The ones that got away.

It has to be said that I’ve gained much more than I’ve lost in the past couple of years—Sloane, a new house, new experiences…but there have been some losses too. The most tragic was the loss of our dayhome provider earlier this year. I wish that she had simply moved on to another job or perhaps returned home to the Philippines. But she is gone, gone. Early last summer she started experiencing some seemingly minor symptoms (fatigue, weird rash-like spots on her legs) and sought medical help at a walk-in clinic where her concerns were initially dismissed and then later taken more seriously as doctors tried to establish if she was having some kind of allergic or autoimmune reaction. After a couple of weeks in and out of the hospital, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

While it is the most common childhood cancer, it is much rarer (and deadlier) in adults. About 98% of children with ALL go into remission within weeks of starting treatment and 90% of those kids are able to be cured (cancer is considered “cured” after 10 years in remission). This is in sharp contrast to the 3-year survival rates for adult patients, which are down in the 25-50% range. She was shocked by the diagnosis, but extremely positive and resolved to fight it. She posted a lot on social media about gratitude for her friends, family and faith. She was also – the entire time – consumed with concern for her dayhome charges. Worried about how the babies were getting on without her, missing them, and sorry that she couldn’t see them too much (for her own immunity).

Over the next 8 months she underwent several rounds of chemo and eventually one of her younger brothers was identified as a stem cell donor and was flown over from the Philippines for a full body stem cell transplant on January 11, 2018. The transplant was successful and she initially seemed to be on the road to recovery, but in early February she came down with pneumonia and then some type of infection. She was put in an induced coma for a couple of weeks and they were having trouble bringing her out of it—which didn’t bode well. She passed away on the evening of February 22, with family by her side.

There was a point before Christmas when, because of whatever was going on with her health at that time, it occurred to me that she might not make it. But it wasn’t until she actually died that I realized how surprised I was, and how naively optimistic my view of cancer had become. I had been spoiled by the “fighter” and “survivor” and “kicking cancer’s ass” narratives that pervaded my limited personal experiences and A LOT of popular/social media coverage.

“They caught it early”, “she’s young and strong”, “she’s getting the best treatment”, “she’s THINKING POSITIVE” – all these factors are supposed to mean that things turn out okay. Not that a healthy, active, 24-year old woman will be dead in less than a year. How foolish is it to be caught off guard by the fact that cancer kills?

It’s good to remain hopeful and positive, but it’s also maybe good to remember that all the well-wishes, positive thoughts, prayers and go-fund-me campaigns in the world can’t change the course of fate.

About a year earlier, we lost our boy Twitchy. Along with his sister Molly, he was the other “OG” shit monster that was one of the namesakes of this blog and the grey/black/white guy up in the top banner image. He was a big, handsome boy (23 lbs-ish) and a great, great cat. Super loving and cuddly with people and Molly. The best lap cat and couch buddy that ever there was.

The night before we were leaving town to meet up with my parents at their condo in Mexico, he looked a little bit off. Nothing I could put my finger on. It always makes me roll my eyes when a vet asks if the animal has been lethargic. Like, he’s a cat, he’s been lethargic for over a decade. In the morning, his breathing was laboured and he seemed weak. Sloane was still sleeping, so Andrew ran T to the vet while I stayed home and finished last-minute packing since we were 5 hours from boarding a plane. It quickly became clear that T was in very rough shape and we were going to have to make some quick decisions. I intercepted my friend Kerri on her way to work, diverting her to my house to stay with Sloane so I could join Andrew at the vet.

We never figured out the whole situation…they suspected an enlarged heart but possibly other issues as well. Getting a more solid diagnosis would have meant a lot of money and there was a lot of doubt that anything we could have done would have done much good. By the time we were able to see him to say goodbye, he was lying on his side in an oxygen chamber. He was mellow and friendly but undeniably sick – too sick to come out to say goodbye in the marginally better private rooms they have for such purposes. We were given ample time to visit, but after just a few minutes of petting and talking to T, we called the vet back. When it’s time, it’s time. These things suck, but we were glad it all went down before we left so we could be there for him, and thankful to have a vet who made us feel supported in our decision.

