Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Memory Lane: Riley

Oh No, They Didn't....

Mama Birth had such an awesome post on autonomy of choice in childbirth, I had to share it on FB, Twitter, and HERE!  Lovelies, you must be sick of birth stuff from me.  But this is good.  And it's short.  And it's IMPORTANT!!  Read.  Love.  That is all.   xxoo

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hard Days

It is 9:49 in the morning, and already today is a hard day.  People, my daughter is VERY HARD.  I love her and try to remain positive about her personality as much as I can, but I also just need to express that parenting her is very, very hard.  It is intense.  It is thankless.  It is dramatic and full of pessimism, complaining, and possessiveness (on her part).  I have a hard time parenting my little pessimist.  I mean, I am very thankful for her, and grateful that she is my fourth child and thus party to the most patience I've ever had as a parent, and mainly I simply love on and care for her wholeheartedly, knowing that most of the hard bits will pass and that my job is to help her feel secure and loved and celebrated, and supported when she is sad.  But that doesn't mean it is easy.  Or even wholly enjoyable.  She is just so incredibly inflexible, and this effectively means that my life is restricted quite a lot, in a mentally draining way.  I already parent in a manner that restricts my freedom and my life pretty heavily, and I actually prefer it this way and believe it is healthy and very good for our entire family.  It is good for us to be needed as parents, for Brent and I to be stretched and pulled and required to figure out creative solutions for things, for our kids to be surrounded by love and lots of touch, affirmation, positiveness, and family orientating activities.  We carry our babies a lot, I breastfeed long term, we cosleep, we are responsive, and we care about our kids' hearts; what matters to them, matters to us (even Star Wars Lego: do you have any idea the amount of Star Wars trivia I am party to on a daily basis???).  We also have FOUR kids.  That's four separate little lives to pour into, four quirks, characteristics, needs, wants, desires, and hearts to be attuned to.  That's a lot.  And the needier kids (Matthew and Amarys) demand an incredible amount of our focus, subtracting focus from the less needy kids (Ayden and Riley).  I'm peanut butter on toast; but there's a hellofalotta toast on this here plate, and only so much of me.
Some days, I swear she hates me.  It is so hard to keep her happy and regulated and calm and balanced.  Matthew had tons of trouble with emotional regulation too, and it really fed my anxiety disorder and we would get caught up in these cycles of anger, frustration, crying, and total emotional chaos.  I'm happy that I've grown beyond that reality but it doesn't make Amarys' difficulties with emotional regulation any easier to live with.  I handle them better but I hate them just as much.
She's intense.  She hits, bites, scratches, pulls hair, screeches, and flails.  She loses her shit every time I leave to go anywhere~ the bathroom, the office downstairs for an hour to work, the shower, the grocery store, book club, or the laundry room to wash clothes.  She is not easily comforted when she loses her shit.  It takes me a day or two to calm her down and re-regulate her after something like an evening out for book club.  Or ten minutes spent in the company of her Nana while I drive her brothers to school.  So not only is it hard for me to go (and oh my gosh, do I need to go), and hard for Brent and her brothers while I'm gone, I pay for it the next day as I navigate her anger and insecurity that I went.  I pay for it.  This contributes significantly to my feelings of entrapment, as you can imagine.
I'm doing it.  But I need to express that it is hard.  It is hard, it is hard, it is hard.

This is her, right now as I type, frantic to bang on the keyboard

But I'm so cuuuuuute, how can you complain about me on the internet?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Perfect Day

