Worth it

There are days that make this all worth it...the temper tantrums and butt-bombs and boogers and whining and wake ups at 3 in the morning to fix blankets and biting and hitting and fighting and tears and spilled water and milk and Cheerios and mouths full of crayons and rocks and markers and the neverending stream of very annoying children's programming...and today is one of those days.

Today, I had this conversation with Sophie:

Sophie: Is this a truck?
Me: Yes.
S: What kind of truck?
M: A moving truck.
S: But I want it to be a doctor's bus.
M: Okay, it's a doctor's bus.
S: Yay! Thanks, Mom!

Imagination in full bloom...but apparently it needs regulatory approval.

Later, Lillian and Sophie were sitting on the bottom stair as they often do, Lillian wearing Ben's dress shoes and Sophie wearing a pair of dress-up high heels, and they were making silly faces at each other, both squealing with laughter.

And at lunch, this exchange happened:

Sophie: Mom, can I have a napkin please? (HUGE DEAL - DID YOU NOTICE THE PLEASE???)
Me: Yes.
Lillian: Napkin.
Me: Please.
Lillian: Peease.
Sophie: Thanks, Mom!


Some days are worth it.


Peter Pan

During a long day, like yesterday or the day before...or the countless days before that, I am so jealous of my mother and mother-in-law. Both of them are single and free of babies and commitments besides work. Sure, they rescue their grown children bunches of times in crazy and new ways, our little family included, but for the most part they have a luxury of floating through this earth with very few people touching them or peeing on them or yelling at them or demanding of them...and I am SO. JEALOUS.

I fantasize and dream about the time when both of our girls are grown up and moved out and living their own lives at a distance. One where I can wake up and shower and take care of myself and fetch myself breakfast and maybe, if I am feeling like it, get my husband his breakfast, make his lunch for work...more whim-like than part of the grinding routine that clouds every day for me.

One where we can stay up later and only have the reprecussions of ourselves the next day, not the demands of toddlers and preschoolers as punishment. One where breakfast could be lazy and not immediately after you get up. Where coffee is hot and clean clothes stay clean until I'm sloppy and supper could be appetizers or toast or cereal and no one will complain or judge.

One where talking to the husband could be purely interesting and purely uninterrupted by shouts or singing or questions that never end.

Oh, the dream.

But yesterday I picked up Sophie, who is now 3-going-to-be-4, and she weighs around 30 pounds and is long and tall and has big feet and little girl hair and full sentences and deductive reasoning and I realized that those 3-almost-4 years have flown by. That just moments ago we were pregnant, then we were announcing, then contracting, then pushing, then c-sectioning, then holding our baby, then becoming parents HOLY-HELL-WHO-LET-US-BECOME-PARENTS.

And I looked at Lillian, who is toddler-going-on-2 and the same thing struck me.

Even though marathon days are all I know, the years are speeding by and soon Sophie will be in school and then Lillian and then they'll be moving out and then I'll cry.

So I asked Sophie to stop growing, to not get bigger, and I even offered to stop feeding her so we could hang on just a little bit longer.

Because the truth is I can't wait to be a free-moving adult in this world again...but I can certainly wait for my babies to get big and disappear into their own fog of being grown-up-ness. Oh, yes I can.


Keeping your head above the water

You know that moment where you have this gigantic feat to face, a huge stress to overcome, a big task that you're not sure you're up to ahead of you, and yet you're expected to keep living as if things were normal?

Like when you know something big is going to happen, but the dishes still need to be done and bums still need to be changed?

Like when you have 18,00000098230948239842 things to do, yet, you're expected to make dinner then sit down and eat it like nothing is eating you up alive inside?

You know that feeling?

That is me today. And since the big thing isn't happening for months yet, I feel like if I can't get a grip on TODAY then what will next month be like? Or the one after that? Or the one after that?

I know I'm supposed to focus on the moment (I even had a ring made to remind me of this since I'm so challenged in this area) and not on all the moments and minutes and hours and days and weeks and months all at once, but it's so hard.

Listening to the girls playing and fighting and playing and figthing, I'm trying to stay in this moment, but I'm so scattered I don't even know where to begin with this moment.

Dishes? Non-fiction submission? Pinterest hunting? Crocheting? Sitting and watching children's shows that drive me crazy?

What are you up to this moment? Maybe it will give me some ideas how to spend mine, until the next one comes. And then the next. And the next week. And the next month. And...

...time to lie down.


Days like this

There are some days where I want to disappear. Where I want to curl up in bed and never emerge. Today is that day.

The girls have been fighting all morning. Every few minutes is punctuated by L shrieking over something S isn't letting her do...and S whining in that infuriating voice that L has taken something that is "hers".

There isn't enough sleep in me today. There isn't enough energy or peace or patience. There isn't enough of anything.

Today is a bad day. And I know it's a bad day. I can see it as I watch myself handle each situation horribly, as I tell S to stop whining and I tell L to stop being a butt.

I know what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to take it easy. I'm supposed to make everything simple. I'm supposed to keep breathing and moving and taking everything moment by moment. I know all of that...but today, I just want to run away. I just want to sleep. I want silence and no demands.

I want, I want, I want.

