9 Months

Dear Hamish,

There are few things that are more remarkable to watch then a growing baby.  It is a bitter sweet process marked by milestones and ever so gentle moments of letting go.  This month has been amazing for both you and your brother.  It has been a month full of tiny steps towards independence.  Your bump squeak crawl – as Dad calls it – serves you well.  No one should be fooled – you are speedy and accurate.   You have also added the yogic pose of ‘downward facing dog’ to your repertoire.  Having had our fill of rescuing your chubby wedged leg from the leg hold trap of the crib bars, we succumbed to the purchase of bumper pads to keep you safe.  By the 20th of June, you had acquired two very good teeth, which clink, clink, clink against the glass when you sip water – something you love doing.

You have been out of my belly for the same amount of time you were in it – give or take a few days J. Your eyes are complimented almost daily for their bluer than blue quality, your lashes the envy of all young debutantes, and the soft tufts of blond and strawberry blond hair have at least doubled since your birth.  You weigh 20lbs and while I don’t know exactly how tall you are, I know that you can stand at the coffee table and drum your hands on the solid wood surface.  But, how can these trivial descriptions of your physicality even begin to convey the lightness and love sent out of your eyes when you smile?  Or, the way your giggle rolls in waves pitching high and rumbling low?  That you are simply unable to resist any wire, knob, electrical outlet, door hinge, strap, plant, piece of jewelry, lock of hair or toy that rests in the hands of your brother?  That you screech with protest and anger when I remove something from your hand that you have not finished exploring?  Or the spirit lifting sounds you make when you speak – “Hi, Hi Ya, Ya, Ya!”

If I had to name one trait that I love about you now it would be that you simply don’t want to miss a thing.  You are a sponge and you are constantly seeking things to take in.

It is truly a wonderful quality and yet sometimes it prevents you from getting the true rest that you need.  We’ve had a lot of ups and downs with sleep. I’ve spent nights rubbing your back, talking to you, and feeding you all with the aim of getting you back to sleep.  Sometimes you wake up and you look around.  Your eyes are clearly asking me “what’s going on?  What have I missed?”  You still tease us with your sleep – sometimes getting up three and four times a night.  But on July 9th, you slept right through to almost 6:30am with only one bottle from Dad at 11pm.

It was another busy month.  We started packing up our house on the 15th of June.  Then on July 1st you, Aunti Ros, Sloane and I took a trip to the Sunshine coast to visit Aunti Gioia.  Aunti Ros and I call Gioia’s haven the place of sleeping babies.  It is a serene and restful home looking over the Strait of Georgia in Gibsons.  We spent four days and three nights visiting with Gioia, Craig, Matthew, Kyle, George, Doreen and Aunti Gioia’s friend Laurel.  Being away from the responsibilities and commitment of home, it was the way motherhood should be.  We followed the routines and schedules of you and Sloane giving over to a rhythm that works best.  Resting when you rest, playing when you play.  It ended all too soon but as always I vowed not to let the time between visits stretch too long and look forward to the next trip when we will also visit Aunti Diane.

Your relationships with your family are clearly growing stronger.  Aunti Ros and I make an effort to see one another on a regular basis – almost weekly – so I’m sure you recognize both her and Sloane.  These visits are wonderful as you also get to see Granny and Grandpa – who calls you ‘the little wrestler.’  Seeing Corbin makes you smile always and Daddy is still the person who can make you giggle the loudest and longest.  Your brother has had his own milestones this month.  He is officially potty trained and he went on his first date – two rites of passage that will be blogged about soon.

As our move date draws near, I am getting more excited about our new space.  Your Dad and I have spent many nights over glasses of wine talking, planning & dreaming about our new house and yard and how we will remake it our own.  We have talked about garden railways, spa bathrooms, outdoor dining areas, sand boxes, play houses and Japanese gardens.  We are dreaming our future and yours.  By the time I write your 10month post we will be in our new house and you will have your very own room – something I think you will be as pleased about as Corbin is to be getting his own room.  Until then, Binoo, keep looking, seeing, hearing, talking and moving – but don’t you dare grow up too soon.

All my love,

Mama.

