Tuesday, February 9, 2016

separation anxiety

i knew the day had to come eventually, but that doesn't mean i'm any more prepared for it. a few months ago i felt more ready than i do today. right now i feel panicky and scared and needy. i don't want to go back to work tomorrow.

i can't believe the year is up already. what a crazy, emotional, amazing year. i've experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows. in the first few months there were days i was so overwhelmed with darkness... but thankfully i had the support i needed to get through it. i have met many wonderful people and made lovely new friends. of course the most wonderful of all is my dear little daughter. i never knew such true, all consuming love until her.

i had all these things i was going to write about, but now i'm drawing a blank. i'm trying to think of some positives about going back to work. i won't have to pack up a bag full of diapers, wipes, extra clothes, snacks, etc in order to leave the house. i won't have to inhale my lunch, burning my tongue because there's no time to let it cool as she might wake up any minute. my clothes won't have cereal or yogurt on them within 20 minutes of getting dressed. i'll be able to the bathroom alone. i'm sure there are others. but all i can really think about is all the stuff i'm going to miss. our morning coffee at starbucks, walking to the library, taking her to play groups, going on afternoon play dates, watching her with her little baby buddies. the cuddles, the kisses, the smiles and the laughs. she is growing and learning so quickly, every day i see something new. but now i feel like i'm going to miss it! i know, it's not like i'm going on a one way mission to some distant planet, i'm just returning to work. but i'll go from seeing her all day to only a few short hours. i'll miss my baby!!!

i always assumed separation anxiety referred to something the baby went through. now i know the truth.

post-nap bedhead and smile

Saturday, May 16, 2015

a fire-pole, and other parenting ideas

Getting my daughter to sleep isn't that difficult, the real trick is getting her to stay asleep. First comes the bouncing and singing. Okay, she's asleep, now the hardest part: putting her down. I hold her for a while, hoping she falls into a sleep deep enough not to notice the move away from my body and onto the mattress. Gingerly, I ease her onto the bed. First her feet touchdown...steady now... lowering her head... EYES OPEN! Quickly scoop her back up and immediately they close again. Little bounces... and try again. It usually takes me at least three tries.

Once she's successfully laying on the bed, I stand perfectly still; you wouldn't even be able to see me breathe. I contemplate my escape, cursing the creaky hardwood. I am so close to victory, and yet defeat threatens me with every step. What I need is a fire-pole, so I can slide silently down to the main floor. I'd wear mittens so there'd be no squeaking of skin on metal, and I'd plop noiselessly into a pit of foam pieces. Yes, that would work. I have also imagined myself swinging out of the room on monkey bars, so as to avoid the perilous floors. A house made of marble would be equally adequate for enabling a soundless departure.

Instead, I slowly slide my foot across the ground, trying to detect any creaks before all my weight goes down, and reaching as far as I can to minimize the steps required. I try to hold myself up somewhat on the dresser as I slip out, then with hands pressed against the hallway walls as I near the stairs. One time she stirred and opened her eyes before I made it out of the bedroom and I instinctively ducked down out of sight. As I lay huddled on the floor, I thought how absurd it was that a three month old could incite such ridiculous behavior in a (more or less) sane adult. But instead of picking myself up off the ground, I slid out. That's right, laying flat on the floor and pushing myself backwards with my hands, I slithered out of the room. A new low (haha, pun).


There is one other thought that crosses my mind every time I lay her down. I inevitably get my arm pinned under her head, and sliding it out without waking her is challenging. That's when I remember an old commercial for the War Amps Champs about playing safe. A robot gets his arm sawed off and then clicks it back on. He says "I am Astar, a robot. I can put my arm back on; you can't. Play safe". Oh how I wish I had Astar's removable arms!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

3 months in (almost)

I remember thinking that babies sleep a lot, so surely I'd have plenty of time to write my blog. Hahahahahahahahaha! Ha. Oh, the folly of a new parent. Little did I realize that the sleeping would have to be done in my arms, leaving me unable to do much of anything, let alone sit and type merrily at the computer. But right now she is sleeping on her own so I will hurry hurry hurry to try and bang out a quick update before she wakes up. That is pretty much how I do everything now. She's asleep, so hurry and gobble down some food. She's asleep, mad dash into the shower. She's asleep, quickly toss some laundry in!

oh dear god, the phone rang. and a wrong number too! my heart was pounding as i tip toe ran to get it. thankfully, she is still asleep. phew.

