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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

There are no handbooks on how to deal with just deal with it.

Hubby and I attended a pub night fundraiser on Friday night for a little guy in our town who is battling brain cancer. We do not know the boy or his family directly, but yet we feel connected as 4 years ago this past January, we were that family.

On Tuesday January 9th 2007 our oldest Princess was diagnosed with a rare type of childhood kidney cancer. Two days before her 5th birthday. The condition is called Wilm's Tumor, and she had a softball size tumor growing on her left kidney.

For me, when I heard the words "your daughter has cancer" the world stopped, I couldn't breathe for a moment and when the air finally hit my lungs again, I burst into uncontrollable crying fueled by confusion and utter disbelief. This is NOT supposed to happen. This is NOT happening. But, of course it was. SHIT. Shit. shit.

We were given orders to head down to BC Children's Hospital that evening. We first had to go home to make arrangements to help deal with the unknown circumstances that would follow. We had a second tiny Princess that would need to be cared for. How long would we be gone? Would she need surgery? Would she need chemotherapy? Was she dying? I couldn't stop the questions racing through my brain. Then outrage and anger reared their ugly heads. Fuck you cancer! You stole my father, you will NOT take my baby.

Upon our arrival at the hospital, we were given a room on the oncology ward and warned that we may be there awhile. "What's awhile?" I asked the doctor on call that we fist met with. "Weeks...maybe months." he responded with a sympathetic look on his face. The tests would commence the next day to directly determine what the cancer was, what stage it was in and what course of treatment we would begin. Amidst all this I just kept coming back to her birthday. In three days it would be her 5th birthday. For her birthday this year she's getting cancer. One hell of a gift.

The next day Princess A went through a gazillion tests. CT scans, X-rays, blood tests, ultrasounds...she did 'em all. Once all the testing was done it was time to wait. We had made her little room cozy by bringing her blankets and stuffies from home, but of course it was nothing like home. The next day our doctors came into the room and said the 5 sweetest sounding words I have ever heard in my life..."she's going to be ok".  I made him say it twice just to make sure I had heard him right. "It's not going to be easy, and it will take some time, but we can take care of this" he explained and we arranged a meeting for the next day to go over exactly what this cancer was all about, what stage she was at and what our game plan is....but at the end of it all...she was going to be ok. At that very same moment, it started to snow. Princess A loves the snow. I am not a religious person, but I've since then believed that that snow was directly meant for us and the happiness of that moment.

The next day was her 5th birthday. I had gone and found the closest store and purchased as much Disney Princess decorations I could find. Safeway just happened to have a fully prepared barbie cake all ready to go. Screw this, my baby would still have a terrific birthday. I got her daddy to take her to the playroom and I went crazy...banners, balloons, streamers, presents and a cake! I had bought her a new pretty outfit for the big event. She loved it, it didn't even phase her that she was celebrating her birthday on the cancer ward with an IV hanging out of her arm. Just then the nurses called us to the playroom. They had also made a large banner for her and greeted her by all singing Happy Birthday and presented her with some gifts. A special 5th birthday...mission accomplished.

We met that afternoon with our oncologists and a surgeon. They confirmed it was in fact a Wilm's Tumor stage 4. Not stages 1, 2 or 3...stage 4. On the following Monday she would have her left kidney and the softball sized tumor that was growing out of it removed. They would also be checking her right kidney and removing some lymph nodes to check for the presence of cancer. If there was cancer in the nodes she would need radiation as well as chemo, no cancer in the nodes = no radiation.

Her surgery lasted approx. 5 - 6 hours. They successfully removed her tumor, the kidney, 5 lymph nodes and gave her right kidney a good check. They implanted a VAD, vascular access device, under her skin on the right side of her chest. This was a small "button" that would be used to administer her chemo and collect blood instead of doing a hand IV every time. She recovered in the ICU for a day afterwords and then the recovery began. It was tough. She suffered more from that surgery than she ever did from the cancer. Her surgery was on the Monday and we went home on Friday. She wouldn't eat, and would barely drink. She lost a huge amount of weight, she was skin and bones. I yelled, I screamed I begged her to eat. I privately almost put my fist through the wall a few times. The doctors were days away from giving her a feeding tube, when she finally started to nibble and sip. Not a lot, but a start.

