Category Archives: Blink and you’ll miss it

Microblog Mondays: Firsts and Lasts

My first baby had his first sleepover this weekend.

He was excited and nervous and worried about saying goodbye to me, which basically sums up E.’s reaction to most new things.

Q. and I weren’t sure if we were going to have to go and get him, but he had a fantastic time.

My last baby is in her last week of being a baby.

Every time E. does something new I’m reminded, again, that we will get a second chance to experience those firsts.

And every time P. does something new, I am reminded, again, that her firsts are also my lasts, for she is, truly, our last baby (despite E.’s insistence that we should have a third child because he’s “not done being a brother”).

She is the baby we never thought we were going to have, so every one of her firsts brings with it this complicated mix of emotions.

Gratitude. Grief. Nostalgia. Anticipation.

I am excited, so excited to see the little person she is in the process of becoming.

But it is bittersweet.

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

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Filed under Blink and you'll miss it, E.- the seventh year, Microblog Mondays, P.- the first year

Microblog Mondays: Pearly Whites

Last week I took a photo of E.

It’s nothing special- just a head shot of him smiling, staring off to the side. I took it during lunch.

I’m not always good at picking up my big camera these days, but sitting there, in that ordinary moment, I felt a sense of urgency.

You see, E. has a very loose top tooth. He lost the two middle bottom teeth last fall and this top tooth has been wiggly now for months. It’s at the stage where we’re all surprised it hasn’t fallen out yet, and E.’s frustrated with it (but not frustrated enough to ask us to pull it out, for which I am extraordinarily grateful because the idea of yanking out a tooth creeps me right out).

And as we were sitting there, eating our lunch, laughing about something which I’ve already forgotten, it suddenly struck me.

E. is never going to have that smile again.

He will still smile, of course. There will be gaps in it for a while (probably a long while), and then his adult teeth will fill it in.

But it won’t be that smile, because losing those top teeth will change it irrevocably.

Some of my friends have older kids. I’ve seen just how BIG their top middle adult teeth are.

E. will be six next month.

He’s almost finished kindergarten.

He is simultaneously impossibly grown up and still so little.

I don’t usually mourn the passing of time with him. I love being the mother of a (sort-of) big kid.

But I’m going to miss that smile.

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

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Filed under Blink and you'll miss it, E.- the sixth year, Microblog Mondays

A Day In My Life (January 2017)

(I’ve never done one of these before, but I got the idea from Non Sequitur Chica’s post. This turned out to be extremely long and I didn’t take any photos. Bonus points if you actually read all the way through to the end!)

10 January 2017

Turia is 37 years old.
Q. is 39 years old.
E. is 5.5 years old.
P. is 6.5 months old.
The cat is 12 years old.

3:14 a.m.: P wakes up crying. This is early for her to be up for a second feed (she was already up at 11:26 p.m.), so I wait a couple of minutes to see whether she’ll settle herself. She doesn’t, so I get up, put on my housecoat, and trundle down the hall to feed her. While she’s nursing, I rock quietly back and forth, kiss her fuzzy head, and try to stay present in the moment, enjoying the cuddles, rather than letting my brain wake up.

3:33 a.m.: I am back in bed. It’s touch and go whether I’m going to get back to sleep easily but tonight I manage it.

6:09 a.m.: P wakes up and immediate starts squawking and shrieking in a happy, “I’m really awake and excited!” way. I sigh. This is too early for her to wake up for the day since she won’t be able to nap until after we’ve dropped E at school. I get up and look out the window- there was some snow overnight but it seems to have stopped. I go into her room and can immediately tell she needs a diaper change. I put on the big light rather than just the monitor light, unzip her sleep sack, turn off her heater, and put her on the change table. It turns out she is still in the process of filling her diaper but the mess is contained as it’s one of the first real “I’m eating food now!” poos she’s had. I put her in a clean cloth diaper, get her back in the crib, and go deal with the dirty one.

6:14 a.m.: I bring P with me back to bed in the hope that she might nurse and snuggle and maybe fall back to sleep for a few minutes. No dice. She pops on and off the breast and chats to me and Q. (who gets up soon after P and I get in the bed). When the cat appears, P spends her time trying to grab as much fur as she can (while the cat does not help matters by trying to sit on top of me, which puts her within reach of P).

