Ten Months

Ten months

Ten months.

With all the emotion of the last couple of weeks, I nearly forgot to do this month’s update.  Which would be a shame because we’re having an incredible burst of development over here!

We have mobility.  So much mobility.  As predicted, when Moose started to crawl it was full speed ahead.  Her crawling style is absolutely hilarious – it’s a cross between a baby chimpanzee and the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  She keeps one foot planted on the floor and uses it to push the other knee forward.  Within three days she added pulling up, cruising furniture and standing unsupported for short periods to her repertoire, and now nothing is safe.  She tests our (apparently lackluster) attempts to baby proof constantly. I didn’t realize how tall she is!

Baby rampage.

Baby rampage.

Cognitive development has leaped forward as well.  Moose is clapping,  nodding “yes” when asked a question (even if the question is, “Are you a walrus, Moose?”), looking towards an object if you point to it, and dancing.  Oh, the dancing.  It’s so funny.  Arm waving and deep knee bends.  Moose is suddenly quite excited by the world around her and often shows that she’s impressed by something with clenched waving fists and a strange intense grunt that means, “Look at that!”  Dogs, in particular, are a hit these days.  We took a weekend trip to Montreal and while we were there we took Moose to the Biodome.  Seeing live animals up close blew her mind.  It actually seemed like too much excitement for one small person to contain.

Her amazed face.

Her amazed face.

Our trip to Montreal also marked Moose’s first train ride – she approved.  Fortunately for everyone, once she was done exclaiming over everything she saw out the window (not to mention the folding tray table) she fell asleep and was out the better part of the way home.

First train ride.

First train ride.

Asleep on the train.

Asleep on the train.

In other exciting news, though it is nearly impossible for me to wrap my mind around, Moose is going to start daycare soon.  The daycare situation in Toronto, and particularly in our neighbourhood, is absolutely infuriating.  There are not nearly enough vacancies for infants in licensed centres and the competition is intense.  What’s awful is that the waiting lists are pretty much useless – child care centres are much more likely to have a spot for you if you make a pain of yourself during parental leave.  We have been on 5 different waiting lists since I was eight weeks pregnant with Ezra – that’s 27 months ago if you’re counting – and it was still down to the wire.  I got a job offer at a local school so I’m planning to go back to work a month early. I’m not terribly excited about the job for various reasons, but it’s worth it for a shorter day. At the eleventh hour a daycare space opened up.   I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to send Moose to such a high quality program (that costs nearly as much as the mortgage on our last house -ugh) but I’m feeling sad about it too.  We get a full year of parental leave in Canada, which is amazing, but I feel like I’ve just got the hang of being home!  It breaks my heart a little to think of all the funny little Moose moments I’m going to miss when I’m at work.  Having said that, we have a smart, intense, busy little baby and she’s absolutely going to love the stimulation of daycare.

Lots of changes this month!  It will be interesting to see what the next month will bring.

So busy.

So busy.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Birthdays

I didn’t write a post last week on Ezra’s birthday.  This was partly because we tried to keep that day gently busy, and partly because I didn’t know what to say.  How do you mark the birthday of a lost child?  The actual worst day of your life?  Like so many other things about this process, it’s a matter of figuring out as we go along and inventing the rituals as we encounter the holes.

I could never have imagined how much I would miss my son, and how that loss would change shape over time.  It gets deeper and wider even as the sharpness fades, with every milestone he doesn’t pass and every detail I don’t know about him.  My daughter loves Cookie Monster and blackberries and lift-the-flap books, she nods seriously when you ask her a question and claps whenever she hears music.  I know so many things about her and I learn something new every day.

But my son, my firstborn, that tiny, tiny boy who weighed so little in my arms….what I know about him is all I’m ever going to know.  I know more about what was wrong with him than anything else.  The details I have I hoard, to feel like his mother in whatever ways I can.  He had brown hair, my mouth and chin, long fingers and chubby knees.  The rabbi named him in the hospital, so that we could welcome him to our family in the only way we had left.

