my strong & brave little girl

chanel & holland

The past year has been a hard one for our whole family, but not in a seriously horrible way. I had a baby, I went through depression, we’ve been frustrated living in our “temporary” home while waiting for our house to be finished, and my daughter had her own worries. My beautiful daughter, Chanel, who just finished first grade, went through a lot of things this school year.

First she adjusted to having a younger brother, which seemed great but there were jealousy problems here and there, just as I would expect there to be. Her teacher was new to teaching young children and none of us were big fans of hers, even to the point where I considered switching schools to get away from her. In the end we decided that even if we switch schools, we might run into another teacher that we didn’t like. And then main source of her problems with this teacher was her hearing.

The teacher would always talk to me, telling me that Chanel wouldn’t listen to her, that she had problems socializing – well, duh, she has trouble hearing because of her constant ear infections and a build up of fluid in her ears. I told teacher that numerous times, but apparently my words fell upon deaf ears, (I couldn’t help myself!) and I was constantly told that Chanel needed to pay attention! She would get in trouble for not listening to the rules of a game during gym – to which I said, “Well, are you sure she even heard you?” The teacher would blink a few times and tell me that Chanel should tell her when she couldn’t hear her.

Yes, ask a (then) 6 year old to speak up to an adult every time she doesn’t hear you. We had her hearing tested a few times throughout the year, at school the teacher received a microphone and speaker system so the children could hear her better, and Chanel was put up to the front of the class for the most part (as far as I could tell). We saw a specialist and made the decision to put tubes in her ears, again.

At 18 months Chanel had her first set of tubes. I still remember her cute little eyes and her Curious George toy and the little hospital gown they have for toddlers.

What are ear tubes? They are minuscule little tiny tubes that are inserted into the ear to create a drainage hole so the fluid has a better chance of escaping. They are a temporary solution in hopes that the head & ears grow and the problem will go away on its’ own.

This week my daughter underwent surgery for her second set of tubes, and at the same time the doctor removed the adenoids as well, which is something that is recommended when having to get tubes again. She’s older now, she understands more, she tries to listen to our conversations and make sense of the world around her the best she can.

she's a strong one!

She was excited that early morning, we all woke up at 5 am to get ready and leave by 5:30. Both kids were wide awake on the way there and singing and having fun, while I sipped  my coffee and applied extra concealer at red lights. But as we walked around the hospital trying to get to the right place, she started to get nervous, she started dawdling and not listening to us, and that’s when Daddy comes in. When Chanel gets nervous I find Jay has a better chance of getting through to her than I do.

The hospital staff was great, all of them paid special attention to her, making her feel more calm and assured, on the outside at least. When it was time for the anastesia, I took Holland out in the hallway as he was having a little tantrum, and Jay went in the room with her. A little while later he came out with tears in his eyes.

He said that she was so brave. He told me that he could see the tears in her eyes, the tears she was holding back, not allowing herself to cry as they put the I.V. in her little hand. As the drugs were making her drowsy, the nurses warned Jay that near the end it’s a little hard to watch. They put a mask on her at the end, and she gave out a few little coughs, and then she was gone. She was asleep but Jay said it was as if she had died.

At that moment I was so glad he had gone in with her instead of me, because I knew I wasn’t as strong as either of them. If Jay was in tears, I knew I would have been bawling.

The surgery went perfectly. The doctor was happy with how everything went, and he was very proud of Chanel for being such a strong little girl.

We stayed in the hospital for a few hours so they could observe her and make sure there were no problems. We watched Pocahontas & The Parent Trap, on VHS, which just about blew her mind in itself. She ate jello and popsicles and was in heaven. While she was in surgery they put a surgical mask and a hair net thing onto her moose stuffed toy, who is named Moose, which delighted her when she woke up. Like for hours, she remarked, “They did this when I was asleep!”

chanel in hospital bed

It’s hard for me to look at that picture without tearing up. No one ever wants to see their child with wires and cables and i.v.’s coming out of them.

When we got home I made a bed for her on the couch and forced her to lie there, playing Wii, watching tv, and just relaxing.

From the moment she got home she kept expressing amazement at how loud everything was. My voice, the toilet, the running water, the laundry machine, her baby brother’s screams – everything was so loud. I was this close to breaking out in tears and grabbing her and hugging her and twirling around in a circle screaming – she can hear again! She can hear!

Her voice even sounds different. She’s not as loud as she was, but there’s a slight difference in her voice, something only her parents notice, I’m sure. I’m so happy that we went through with the surgery, and I hope her next year of school goes a lot more smoothly than this one. But I know that no matter what life throws at her, she’ll be strong enough to carry through.

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lazy sundays

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There are some days that I want to do nothing at all. Being a mother & wife, laundry & cooking still take part of this equation (don’t most people still need to do these things?), but it’s after 2 pm and I’m sitting here in my PJs watching Maka Paka dance around on the screen while baby #2 causes destruction in our living/dining/kitchen room. Whoever thought open living spaces were the bomb didn’t have children yet.

I sit and contemplate having some wine. I think, I should put baby down for a nap and then shower and rejoin society dressed in clean, nice smelling clothes. But then I have to wait for my favourite pair of yoga pants to finish drying.

