Wednesday 13 August 2014

Growing Up

The kids are getting so big, so fast. I cannot believe it. It blows my mind. It puts things into perspective.
Scarlett is going to KINDERGARTEN. That's big kid school. Riding a bus by herself and spending the ENTIRE DAY with someone who isn't family. She is thrilled. I am somewhere between thrilled for her and terrified. Terrified of her being away all day (and let's face it, also a bit thrilled). Terrified of her not making friends, or of her making the wrong kind of friends. Terrified that she wont like it (though, judging by her nursery school experience, that will not be the case).
She has her back pack, lunch box, multiple drink and food containers. We ordered personalized labels for her. She is set. I am not. How has it been four years already? This will make Max's inevitable school journey creep up on me that much sooner.
Scarlett loves soccer and dance class. She has grown so much this summer. Watching her develop socially and learn to speak up for herself has been a remarkable thing. Watching friendships develop, and hearing her reasoning for choosing her friends, shows what a tough cookie she will grow up to be. Scarlett I see as a leader. She is head strong, stubborn, strong-willed. She is also a bit of a perfectionist and loves to please the role models in her life. She is an amazing big sister and thinks of herself as Max's babysitter (which is funny seeing as she has never had a babysitter). She loves playing dress up and role playing. If she is in her play kitchen, her name is Gabriella. She calls her babies "sweetheart" and snuggles them tight. She makes up songs and jokes and talks nonstop from the moment she wakes up until she falls asleep. She is affectionate and sweet. That is, when the tantrum threes aren't taking over. Please, PLEASE let these tantrum threes be over. She is four now. Fantastic Fours right? Please?

My Max. He is such a trooper. He is ROCKING his AFOs. He can run, dance, climb and has bouncing (jumping) mastered. He is so smart and funny. He is the sweetest little man...except for when it is time to sleep. At bed time (nap time, rest time...) he is a demon spawn. This kid would snuggle 24-7. I either love it or cringe because of it. Boy are definitely, 100%, different from girls. I heard the warnings, but didn't actually believe it. He is either running around like a monkey on speed, or wants to snuggle in so close that we feel like one person.
He loves helping. He sweeps, dusts, vacuums, puts things in the garbage, wipes up the many spills we encounter daily, and his favourite, feeds the dog. Gordy is bound to weigh 100 pounds soon at the rate Max feeds him treats.
He is so different. At this age, his sister was 100% obsessed with all things Baby Signing Time. She could sign along with the first two DVDs easily by this age. Max doesn't care. She LOVED Toy Story. Max doesn't care. He wants to be running, and climbing, and getting into EVERYTHING...or he wants to be snuggled in close and asleep. I can never put him down and trust he will be there in 2 minutes (let's face it, 2 seconds is asking a lot). I would never have the fireplace on and trust him to stay away, or anything breakable within reach of his chubby little fingers. He is stubborn and strong willed (which I am sure is why he is rocking those leg braces so well- he is a determined boy). He is also unbelievably sweet and loving. He gives hugs and kisses all the time. He hands out giggles and smiles  to anyone who approaches him. He gets dragged everywhere and is just happy to be a part of the outing.
I feel like I missed his first year though. That, between all the appointments and things going on with Scarlett, I missed his babydom because he is now a toddler. He has a mind of his own. Words of his own. Places to go. Luckily for me (or unluckily depending on the night), with mama is still his favourite place to be.

Saturday 14 June 2014

Where We are Now

I cannot believe it has been a year since I last posted. It has been unbelievably busy for us. I will start with Miss S, because, believe it or not, her story is shorter.
Miss S started nursery school this year and just blossomed. We enrolled her in dance class (twice) and now soccer, and she is a totally different kid.
She has changed so much. Suddenly she is her own little (and very opinionated) person. She loves her friends and her teachers, and she is beyond excited to go to kindergarten in the fall.
She can read easy books, write her name, and can write many other words (with prompts). She knows her numbers, shapes and colours...she is so bright. I am so proud of her.
Except for her new found attitude. That I could do without.
People talked about the "terrible twos" and I laughed. I had a lovely two year old! She was so easy!
Once 3 1/2 hit, she became a different child. Opinionated (stubborn) is being kind. She can be a royal pain sometimes. I can only hope that as we get closer to four, that these "trying threes" (they should be the tequila threes, as in you need tequila to deal).
She loves her family and friends. She is all about spending time outdoors and keeping busy. She LOVES Frozen, anything Princess, Doc McStuffins and Sherif Callie.
She loves to read and write and learn about the world.
When she is not driving me up the wall, she is amazing me. She is a fabulous big sister (and a bit of a pain for a little sister) and I cannot wait to see what kindergarten has in store for her.