So many other times of the year are coloured by loss, something that we already knew from being motherless.  There’s a gap at the table at Christmas, holes in birthdays and Easter photos and Passover Seders.  It’s a constant thing that you learn to honor quietly and move on.

But his birthday – it feels like his birthday should be just about him.  We visited the cemetery a few days before, and on the actual day we started a new ritual.  We bought Ezra a birthday balloon and let it go in the local park, a place we had hoped to visit with him.  We told Moose about the brother she will not meet (although, understandably, she was more interested in the balloon), and we stood quietly together, letting that moment be what it is, whatever it is.  I’m not sure what it is.

Watching the balloon float away.

Watching the balloon float away.

Posted in grief, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

In a nutshell

At the breakfast table, Moose is trying valiantly to retrieve a wayward blackberry from the pocket of her bib.  After she begins to squawk in frustration I reach over and pull it out, putting it down on the tray in front of her.

She blinks blue eyes at me for a minute before deliberately reaching out for the blackberry. Without missing a beat she drops it back into her bib, waits a moment, fishes it out and eats it.

Toddlerhood is going to be interesting.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Grief as connection

We’re coming up on Ezra’s birthday soon, and I’ve been thinking a lot about grief, and how tied it is to summertime in my mind.  Early July 2013 is the last time that I remember being innocently, ignorantly happy.  It’s not that I haven’t felt happy since – of course I have.  Happiness is a surprisingly hardy thing and it comes back, albeit in a changed form.  It’s just that I used to live in a world where my son wasn’t dead, and now I don’t.

These midsummer weeks were the hard weeks, the ones when we were trying to find out what was wrong and each test gave us more bad news than the last.  The weeks when we had to make terrible decisions.

I think that Lauren and I might actually be more connected to our grief this year than we were last year, possibly because we had most of our feelings on hold as much as possible for the duration of my pregnancy with Moose.  Speaking for myself, I also suspect that having Moose changes things – that loving this ridiculous amazing kid as she grows and develops broadens our understanding of what exactly it is that we lost.  Our son will never change or grow, my love for him is a static thing and I think I’m only starting to process how sad that is.

This article is going around on my facebook feed, and it rang true for me this week.  We have some photos, a few articles of clothing, ultrasound printouts and our memories.  And grief – we’ll always have our grief.

Posted in grief | Leave a comment

Nine Months

Well, I busted the baby.  Probably not the last time she falls on her face, huh?

A pureed fruit consolation popsicle.

A pureed fruit consolation popsicle.

Poor kid – she’s still not crawling, but boy, is she trying.  She’s also trying to pull up on any and every possible item, particularly the ones that are unstable.  Hence the face plant.  I took her later the same day to her 9 month checkup, where we discovered that she also had an ear infection!  I’d been attributing her awful mood to teething, because there was no fever.  Poor baby.  This month has started out with some very rough nights.  I suspect that we’re going to have to do a sleep training refresher course when she’s feeling better – we’ve been having a lot of middle of the night comfort nursing.  Between the (still not popped through) teeth, the lip, the ear, and her chronic constipation, it’s not surprising that Moose has been clingy and a bit grumpy of late.  Thank goodness for baby Motrin!

Otherwise, things have been going well, although I’ve been particularly stressed about work lately. It’s not seeming feasible for me to return to my school because it’s such a distance (I travel about an hour and a half on transit each way.)  I had an interview at a local school a few weeks ago and have heard only radio silence since, which is odd.  Typically the principals are pretty good about calling either way.  There will be another round of job postings mid-month, so something may come up there.  Depending on if I have a new position, my start date may be different, so it feels impossible to plan.  I don’t know how hard to push the daycares that we’re waiting on, because I don’t know when I’ll need the spot.  I am not a person who does well when things are up in the air.