Today. Was. AWESOME.  This was the first day of summer, of course, and also for us the first day of warm sunshine in WEEKS!  We live in the most temperate climate in Canada, which means we have mild, rainy winters and rainy springs and rainy autumns and generally bloody short, dry summers.  Today was one of the days Langleyites LIVE FOR;  SUNNY!!!!  And warm!!!!  And so after tot romp at the rec centre this morning, we packed a lunch and walked to the water park.  I figured we would have a picnic on the grass and play in the playground but lo and behold the water park was ON so we actually spent a ton of time playing in the water.  I didn't bring the kids' swimsuits because I was that sure the spray park would be off.  But I roll with the punches so the kids just got wet.  It was warm enough that nobody minded.  And Amarys fell asleep in the stroller on the way home which is BLISS, because lately her sleep fighting has morphed into the truly ridiculous and I've given up on trying to get her to nap.  She runs out of gas at around 4:30 or 5:00 pm and falls asleep some random way or place and then I wake her up 20 minutes later (otherwise she's up til midnight or later) and we fight to get her to sleep around 9:00 or so.  I mean, it's ridiculous.  If I drive her around midday I can get her to sleep in the car and then park in the driveway and leave the window open but not if it's warm out obviously, and this wastes gas because it takes so long to get her to crash.
Anyways, long story short: NAP!  In stroller!  Midday!  Woot!  Nice gift for momma.

Then we went home, dumped our picnic stuff on the counter, and walked to the older kids' school to pick them up.  Riley asked if he could ride his bike and I almost said no but we'd had such a lovely day that I didn't want to bum him out, so I said yes.  I was super surprised at him~he rode the entire way to school and back on a TRICYCLE!  No gears!  No brakes!  Little legs pumping away at the speed of light!  This is a THREE KILOMETER round trip.  He fell asleep at bedtime in three seconds flat.  Double woot!  Anyways, he impressed me bigtime.  And we spent every second of the day outdoors today.  Fly lady, I'm sorry, but I neglected my house today!!  In fact I neglected mySELF because I didn't even go inside long enough to take a shower until it was time to make dinner, so I didn't get my morning shower until 10 pm today.  But you know what?  I'm sure you'll forgive me my neglected chores, since I spent so many beautiful hours today blissed out on sunshine with my babies.  =)  I can't wait for my older babies to be done with school so we can all go to the water park and on bike rides together!

Little Update: Backyard Edition

My garden this year is sprouting!  Last year was my first real vegetable garden and I learned tons.  Namely, that growing a vegetable garden is remarkably easy!  And: thinning is mandatory.  Not optional.  NOT thinning will get you skinny radish roots and no beets.  This year I rearranged things a bit so the zucchini has somewhere to expand and so I can grow more peas, etc.  I planted garlic, peas, beans, lettuce, radishes, beets, carrots, chives, parsley (that one survived from last year and is getting out of hand in the bottom right corner there), cilantro, basil, rosemary, oregano, eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini.  Woot!  Isn't it pretty?

This is Panbeh.  He is a seven year old Lionhead rabbit who has graduated himself out of Ayden and Matthew's classroom.  Their teacher, who owned Panbeh, is retiring and we agreed to adopt Panbeh.  Because, you know, there's not enough abject chaos around here already....  But seriously, he's pretty easy. He's litter trained and just spent 7 years in an elemetary school classroom so he's fairly accustomed to being harassed by noise.  You should have seen my kids' faces when I said yes to this bunny.  Queen Mother, I am.  

Now this story is uber cool.  The boys put together bird houses as a daddy project this spring, and hung them in the backyard.  I figured they were hung up too late for bird nests, but lo and behold Riley's birdhouse was deemed the perfect fit for a pair of chickadees to make a nest and lay three small eggs!  The boys were AMPED when they discovered it, and I think it's hilarious that this chickadee couple chose the birdhouse ON the kids' play structure (not the one on the back fence, or the one in the pear tree, which would have been quieter).  For about a week the momma was sitting on her eggs, and today despite dire warnings to leave the bird house ALONE, Matthew opened the roof and discovered the babies had hatched!  I didn't want to disturb the momma by lifting the roof again and taking a photo of the babies inside but they look just like the National Geographic baby birds with wide open yellow mouths as big as their heads, tipped up towards the sky whenever you peek in.  We peeked in ONCE to see and then cleared out of the backyard altogether because I thought the momma might have a heart attack the way she was flying all around and screeching at us.  It was just so cool, and the ultimate childhood experience to build birdhouses and have a family of birds come live in one, and nestle in a handful of babies.  So cute.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Hunger Games