We got the histology reports back and the cancer had been in 4 of the 5 lymph nodes. Radiation started on the Monday. She had 7 rounds. Chemo began on the Monday as well and that would be over 7 months. She handled it all like a champ. She rarely got sick thanks to amazing new anti-nausea meds available now. Her hair fell out, and that sucked. She had gorgeous brown ringlet curly hair, and she was a compulsive hair twirler. It was the only thing that would soothe her. It was her version of a blanky or a favorite stuffy. So when her hair was almost completely gone, I took one of the large ringlets from her hair, tied it up with an elastic and pinned it to her pillow, so at least when she needed to fall asleep, she could still soothe herself.

We had good days, we had rotten days. We turned our house into a germ-free biosphere. She missed out on a lot of parties and a few months of preschool. We were in and out of the hospital a few times when she would spike a fever and she needed to be treated. But rarely would you hear her complain. She still laughed, sang and danced like a Princess should. This became our new normal. We would not allow ourselves or others to feel sorry for us and we were and still are extremely open about the whole experience. As I have mentioned previously, humor is a huge part of our family, and we'd use it to cope as well as make light of the whole situation. I'm sure often, to those who don't really know us, it can often come off as distasteful, but that's just us. Before we knew it, it was over. It was August and she was done her treatments and for right then had been given a clean bill of health. Her hair started to grow back and she started to get stronger day by day.

We were lucky in a way. On the days when we were at Children's receiving chemo, I met many families of kids who would be undergoing treatment for years, sometimes a lifetime. I remember the days when the nurses would try their best, but you could tell they were all dealing with another loss...the loss of a child to this devil of a disease. These nurses become part of your family, and they view each child as a part of theirs. Princess A's cancer has a 95% cure rate. As the nurse told me the night we arrived at Children's "if your child has to get cancer, this is the one you want".  That was 4 years ago. We still go for checkups with our oncologist every few months, and she will continue to be monitored annually for the rest of her life, but the belief is that she will hopefully never have to deal with this again. BUT, if she does, we will do what we did the first time, we'll handle it. You, as a parent have no right to wallow and weep in front of your sick child, in my opinion. Feeling sorry for ourselves is an adult trait. Kids don't know to do that. I'm not saying not to feel, not to pull your hair out and punch walls, not to sob uncontrollably for hours, cause I did all that. But it was done in private far way from my two Princesses. For them I was always mom and like a broken toy or a scraped knee, I would take care of it. We still had rules, manners were still expected, we still did time outs. Life remained as normal as possible.

So here we are now, 3 gorgeous, healthy girls. Apart from a 10 inch scar across her abdomen, you'd never even know that A is a mini cancer survivor. We lucked out, someone or something was on our side. But I am reminded everyday of how lucky we are to have her here with us, and that some families will not be so fortunate...and that doesn't make sense. So to any of you who have had this disease rob you of a child, or anyone for that matter, my heart and thoughts go out to you constantly and a hope for the strength to get through another day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Goodbye diapers...hello environmental guilt.

It is a big day at our house. 9 years and 3 kids later, we have finally used our last diaper! Princess I is soundly sleeping in her rubber sheet covered bed without a pull-up. I feel giddy about this success and would jump for joy if it weren't for the excess weight of my T-Rex sized carbon footprints.

Oh dear environment, how I've done you wrong and I knew it all along. I picture a  pile of diapers at the dump with my name flashing over top of it as David Suzuki looks on with a tear streaming down his cheek.

I have to be perfectly honest when I tell you that cloth diapers were never an option for me. First of all, in 2002, when my first was born, the cloth diaper craze hadn't fully erupted again. They were still mostly being used, as far as I knew, by moms named Willow who carried all 3 of their kids in traditional African slings while gathering eggs from their backyard Kitsilano chicken coops. Also, I girl of convenience (a kinder way of saying I was ignorant and lazy). Cloth diapers just seemed like to much work, too much mess, and they looked so bulky and uncomfortable for the baby. Would you like to spend a few hours with a wet towel stuffed down your pants?

