Category Archives: E.- the sixth year

Microblog Mondays: Cake-tastrophe

E turned six today.

He requested, just like last year, a train cake (although with a few modifications).

I am not what you would call a Pinterest-worthy mama. The train cake last year was a stretch, but it turned out surprisingly well. So I wasn’t too stressed when I woke up this morning and still had to bake and decorate said cake.

By 11:03 a.m. I was sitting on my kitchen floor sobbing because absolutely NOTHING was working with the cake. It stuck in the pan and broke when I tried to get it out; it crumbled whenever I tried to cut it; the icing glued to the crumbed edges and broke them off; the jelly roll sitting on top of a flat slice of cake looked nothing at all like the oil tanker of my imagination.

The cake was completely, utterly, fucked, and I no longer had any time in which I could fix it because I was out of cake mix and out of icing and P. was soon going to wake up from her nap.

And although I knew it was JUST a cake, when E. had woken up that morning he had been disappointed because he had thought that all of his presents would be out and wrapped just like at Christmas and when I’d taken him to school he’d said to me sorrowfully that “this hadn’t been how [he’d] imagined [his] birthday would start” and the thought that I would have to pick him up that afternoon and tell him I hadn’t been able to make him the train cake he wanted, the train cake that he’d picked the decorations for when he went with me to Bulk Barn, the train cake that he’d asked for months ago, just broke my heart.

So I sat on my floor and cried.

And then I called in the cavalry.

My youngest sister turned up with a slab cake and more icing (AND helium balloons including a giant silver E) and my mother turned up with one of those icing nozzle things and together we fixed the cake.

And E. loved it (except for the fact that I directed my mother to put the boiler too far away from the cab of the steam locomotive).

Some days it really does take a village.

What was your worst baking disaster? Were you able to fix it?

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

5 Comments

Filed under Butter scraped over too much bread (a.k.a. modern motherhood), E.- the sixth year, Family, Microblog Mondays

Microblog Mondays: Pink

A couple of days ago I called E. over to look at a prospective sun hat on the computer (because who has time to go to a store in person?). E. badly needed a new hat, not only because he’d just lost his current one at school, but also because that hat was getting too small for him, and although he’d repeatedly said he wanted a new hat that was “exactly the same as the old hat!”, I’d several years ago only purchased said hat in small and medium, not large, and now the store no longer made it.

The potential new hat was from the same store, but in a different style. E. came over, looked at it, pronounced it a good hat, and then said, “Oh, and look, it comes in pink too!”

“Do you want to get it in pink?” I asked.

“Yes, please,” E. said immediately. “Navy really isn’t my style.”

I ordered the pink hat with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

E. loves pink: he will tell anyone who asks that it’s his second favourite colour because “pink is closest to red!”

Thus far, E. has remained blessedly oblivious to the gendered associations of pink (even though he frequently comes home from school and tells me that something is a “boy movie” or a “girl book”). At a birthday party in January he picked out the last pink balloon when it was his turn and seemed genuinely perplexed when the girl behind him challenged him on his choice (she had clearly assumed that that balloon was hers because she was the next girl in line).

But he is about to turn six, and I know someday soon he will be told he shouldn’t be wearing his pink hat or his pink, orange, and red leggings, that he shouldn’t choose the pink balloon. It will come from his peers or (worse) from adults in the community. I don’t know when it will happen, but I know it is going to.

I hope he is strong enough to ignore the naysayers.

It breaks my heart that he’s going to have to defend his choice, that he’s not going to be allowed to just be a kid wearing a hat.

Do boys wear pink where you live?

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

6 Comments

Filed under Brave New (School) World, E.- the sixth year, Microblog Mondays

Microblog Mondays: Parental Limits

Since I last posted about them, E. has lost both of his top front teeth.

His smile has changed irrevocably, as I knew it would, but it is still adorable.

And I’ve found one of my limits as a parent.

It turns out I can handle vomit, poop, wee, blood, bumps and bruises and fevers, but I cannot pull out a tooth when asked.

I’m not sure if it’s the thought of physically pulling the tooth out, or the fear that I would fail to pull it out and hurt E., or what, but even the idea of it makes me feel like someone’s running their nails down a chalkboard.