Packing Boxes
Packing Boxes
On the Langdale Ferry to the Sunshine Coast
On the Langdale Ferry to the Sunshine Coast
Happy Canada Day!
Happy Canada Day!
Cousin Sloane & Aunti Ros
Cousin Sloane & Aunti Ros
You & Aunti Gioia
You & Aunti Gioia
Made in Canada
Made in Canada

Birds Fly with Sarcasm

Corbin and Loch were talking a walk on Granny & Aunti Ros’ properties.  They were walking near the neighbour’s fence and over the fields they could hear the sound of a vehicle.  Loch stopped.

“What are you doing, Dad?” asked Corbin.

“I heard a car over the trees,” said Loch.  Then, realizing that one does not go over the trees, he posed a question to Corbin.  “Would we go over the trees or through them?”

“Through them,” answered the intelligent 3-year-old.  Then after a pause he started flapping his arms.

“What are you doing?” inquired Loch.

“I’m flapping my wings.  Am I flying?”

“No.” answered the 3-year-old’s father.

“Hmm.  Well I guess I don’t have wings, therefore I’m not a bird, therefore I cannot fly.”

And, that was the end of that conversation about birds and logic.

Bad Mother

Giving my child formula after a devout four months of breastfeeding makes me a bad mother. I still had plenty of breast milk. I just wanted a break (re: selfish). I could hear the health nurse’s tsk tsk. I could feel her finger wagging. After all, giving your child formula – that’s it, say it again with an undertone of stale cigarette disgust, formula – is akin to loading up a non BPA night time bottle with OJ and warming it up in the microwave. But, is it mitigated by the fact that I stood at the end of the crib, breath held and watched in slow motion as my husband rotated the bottle and aimed the silicon (re: unnatural) nipple towards my infant son’s open, trusting and unsuspecting mouth? Is it mitigated by the fact that I felt a barnyard dance in the pit of my stomach? Is it mitigated by the fact that I had to hold my breath as I waited to ensure his heart would still beat and he would continue breathing? I suppose, but it is this and other such decisions, moments, actions, etc. that make me somewhat less than archetypal.

2.5 has turned 3. He is my oldest son. He is my little man – older and wiser than his years. His basis for any argument is “because I’m three.” “We should stay at the park three more minutes, three because I’m three. I should have three cookies. I should have three bedtime stories.” His ability to argue a point is sometimes convoluted, sometimes circular, sometimes logical and sometimes nonsensical, but he is attempting to argue. This is how I know that he is smart enough to get it. And so, when he started refusing to walk places, it made me crazy. I never had a conversation with him about the why. I just assumed he was lazy. Here is my completely intelligent son who had no reason, no explanation – just had a complete and utter whine session come tantrum whenever I asked him to get off the back of the Joovy Caboose and walk.

Whenever I was out with my girlfriend and her daughter and he refused to walk, I would feel embarrassed and I had terrible thoughts about how his laziness was related to him being a boy. Sometimes, I was the woman workhorse pushing little men. My women’s studies degree rose up to slap me across the face. My girlfriend’s daughter epitomized polarity as she walked, skipped, jumped and ran beside us. I tried asking nicely, I tried begging, and I tried pleading. Once, when going up a hill I physically took him off the stroller, told him I was the boss and demanded that he walk. He screamed and yelled and ran after the stroller barely managing to climb back on. I pulled him off again. I tried not bringing a stroller so there was no free ride option. He screamed at me all the way home from the park. Once I bit my tongue and rather than actually tell him he was lazy, I managed to pinch out of my throat, “Corbin, your behaviour is lazy. I wish you would walk.” I envied my friend with her girls. They were motivated. One evening during a walk with two of his little friends, he did get off the stroller on the way back from the park. He walked with his friends for a few minutes and then returned to the stroller. “Mom, my toes hurt.” I stopped the stroller. “What’s wrong with them?” I asked already starting to feel the regret pooling in my gut. “My shoes hurt my feet.”

The next day I took him out to replace the Lightening McQueen shoes that he had been wearing for the past year(????) They were a size 7. His feet are an 8. The moment the Pay Less Shoes clerk told me his foot size I knew that the coveted mother of the year award would not be gracing any recently dusted floating shelf in a house near me.

♦Written in response to “A Bad Mother Manifesto” posted on The Momoir Project blog.  Inspired by Her Bad Mother

Happy 8 Months Binoo Baby!