So how do I settle the score? We start by selling our car. I will do all my traveling with the kids by bike and trailer. Next we move. Sell this energy sucking house and move to a tent down by the river. I will hand sew all of our clothes from re-claimed organic hemp that I have bought off of a mom named Willow from Kitsilano. We will eat off of the land...screw the 100 mile diet, we'd be on the 15 foot diet. If I can't grow it, kill it or milk it within 15 feet of our yurt, we don't eat it. We will cook by fire, wash in the river and nature will be our outhouse. We would of course be swearing off of toxic soaps, shampoos and toothpastes, so we will use tree bark as our loofah, sand as our toothpaste and I will make a soap substitute using tree sap and huckleberry juice. Hubby will have to quit his job in order to accommodate his new life as an environmental protester and I will need to keep plenty of time open to bail him out of jail.

So after 3 kids, each with 2+ years in diapers, I figure that oughta do it.

Or...just in case everyone else isn't on board with that plan...we could just say, I can't take back the damage I've already done, but I can offer a promise that I will do better every day from here on in and we already have! We as a family recycle now more than we ever have. We eat a reasonably high percentage of local organic food, and I am setting an example for my children, that hopefully they will not only pass onto their kids, but try to improve on. I know we're not environmental superstars, and I know we never will be, but we did the best we could do today with the promise of doing even better tomorrow.

I'm rambled out...until next time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dear Michaels Craft Store...Please forgive me.

My two oldest princesses recently had their birthdays. 7 and 9. Grandma very thoughtfully put together cool little craft kits for each of them containing all sorts of goodies to make friendship bracelets. For any extras they might need, she gave each girl a $25.00 gift card to Michaels to go and top up their kits. A very thoughtful gift for my girls, a ticking time bomb for Michaels. We were on our last day of 3 days off of school, and after having pestered, um I mean, kindly asking me for weeks, I finally decided to bite the bullet and take them on their crafty spending spree. Having had the "pleasure" in the past of shopping with my children on someone else's dime (I never knew it was possible to spend 6 hours in Claire's) , I thought establishing a game plan might help in reducing the amount of time we spend debating which pink shiny beads to buy. "Ok girls, let's sit down and make a plan" I said as I rallied them around as if we were about to march into battle. "What kinds of things would you like to purchase with your gift cards?" I was stupidly confident that they had already planned out their whole shopping trip, like winners of one of those timed shopping sprees. Wrong. "Wellll..." starts Princess B, "I dooo like scrap booking, but I also like beads, but I also like painting, and I like clay, ooh but I kind of like making birdhouses, sooooo, yeah,  I don't really know." Yup, there it was, the moment where I realized just what I was in for, and I hung my head in defeat. "What about you miss?" I hopefully asked the older of the 2..sure she, had given this whole thing some serious thought. "I just kinda want to go there and see what I want." she answered with an excited glint in her eyes. And that's when my "shopaholic" thinking kicked in. Yeah, why pre-plan a good shop? Let's just go and see where the gift card winds takes us. A little retail therapy with my 2 oldest gals...oh right, but there are 3 princesses in this family. Princess I was, at 2.75 years old, NOT shopping compatible. She is my "spirited" child who is not a fan of being strapped down in a stroller, but given the freedom to walk free, is like a loose puppy after a can of Redbull. I also was dealing with a sprained ankle after a breathtakingly graceful fall the day before while out for a walk with my girls, so my mobility was also somewhat restricted, and therefore so was my patience. So with a deep breath and a turn of the key we were off!
We pull up out front of the store, clammer out of the van, put Princess I into her stroller, and short of duct taping her to the damn thing, I make sure those straps are secure and "snug as a bug". We can do this. I can do this. Deep breath....and....through the doors we go.
We start in the scrap book isles. I didn't know there were sooooooo many choices in scrap book stickers. Wow. So far so good, even I was enjoying myself. I wish I scrap booked, but with ADD and the focus of an infant, I know better than to delve into this detail oriented, attention required type of crafting. Frick, I still have an empty photo album waiting to be filled with pics from our trip to Disneyland...3 years ago.
"I want to get out mommy" Princess I started. Uh oh. "No luvvy, mommy needs you to stay in your stroller in this store" I told her quietly. My girls picked out some stickers rather painlessly and now we were on route to the beads. "I waaaaaaant to get OUUUUUUUT!" she asked a little louder this time, and I knew we had just witnessed our TSN turning point. I was dominating the first half of this trip, and now, I was being overtaken by a 2 year old. We were in the bead isle, and good lord, there were a lot of beads. "Ok girls, what kind of beads would you like to look at?" I asked. "All of them" they said in perfect harmony. Just then, I remembered I had pushed the stroller over to the side to go and chat with my oldest gals, and what made me remember that was the sound of an "oh oh" and a rack of beads hitting the floor. Mental note: NEVER park your stroller next to a wall of individually strung beads in every colour of the rainbow. That's when I heard the other sound every mother hates to hear in a store, "ummmmm, can I help you find anything?!?!" the service lady said as she starred at the pile of beads on the floor. Now I'm on all fours gathering beads, and my little "sweetheart" is fake crying at the top of her lungs. Ok, I'll let her out and just try and hold onto her. Once she was out she spotted a plastic alligator that was out of place, yet in the perfect spot for us at that moment. Momentarily she was quiet and occupied pretending the alligator was kissing different boxes of beads. "I have to go peepee and poopooo mommy" she yelled. Crap! Literally. "C'mon girls your sister has to use the potty...let's go." I grabbed them all, and hobbled my way all the way to the back of the store to visit the bathroom. Once we were back, I put the crunch on my girls to decide or leave with nothing. I turn around to see little miss flat on the floor, pretending to swim with her mouth down on the dirty linoleum. "Awwww noooo GET UP! Ack! Dirty! Gross!" I yelped as I started to sweat. I had tried. I gave it a GREAT try...but it was over. I was done and so were they. "Ok girls if you don't have all you want by the time I count to ten, you leave with nothing" I presented the ultimatum unaware that they were standing quietly behind me, baskets full and ready to go. They were so cute, taking their turn going through the check out, putting up their stuff and paying with their little gift cards. Princess I was back in her stroller, still whining and crying, but as I headed towards the door, it didn't seem to matter anymore. We had survived. My oldest girls were tickled with all the fun goodies they had found and climbed into the van to compare purchases. I strapped wee miss into her car seat and gave her a kiss on her pink little cheek, and all was forgiven. I limped around the van, climbed in and buckled up. As I started the van, Princess A says to me from the back of the van "where to now Mom?" and without a second of hesitation I calmly reply "the liquor store".
I'm rambled out...until next time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hmmmm...a kids birthday party or an enema? Decisions, decisions.