I'm generally not that into fantasy literature.  [I make exceptions for disgusting amounts of talent like JR Tolkien].  If you didn't spend a lifetime crafting that fantasy world you're writing about, I'm probably going to see all the holes in it and get irritated with it, pretty fast.  [Not that I could write anything better.  I'm just saying].
I'm also generally not that into young adult fiction.  Now, this is NOT across the board; one of my all time favourite books is YA fiction [The Book Thief], I grew up on Anne of Green Gables, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night is pretty dang fantastic.  The Twilight series can kiss my ass in all its stupid vampire overwrought soap opera gag-me-ness, Harry Potter is totally MEH, but PEOPLE.  The Hunger Games ate me.  I would not even have picked one of these books up except that (1) someone gave it to me for my birthday, and (2) we were required to read the first book for my book club.  If we had only been required for book club, I would have skipped it.  Same with the gift.  But the two together nudged me to open it and I was caught, hook, line, sinker, in the very first chapter.  [Not the first page.  It was no Glass Castle as far as opening lines go, but definitely partway through the first chapter I was all, "Kids?  What kids?  Shut up I'm reading."]

This book stole my mind and ate it for three whole days until I finished the book, and then it stole it again for the second book, and again for the third.  I was so scarred by some of the violence in it, I thought I cannot see this movie.  But the story is so compelling that I was destroyed when it was finished so I went to see the movie just so I could engage with the story again.  And I loved the movie; it was made carefully with little actual gore despite the violent premise of the book.  And then you know what I did?  I went home, picked up the first book, and read the entire series, AGAIN.  And actually it was BETTER the second time around, because I wasn't in a constant panic to find out what happens, so I was able to engage with the non plot driven parts of the books, too.  Like, wow.  Fifty thumbs up, dudes.

Oh, and it's not really true fantasy lit, since there are not fantastical characters in it, except maybe the capitol humans with their freaky plastic surgery and tattoos.  But it is set in the future, after a huge war disaster--kind of like The Road but with surviving societal infrastructure.  Lots of imaginative projection going on, and a lot of construction with regards to setting and culture and etc.  I would describe the setting as a cross between The Gladiator, Schindler's List, and The Lord of the Flies.  I think it does qualify as fantasy lit, but just a heads up that it's no Lord of the Rings.  Regardless, it grabbed me and ate me and I think it might do that to you, too.

[I used to do book and movie reviews more often; you know I'm resurfacing after pregnancy and birth and babyland when I start doing reviews again.  Hello!  It's nice to be back =) ]

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Good and Bad: Paramedic Edition

Remember all my work stories?  I used to gross you guys out on a regular basis.  Blood and guts.  Gunshot wounds to the head with teeth coming out the back of someone's skull.  Crazies threatening to slice off their breasts with a razor blade.  Vomit on my boots.  Just another day at the office.

The funny paramedic proverbs;

"They're not dead til they're warm and dead."

"Air goes in and out.  Blood goes round and round.  Any variation on this is a problem."

"If you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras."

"CPR is just pumping and blowing."

"S/he was circling the drain."

"Protocols don't save lives.  Primary surveys save lives."

"If by the end of the primary survey you don't know what the hell is wrong with your patient, they are SICK. They need a surgeon, not a paramedic.  Get the hell out of there as fast as you can."

