Archive for the 'Family' Category

The results are in…finally!

XX

Eirinn’s going to have a little sister! 

To be honest, I kind of knew it.  I don’t think even once the thought that this fetupus might be a boy crossed my mind.  It always felt like a girl to me.  However, everyone else who ventured a guess was certain it was a boy.  So certain that most of them wouldn’t even bother starting the sentence with “I think”, it was “I know”. 

I’m going to keep it in the back of my mind that there is still the possibility that this may be a boy (even though the sonographer assured us that he “saw nothing hanging” – direct quote).  Just in case.  But in the meantime and for all intents and purposes, I can now envision our family as mom, dad, and two girls. 

Anonymous Husband’s initial reaction was joy.  Eirinn is his heart and early on he said two girls would be nice because girls are so sweet. 

His next reaction was that another girl is the cheaper option, at least at the beginning stages.  Hand-me-downs galore!

And finally, as we were walking out of the hospital, he turned to me and said “That’s a lot of women.”  I could sense the terror in his voice as he imagined his life for the next 18 years.

So, yay!  We know!  And it’s a girl!  I love pink!

Disclaimer in case the sonographer was wrong and “she’s” actually a “he”: I would have been excited if the baby was a boy, too.  I’m just relieved to find out, either way.  And I also love blue.

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We make shy babies

“It” is still an “it”.  “It” had “its” back to us and had “its” legs crossed tightly at the knees.  *sigh*

Because not knowing is not an option for Anonymous Husband and I, this means we’re going to have to fork over wads of cash and do the 3D imaging.  It’s so expensive, but now we’re desperate.

So disappointed. 

However, “it” did seem healthy or at least normal.  “Its” heart rate was a perfect 140 and “it” appeared to have all of “its” expected limbs and none extra.  So that’s always good.

* Edited to note: I should have titled this post “We make shy fetuses” because Eirinn?  She is the least shy person I have ever met before in my whole life.  She was, however, also a shy fetus, pulling the old “back to the camera” trick at her ultrasound.  The expensive, 3D ultrasound at that.

No amount of training

It started out all frayed nerves and tested patience.  It turned into fighting regrets, wavering self-trust, and lessons learned.

***

I’ve always been fairly confident in my parenting abilities.  I have a mother who, while raising us in a home that doubled as a daycare, provided us with more education on parenting than average.  We saw, come and go, dozens of children over the years, all of differing behavioral dispositions, receptiveness to discipline, even levels of intelligence.  And my mom was and is a fabulous parent and daycare provider.  She has always treated her charges as she would her own kids – no better, no worse, no more or less attention, and the rules that applied to us, applied to them and vice versa.  And the kids were (and are) always there.  They arrived before we were awake in the morning, and didn’t leave until dinner time.

Like I said, this meant I was involuntarily enrolled in a 26 year course in parenting before I had my own.  At the time I was living at home, when I was still a kid myself, this was a burden at times.  Just at times, not always.  We benefited from always having someone to play with, nevermind the fact that our mom was always home; a privilege, no doubt.  We constantly had fresh baked cookies or muffins, a hot lunch at home everyday, and a parent always present for anything we needed.  But this also meant we had to share her for the majority of the day with other people’s kids.  We had to share our toys with other people’s kids.  We had to share our home with other people’s kids.  By the time I was in my teenage years, I was ‘over it’.  A little bit of quiet would have been nice.

All of this is just to say, in theory and on paper, I know about this parenting deal.  I’ve been witness to pretty much any challange a child can throw at you and I’ve seen an expert deal with it appropriately.  But, as we as parents all know, in theory and on paper is dramatically different, like worlds apart, from having to put the knowledge into practice.  With a real, live child.

***

Eirinn was tough this morning.  Not the worst she’s ever been, but she had her moments.  She begged me for oatmeal (as a second breakfast) and after I made it she insisted she “No Like It.”  She ran up the stairs when I asked her to sit on them to get ready.  Nothing horrible, just naughty.

And then she hit me.  Smacked me square in the nose with her finger, hard.  It certainly didn’t hurt, but she meant it to. 

So I slapped her hand.

This is where I have been fighting with myself.  One moment I regret it deeply.  I have always said “how can you teach a child that it’s wrong to hit by hitting them in return?”  And really, how can you?  It’s all fine to say do as I say, don’t do as I do, but a two year old won’t ever understand that.  All she knows is that she did something Mommy didn’t like, so Mommy slapped her.  So, if she were to learn from this lesson, if someone does something she doesn’t like, she should smack them.  Not exactly what I was hoping she’d learn.