6:47 a.m.: I give up and get up with P. I make the bed while making sure P can’t grab the cat’s tail. We go downstairs.

6:50 – 7:18 a.m.: Downstairs I put some toys on the kitchen floor for P to play with. I make E’s lunch (and think for the gazillionth time that I really need to start making his lunches the night before), sort out my breakfast (overnight oatmeal, English Breakfast black tea, and a glass of water) and P’s breakfast (the last of the jar of carrots), and get the top rack of the dishwasher emptied. Q. is making his breakfast while also cooking a five grain mix to make a salad for lunch. I also remove P three times from the bottom shelf of the bookcase, which is where E’s craft supplies are currently stored. I make a mental note (again) that I need to prioritize baby-proofing the main floor.

7:20 – 7:35 a.m.: I go upstairs and wake up E, who is not impressed with the return to the school day routine. Eventually he asks for Cheerios for breakfast. I give him a kiss (which he accepts grudgingly) and go back downstairs. I get his Cheerios ready (sans milk) and set them out on the table along with his milk and his Vitamin D tablets. I get the bottom rack of the dishwasher emptied. Around 7:30 a.m. I start listening for sounds that tell me E has gotten out of bed as sometimes he needs a nudge. This morning, however, he gets up right on time and gets himself ready without any complaints.

7:40 a.m.: E, P, and I all have breakfast. Q. has mostly finished his and is back in the kitchen putting together the salad. There is the sound outside of our neighbour shovelling his front porch (and possibly ours as well). Q. reports that it is snowing heavily now. E is still grossed out by P eating so eats his Cheerios while facing the other way in his chair, even though we’ve moved P’s high chair so she’s as much out of his line of sight as possible. P is excited about the carrots and eats up almost all of what is left. She insists on also holding the spoon and seems to want to lick the food out with her tongue. When she’s finished I clean up the high chair tray, her bib, and her hands and face and then put her down on the floor with a couple of toys. Then I eat my breakfast. E finishes his bowl of Cheerios but doesn’t touch his milk- fair enough, there was a lot of milk in his cereal bowl. I put the milk back in the fridge for dinner.

7:57 a.m.: I go upstairs to use the bathroom and bring P with me. I put her in the crib and open the curtains so she can look at the snow. My phone buzzes- my weather app has sent me a warning that there is a 95% chance of snow in my area in the next fifteen minutes. The snow is pouring down outside. My app seems to specialize in stating the obvious. I barely get a chance to use the bathroom before E is coming up the stairs shouting, “I have to use the bathroom!”. Q is in the downstairs bathroom showering, so I finish up and get out of E’s way. I go into P’s room and change her diaper as she’s now quite wet. Then I put her back in the crib and go into my room to get dressed.

8:06 a.m.: Dressed, I go back into P’s room and get her out to see if she wants to nurse yet as she hasn’t had a proper feed since the one just after 3 a.m. She isn’t really interested and soon enough E is calling me to ask me to do a check wipe. I put P back in her crib (she protests a bit at this), and help E finish in the bathroom. Decide we might as well brush teeth now as if we go downstairs we’ll only have to come back up to brush them in five minutes. I even have time to floss. It’s clear from the state of my gums I haven’t been making the time to floss over the holidays. E alternates between brushing his teeth, asking me whether I can hear the noise from downstairs (which he says is the vegetables singing in the fridge), and asking me how you make a timer and how much bigger would a timer for an hour be than his two minute timer.

8:13 a.m.: P is really cross now, so I go into her room and pick her up and give her a cuddle. We go back downstairs and I load the dishwasher with one hand while holding her with the other. E runs back and forth in the living room telling a story. I put P down in the living room so she can watch E and she laughs at his antics. I run down into the basement to feed the cat, who has at least now figured out that her food has been moved down there (as P kept cheerfully rolling over to the bowl and unpacking the food). I check my phone on the way back upstairs- there is a photo from E’s Australian Granny of a kangaroo hanging out next door to the beach house where they’re on vacation. I show the photo to E. “Where is the beach?” E wants to know.