so, i'm a mom now. craaaazy. i don't even know where to start. i thought this post would just pour out, seeing as i've become one of those people that can only talk about the baby. but what do you expect, having a baby has become my whole life. and things that are totally story-worthy in my mind, no doubt fail to captivate my audience. "so Amelia was looking at her crinkly fabric book - she loves that book, so focused on the pictures - and she totally almost turned the page by herself!" i gush enthusiastically. whoever i'm talking to waits for the rest, and then realizes by my goofy ear to ear grin that there is no more. "um... cool. good story," says the unimpressed listener. okay, i'm exaggerating, that would be kind of a lame story. she didn't almost turn the page by herself, she DID turn the page by herself!! Whooo!!!! The crowd goes wild!!!!

there are also chilling tales of poo mishaps and giant barney gumble-esque burps, uplifting triumphs of grabbing the dangling toucan and pushing the music button on the snail. and of course feel good heart-warmers of big morning smiles, sweet coos and gurgles, and too cute to handle giggles. seriously, she laughed for the first time a week ago, and it was so adorable i thought i was going to explode. instead i just squealed with delight myself, and then hugged and squeezed her like the abominable snowman does to daffy duck.


anyway, this entry has actually taken several sittings over a few days to get through, so i'm just going to post it and try to write again soon.




Sunday, February 1, 2015

39 weeks... ready and waiting

One week from due date. They originally told me February 6th, but turns out they meant February 8th. I know two days doesn't really make a difference, and it's just an estimate anyway, but man those extra two days til d-day seem like an eternity has been added on! I've been doing a countdown for a couple of weeks now. And I have a feeling I'll be doing the due date + 1, due date +2 count up too. Slowpoke little lazybones baby.

I've thought about blogging about my pregnancy experiences on several occasions, but for one reason or another never got to it. And maybe it's best that way. I have not exactly been one of those people who has enjoyed a radiant glow and raved about how much I love being pregnant. I could rattle off some of the unpleasantness I have endured, but to truly capture the grim reality, I would have to be way more honest than I'm willing to be. No need to share or speak the horrors aloud. I'm sure I'm not the only one, so it can just remain a tacit understanding among mothers. Let's just sum it up and say that pregnancy can be really gross. Yes yes, it's also quite amazing, miracle of life and all that, but I was not prepared for the havoc it would wreak on my body.

But let me focus on the good stuff. One thing that continues to captivate me is watching my belly move. Basically whenever I'm relaxing at home, I have my shirt pulled up so that I can see it when she moves. For a while there were big, swift waves as she rolled and twisted and squirmed. Now that there's less room, the moves are slower, but just as enthralling. Out will poke an elbow or a knee, and just stay there (until I gently push it back in). It's creepy but so cool. I still sort of can't believe there's a baby under there.

Although I'm absolutely terrified of the whole giving birth thing (and of course nervous about the parenting to follow), I am so excited to meet my little squirmy mcgoo. Now that the finish line is in sight, I just want to get there. But I know I should try to appreciate (through the back pain, heartburn, uncomfortable sleeps, etc etc etc) that this is the last little while I get to feel her stretching and wiggling around inside me. This is the last little while when I alone carry her and feel her and protect her . Soon enough I will share her with her daddy and her grandparents, her auntie and uncle and cousins, who are all very eager to meet her too... but right now she is all mine.




Friday, September 26, 2014

almost a grown-up

No excuses for not writing. I actually had lots of things to write about lately, so I only have laziness to blame. First of all I wanted to write about China: all the things that had changed and all the things that had stayed the same. I've got some great side-by-side photos I want to post, that really illustrate what's happened in 10 years. And I still want to do that. But there is so much else to say, that today will just be an overall update on the last 6 months.


So let's start with China. Of course there were tons of fantastic experiences with wonderful stories to tell, but the one that wins hands down, is the day of rafting down the Li River - the day that Blair proposed :) I won't lie and say it was a huge surprise. We had already talked about it and decided that we would get married, so it wasn't totally out of the blue. But I wasn't expecting it then! It was sweet and exciting, and even though we both knew the day would come at some point, we both still felt giddy and nervous. So yup, of course I said yes, and now we're engaged! I never thought I'd be so enamored with a piece of jewelry, but it's so sparkly and beautiful!! And as cheesy as it sounds, when I look at it, I really do think about how much we love each other. Groan :p

mandatory cheesy ring shot

Skip ahead to the next big event. When we got back from China, I had a voicemail waiting for me. It was regarding a job I had applied for several months back - a job I reaaaaally wanted - and they were offering it to me! I was ecstatic. But things got a bit complicated when I got back to work and found out that another position I had applied for was going to be offered to me as well! The latter was a job that I thought I had no chance at, as it was quite a step up and there had been tons of applicants. I was shocked that they chose me! Anyway, to cut to the chase, after much fretting and deliberation, I chose that one. It started sooner, and it was a significantly higher position. New job!!

movin' on up :)

A week after I started my new job, my third niece was born. That was also the day I found out that I was pregnant. Pregnant! Of all the milestones, this one is the life-changer. We're going to have a baby!! This was planned; we had decided to just give it a go now and see if it happened. Neither of us care about being married first. And boom - it happened immediately! Wow, life will soon be very different. I keep joking about doing all these grown up things like buying a house and getting engaged. But becoming a parent trumps them all. Just over 4 months before I'm a real honest to goodness grown up.

