Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nothing For Granted

When I was pregnant with Zander, I was on the pregnancy forums at the Today's Parent website day and night. It was a great place to talk to woman in the same state of excitement, worry, confusion....I found so much comfort there.

And that is where I met (in the cyberspace sense of the word) Karla. She mentioned that she was blogging about her pregnancy, so I took a peek. She had such a great sense of humour about the whole thing. Man, she made me laugh! And what made it even more fun to read her almost-daily posts was that she was only due a few weeks before me.

And then one day, the laughter that I expected while reading her latest post was replaced by uncontrollable sobbing. She had lost the beautiful daughter she and her husband had been waiting so anxiously for.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had a prenatal appointment that morning. My mother was in town, so the plan was that the two of us would go pick up Carlos at work, and then head to my appointment. After the appointment we were going to go out for lunch before Carlos had to head back to work.

About 15 minutes before we were to leave, I told my mom I was just going to check my email. I figured I had enough time to check Karla's blog, too, before leaving the house.

When I came back upstairs, my mother instantly panicked as my tear-stained face came into view. It was all I could do to choke out enough words to explain to my mother why I was crying. I could hardly bare it. Even though I had never met Karla, I felt so close to her. I'm not sure whether I felt connected because of our simultaneous pregnancies, or whether it was the way she opened up her world to me, and others so freely. But it felt as though a dear friend had just lost a child.

All of the worries that I had, until then, successfully kept at bay started creeping back. Karla asked that balloons be released in memory of Ava. I wanted to. I so badly wanted to. But everytime I would think of doing it, a feeling of dread took over. Like this simple act would make what happened to Karla too real. I couldn't do it. I regret that to this day.

I remember shortly after Zander was born, I thought of Karla and her husband, and of their little angel Ava. And I felt so guilty to be holding this beautiful little boy, when they, and so many others, were in so much pain.

It hit me that day like a brick wall at 100 km/h. Carlos and I were so very lucky. We had this amazing son, and we could never take that for granted. Now we have two amazing sons. And there is not one day that passes that I take anything for granted. Even through the screaming, the tantrums, the force feeding, the GERD....through all of it. Look at what we have!

I still read Karla's blog. And I still think of Ava often. She would be turning 2 soon. A couple of weeks before Zander's 2nd birthday. I was reminded of this by Karla's latest post. I can't imagine how hard it is for her and her husband. But I am so glad that they have finally been blessed with a healthy child. A beautiful little boy. They so deserved this.

I have so much respect for Karla and her husband Mark, for what they have gone through and what they have survived. They are so strong. And they remind me everyday not to think of what I might not have, but to be grateful for what I do have. And that's a lot.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Me & My Toaster Oven

It's a love-hate relationship, really. But when it started, it was all love.

My mother-in-law gave me our toaster oven for Christmas a few years ago...before we were married. All digital. Push a button, door opens like a microwave. Toasts. Bakes. Broils. Black. Stainless Steel. Beautiful. It was love at first site.

Our relationship has slowly deteriorated since then to the point where it made an attempt on my life tonight. I've forgiven a lot. I'm not sure I can get past this.

The door started to stick a couple of years ago. This meant that opening the door required a little ingenuity and some creative maneuvering. Most of the time we could get it open if we pushed in the bottom of the door and pushed the button at the same time. Quite the feat when the oven was preheated to 375C!

But sometimes, it would require a little more...persuasion, shall we call it. This persuasion involved pounding on the button until the door popped open. A great way to get out your aggression!

Well, I believe the toaster oven has started it's retaliation for years of me. I should mention that my husband has always been able to keep a cool head while dealing with the toaster oven, so it seems to be showing no aggression towards him at this time.

Back to my story. I was riffling through a drawer directly beneath where the toaster oven sits, when the door popped open on it's own, narrowly missing my face.

The morale of the story is, don't abuse your appliances. One day, they might just fight back.

From now on, my husband will take over all transactions with the toaster oven.

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Career Changes

Before having children, I was a civil servant.

There seem to be two types of civil servants - underworked and overpaid, and overworked and underpaid. I was the latter.