8:25 a.m.: I start pulling out all the clothes we need for the school run. I zip the panel back into my winter jacket, find the carrier, and make sure my phone, wallet, and keys are in my little purse and not the diaper bag. E puts on his clothes, complaining the entire time about not wanting to go to school. He was sick yesterday so today is his first day back and he’s having a hard time with the change. I tell him that all the other kids probably felt the same way yesterday and tell him that Q saw one of his friends when he was walking home yesterday after work and E’s friend was having a huge tantrum on the sidewalk. I tell E that J was probably tired and upset about being back at school and after-care. E eventually gets all of his winter clothes on correctly, including his socks, despite originally starting with his jacket and mitts. I get P bundled into her bear suit and put on her hat and then load her into the carrier and zip up the panel. We go into the kitchen to kiss Q goodbye.

8:33 a.m.: We are out the door, five minutes earlier than we really need to be. I tell E we’re leaving a bit early so he can play in the snow at the schoolyard before the bell goes. On the walk to school E asks me to tell him a story involving him and the two cats (the cat we lost last April lives on in his stories). “Can it be a story where they make a snow train?” he asks. I ask whether he means a train that runs on snow tracks or one that uses snow for fuel. He wants a train that uses snow for fuel. So I make up the story as we walk. A few people are out shovelling. The snow is still coming down and it muffles all sound. We stop to listen and E asks why snow does this. I tell him I think it’s because the snow interferes with the ability of sound to travel through the air and hope that I am right. E asks whether rain does the same thing. I say I don’t think it does- rain drowns out sound if it’s pouring. P is getting fat snowflakes on her face and looks resigned.

8:39 a.m.: We arrive at school. We are the first ones at E’s door and there is a whole bunch of snow with no footprints in it yet. I hold E’s backpack as he goes off to explore. There is a thick sheet of ice directly underneath the snow and E is enjoying shuffling back and forth on it. One of his friends comes over and is excited to see him. They have a short back-and-forth conservation about the friend’s upcoming birthday party- it’s always a relief to me to see E responding properly to his age peers. I say hello to a few of the other mums. It feels too late to be saying Happy New Year on the 10th, especially since we missed the first day back because E was sick. E starts to become more and more agitated about going in and asks me repeatedly if I can see his teacher. I point out that she’s not going to come out and stand in the snow before his bell goes.

8:50 a.m.: E’s bell goes, so he takes his backpack from me and goes over to stand in line against the brick wall. His music teacher comes out and I can see E relax- he loves music and he loathes substitute teachers. They march in fairly quickly and E isn’t crying or looking too upset. It’s a smoother drop off than I was expecting. I chat to a couple of other mums and then walk back towards home with one of them as she still has a key to the house from looking after our cat while we were away. She fishes out the key and we chat for a bit longer until I notice that P is getting a dreamy look in her eyes, so I head home. P looks adorable with snowflakes on her eyelashes. She still has carrots on one cheek- didn’t do a good enough job cleaning her up after breakfast. The snow falling in her face is uncomfortable enough that she stays awake on the walk home and I don’t have to take off her hat to make her head cold like I was doing in December. Q has done the first round of shovelling and put the garbage bags we’d thrown out the side door into the bin in the shed.

9:11 a.m.: I walk in the door, get off our winter gear, and straight away take P upstairs. I change her into a disposable diaper (she protests this), put her in her sleep sack and take her down to my room. We sit on the bed and she finally has a good feed. She is falling asleep while nursing as now she’s been up for much too long.

9:23 a.m.: I take P down the hall to her room, switch on the white noise machine, close the curtains, and then call her name loudly several times until she wakes up enough that I can put her in the crib “awake”. She immediately falls asleep. Normally I would sit in the rocking chair and sing lullabies before putting her in the crib and then sit in the chair and read a book while she fell asleep but today I just walk straight out.

9:24 -11:44 a.m.: P naps. I start drafting this post, answer a few work-related emails (the new computer I ordered back in early November is finally available for me to pick up), pay the Master Card bill, email my counsellor and arrange a meeting next week, transfer money into the HISA, claim a few prescriptions online, order a 2017 agenda (and get so annoyed with myself I prep another blog post for the next Microblog Mondays), chat to labmonkey on WhatsApp (who has the unenviable task of trying to balance all the parents wanting to come and meet Spud) and catch up on my blog reading.

