Hand, foot and mouth disease

Because we hadn’t had enough viruses this year…

This is something like the 13th virus Avery has had in 6 months. Thanks, daycare. She just got over the flu she (and we all) had two weekends ago. Thursday night she spiked another fever and was noticeably unwell. So unwell that I felt compelled to take her to the doctor for the first time for any of the viruses she has come down with. Her fever was high and her breathing was fast and laboured. I was worried it was pneumonia. The doctor took one look in her mouth and confirmed it was hand foot and mouth disease, and sure enough, blisters started breaking out on her hands and feet (and arms and legs) through the night last night. Her fever is lower now, but persistent.

To add insult to injury, she has an ear infection, too. For now we’re letting her body do it’s own healing, but I picked up antibiotics just in case (because it’s the long weekend and I want to be prepared in case her fever gets worse). The antibiotics wouldn’t work on the hand, foot and mouth disease because it’s a virus, but they would combat the ear infection if she wasn’t able to get over it on her own with an already burdened immune system.

We had plans to go to the cottage this weekend. I spent all day Friday prepping. I bought SO MUCH FOOD to feed our extended family of 10 people. But now we’re spending the weekend at home (and the family will have to figure out their meals, which I feel bad about since we gave short/no notice). Despite wasting my time on all the prep, I’m glad we’re staying home. The last time we were at the cottage Avery and I both had the flu and we were miserable. We’ll try again next weekend…

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Saving my marriage post-baby

Becoming parents can be hard on a marriage. My wife and I were a tight unit before having a baby, and adding an entire human being with all of their unique character and needs really threw a wrench in the works. We’ve been talking about how to fix things for about a year and a half now, and it seems we’ve finally broken through the crap (“she said, she said” arguments and blame and not feeling understood), and we’ve come up with a plan that seems to be working. We just have to stick with it and not slack off. Working on your relationship can be hard work when you’ve neglected it for so long.

Since becoming parents, we’ve fallen into a divide and conquer lifestyle. I do this thing over here while my wife watches the kid, then I’ll watch the kid while my wife does this other thing. My wife took on responsibilities that were completely separate from the responsibilities I took on. I did all meal pep, shopping, household duties alone. My wife did all of her projects alone. We didn’t sit down together until 8 or 9 at night, and then we’d watch TV in zombie mode until we were too exhausted to stay awake. We lacked any connection, intimate or even practical.

It makes me sad to realize now that Avery seemed to have noticed. She noticed that she only ever had one mom at a time. She had started to frequently drag us together and force us to hug and kiss. She’d wrap an arm around my wife’s neck and the other arm around my neck and bring all three of us into a hug and NOT LET GO. When I’d kiss her cheek, she’d turn my face toward my wife’s and direct me to kiss her Mo. She was getting plenty of love, but noticed that her mom’s weren’t. I think she wanted to share some of what she was getting.

So we’ve decided that, even though it will be less efficient, we’ll start doing everything together again, like we used to. We’re going to meal plan and do grocery shops together. We’re going to cook dinner together when my wife is home in time from work. We’re going to ALL go outside together when my wife works on a woodworking project.

Since we started doing this we’ve had to deal with a lot more tantrums because Avery doesn’t get as much HER time anymore, where she gets one parent’s full attention to do whatever she wants to do. Now we drag her to home depot with us while we discuss projects. We drag her to Ikea with us to plan decor for my wife’s new family cottage. But she does seem happier in general when we’re all together, when my wife and I hug more, and when there’s so much less bickering.

It’s also way better for the three of us to start feeling like a tight, family unit than for Avery to get to do what she wants to do all the time… And it’s really helping my wife and I to feel connected again. We’re starting to feel like we’re on the same page, like we’re deeply involved in what the other is thinking, planning, doing.

Addendum: Sex is an extension of this issue that we’re still working on (even though my breastfeeding journey is coming to an end, I’m still feeling 0% sexual), but when we were trying to solve the sex problem without addressing the relationship problems, we were just getting further into the pit of disappointment and unhappiness.

When life gets you down

Is it weird to be really excited to get home to breastfeed so I can get the hit of oxytocin?

I’ve been feeling overwhelmingly negative lately. Marriage stuff, student loans and other money stuff, tiredness from this never ending flu/pneumonia/sinus infection… It’s all stuff I can usually handle without getting caught in a cycle of negativity. But this week – the week of my second post-partum period – I’m down in the dumps.

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  ❤️