Yet in the next moment, I’m ok with what I did.  She has to know why we don’t hit and that’s because it hurts*.  And we don’t want to hurt people.  After the hand slap, we had a long, heart-felt discussion, which she understood so well it brought tears to my eyes, about how we shouldn’t hit people, that we should be friends and we don’t want to hurt our friends.  We discussed how if she doesn’t hit anyone, no one will hit her.  We discussed how much Mommy loves her and how it hurts Mommy’s feelings when she is mean to Mommy.  And in the end, with no provocation, Eirinn said “Poor Mommy,” apologized, and gave me a huge hug and a big kiss.  It was all I could do to not stay home all day and hug my precious little baby. 

It’s so hard to remember, as an adult who has mastered all of these basic theories, that starting out, we have no idea.  How is she to know, without being taught, that hitting is wrong, or that we shouldn’t throw toys at the dog, or that food belongs in the bowl or in our mouth?  So we have to be patient.  She has so many lessons to learn, all at the same time, that I can see how it would take several mistakes before she fully grasps all of these new concepts.  But it’s so hard to remember.  After all, I’m new to this parenting thing and parents have just as many lessons to learn.  The difference is, as a parent, we have to learn these while acting like we already knew them.  We have to be instant experts.  Or incredible actors.

Looking back now, I don’t know if I would do anything different.  I know in an ideal world where children only needed to be told once and their parents kept their cool under any circumstance, I may not have raised my voice and just given her a time out and all would have been peachy.  But my child isn’t like that and neither am I, so I slapped her hand to get my point across, we had our discussion about why I did what I did (because she did what she did), we apologized to each other, and if you ask her now, she knows not to hit.  So under the circumstances, I don’t think I could have done anything differently and still come out with the same result.

But I’m still beating myself up inside, and why is this?  Because there’s always self-doubt in parenting.  We can’t escape it.  No matter how much training we had before our kids came.

***

* I most certainly did not hit her hard enough for it to hurt.  Absolutely not.  She was shocked, for sure, but not in pain.  I would never, ever purposely hurt my child.  Ever. 

The fishy puzzle

Eirinn loves puzzles.  I’ve said it before because it’s true.  She loves puzzles. 

Puzzles have replaced television as her all-time favourite past time.  She doesn’t do those puzzles where the little wooden pieces have the same shape as the little holes on the board.  Oh, no.  She doesn’t even own one of those.  She does the big kid puzzles with the puzzle-shaped pieces that fit together like a puzzle.  Can you tell I’m not a puzzle person?  I have no idea how to describe them.

I know!  Pictures!  Pictures always help the verbally disabled.  Like myself.

She don’t do this kind:

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She do this kind:

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With great speed and accuracy.  She has a few of them.  They have either 20 or 24 pieces and, oddly enough, they are all scenes of under the sea.  Maybe that’s the universal toddler puzzle picture du jour.  I wouldn’t know, being a non-puzzler and all.

I think this is great.  The puzzles as a whole allow her to practice her hand/eye coordination and the topics of the puzzles (numbers, opposites, and the one in the picture, colours) are very educational.  She has improved her knowledge of colours exponentially.  Improved, not mastered, but it has taught her more than we could any other way.  And we’ve tried.  We started to think she was either colour blind or had a whole in her brain where her colour recognition should have been.  Turns out she’s just stubborn and wanted a puzzle to teach her, not Mommy and Daddy.

She does them non-stop.  First thing in the morning I have to dodge pieces to get her cereal to her mouth (yes, I still feed her her breakfast – geniuses shouldn’t have to feed themselves).  After work she runs to her puzzles and does them over and over again.  “Do puthle ‘gain?”  I think it’s safe to say that she lawbs her puzzles.

***

In other news, my sister got a puppy for Christmas.  Well, it started out a puppy.  A cute, little, black and white, Shih-Tese (say that in your head and I dare you not to laugh).  Sophie is a Shih-Tzu, Maltese cross which, even though we paid for a pure bred Shih Tzu, we’ve always suspected Bosco to be.

I say she “started out” a puppy because in her short three month life, she has morphed into a wee little devil-dog.  If you’re furry and small, she will eat you.  If you even remotely resemble a shoe, slipper, or sock, she will eat you.  If you are my daughter’s pants, she will eat you.  Or at least try, seeing as her teeth are still little pin pricks. 

She absolutely tortures poor Bossy.  She pulls his tail, bites his arse, hangs off his ears.  All this makes him bark, which makes Murphy bark at Bossy, which means Bossy then has an evil midget devil-dog hanging off his butt and a big ol’ meat-head yelling at him to shut up.  Poor guy can’t win for losing.  Whatever that means.

Lucky for Bosco, we got to puppy-sit Sophie this weekend.  We brought the devil into his sanctuary.  Dude was not impressed.

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And all Blue Bear had to say was “HALP!”

p.s. Notice Bosco’s incredibly long hippie bangs?  He’s getting his hair did tomorrow.

Oh, and one more thing

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Eirinn is going to be a big sister! 