Today is Father’s Day. For breakfast I baked some delicious cinnamon buns, ran out of my espresso and had to settle for strong coffee, gave Jay his cards, then promptly kissed him and sent him on his way to work. On “His” Day he’s working on our house build, deadlines are tight and someone needs to frame the place before another contractor arrives to do more work.

I will discuss the house build more fully on another post, I promise. It’s actually 90% written, but I have to add pictures to it still, and that’s not going to happen today.

No. I will put down baby for a nap, hope baby #1 (our 7 year old) is still playing with the neighbours long enough for me to shower and dress, then wait for Jay to come home so we can go out to a restaurant and continue to celebrate “Father’s Day”.

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the fog is slowly lifting

chin up buttercup

Recently I posted about my difficulties with post-partum depression, and how I’ve been slowly dealing with it. I received some really nice comments and emails from it, and I’m so grateful to you guys for reaching out.

I finally feel like the fog I’ve lived in for the past year or so is finally clearing. Activities and events don’t fill me with dread and panic so much any more. I am finding myself interested in new things, excited about biking and jogging and cross-stitching and things I would have shrugged my shoulders to in the past.

This is a huge relief to me, but with that feeling also comes the fear that it will come back all too soon.

What if this is just a clear day and the weather turns for the worst again?

I hate living with that fear seeded in the back of my mind. I hate thinking that although right now I’m feeling good and am agreeing to go do things again, what if I change my mind? It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, but out of this emotional, irrational, scary feeling? It seems too silly.

I suppose I’ll have to take things as they come. Live day by day.

I wonder if anyone else goes through their day repeating motivational quotes, encouraging words meant for self-help books. Does anyone else do that, or just me?

Sometimes I feel that I’m thinking in clichés, too much time spent on tumblr reading inspirational crap.

But other than that, right now I’m feeling a lot better than I was, and that’s something to be thankful for.

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about motivation

Go Run

Life can be so funny sometimes. I started off this year wanting to really pull myself together again, live the life I had always imagined. Together my husband and I started to slowly eat better, in March we actually quit alcohol for the month  and were eating healthy foods about 90% of the time (a girl still needs her emergency chocolate!). I was so motivated to get this healthy goal of mine going.

But in April, my motivation started to wane. We started to have more and more “cheat” nights, started ordering pizza again, and by May we were back to our weekend food binges, Tuesday night pizza, wine on a Thursday (because why not?), etc, etc. I realised that the 12 pounds I lost in March had all crept back on.

So today we start again, no more alcohol, no more Nutella or pizza – just really back to basics, back to healthful choices, fruits and veggies and lean proteins.

I know I can do it, I know today that I’m motivated, but what about tomorrow? Will I feel the same way or will I wake up tired and cranky and craving peanut butter/nutella sandwiches?

Along with the healthy eating, this time I’m incorporating some exercise into my life (finally!). Today was Day 1 of the Couch-to-5k program and it was tough. I am so incredibly out of shape, my face was almost purple when I got back home, I looked in the mirror and laughed.

tomorrow

I live in such a beautiful place, full of people who’s lifestyles are full of activity, young and old, those who climb mountains every morning, those who jog in the rain and sprint up hill, who ride their bikes long distance and do cross-fit training at 6 am. The idea that almost everyone around me is so full of life and vigour, so fit at 30, 40, and 50 years old, that should motivate me even more, but I don’t think it does. I’m in awe of these people, of the lady in front of me in Starbucks that was in her forties and wearing tight, short Lulu running shorts and looking hawt.

But the awe isn’t enough.

My major motivation right now is actually embarrassment.

I’m embarrassed that my 13-month old baby boy hasn’t been in a pool since he was 4 months old because I don’t fit in a bathing suit. And that’s the truth.

And try reading these: Top 20 Motivation Hacks from ZenHabits.

What do you do for motivation? How do you keep being motivated?

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the art of doing nothing

baby-sleeping

Suppose children were brought here on earth to teach their parents a lesson: what could you learn from your child? It’s our role as parents to teach them, right? And yet every single day I learn something new from my kids. Today’s lesson involved the art of doing nothing, which in Italian is  l’arte di non fare nient. This is a lesson in zen, truly, it’s not just doing it’s nothing – it’s accepting the silence, appreciating the stillness, allowing your mind to drift and wander without worries or care. It’s a skill.

The other night, Holland surprised me by sleeping at night – imagine that? He awoke a couple of times but for a very brief nursing and went straight back to bed. In the morning my husband was already off to work and the baby was in our bed, sound asleep. He was sleeping in the crook of my arm, right at my breast, and I couldn’t move or else I’d wake him. I had no idea what time it was and I couldn’t reach my phone. I was teetering on the brink of frustration, but instead I took a different path.

I watched my child sleep. His eyelids fluttering, his perfect little nose, his tiny hands holding me. Occasionally I’d adjust my arm and he would suddenly move towards me, mouth first at the nipple, eyes closed the whole time, like a little forest creature seeking his mama in the dark. He would calm himself almost immediately and roll onto his back moments later, his chest rising and falling with each little breath.

Occasionally a thought would flicker in my mind that it was time to get up, start the day, get Chanel ready for school, find out what time it was – but as quickly as these thoughts invaded my mind, I kicked them out. Now was not the time.

Right now I am doing nothing.

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