Anyways, in some ways I was well suited to my job, and in other ways I wasn't.  No matter what kind of job I have, this seems to be the case (and I don't think it is much of a stretch to say it likely applies to all of us.  Except maybe the Bloggess, who is 100% well suited to being hysterical).  Here is a list of some of my strengths as a paramedic;
~memory: I have strong recall of pathology details, physiology, anatomy, names, exceptions, and algorithms involved in protocols.  Even the hard to remember exceptions and small details stick in my mind.
~methodical: I rarely miss steps, take shortcuts, or forget things; nearly every call is run in a similar sequence so that suited the way my mind works and helped me feel in control of the situation with regards to the gathering of information, diagnosing, and developing a treatment and transport plan.
~thoroughness: by the time I brought a patient to the emergency department, I knew LOTS about them, and I used to get teased about my paperwork because all the lines and boxes were filled in, even if it was just with the shorthand symbol for "nothing."  This was partially to cover my butt; if you don't write it down it didn't get done (or you can't prove it did), and partially for good patient care.  The more you know about a patient the better the chance you can give tailored care for their needs, situation, and idiosyncracies.  Also it is easier to miss small details or hidden health problems if you have less information about a patient.
~medical terminology: a few times I was asked by medical staff if I had another job as well (such as nurse or respiratory tech) because my description of a person's medical history used the correct medical terminology and considered diagnostic details.  This is a side bonus of being a linguistic type of person.
~easy going: I was easy to work with, flexible, kind, and generous.  I see people as equals regardless of age or status in life and for the most part people respond well to that.  It makes them feel good that I see them for who they are, rather than what they do.  Knowing my protocols, physiology, and pathology as well as I did made me a great partner on the road because I could anticipate what my coworkers needed or wanted, what equipment we might need, or what questions to ask, and pull out things and hand them over before they asked.  Every day I worked was with a new partner so flexibility and an easy going nature were assets.  I mean, I worked lots with the same people but seriously we had hundreds of colleagues rotate through our station so I worked with TONS of people.  Lots of them expressed that they enjoyed working with me.
~compassion: I connected well with most patients and felt compassion for nearly all of them.  I know this ability to empathize was my greatest asset as a paramedic.

Now here are some of my weaknesses;
~self confidence: one of our jobs was to come up with a 'differential diagnosis'~ a working theory as to what is 'wrong' health wise with the patient you are caring for.  This can be difficult in complex cases, or non classic presentations (ie, painless heart attack).  Generally by the end of the primary survey, or first five minutes of assessment and questioning with a patient, you have a pretty good idea what's going on.  Complex cases require a bit more sleuth work.  My differentials were almost always right, but I nearly always kept them to myself because I was afraid I was wrong.  Always.
~assertiveness: I was NO good at bossing around my colleagues.  I'm terribly afraid of offending people and it makes being assertive very difficult for me.  Part of our job as paramedics is TO BE assertive when we are 'attending' (vs. driving), particularly in MCIs (Mass Casualty Incidents), or in multi agency scenarios involving firefighters, hydro, police, etc.  I was no good at it.  If everyone on scene was younger than me or had less experience, I WAS good at it, but that is so rare that it essentially meant I sucked at assertiveness.  A few times I remember being good at it, but it took concerted effort and there had to be a really good reason for it.  Like one time a sixteen year old patient was in a car crash and wound up in the river, and I was worried she may have broken her back.  Keeping her calm was paramount because when she panicked, she thrashed around.  Not good for a broken back.  Her mom arrived at the hospital when we were transferring her from our cot to the hospital bed and she started screaming and shaking and saying "OH MY BABY!"  Which got my patient all panicky again.  It had taken me so much work to keep this girl calm and now her mom walks on the scenario and fucks it all up.  Understandably, but still.  I turned around, held my hand up, and said, "I'm sorry, I know you are upset and I know you love your daughter.  But you MUST either leave or calm down.  Your daughter must lie still until we X-ray her back, and you being upset makes her move."
She looked me in the eye, hated me for a second, and then knew I was right, swallowed her pride, and turned and walked away.  Five minutes later she was back and calm.
That was an unusual day, for me.  Many, many times I let people (namely, colleagues) plow over me, my call, or my patient and didn't say a word.  I'm not a dog eat dog person; I treat people fairly and expect the same in return.  I generally don't know what to do when people don't treat me with courtesy.  The ambulance service in particular and health care in general is dog eat dog.
~speed: being both methodical and working part time made me slow.  Not suuuuuuuuper slow and I could hoof it in an emergency, but slower than the majority of my coworkers.  This had no bearing on health outcomes but I'm sure it drove my coworkers nuts.  Efficiency comes with practice, which I had less of than most of the people I worked with.
 Why did I have less?  Because I had kids.  I had kids and I chose to work less in order to be with them as much as possible while they were small.  Most BC paramedics are not good at balancing work and life; the system is set up to make overwork seem incredibly normal and it is very easy to work more than 40 hours per week and hardly notice.  I noticed.  Hence, I was slow.