There’s one final aspect of loss that’s been on my mind a lot lately as relationships have shifted in the post-Sloane era. Some significant ones have pretty much disappeared. This is tough for me, because I’ve always valued a friendship circle that is ‘small but deep’ as opposed to ‘wide but shallow’. As a result, I don’t have dozens of back-ups waiting in the wings when things go south with close friends. I mean, I feel like I’m diversified enough in that I have work friends, some casual mom-friends, neighbours I’m friendly with, old friends I connect with once in blue, etc. But these aren’t the people I spend the majority of my time/energy on, nor the ones I had envisioned playing an important role throughout my daughter’s life. This is one of the things that concerns me a lot – it’s SO, SO, important to me for Sloane to have solid, lifelong connections with people she can trust (beyond her family) to be there for her no matter what.

I launched into a bit of a deep dive on friendship and it was pretty eye-opening.

That friends come and go seems to be a universal truth. Research shows that MOST friendships have a life span of around seven years and that the majority of friendships you make are ‘fleeting and based on convenience’. There’s a heartwarming sentiment. Here’s another one: we form an average of 396 personal relationships in our lifetime, but only 33 – that’s one in 12 – will last. Also – this is the best/worst one yet – only about 50% of the people you consider friends consider you a friend back. Awesome, right?

2,000-odd years ago, Aristotle defined three types of friendship. Friendships of utility (you are useful to one another – you help each other out), friendships of pleasure (you enjoy doing things together or get enjoyment out of each other’s humour, charm or intellect) and friendships of virtue (you love each other simply for who each of you are). The first two types are necessary, fun and perfectly fine, but the third type is the holy grail kind that is harder to come by, but the most enduring and rewarding.

Most lapsed friendships are easy to understand. These are the ‘easy come, easy go’ friends of utility or pleasure. People are brought together by circumstance or proximity (school, workplace, neighbourhood, clubs, hobbies) and when that common bond goes away, so does the friendship. No harm, no foul.

These ones and the ones that implode or fall apart in a more decisive or dramatic fashion (somebody lies/cheats/steals/joins a cult) seem to be easier to come to terms with than the ones that you thought were built on something solid, but then either abruptly end for reasons unknown or just sort of trail off, leaving you wondering what happened. You can ask. But you really can’t expect a satisfying answer. I mean, if the truthful answer is, “you know what? I just don’t really like you anymore.” Who is going to have the balls to say that to somebody? Most people will go the denial or ghosting route.

I’m the kind of person who likes to hash things out and wants explanations. It took me far too long to realize that the reason someone has disconnected isn’t important. The fact that they did says everything you need to know. If you piss somebody off and they want to be your friend, they tell you they are pissed off. If you hurt somebody and they want to be your friend, they tell you they are hurt. If somebody is uncomfortable with anything you’re doing or not doing and they want to be your friend, they bring it to you. If instead they retreat from you, then they don’t want to be your friend. Perhaps someone you believed was a friend of virtue was actually a friend of utility or pleasure all along. Maybe they were part of the 50% who didn’t think as much of you as you did of them. Maybe your 7 years was simply up. For whatever reason, they are JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU. And like it was for Miranda when the infuriating Jack Berger dropped this truth bomb on SATC approximately a million years ago, this realization is freeing as fuck.

What then? As my friend (maybe?! Ha!) Kate recently said, you remind yourself to “choose people who choose you”. This means investing in the people who make the effort to connect with you. None of us has the time or energy to have the kind of all-consuming, hang-out all day every day, friendships we had in our teens or 20s, that’s a given. But we all make choices every day about who we are keeping in our life and who we are willing to push (or let slip) away. The trick is to hold on to the people who are holding on right back.

The Quarantine Diaries: Part 2

Thursday, April 26.

12:31 pm: “Babe. I’m not feeling great.”

1:11 pm: “I’m freezing!!”

1:34 pm: “Can you come get me?”

fine1

Andrew walked to work, dropping Sloane off at Gram Gram’s along the way so I could get some work done from home since I haven’t been to work since Tuesday. And then the texts started trickling in. Back at home on the couch, his temperature is still normal (eventually he gets a fever) but he doesn’t look normal, and he’s starting to point out what could, maybe, sorta, be little spots forming on his hand.

fine2

If you watched How I Met Your Mother, you might remember the episode where Lily and Marshall eat tainted soup 3 hours apart? When Lily gets sick from food poisoning first, Marshall can see 3 hours into his future…and it’s not pretty. Well Andrew can see a couple days ahead and it’s also not looking good.