Time for another coffee, to get dressed, and to start hanging out with the girls...because that is usually the cure. They stop fighting when I am present. And right now I'm hiding out.

Time to be a grown-up.

And time to stop wishing that stay-at-home parents got sick days.

Because today, if I worked a normal job, I would totally call in sick.



More -er than you know

Yesterday I went to go running with my dear friend J at 5:30 a.m. We usually meet up Monday and Thursday mornings, run around her or my neighbourhood, peer at dark houses and talk about all manner of things (life, dessert, ridiculousness, broken brains, etc.). And then we usually talk about how tired we are, being the mothers of young children. It's a constant state of being, but some mornings are tougher than others...some moments are exhausted beyond measure, beyond knowing how you're going to get up and keep going. Somehow we do...somehow we're still moving. And running, with puffs of cold breath, at too-early-o'clock in the morning.

Yesterday, though, when I arrived at J's house, she was still in her kitchen, no socks on, brushing her teeth. Usually she's ready to go and I only need to wait for her shoes to be tied. But yesterday I came into the kitchen and she said, "I was hoping you'd cancel."

I kinda hoped she would cancel too. And I was seriously toying with the idea of cancelling on her. Both of us had been up too late and both of us had long days ahead of us, days that could have used those extra hours of sleep.

I couldn't cancel, though. I needed to see her, to talk to her, to ruminate over the latest developments in my mothering, to get her advice and support and reassurance that the next hurdles in front of me were not only achievable, but that I would survive and keep moving well after I had jumped them.

I needed to hear that I was okay, that the future would be okay, even if it turned out horribly wrong, that things would still be okay. I left as I always do - bolstered, picked-up, and ready to keep moving, to keep fighting, even though the exhaustion was in my bones. We didn't run, we had tea instead, but we talked and talked and worked through the moments that were causing me the most difficulty. It wasn't as fit-full, but it was mentally health-full. Thank God for J.

Last night my gorgeously pregnant sister came over, overwhelmed by all the things that having a baby meant - from needing new maternity clothes to actually being a mother. She was slightly horrified that when she came in my youngest was having a temper tantrum and I had pen on my neck from an earlier colouring session. It didn't help her panic of "How in the world am I ever going to do this?!?!?"

We sat and talked and ate candy and I told her all the things J had told me that morning - that she's got this. That things are only overwhelming because she's trying to tackle everything all at once. That she's going to be more okay than she'll ever realize because in the moment she'll be awesome. And after the moment, she'll look back and be impressed because no one ever knows that they have it in them. Ever.

And I reassured her that babies do not come out temper-tantruming and pen-wielding. They come out small, and basic in need, and they DO NOT MOVE. That you ramp up. That once you get to where I am, two babies, a miscarriage, and almost 4 years in, this is manageable, not always ideal or sexy, but survivable.

I found this today and it fits perfectly for yesterday's theme:

It's hard to remember this all the time...especially with pen on your neck or a panic attack coming on or when you get knocked down pretty impressively. And sometimes you just need someone to hold your hand and remind you: You've got this. You're awesome. It's going to be okay. You've GOT this.

Because you do.



2012 was a tough year.

It was a year where I finished my journey through postpartum depression.

It was a year where we found out we were having our third baby.

It was a year where we lost our third baby at 11 weeks.

It was a year of grief, of the deepest crying I've ever done, of the hardest work in our marriage we've ever had to do, and a year of leaning harder than we've ever had to lean on people.

It was the year we declared bankruptcy.

2012 was a tough year.

It was also the year I turned 30. It's a significant number because of the 0 at the end of it...and because it marks the end of the 20s, where everything magical was supposed to happen.

My 20s were magical - I graduated university, I married the love of my life, I established a writing career, I became a mother in 2009, I took a writing course with Miriam Toews, I became a mother again in 2011, I started my novel, and I learned more about myself than I ever knew existed.

To kick off my 30s, I decided I'd start a gratitude journal. The concept is nothing new. Oprah does it. There are apps for it. And Wikipedia even acknowledges it.

With 2012 being the year of really crappy stuff happening, I wanted to celebrate my new decade and 2013 with positivity. It sounds hokey and a little hippy-ish, but I was sick of only seeing the list above of all the bad stuff that happened and not remembering the good moments.

So far, I've been very faithful to it: every night before I go to bed I write down three things that were good. (I went with the List of 3 inspiration from Lauren of My Postpartum Voice - she often tweets about it and I liked the sound of "List of 3"...so I stole it. That's how that went.)

Some days I really need to hunt for things. I feel like I should be marking down extraordinary things, but most days they don't exist. It is in the hunt for three things to be especially grateful for that I realize that the ordinary good things that happen to us far outweigh the bad most days.

Some days I have to work hard to pare it down and ONLY pick three. I'm a rule follower and I have set these rules and I will follow them DAMMIT. Those are good days. :)

The most frequent thing I'm grateful for is coffee. With 2 babies 3 and under, this is not surprising. This is normal.

I think it's working, though, in helping me always look for the good. I haven't started looking for it during the day, just at night, but I feel like that is the next step. If I can find the good in reflection, then I will one day recognize the good in the moment. That sounds like an even better day.