All in all, I had tons of fun in 10 years and I learned SO much.  About life, about myself, about conflict, human behavior, reactions to stress, and how hilarious that job can be if you don't take yourself too seriously.  It wasn't perfect and neither am I, but I still managed to save a life or two.  And be a small part of hundreds of other lives in a remarkably intimate and astonishingly fascinating way.  I felt like a witness to so many significant moments in people's lives, and that was incredible.  So cool.

Happy Father's Day

Dads rock.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Amarys and I went to visit my sister Meg, her husband Casey, and my NEW NEPHEW Oliver this week!!  My last post was done just before we left on our trip and we just got back last night.  Brent stayed behind for three whole days with three whole boys all by himself.  And he didn't even die.
Wednesday evening Meg and Oliver picked us up at the ferry and I tried really hard not to SQUEEEEE to hard in the big crowd of people surrounding us but it was nearly impossible.  Oliver is SO CUTE and SO SQUISHY and SO LITTLE and he smells SO GOOD and he's ALL MINE!  Well I guess he's not really all mine but I could easily tuck him under my arm and 'forget' to give him back.  This is the first time I've ever had a sister have a baby.  It's pretty cool.  =)  

That evening we had dinner and got caught up a bit, and Amarys got all sweet and curious and very gentle with her little cousin...

I brought over a huge suitcase full of baby clothes size 0-6 months for Oliver, because people were very generous when we had babies, and I have this thing about the kids' clothes.  I'm not a hoarder but I could easily hoard every item of clothing they ever wear.  So I've been saving clothes for years because we kept having more babies, and now that we are done I totally want the clothes to go to someone in our family who can use them and love them as much as I do.

This outfit I bought for Riley.  It's a really sweet, expensive Mexx sleeper in blue, white, and grey stripes that I splurged on to help me get my mind around another boy  =)  I got a big kick out of seeing it on Oliver... Speaking of Oliver, aren't his lips SO KISSABLE?!

He was lying on the blanket and I got some really cute shots of him checking us out.  He loves tummy time, doesn't complain when he poops or farts, eats like a champion, and likes to observe quietly.  For hours.  Wowee.  He's the coolest thing EVER.

 I slept at my cousin Sara's place at night so I could give Meg some space from having constant guests, and so I could visit with Sara, too.  It was the perfect arrangement because I could visit with everyone and still have some down time.  Wednesday evening I hung out with Sara and Leigh, and Thursday after work Sara met me and Meg for lunch.  Oliver spent our restaurant lunch outing on Megan's lap, not making a peep.  Since Meg is tall, her legs are parallel with the floor when she sits, so he rested there comfortably and nobody even knew he was there until after lunch when he came out for auntie cuddles.  (Everyone, however, knew that Amarys was in the restaurant.  She's loud and active and once nearly fell out of her chair backwards).

Thursday evening I had dinner at Meg and Casey's place and then went back to Sara's for girl's night.  Jeepers, I need to organize girl's night more often at my house, especially when Brent works nights~I could have all kinds of brie and chocolate and wine and friend type of parties!!  What am I thinking!!  =)  This could be the start of something awesome.  It was a small girl's night with me, Sara, Kelsey, and two girl babies (Amarys and Kaitlyn, who is 4 months old and ALSO the youngest of four and ALSO the only girl in her family.  And ALSO quite a vocal baby), but it was really awesome.  Poor Meg is too closely postpartum to feel up to girl's night.  She's tuckered out and Oliver doesn't really sleep at night.  Typically, he sleeps in the daytime =)