11:45 a.m.: Holy cow, is P still sleeping?! Now the internal debate starts: do I wake P up? If I don’t wake P up, we’re getting awfully close to the point where she won’t go down again properly before I have to get E from school (#secondchildproblems). My anxiety starts creeping up. I hate when my children sleep much better than they usually do. I’m not used to it and it makes me nervous they’ve died in their sleep. E is going to be six in May and I still sometimes catch myself panicking about him if he has a big sleep in.

11:55 a.m.: Ok. That is a two and a half hour nap. I am sure I will regret this in the afternoon but I decide to wake P up so there’s a chance she can nap before we have to pick up E. I go up the stairs and enter her room. She’s on her back, awake, playing with her feet through the sleep sack, so she must have woken up right before I decided to come up. I get her out of the sleep sack, change her into a cloth diaper, get her dressed in a onesie and pants, put emu oil on the dry patches on her face, and take her to my room to nurse. She’s not interested- pops off as soon as I get a letdown. We giggle at each other in the mirror and then I take her downstairs.

12:05 p.m.: I put P on the floor in the living room near the basket of blocks E got out yesterday. She spends a happy few minutes taking blocks out and chewing them while I take some pictures with my big camera. I am having trouble getting a precise focus when I’m shooting with a wide aperture. Not sure if the camera and the lens aren’t communicating properly or if it’s me. It’s probably me.

12:20 p.m.: P is still playing with the blocks so I decide to go clean up the kitchen and wash the dishes from breakfast (and Q’s salad making) that don’t go in the dishwasher. P gets fussy half way through so I bring her and some of the blocks into the kitchen where she proceeds to roll around until she’s directly under the sink (and in between my feet).

12:40 p.m.: Kitchen is tidied. I want to get lunch going but P needs to nurse before I want her to have any solid food. I offer again in the kitchen but she’s still refusing to get down to business. This isn’t usual for her- normally she’ll happily nurse every three hours like clockwork. I suspect her tummy is bothering her or it’s teeth. Feels like she’s been teething for ages now but her gums are now super puffy. I decide to cut P’s nails as they’re getting long again and she’s starting to scratch herself. P sits between my legs and I only have to add a couple of non-canonical verses to “The Wheels on the Bus” (there’s a seal and a monkey on the bus) to get it done.

12:54 p.m.: Phone call from E’s school. E is having a very rough day. The teacher and I talk about it and we both agree it is probably the stress and frustration of going back after the holidays at home. We’ll talk about it with E after school.

1:05 p.m.: I again try to get P to nurse. She doesn’t have a great feed but it’s enough that we can now do lunch. We go back downstairs and I mix up sweet potato with her baby oatmeal. I have a five grain salad with dill and kale and red pepper, thanks to Q. Left to my own devices I would probably be eating peanut butter on toast. P eats with enthusiasm for about five minutes and then starts yanking at her bib. She is clearly all done.

1:50 p.m.: Time to try for the second nap. P finally nurses properly. It’s clear from her behaviour that her tummy is the issue. She’s eaten a lot of solid food over the last couple of days and her system must be struggling to adjust.

2:03 p.m.: P is almost falling asleep while nursing. I debate just lying down with her and letting her have a nurse nap but as soon as I lie down she wakes right up. I take her down to her room instead.

2:16 p.m.: P is desperate to fall asleep but can’t manage it. Now she needs a diaper change. Hopefully her tummy will feel better.

2:20 p.m.: P is back in the crib and proceeds to spend the next fifteen minutes shrieking, rolling, chirping, and patting her hand against her mouth to make a “wha-wha-wha” sound like she is some stereotyped Native American. The cat pushes the door open, meows under the crib, and then jumps into my lap. P is ecstatic at the distraction.

2:35 p.m.: I am just about to call it quits and get her out when P goes very quiet and stops thrashing about.

2:37 p.m.: She’s asleep. Brilliant. She has time for a twenty minute nap before I have to wake her up to go get E. I’m almost tempted to see if one of my neighbours is home and able to come and sit in the house while I’m out, except that I know I have to talk about the day with E’s teacher and I promised E we could go sliding if it kept snowing (which it has). I don’t want to change the plan if he’s had a rough day. Hopefully P will sleep in the carrier.

2:40 p.m.: I go downstairs and pump until it’s time to wake P up. I pump 50 ml, which is my usual amount left over if P’s had a good feed.

