Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sleeping in my own bed is a novelty.

My my, but time flies. In less than a week, Petite will be 11 months old; it feels like I blinked and a year went POOF! What the heck happened? July has been a total whirlwind of activity.

The 2nd was a rough day; Petite was teething. I was supposed to go watch a friend's son at his lacrosse game but it just didn't happen because of Petite being so very out of sorts. A bit of pain medication and a bottle and she took an extra long nap, which was sorely needed by the time she went down.

On the 8th, we spent a few hours at a friend's house. T just had a baby boy and before he gets too big, we really wanted to see him and T's little girl as well. Unfortunately Petite won't be able to attend the little girl's upcoming birthday party. I wish we were going to be here for that, it would be fun. We'll have to hope that she can come to Petite's party in August. Anyway, it was a lovely few hours to spend with T, her mom and both of her children. Petite had fun seeing new toys and experiencing someone else's house for a bit!

On the 9th, we spent the morning at the caregiver's house with the other children there. That was fun too; Petite was able to sit and play a bit with them, but obviously she's the youngest there so she can't quite do everything that they do yet. She'll get there. It was a great opportunity for Petite to spend time with the caregiver and get used to being there; my return to work is fast approaching much to my disgust. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy working and all. But I hate the thought of leaving my little girl in the arms of someone else for five days straight when all I get is a couple of hours in the evening to spend with her before she goes to bed. It's not going to be easy on me at all. That's for sure. How do moms do it? I dunno. I guess I gotta figure that out though, right? Ugh. Talk about pulling at my heartstrings...

Starting on the 12th, we took a five-day driving trip to New Brunswick to see family members; three or four of whom hadn't yet met Petite but were eager to get hugs and kisses from our little sweetie. And it was a wonderful trip. I had the opportunity to see my cousin who lives out west (he's an RCMP officer) and he brought his fiancée home (she too is an officer). Family flew up and drove up to get together. One night at dinner, there were 11 of us. So absolutely wonderful to see them all... and all in the one place. Hopefully when the wedding is held next year out west, we can all do it again, and more will be able to join us.

For Petite, it was a journey that was full of firsts: first car trip (of any substantial distance), first night in a hotel, first night sleeping in the travel pack-and-play that we have, first time to meet said family members, etc. It was loads of fun and she did really well. Although I have to say that by the time we finally got back home, she was none too pleased with her car seat and I was glad to have a break from having to strap her into it... yet again!

We returned home on the 17th from that jaunt to the East Coast and then after two glorious nights in our own beds, turned right around and last week, we spent five days and four nights in the great outdoors. Tent camping with an infant... now THAT'S a blast and a half!!

We went with our good friends, K and her daughter K, and Hubby's two teenaged children. The seven of us went camping in a provincial park in Quebec and we loved it! It was hot on our first full day though, and of course Petite was out of her element entirely so she was not herself. By the second full day she found her groove though and was more comfortable, eating and drinking normally and sleeping better as well. We had some amazing experiences on the trip. Marshmallows and S'mores over the campfire at night. Scattering peanuts to attract the chipmunks and instead seeing a family of baby racoons and their mom come to our site to feed. Watching an incredible lightshow of thunder and lightning in the distance, after it had passed over us... it lasted almost 4 hours in total. Canoeing on the lake with my friend, and then with Hubby. Swimming in that same lake, and then taking Petite swimming at another lake close by with a sandy bottom; she loved it! Letting Petite try campfire toast and also pancakes (she enjoyed both, by the way). Watching the sky at night, and seeing a falling star. Trading stories with the kids and my friend one afternoon, snacking on munchies and letting Petite nap beside us in her pack-and-play. We returned yesterday, and today, I'm up to my eyeballs in washing. Every stitch that we brought smells of woodsmoke! Lovely when you're in the great Canadian wilderness, not so hot when you're at the shopping mall!

An update on another topic:
We did get a new car seat for Petite; it's the First Years True Fit (Rebound) car seat. We'd debated between the Safety 1st Complete Air or the Britax Boulevard seats, but when we got a good look at the True Fit, and after talking to a reliable source about all three models, we selected the True Fit and we're really pleased with it. I expect I'll be taking it home with me when I fly to Newfoundland in a few days' time just so I can ensure that I have a good, reliable car seat with me on the trip.