12 weeks (a little alien inside me!)

All this happened in two months. I got engaged April 4th, started new job at the end of May, and found out I was pregnant June 4th. Given my normally uneventful life, that's a lot going on in a short span of time!

I'm off on a whole new kind of adventure.











Monday, February 24, 2014

blizzard day (number 2)

well, i got my wish of wanting to experience an arctic blizzard. it started yesterday, cleared for a bit in the evening, and is back even worse today. the wind is gusting to 80km an hour, and with the windchill the temperature is now at -57C. our office is closed for the day, along with much else. i went out for a walk yesterday and it was pretty cool. i snapped a few pictures, but in the 5 seconds i had my hands out of my mitts, it felt like my fingers were being crushed in those medieval torture device thumb screws. pain right to the bone!

at first i thought "woohoo, snow day!" but a few hours into it and i'm just kind of bored. i've had my breakfast, talked to a few other hotel guests, watched some netflix, done some knitting, started another puzzle (my third), refreshed facebook a squillion times, and stared blankly out the window at the indistinct building across the road.

i've purposely held off having a third cup of coffee so that i could venture out to get one later, as my big activity of the day.

i also keep glancing over to my box of wine. but it's not even noon, so i'm trying to hold off.

here is a photo journal of today's very brief jaunt outside:

there's my hotel. and you can just make out the apartments across the street.
let's go a few steps closer....

yup, they're coming into focus now. a few more steps...

there they are, the first one clear, its neighbours fading behind it.

and that's enough of that, i'm freezing. back to the hotel. still visible! 
and a couple of pix from yesterday that i like:

wind sweeping across the lake.
someone pushing their way through the wind as they cross the lake.
this is my favourite photo

and hey, look at that, it's after noon now!


Saturday, February 22, 2014

soapsto- bloodstone carvings

i'm reeling. i don't even know where to begin. this beautifully calm and quiet town has shown me the evil hiding within. drugs, abuse, violence, death. i was a part of it and didn't even realize it.

one of the cleaning staff at the hotel is the girlfriend of the guy from whom i bought my soapstone carvings last time. a cute little polar bear and an innukshuk. so cool. she approached me and asked if he'd tried to sell me anything, because he had stolen some carvings from her uncle. and then she told me more.

he is a drug addict. he steals soapstone, carvings, materials, money. he doesn't want to work, just get quick money for more drugs. he is abusive. he wants her to keep her mouth shut so she asked me not to tell him we spoke. she showed me bruises on her arms. he has knocked her out, broken her eye socket, kicked her with steel toed boots until blood came out her ear, and ruptured one of her kidneys. she said she feels "slow, like a half person" since the injuries. she told me another girl committed suicide because of his emotional and physical abuse.

you aren't still with him, are you? she told me she tries to stay away, she hasn't seen him in a few days and she doesn't know where he is. but she wants to help him. she wants him to go to the counselling he is supposed to be attending (since he was released from jail and is still on probation). she is trying to keep an eye on him, and others also want him to get better. but he doesn't want to.

i don't understand it. the whole thing about the abused staying with the abuser. i don't get it at all. she knows he's bad. she knows he doesn't want to change. and yet she said that isn't really him. i tell her she should protect herself and stay away from him. she says yes and that her mother is helping her.

i hope she is okay. i hope she gets out.

i hate those fucking sculptures now.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

chill weekend in rankin

haha, a weather pun.

but i'm not going to waste time talking about the weather. it's cold here. the end.

today i had a lovely relaxing day. i woke up and watched the american/russian hockey game while having coffee and a bagel. then i did a couple of crosswords with more coffee. finished off a puzzle with another coffee. not surprisingly after all the coffee, i felt a little antsy and needed to get out of the hotel. showered and bundled up and headed out to nowhere in particular.

