Thursday, July 31, 2008

his face

I got a call from the camp today. I called and asked if he was okay and if he had ever received the box of candy we sent. I kept wanting to call before this, but after last year, I was reluctant to since the other camp lied to me anyway, and I assumed that this camp would as well. After all, it's not like they have any legal obligation to tell the truth or even give a shit if he is really okay.

Seriously, in Ontario, we have regulations for the people who care for our kids in schools and daycares and just about every other place----but not camps, not even sleepaway camps.

So I should hardly be surprised to find out that today he got into an accident on the trampoline, and his knee connected with his eyebrow. (Don't ask me how, it seems impossible to me as well.) He split open his eyebrow and bled everywhere. He needed two stitches, and the camp doctor put them in.

He is supposedly fine---but how can I be sure if I am not there to see? He could be dying for all I know and they have no obligation to tell me shit. Plus I am unhappy that they stitched him instead of gluing him and now he will have a scar. Long story short---because of all of Mac's mishaps I know the the current best practice is to glue cuts together with a special sterile superglue instead of stitching unless it's on a stress point, like a knee or an elbow.

And Mr.Cotta does not understand why I am upset. He thinks it's no big deal. He actually just went out and left me all alone worried and freaked out.

And he wonders why I hate sleepaway camp so utterly totally and completely? Does he even know me, or understand me at all?

And the joke is that this camp is supposed to be an excellent one, the type that caters to concerned parents who actually like their children, as opposed to the super cold WASP detached parenting camp we sent him to last year.

His face is permanently scarred now. My baby's face will never be the same, and all because of some stupid camp.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Two months in

The other day, we took Julius in for his two month checkup. I've been looking forward to this because I was hoping that my pediatrician would finally treat his goopy eye, instead of just leaving it. She says that he has a blocked tear duct, which I think is utter total crap. I believe that he has some sort of infection and I'm really concerned...but she once again told me that they don't treat babies eyes like this, even when they are oozing pus. And she won't even swab it and test it, even if it's ebola, she won't treat it.

Did you ever begin to think that these Docs are taking their concerns about overuse of antibiotics a bit too far?

In the good news/weird news department he has grown. He has grown a LOT. Julius is now a few ounces shy of 15 pounds. At only 2 months, this makes him 100th percentile for weight, and he is also 95th percentile for height. Solely breastfed, he is my own personal liposuction machine. Really, who needs plastic surgeons when you can do it this way?

The only weird bit is that his head is 50th percentile. I'm glad that he is perfectly average, but this means that he is slightly out of proportion, so of course, Mr.Cotta has been making jokes about him now....calling him the Microcephalic Baby, haha. I tell him that isn't funny, cause there are some babies like that, and we know the fear of something really bad happening, but since he also has that slightly nervous tone in his voice, like he's afraid it's true even though he knows that nothing is wrong, I've left him alone to crack bad jokes and mutter to himself in the corner.

I'm more concerned about the fact that the doc said that his little head is getting flat on the left side, and poking out on the right side. He is a little crooked! It appears I am raising Stewie. Hopefully without the world domination ambitions. We've been assigned homework and now I have to make sure he naps/sits and lies down with his head tilted more to the right side. He was favouring the left for a long time, because when the nanny isn't here he's very heavy for me to hold all the time, and I tend to put him in the carseat or lying on the change pad beside the couch, and lean over to him and speak or change him or whatever. Until my back and my abs get stronger, I can't pick him up as much as I'd like. So we're going to work on moving his head a bit and giving him some tummy time....honestly, if he ends up with a helmet, I'll die a little inside, so I hope this works.

Julius also got his first vaccines, and I'm not sure who was more nervous, me or him. I had him nicely doped up on baby Tempra, but he still screamed blue murder. My concern was that he would react like Kaz, who had 10 days of screaming, high fevers and seizures after each pertussis shot. Twelve years ago the vaccines he got were the whole cell pertussis vaccine and he had an extreme reaction, every time. He got the acellular vaccine at age 18 months, and had only a few days of fever and seizing. (Not exactly comforting but better.) Then at age 5, he had only one day feeling terrible and no seizures that I saw...but still I get nervous at even the thought of shots for him. (And for the record he has never had a reaction to any other vaccines or medications. Just the DPT. The MMR was like nothing to him, no problem at all.)

