Things that SUCK right now (a rant about totally subjective woes)

Yeah, I know it’s better to focus on the positive. But I’m feeling a distinct lack of positivity today. Mom life isn’t always baby snuggles and baking cookies.

Being sick SUCKS. I think I have pneumonia now, because I’m rattling and wheezing and it feels hard to inflate my lungs when I breathe. I’ve also had a low grade fever for a couple of days. I’m shaky and sweaty. I feel gross. The problem was that we were ALL sick at the same time, so when I should have been resting to get over the flu, I was up with Avery 10 times a night. But life must go on. The toddler isn’t of an age yet where she knows that I need to rest. All she knows is that she wants “help, please?” with something different every 2 minutes.

And you know what else sucks? Scheduling our summer SUCKS. I’m a homebody. We have chickens and a large garden and we rarely get down time during the week, so I always crave a relaxing weekend at home to enjoy our backyard as a family. We almost never get that. I also love my wife’s family cottage (which, after this winter’s rebuild, is now more of a mansion on the beach), but it’s almost a 2.5 hour drive each way to spend the weekend there. We spend approximately every other weekend there in the summer. My parents each live 2.5 hours away from us in opposite directions, and they apply a heavy coating of guilt to requests for summer visits. And then there’s the social obligations that vary year to year like weddings and new babies being born. Yesterday we sat down and looked at our calendars to plan our week-long cottage vacation and the blue bars of obligations and plans covered so many of our summer weekends already. It makes me want to be an anti-social recluse and cut my social ties so I can finally get a lazy, quiet summer by myself without driving hundreds of kilometers.

Alright, grouch-fest over. Time to move on with life.

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Dirty

Avery’s new word of the week is “dirty.” Her rainboots recieve the most critcism about being dirty, and although I try to explain to her that dirty rainboots is a good thing – a sign that she had fun splashing in puddles – she freaks out over the dirt and wants them washed.

There’s also a lot of dirt on our floors right now because I’ve been too sick and tired to vacuum. If Avery’s barefoot, every so often she’ll sit down and hold her foot, inspecting it just inches from her face, whining “dirty!”

I hope she’s just exploring ways to use her new word, and she won’t actually continue to be so averse to dirt. For a kid who dislikes dirt so much, she sure is a magnet for it!

Daycare decision

When we found our home daycare (that we love), we also got on a waiting list for a daycare centre at the university I’m a student at. My wife really wanted to get our daughter into the centre because a) it’s well known as an amazing centre, and b) she liked the idea of more structure and more kids to prepare Avery for kindergarten. I’m more of the mindset that there’s enough structure in school and early childhood should be reserved for free play.

We got the email yesterday that a spot had opened up at the centre. It was part time like we are now, but instead of 4 half days, it would be two full days. It would cost three times as much money.

My stomach lurched. I thought for a brief second about not showing the email to my wife. I love our daycare situation so much. Avery loves it. We’ve NEVER had to deal with tears over drop off. She has an actual best friend whom she’s learning lots of valuable life lessons with. Our provider truly loves our daughter. The half days work perfectly for us because she gets to come home to nap so I still get 6 hours in a workday but we pay half the cost. It is dirt cheap. We pay $25 a day, and if we give a heads up about days we’ll be away, we only pay half. Avery can go even if she’s sick (unless it’s a fever or vomiting) because it’s such a small group of kids that they will all have been exposed to the same bugs by the time it presents in one sick kid (some parents wouldn’t like this, but Avery has had a snotty nose and congestion literally every day since November, which would have meant a lot of missed daycare).

Our provider also takes them to a large playgroup once or twice a week where they interact with a lot of other kids. They learn songs and dance moves. They get as much outside time as possible. Avery comes home with art or a craft every other day. Our provider and i have become friends and we text about parenting things, she gives us her kids’ hand-me-down clothes, and she loves our daughter. I know I already said that last point, but it’s the most important thing to me in a daycare. It’s a dream daycare as far as I’m concerned.

So I was really nervous showing that email to my wife, knowing that she wants Avery to experience a centre. But thankfully, she sighed a hard sigh, and agreed that she’s probably best where she is.

