Category Archives: baby

Repetition.

I said I was going to start again. And then I did. And then I quit again.
And then… I said I was going to start again. And then I did again. And then I quit again.
So now? I’m going to start again all over again.

I’m a stay at home mom again! I love it.
Maddy and I have done essentially nothing since I lost my job, except color, cook, build and read. Its been amazing. I feel like she actually LIKES me again.
I know, that sounds so ‘whoa is me’, but that’s not what I mean by it… Shes a Daddy’s girl, always has been, that’s just a reality. When I went back to work after my year of mat leave it seemed like she almost harbored ill feeling towards me for abandoning her. I only really saw her for a couple hours every day and that was really hard on both of us. But, like I said, shes a Daddy’s girl, and my separation from her only made that stronger, and more apparent. But now? It feels like she is slowly moving back to the middle.
Like last week, when we were downtown trying to find a restaurant to hide from the rain and fill our bellies, she was running as fast as her little legs could carry her, and slipped and cleaned a good half a block with her tiny nose. And she wailed. But the first word out of her wet, bloody little face? ‘Mooooooooooooommy!!’
Or yesterday, when we were reading books before her nap in her bedroom, cuddled on the floor, and she stopped in the middle of ‘Gruffalo’s child’, pushing her sucky to one side (yeah, yeah, she has a soother still, I’m the worst mother in the world, blah, blah, blah – sue me, its comfort, and shes not even two)looked at me and said ‘I laffa Mama’, then kept reading, as if she were simply describing the snake on the page to me. An unprompted ‘I love you’ is usually reserved for Daddy only.
And today. Today she was playing with Nana as I was getting ready to meet Jeremy for a rare child-free lunch, and she stopped what she was doing to run to the door and give me a full body hug and a kiss goodbye, without my requesting it first.
So, I feel like its safe to say she might like me a little more than she did a month ago. Even though I will never be the parent who gives her life savers (pacapers) first thing in the morning, no matter how sweetly she asks. She likes me now. And I don’t mind a bit.

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This Day.

Madelyn Olivia,

I think of you. Every night, I think of you.
Before my eyelids win their heavy fight against my conscience, and I succomb to sleep I do my thinking. About the day that passed. About my job. About my wedding plans. About a new cd I listened to. About finances. About redecorating. About relationships. About everything my days contain. And always, always about you.

I think of what today taught you. All the days that have passed since you came into my arms. All the days that brought you new tricks to show off with. To wave ‘bye bye’. To shake your head no, or nod yes with your entire body. To say dog and mama and daddy and whats that, and my personal favorite, dance, dance, dance (da da da). To pull clothes up across your head, because you know thats how we get dressed. To make your train go “bbbbbbrrrrrrroooooomb” while you cruise across the kitchen. To speed along on your hands and knees faster than I ever imagined a baby could. To stand, so close to walking (but allowing me just one more day of having a baby and not a toddler). You grow in each second, Madelyn. Physically, emotionally, mentally. I am awed.
Those fingers, on which you used to spend hours trying to simply find and upon discovery, suck ferociously. Now they wave and point and tickle. Those toes I counted and nibbled and thought impossibly small. Now inches from taking their first free steps. That voice that I first heard cry out, then coo so softly. Now creates words, and squeels of happiness, and songs. The things you have mastered every day amaze me baby girl. Every night I think of all you have learned.

I think of what will come. A year has passed so quickly, too quickly. My heart aches for time to fall back so that we can do it all again. Every sleepless night. Every nurse. Every roll. Every bath. Every walk. Every cuddle. Every song. Every dance. Every smile. But there are years to come. They will bring memories all their own. You will walk, and run, and play games. You will dance, and sing, and write stories. You will create, and make believe, and change the world. You will make friends, and go to school, and leave our sheltered world. You will grow up. You will become a little girl, and then a woman. The person you will become is written all over you already. She will become stronger and brighter with those years that are coming. The changes you will bring stun me little one. Every night I think of all that will come.

I worry. Every night. Am I doing enough? Am I doing it wrong? Can I give you what you need? Can I help you be anything you want to be? Will I make you happy? Will you know how hard I tried?
The love that came when you arrived was one I knew I would feel. Unconditional. But the complete and all consuming fear that it brought, I never knew I would know. There is not a night that I lay down to that does not bring thoughts of who I am molding you to be. Becoming your mother changed me fundamentally in ways I did not expect. Nothing I do, from driving to work to flying across the world, is without a thought of you. Who you will be if I am not here. Who you will be if I am. The world can be a scary place to a mother; a constant game of chance. I could stay home and hide away with you, hidden from the world and all its frightening possibilities. But there is a prize if I chose to play, Madelyn. I get to be a part in watching you become amazing. I get to cheer you on at soccer games and watch your dance recitals. I get to hang your art on my walls, and read the stories you scribbled down. I get to kiss your scraped knees, and kiss you goodnight. I get to ground you, and tell you ‘that boy is no good’. I get to listen to you, and watch you, and experience you. I get to be your mommy. Every day, and every night I worry about what will come tomorrow.