Yes indeed, another trip. Petite and I leave on Tuesday (her 11-month birthday) to fly to see my family for three weeks. It'll be the first time since January that my dad (Poppy in this blog) will see her. Nana (my mom) has come to see her on a couple of occasions since January so it won't be such a shock for her, but Poppy will see a huge difference in Petite between her development at 4 months and now at 11 months. What a change! While we're there, we'll have her one-year photos done, complete with a cake smash, and hopefully we'll be able to drive to the bay where my mom grew up and visit family and friends out there who've never met Petite either.

I am sure it sounds a tad morbid, but you know, I would love... really really LOVE to take her to my maternal grandparents' gravesite and "show" her to them. I was very close with my mom's parents and a beautiful photo of them hangs in my home. I know they would have loved to meet Petite and they would have been spectacular great-grandparents to her. I wish Petite could have that. In any case, when we go 'around the bay' to my mom's home, I usually find a few moments to spend at my grandparents' graves, just to connect with them again and remind them how much I miss them. I hope I can bring Petite there and let them meet her. Does that sound silly? Stupid? Insane? I don't know. To me, it sounds right. But then again, I'm a sentimental fool sometimes. One of my quirks I guess. What do you think? Should I take her there? Or is it best avoided? What would you do?

As for her development: Petite is cruising with ease (aka furniture walking as Hubby calls it). She is pulling herself to a standing position, both using furniture and using nothing at all! She rocks in place, sort of bouncing when she hears music of any sort (I sing to her all the time). And all of this lead to her taking her first single step on July 9. Just one step mind you, but she did it before flopping down on her bottom. We were so pleased to see it! She did it again while we were on our driving trip to NB as well: we were stopped at a rest area to let her stretch her legs and she was extremely engrossed by other little children. Barefoot in the grass, she took a hesitant step forward before she wobbled and plopped down.

She's experimenting with solid food too. Last night, she had chicken and peas for dinner. Tonight, she had whole milk in her own cup (rather than desperately sneaking some of the 1% milk from us!), peas, and some Cheerios. I expect she's well on the road to solids now so I'm going to have to figure out what she will eat and can eat until a few more teeth come in. She still only has two, but she's doing okay with those already!

She loves the water but I wish I could get her to stay sitting for her baths! Why is it that Hubby has no problem when he bathes her? Argh! It's like pulling teeth to get her to stay on her bottom instead of pulling at me to stand up!

Her syllables are getting more complex and she's able to repeat sounds. We've had her saying "Ma ma ma ma" and "Da da da da" as well as "Na na na na," "no no no no" (she picked that one up quickly!) and she tries to repeat "tickle tickle tickle" with a LOT of success! She knows many words in both French and English and boy, does she love her books! Then again, she loves trying to grab for the phone or the remote, or Daddy's electronics, so I'm not sure if she'll take after me or Hubby! The things that are yet to uncover... it's all so incredible.

And every day I remain awestruck that we have been so blessed. For there are many who would give much to walk in my shoes.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Anger's First Surfacing

It happened for the first time tonight.

I got angry at my daughter.

She had a pretty good day, although because of extreme heat, she didn't get outside like we wanted her to. It was just too hot here (temps of 33 degrees with a humidex of 38 or 39) and we were super uncomfortable. The AC has been running non-stop all day.

This afternoon, she went down for a nap, but she didn't nap well; only about 20 or 30 mins. Usually she's taking naps of 1 to 1.5 hours. Hubby was the one who put her down; he figures the heat was bothering her. Anyway, she was up much earlier than usual and a little fussy. Hubby gave her something for her teeth (the bottom right one is almost through her gums, the left one is up already).

At supper she ate fairly well, although she doesn't want her food warmed when temps are sticky like this, and she sat and played or cruised around furniture while Hubby and I ate a quick bite. He had to go to work, and so he was out the door by 6:30 and I ran her bath by 6:45. She took her bath really well... as usual she loves the water. I dressed her in thin pyjamas; a two-piece set in fact, thinking that it would be cooler for her to sleep in.

She played again for awhile, and around 7:40 I noticed a lull in her activity. That's usually my cue to get her bottle in her and settle her for bed. Bottle ready, I read her a story (Goodnight Moon) and she guzzled the full six ounces without looking up. She refused to settle down though, and I shifted her a dozen times, trying to cool her off and trying to get her comfortable. She gave a couple of good burps but she still didn't doze off. I set her down on the floor to play again while I prepared another bottle. She took about an ounce or so of that but still refused to settle to sleep. She cried, squealed, wriggled, arched her back, did it all. Eventually I put her down to play again.

