An attack in Canada… We’re not immune

When I hear news of attacks in the USA, I feel hurt for the victims and their families, but I also feel kind of immune. I live in Canada. We don’t have a lot of that kind of incident… We never were victims of a terrorist attack when the US, France, and the UK were heavily impacted by terror. We very, very rarely have mass school shootings. The only two I can remember are the École Polytechnique massacre which happened in 1989, and another at a Montreal college in 2006. These were both geographically far from where I live. They also happened at post-secondary schools. Little kids don’t get shot where I live.

Because I live in this bubble of safety, I – like most Canadians – was taken aback by the deadly van attack yesterday on the streets of Toronto. I’m sure the news in the US is covering this as well, because it’s so rare in Canada. A man drove a van onto the sidewalk and killed 10 people and injured 15 more.

There’s a subway station very close to where the incident happened. I used to get off the subway there every other weekend to visit my wife (then girlfriend). It hit really close to home.

I went to the grocery store this morning and I found myself hyper aware of the vehicles around me, of the faces of the drivers. I have a knot in my stomach thinking about our daycare provider walking the sidewalks with my daughter this morning. I don’t live in Toronto (nor will I ever live in a major city centre), but I live in a neighbouring town. My Toronto friends are checking in as “safe” on the Facebook crisis page devoted to the incident. It’s close enough to make me give a shit about our safety today. I can’t believe we now live in a place where this kind of attack on innocent citizens happens.


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.

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.

30 Days of Blogging, Day 12

My new year’s resolution was to master sourdough bread making. Those who’ve been following me for a while know I’m interested in self-sufficiency when it comes to food. I grow a lot of our food in the garden, and I’m an official crazy chicken lady with my backyard chickens. I bake bread to feed my family almost every week, but I’d never dabbled in sourdough. Sourdough appeals to me because you can start with nothing more than flour and water and in the end you get a super nutritious and (hopefully) delicious bread. I also like the idea of catching wild yeast!

So I took the first step. I’m working on making a sourdough starter, using organic whole wheat flour and water. I’m on day 2 of feeding it and I haven’t seen any bubbling showing that its active, but it still smells and looks good, so I’m hopeful it will soon become home to a healthy colony of yeast and in a couple of weeks I can try making a loaf with it! 

And while I’m on the topic of self-sufficient food culture, here’s an egg pic  ❤️ 


30 days of blogging, day 3

We had brunch with our donor and his family today. We were good friends before he became our donor, and we’re good friends still. He and his wife have two kids, one school age and one baby.

As I watched Avery play with two children who are her genetic half-sisters, it was utterly clear that they were in no way siblings. They are connected by the mere fact that their parents are friends. Sure, on a biological level one can’t deny that the connection goes deeper than that, but socially, experientially, we are two separate families who happened to be having brunch with our respective kids in tow.

It gave me a feeling of relief to feel that way. Who knows what the future holds for our daughter’s connection with them – that’s up to them. But since genetic relation has become somewhat of a sensitive topic in our house, it was good to feel nothing while we watched the kids play. 

30 Days of Blogging, Day 1

It may have made more sense to start on Jan 1st, but I didn’t get my ass in gear in time. I want to write something – even if it’s just a brief, passing thought or idea, every day, for 30 days. Writing and sharing my thoughts and experiences with this blogging community has been so cathartic for me over these last couple of years, and I’d like to stay on top of my writing-self-care, rather than only writing when something is extremely pent up or vent-worthy. So here goes.

I managed to submit another draft of my dissertation proposal to my advisor before Christmas, and he sent me his feedback this morning. We have a meeting tomorrow morning, so I’m cramming to at least READ his feedback, even though I won’t have time to address much of it. I’m tired again, and it’s not easy going again. The only way I got that proposal draft in before the holidays was thanks to that week or so of good sleep. Sleep… sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep. This is the title of my would-be memoir. It is the only thing I think about, the only thing I long for.

On a related note, I don’t want to keep wishing for my toddler to grow up, but I find myself getting through these tough, sleepless nights with the hopeful thought of eventually leaving toddlerhood in the dust. But toddlerhood is so incredibly awesome to witness, and I hate that I’m wishing it away. Sleep.

Also, Avery is having night terrors. Because her sleep-challenges just weren’t complete without a cherry on top. Night terrors are so hard to watch, but you can’t do much more than watch. If we approach her she attacks us. Last night she screamed the saddest, most terrified scream for 45 minutes while my wife sat next to her and calmly repeated “it’s ok Avery, it’s me, go to sleep.” She is, of course, asleep through her night terrors, but she actually gets out of bed and runs around in her room like she’s running away from something. And then, as suddenly as it started, she slumps over and starts snoring peacefully.

Alright, enough griping. Back to work. Until tomorrow…

Introducing the toddler bed at 16 months

I’m thinking of renaming my blog, “The Baby Who Would Not Sleep.” Not really, but it would certainly be a fitting title. I’m pretty sure 90% of the hundreds of posts I’ve made have been about baby/toddler sleep issues.

So what hair brained idea are we trying out this week to get our 16 month old to sleep? The toddler bed!

Bed rail to come

We’ve used a floor bed (crib mattress on the floor) with her before and it worked really well. The reason we stopped using it is because she started getting up and crawling away at bedtime. That was when she was about 8 months old. But now Avery is going through a phase of refusing to be put down in the crib (even when sound asleep). On the other hand, she is also now able to understand and obey when we say “lay down and go to sleep.” She’ll only do this if one of us is next to her, and it only works for wakeups through the night – not getting to sleep at first at bedtime. She still needs to nurse to sleep at bedtime.
Our solution was to try something that all the parenting blogs say she is way too young for – we transitioned her to a toddler bed. Actually, we just took the side off of her crib. She was so excited when we were rebuilding it, and she wouldn’t stop throwing herself on it and snuggling with her new toddler-safe pillow (while we were still tightening all the bolts back up. Literally couldn’t wait to try it out).

I’ve been sleeping on couch cushions beside her new bed and when she wakes in the night I hold her hand and say “shh, lay down and go to sleep.” So far she does, but only for me (not my wife). To get her to sleep I have to lean awkwardly over the side of her bed to nurse her, because it probably won’t hold my weight. Soon I hope to be able to leave the room once she’s settled, but I think her recent sleep issue is separation anxiety, and leaving her side wakes her up. She clearly experiences anxiety. Or screaming panic, more like. But if I’m there, holding her hand, she flops herself back down and goes back to sleep.

I’ll update after a week or so of this when we get a better idea of how it’s working!

If you’re interested in the floor bed idea or transitioning early to a toddler bed, I encourage you to read about why it’s recommended by the Montessori school of thought. I think that the idea of giving the kid more autonomy with sleep is something that will work for Avery, because she’s very much a power-struggler when it comes to sleep. But that kind of early autonomy won’t work for every toddler!!

As always, wish us luck as we embark on yet another hair brained sleep plan…