And then, every night I push the door to your room open just before I go to bed and creep slowly across the floor. You’ve long since fallen into a deep sleep coma and tossed your sucky aside. The blankets are usually underneath you and in the most awkward spot to pry free and recover you without disturbing your slumber. Your delicious chubby thighs are spread width-wise across your crib, allowing your feet to slip through the cracks. I lean on the railing and stare at you, your chest rising and falling, your eyelids flickering with the movies in your head. But then, my favorite part? I break every mommy bed time survival rule and reach in and lift your little body up to me, and we dance. Every night, Madelyn. Then you stir, irritated Im sure to have been disturbed from your wonderful baby dreams, but with a flutter of eyelids, and a crooked little half grin, you snuggle your face into my shoulder and throw your leg over my arm to recreate your crib sprawl. And your breathing steadies again. And I smell the top of your head and just hold you, dreaming in my arms while we dance our night time dance. And I thank the world and all its ways for bringing you to me. Every night.

Happy First Birthday to you, my sweetest baby girl. I am so thankful for you, and everything you have and will continue to become.
I love you times 3 infinities and the moon.

Love, Mama.

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Filed under baby, Letters, Picture Posts

2008…out

Hello again blogosphere.
Ive been on hiatus, self-imposed and self-enforced. I needed to take December to be with my family, focus on my life and ignore the interwebs for a bit. I am happy to report that as a result I feel awesome. AWE-SOME.
And just in time for the New Year.

I have noticed a lot of 2008 reviews, some good, some bad. I cant deny that this past year has been one of, if not the biggest years in my life.

January
Jer and I had a huge and way to expensive dinner for New Years 2008 and then rang it in with the famous Ryan Rae’s amazing deep fried turkey at a house party. I left work early for my year of mat leave, and spent nearly a month fully efaced and three centimetres dialated waiting for that baby to JUST. GET. OUT.  I turned 25, and felt old for the first time although we splurged again on a fancy dancy meal out (justified by our upcoming ball and chain). I found out my Dad was having a baby, which resulted in a few months of us not speaking. If you knew our relationship, you might understand why.

February
Jer made me a steak and lobster Valentines feast, and I think it was the first time I actually celebrated the day. We went to the keg with James and Holly, and indigestion that night turned out to be the beginings of labour. Madelyn Olivia Baker was born at 1:08 pm on February 24. I was humbled. She was perfect and small and a mirror image of Jeremy. I learned how to breast feed, how to bathe a wiggly slippery baby and that sleep is something to be cherished.

March
We spent most of March hidden in our condo, or looking for a new one with our superstar realtor Sherrie. Madelyn was featured on the news.  I took to bawling my eyes out when anything happened. ANYTHING. I had a job interview when Mad was ten days old, and I was a leaking, crying, swollen mess. I did not get the job.

April
We made an offer, and became the proud owners of our very first home, if having a baby didnt do it, this definately made us feel like we had finally arrived at adulthood. Dan and Janet came to visit and spoiled Madelyn. I realized in April that I was suffering from post-partum depression, and it was a startling but comforting understanding because although it was scarey, at least I knew now that I was not crazy and losing my mind.

May
We left Madelyn with my mom and flew down to Vegas for Natalie and Tylers wedding, and I began a love affair with the city. We met Matthew Gray Gubler in Caesers palace and I tried not to barf on him out of excitement. We moved into our new home and ripped the shit out of it. Sweating and screaming and kicking is worth it somehow when its for something you own. I saw REM and the National live in Deer Lake. Madelyn developed a disdain for her carseat. My little brother was born. My father and I took big steps in repairing our relationship.

June
I got the job. That one I interviewed for ten days after Mad was born, yeah they called and offered it to me.
Alix got home from London. It was nice to have her back, I had missed her so SO much.

July
Madelyn started to refuse breastfeeding, and so to save my sanity, and Jeremys, we weaned and started her on formula. I felt so SO guilty for that. I still do. Mad tried her hand at swimming for the first time in my sisters pool. A true water baby was born. The three of us packed up and went to Pemberton for the music festival followed by a baby tour.Maddy sat on her own.

