Triggering memories

I can’t remember the last time I had a chance to sit down at the computer and write.   I know I always complain that time is flying by, but it seems to be a moving at warp speed right now.  I just can’t keep up.

Both boys have been sick, which hasn’t helped.  Littleman developed a cold last weekend and had to stay home last Monday.  He’s gotten pretty good at wiping his own nose (and not even on his shirt – mostly!) but he doesn’t realize that he can use the tissue for more than one quick swipe.  I’d leave for a quick moment to feed his brother and return to find him buried in a pile of barely used tissues.

Then, a few days later, Bo woke up from an afternoon nap with super raspy breathing.  Poor little guy.  We cranked up the humidifier and (thankfully) he slept like a champ for a couple of days and it definitely on the mend now.  There’s nothing I hate more than seeing my babies sick!

D was busy with work and other commitments through most of the week so I was on my own a lot with the kids.  Not feeling well, partnered with shitty weather (and just being three, probably) made Littleman into a bit of a monster.  I thought we were getting past the worst of the threenage angst, but good lord, this week has been a challenge.

I’ve been reading a lot of novels on my phone these days during nursing.  It’s one of the few quiet times I have during the day and, after catching up on blog reading, I really enjoy getting lost in a good book.  The last couple of books I’ve read, though – all unrelated to each other – have included characters who suffered from miscarriage, infertility or stillbirth.  None of those things were the central theme of the books and so I didn’t see it coming when I started reading.  And still, after all the time that’s gone by, it hits me hard to read about it.  I felt the lump in my throat this morning when a woman had to call her husband to tell him about her miscarriage at 16 weeks.  I could so clearly remember the moment I called D to tell him.  And when I read about her waking from her D&C, all I could picture was the room I was in…the nurse sitting at a desk nearby, me asking what time it was, wanting a glass of water, wanting it all to be not real.

So now that Christmas season is upon us, I think I need to find myself some jollier reading material.  Any suggestions?

What’s normal?

Recently, I realized that I haven’t paid much attention to what Bo “should” be doing. What I mean is that, this time around, I haven’t cracked open my week-by-week-type books that tell me what to expect in terms of my baby’s development.

When Littleman was a baby, i pretty much read all the baby books cover to cover. I definitely find myself to be more laid-back this time around. I know that not every baby is a textbook case. Bo seems to be thriving and, while I don’t know exactly when he’s supposed to hit each milestone, I feel pretty confident that he falls within the normal range when it comes to his development.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled across one of my baby books this morning and opened it up to the “Week 19” chapter.

What!? 2.5 hours of crying a day? Well, this is one area of “normal” that I’m happy to report that Bo does not meet. In fact, I don’t think he cries for 2.5 hours in a week.

I don’t want to sound braggy to anyone who has a crier out there, but this kid just doesn’t cry. (And I bet your kid is rolling onto his tummy or sleeping through the night or drinking from a bottle or something else that my kid can’t do, so let’s call it even).

Anyway, seeing that just reinforced my belief that I don’t need a book to tell me that my kid is doing ok. Sure, it can be a good reference when I have a question or am unsure about something but it can also be stressful if you think your baby should be doing exactly what the book says.

I’ve watched enough of my friends have kids that I know each child is different. For example, my older son hated purées when we introduced him to them at 4.5 months. In fact, he pretty much hated food until we started giving him things with texture.

On the other hand, I’ve seen friends’ babies who gobbled up bowls full of baby cereal and other purées. They’d eat anything you offered them!

I know babies who crawled early and babies who never crawled at all (including me!). I know 2-year-olds who are fully toilet trained and 3-year-olds still in diapers.

Clearly, then, there’s a bit of a range when it comes to what’s “normal.” I’m glad I’m able to not stress about it too much and to just enjoy each milestone as it happens.

The death of the photo album

I have cute kids.  I know, I know, we all think our kids are cute.  But mine are really, really cute 🙂

Seriously though, I’m sure I’m not the only parent who takes a gazillion pictures to capture all that cuteness.  I got my first iPhone right before Littleman was born and it allowed me to take some pretty great photos anywhere and anytime.  For my 36th birthday – three days before Bo was born – I got an iPhone 5S and have been taking even more great shots of my boys.

The problem?  If I want to show anyone or even look through them, I have to do so on my phone or pull out my laptop.  I’ve realized that there’s something to be said for the good, old-fashioned photo album.

Remember when we used to take pictures that we couldn’t see right away?  And when we were much more selective about what we chose to photograph?  Remember dropping off a roll of film to be developed?  I remember how exciting it was to pick up my photos and go through them to see how they turned out.  We used to get “doubles” so we could share the extra copies with our friends. Then, we’d spend hours sorting them and putting them into albums. I have piles of photo albums from my childhood and teen years.