Dear Hamish,

You are a sailing stone.♥ You have been sitting on your own since April 29th and occasionally we put you down to play and when we come back you are still sitting but in a different place and facing another direction. When it first started you were not doing the scooty belly swim crawl and so we were mystified. Once we asked Corbin because he was the only one with you and he nonchalantly stated, “he just moved there.” There is, however, less mystery now because you have begun to do a belly crawl that resembles a lame dog dragging himself to water. Telephones, things with wheels, and pretty much anything that belongs to your older brother motivate you. A foreshadowing of one of the many ways you are likely to frustrate Corbin.

I apologize for not writing you a letter when you celebrated your seventh month. Our household was in chaos as we shopped for a new house and got our current house at 1441 Merritt Place ready to sell. On May 8th we bought 1758 Tiffin Place and will be moving on July 31st. Our new house has a yard for you and your brother, a bedroom for each of you, a garage for Dad & a hot tub for me. Grandad came out at the end of April to help and everyone worked pretty solid for two weeks to get it ready for market by mid-May. But, here’s the good news. We met our deadline and listed the house on May 14th for $499,800. It sold two days later for $505,000. Over 100 people came through our house that weekend and you, your brother and I had to leave and stay with Granny. Dad went to Seattle for a getaway with Uncle Brad and he came back to find a home inspection under way. It was a blessing of a whirlwind because it was over so fast. So, that’s why I didn’t write to you.

Now, I bet you are wondering how you fared for those two months? Well, as you recall you started eating at the beginning of April and were not entirely enthusiastic about it. Well, by the middle of April you had no more reservations and have been eating three meals a day with unmitigated joy. Sometimes we can’t shovel it in fast enough and sometimes you are very vocal about your enthusiasm. When Grandad was visiting, he took great delight (I think) in feeding you. He said that you resembled a little bird. Since the middle of April you have sampled a variety of dishes including Granny’s shepherd’s pie and chicken pot pie, steak (much to Dad’s pleasure), salmon, pancakes, avocado, a variety of fruits and veggies, chicken, hamburger, turkey chili, squash soup, watermelon, ice cream, rice pudding, some of my muffin, one of Dad’s french fries and a sip or two of Grandpa’s organic ginger ale.

Other milestones include drinking from a cup, holding your bottle, and sitting up in the bath by yourself – a feat you accomplished at Granny’s house the weekend we sold our house. You and I got quite sick at the beginning of April when we bought our new house. We had a terrible cold that the clinic doctor diagnosed as Pertussis, but in the end I’m not sure if that’s what we had because it certainly didn’t last as long as it could have. As previously stated, you are just starting to propel yourself forward. In your explorations of movement you often move from sitting with your feet forward to the yogic pigeon pose, which also resembles the classic runner’s stretch. You play between and around these movements in an effort to find your crawling stride. I expect that you will be an expert mover and shaker by your 9-month post.

Ah, the irony of sleep-books. At the end of May, Aunti Ros, Sloan, you and I took a walk to Bolen’s to investigate books about sleep. Aunti Ros bought two and I bought one – The No Cry Sleep Solution. The book essentially confirmed that I’m doing everything I need to establish good night time sleeping habits. Shortly after I bought it you started sleeping in longer chunks again. You are, my little love, a great tease – showing us that you can sleep for long stretches and then having periods where you wake up every hour or so. I’m not sure what it is all about, but it appears that all I have to do is start reading a book about sleep and everything returns to status quo.

Cause & Effect.  You love it.  One evening when your Dad turned on your mobile your eyes went from the ‘on’ button to the spinning animals and back again.  The next day while you were napping I heard the mobile music.  When I came in to check on you, you were happily watching the colourful animals doing their merry-go-round dance.  Another evening during bath time,  you repeatedly moved from a sitting position to lying on your tummy.  Then, you pulled the plug out of the tub and proceeded to watch with fascination as the water went down the drain.  Our best guess is that an academic career could include a degree in the hard sciences.  But, time will tell…

The day before your 8th month birthday two very important events occurred. One was that Nana announced her retirement from IAPA. Nana has been working very hard for the past 14 years doing a job that is important and meaningful. We are all very proud of everything she has accomplished and know that it will be hard for her to close the book on this chapter of her life. However, in some respects, partially because she lives so far away and partially because her job has been very consuming we feel that she has been kind of on loan to a great number of people who have needed her. Now, she will be moving back to BC and will return to us in a way that is both right and wonderful. I, for one, am very much looking forward to having her live close by.