August
After Pemberton we drove through to Shuswap and camped for a few days with Jeremys parents and Matt and Andrea. Mad met her Great Grandparents and a bunch of Great Aunts and Uncles. She camped for the first time and slept like. a. rock. We drove up afterwards to Kelowna to visit my Dad and Roberta and my new brother Riley. We boated and dined vegan-style and somewhere along our adventures my wallet went awol. Allie and Caitlin got back from London. Maddy got her first tooth August 13, and her second the very next day. She also learned to crawl.

September
Jer asked me to marry him. Its official. We put a deposit down at Olympic View and picked our colours. Jers cousin Janica and her husband Jared had a baby boy named Deagan. I finally started to wake up feeling like myself.

October
Madelyn was a penguin for Halloween. Jeremy decided to run for Esquimalt town council. Madelyn got her first cold. I felt like a veil was lifted, corny as it sounds. I felt… good. It was nice to come out of the fog I felt like I was in for most of 2008.

November
MOvember. Jer ran and won both the lamest mo, and the best. Hillarious. Madelyn took her coos and gahs to a whole new level. She jibber jabbers all the time. Her little voice is husky and low, and absolutely beautiful. She started mimicking our sounds, the way words come out and the ebb and flow of conversation. Ah dah dah bah pssssssssssh dad mam mam mam. Ah hah hah hah. Talk and laugh. Talk and laugh. Jer and I decided to cancel the wedding. We called the golf club and luckily got our deposit back. We had let the wedding plans get carried away and turned it into some sort of fluffy frosted monster. Not us at all. We replanned a beach wedding and a backyard bbq reception, which is so much more our taste.

December
We had a white Christmas, in fact, I think most of North America did. Madelyn celebrated her first Christmas surrounded by both sides of her family and was spoiled. She loved the tree, and proceeded to demolish SEVEN ornaments I have had since I was a child. I got on and buttoned my old jeans. My pre-pregnancy siz 26 waist jeans. Theres a nice little muffin top as a result, but the point here is that I GOT THEM ON AND DONE UP! I booked a trip to Paris and London with Alix. Yes, no Jer or Mad. Im all sorts of nervous to leave them, but excited to, because this will be such a send off before I go back to work.

And here we are. Im about to go put some clothes on and go for an early dinner with my family. 2008 was a year. It was incredibly good and it was one of the hardest, emotionally, that I have ever experienced. I wouldnt change it. Well, maybe I would exersise a bit more, and eat a bit healthier… but thats what youre supposed to say, right?

So, so long 2008, thank you for bringing Madelyn to me, and strengthening my relationship with Jeremy. I can only look to 2009 with optismism today. In the words of Wille Nelson, It was a very good year.

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Filed under baby, History 101, life update

Trying to draw a line between who you are, and who you invent

I have grown up with a name that is different, or weird in some peoples eyes.
I grew up, honestly, hating it. Coral. Thats the name of an under water sketital deposit. Its dried ocean things people put on shelves because it looks neat.Of course I hated it.
I grew up going to school with eight different Jessicas. I knew more Jennifers and Allisons and Kristys (or Kristinas) than I could keep track of.
And that was just the girls. I grew up being made fun of by Matthews and Chris’ and Justins alike. When youre a kid, whether most people will admit it or not, fitting in is difficult. And if being ‘normal’ is what you so wish you could be, theres nothing worse than being a Coral, when all you have ever wanted is to be a Danielle or a Leanne.

That said, I have grown into my name. I had such disdane for it, I would write stories and sign them ‘Dana’ all the time. I refused to accept that the name I had, was the one I had to have. Im sure it made my mother feel awesome. The name she chose so carefully, picked to wrap beautifully around the child she so adored, looked at with disgust from its owner. But I was a kid, and I hated being on the outside.
But, as I stated, it has become me. I learned to ignored the curious eyebrows from my peers, and the ‘what a BEAUTIFUL name’ comments from their parents.
I started to WANT to be different from my friends, to TRY to be a little weird, and anything but ‘normal’.

Now? I LOVE my name. I love when people question whether they have heard me right. I am so grateful that my name ISNT Jessica (no offence of course, to any Jessicas reading).

I decided that I didnt want my daughter to have a ‘normal’ run of the mill name. (Mind you, normal now, is Apple and Zephyr and Gidget). But I didnt want her to curse me under her breath either.