Mac had almost no reaction to any of his vaccines. And so far Julius has had almost none, just crabbiness for the last 48 hours. Different genes? Different body chemistry? No-one researches this, so there is no way of knowing. They assume that anyone who has a side effect or an issue with a vaccine is an extremist, and the whole thing becomes so polarized that no one can ever have a proper discussion. The research becomes politicized instead of scientific and parents like me are left floundering. Very frustrating. So you might be wondering why I ever gave any of my kids another vaccine after witnessing that? Well, the problem is that Kaz was already having respiratory issues as a young baby, including croup and bronchiolitis, and with asthma, a case of whooping cough could be very bad news for him. So I had to weigh the risks and benefits and I figured that he had to keep breathing, and lack of oxygen from whooping cough might cause as many problems as the side effects from the shot against whooping cough. I don't know, I feel guilty about my decisions on this everytime I have to help him with his school this day, I'm still not totally sure I did the right thing.

Which pretty much defines my entire parenting style; aka "Hoping they survive to age 18 in spite of me."

Next post, I'll update you on the house reno plans. *I have to go rotate my kid's head now.

* Errr, that sounds wrong actually, but you all know what I mean, right?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Learned something new today

I went to a funeral today--the elderly grandmother of a close friend of mine died Saturday, and being Jewish the service was held this morning, as soon as possible.

Being brought up as an Irish Catholic I know a lot about Christian funerals, and just the sight of a hearse makes me think about tables of food and china teapots and cups and the smell of incense. But I don't know very much about Jewish funerals services. In fact, although I've worked for a jewish organization in town, I've never been to a synagogue.

Why does it matter? Well, when you grow up Catholic like I did, you learn that there some unwritten rules of behaviour that must be followed. Like---God would strike me dead if I ever showed up for church without a skirt and pantyhose. Bare legs were a sin, and pants were practically a mark of prostitution. Logically I knew it was crap, but deep in my heart I still feel nervous about it to this day.

So the question is, what to wear? Do Jewish women go through this guilt and stress over what to wear? Did I need a hat? I hear hats are important, but I only have a baseball cap....shit. Did I have to wear black?


In the end, I wore my black jersey maternity wrap dress, no pantyhose, and black heels. Minimal makeup, no hat. Hoped the jewish god doesn't strike dead the women who show up dressed "wrong".

Turns out it was a reform synagogue and I was one of the best dressed and most formally dressed women there. No Hats! Thanks God! Total relief.....

That dealt with I paid attention to the service and learned a bit of history. It turns out that Ema, as she was known, was truly amazing. She was 94 when she died, but as a young woman she was one of the original Zionists who built a Kibbutz' in Israel. She snuck across the border of British Palestine in the 1930's, and the head of the kibbutz gave her a job right away; she was handed a gun and sent off to guard the orchards against terrorists. All five feet of her plus a gun against the British army, the Arabs, and the heat of the desert....wild. Years later her husband was arrested for being a member of Ergun, (he was actually a member of Hagganah), and held by the British until he died in prison a few years later. A widow with two kids, she moved in the fifties to Canada and worked in the Montreal fur district, sewing piecework to support her family, and put them through school. She spent years working for their benefit only.

And she did it. Her entire family is successful and happy and educated. At the age of 94 she played the mandolin, she loved music and art and food and friends and family. She never wasted a second worrying about past sadness. She lived with joy. I don't know what the Yiddish word is for this, but I would definitely have called her a Great Old Broad.

I learned today that if I have to die someday, I want to die like that, after a long amazing life like that. I don't want to worry about pantyhose and hats and stupid stuff, I just want to be known as a Great Old Broad.

I'm about to turn 40. Can you tell?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Devil Mamas

I stumbled across this post title a few weeks ago, and now I can't stop saying it or thinking it every time I breastfeed in public.

Say it with me everyone!

Devil Titty

Weeeeeee, what a great title. Just rolls off the tongue doesn't? I love it because I, like Maggie Gyllenhaal am also a shameless devil woman, boobing a baby with my door open, my shirt open, my curtains open, hell, in the backseat of the car at the side of the road, in restaurants, malls, and waiting rooms.

A proud feminist milk bursting devil mama, if anyone asks by the way, hehe.