I dreaded going to work. It was a dead end job. I had ended up in a situation where there was no way to move up. I wasn't the only one in that situation. Morale was so low that many of us worried about a mass exodus. And many of us were burnt out.

The only thing that kept me going the last couple of years was knowing that it wouldn't be long before I could say goodbye for good.

Carlos and I, through our many discussions on the subject, had long ago decided that I would stay home and raise our children rather than putting them in daycare. Fortunately the Canadian Government allows their employees to take up to 5 years leave without pay to stay home with their children. Fancy that!

So after my maternity leave ended, my leave without pay (called "Care and Nurturing Leave") started. By the time I go back in the Spring of 2011, I will have been out of the workforce for 6 years. This scares the bejeezus out of me!

Don't get me wrong...I don't now, nor will I ever, regret taking the time out of my career to raise my boys. It has been a wonderful experience so far, although not without it's stresses due to Logan's ongoing health issues. However, my job was in the technology field. Yikes is right!

Technology changes so fast and often, I'm not sure what my qualifications will be when I start work again. I mean, I already feel I've lost most of my geekness in the past two years. And I still have 4 more years to go!

To add to this dark cloud hanging over my head, I was so unhappy doing what I was doing that I don't even know if I even want to return to that field of work. But what else can I do?

I guess I have 4 years to figure this out. In the meatime, I will just enjoy being a stay at home mom - the best job (and most challenging, in my opinion) in the world!

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Just A Trim

Zander has been in dire need of a haircut for months. But this event has been pushed aside. Partially due to the need to focus on Logan's health. Partially due to not knowing how we could accomplish this daunting task.

Zander is only 22 months old. Isn't that too young to take him to daddy's barber? Would he really sit still enough for mommy to cut his locks with with razor sharp scissors? How do people do this???

It finally got to the point where it had to be done since his hair was long enough to necessitate brushing it out of his eyes ever 5-10 minutes. And unfortunately it is socially unacceptable to put barrettes in a little boy's hair. But how were we going to cut the hair of a child who only stops moving long enough to proudly say one of his many words from his ever-expanding vocabulary.

Then one day last week, my husband came home with "Just A Trim" (As Seen On TV). I thought "You've got to be kidding!". But he wasn't. He was sure this was the solution to our son's hair dilema. I was shaking in my proverbial boots at the thought of placing this battery powered gizmo anywhere near my first born's head!

"Just A Trim" is built with the same concept as the clippers used by barbers and hair stylists alike. It comes with two attachments, so you can decide how much of a trim you will end up with. When one of the attachments is on it, the blades are not accessible. You just pop on the desired attachment, and brush it through your hair. So it did seem like the perfect solution.

Well, I gotta tell ya folks. It actually worked! Zander was such a good boy, and sat still for his trim as long as we would let him hold the trimmer every once in while. I can't believe how easy it was!

Zander getting his trim.

My baby's locks! There's so much hair!

Zander after his trim. He looks so much older now!

So....what do you think?

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Small Hiatus

I have not posted since February 28th. I've been on a bit of a hiatus. From blogging, and other things.

Just before Christmas, I was striken with a case of extreme exhaustion which involved fainting spells and dizziness, a call to Telehealth Ontario, a frantic ambulance ride, and a long day at the local hospital. Apparently this is not uncommon for a mother of a young special-needs child to suffer, let alone a mother of one young special-needs child and a slightly older high-maintenance child!

Well, it started happening again. Luckily, this time I recognized the signs that I was pushing myself too hard before it got the the point where the paramedics were pounding on my door. Another stroke of luck was that my mother had just arrived for a week-long visit when things started going downhill.

So I took the opportunity to take it a little easy. This also meant that I rested alot. And had a nice visit with my mother. The time that I usually reserve for virtual contact with the outside world via email, blog reading and posting and general surfing was spent watching girlie and horror flicks with my mom and munching on everything that is bad for us. It was just what I needed!

What would we do without our mothers? Not sure what I would do without mine!

My beautiful mother & I on my wedding day.

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