Sure enough, on Friday morning there is no maybe about the spots. I try really hard (not very hard) to not pull disgusting faces when I look at them. He’s got it worse than Sloane, and in weirder places, like the back of his scalp and under his nose. He’s supposed to fly to Houston on Sunday for work, but that’s not happening any more. Although he goes through phases of denial and delusion where he thinks he can “meet up with them on Tuesday”.

Meanwhile, Sloane is starting to feel better and I am starting to feel like I have a very sore throat and woke up Friday feeling tired and nauseous. Probably doesn’t mean anything.

Fine3

As it turns out, I never do come down with the HFMD, I just have some other random, sore throat, chest congestion-y, cold type thing. I join in the popsicle eating, cartoon watching marathon and my lovely friend Kristyn brings us rollerball thingies of essential oil blends to help with the spots and immunity. Sloane loves her “magic medicine’ which (big bonus) tickles when you roll it on.

In the end, Sloane took down two other kids from dayhome (including her bf Ben) and her Papa V – who wins (or loses) for the worst breakout.

 

The Quarantine Diaries: Part 1

It’s somewhat unfortunate that it’s taken a plague to bring me out of (unintentional) retirement, but I’m not one to question inspiration.

For nearly two years, we’d avoided the doctor (outside of all the routine check-ups and shots) and we were feeling pretty good about it all. Maybe even a little smug. Our child is invincible! Our kid has only had 1 or 2 colds in her 18 months at dayhome! Behold our genetically superior offspring!

And then: the cheek splotch. It looked like a lipstick mark , actually. Which wasn’t super weird after a day split between dayhome and Gram Gram’s house. It was only when I was getting her ready for bed that I realised I couldn’t rub it off. It also felt like it had a little bit of plumpness to it, under the surface – maybe swelling from a scrape/bruise? I Googled my butt off into the wee hours and wondered if it could be something I found called cellulitis. In the morning, I was slightly more worried when it felt a tiny bit firm – though it still didn’t really look like much of anything. But when I picked her up from dayhome after work and it felt decidedly firm (like there was a semi-solid blob of something underneath her cheek) I drove straight to my parents’ house to ask, basically, “wtf is this?!” My mom’s answer was basically, “duh, that is an infection, take her to the doctor.” Whose assessment (at the THIRD clinic I drove to because why wouldn’t walk-in clinics all close at 5pm?) was also, basically, “duh, that is an infection.” Twas indeed cellulitis – an infection in the skin cells that happens when bacteria gets in via a little surface cut. It’s no big deal, you know, unless it gets into your blood stream and KILLS YOU. Or into your eye and BLINDS YOU.  Thanks, Google.

It cleared up with 10 days of delicious (I’m told) bubblegum-pink antibiotics. Shortly after, whilst running like a lunatic between our couch and armchair, she smoked her face off the arm of the chair and got an instant black eye. Ice packs and some icy stares in the mall saw us through that one. Then, a couple days later I get a text at work that Sloane has smashed her face into a plastic playhouse and gashed her cheek. That cut had JUST about healed when, last Sunday, she spent the entire day lying on the floor. Like, ALL DAY. She didn’t want to eat, play or even be snuggled much. She just wanted to lay on a pillow with her Nenna and a blankie and stare into space while periodically dozing off. It was worrying. In the afternoon, she had a bit of a fever and then there were a few tiny red dots around her mouth. Time to call Gram Gram again. Lukewarm bath, double dose of Tylenol and the fever broke so fast it was shocking. It was good to see a little bit of spunk back in her and we hoped that would be all. It was not all.