It's Saturday. It's 10:55am. My basement looks like cupid just threw up all over it. Foil and paper hearts hung from the ceiling, walls and tables. Pink and red from one end of the room to the other. I'm staring at the front door, and I nervously wait. They're coming. 15 six and seven year old girls for Princess B's 7th birthday party.
What the hell have I done. My friends warned me. They said "Oh God, no!", "What have you done?", "What the hell were you thinking?", "Are you effing high?". "Oooooh it's nothing" I would say. "They're little girls, it won't be so bad" I'd foolishly reassure them.  I could do this right? I thought a home party would be special and fun, not to mention a good way to save a bit of money.
It's go time.
And that's all I really remember about that day. Like a trauma victim, I seem to have blacked most of it out. I remember there was running and screaming...I'm not sure if that was me or the children. I faintly recall glue and glitter....oh god, the glitter. I've been told there was presents and cake, but that's all just a blur. After the last girl left, apparently I was found lying in the corner in the fetal position sucking my thumb.
What had I done? What the hell was I thinking? Was I effing high?
Never again.
Somehow in my control freak/I can handle the world brain, I though I could handle 15 little girls all on my own. Princess B had decided she wanted a Queen of Hearts Valentine's themed party, and I thought it was perfect! How timely. The loonie stores were dripping with cheap Valentine's decorations. I knew a fantastic craft company who pre-packaged great Valentine's Day crafts. I found heart shaped cupcake tins to make my own cupcakes in that the girls could decorate themselves at the party. It all seemed to easy and like a real cost saver.
WRONG.... all I can say is that if it weren't for a couple of mom's who instantly realized I was in over my head and decided to stay and help, I would have lost my mind. They saved me big time. And as far as cost, well, I have realized that weather you host a birthday party in your house or pay to go elsewhere, it's never going to be cheap.
We're big birthday people. Well I am a big birthday person. Hubby thinks I overdo it. Maybe I do. OK, I know I do. I just know that I remember almost every birthday party that I had growing up. It's the one day a year that is just yours. You're the star and you get the spotlight all to yourself for once.
But this particular party changed my views on a few things. First, number of guests. No longer will I be so drastically out numbered. We're on a strict BFF's only policy now. Second, support staff. I don't care what I have to pay or bribe them with, I will have at least one helper for parties from now on. I think the secret will be to only ask my friends and family to help when they are drunk and I will somehow record them agreeing to help to present to them when they try to tell me they are "sick" or going "out of town". And third, I will practice the KISS phylosophy...keep it simple stupid. Kids don't care  weather they get to decorate their own cake or not. They just want cake. They don't care that you spent 3 wine infused hours up on a step stool hanging decorations from every corner of your house. They care about goody bags and who gets to have their present opened first.
As far as the birthday boy/girl goes, I believe now that as long as they feel special and like a star on their special day, then they are happy. If there is some friends, a cake, a few presents and a lot of love, they will be pleased....I think. My kids are the victims of my need to "overdo" it. I worry about how difficult it can be at times to tame the monster I have created.
Every year at Christmas and birthdays I say the same thing. Let's go easy this year. They get spoiled, and don't appreciate it. And of course every year it's the same thing. "Well I bought A 5 gifts and so of course B and I have to have 5 gifts as well." Not to mention we, as of right now, have the only grandchildren/great-grandchildren on either side of the family. I swear to god, I could right now, without any preperation, open a fully stocked Toys R Us in my basement. I think I can honestly say that my kids do not come across as the stereotypical "spoiled" children, only because I think that today's parents have changed the definition of the word spoiled. We still view a "spoiled" child as a whiny, un-greatful, selfish kid who grabs and pitches fits when they don't get their way. And don't get me wrong, those kids are still out there. But I believe that although my kids along with the children of many of my friends, are spoiled just the same. We have taught them that Christmas and birthdays, oh hell, most times of year are times when they can get whatever they want. Weather we can always afford it or not. Thank god for credit cards and line of credits! I'd not be surprise if it were found that most families debt is the result of wanting to provide a certain quality of life for our families, a quality that we think they deserve, but often we realistically can't always afford. Maybe it's not always about what they deserve, but an image we also want to put out. We are all constantly fighting to keep up with the Jones'...bu what we don't all realize, and I am slowly discovering, is that the Jones' can't even afford half of what they own.
Money is still an almost taboo subject within friendships. Nobody wants anyone else to know that they struggle from time to time. Like the task of raising a family in one of the most expensive cities in the world is always easy and effortless. $600 for hockey registration, sure here you go. $1000 in groceries a month, sure, no problem. Mortgage. Car. Insurance. Bills. Not to mention the "pleasant" surprises you are thrown, such as the cost of now repairing or replacing my new stove as I dropped an entire bottle of wine through the glass cook top the other day. NO, NO, don't worry. The bottle of wine is fine.
There should be no shame in being able to say, you know what, supporting a family of 5 is frickin' expensive sometimes, and there cannot be any shame in having to say NO from time to time. Maybe we can't go on every little trip we want to go on this year. Maybe we won't be eating out this week, or this month for that matter. Maybe we shouldn't run out and buy a boat, trailer, new car, just because we think we need it. It's not always fun, actually it down right sucks some time, but in those moments, when we're pouting and feeling sorry for ourselves, I'm going to try and remind myself of what I do have. 3 fantastic daughters, one of which is a cancer survivor at the age of 9, a pretty awesome husband who accepts me for who I am, a large and varied group of amazing friends and a warm, safe roof over my head and food to feed my family.
I am not a religious person, and like many of you, I have had some shit handed to me in my life, but still at the end of everyday I know I am truly blessed and that no matter how bad things get, it could always be worse.
I'm rambled out...until next time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Claire Huxtable I salute you!