The good thing about having trouble walking and carrying things is that you always have a perfectly good excuse for being unable to slink off to a bathroom with the baby and a blanket and the diaper bag. I have no choice but to sit wherever, shirt open, no blanket over the baby, just doing what has to be done, because anything else hurts too much, and I need help to take care of him.

I've had surprisingly not one person say anything awful to me yet. A few stares, no leers, and a couple of older women smile and say very lovely encouraging things about nursing a baby in public. Pretty neat, eh? A few younger women have looked uncomfortable and looked away, and one asked why I wasn't using bottles in public, but I just said I didn't feel like it and kept going. Reality is that I'd just get let down and be bursting full if I did use a bottle and missed a feed. I'm only going through that for a movie or dinner with my hubby, not just cause some person doesn't want to see me feed the kid.

Speaking of bottles, we have tried Julius on a bottle of pumped breast milk at 6 weeks and he took it although at first he didn't understand where the hell mama was and what this rubber thing was in his mouth. Poor Mr.Cotta had to deal with him crying until he got it. Now I just have to get my frozen stash of pumped milk stocked up and I can go for a physio appointment all alone or a massage without worrying about a starving baby. (I have some, but not a lot, and just in case I ever get sick or can't feed him, it would be a relief to have a freezer full, you know?) For those of you who wondered, I bought BPA free bottles, but not the fancy mega bucks kind. I just got some boring, plain old Playtex bottles with the drop-in liners. A nice box of them, all I will need for my purposes, cheap, just $20. Still plastic, but just fine thanks.

So, me and my two month old babe are off to sleep now.....for a few hours anyway.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I have a dozen things to blog about, but I'm not sure I should blog about any of them. I think I'm getting an allergy to controversial IF/pg/loss stuff. Is it just me, or is the only acceptable comment on a blog these days, "((Hugs!))"?

Which makes the internet pretty fucking boring I think....hopefully this cycle will pass.

So Kaz wrote me a letter, saying he was alive at camp, and that he really really wanted me to send him some candy. So we are.

A gigantic box that will likely be confiscated because all the counsellors are freaking about childhood obesity. Even though none of that applies to my kid at all. He is still underweight, maybe fifth percentile. Yet everywhere he goes (school, camps, etc) he gets the lectures about not eating things that make you fat, and we have the worst time EVER finding clothes that fit him. All children's clothing is now marked for vanity sizes, and husky is the only type allowed.

There are overweight kids here and there but most of the ones I see are average or only slightly chubby. I really don't see how banning all treats helps, or lecturing about diets, or banning things. Me, I like the middle ground, letting most kids have one treat a day, and the kids who can handle it get some more. But no lectures......

I went to see my ob/gyn the other day for a good bye visit. We talked about my poorly healing uterus and the whole c-section vs. vaginal birth issue. (Eeeeeek, run away here people) Basically, he hates the never do it approach, and he hates the always do it just in case approach. (This is why I like him, he has sense.) Both delivery methods have risks, and even with a planned c-section you could end up like me, facing an u/s, a possible MRI, months of physio, pain, more pain, and did I mention----pain.

I needed my section, but make no mistake, there is a cost. Oh Lord, I can't function, can't lift a thing, even my big healthy baby. What if you didn't need it, and just scheduled it for convenience, or because you were afraid of a VBAC and ended up like me instead of all those other people who tell you how easy their section was?!?

Note the irony people: for 6 years my arms have ached to hold this child, to rock him to sleep, to carry him in a sling, to hug him, and cuddle him.

My arms were empty, and because of the c-section they still are. Sigh....

If you see Posh Spice anywhere, punch the bitch for me, k?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

So sad

Kaz is once again going to sleepover camp, over my very strong objections. He leaves Tuesday, and will spend the next three weeks hanging out with a bunch of rich kids in the woods, who frankly have no idea how privileged they are.

Admittedly this is very different camp than last year. It's not quite so rustic and not a boys only camp, and I've had several discussions with the camp directors about all the medication concerns---but they still don't get it. They think he can get it late in the morning and it won't matter. I am left praying and wringing my hands and hoping my baby will be okay.

Most of all I will miss him terribly. I *hate* sleepaway camps with a passion, because after everything I've been through to have my kids, I do not want to hand them over to be raised by someone else. Day camp is one thing, it's not a long day and I get to see them for the other 10 hours they are awake but for a parent like me, this kind of camp is hell.