I love that digital cameras and smart phones allow us to take a ton of photos and then delete the crappy ones.  I love that I have my phone with me all the time so that I can capture any cute moment that pops up, without having to go looking for a camera.  But, I hate that I end up with thousands of digital images to sort through and deal with.

The worst part?  We don’t even have one picture of Bo in our house.  I’ve easily taken over 1000 pictures since he was born and haven’t printed one of them.

When Littleman was a baby, my solution was to make photo books.  I spent hours diligently sorting photos on the computer and uploading them to a site for making and printing books.  To keep it manageable, I did it in three-month chunks, so his first year was captured in four books.  They turned out great and my plan was to do yearly books after the first year.  That plan failed miserably and I haven’t made one since.

So, today I started again and uploaded a bunch of photos from Bo’s first three months.  When I get time (ha!) I’ll go back to make the books to capture Littleman’s second and third years.  But for now, I’m focusing on family books going forward.  My goal is to do the three-month books for this year and then go back to yearly books after that.

Does anyone else struggle with managing their family photos?  I love having great pictures of my boys but it seems like such a waste to keep them hidden on our devices.


What’s that book about?

The other day I wrote about Littleman’s love of books.  The truth is, he comes by it honestly.  Both his paternal grandparents are retired English professors.  D isn’t a huge reader, but I have always loved books.  I was an early reader and, for as long as I can remember, I have always had a novel on the go.  For me, reading is a way of relaxing at the end of the day.  Of allowing myself to escape from the craziness of work and the business of life.

When the fatigue of early pregnancy set in, most of the novels I chose to read were pretty light and easy.  I had a number of books lined up on my eReader so that I would always have something to read during my public transit commute to work or when I got into bed at night.

The crazy thing is, EVERY SINGLE book I’ve read since I lost the baby has had a storyline revolving around a baby, pregnancy, adoption, infertility or loss.  And only ONE OF THEM even mentioned the word “baby” in the description.  Let me break it down for you:

Book #1 (I was reading this book when I found out about the miscarriage) included an infertile woman who suffered a miscarriage and then went on to have a baby using an egg donor and a surrogate.

Book #2 was about a career-focused woman in NYC, who had gotten pregnant unexpectedly as a teenager and given up her baby for adoption.  She had kept the pregnancy and adoption a secret from everyone in her life, until her daughter showed up to find her years later.

Book #3 focused on an infertile woman whose teenage stepdaughter got pregnant.  The woman ended up raising the child as her own.

Book #4 (my most recent read) was one that I purchased after my miscarriage so I was more careful with my selection.  The description made it sound like it was focused on the families of some teenagers in Nantucket so I thought it was fairly safe.  NOPE.  One of the families struggles with fertility and then loses a baby to SIDS at eight weeks old.  And if that wasn’t awful enough, they threw in a uplanned teen pregnancy too.


Maybe I’m just overly sensitive these days and hyper-aware of these situations.  Maybe I wouldn’t have even noticed some of these plotlines at any other time in my life.  But, I’m starting to think it may be time for change of genres.  Supernaturals, perhaps?  I do love some good vampires, witches and werewolves…

Love You Forever

Littleman loves books.  He used to struggle to sit still to listen to the words and would make us flip through books quickly so that he could point at the pictures.  Now, he’ll happily sit on our laps and listen as we read to him each night before bed.

Recently, my mom found a bunch of books that she had kept from when my younger sister and I were kids.  She brought us a pile of Robert Munsch books, which were my sister’s favourite.  If you don’t know his stories, most of them are fun, cute and quirky.  Littleman especially loves Mortimer, which has a silly little song he likes us to sing.

Well, the other night I found one that really knocked me off my feet.  The book is called Love You Forever.  If you don’t know it, it’s about a mother watching her son grow up.  Throughout his life, she cradles him in her arms while singing an amazingly sweet song to him.  I read it to Littleman and by the end of the book I was sobbing.

I vaguely remember the book from when I was younger – I probably read it to the kids I babysat as a teenager – but it’s meaning was definitely lost on my back then.

When I did some research and discovered the story behind the book, it hit home even more.  The sweet song in the book was written in memory of Robert Munsch’s two stillborn babies.

It’s possible that I would have reacted the same way to the book even if I hadn’t suffered a miscarriage recently.  As a parent, I found it to be a really powerful story.  But then again, my recent experience has coloured my reactions to everything so it’s hard to know for sure.  Either way, while this book is definitely a keeper, I think I’m going to have to stay away from it for a while.