When J and I discovered we were parents to be we quickly decided on a boys name. Simple and timeless. Handsome and strong. Then we found out our little bundle to be was a girl, so we came back to the drawing table. I had a name I ADORED, and I happily breathed it to J, awaiting his eyes to widen and his face to break into a smile. But, as it turns out, he too had a name. It occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t the only one who dreamt up a name so perfect for my first daughter, that maybe 15 year old J had had that same epiphany.
And the name he loved so much? Madeleine.

Madeleine?

Yes, Madeleine. You know, after Madeleine Stowe, from Last of the Mohicans. My favorite movie EVAR!?

And, it turned out that my favorite chosen name didn’t work with Madeleine following it. It didn’t flow. Didn’t sound good. It wasn’t the name I imagined murmuring sweetly over and over. I couldnt even imagine yelling it when she refused to put on a more appropriate shirt. How could I call my daughter by any name other than her own?!

So, I smiled, and I nodded, and I agreed to think about it. Inside I shelfed it and KNEW it would never be open for discussion again.

A few months down the road and its one am and something has just gushed unannounced from within, and Im in labour.

*eleven hours*

Shes beautiful. Shes perfect. Shes…. Madeleine.

Well, kind of. Shes Madelyn.

Now, I will admit, there have been nights that I crawl into her room and gaze at her (sounds hand that rocks the craddle-y) and I whisper her name, and then I pause, and make sure its just us, and then I whisper her other name, just to see.  Just to make sure we really DID give her the right name. And sometimes when we’re playing ‘mommy builds towers and Maddy destroys them’ I coo and giggle and call her by the name I tucked behind, just to see if she looks up at me and smiles and says ‘Yeah, thats for finally getting it right mom!’ But it always feels…. off.  Like Im calling her Jessica, or Laura. It isnt her.

So shes Madelyn. Madelyn Olivia. (Because I still had to have it in there somewhere.) And when shes fifteen and hates me and her father for giving her ‘like, the lamest name EVAR’, and only wishes to be addressed as Quaniffa, then yeah, we can talk. But I hope she sees that its such a beautiful name, and it meant so much to us when we looked at her, and it was so suited to her face that it could have been written in her eyes. And that she keeps it, and grows to love it. Because its a beautiful name.

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Wordless Wednesday: First Chocolate Cookie.

(PS- I dont photoshop, her eyes are THAT blue.)

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Earn your bad mommy award today!




Bonus: After shes had her way with it, you can throw it away recycle it, guilt free!

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Six Months.

Madelyn Olivia,

Six months ago today, you took your first breath, and we met face to face, for the first time.
My pregnancy with you was up and down. I loved feeling you move, and kick your feet, and twist your head about.  I hated feeling like you could slip out at any moment for the entire last month. Yes, you were that low.
One evening, weeks before you joined our life out here, we sat in the car and I was pushing back on my belly, feeling your thrust your legs out in response.  You kicked one foot straight out, up so high, just below my ribs. And I held it, I held the whole of your tiny unborn foot. And it made my heart race, feeling you, knowing you felt me too. You pulled it back as soon as I freed it, and it never happened again, but I havent forgotten that moment. As a matter of fact, I think of it quite often when I kiss your feet, and nibble your sweet toes. How much bigger they are now. How much bigger they will get.

All of you has grown. I am amazed, constantly, by how much you grow and change. Each day I look at pictures and gasp at your striking changes. You are getting so big, becoming so smart, growing up before my eyes.

Six months has brought such difference. You can sit, by yourself, steady and strong. You are proud. You can sing and babble with octives changing each day. High, and low, and raspy and beautiful. You can reach and grab and bring every thing and anything to your sweet mouth. Chewing and tasting and curiously exploring.
YOu have found your toes, and love them just as much as your fingers, to eat and to wave about while singing at me. You have grown two beautiful white and perfect teeth, and you show them to me all the time, with your big smiles, and when you gratefully gnaw my fingers. You fall asleep suddenly and soundly on your Daddy, and never fail to make me laugh, each time you do, as youve almost always just refused a nap.  You have mastered the most serious and pensive looks, while you contemplate new ways to get all three soothers into your mouth, or when I call your name, distracting you from banging your lamb on the floor to make him ‘bah’.  You reach up to my face and run your fingers along it, almost as though you are locking its feel and shape away, somewhere you will always keep it, knowing your mama.
And your smiles. Oh Maddy, your smiles.
When I come to your room when youve sang your awakening, you smile up at me like Im the one person you wanted to see. And the same smile comes to your Daddy, not a moment later. It is a smile that is full of happiness, a face consuming grin. Your smiles, Madelyn, break my heart into a million little pieces.