Friday we visited Meg again and Casey was home from work so he showed me around his porch garden and we talked vegetables for a bit.  It was cool to get his perspective because he's been growing different vegetables than me but has similar ideas so we swapped experiences.  He spent a good portion of the morning picking squishy green caterpillars off his kale.  Yum.  Nothing like organic produce to give you a good boost of protein.  =P  We also talked about Island life and where they would like to settle down (Fernie, most likely, which I've never been to but sounds lovely except for the bit about it being a 12 hour drive from my house).
Amarys had emotionally bottomed out by this point; Thursday evening she went all vampire on me and scratched Oliver while I was holding him (jealousy...).  When I reminded her to be gentle and not to scratch, she looked at me square in the eye, wound up her arm, and smacked him on the back.  The little shit disturber.  I gave Oliver back to Meg (who was, fortunately, laughing rather than horrified), and took her hands in mine and talked about being gentle.  You can't do much with a 15 month old but I wanted to at least let her know that hitting babies isn't really done.
Friday at dinnertime Meg laid Oliver on the floor so we could eat, and Amarys took one look at him all sweet and vulnerable and bright eyed, walked over to him, and stomped on his foot.  I guess I should have added in our previous little talk that stomping on babies is frowned upon, also.
She was all dysregulated from being away from home and out of her routines.  But most of the visit she was really gentle with him and was VERY curious, and quite enthralled.  It was really sweet to see the nurturing side of her come out; she liked how soft and little he was, and spent quite a long time looking at him, and bending over to his eye level when he was on the floor.  I have lots more pictures I will share tomorrow.  The ones above were from my phone.

It was also really nice for me to get away from home with just one of my babies for a bit.  Although she's in a busy stage as far as kids go, it feels so easy to go from four down to one for three days.  It was SUPER nice to get away from the scads of housework I do every day and the monochromatic routine of breakfast til bedtime that our lives revolve around right now.  I read a bit.  I crocheted a bit.  And mostly, I just rested.  And cuddled that sweet baby nephew of mine.  It was ALL COLOURS AND KINDS OF AWESOME!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Sister is a Rock Star Momma

Remember my sister when she looked like this a few weeks ago?

Well she doesn't anymore =)

I haven't had a chance to post about it until now, but last Tuesday my sister gave birth to the most amazing, cute, laid back, wonderful BABY BOY!!  His name is Oliver....

He was 7 lbs 15 oz, healthy and strong.  My sister planned a home birth, transferred for pain relief and a nagging feeling that something was 'wrong', and had an emergency cesarean for fetal distress within an hour of arriving at the hospital.  It turned out that Oliver's cord was only 15 centimeters long (!!!!).  My sister labored bravely and followed her instinct, and it led her to the exact right place at the right time for Oliver to be born healthy and happy.  I'm so proud of her!  And I've never heard of a cord that short.  Ever.  I'm sure it happens, but so rarely!  You can see his posture is curved back a bit; apparently this is from being constricted by his short cord for so many months!  It should correct now that he's untethered  =)

Isn't he delicious?  I get to meet him TOMORROW!!!  He's so perfect I can't get over him.  And guess how many baby boy clothes I have to give him?  A boatload.  Megan's going to hate me =P
There's something about your sister having a baby that is just so cool.  Just all kinds of awesome.  xxoo

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Our religious tradition includes 'Baby Dedication,' a special ceremony to publicly dedicate your child into God's care, and to declare a vow to raise them in God's love and teach them about Him.  We consider all our children to be amazing gifts whose lives we temporarily hold in our hands, but who truly belong to God.  Baby dedication serves to place these gifts back in God's hands, with love and gratitude.  Ayden was dedicated at four months of age, Matthew was dedicated twice~once by his foster mom in Thailand, and again when he was 18 months, by us~and Riley?  Well, Riley... he never got dedicated.  See, when he was born our previous church was in the process of some major instability and change, and we decided to search for a church closer to our own community and with more stability before he was one year old.  Then we found our current church when he was 18 months but it was right before Christmas so that wasn't a great time (plus we didn't really know anyone yet), and then I got pregnant with Amarys, and life goes by so quickly that we never got around to it.  Until now!