The other event, my dear Binoo Baby Boy, was that you got your first tooth. Number one out of 24 is located on the bottom right hand side, feels like sand paper to the touch and better not even think about biting down during a feeding….

xoxo

Mom.

imgp6158My Little Monkey

imgp5987mmm … Watermelon

imgp6038
Grandad visits.  Corbin and Grandad work on the House.

imgp6241Our nickname for you is Binoo Baby.  Corbin is Toopy.
Toopy and Binoo is a one of Corbin’s favourite shows – “a cartoon about a mouse named Toopy and his best friend, a plush cat named Binoo. Each episode follows a playful adventure, usually created out of their imaginations. Toopy is the only character that speaks, and for the most part provides enthusiastic descriptions of their adventures.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toopy_and_Binoo)

imgp0762Toopy & Binoo eat Frog’s Legs

imgp6337You and your cousin Sloane

imgp6275Cause & Effect
imgp61872
You are our very happy little boy.

♥“The sailing stones (sliding rocks, moving rocks) are a geological phenomenon where rocks move in long tracks along a smooth valley floor without human or animal intervention.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sailing_stones) Apparently, they do not always leave tracks that are linear.


Blue Truck

We bought it for $1000 from our best friends a little over a year ago.  It’s a 1989 S10 Chevy Durango pick-up truck.  Once it was grey.   But after a brief encounter with some not so swift thieves who painted it in an attempt to avoid apprehension by the authorities, it is now Microsoft Word icon matte blue.

Not too long ago when we were house shopping and looking at a house on a well manicured street in Gordon Head.  I recalled looking at our pick-up truck and thinking we’d have to ensure there was a place to hide it because it was simply embarrassing.   I commented as such to our realtor and to my husband, Loch.  Our realtor, a man, enthusiastically went to bat for Loch.  “Oh no, a man has to have a truck,” he stated rather emphatically.  From that point on, it became a running joke.  “Hey, this house has a place to hide the truck.”

Now, it’s not that I’ve never driven the truck before.  I have.  It’s just that usually Loch uses it to ferry himself to and from work.  And I use the family car for our baby.  Often, he puts our 3-year-old’s car seat in it since he executes most of the daycare pick-up/drop off.  Recently I had a great weekend with the truck.  So great, in fact, that I’m no longer embarrassed by it.  In fact, I think I’m in like.

We had a weekend that felt like rhythmic breathing.  By Sunday night, we were both commenting on how easy the weekend had been, how relaxed we felt.  And, I knew immediately that it was because we had spent two days swapping kids.  Loch took Corbin in the mornings and I took him in the evenings.  This meant that for the majority of the weekend we each had only one child and that our three-year-old got some great one-on-one time with each of us.  Something I’m very focused on right now because the idea of moving has made him a touch insecure.  The other night after reading the Berenstain Bear’s book Moving Day, he asked, “what if our new house has chipped paint and broken stairs?”  But, I digress…

Because Corbin’s car seat was in the truck, we each used that vehicle when it was our turn to hang out with our eldest son.  Now, I’m not sure what it was.  Could it have been my Albertan roots rising to the surface or was it the fact that we had to drive with the windows open?  I’m not sure.  The truck smelt like sun warmed old man and there was a mountain of junk behind the red tweed seats. 

It’s the place that Loch hides all of his fast food evidence and the vehicle that is a wee bit of a dumping ground for stuff, a moving junk drawer if you will.  The floor in front of Corbin’s car seat, for example, is a veritable graveyard of fun bite wrappers.

So there we were, my beloved verbose son and I, bopping around the city on Saturday and Sunday afternoon in the truck that I despise and I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so free.  Was it the sun resting on my arm?  Or, perhaps, it was the cozy summer breeze tickling our hair follicles?  Maybe, it was his proximity to me.  Unlike our conservative Volvo wagon where the kids are in the back seat, Corbin sat next to me chatting about the scenery, trains and Lightning McQueen.  We grooved to the random rock music flowing out of the fairly crappy speakers.  We were free spirits.

We had a great time, my little man and I.  We went to the Starbucks drive through and got smart drinks, we drove to Beacon Hill Park, to the grocery store, the liquor store and to his best friend, Lily’s.  Sitting in his car seat, his feet almost touched the seat and his small hot chocolate rode next to his side in the console.  He talked about the road construction we passed and we agreed that we were having a great day.  And, the whole time I felt so damn fine, so in tune with my pre-schooler that I am not only not ashamed of the truck anymore, but I do believe that this part of his childhood has been irrevocably tied to the truck and I will be sad when we have to kiss both goodbye.