The spots started popping out in other places and off we trotted back to the walk-in clinic on Monday night. At least this time I headed straight for the one I knew stayed open late (bless them). It turned out to be what we figured/dreaded – and in retrospect, something contagious that we should probably NOT have brought into their clinic – the dreaded Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Which just sounds gross, right? Dirty or something. Not just off-putting, the name is also a pack of lies. Those spots show up anywhere they like. She actually didn’t get any on her feet, but she had them on her butt, legs, arms, hands and inside (and around) her mouth. Viral, like chicken pox, there’s no treatment; it’s just something uncomfortable and inconvenient that has to run its course. It’s also something that MOST adults don’t get, on account of having usually developed immunity to the many strains that can cause it over the years. USUALLY.

Join me tomorrow for Part 2: The fun spreads…

Baby & Body: 11 & 12 month updates

We did it! We kept her alive for a whole year! And she’s even turning out kind of awesome! I say all the time that she is actually the best little baby ever. She’s hilarious, bright, tough, laid back, and really fricken’ cute. We know that we won the baby lottery and gush about it all the time. Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Physical growth hasn’t been as “leaps and bounds” lately as it had been for the first 9 months or so when every weigh-in is a shocker. Mainly because once they start crawling and walking they burn more calories and don’t plump up as much. As of her last clinic visit on May 1 (for her 12-month vaccinations) she is 28” long, and 20 lbs 10 oz.

The major developmental milestones from the last (9 & 10 month) update have pretty much carried over, with walking and talking being the biggest elements. Walking was funny: at 10 months we were convinced that she’d be on the move any day – and for sure be independently walking before she turned 1. Way back in Mexico, she was standing all the time and starting to let go of the furniture or come to a standing position in the middle of the room, and it seemed like she was soooooo close to taking steps. But no. She cruised, she stood, she wobbled, she lurched, but she did not properly walk any hands-free steps until the 11th month, and then she hung out in the two or three steps and fall down phase FOREVER. Finally, at 12 months and 3 days, she toddled down the hallway of her dayhome (12 steps!!) into Charlene’s waiting arms. Not mine or her dad’s, or even Grandma’s, but Charlene’s. It was such a long time coming and evidently, she just couldn’t wait ONE MORE HOUR for me to pick her up for the weekend. At least Charlene took video, which was very cute footage because Sloane seemed so pleased with herself.

Speaking of Charlene, Sloane absolutely loves her dayhome and I’m so happy, because it was a decision I really sweated. Before finding the dayhome she is at, I wasn’t totally satisfied with any of the options I had looked into and looked at. Every tour made me want to cry at some point, and I’d always feel awful driving away. When I left Charlene’s, I didn’t feel like crying at all – so I took that as a very good sign. While I was leaning towards the more homey, cozy, feel of dayhomes (and the handful of kids as opposed to, like, 90) I had my hesitations about them being maybe too unregulated. Luckily, what we found is a bit of a hybrid. It’s a house, just a few blocks from us, but it’s overseen by a company that hires, trains and regularly checks in on the caregiver and environment. They provide all the resources, toys, curriculum, planning, admin support, groceries, etc. so that the caregiver’s only job is to focus on the children. Our caregiver was a pediatric nurse in the Philippines and is super sweet with the kids. She is also incredibly organized and structured, so you feel confident that she has a solid grip on caring for up to 6 babies at a time. Plus, they use this AMAZING app called Tadpoles that sends photos, videos and daily reports to our phones, so we can see what she’s doing throughout the day. It’s so awesome to see every snack, meal, nap and activity photo-documented.

And speaking of speaking, Sloane’s vocabulary keeps growing, so far it includes:

-that? (what is that?)

-That. (I want that)

-THAT!THAT!THAT! (GIVE ME THAT RIGHT NOW I WANT TO EAT IT ALL NOW, I SAID NOW BITCH, NOW!)

-numnumnumnum

-quack quack

-Nenna (Gemma – but many things are Nenna: bunnies, furry pillows)

-up up!