On Mother's Day we had a special service to dedicate both Riley and Amarys.  It was the best Mother's Day EVER.  It was warm and sunny, a horde of family and friends came to church to see our babies dedicated, and we hosted a brunch at our house in the afternoon.  It was AWESOME.  The service itself is pretty short; maybe ten minutes?  We introduced ourselves (although most of our church knows us), our Pastor said a few words about baby dedication and asked us if we promise to raise Riley and Amarys in the knowledge of the love of God, and to teach them about Him and His love, and we said "We do!"  Then Pastor Doug read a verse I had chosen specially for each child, and prayed with them individually.  During the entire ceremony Matthew made faces.  Pastor Doug said we were examples of patience (and I wanted to invite him over to our house during the pre dinner hour and see how patient I am, but I digress) and love.

Riley's verse was from  Psalm 91:1-2
'He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 
I will say of the LORD,  
"He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."';

Riley is a peaceful, kind soul who brought us healing and peace.  He reminds me of his daddy, with his calm disposition, sparkly eyes, and groundedness.  Our hope is for him to find refuge in God, rest in His shadow forever, and bring that kind of peace and healing to others.

Amarys' verse was  from Joel 2:23
'Be glad, O people of Zion,
rejoice in the LORD your God,
for he has given you
the autumn rains in righteousness.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.'

Amarys is like a tempest.  The force of her personality is like abundant showers, and her presence in our lives is abundant, full of life giving water in bucketfuls.  Water heals.  Water sustains life.  And storms are a beautiful upheaval.  God's blessing on our family has been repeated.

Love to my babies.  May you walk the journey set before you with steadfast knowledge that you are surrounded by love.  Our imperfect love, and God's complete and perfect love.  Know God's presence, and follow Him always.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

15 Months Old

Spicy girl is 15 months old already!!  This month saw quite a few firsts.  She started clapping, especially when she's excited or thinks someone has done a 'good job'~she also blows kisses, waves goodbye and goodnight, and hides behind her hand for peek-a-boo.  She is getting a few teeth at once right now, which as everyone knows makes a parent's life harder...

Amarys is deeply enamoured with her brothers and wants to be involved in EVERYTHING they are doing.  Cooking, building lego, showering, painting; you name it, she's in there like old underwear.  She is focused and tenacious and there are very few things that will distract her once she sets her mind to something.  Distraction is one of my main toddler parenting tools, so I'm at a bit of a loss sometimes!   Yes, it is possible to keep being stumped by your kids even after you have four.  Whodathunk. 

Her favourite place to perch is on the counter.  I can entertain her while I cook and clean if I stick her on the counter by the sink with the cold water running, or plop her on the kitchen island with a handful of grapes and she's happy as a clam. During dinner she's always crawling on the table and I have to laugh at myself, because for certain with my first three, nobody was allowed to be marching around on the table during dinner, grazing off everyone else's plates and plunking food in everyone's water dish.  But seriously?  Meh.  If she's in her chair, she's screeching.  If she's on the floor, she's screeching.  We get about five minutes of happy-in-the-chair (because she loves food) and then its UP ON THE TABLE I MUST GO.  If we scoop her into our laps she's all WTF ARE YOU DOING TO ME RESTRAINING ME IN THIS MANNER UP ON THE TABLE I MUST GO.  Some days I call her my little terrorist.

She also hates the Ergo.  She's never really loved the Ergo but I do, because it is the only carrier I can manage for long stretches with no back pain (front carry and long walks hurt my back but around the house and on my back I'm most comfortable using the Ergo).  I used to wear her on my back during supper prep because that's meltdown time for ALL babies and toddlers, but lately she's taken to screaming NONONONONONONONONO!!! and running away when I pull out the Ergo.  In fact, if I want some space from her, I will buckle it around my waist ON PURPOSE to make her yell NONONONO and run away.  She then finds some activity or brother to occupy her and voila!  Autonomous mommy.  I don't know why she hates it so much but likely because it confines her.