Luckily Q. isn’t remotely squeamish about such things. He pulled out the first one a couple of weeks ago at E’s request and pulled out the other one last night at dinner when it was flapping back and forth as E was trying to eat a hamburger.

Q. was quick and professional.

E. was brave.

And I tried not to shriek EEEEEEWWWWWWWWWW!

Do you have a surprising limit (as a parent or elsewhere in your life)? If so, do you have a partner, other relative, or friend who can step in when needed?

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

6 Comments

Filed under E.- the sixth year, Microblog Mondays

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.

3 Comments

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

(Not) The First Day Back

Microblog_MondaysE should be back at school today but he’s ended up with one extra day of holidays due to vomiting yesterday. So instead he’s had a lazy day in his pjs and has been generally cheerful (once he finally stopped being too hangry to eat breakfast when he first woke up).

I’m the one who’s out of sorts.

I miss our routine.

I was looking forward to seeing all the other Mums at drop off.

I was looking forward to some quiet time when P was napping.

I was looking forward to sitting down with a cup of tea and organizing what I need to get done over the next couple of weeks. I function best with to-do lists and planning. Right now I have a whole bunch of amorphous “I should do this” thoughts floating around in my head, and I find that quite stressful. They’re easier to quiet when they’re written down somewhere.

I was looking forward to having a few hours most days without E’s incessant questions. I am so glad he is so curious but it can be exhausting, particularly when his questions outstrip my ability to give accurate, detailed answers. Currently his main interests are the universe and microbes (the macro and the micro), neither of which is an area of strength.

I feel a little guilty feeling the way I do, as E is a homebody at heart and would love nothing more than to be able to stay at home, with me, all day, every day. I get it- he’s an introvert, just like I am. The difference between us is he can recharge by being with me, whereas for me to recharge I need to be alone.

I miss school, even if he doesn’t.

If you have children, do you look forward to the end of the holidays and the return to the usual routine?

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

 

4 Comments

Filed under Brave New (School) World, E.- the sixth year, Microblog Mondays

Random musings at five weeks

Some thoughts from life chez Turia, in bullet points again:

  • I think I got one of those mythical sleeping babies. In the last four nights P. has done stretches of 1. 7 hours; 2. 7 hours; 3. 5 hours (but she spent almost the entire day sleeping); and 4. 8 1/2 hours (!!!!!). How ridiculously amazing is that??!!
  • I am glad I bought a pump at the start of this week, as I have been pumping after her long stretch to make sure my supply does not diminish. I was hand expressing before this, but the pump is definitely faster and more effective. I am building up a little freezer stash. I guess eventually we will do something with it.
  • P. is a total nightmare in the evenings until we get her down for the night. Much much worse than E. was. But then she sleeps and sleeps and sleeps. I will take it.
  • P. mostly naps in carriers during the day. I can get her down in the bassinet after the first feed because I think she views that as still part of her night sleep (I suspect she’s on a 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. nighttime schedule). This works well as it gives me time to pump and get E. breakfast and get me breakfast and clean up the kitchen. Sometimes she only naps for 45 minutes in there. This morning it was 2.5 hours (after that huge nighttime sleep) and I got so much done. If we home, she naps in the K’Tan. If we are out, she’s in the Beco Gemini. At some point I am going to want her to nap more in the bassinet, but this works for now (I am typing this standing up at the kitchen counter with her in the K’Tan).
  • I survived my first week home solo with both kids. We have a routine going where we try to get out of the house in the morning before it gets too insanely hot, and then we stay in over lunch and the early afternoon. We sometimes go back out in the later afternoon- E. had activities at the library two days this week he wanted to check out. I feel like I pretty much rocked this week and the double parenting gig, if one leaves out the fact that I get no housework done other than cleaning up after breakfast and Q. is still cooking all dinners.
  • I alternate between feeling guilty about how much we are using the car and being so damn grateful we bought the car. It has been stupidly hot here for days and days and the car means that we get out quickly and we can drive to the parks with the best shade in the city that have sand/water tap combinations (which is all E. needs to be happy for hours). I am getting less nervous about going out with both of them and driving. It’s just not an option to stay home all day- E. would go crazy (and drive me crazy in the process).
  • But I do feel guilty, especially since E. has a reputation in the neighbourhood as The Boy Who Walks. I keep telling myself we will do more walking again, but I’m hardly going to take P. out for lengthy strolls when it’s 33 degrees, and I’m not going to drag them both on public transit (especially with an unvaccinated baby) for 45 minutes or an hour to get to a park that we can drive to in 12 minutes that will give us enough shade we can play all morning without worrying about where the sun is.
  • P’s propensity for carrier naps and fussy evenings is making getting anything done for my course a real challenge. My essays come in on Friday. I’m really not sure how I’m going to get them marked right now. Possibly by getting up at 5 a.m. when she and E. are both sleeping. I can moderate the discussion forum and write discussions questions, etc. while she’s in the carrier but 2,000 word essays require a higher level of concentration and she won’t just fall asleep adorably on my chest any more.
  • Nursing is quite different when you have two. I have nursed through more meals than I can count (almost every dinner for the last three weeks it feels like), nursed while supervising a bath, nursed while assembling a model dinosaur, nursed while playing Playmobil vet clinic, nursed while reading bedtime stories, nursed while telling E. his daily Winnie the Pooh stories (which feature far more trains than I think A.A. Milne would have envisioned), nursed while putting together afternoon snack, etc. I am also now a master at nursing at the park with a muslin blanket draped over one shoulder, sometimes while walking around the playground supervising E. with the straps of my carrier hanging around my feet. I was doing this on Monday when a mum went past and said, “I remember that stage! It’s an impossible situation!” Except it isn’t, because my older one is five, and most of the time I can just sit happily on a bench nursing P. and trust that he is a) playing nicely; b) not doing anything silly or dangerous; and c) not about to leave the playground without telling me.
  • I remember with E. my favourite time to nurse was right before bed- we’d lie down on my bed and he’d make these happy little noises and close his eyes and get so relaxed. I’m there with P. too and it is lovely. They always look so serious with their little furrowed brows when nursing awake, which I also love, but there is something so special about that sleepy feed.
  • I feel stressed much of the time about everything I have not had time to do- email photos of P. to family; Skype with family; reconcile our finances; add P. to the RESP, but I have had to just realize that the course takes every spare moment for now and all the things that I feel I need to do to be a) on top of things and b) a good member of my family have to wait until I am clear of it. Except maybe the thank you notes for P.’s presents, because even though she is a second child they are starting to pile up and I really need to get some of them sent out. I think I can write them while she naps in a carrier. We’ll see. I finally ordered some cards from a giant online retailer last week when I realized I did not have time to go get some in person, so that is a start.
  • My family continues to fall apart in an absolutely spectacular way with my stepmother’s health now not all that good (she needs a hip replacement although she is only in her mid-fifties) and my stepfather very seriously ill with kidney issues requiring a stent and a hospital stay this past week right after he got back out of the hospital for an intestinal blockage. There are also probably more tumors. My mother is so drained emotionally and physically from the wild ride they’re on. And my father is having surgery on Monday- should be a straightforward surgery but it is a big deal as if it works he will eventually be able to get off the ventilator. And here I am, barely keeping my head above water with two kids and the online course. I have absolutely nothing extra to give right now, and I cannot be there in person to help (my youngest sister is holding the fort for us at the moment). I am not supposed to be in the sandwich generation at 36.
  • I keep telling myself I am doing the best I can.

2 Comments

Filed under Butter scraped over too much bread (a.k.a. modern motherhood), E.- the sixth year, Family, Nursing, P.- the first year

Transitions again

Hello readers (if you are out there). So life with two while still teaching is, um, different. I am keeping my head above water but the whole “I’ll just finish the course before going on maternity leave” decision makes a lot less sense this side of things than it did before P. was born. I know it is still the right decision, but oh man I am SO GRATEFUL she stayed in as long as she did because if she’d been born any earlier I would have been screwed. As it stands I wish I’d somehow found time to write all the lectures, because P. is over two weeks old now and I have written exactly one. Only three left, but writing them in snatches of fifteen minutes here and there is really hard.