-down

-ta (please and thank you)

-cup

-boobas (yup, boobs, also accompanied by hand gestures and a general air of desperation)

-titty (surprise, this one means kitty)

-dada

-momma

-mum mum (baby rice crackers)

-papa (my dad….and my mom – she’s a bit confused on this. They are both Papa)

-night night

-goo gurl (good girl – accompanied by clapping)

-ball

-puppa (puppy)

-diaper

-uh oh

What else? She still wants to touch everything. She likes to feel things of different textures and is particularly fond of trees, pinecones, sweaters, doorknobs, Gemma, Velcro, and textured paintings. Where she could take them or leave them before, she has now gotten into stuffies. At bed/nap time she’s always snuggled her “bunny lovey” which we now have 3 of – 1 at home, 1 at dayhome and 1 at Grandma’s – to avoid a potentially catastrophic loss. She’s also just now discovered the other ten or so animals inhabiting her room. One of her favourite games is what we call “Ark” which entails dragging all of her animals into the boat (baby bathtub) in her room, and climbing in herself, of course. She likes to high-five, cheer, blow kisses, wave and give real kisses now…which vary between slobbery, open-mouthers and dry pecks with loud “mwah!” sound effects.

The only thing new with me is that my boobs started to seem like they were sort of coasting towards retirement. Since I was returning to work a couple weeks before Sloane turned 1, nursing has gone down to 2-3 times a day (always morning and bedtime, and sometimes a bonus “happy hour” session if she asked for it). I’ve had isolated days of lower supply before, but currently it’s a more sustained “bottom of the milk carton” kind of feeling. Which stands to reason – I’m only needed twice a day instead of the ten (or more) times I started out at. At the same time, she isn’t really fond of drinking whole (cow) milk…so we’re trying to make sure she gets lots of calcium, fat and vitamin D through other sources. The clinic said as long as she’ll take her D supplement and eat “a little bit of cheese and yogurt” it’s fine…which made me laugh because when it comes to Sloane’s eating habits, especially yogurt and cheese, there is no such thing as “a little bit”. 

Baby & Body: 9/10 month updates

Ignoring my now typical tardiness, I believe we left off with the rapid succession of sitting up to army crawling to proper crawling and lastly to pulling up to standing, back in late December and early January. Looking back at texts and pictures to confirm the timeline (because I seemingly can’t cast my mind back a mere 6 weeks) it seems that by mid January, standing had become the norm along with cruising the furniture. By far, her favourite pastime in this era is cruising the coffee tables, couches and ottoman, looking for remotes, iPads, game controllers, Kindles and iPhones. If I unleashed her in a Radio Shack she’d be happy for days. Actual toys? For suckers. Books, at least, have retained their appeal and she loves pulling them all off the shelves and flipping through them on her own. It is one of my favourite sights.

Although everything I’ve read suggests that, at this age, baby babble is just that – phonetic babble that is not intentional language or use of words – I beg to differ. This is the month she started using mom (momomomom) and dad (dadadadada) in the proper contexts and specifically directed at us. Also, more rarely, hihihihi, byebyebye, kitty and cup. She made the meanings very clear by complementing the words with her other new obsession: pointing. She used this funny crooked pointer finger – never quite straight, but accusatory nonetheless. She particularly enjoyed when we would reach out and touch our finger to hers, E.T style. Moving closer to the 10 month mark, she started pointing at objects saying, “that?!” as in, asking us what the object is called. And trust me, she wants to know what EVERYTHING is called. All day long. That is a cat. That is a doorknob, that is a carbon monoxide detector, that is a scratch on the coffee table, that is the metal thingy that the door knob latches into. That is mommy’s wine bottle.

We enrolled in another session of Rhyme & Reason this month in which she actually fell into the proper age group (8 to 18 months) whereas last time she was added to the group at just 5 months old due to low enrollment in her own age category. Of course, this was far less “successful” than the first time around when she was totally engrossed in the songs, stories and hand motions. This time, she just wanted to roam, manhandle other babies and get into everything. At any rate, she left each class happy and exhausted, so it has to get chalked up as a win, even if I largely felt a bit silly sitting in a circle, clapping and bouncing by myself

A sad thing about her new inability to stay still was that around the second week of January we had to cut out letting her come sleep in our bed after her first early morning feeding. She was just too wiggly and wily and wouldn’t settle back down with us. She was constantly scaling our bodies and trying to hurl herself headfirst off the bed, instead of drifting off holding our hands. Sadly, I had to start putting her back in her own crib for an hour or two more of solo sleep. Otherwise, sleep was smooth and naptimes really stabilized with a 10 or 10:30 morning nap and a 2:30 or 3 afternoon nap.