Mr M is the reason my posts have been few and far between.
For one, he has only been sleeping through the night for about a week. And he isn't really sleeping through most nights, but only having a brief waking where I do not have to nurse or rock him (but do have to sit in the room), is WAY better than the 14m prior to this breakthrough. He is not happy about it. Too bad for him.
He and I have also been diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis type 1(NF), which is a genetic and neurological disorder which causes tumours to grow on the nerves. It can be very serious, or so mild you go undiagnosed. It can be a sporadic mutation, which happened to me, or it can be genetically passed down via a parent, which happened to M.
I had no idea I had this condition until M was sent to a paediatrician for the bowing in his left tibia. I had requested a second opinion for our family doctor, was sent to a paediatrician, who took one look at him and sent us to Sick Kids.
3 weeks later we went to Sick Kids. They took one look and said, "Yes, we have to be concerned about this leg, and yes, you need the NF clinic."
2 weeks later (on the evening of S' nursery school Christmas Concert which I have yet to receive photos or videos of), my mom, M and I found ourselves back at Sick Kids in the NF Clinic where we found that M did indeed have NF, and I should get myself into an adult clinic ASAP. ASAP for adults means just last week.
SO, M has had special eye exams, countless doctor's appointments, and finally, physio/occupational therapy, who rushed his leg braces. I am forever grateful for his physiotherapist for getting the ball rolling for us, because Sick Kids had a loong wait time and he has been wonderful with M.
He isn't quite walking yet, but he is getting there. It was hard for him to adjust to socks, braces and shoes all at once, but Mr M is a determined little (big) fellow, and he will get there. He is thisclose. So close. Another month and I will be wondering why I was ever worried about it.
Except that I am always worried. NF can be linked to pseudarthritis, scoliosis and a whole whack of other things, but with his bowed little legs, I worry about what a break could mean for him; and we were warned that a break will likely happen at some point, and he will need surgery let's hope it happens later rather than sooner. OR, we could just hope it doesn't happen at all.
It is not all bad. We are trying to remain optimistic, because we can't raise our son to live in fear or be embarrassed by something out of his control. We tell anyone who asks, regardless of age, why he wears the braces and what they do. Note to parents, it is absolutely OK if your child asks about his legs and braces. It is not something we are ashamed of, and we hope M wont be ashamed of them either. Let your child ask questions, feel free to ask them yourself. Just be prepared for an education about NF and what it causes, because we have even met people in the healthcare profession not familiar with NF and that is not right.
1 in 3,500 babies will be born with NF. It doesn't matter gender or race, NF isn't discriminatory.
Up to 50% of children with NF will have some sort of learning disability or be on the ASD spectrum.
Signs of NF include cafe au lait spots, neurofibromas (little raised tumours/bumps), bowing of the tibia (leg).
It can cause scoliosis, pseudoarthritis, tumours on the eyes.
Parents with NF have a 50% chance of passing it on. S does not have it, M does.
Just a little education. And to be clear, I went 31 years without knowing I had NF. M has the cafe au laits and a bowed tibia (though he wears braces on both legs for a variety of reasons- minor bowing of the right tibia and to better stabilize him as he learns to walk to be the main ones). We can hope that he, like me, will live a normal, healthy life. We are getting genetic testing done so we have as much information as we can, because, quite frankly, there is not enough information out there.
Well, it's late, and I have to curl up with a cup of tea. It feels good writing this out. We've been so busy that I just need to sit and think at the computer sometimes.
No worries, I have posts on our African Adventure and the many milestones of the kiddos to share after we get through Nursery School Graduation, Grade Eight Graduation and a whole slew of parties, weddings and general summer business.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

My Dear Children

We just celebrated M's first Canada Day with a friend filled weekend. He was exhausted, but relatively well behaved, and Miss S was absolutely pooped by last night, but had so much fun, it was 100% worth it.
My Dear Son,
You are three and a half months old and are quite possibly the sweetest, funniest baby ever. You will gladly go to anyone to be snuggled. You coo and giggle and dole out the biggest smiles. You love raspberries on your tummy and splashing in the bath. We are working on getting you to sleep on your own, because right now (after weeks of blissful, independent sleep I might add), you will only sleep if snuggled in close, which makes you both endearing and exhausting.
Your sisters love you, Miss S especially has a hard time leaving you alone. I can't wait until you are big enough to get into her stuff. Your big brown eyes are going to be your saving grace big boy, because I have a feeling they are going to get you out of (and perhaps into) a lot of trouble.