i decided to go visit alice (aka: my mitten maker). yup, i just popped by. well first i popped by the wrong house, and was told that alice lived next door. oops. backtracked one house. her daughter and grandson were there too and we had a nice visit. i apologized for just showing up but they said that's how we do it here, and to come visit again.

wandered around town a bit. went into the two grocery stores. no, not to buy anything, just for something to do. but really, there's more than just groceries. the Northern is like a mini department store, with clothes and groceries and toiletries and sofas and washing machines all squeezed into the size of my normal safeway.

walked down to the edge of town and sat down on a snow mound for a while, just enjoying the peace and quiet. then headed to the arena for the raffle. talked to a few people as we waited for the draw. didn't win anything. oh well.

came back to the hotel and made myself a grilled cheese sandwich (which i burnt) and some sweet potato fries (which i also burnt). just watched Blackfish (about killer whales in captivity) and it was quite sad and disturbing. now for some red wine and my knitting. ahhhh...

i can't believe i still have a whole other day off!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

the compliment

my brother has been joking that my blog must be broken because no new posts are showing up. haha. if only I could blame it on technical difficulties! but alas, it's just a loss of creativity and lack of things I feel are worth writing about.


but today I have a little something I want to jot down. something that makes my heart swell with joy. I feel myself so touched that I have to share it.


As you know, I taught English in China for a year. That was back in 2005. Somehow, I managed to keep in touch with one of my students, who was just 7 at the time. I've always been amazed that she has continued to email me over all these years. I mean, she was just a little kid, she's more than doubled in age!


today I got a wonderful email from her (and not just because, after I sent her a recent photo, she said I hadn't changed and still looked young - although it certainly didn't hurt the ego). She told me that she was going to the US for university and how excited she was. She remembered how she was upset as a kid that she had to learn English, but that now she was glad. And then it came: she said that honestly, I was the first teacher that got her interested in learning English.


Wow. This has made my day. No, more than that. I will think of this whenever I feel down, and it will lift my spirits. I am so moved, and so honoured... I don't know if I've ever felt something like this. I inspired someone. I made a difference in her life. of course I'm not taking credit for everything she's accomplished or the path she's taken in the last 9 years, but now I know that back in the beginning, I was able to spark something in her. She always told me that I was her favourite teacher, but I just thought she was being sweet. I guess I didn't realize that I really could have an impact. What an amazing feeling. I hope all teachers strive for this. To motivate someone, to awaken a desire to learn - is there any greater reward for being a teacher?


That and the holidays.

Friday, December 6, 2013

farewell nunavut!

down to my last few hours in rankin inlet. i've been jotting down reminders of the things i've liked and disliked about staying here, and the like side wins by a landslide.

things i love about life in this little arctic hamlet:
  • i love the sunrise and that i am always awake to see it
  • i love the colour of the snow at different times of day. blue, pink, orange,  white.
  • i love looking away from town into absolute darkness
  • i love the silence, except for the sound of dogs barking somewhere in the distance
  • i love that no one knows their address, but everyone seems to know who lives where
  • i love that people give their phone numbers as just 4 digits, because the first three are always the same
  • i love shared taxis
  • i love that there are no sidewalks
  • i love how trucks and skidoos just made their own roads. why go around the lake, when you can go across it!
  • i love all the homemade parkas (i can never brag about knitting my own scarf again)
  • i love babies in hoods (amauti is the inuit coat the mothers wear - the babies look so cozy!)
  • i love wearing snow pants. this is something i plan to do at home, fashion be damned!
  • i love that it's like a town full ofsouthpark kennys walking around. nothing but eyes in hoods
  • i love having to do that full body swivel to look to the side.
  • i love that i'm "from down south". winnipegger = southerner. weird
  • i love the friday night bingo on the radio that everyone plays
  • i love the sense of a close community and that i have temporarily been a part of it.
things i won't miss:
  • dry skin. seriously, i slather on coats of lotion and i still feel like my skin is cracking.
  • all the static to go along with the dryness
  • brain freeze from the outside in. that's where the cold hits: right between the eyes.
  • coffee. oh my god i am just so sick of it. everyone drinks coffee all the time. i have been havnig 4 cups a day, just because it's the thing to do.
  • coffee-mate. drinking 4 cups of coffee and i don't even have cream!
  • the evil giant ravens. they just hover and circle above me, like they are waiting to pick at my frozen corpse. man, they creep me out
  • the constantly drippy nose
  • wiping said drippy nose with the wad of frozen-snot kleenex that is always in my pocket
  • my eyelashes freezing together when i blink.
actually, i like that. i'm moving freezing eyelashes to the "i love" column.

well kids, that's it, i'm outta here. flying south the rest of the winter :)
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