And then we went to Mexico. We left at the very end of January when she was just over 9 months and the flight took a little more work than it used to to keep her happy and quiet. She just wants to stand and crawl, which makes it feel a bit like a 5 hour alligator wrestling match with all the thrashing, grabbing and splashing (of sippy cups). Overall though, she did quite well and received many compliments on her good behaviour from relieved fellow travelers.

Puerto Vallarta really agreed with her, even though it was at times a bit of a pain in the ass for us (narrow, cobblestone roads; a lack of serviceable highchairs). She loved the swimming pools and the hot tub (it was a cool one), especially with the inflatable duck floaty that grandma and grandpa picked up for her. The mere sight of Ducky resulted in so much flailing and screaming that we had to strategically hide it and carry it around out of her sight so she didn’t lose her mind if we weren’t immediately headed to the pool. She loved Mexican food including chorizo tacos, queso, guacamole, and could absolutely pack away the refried beans. She always enjoys restaurants and people-watching so the whole cadence of our aimless days spent wandering around, snacking, drinking and sightseeing suited her perfectly. It didn’t hurt that she was being squeezed, cooed at and fawned over everywhere we went by all the friendly old ladies and young gay men (and a few young gay men in friendly old lady drag.) As much fun as she had, she also slept exceptionally well, but a bit un predictably. With extra long morning and afternoon naps and solid long nights. I was often finding myself waking up significantly before her, for maybe the first time ever, which was a nice feeling to be able to wake up on my own without having to bolt right out of bed and get to work.

There were a few lows among all these highs. She was sick a couple of times, with a minor cold the first couple days of our trip that didn’t seem to faze her and then a more chesty, rattly cough the last couple days that really knocked her out for an entire day that she spent the vast majority of napping. Luckily the gym had a wet sauna so we went there pre-bed and got a lot of…stuff…out of her. That cough went away and then about a week after we got home it came back. Sick babies suck because there’s nothing you can really give them to feel better, other than a humidifier and snuggles. The only upside to come out of this last round of sickness was the one morning when Andrew didn’t have the heart to put her back in her crib and she ended up being calm (weak, haha) enough to come sleep in our bed for a couple hours.

More to come in separate posts about feeding, Mr. T, and another random rant. Soon. For reals.

Baby & Body: 8 month update

Today* is perhaps not the day I should begin to draft this update, as the babe was up at 3:30, 4:45 and finally 7:15…and I am feeling, how shall we say, less than charitable towards parenting at the moment. Teething, developmental leaps, holiday schedule disruptions and nap transitions all suck for sleep.

Let’s take those menaces one by one, since that’s the only way my brain can function enough to type at this point. Especially since coffee has been making me a bit too anxious lately to be worth the much-needed caffeine jolt.

Teething – as previously mentioned, the bottom two came in without much ado, but the next ones (assumed to be top two) are not coming without a fight. After realizing that I had given her a single bedtime dose of Tylenol more nights in a 2 week period than I hadn’t, I grabbed some hippie shit from the pharmacy to make myself (and hopefully her, of course) feel better. The Camillia liquid does seem to help, while the Hyland’s gel doesn’t seem to make much difference. Wrapping a crushed ice bundle in a washcloth and securing it with a hair elastic is her current favourite teething toy and provides good daytime relief. All her problems (like all of ours, I’d say) seem worse as she is trying to go to sleep, so that’s when we break out the medicinal guns. Or we wake up at, say, 3:30 with a whiny baby grabbing at her mouth and ears.

Developmental leaps – first came actual, proper, crawling on hands and knees, then came trying to sit up on her own. I mean, she has been sitting up without assistance for a while but I’m talking about getting to a sitting position on her own. This, she clumsily started and then perfected in about 2 days. It’s enjoyable in that it gives her more independence and options for positions to play in. The downside is that for the first week or so the urge to sit up was so compelling that she would do it constantly – including when she should have been lying down to sleep or when she first stirred upon waking – thus fully keeping her awake instead of allowing her to lounge and resettle. Anyways, this was all very much towards the tail-end of the month so I’ll save the next steps for the next update.

Holiday disruptions – having visitors, having lots of places to be in a day, and plans that extend beyond bedtime are all sleep-killers. Sloane has always been one of those “sleep begets sleep” kind of babies. Meaning that when daytime naps suffer, so too does her nighttime sleep. Which sucks, sure, and I know for most people that nighttime sleep is the holy grail, but honestly, the daytime naps themselves are just as important to me since this is when I get to do fun things like showering, eating and housekeeping. Without naps the whole operation crumbles  Which leads into…

Nap transition – around this age, babies start to transition from 3 naps to 2 naps. I’ve always had a tough time counting Sloane’s naps because she’s always had a bit of a weird morning routine (due to mutually agreed upon laziness) and I’ve paid more attention to her sleepiness cues than the clock when I’ve put her down to nap. This sort of non-routine routine has historically worked well for us. On a good day (which until the last few weeks was called a normal day) she would typically:

-go to bed at 7:30 pm

-wake somewhere between 6 and 8 am to nurse

-fall back to sleep in my bed for a couple hours, typically waking around 9 or 10 am.

-awake for 2 or 3 hours and nap (11 or 12pm?) For an hour or two

-awake for 2 or 3 hours and nap (3 or 4pm?) For an hour or two

-bedtime again.

I guess if you count the first going back to sleep after nursing as a nap, then she was pretty much on a 3-a-day schedule. Which was regular enough for my own flexible needs, but irregular enough to make it tough to plan a bunch of activities or meet-ups with other people, day after day – which was a challenge over the holidays with visiting family and various events. A situation compounded by the fact that she was sometimes skipping or “cat-napping” (or crap-napping?) one or more of her usual nap times. Making me question whether she needed a bedtime adjustment and/or to consolidate the 3 naps into 2 longer naps with longer awake times between them. Sometimes that worked out great and other times not at all, which I think will be the case until she eventually adjusts into the 2-a-day habit. An adjustment that just wasn’t happening with people rattling about the house and us running all over Hell’s half-acre. We’ll see how she goes as life returns to normal…for a few weeks until we go to Mexico for 2 weeks. Oh boy.

What else? Food…the slow mo intro to solids has picked up momentum. While she’s still nursing 4 or 5 times a day, she’s also now eating solids at two meals – it varies a bit. She will now eat almost anything you put in front of her or in her mouth. I have a few frozen purees that I pull out from time to time and do buy the odd pouch or jar of food (gasp! I know) but for the most part, she is eating what we’re eating, either in whole or in part. Or sometimes in semi-mash. I feel like this entire feeding topic may be a whole other post so I will leave it at that for now.

As for me, I have nothing to say for myself that you haven’t already heard. This may be the worlds longest post-partum plateau and I’m okay with it. Teeth have definitely added an element of danger to the nursing game these days, although she is yet to properly bite me. Yet. There were a couple light bite downs that were not great, and an overall general scrapiness that is not totally delightful. But, it’s OK so far. I’m still not feeling terribly energetic these days, and to that end it seems about time to get back on top of taking some of the supplements that have helped in the past. Maca being one that really helped when I was in the first trimester. And still more water. If I could get a weekly saline IV drip, I would.

One of the best things about this month is that Sloane has started to act like she really likes me. I mean, I know I’m her mom and she is bonded to me because she needs me…but now it’s like she really likes me – getting so excited when I enter a room or come home and reaching for me or crawling to me for some love at regular intervals. It’s nice to know the feeling is mutual. And big baby smiles go a long way when you are so tired you put the milk away in the pantry.

*as always, today is not really today, as it takes me a few to write a post. So fear not, this zombie day is behind me and baby has actually resumed napping properly since we have returned to normal post-holiday life.

Baby & Body: months 6 & 7 update

In not blogging for just over a month I missed an entire month’s update and cruised right on by the next one too – hence, the combined update. And you know, I can’t even be bothered to be apologetic about it because life has just been too damn much lately between travelling two weeks in a row and being sick twice in a row (one quick but brutal stomach bug, one bastard of a cold).

While Sloane thankfully missed out on the stomach virus, she was the one who gave me the cold, and a sick baby is no fun at all–less so when you are sick yourself. She’s been sleeping like crap because she can’t breathe through her nose (which means she also can’t suck her thumb to self-soothe) and (I’m guessing from my own symptoms) she’s also had a sore throat and headache. Good thing grape flavoured baby Tylenol turned out to be her poison.

Sickness aside, big changes these past two months include the arrival of the first tooth on November 6, followed up by the second one a couple weeks later for a cute little bottom middle set. Teething this time around didn’t seem to cause a lot of grief as both teeth sort of popped out as a bit of a surprise to me. At her 6 month check-up and vaccination appointment (which was actually right on her 6 month birthday) she weighed in at 17.5 lbs and 26 inches tall. I’d guess by now she is up to about 19 lbs and at least an inch taller.

She also became a highly proficient roller and wriggler and went from okay to leave unattended for a few moments to “can’t take your eyes off her for a second” in a matter of days. Like most healthy, red-blooded babies, she has a death wish and is magnetically drawn to hazards big and small. Current dark obsessions include pulling the floor lamp to the ground, yanking the CO detector out of the wall and/or sticking fingers in the now empty socket, scouring the ground for loose change and buttons to choke on, reaching fragile limbs into the mechanism of the gliding chair, rolling towards the top of the stairs, grabbing at cat whiskers, and sleeping face down in the mattress. Close to the 7 month birthday mark she made big strides towards crawling with a sort of rudimentary army-crawl, belly-slither technique that greatly increased her speed in reaching her death trap of choice. Fun!

Long story short, time inside the house can be a bit of a nightmare at the moment – with not a lot of safe space for her to explore before I have to redirect her from danger. Rescuing her every 20 seconds (and often pissing her off in the process) makes for an awfully long day and lots of running back and forth between rooms if I’m trying to do anything else. Imprisoning Safely securing her in a Jolly Jumper or Exersaucer is the only relief, but she only tolerates jail safety for small blocks of time. Although I’m not overly excited about returning to work, I won’t lie: there have been several days in the past couple of months where I have waxed nostalgic for my out-of-the-home job (what a break! how civilized! soooo easy! The grass is noticeably greener at my office!) Time outside the house is loads of fun though, as she’s always happy to be gawking at things and socializing with every passerby. Particularly if said passerby is a boy/man. She loves dudes and beards, so this whole hipster era is really working out well for her/us. We flew to Toronto to visit my brother and his kids and Sloane was happy as a clam to be out Bjorning or strolling all day long, riding the subways and streetcars and hanging out in restaurants. Similarly, when we took her to Banff shortly afterwards, the hotel, pub and outdoor swimming pool life suited her perfectly (until she got sick – and with the exception of the first night in the terrifying, rickety, possibly-haunted, hotel-provided crib).

The other big development was our slow-out-of-the-gate introduction to solid food. Because of her healthy size and appetite for boob, I had incorrectly assumed that she would be stoked to eat some real food at the recommended 6 month mark. Nope. She just wasn’t that into it. If I tricked her into getting some food in her mouth, she would begrudgingly swallow it, but she had no real interest and wouldn’t eagerly open her mouth for much. I have to say, this didn’t bother me in the least. If she had been being selective or picky it may have (I have issues with picky eaters and dread having one) but because she was just altogether uninterested, I figured she just wasn’t there yet. Every other milestone she’s hit of her own volition and in her own good time, and I figured when the time was more right she’d let me know. I still kept offering solids (kind of half-assedly) but it was more of a token effort to keep up the exposure than to actually accomplish any feeding. Then, right around the 7 month mark, she was suddenly into it. She’s still mainly a boob girl, but will pretty much try anything I give her and is definitely more excited about it all.

As for me, I’m tempted to take a pass on commenting at the moment. I went through a phase where I was feeling really good about myself (maybe the best I ever have) but now that I’m coming off of 3 weeks of travel, sickness and loads of one-on-one time with Sloane I just feel worn out. One of those “sick and tired of being sick and tired” kind of phases where it shows on your face, in your posture and in your attitude – but I know that it is just the sick and tired talking, not a lasting state of mind. Nothing a few good sleeps, a gallon of water, an industrial humidifier, a vat of eye cream, a lb of concealer, a babysitter, and professional lighting can’t take care of.