Someday on or around July 3rd, there will be one (and only one!) more living in Tornado Alley.  We are incredibly scared now that the teams are going to be even, but we are even more excited.

I’ve been sick and exhausted and impatient and generally miserable and domestically useless.  Anonymous Husband has been picking up the slack with only a small amount of grumbling.

We’ll be finding out the gender as soon as possible.  We like to plan ahead.  And when we know, you’ll know.

Yay us!

Merry Christmas from Tornado Alley!

We have an eventful three days ahead of us.  With all of our family living within walking distance, we are required by Familial Law to visit each and every one of them at least twice.  In the next three days.  Which is wonderful (honestly).  Our schedule for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day looks like this:

Christmas Eve

8:30 – 12 – I work (Boo.  Hiss.)

12:30 – Lunch at home with the Tornado and Anonymous Husband.

1 – 3:30 (fingers crossed) – The Tornado should be nestled all snug in her bed, while visions of Diego dance in her head.  Otherwise known as nap time.

4:00 (or earlier, if those crossed fingers don’t do what they’re meant to) – 7:30 – Christmas Eve with my side of the family at Casa Del Parents, during which time we will engorge ourselves on deep fried cheese sticks, chicken wings, shrimp rings (excluding those who will remain Anonymous and shellfish-free), and literally every other finger food you can think of.  Oooo…and my favourite Christmas savoury – bacon wrapped water chestnuts.  We’ll also do our gift exchange (yay, presents!).

Christmas Day

7:30 (again, fingers crossed) – 9:30ish – We’ll do our very first annual Tornado Alley Christmas morning (last year we were living with the Anonymous grandparents, waiting for our new house to be built).  We’ll open stockings and presents (!), have a light breakfast and get ready for the rest of the hectic day.

9:30ish – 1ish (toddler attitude-dependant) – This year we’re with AH’s family in the morning.  We’ll eat a traditional Irish fried breakfast (bacon, sausage, fried eggs, potato bread, black and white pudding, and clotted arteries in a pear tree) and our gift exchange with them (more presents!).

1:30 – 3:30ish – Naptime

4ish – 7:30 – Christmas dinner back with my family.  I can’t even express to you how excited I am for dinner.  I am literally vibrating right now at the thought of my mom’s stuffing and of gravy sandwiches.  Never heard of them?  Hmm…that’s weird.  Take a dinner roll, poke your finger almost all the way through, pour gravy in hole, consume.  And just try not to repeat.  I dare you.

Boxing Day

Oh, sometime in the afternoon – Christmas dinner with AH’s family.  This one I’m excited for because of dessert.  And second dessert.  And sometimes even third dessert.  Why bother with first course?

If I don’t come out of these next three days at least 15 pounds heavier, I’ve done something wrong.

And that will be us until the 28th, when Carly, Lucy and Eric come to visit and what else?  Exchange presents*!

So, from us here in Tornado Alley, have a very merry Christmas.  If that’s what you’re into.  If not, have a great few days anyway.

* Just for the record, I happen to be one of those people who quite honestly enjoys giving presents much, much more than receiving.  It’s my favourite.

** Also, just for the record.  Just because I like giving more than receiving doesn’t mean you have to take the presents back that you got for me.  Let’s not get crazy now.

Blanket, soother, towel, diaper. Bliss.

We’re not even going to talk about Saturday. 

Sunday, Anonymous Husband and I got a HUGE chunk of Christmas shopping done.  I’m so proud and relieved.  The stores weren’t quite at the insane, claustrophobia-panic-inducing craziness yet, but they were getting there.  But we were quick, stuck to a list, got a little creative when necessary, and popped off at least 10 of the 30 humans and animals we buy for.  There’s still a lot left, but a third done by the last week of November is pretty darn good for a procrastinator and a non-shopper.

While we were out punishing our Mastercard, Eirinn was at Anonymous Grandma and Papa’s house.  Eirinn doesn’t often nap there; it’s just too much fun and excitement and she wouldn’t want to miss one second.  Not for lack of trying by Grandma, Eirinn just won’t give in.  So she went without a nap yesterday.  And, surprisingly, she wasn’t too bad without it.  We could tell she was tired, but she was coping reasonably well.

In the bath when we got home, she had passed the ‘coping reasonably well’ stage and was ready for bed.  She wanted her blanket in the bath with her, which, obviously, was not possible.

“A-lankie…Mommy?  I crying.”  Which she was.

And she continued to cry big, fat, sad, tired toddler tears until I got her out and dried off.  Laying on the ground with her blanket, soother (which is for big girls when they go to bed, and she was on her way so she was allowed to have it), still wrapped in the towel, and her diaper, everything was ok.

“I have A-lankie, I have sooder, I have towal, I have diapie.  I happy.”

Sometimes she can be the sweetest little thing ever.  And other times…we’re not even going to talk about Saturday.