2:55 p.m.: I wake up P, stuff her into her winter gear, and put her in the carrier. P is not remotely pleased by this turn of events. She is in tears as we head out the door. I zip the panel up all the way so she can’t see anything and put her hat over her eyes for good measure. I grab the crazy carpet off the front porch.

3:05 p.m.: Pick up E. Amazingly he managed to pull himself back together after his rough morning and had a perfect afternoon. Everyone agrees it was a decent day overall.

3:15 p.m.: We take the crazy carpet to the field. The snow is rapidly turning to freezing rain and ice pellets. Underneath the snow on the ground is a slick layer of ice. I almost fall down as we’re walking. The snow is perfect for snowmen so E gives up on sliding and starts to roll a huge snowball. Eventually it gets too big for him to push by himself and some other kids help him. When it gets too big for them to move any further they start making a new snowball while E sits happily on his. My tactics with P appear to have worked! I can’t see her eyes but she’s making very sleepy sounds. Have a moment where I feel like I’m rocking being a mother of two- everyone’s needs are being met.

4:11 p.m.: We get home to find that Q. has come back early from the library before the weather gets any worse. He’s shovelled the sidewalk again. P sleeps all the way home and wakes up on the front porch as I unlock the door. I hang up all the wet clothes while E unpacks his backpack. E wants hot chocolate with his snack and we have just enough left. He refuses to eat the leftover banana bread from his lunch. I tell him there’s no more snack unless he eats it. He insists he will be fine just with the hot chocolate. While E’s drinking his hot chocolate I clean up all his lunch containers. P is happily rolling around on the floor.

4:30 p.m.: E is finished his hot chocolate and writes an apology note for the lunchroom monitor; she was so upset by his behaviour that she left me a note in his lunch bag- it’s the first time this has happened. E says he understands that playing on ice is dangerous and even though he was having fun he needed to listen to her when she asked him to stop.

4:40 p.m.: E does his English reading practice. He sight reads one book really well and then reads another one he knows. P is still rolling around on the floor- she’s over by the bookcase unpacking her books.

4:55 p.m.: I set E up with his videos (he’s been on a Thomas kick for the last few days). I nurse P and then pump again as I need some more for tomorrow to make up her oatmeal. P takes advantage of my being tethered to the pump to roll over to where E keeps his toys. She comes very close to pulling a large bin of Lego down onto her face. Her reach is surprising and it’s clear that she’s intentionally trying to stretch up to pull things down that are above her. She rolls over to the other coffee table and attempts to pull down the magazine that’s dangling over the edge but can’t quite reach it.

5:30 p.m.: Q. is up from his study and is making dinner. E. is running around telling a story. P is watching him and laughing. I set the table and tidy up all the bits and pieces lying around (receipts that need to go into the baggie to be reconciled, recycling to go downstairs, mail for Q., etc.). I come back from a trip to the basement and find that P has discovered the cables for the internet modem and is chewing on one of them. Not good. I remove the baby and again resolve to baby-proof this week.

6:04 p.m.: Dinner is ready! Q. has whipped up penne with calamari with bread crumbs, parsley, and a lemon, oil, and garlic sauce. P gums on some pasta while the rest of us tuck in (we all opt for seconds, even E). P ends up on the floor once she’s bored with the pasta and immediately rolls underneath E’s chair and gets stuck.

6:36 p.m.: E has finished his dinner and is clearing his spot. P is getting fractious. Q. is still finishing but I take P upstairs to get her ready for bed before her mood degenerates any further. We’ve done well to even have her with us at dinner- usually she’s in bed by now. Before going up I ask E to please clean up P’s toys and blocks that are strewn all over the living room. Upstairs, I get P into a clean diaper, her sleeper, and her sleep sack. She’s a little difficult to get to nurse but she does settle eventually. Once she’s done I take her down to her room, turn on her white noise machine, turn on her heater, and sit down in the rocking chair. She puts her head on my shoulder as I rock and sing lullabies and I can feel her relaxing. I give her a kiss goodnight, tell her I love her very much and I’ll see her in the morning, and put her down in her crib. As I sit and rock in the darkness, waiting for her to fall asleep, I can hear E picking a fight with Q about whether or not he’s going to come up for a bath. Q eventually comes upstairs, runs the bath, and starts to pretend he’s bathing E. E comes running upstairs, gets his clothes off, and gets in the bath, where he proceeds to be extremely rude to Q. I’m so frustrated. E can be so very horrid to his father and is far more difficult to deal with than he is with me.