My Dear Baby (Big) Girl,
You are almost three years old. How did that happen? How has three years passed? You are still my baby girl, even if you do insist that you "aren't my baby, you're my Scarlie!"
You love all things doctor. I foresee medical school in your future, and I truly believe that midwifery or pediatrics is in your future.
You love your brother fiercely. It is the sweetest thing. And your big sister is your shinning star, you are a very loving and affectionate little girl.
You are also too smart for your own good (or for my own good). You amaze me everyday with the new things you learn and share. You know your numbers and letter. You know your colours and shapes (even obscure ones like octagons). You count and sing and sign and I cannot wait for you to go to nursery school and learn even more.
You are my mini-me, my little doll. It is such a joy to watch you grow into the beautiful, intelligent and sweet girl that you are.

Alright my children, nap time is almost over and it's time for a walk. Until next time my loves.

Monday 25 March 2013

A Letter To My Son

My Dear Little Boy,
You are nine days old today and you have already captured our hearts. Your sisters adore you (Miss S think of herself as a second mother), your parents are entranced and your grandparents are just in love. You have completed our family and we are so glad that you (finally) decided to make your arrival.
Your birth was highly anticipated. We were waiting...and waiting...Daddy's holidays were almost over and we were STILL WAITING, but finally, on Friday morning, our wonderful midwife called and offered to help get things started.
At bout 10:30am on Friday, March 15, we saw our wonderful midwife Agnes and she preformed a stretch and sweep after receiving a somewhat pleading call from your mommy. Daddy took your sisters out of the house and left mommy to sleep the afternoon away. Grano brought home dinner, and it was then that sporadic contractions began. I didn't think much of them, I knew that it was entirely possible that it was just more false labor.
In fact, I was so sure that I was NOT in labor, that I went shopping to buy a chair for your nursery after putting your sister to bed. Got home, went to bed, but by about 10:30, I had the distinct feeling that it wasn't braxton hicks anymore.
At 11pm I started timing the contractions, then let your dad know that he needed to get upstairs while I got in the tub to see if water slowed things didn't. We let Grano know that labor had started and we'd call when we needed her to come by. Daddy set up the bedroom for your birth. Warm, worn sheets for the bed, soft towels, and enough shower curtains and plastic table cloths to cover the floor.
By 1am mommy said it was time to page Agnes and get Grano. They both arrived around 1:30, just as I told your daddy that he better call Agnes and tell her to page the second midwife.
Sure enough, I was 7cm dilated and Andy, our other midwife, was on her way.
Things are blurry for the next little while as we suffered through contractions while being attached to an IV, which definitely limited mobility! As soon as the IV was done and I could stand, I did, and soon after, there was a gush of water. So different from your sister, with whom labor began with a trickling of water breaking.
The contractions became more intense and it was time to get back onto the bed. Mommy was so happy to be able to push, so excited and eager to meet you my little one.
After 4 pushes, about 20 minutes total, you came screaming out. Literally. We heard you scream the moment your head was out.
It was the most empowering moment. Bringing my beautiful son into the world in the comfort of our home, warm in our bed. Those first moments are so precious, and were made so much more comfortable with the scents, sounds, sights and touches of home surrounding us.
You looked so much like your sister, but so clearly masculine. And bigger, though it wasn't for an hour or so that we found out just how much bigger.
Your sister, born at 41.2 weeks, was 6.15 pounds and 54cm. You, at 41.1weeks weighed a whopping 9.6 pounds and measured at 56cm. Already verging on too big for newborn sizes, but so chubby and beautiful. Your delivery, for such a big boy, was easy. You were meant to be just as you are.
And here we are, 9 days later. Your favourite place to sleep is snuggled in close to me, your sweet baby smell intoxicating me as I sleep. You are snuggly and soft and, if there was ever a "spoiled" boy, it is you. You are always close to someone, always snuggled up.
Welcome to the world my son. We are so happy you are here.
Love and Kisses Always,


Thursday 14 March 2013

41 weeks (well, almost)

My first pregnancy was pretty glorious come to think of it. Sure, I was overdue, but that, and cankles, were really the only big discomforts. I had some nausea, but nothing bad, trouble sleeping at the end and heartburn, but, pretty tame compared to what other women had gone through. I was lucky.