I know---kids love it, and I'm sure many of you loved camp yadda yadda yadda. But just because kids want something doesn't make it good for them or a part of their families value system. Should children get everything they want? Hardly....

Mac isn't going away this year, so I still have him. And Julius of course. I guess I just can't picture life without Kaz here. My husband is just fine with him going, happy even.

I guess I have to thank my lucky stars that we didn't rent another cottage this year. After all, there are only so many disasters one person can take per summer right? Right.

Going to go hug my baby now....sniff sniff....

Friday, July 18, 2008

The List

I have slowly been getting back into the swing of things. And making lists of what I need to do bit by bit when I feel up to it.


- find my favourite shorts in my closet
- start some form of exercise program
- get laser eye surgery for my serious nearsightedness
- renovate the house

Lists lower my stress level. They anchor my free floating anxiety. Instead of a giant cloud of chaos I can't quite grasp, I see a path somewhere. The only thing is the list can't be too long and the first things on it can't be too hard, or I will feel emotionally blocked, and give up on ever ever getting the rest of the list done.

Past lists have included small things like "clean my purse", "take in drycleaning", and bigger things like "apply to grad school", "learn french" or "change the world", etc.

Or "Have live baby".

That was the first thing on my list for many years and it's---------


I feel much lighter right now.

So what do you think I should do next, oh internets? Like not in the next two minutes, or even two months, but going forward? We're settling into a nice routine, so I think I need to contemplate this. Will I stay at home, go back to work, go to school, advocate, lobby, volunteer?

Putter, dabble, dawdle?

Now what? Hmmmmm

Monday, July 14, 2008

Julius is still doing well, very happy but sort of varying on the sleep. He seems to have decided to do his 6 week growth spurt now, at the moment we are hitting 7 weeks. Not only can he not tell which week it is on the calendar but he has to decided to nurse every hour on the hour round the clock.

Never blog about how well your baby sleeps. It will come back to bite you in the ass.

Or the nipple, as the case may be.

But really, the flooded basement does suck alot alot a lot. We had to pull up all the carpet and underlay and throw it in the garbage, after moving the furniture, and sort through many many damp boxes of stuff. And I'm still convinced we are going to find mold somewhere someday. Our insurance company is not very helpful in this regard, sigh....

Good news is that my husband finally decided to give the go ahead and agree to sign with the architect. All it took was one flood. Okay technically the overpriced hideous open house we went to was inspirational as well. Just the thought of getting into a bidding war for some crappy place and still having to reno in the end is pretty much a nightmare of mine and his.

Might as well stay where we are and reno this joint, although in our case staying where we are isn't technically going to work. We will have to move out for a few months while they knock the place down and rebuild. Our design is simple, and we can do it, we just needed to sign the documents.

The hard part---to get permission from the mofos at the city planning department and at the )@;*# OMB, both of whom drive small renovators crazy because they don't understand the issues around narrow city lots and old foundations. Apparently I'm supposed to lose 4 feet off the width of my house and live in a bowling alley. Not the plan my dears!

And my more important mission--to spread the word about the new Ontario Panel on Family Building and Fertility. (Not the right title but I'm writing this at 2 am and can't find the link so fuck it.)

Anyway, I have more to say about it but the long and short of it is that I hope they authorize ALL fertility treatment including drugs and diagnostic tests for women going through RPL. Right now they have a technology report on IVF that only says couples with blocked tubes or male factor needing ICSI who agree to SET should be covered. analysis was ever done on the long term cost to the education or social services system of caring for multiples due to medicated IUI vs. SET IVF.

They also have a serious over emphasis on adoption even with this province's horrific past and present history with it. The Goudge Inquiry legacy of stolen children, the fact that parents regularly return their adopted kids to CAS because they don't feel like raising them, the pathetic refusal of CAS in this province to co-operate with either the auditor general or the ombudsman.....good God, maybe we could clean up the mess in this province first before we throw more children into that fire?

And yeah, I have more....but my miracle baby is crying and I have to go.

I want everyone to get the medical care they need, not just a privileged few with the *right* medical problems....I hope you all agree with me?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

And then he smiled at me...

Man in Motion

I'm conducting Mozart, watch me!

Did you know that the greatest invention in the history of mankind is Baby liquid Zantac?

And that I worship the inventors of this magical liquid?