Do you remember the episode of The Cosby Show where Claire is sick and tired of everyone and everything, so Cliff books her a weekend alone at a rustic resort in the woods so she can get some peace and quiet? I sure do. When I need to go to my "happy place" I picture myself on my very own private vacation. A sleep vacation. Just Places and times such as these only existed in fairy tales (and Cosby Show re-runs) UNTIL this past Christmas.
My family gave me the greatest gift of all, the gift of leaving me the hell alone. 2 nights ALONE in a nice hotel in downtown Vancouver. 2 days of shopping ALONE where ever I want for as long as I want. 2 days of eating ALONE when ever I want. 2 days of sleeping in ALONE as late as I want. Oh god.
Ok,  I feel sick...ALONE? I can't handle alone. I haven't been alone for 2 days in...well...EVER. Oh god, I can't breathe....I feel nauseous. Just breathe. breathe. breathe. This is supposed to be the weekend that moms dream of, and here I am freaking out that I might get lonely and what if my whole family falls to pieces because I'm not there? How will they know when to eat? Sleep? Bathe? Who will I nag? Who will yell at me to come wipe their bums? Who will need me to explain why Cialis is NOT right for them (Princess A has been quoting this commercial lately...awkward.) How will I sleep without being woken up 12 times while hubby sleeps blissfully next to me and is none the wiser when he wakes up from his beauty sleep the next morning? Ok...this might be awesome after all...I think.
But seriously though, how is it that we moms who constantly crave "a break", when finally given one, often don't know what to do with ourselves. We rely so much on being relied on. With no one to care for, no elbows to kiss, no noses to wipe, often we are lost. We've lost part of ourselves. But for the most part, I think I'm ok with that. I will often describe myself as very independent, but what I have learned is that I have shifted to a more co-dependent role. I depend on my daughters and husband to need's what I was born to do. I know that in their eyes, nobody cooks macaroni and cheese like I do. Nobody can colour as good as I can. Nobody finds a missing stuffy like I can, but most of all NOBODY can love them like I can.
So here I am on the eve of my big sleep vacation and the more I think about it the more excited I get. My kids will be here with their dad, who in all honesty, quite enjoys the odd time I go away. Not only does it give him a chance to spend some quality one on 3 time with his littlest ladies, but it gives him 2 days to do what he wants when he wants without Mrs. Control Freak nagging his ass...and let me tell you, and this isn't easy (gulp, deep breath) he does a fantastic
So I will head downtown tomorrow with no agenda what so ever and I will savour every minute of it, and when those moments come, where I feel lonely and feel the urge to call home for a status report, I will imagine myself back home on Monday morning, making 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, wiping 1 butt, settling 5 screaming matches, and I will pour myself another glass of wine and make a toast to ol' Mrs. Huxtable and the brilliant idea she pioneered for us all!