Some thoughts on the first couple of weeks (in bullet form and written over several days because that’s now how I roll):

  • How to know you’re a second-time parent: I was in the shower, with P. in the bouncy seat in the bathroom. I heard a sound that made me think she was spitting up. Looked out- sure enough, milk everywhere. How I assessed the situation: 1. Is she choking? (No.) 2. Is she upset about being covered in milky vomit? (No.). I finished my shower!
  • I had my first round of solo bedtime at the weekend because Grannie was out picking up Q. at the airport. It included sitting on the toilet nursing P. while E. was having his bath; lying down on the bed nursing P. while having “snuggle” time with E. as he read books and leapt around the bed occasionally pausing to bestow kisses on P’s head; and then trying to moderate my discussion forum while also keeping P. from screaming (she was not having a great evening) while E. kicked the walls of his room and sang at the top of his lungs that he liked to eat yoghurt and bananas.
  • That particular evening aside, P. is already showing signs of being far more laid back than her brother was. Whether this is due to her personality or due to my second-time approach to parenting (read: it’s ok if the baby is not immediately on a predictable routine) is yet to be determined. But it’s a nice change regardless of what’s caused it.
  • E. still having school for eight days after P. was born was the best thing ever. Then we had Grannie here while Q. was overseas, and Q. is taking this week off and then next week E. is in day camp. So I will only have two weeks left in the course when I have both of them home with me full-time and hopefully we will survive and it will be a bit easier to leave the house.
  • Packing to leave the house for any length of time now feels like setting out for the base camp at Everest. Gone are the days of “Got a hat? We’re good!”. I knew this would happen but it has still been a big shock.
  • E. thus far has been great. He asked me the other day how old P. was. When I said she was twelve days, he said, “I’m already getting quite attached to her.” He is starting to notice how unavailable I am and was getting tired of Grannie as a substitute. But he loves getting books that I can read when I’m nursing, and he loves giving P. kisses on her little head.
  • Nursing was really hard in the first week (poor latch when milk came in and I got engorged led to a lot of pain) but things are much better now and have been for a while. P. gained a whopping 7 oz between Day 3 and Day 5 (and was 3.5 oz over her birth weight by Day 5) but then only gained 5 oz in the next week. This is above the minimum but only just, so I’m going to take her back in this week for a weight check just for peace of mind. The midwives are not worried, but of course I am.
  • P. is sleeping really well at night. I feed her around 10 p.m. and then swaddle her and put her in the bassinet and she’s been known to go fairly regularly through until 3:30 or 4 a.m., and will then go three hours before waking again, which gets us past 6 a.m., which I then consider morning as far as I’m concerned. So I am getting a reasonable amount of sleep. I still feel like my head will float off my shoulders around 4 p.m. though.
  • I survived driving P. down to the midwives for her two week appointment (at 12 days). All of my anxiety about parenting this time around seems focused on the car, because we never had one before and Q. has done most of the driving in our big city. P. was happy on the way there (fell asleep) and then screamed like mad on the way home, only calming down when I sang an invented “We’re ok, P.” song (she loathed my efforts with the Wheels on the Bus).
  • We took P. and E. out to see labmonkey and Pea on the weekend, but Grannie did the driving that day. P. was again really good on the way there but did a lot of screaming on the way home. She was superb while out though- happy to just fall asleep in the carrier when we went out to a park. E. was great and would give us P. reports: “Her eyes are open! Oh, they’re closed again!”
  • I need to buy one of those mirrors to mount on the seat so I can actually see her when we’re driving as if I don’t have E. to give me reports I find it extremely stressful.
  • P. is the NOISIEST baby ever. The only way to describe it is she breathes over her vocal cords, so there is this near-constant hum of noise when eating or sleeping. It is a testament to how much less anxious I am this time around that I am able to sleep right next to her with that racket whereas with E. I was still sleeping in the basement at this stage (and then using earplugs for the rest of time he was in our room).
  • Physically I had a much easier recovery, although I’m still having trouble with bleeding because I don’t spend enough time resting (curse of the second-time parent). My midwives spent a lot of time in the hospital making the point that my body had worked very hard even if I didn’t think it had. Emotionally and mentally it’s been much easier too. I’m just in a much better place than I was at this point with E. I’m prepared for all the newborn madness and I’m genuinely enjoying the snuggles. I’m already finding it hard to balance the needs of my two children, but I knew this would be the hardest part for me.
  • I am happy. So very, very happy. She is safe, and she is here, and my family has the piece that has been missing.

4 Comments

Filed under E.- the sixth year, Joy, Me? Pregnant?!, Midwives, My addled brain, Nursing, P.- the first year, Siblings