through the woods is a nice possibility. The problem was, there were all these things that I was hoping to do while I was here but it didn’t seem like there were enough hours in the day. So, I started one thing and moved on to another and then the next and 3 hours later realized I was scattered and stressed and honestly, being a little ridiculous.

I also realized that I hadn’t brought nearly enough food to get me through two days. Or, at least I told myself that so I’d have a mission; something to do so I’d stop spinning in circles. I drove into town. The great thing about really small towns is the LCBO is in the same spot as the grocery store *grin*. With some cheese, olives, fruit and bottle of wine, I drove back down the steep lonely lane to the cottage. After yoga, a delicious swim, dinner with a novel (minus the interruptions of a one year old) and a cup of the gods’ nectar I’m finally calm and take in the beauty of the blue sky, ripling waters, rocky shore and bright green foliage that surrounds me.

It takes some work to leave the mama role behind, even if just for one night. I think it might just be the smartest thing a parent can do, take that little bit of time for them. I can wait for kisses and snuggles from my darling girl. The rest of tonight is for me, and tomorrow morning for sunrise, swimming and solitude. And maybe to read and drink a cup of coffee in that sunporch. Because honestly, what good am I to her, if I’m not good to myself?

Friday, 17 August 2012

Laser Tattoo Removal

I wish I could blame it on baby brain, but it was 10 years before Penelope was born that I met my ex and eventually decided to get handfasted and tattoo our rings. We are both proudly inked, so it seemed fitting. The relationship WAS going to last forever, right? We chose two infinity symbols (Green for the God, Brown for The Goddess) entwined. And because for me it was a symbol of balance, I thought I would always want it, whether forever happened or not. 

Then I woke up one morning and just didn't want it on my finger anymore. I was lucky to have met Todd years ago, and knew I could talk to him about removing it without judgement. My decision to go through with the procedure surprisingly has nothing to do with J, or lil Lope. It has everything to do with me letting go. Letting go of everything that is attached with that tattoo. I'm heading down a new path and embracing change. With one less tattoo. 

Once P's immune system was strong enough she was basically weaned, I made an appointment. It's been a week and I'm already starting to see a difference in the ink. I'm not sure how many sessions I'll need, but Todd (No Regrets in Kingston) is helping me move on, and I can't seem to find words other than a truly sincere "thank you"

If you've ever wondered what the deal is with laser tattoo removal, here's a little video I took of the first session.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Babies and Ultimate Fighting

An actual conversation in my house this morning:

Me:     What are you watching?
BD:      UFC
Me:     Could you maybe watch something else with Penelope?
BD:      Why?
Me:     Umm because she's one?!?
BD:     Genuinely confused look
Me:     Because it's UFC!


The occasional Muppet Show sketch is one thing; I'm not a big fan of her watching a ton of TV as it is (yes I know this will change as she becomes a toddler). I did think however, that it would obvious that Ultimate Fighting might not be the most appropriate thing to watch with a baby. 

hmm. Guess not. 

PS. Upon seeing this post, Baby Daddy's response: "In my defense she wasn't really watching it."

Thursday, 9 August 2012

No, IIII want to put sharp metal things in Mama's mouth!

After a sleepless night, Penelope and I both went to the dentist this morning. I expected it to be a challenging visit. Sure enough, after playing by herself for a while by emptying the contents of my purse on the dentist’s office floor, there was a spontaneous outburst of discontent. Apparently she was not impressed with the fact that someone was poking and scraping inside her mama’s mouth. Well, she wasn’t impressed that she didn’t get to watch.

For the rest of my visit in the chair she sat on my stomach and watched in awe as the hygienist attempted to scrape off the build up of plaque that comes with neglecting your teeth due to baby brain. Note to new parents: floss your damn teeth, no matter how bloody tired you are! Remind each other to brush your teeth more that once a day... or for those first couple months, more than once every other day if you’re anything like I was in mombie state. Shiver with disgust, it’s okay. Sometimes, between all the boobing, diapers, trying to simply sleep or keep up with a newly mobile baby, you just forget.

The screams didn’t come until later, when P got strange fingers probing around inside her own mouth. Turns out the last few nights have been sleepless for a reason. She’s about to cut 3 or 4 teeth. Probably all at once. Joy. We received even better news about her orthodontic future. The two teeth she has tell the dentist that she has inherited my teeth. They are really close together. Adult teeth are bigger than baby teeth, so if baby teeth are tight, without spaces between them, there is a good chance there will be a lot of crowding with the second set of teeth. 

Son of a whore! Could we not catch a break with this? I don’t know if you’ve seen past photos of my beautiful baby daddy, but he’s got a KILLER smile. All natural. Mine? Picture 4 years of headgear and braces. Yes, actually I WAS an adorable kid. 
Told you. J saw this and commented, "you look like you're getting ready to eat the bunnies". I told him that first of all, they were puppies (one of which gave me my first hickey but that's a story for another time) and secondly, that I was cute as hell with my crooked teeth and broken nose. And I may have called him a jerk. But I do look a little hungry eh?

I actually tried to find a photo of the mouth gear, but surprisingly there are none of me in my stylin’ ortho wear. I can only assume that I destroyed all the evidence during that low self esteem period every teenager inevitably goes through. This means I have work to do. I so do not want my daughter to be self conscious. I want her to smile as brightly as she does now, crowded teeth and all. I want her to show the rows of metal and I don’t want her to hold her laughter back so photos only have her smiling with her mouth closed. 

So how do you do that? Pretend my experience with braces was better than it was? Simply teach her as she grows that she’s amazing! All I can do is continue to focus on how clever, funny, smart and lovely she is and hope it sinks in before those horrible preteen years hit.

We tried to get a “baby’s first trip to the dentist” shot but she was freeeeeaking out, so blurry shots of the back of her head and me laughing is all we got. Yes, I laugh at her while she cries. It’s what keeps me sane.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Baby Brainz Moment #94 - cell phones

I don't even know if I can blame this on baby brain... this was a true "holy hell, I've become the biggest ditz in the world" moment. And by biggest ditz, I'm talking hollywoodesque-blonde-head-cheerleader-who-says-like-as-every-other-word-and-blinks-at-the-mention-of-anything-of-importance  ditzy. 

On our way to a festival, we stopped for something to eat. P was sleeping in the car, so rather than sit in a stinkin' hot vehicle while waiting for J to get our food, I stood outside. I decided to check my messages and set the phone on the roof of the car while it loaded. 

You see where I'm going with this don't you. And as much as you don't want to believe it, you know I'm writing about it, so it must be true... 

J came out with the food, I got in the car to help arrange the food to make it easier to eat while on the road, and off we went. About ten minutes later we hear a clunk. I looked at J and asked if I could seriously be that spaced that I left my cell on the roof of the car. We called my phone. We didn't hear it vibrate. Praying it got hooked in the roof rack, we pulled over. No such luck.We turned around. We looked for it. Twice. Apparently I really COULD be that spaced.

I now officially hate roof racks. Mostly for not catching my phone when it slid along the roof at 80kms an hour, but also for camouflaging my phone in the first place. Yes, I know, it's really not the roof rack's fault, but the roof rack isn't the one mourning super cute baby pictures, a wicked contact list, and traveling notes, is it?

This is what happens to your brain on babies.