Saturday, January 22, 2011 you hear that? It's the sound of the ground opening up to swallow me whole!

There is no better job in life to test your ability to handle embarrassment than motherhood. How many times has your child said or done something that you are tempted to or actually have pretended that they aren't yours. I seem to have been "blessed" with children who are so incredibly skilled at embarrassing me that I swear I spend half my life waiting for hidden camera people to jump out and let me know I've been had.
Princess I, at 2.5 years old, has all the tact that a two and a half year old should have. Picture this, we're out shopping recently and I had to visit the washroom. It was quite busy in the ladies room and her and I managed to get into a larger stall. To my surprise, mother nature had surprised me with her "gift" a bit early. Already this is as bad as this story should get...but littlest lady, in her sweet toddler talk and with her volume turned to 11 starts to say "OH NOOOOO MOMMY YOU WENT POOPOO IN YOUR PANTIES!" Are you frickin' kidding me??!!  "Shhhhhhhh, no, mommy didn't poopoo in her panties, shhhhhhh", but of course asking a 2 year old to be quiet is like asking Lady Gaga to stick to khakis and polo shirts. " LOOK MOMMY IT'S RIGHT THERE, POOPOO IN YOUR PANTIES, IT'S OK MOMMY, DON'T WORRY!" Seriously??? "shhhhhhhhhhhhhh, hush, it's ok, mommy's fine, let's be realllllly quiet now." Like that should have taken care of it " HERE MOMMY DO YOU WANT SOME TOILET PAPER FOR YOUR POOPOO IN YOUR PANTIES?" Ok, I'm done..."yes luvvy, mommy would love some toilet paper for the poopoo in her panties....thank you." If you can't beat em', shut em' up by agreeing with them.
For my children, in terms of their preferred venues to unintentionally humiliate me, the more crowded the better.
A famous story of mine is when my first princess was almost 2 years old and she and a VERY pregnant me went to do our big Costco shop. She was beginning to get restless so I decided to give her little "jobs" to help me while I shopped. Now it should be mentioned, that at that time, while she was still learning all her words and sounds, she was always confusing her T's and K's. So here we are at Costco, in the shampoo isle and I ask her to help me find some things. "Mommy is looking for the cotton balls, can you try and find them with me? Let's call them and see where they are." This is great she's listening, she's calmed down, she has a job and she's going to do it. "COKKON BALLS, COKKON BALLS WHERE ARE YOU?" Say it out loud to yourself. There is my sweet, adorable baby walking up and down the isle at Costco yelling cock n' balls. "COKKON BALLS WHERE ARE YOU, I CAN'T SEE YOU!" It kept going and going, and the more I tried to shush her, of course, the louder she got. Finally thank god, there they were, the coTTon balls.
Then there is the time we were at Walmart on a very rainy day, and to my horror I turn around to see her running her tongue down the entire row of shopping buggies to catch the drops of water that were dripping off of them. GROOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSS.
Of course then there is embarrassment by temper tantrum. Usually timed perfectly to the moment when you are in the exact middle of your grocery shop and at the farthest corner of the store, and usually whilst surrounded by those mothers who give you the "my child would never" look. My vet assistant training has come in handy a time or two, when they have begun thrashing like a feral cat or foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog. It's too bad carrying them by the scruff of the neck is "frowned" upon. It does give me a new understanding for those animals who eat their young.
Of course, it should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway, these moments are few and far between, and in the end provide me with countless stories to laugh about for years to come. Our family is one that thrives on humour. It surrounds us every day. We use it to laugh and bring happiness to our home in good times and bad. Honestly, in my opinion, a sense of humour is integral to a happy, well rounded family...after all...if you can't laugh at yourself, then laugh at your kids.
I'm rambled out...until next time.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