Long week

Is it Friday yet? Avery has been sick all week. I kept her home from daycare Monday and Tuesday, and tried sending her in for just a couple of hours on Wednesday. She ended up throwing up at daycare and later that night her fever shot back up. I guess it was too much for her. So she’s home with me again today, and we don’t have daycare on Fridays. That’s a lot of days of just her and I when she’s in super whiney sick mode. And of course my wife and I are sick, too. I’m just very thankful that being a work-from-home PhD student means I can take a week off without anyone caring about my absence.

Last night Avery was in our bed watching Moana until 12:30am because she was too feverish and uncomfortable to sleep. She nursed all night. I’m not worried about nights like that ruining our night weaning, because she actually seems to know that it’s special to when she’s sick. Also, nursing through the night is something she only gets in our bed, not hers. I’m thankful that it’s something I can still provide for her in situations like this.

When she missed daycare on Tuesday our provider sent a video message from her daycare friend, which included coaching her to say “hi Avery (A-ree), I love you!” And a few blown kisses. Avery watched that clip over and over again and blew kisses back at the phone. So we recorded our own video message to send back. Those two daycare buddies are so friggin cute together.

Anyway, I just have to get through the next two days and then my wife will be able to share the load with me on the weekend. Hopefully we’re back in the swing of things next week. And hopefully this is the LAST bug of the winter season and we’ll have a super healthy summer.

Ripley’s Aquarium

Avery’s sick right now with yet another daycare virus, but thank goodness the virus held off until after our weekend trip to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto. We took Avery’s cousin as a gift of an experience (instead of toys) for his 2nd birthday. The two toddlers totally fed off of each other’s excitement and were completely wild and untamable for the entire two hours we spent there. They got into screaming matches at the fish, Avery became a “runner” and made us wish we had one of those backpack leashes, and she also showed bravery and confidence that we hadn’t seen before. They were both so far out of their shells that it took sheer exhaustion to rein them in again when it was over.

Toddler Talk

Avery’s not forming sentences yet at 19 months old (well she is, but they’re in baby-gibberish), but she’s beginning to say some pretty cute things. Here are my top 5 favourite cute things she’s saying these days:

1. “Ay-ah, teet!” (Which means Anna, treat!). She loves giving the cats treats, but one hides upstairs while the other tries taking them out of her hand. So she runs to the baby gate at the bottom of the stairs holding one reserved treat above her head away from the greedy cat, and yells for Anna to come down and get her treat.

2. “No”. It’s not the fact that she’s saying it that’s cute – it’s how. The upward and then downward inflection makes her sound desperate to be listened to. Also cute, we heard her talking in her sleep over the baby monitor the other night: “nOo. nOo. nOo.” I think she was probably having an innocent dream that we were making her put her shoes on or something.

3. She says whale like, “way-oo.”

4. She says mommy like “muh-yee.”

5. And a truly classic in toddler talk, she says please like “pwease.”

Scar tissue

Did you know that you can buy vaginal dilators on Amazon? Apparently that’s the best place to buy them, according to my doctor…

I went to my doctor for a routine pap today and asked about my misshapen vagina post-childbirth. I was pretty sure I had some scar tissue that was causing pain, and I wanted to make sure that’s indeed what it was, and not something more sinister. My doctor confirmed that I actually have quite a lot of scar tissue and granuloma from all of my stitches, and it has caused a lot of the previously soft and stretchy tissue to become hard and impliable. My doctor warned that it could be a problem for a second vaginal birth. She said that before exploring surgery to remove the scar tissue (which could of course cause more scar tissue), she recommended gradual dilation with special dilating cones. Cones you can get on Amazon.

I’m not willing to spend the $80 it would cost for these devices, especially since I don’t see myself using them regularly enough for them to work. I also don’t have any desire to use perineal massage to soften the tissue. I tried that a bit before birth and I hated doing it, and I tore badly anyway. So my vagina and I are at a stale mate.

I suppose I owe it to my sex life to try something, and I’m sure a looming second pregnancy would light a fire under my ass to take the stretching seriously. But for now I’m just frustrated that my stitches were done poorly and that I’m so scarred up.

The really big granuloma is from that one tear that was still gaping open between two stitches at my 6-week post-partum follow-up appointment. The one my midwife (whom I love in every capacity except for her ability to give stitches) said would heal eventually on its own. Yeah, with a giant bulbous scar…