Category Archives: History 101

Why I should sleep in.

I love to sleep. I will sleep all day if you left me to it. Ive been blessed with a baby who also loves to sleep. And she has never given us an issue in sleeping through the night, twelve hours straight. Its bliss.
This morning, however, I woke up at 5:30. And not just woke up, looked at the clock and rolled over, but like. WOKE. UP. But it was so early that I forced myself to try and fall back asleep. An hour later I finally let myself get out from under my warm duvet and greet the day. I figured it was a perfect chance to enjoy my morning coffee in silent solitude. And it was. It was bliss.

We have been semi organizing Maddy’s room because I have a vision of how I want to redecorate it next month when she graduates to a big girl bed. We had been using her closet as mainly storage, so I figured since I was up I would sort through some of the big rubbermaid bins of crap. I snuck them out of her room and hunkered down in the living room sifting through memories I had been hauling from house to house since I moved out of my moms house when I was nineteen.

And the memories flooded. Jee-sus.

So, here’s the thing… when I was growing up my mom and step dad moved a lot. Like, once a year for many many years. When I say a lot I mean that by the age of 23 I had moved 25 times. And it seemed to always fall in the middle of a school year… so I got pretty good at making new friends, and at becoming aloof and standoffish my first few weeks at whatever the school dujour was. Sometimes growing up all over the place makes a person come out of their shell, be outgoing and exciting and confidant. Not me. Moving made me awkward and shy and lonely. I very strongly recall feeling like I was always leaving behind my friends. I was always the one having goodbye parties and writing letters to my ‘best friend’ in four different cities. I remember feeling very lonely a lot.
It took me a long time to start to act like myself and become comfortable enough to be me with my new friends. Usually that happened about a third of the way into our time at our new home town. And then by the time we were moving away again I had full blown best friends. If you have ever heard me tell stories about people I knew growing up you will notice I refer to a lot of people as ‘my best friend when I was a kid”… thats because they probably were. For a brief moment in my life those people were so important to me and the place I called home at the time.

So, back to the bins.

It struck me, as I read through old notes and yearbooks and scrapbooks Id been given my some of the sweetest people. I missed a lot of what could have been with some of those people. Some of those friends meant SO much to me. A lot of those friends I should have done a better job of keeping in touch with. I sat there this morning realizing I missed the lives I had before, and the simplicity of small towns and close houses.
I feel like I never really HAD that. I dont even know if I can describe THAT, its not what I was just listing of… its ALL of it… I just know I missed out on something big that a lot of my friends had. Stability. Growing up with people. I never had that. I had a chunk of my life with these friends, and then a different chunk of my life with those friends, and so on and so on. We moved away and I kept touch with a couple people with letters and phone calls, but when you’re 15 and your parents have moved you twice since you lived in the same town as your 13 year old best friend…. things start to change. And I missed out on the same group of friends moving through junior high school and senior highschool and graduation and beyond. It made me really sad to think about it.

I guess… I dont really know where I was going with this, if anywhere. I told Jeremy I want to move. I want to leave Victoria and all its snobbiness and cold people and constantly out of our reach lifestyle costs. I want to move to a small town where Im not afraid of Madelyn walking to her friends houses. I want to bake my own bread and give loaves to all my neighbours. I want to have drinks and dinners with our friends every Friday and have all our kids playing upstairs. I want what I remember, even so briefly. Because I miss it. And I want Madelyn to know it.

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Filed under History 101, life update

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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The Night I Found Out

Sometime back… the night of the Monster Truck Spectacular to be percise (June 15th)… I rolled up to the Casa La CorJ in the Zone’s bitch’n yellow Nissan Xterra to pick up my lovely girlfriend for a night of high flying motocross professionals and Gravedigger monster truck carnage.  As I pull the car up to the curb, I see that Coral is visibly upset.  She sits down and says… “I’m pregnant.”

… “and you’re crying?” I asked stunned.

“well, I wasn’t sure what you were gunna think.”

“I think its great, but you know what, I need you to put the tears away for a moment because, MONSTER TRUCKS!!!  WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”

I then crushed a beer can on my head and off we went to the Save-On Foods Memorial Centre.

We arrive at the Arena and head up to the Zone’s private box where I am hosting some contest winners.  The Zone knows how to operate so there is a giant TUB full of BEER.

I tuck in and toss one over to Corj.

“I don’t think I am supposed to drink,” she says to me.

I reply, “SWA?  Nonsense, you’re barely pregnant.”

“No, no I am pretty sure booze is a no go.”

I savage her with a volley of logic, “OK look, what were we going to do tonight?  Drink beer and watch monster trucks.  Now, *if* you were to say, have taken your little test, which by-the-way is only like, ninety-nine percent accurate, *if* you even did it right, now say… you took it tomorrow and did not know you were pregnant… would you drink?”

“Well yes, BUT I *DO* know I’m pregnant so… NO BEER!  Jesus… what kind of father are you going to be?  Our baby is not even born yet and your sneaking it booze.”

“Hey, free booze courtesy of Jimmy Pattison.”

 Ok, so Coral was sober, I tipped a couple, we’re having a baby and the Monstrer trucks were a little dissapointing (the motocross was cool), but so educational.

–J.

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