In fact I worship them so much that I would build them a golden calf if they wanted me to. And then dance around it and sacrifice a virgin or three if need be.

I am now convinced that my two other beautiful darling babies, especially Kaz, had serious severe reflux and that is why they had screaming colic and freaked out and never slept and induced a horrible case of post-partum depression in their very tired mommy.

So how did this magical thing-a sleeping, happy baby-happen? Well, we went in for his one month appointment, conveniently scheduled for his 6 week birthday, and instead of saying, "My baby has reflux, can we get something for that?", I ever so cleverly said, "My baby is spitting up a lot, even while breastfeeding, and arching his back and neck like he is in pain all the time. He won't go into the fetal position at all. He seems as stiff as a board all the time." My regular pediatrician immediately whipped out her prescription pad, declared that since he was unlikely to have a developmental issue, since he was fine otherwise, that he had reflux.

"Oh, you mean like I said he had, a few weeks ago."

I get The Embarassed Look.

"I'll just write a prescription for that. We'll start at the highest dose."


On the way out the door, I alternate between tears of relief and joy. Those passing by must think I'm insane....

For the last 5 days, as his little throat heals, he has slept and slept and slept and eaten and eaten, and smiled at me as he begins to enjoy life again. And I have smiled back as I have begun to enjoy the world as well.

He is now eleven pounds, ten ounces, and has grown another 2 inches. And he slept 7 hours straight last night, without mommy having to resort to baby tylenol at all. Just the magical healing powers of zantac....amazing what can happen when docs listen to patients and moms, hmmm?

I'm so happy right now that I don't even care that the basement flooded again last night, or that Obama has lost my support by flip-flopping on a woman's right to choose, or that Bush said "Yo, Harper" to our PM, and proved that he is an utter moron again, or even that the media got the story wrong about the pregnancy pact (it was a teen support group, formed after the girls got pregnant).....I don't care if the universe implodes, because the baby is sleeping!!!!!!

And I dearhearts have a chance at sanity again.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


The first six to eight weeks are always the hardest for any new mom, but this time I feel like I am getting my ass kicked, truly. If it wasn't for my nanny, I'd be suicidal; and no I'm not exaggerating. With Kaz I was out hanging out at liberal events and campaign offices when he was only 4 weeks old. We flew to Montreal when he was 5 weeks old. This time, I can barely get off the couch. Going for coffee is a major accomplishment. This is so very very different. And I'm not the only one feeling it. My husband has been morose because he is so very exhausted and until this last weekend he was refusing to take a nap and go to bed early.

I am trying to follow that advice about sleeping when the baby sleeps and it sort of works but it is hard to get used to sleeping during the day and going to bed at 9:00 pm then waking up at 1:00 am etc. Mr.Cotta finally decided to take a nap on Monday and had a lovely personality transplant as a result. Good thing IMO. If he yelled at one more person in the house over something stupid and inconsequential there would have been a case of shaken husband syndrome happening.

The latest development is that Julius seems to be sensitive to my wine consumption. As in, if I have more than a mouthful of wine he screams in agony for the rest of the night. And although my kids have had direct allergies to things, we've never had this happen. I always thought it was crap....I guess not, eh?

So no more wine for me for a while...wahhhh I'll have to make up for it in chocolate consumption I assume.

Good news--I have finally started to fit back into my maternity clothes and even a few regular very very large items. Mostly because my hip joints et al are settling back to normal. Like as in my fingers are normal size, no swelling, no fat, but my joints are still large. Well, they are getting smaller! Soon I will be able to wear my wedding ring!! I haven't worn that since the early winter.

Oh and after the news about Obama and his introduction of the Stillbirth Act, (which is stunning because no politician ever ever gives a shit about dead babies or their grieving mamas), I'm a convert. I still don't think he'll win....too many forces arrayed against him, but I have to be supportive of anyone who does something so incredible.

So I need a badge for my blog for this new group I'm starting, "Dead Baby Mamas for Obama."

Catchy hmmm?

Anyone artsy want to help me? I can't draw worth a damn... Any dead baby mamas want to join?

Seriously, I want to do this. And if anyone knows why Obama is doing this, like what his connection is to the issue, I'd love to know! In all the years I have begged politicians in Canada to do something they never have. Not once. So why did he? Why now?

Edited to add, this link to First Candle has the link to the text of what was introduced in the Senate or those interested.