I was so afraid, when I found out I was going to be a mother. Was I ready? WIll I be horrible? Will my baby be happy? And you have soothed my fears since the moment I laid eyes on you. Sweet baby girl, you have changed me profoundly. I am a better person, and one who would give anything for those beautiful baby smiles you give so freely.

So my sweet miss mouse, here is to our first six months together in this world. Thank you for being the baby I dreamed of, for teaching me how to spend hours sitting on the floor banging toys and tasting reciepts, and for smelling SO. Damn. Good.






Love, Mama.

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Good thing I like walking

I will be the first to admit, I may have brought this on myself.

I bragged.  I bragged that everytime Maddy’s butt hit her carseat she would K.O. That as soon as we pulled our jeep out of our parking lot she was snoring. That she was the best baby to travel with. Errands were easy. My baby was the best baby ever.

And then God replaced my baby with the devil.

Oh. My. God.

Im sorry. Forgive me. Please make it stop.

She started getting… a little fussy when she first got strapped in… but simply picking up the chair silenced her.  Soon you needed to swing while walking to the car. Then bounce.
Now…. as soon as her bum hits the seat she SCREAMS. And I mean, goes from happy cooing smiley Maddy that everyone adores… to Satan with a soother.

God. Who is this child?!

Yes, shes colic-y, but that was getting better. We were having good days. And then I had to go and count my fricking chickens.

We reached our all-time high Friday though. I decided to take her up to Lake Cowichan to visit my Aunt and Uncle. They live right on the water, its beautiful, I love it. I wanted her to see it. I wanted to show off my pretty baby and eat my Uncle Ricks AMAZING caeser salad.
Trip up was perfect, she fussed at first, but as Ive become an expert at driving with one hand on the wheel and the other arched backwards over her carseat and holding the soother in her mouth, she calmed down and napped.
So we stayed and visited and relaxed and Oprahed and ate delicious food. And then it got to be eight  and rainy and I thought we should be on the road.

She cried. She cried more horribly than I have ever heard. I pulled over four times. Then I thought ‘screw it, its nine now, I HAVE to get over the Malahat before the rain REALLY starts’.

It was pouring. It was thick and foggy. And I swore I was about to drive right off the cliff.
She cried in the backseat. I cried in the front seat.
Big, wet, ugly, snotty crying.

Then we got home, pulled into our new condo’s parking spot and went inside. I was feeling rough and miserable and just wanted to go to bed.  I pulled her clothes (now covered in puke because she cried so hard she made herself vomit) off and laid her down to change her and she stoped crying. She was silent.
And she looked up at me, all red faced and splotchy, and she smiled the biggest brightest smile ever.
Happy and naked and out of her carseat.

And I melted.

God, how do they do it?!

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Life, giggles and colic.

Ooooooh, why yes, yes we are still alive.

Miss Madelyn is eight weeks old this Sunday. WOW. But she isnt two months until next Thursday.  And how will we celebrate? By moving into our new condo.
We signed all the papers today and we close our deal on Tuesday and then we’re homeowners. $#%&@!!!!!

Yeah.  Double WOW.

The past eight weeks have been a blur. I find that I sit down now and am blown away at how quickly time is already passing. Shes changed so much since we came home from the hospital. She watches people now. She follows you around the room, at first just with her eyes, now her whole head turns as you cris-cross the room. She smiles, and not just at lights and windows anymore, she smiles AT you. She giggles when shes happy and when Daddy tickles her cheeks. She coos and goos and gahs. And I know that the next time I blink she will be crawling. And then walking. And talking. Oh god, stop.
Every day there is another soft hair on her blondie head. Every week she has a new tender roll on her beautiful belly.  Im sure if I watched her for an hour straight I would see her grow before my eyes.
I love seeing her change each day, but I yearn for her to stop, stay tiny and curled in my arms. Wrap her tiny fingers around mine and stare into my eyes forever.
Even her cries are changing. She has a touch of colic, and so I am very familiar with her cries now, each and every one of them. And just when I think I cant handle another minute of crying, she smiles at me and gurgles and I melt. Every day passes so quickly.  Dont ever grow up my precious baby.

But I am savouring it. The little moments before she falls alseep and her hands clasp me as though Im all she needs. The smell of her baby curls and the crook of her neck.  The feel of her arms, soft and downy and so small.  The little things that I thought I wouldnt notice, that I couldnt live without, that I know I could never forget.  
 
-C.

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Our Baby Girl, The TV Star

Thank you Casey Jo for putting our little monster on A-Channel.

— J

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