The reason there have been virtually no posts the pregnancy is because it hasn't been glorious. From the start we had scares and hiccoughs and I have been beyond uncomfortable since about 18 weeks  in with painful sciatica.

Yes, pregnancy is wonderful, and it results in a beautiful little baby that I can love and hold forever. That, however, doesn't meant I don't have the right to complain about my discomforts, anxieties and stress over it.

Being 41 weeks pregnant with a toddler SUCKS. Unless you have been 41 weeks pregnant, you have no idea what it is like. Yes, I anticipated making it to, and perhaps going past, my due date once again (Miss S was 9 days late), but I didn't think it would be this far past for the second time.

Have you ever been 41 weeks pregnant and had to put on socks and boots and take the over energized toddler and dog for a walk before they both drive you up the wall?
Have you ever been 41 weeks pregnant and had to climb in and out of an SUV in the winter? Or had to lift a 2 1/2 year old in and out of...well anywhere?
My belly is bulging, my hips and back are aching, the only time I am remotely comfortable is in the tub. I can't even lie down to sleep because of the wicked heartburn and feet that are STILL lodged in my ribs.

But, yes. I do know how lucky I am to have gotten pregnant and made it to term. I know that many women suffer worse, but you know what...I am not them. I am me and I have my own stresses with this pregnancy.

When we had our dating ultrasound at around 10 weeks, we found out that our baby had a fetal gut herniation and were set up with care at Mt Sinai with a specialist. We were sent for IPS testing to rule out other disorders and get all the information we could before meeting with the Sinai people, but that was a month between ultrasounds. A month of wondering if our baby was even viable and what our options were. A month of tears and stress and no sleep. Fortunately, the IPS ultrasound and testing showed that everything was fine. The herniation cleared up on its own and there were no other signs of "defects or disorders." Sinai called and told us not to bother coming in, we carried on as usual.

Our 18-20 weeks ultrasound confirmed that baby was growing well, but that he/she did have a large belly, we are still hoping that doesn't mean a thing.
This was also the time my sciatic nerve started acting up, making it painful to stand, sit, lay, walk or exist. It has not improved.

This was followed by a UTI caused by Group B Strep, something that can cause serious damage to little babies, including, in severe cases, death. It took 2 rounds of treatment to clear it up, and I am still going to be put on IV fluids while in labor...if there is even time for them to kick in. Having a quick labor is great in terms of exhaustion and pain, not so much when you are worried about potentially life saving drugs having enough time (4hrs) to reach your child. Now, yes, I am aware that it is like a 0.1 percent chance of anything going wrong because of GBS, but you know what? I am pregnant, hormonal and feel like every test has come back with negative reviews, so ya, I am stressed about it.

I went from having no worries, to being constantly worried. I am worried about having a baby at home, but equally terrified of having a baby on the side of the road. I am stressed about gestational diabetes, GBS, if the itching rash (which isn't PUPPS) means something bad, and right now, I am stressed about when the hell this baby is going to make his/her appearance because ENOUGH IS ENOUGH I WANT THIS KID OUT OF ME. Is being pregnant and all the aches and pains and worries worth it in the end? Of course. Just because I complain, doesn't mean I am somehow ungrateful to be adding to our family. I don't need reminders that "baby will come when it comes," or how "lucky I am". What I need is support, just like any other mother (pregnant or not).

Oh, and to my husband, who has yet to sit down and discuss any possible names...thanks a heap, it sure makes it easier. I don't even have a name for this child, boy or girl, but let me tell you honey, if you don't come up with something before this baby is born, I am choosing the name because I've had them thought out for MONTHS.

However, a few happier thoughts...
Miss S is still in a crib, which means no escape routes at night. She is potty trained (though in a pull up at night because of the crib). She eats everything, is talking up a storm, knows her letters and numbers and is, for the most part, a doll. Except when she is not. Those moments aren't so fun, like being told, "No, I never ----" (fill in the blank). She has also taken to holding her pee as long as humanly possible until she is about to burst. BUT, she is helpful and friendly and loves just hanging out. I am so excited for her to become a big sister. She helped get the baby's things ready and gave the baby a blanket and a few of her own little toys (but said that she wasn't giving the baby her light, her night night blankie or her books...fair enough).

Thursday 15 November 2012

Where we are now

It's been a long time, way too long, since I last posted. Here is where we are.
Miss S uses the potty. I don't want to jinx it, but she has been using the potty for a few months, and it has been about a week since she has had any accidents, and about 2 weeks of pooping in the potty, which was our big obstacle. She is wearing big girl underpants, and will often stay dry through naps.
We aren't potty training at night because she is still in her crib, and will be for a few more months...but not long after March because...
Yup, come March we will be joined by Eggo v2.0! A new little peanut to join our family! Miss S is crazy excited. It is the absolute sweetest thing I have ever seen. She talks to my belly and asks/tells/demands the baby to kick. She kisses the baby and is all about lifting up my shirt and saying "Hi" to the baby. Melts my heart.
Also makes me a little nervous because she is very possessive of her mommy. Like to a point when if another child, her own cousin included, comes up and touches me, she runs over yelling, "No! That's my mommy!" I am hoping that once it is "her baby," that she will share "her mommy" because otherwise we are in for a world of tears and tantrums.

Speaking of which...what is up with the tears and tantrums!? They are so unpredictable. One moment we are laughing and dancing, the next we are in total meltdown mode. Often regarding simple request or denial of her on my behalf. The most recent was over apple juice. I asked her if she wanted juice or chocolate milk with her dinner. she replied, "No." So she got apple juice. She took one sip adn burst into tears.

"No juice mama! Chocy nak" (chocolate milk)
"Scarlett, momma asked what you would like to drink."
"Ya. Chocy nak mama." (in a very pathetic, sad, voice)

This was full on tears over something she was offered and refused. I sometimes wish I could get into her head...though a meltdown over chocolate milk makes me rethink that...

We also had our first Halloween outing. In the past, Miss S has stayed home, handed out candy to a few kids, cried, and gone to bed. This year we decided to take her out. We planned on grandma's and two or three neighbors, but she had so much fun that we ended up hitting about 6 houses (grandma's house to our house that were lit up and home). She was yelling "trick or treat" as soon as her feet hit the driveway, but if the "man of the house" was handing out candy, wouldn't say it again, kids and moms got smiles and chats though. Her favourite part of trick or treating? Seeing all of our neighbors dogs/cats. We had to bribe her away from the kitty-cat at one house with the promise of more treats.
It was a rainy Halloween. Miss S carried her umbrella until the first candy bar, then switched for her treat bag, which she held onto with an iron grip.
 Let's see...
Little Miss S love "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" which she calls "Hotdog" after the ending credits, Signing Time/Baby Signing Time/Potty Time (anything with Rachel and Hopkins) is always a easy sell. LOVES Toy Story and is just getting into princesses. She has taken to putting on hairbands, jewelry, purses etc and saying, "Ohhhh! I'm a princess!" Random because we don't talk about the princesses...interesting because it's one of the girliest stereotypes out there, and she is apparently all into it. She also loves "helping mama" which is great when it's sweeping/cleaning, but sometimes a pain when it's cooking. Mixing ingredients, great. Cracking eggs, and wanting to help with the stove/oven...not so much.
Today she did help set the table though, so that's good!
Alright, it is 8:55 on a Thursday night, which means "Must See TV" is about to start. So hopefully I will be able to keep up with the posts a bit more before the new peanut arrives. And also get more pictures. Having an iphone is great, except for the fact that all my pictures are on my phone, not my computer.
Night all.

Wednesday 1 August 2012

I hate the potty...and so does Miss S

I will keep this short because I am ready to tear my hair out over it.
Miss S refuses to potty train. I have tried just plopping her in underpants...they al had to be washed from pee and poop and it didn't really seem to phase her that she was wet/dirty.
I tried bribes of candy and interest. So I tried cookies. No interest. She will plop her little bum down for 2.8 seconds and demand her treat...then scream and cry for more.
I sing songs. I cheer. I sit and go potty with her.
She has zero interest in actually using the potty (though she will sit on it and sing).
She has also taken to telling me that "it's stuck" as soon as she sits on the potty. She makes a face and says, "Ooooooo! It's stuck!" The end. No more trying.
We watch Potty Time. We have the watch. We read potty books. I have tried telling her that she is such a big girl, she doesn't want to wear diapers like a baby! She tells me she wants diapers. I get her new undies and make a big stink about them, she tells me, "No potty in *signs underwear*" Yay! She gets it...except not so much.
I know I am not the only one, but for some reason we are receiving a lot of "Get the 2 year old potty trained" pressure, and I was SURE that by end of summer we'd be done with diapers during the day...SO...back to underpants tomorrow (it was laundry day) and here is hoping that they stay dry.