Through it all, Moose just keeps on growing.  For a kid that still isn’t very mobile, she manages to get up to an impressive amount of mischief.  She manages to scoot her way towards things and explores everything.  She’s determined to pull all the grates out of the heating vents, snag herself a cell phone, and just this morning I stopped her from eating a coffee bean she found on the kitchen floor (I can only imagine what that would have done to her naps!)  She has decided that the only way she will consent to having a bath is if she can stand up in the tub and bang on the tub rim – the tantrum she throws when you try to sit her down is quite something. I have no doubt whatsoever that one of her first words is going to be “no” (followed closely by some approximation of “do it myself.”)

While strong-willed, she also has such a sunny nature.  Our doctor called her a “character” and I think that’s about right.  She waves her arms in the air when something excites her and she has an infectious little giggle.  Her new thing this month is kisses – she plants big, wet, open-mouthed kisses on Lauren and I and on her stuffed animals.  Sometimes she kisses each animal in “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?”, which is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.  She has also developed a love of the Fisher-Price Little People – I had a bag of them put away for when she was older that I got second-hand.  I busted it out while we were moving to keep her busy, and she was enchanted.  If I line them all up on the front windowsill she’ll spend a long time picking them up one at a time and playing with them.

Her subjects.

Her subjects.

Other notes from the month:

  • Moose still adores music class.  They use plastic reusable food containers as drums in her class, and she shocked me the other day by turning one over in our kitchen and drumming on it.  She gravitates towards musical instruments at the drop-in as well.
  • She does this hilarious thing when a new person talks to her – immediately bends over and tips her head into her lap to avoid eye contact.  She warms up quickly, but it’s such a funny way of being shy.  I keep trying to get it on video.
  • She’s starting to show familiarity with other adults that she sees often – our friends and the women who work at the local drop-in centre.
  • We went to her first Pride celebration!  Sadly, it was absolutely pouring here in Toronto for the entire weekend (I can’t actually remember it ever raining during Pride).  Still, we managed to cheer Lauren on in the Pride and Remembrance 5k, go out to brunch and see a few friends at the family pride event.
  • Finally, finally, finally, Moose is on a roughly predictable routine.  This is a kid who likes a routine!  She’s down to two (usually) decent naps per day and is awake longer in between – we usually go to the park or the drop-in in the morning and for a walk in the afternoon.  Many of my friends with babies are leading more spontaneous lives and getting in more outings, but much of the time messing with her naps is just not worth it – it throws her off so much.  I think that she’ll probably thrive on the predicability of daycare (assuming that we get in!)
  • Breastfeeding has gone so much smoother than I might have thought, but Moose is suddenly latching really shallowly and it’s driving me bananas.  Maybe teething pain?
  • Although her routine is great, we’ve fallen into the trap of associating nursing with sleep and Moose won’t go down for anyone but me.  How have other people handled this?
  • New favourites this month include lift-the-flap books, stuffed animals, books that contain photos of babies, drinking water (she’ll drink as much as I let her), petting other babies’ hair, and figures of people or animals.
  • Dislikes remain mostly the same – not being able to crawl, being sponged off or interfered with in any way (heaven forbid you want to wipe her nose),  being stopped from doing something dangerous, the sound of the vacuum, being dressed.

It’s amazing to reflect on how much easier life with a baby is these days.  The last week or so has been really exhausting, with Moose refusing to be put down much of the time and not sleeping well at night.  Still, I find that I don’t feel as stressed about it as I would have a few months ago.  I’m not sure if it’s just that I feel more confident, that she seems less breakable, or if I have an easier time telling what she needs (although I apparently can’t tell if she has an ear infection – whoops).  We’re just kind of getting it, one day at a time.

Nine months!

Nine months!

Just because - her ridiculous face!

Just because – her ridiculous face!

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Sometimes you need a teething buddy….

Poor little monster with her monster.

Poor little monster with her monster.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Eight Months

This month has been a blur of getting ready to move, so I thought I’d better get this done before it was time for the 9 month update!

This captures a certain Sears portrait studio vibe that I love.

This captures a certain Sears portrait studio vibe that I love.

It’s just so fascinating to watch a human being develop from the little squish that we brought home from the hospital and screamed at us for weeks to the little scientist that Moose is now.  You can practically watch her brain whirring and making connections as she considers the world.