7:11 p.m.: P is asleep, so I take over from Q, who heads downstairs to finish tidying up the kitchen. E gets a few more minutes in the bath. I try to talk to him about his behaviour. E insists that he just doesn’t like what his father tells him to do (even though it is exactly the same things that I would tell him to do). E gets out, dries himself off, and puts on his pjs while I drain the bath. He goes downstairs to apologize to his father.

7:20 p.m.: E opts to read one of his Highlights High Five magazines for his bedtime story. We get about halfway through the magazine before it’s time to brush teeth. E goes into the bathroom, uses the toilet, and brings his toothbrush, toothpaste, and timer back to his room. He does most of the brushing and then I do a round. I inspect his two loose teeth- not much change since the last time I checked.

7:35 p.m.: E opts for more snuggles instead of his book time, so I lie down in his bed with him. We talk a bit about the day.

7:40 p.m.: E doesn’t want me to go, but I stand firm. He gets one more kiss goodnight and then I’m out the door.

7:40 – 7:50 p.m.: I wipe down P’s high chair, the counters, and the table, while the kettle boils for tea. I have to go back upstairs once to help E. turn off his side lamp once his last five minutes of book time are over. Q. is eating ice cream and reading for the tutorials he unexpectedly has to teach tomorrow (one of his TAs is in the hospital with pneumonia).

7:50 –  8:20 p.m.: I read the final response to the readers’ reports on our book proposal which Q. has drafted. I pick up a couple of mild grammatical errors but otherwise it looks good.

8:25  – 9:07 p.m.: I add to this blog post.

9:08 – 9:25 p.m.: I waste time on Facebook. I have refused to put Facebook on my phone, which means I only check it when I’m on my ancient laptop, so the time I waste on it is fairly minimal.

9:30 p.m.: Q. and I get ready for bed. My brain is having trouble shutting down- I shouldn’t have been on the computer right up until bedtime.

10:20 p.m.: I am still awake. P. wakes up. Seriously? This is very early for her. I wait ten minutes to see if she is going to settle but she just gets more agitated so I get up and go and nurse her.

10:47 p.m.: I am back in bed. Outside it is now pouring rain. At last I fall asleep.

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Filed under Blink and you'll miss it, Daily Life

On being (sometimes) a grasshopper

I’m sure everyone knows Aesop’s fable about the grasshopper and the ant, where the ant is industrious and works hard and stores food for the winter and the grasshopper flits about and has fun and doesn’t worry about tomorrow and then meets a bad end when the cold weather comes (largely because the ant won’t help it). The moral of the story is meant to be all about hard work and planning for the future, but the ant comes across as mean spirited and a bit of a killjoy.

Q. and I are ants, in that we live within our means. We bought the house we could afford, not the one we really wanted. We don’t keep a balance on our credit cards. When we do take on debt (such as buying a car), we pay it off as fast as we can.

My father is an ant.

My stepfather was, to a certain degree, a grasshopper.

My father, thanks to his ant-like tendencies, has the financial resources to pay for the extensive care he is going to need for the rest of his life. He will not have to live in some sort of institutional setting because he cannot afford otherwise.

My stepfather, thanks to his grasshopper nature, enjoyed more than a decade of retirement from his long-term career.

If my stepfather had been in my father’s accident, and my father had ended up with my stepfather’s cancer, their outcomes would have been even more bleak. My father would have died only eighteen months or so after retiring from his second career, and my stepfather would not have had the financial resources for private care.

But I feel like both of them are reminders that we should all channel the grasshopper, at least some of the time.

My father is 63.

My stepfather died the day before his 65th birthday.

Neither of them is going to get the decades of retirement that financial planners urge you to consider when thinking about the future.

They both made time to travel, to visit family, and to enjoy hobbies. They both squeezed a great deal into their lives.

But I can’t help but feel that they were both cheated of so much.

Being at home with a small baby, I do spend a certain amount of time wishing for the future. I can’t help it- I’m not a baby person. I love P., but I will enjoy her more when she is bigger.

At the same time, I find myself thinking a lot about my father and my stepfather and reminding myself to stay present, in this moment, in this life.

This isn’t a dress rehearsal.

This is all we get.

And when Q. and I are looking ahead, to places we want to go, and things we want to do, I am going to try to remember that we need to be grasshoppers too, at least some of the time.

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Filed under Blink and you'll miss it, Choose Happiness, Family, Grief, P.- the first year

The First Day

Q. and I walked E. to the school.

Q. kissed E. and headed off to work when the first bell rang.

I waited with E. until his teacher appeared.

“Go with Mr. J.,” I told him.

I gave him a gentle push in the direction of his teacher.

Clutching his lunch bag, wearing his backpack, E. followed him into the school.

He didn’t cry.

He didn’t look back.

And I didn’t cry until he was far enough inside the school that he wouldn’t be able to see me.

My baby.

A schoolboy now.

HOW did that happen?

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Filed under Anxiety Overload, Blink and you'll miss it, Brave New (School) World, JK

Welcome to mid-life?

I had a birthday recently.

Not a milestone one, at least not officially, but one that very firmly set me closer to 40 than 30.

Q. is going to be 39 in January.

E. is starting school next month.

Two of the houses on our part of the street sold this summer and the new people have moved in. They’re couples in their late twenties or early thirties. They don’t have kids (yet?). They remind me of Q. and I when we bought our house, seven years ago this autumn.

I feel like we are entering a new stage in our lives. Most of our friends are sending their kids to school as well. We’re done with babies and diapers. We’re losing the flexibility to travel whenever Q. isn’t teaching. Now our movements will be ruled by the school calendar (and that has been a bitter pill to swallow).

This summer, within a week of each other, two of my friends’ mothers had strokes. One died. The other survived, but the stroke added complications to her terminal liver cancer diagnosis. She’s still hanging on, but there isn’t a lot of time left.

Here’s the thing that really struck me: we are creeping into that age where it’s no longer shocking or surprising that our friends are losing their parents.

Q. lost his father in 2003. His father was demonstrably “too young” to die. Q. and his siblings were demonstrably “too young” to lose a parent.

But some of my friends, who are a little bit older than we are, and the youngest in their families, now have parents who are in their late seventies or early eighties. And when they die, although it is still a terribly sad thing and everyone wishes we could have more time with our loved ones, their lives cannot really be said to have been cut short in the way people said it of Q.’s father.

It is that, more than anything else, that makes me feel like Q. and I are entering mid-life.

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Filed under Blink and you'll miss it, E.- the fifth year, Family, Friends, Loss

Screen Magic

Microblog_MondaysWhen I was waiting to become a mother, I used to imagine all the things I wanted to do with my child.

One that was high on the list was going to the movies. I used to love going to the movies as a kid. My sisters and I had a tradition of going to see every animated Disney film that dated back to The Little Mermaid. I loved the previews and the popcorn and the huge seats. I loved air conditioning on hot summer days and how the world seemed so bright when you left the theatre after a matinee. I even thought the sticky floor was neat.

And then we had E., who is extremely sensitive and easily frightened and hates loud noises, and, well, I put that longed-for experience in my back pocket and told myself to be patient.

Yesterday, my patience paid off.

We took E. to see Shaun the Sheep, and it was an unqualified success.

We packed his headphones and he wore them the entire time to cut down the noise.

I put my hands over his eyes during the (ridiculously scary and not at all age appropriate) preview for Pan.

We ordered popcorn and sat in huge seats. E.’s had a tendency to fold up on him if he wasn’t sitting right at the back, so that kept us on our toes.

We watched the movie. The whole movie. Even the credits, because Q. and I always watch the credits, and even though E. was bored senseless we told him sometimes there is something special at the end of the movie for those who stay and watch all the credits (and there was, thank goodness).

And we laughed. We laughed and laughed and laughed. E. laughed so hard and for so long that other mothers around us stopped watching the movie and were just laughing listening to his joy.

It was a perfect first movie. Very very gentle (only a couple of points where E. became worried) and lots in there for the adults.

We came out of the theatre into the oven of hot air that is late summer in my city, blinking at the sudden onslaught of the sun.

“That was so much fun!” said E.

Yes. Yes it was.

What is your favourite movie memory as a child?

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.

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Filed under Blink and you'll miss it, E.- the fifth year, Microblog Mondays, Three's Company