3 kids, 2 cats, 1 dog and a husband...oh sure I've got time for a blog.

Let's start this way, "Hi, my name is Siobhan, and I am an imperfect mother". GOD does that feel good. I have 3 beautiful, funny, intelligent and completely imperfect children. I have a helpful, supportive, imperfect husband, as well as 2 imperfect cats and 1 super cute imperfect dog. We have a wonderfully imperfect life and wouldn't have it any other way!
I have been a stay at home mom for 9 years now and love and appreciate that I am able to do so, but have found that the expectations put on ,not just stay at home moms but working moms alike, are at times completely unrealistic. But the most ironic part of it all is that we (moms) have put these expectations upon ourselves. 
So here is my first run at a blog. I hope for it to be a space where I can (in place of a large open field) yell, scream, curse and pull my hair out. And I welcome you all to do it with me. I also want this to be a spot to share the absolute joy of being a mother and to share the heartwarming and sometimes perfectly embarrassing stories of day to day life as a mom of 3 crazy little ladies.
So for those of you brave enough to follow along on my blogging adventure, I say HOORAY, and bear with me.
So, to begin, a brief history of my little family. I have been married for 12.5 years to a pretty great guy. We, unlike 80% of our friends, married relatively young at 22. 4 years later our first princess arrived. Princess A. Easy pregnancy for my maiden voyage...until she needed to come out. Let's just say I am convinced I have the coziest uterus in town. 48 hours, and a pair of forceps later, there she was...all 9 lbs. 2 oz. of her. Fast forward 2 years where we welcomed Princess B to the group. Again, beautiful pregnancy + cozy uterus = C-section. And finally in the spring of 2008, our last and final teacup human arrived, Princess I. I'm sure I don't need to go over it again, easy pregnancy blah..blah..blah...comfy baby.. blah...blah...blah C-section!
These were all some of my first lessons in unrealistic expectations. I worked so hard to ensure safe, easy vaginal births for all 3 of my babies, but my womb, birth canal and body in general had other plans. We set up such perfect little scenarios in our heads of what we want our birth process to be. Water birth, hypno-birth, drugs or no drugs, C-section, home birth. All are terrific options as long as in the end 2 things happen. 1) you can accept that life might have other plans for the most amazing day of your life, and just be proud of the fact that you have just made it through 40 weeks of cramming and one hell of a final exam! 2)no matter which exit mode they choose, you have a healthy, happy baby that will never judge you because you were shrieking profanities incessantly upon his/her arrival instead of moaning your "planned" hypnotic chants.
So 9 years and 3 imperfect deliveries later, here I am. Mommy to an emotional, beautiful and compassionate 9 year old, a funny, beautiful and hot tempered 7 year old and a "spirited", beautiful and sharp 2.5 year old.
Our days range from utter victory to complete disaster, but at the end of each one of those days, each one is tucked in their beds with a hug, kiss and "I love you",  and a cross of the fingers that tomorrow, once again,  we'll all make it out alive.
I'm rambled out...until next time!