By 8 p.m., she was exhausted. Rubbing her eyes, she was up on her knees and crying at me; she was completely beside herself with sleep. But she refused. This little girl fights sleep. HARD. Finally I just took her into her bedroom, and put her in her crib. I tried to give her a little more formula... she refused. So I turned on the monitor and slipped out. That's when the screaming and screeching started. She did that for about 20 minutes, and then I heard a 'thunk' and a halt to the noise, before it started in earnest. I ran in to see what happened.

Little girl's arms are longer and she's taller, so she could reach a set of photo albums in a wooden box and hauled them into the crib, on top of herself. I think she got more of a fright than anything; she certainly wasn't hurt. I put them back and took her out of her crib, into our room where it was cooler and quiet. She was so tuckered out, but still she twisted and turned in my arms. I rubbed her back like she likes. I smoothed back her damp hair. I made sure she had her Soothie. I rocked back and forth on the bed with her. Finally, she found a position she was sort of comfortable in, lying face down across my forearm, and I gently swayed her into what I hoped would be dreamland.

When I thought she was dozy enough to set down in her crib, I got up and did that. And whammo... wide awake. She scooched way up her crib on her knees and forearms, and rolled over to stand up. I went out of the bedroom, turning off the light and listened yet again to her hollering and yet again, she pulled down the photo albums. Enough was enough. By this time, it was after 9 p.m. and I was thoroughly frustrated.

I frowned. I admonished. I told her repeatedly that it was time for sleep and Mommy needed to rest too. I had had it and I was at my wit's end. She was sitting in her crib, crying and I reached in to lay her down again. Just as I did... "bleah"... she vomited a little bit right into my hand. I was within striking distance of her facecloths so I grabbed one to wipe my hand, and then her chin. And as I did... "bleah" again. The cloth caught most of it. I turned to throw that one in the hamper and get another, and while I did, "bleah" a third time and a virtual white river of semi-digested, sour-smelling formula came up. It spilled all over her chest and legs. All over her jammies. All over her cribsheet, and through to the underpad.

I took a moment to just breathe. I stripped her down to her diaper and grabbed another cloth, ran it under warm water to wipe her skin. Then I sat her on the floor while I stripped her bed and changed it. But as children are wont to do, she wouldn't stay there of course. No no. She had to try to chase the meow-meows. Then into Mommy's and Daddy's bedroom to grab at whatever she could reach. Then down the hall to the bathroom and try to get her bath toys off the edge of the tub. I was ready to pull out my hair! Chasing her (she's supposed to be asleep) the cats meowing to be fed, smelly stinky sour bedclothes in my arms and trying to change her sheets. ARGH!

I got her changed, and bundled her under one arm like a football. I was ready to scream with frustration. I took her back out to the living room... and as I did, it hit me.

I was angry. But even in my anger and frustration, this sweet little girl was grabbing at my shirt with her pudgy little fists. She was clinging to me (dear Lord, I hope it wasn't out of fear...) and she was as quiet as a mouse as I stomped through the house with her, sweat pouring from my forehead. I plunked her down in the living room and she unclenched her fists from my shirt and just looked at me. I sat in the rocking chair, feeling completely alone, and did what I needed to do: I started to count to ten and just breathe.

One... breathe Gil. Just breathe.



I heard her crawl towards me.

Four... breathe... you can do this.


And a little hand touched my knee as she stood up and patted my leg.

I broke down and wept.

I was so, so so terribly sorry for having even felt one moment of anger. I don't think I have the right to feel that towards her. I know it's inevitable that anger will come into play now and then as you raise a child. But honestly, after going through what we have, after doing all that we did, after recognizing that so many in this world would give so very much to have what I have today, do I really and truly have the right to be angry? EVER?? I don't think so. Honestly, I don't think so. But I know that's a pitfall of infertility. Can I marry what I know is inevitable with what my heart feels I should never, ever do? I don't know. I just don't know.

And then, to realize that I was angry at my daughter and honestly, she was just not feeling well. I definitely don't have THAT right. That's for sure. I do realize that.

I have never been as sorry as I was tonight. I picked her up, wiped my tear-stained face and held her tightly, kissing her sweet cheeks and smoothing her damp hair. And as I rocked back and forth with her and she finally, peacefully, drifted off to sleep, the mantra in my head droned: I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.

Oh baby girl, Mommy is so very very sorry.

Please forgive me.

Never have I been so sorry.

She went to sleep. I kissed her a dozen times. I set her down in her crib and I buried my face in my hands. Can I ever learn to forgive myself? I don't think so.