She bites.  She hits.  She pulls hair.  She scratches.  She's a bully and a survivor and I have no doubt if she were on Fear Factor she would eat every spider and bag every snake and take away the $50,000 and probably snag Joe Rogan while she's at it.  Mrs. Amarys Rogan, at your service.  Why yes, I do have $50,000 and I plan to spend it all on chocolate chips.  She loves animals and is quite gentle with our cat, and with the boys' class bunny (which we have inherited; long story for another day), and was remarkably curious and gentle with Nya, Louise's baby girl, this past week when we went for a visit.
If your baby crawls, however, GAME ON; she will aggressively guard her toys and her mommy and loudly make her displeasure known.  My friend and her little guy, my milk 'nephew' (the one I donated milk to last fall) came to visit today and he's in the crawl around and investigate stage, and she was all OH NO YOU DIDN'T for their entire visit.

She's remarkably funny.  Strong willed, curious, adventurous kids generally are, especially when they power through things and tie themselves up in knots they don't need to be in, you know?  She's forever plowing under the chairs to get under the table to stand up and WHACK her head on the underside of the table and then wail like someone DID THIS TO ME ON PURPOSE!!  She also loves to share her food with you, drink her water and say "AH!" afterwards, and grab the top part of my shirt and lean way back, exposing my bra for anyone who wants to see.   She will do something off limits and look at me with a smirk on her face, dimple showing, precocious and cute as stink.  She loves to nurse.  She loves to run out the front door and play in the grass.  She loves my vegetable garden.  She loves the trampoline.  She loves toys.  She gets very animated when daddy comes home from work.  She loves the sandbox, and also Moon Sand.  Moon sand!  She loves it so much and it is so cute!  Several times per day she opens the cupboard where I store the moon sand, pulls out the bag, brings it to me and insists in her questioning sound, "Doo? Doo? Doo? Doo?" And I have to say yes, who can say no to such insistent cuteness, and I pull out the moon sand, the toys, and within two minutes there is a disaster of sticky sandy moon sand all over the table, the chair, the baby, and the floor.  Oh, daughter.  If I had any grey hairs, I'd blame them all on you.  She loves to choose her own clothes.  She loves shoes.  She loves to bring people their shoes, she loves to wear other peoples' shoes, she loves to put multiple shoes on at one time.  She also loves to be naked, so we've had quite a few afternoons with shoes on and nothing else. around here.  Well, just her, not the rest of us, although Matthew would happily run around in his nothingness if we let him.  She loves her water table, and the rice/sand/tactile activity table at Strong Start.  Her idea of a joke is slapping you unexpectedly and laughing wildly at your reaction.  She scoots her little bum onto peoples' laps for unsolicited cuddles and it melts their hearts and wins everyone over.

She is 20.5 pounds, teensy, losing some baby chubs, and getting taller.  Her vocabulary consists of
-DeeDoo (thank you)
-Mama (she calls all her brothers Mama, too; totally hilarious)
-Dis (anything interesting, like the cat or rabbit)
-Mei Mei (which is Chinese for Little Sister, but which she uses to say MINE)
-'Cheese!' for the camera

She also has non verbals, some I mentioned but for a comprehensive list I will repeat them here;
-slaps my chest or points to my breasts for milk (she refuses to sign anymore.  Le sigh)
-nods head yes
-claps hands
-blows kisses
-raises hand to be picked up
-points index finger for 'thumbs up'~Riley loves to do thumbs up so her version involves her pointy finger
-gently takes your face in her hand and moves your face to look at her when she wants your attention
-unless she's slapping you for the same reason =)

She loves Baby TV.  I discovered this yesterday, when I turned it on for ten minutes to entertain her so I could lie on the couch and rest a bit.  Isn't the concept of Baby TV disgusting?  So gross.  And telus gives us three channels of it!  As if we need television for babies.  But it was useful yesterday, for ten minutes!  Generally she has little interest in television, but it is rarely on when she's awake and when it is, it is playing Star Wars Lego Wii or something Wii related (the boys rarely watch television either, they usually use their screen time up on Wii) that doesn't interest her.  So she was quite taken with the little animated characters riding bicycles to music on Baby TV.  She outgrew her love for Baby Eintstein awhile ago.  She probably got too many repeats during her winter nebulizer treatments...

Amarys is amazing.  She's bursting at the seams with personality, and I have video of her loving her first taste of iced tea tonight at dinner to show you....Enjoy!