Moose has hit a phase where her desire to get into everything is at odds with her physical development.  Still no crawling, and it annoys her mightily.  She largely refuses to lie on her stomach now that she can sit on her own, so it will be interesting to see how/if crawling develops.  Her new thing is to squawk angrily until someone comes along to hold her hands so that she can pull up to stand.  That person then must be willing to just stay put and hold her up.  She’s not strong enough yet to pull up on objects, but she wants to, badly.  I suspect that once she sorts out how to move on her own she will be (even more of) a force to be reckoned with.  It just seems to be her nature to wait to do things on her own time and then just start with no preamble.

Moose has suddenly figured out the finer points of chewing and swallowing and will eat almost anything.  Although she will have nothing to do with those squeezy pouches of puree – we tried a couple of times while we were out and about during the worst of the move preparation and it was a no go.  We offer her some of the pasta or stews made for older babies at dinner sometimes and she likes those as long as she’s the one holding the spoon.  This month she ate (and loved) saag paneer, rice with peas, pad thai, spicy lentil stew, tons of fruits, vegetables, shredded meat – too many things to keep track.  She points now, which is impossibly cute, and she puts it to good use pointing at our plates when she thinks we really ought to be sharing (she also points at Lauren when she comes home from work – how sweet is that?)

I was not-so-secretly hoping that we’d raise a bookworm.  The library was my favourite place as a child and escaping into a book remains one of life’s greatest pleasures (and best coping mechanisms).  After months of Moose attempting to eat the book whenever we read to her, she has quite suddenly started to really like being read to.  I take her to the library often and a few weeks ago we took out a book called “Oink Moo Meow” about animal sounds (the hamster says “Eek!”).  After a day or two I noticed that she was smiling at each page!  It was such a good distraction that I renewed it from the library twice before the copy I ordered arrived.  Now she has many favourites among her extensive book collection and it’s a surefire way to calm her down if she’s fussy.  She’s also learned how to lift the flaps on books that require it and giggles when she “finds” what’s underneath.  It’s just so great.

I left her with a toy and came back to this.  So much lounging.

I left her with a toy and came back to this. So much lounging.

Notes from the month:

  • Favourite things at the moment include books, anything that rattles, her stuffed Cookie Monster, cherries, blackberries and blueberries (some of her first “tantrums” are around the fruit being finished), music, circle time at the drop in, being oinked at, standing with support, having her belly blown on, taking her foam mat apart, and anything that she isn’t supposed to have.
  • Dislikes include having her face and hands washed, hats, being dressed, not being given something that she’s got her eye on (most often an iphone), not being able to crawl or stand on her own.
  • She rode in the seat in the shopping cart for the first time this month and loved it, once she got over not being allowed to eat the produce directly from the cart.  Give her something in a bag to crinkle and she’s thrilled.
  • Her new, bigger car seat just arrived.  She’s outgrown the bucket in length!  She’s recently started to hate the bucket again anyway – I think she doesn’t like being so reclined.
  • Tons of babbling and screeching.  In the last few days she’s been experimenting with sticking her tongue out which is really cute.
  • Still no teeth.  I don’t even know what to say anymore.  I know they’re not especially late but she’s been showing teething symptoms for months.  Argh.
  • Separation anxiety!  It’s not as pronounced as some of my friends’ babies, but for our fiercely independent girl it’s new.  Moose is wanting to be carried more of the time and is not super impressed if I leave a room without her.  Moving hasn’t helped, I’m sure.  Usually as long as I sing I can hold her off long enough to get a few things done and we’re getting more use out of the carrier again.

A busy month!  My maternity leave suddenly seems almost over and we’re starting to get down to the nuts and bolts of what we’re doing for child care (crossing our fingers that we get a space) and where/when I’ll be working (fingers crossed that I get a school closer to home).  Lots of waiting and seeing!

But in the meantime we will attempt to unpack, explore our new street, and get ready for Moose’s first Pride.  Summer!

Point!

Point!

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments