Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Where I am now

There are certain species, such as the octopus, that die shortly after giving birth. I wonder about these animals, and wonder if their evolutionary path at some point decided that the emotional and physical ups and downs of rearing young was too much for the poor souls to handle.

Indeed, in my short experience of giving birth and rearing two young children, I've found that it's perfectly normal for the ups and downs to ignite a ripple effect of existential internal questioning. Such as, "what am I doing with my life"? There is never a good and easy answer. And every possible response spawns yet another line of questioning with equally unsatisfactory answers.

This is where I am these days, between caring for the yungins, wasting minutes I could be sleeping on the interwebs, trying to maintain a relationship with the hubs, and making every effort to to get to work on time. I just wonder sometimes, "how did I get here and where am I going?" I don't have a good answer.

But I wouldn't have it any other way. Honest.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Shards of glass

You know when the universe is trying to tell you something? I broke a glass bowl this morning. As I was rushing around trying to get everyone ready for work and school, I rushed to shove the bowl into a cubbard and it tumbled out of my fingers and hit the ground at breakneck speed, shattering into hundreds of shards all over the kitchen floor. I had to stop everything to clean it up. 

As I was thinking of the bowl just now, I remembered this photo I took yesterday of a broken window at my office. The reflected light from the shards reminded me of something I wrote a couple of years ago. Now, how many ways can I read into this series of events?

A glass window pane can be a harsh and cold-hearted thing. It can bottle you in and completely cut you off from the world around you. On the outside, the fragile bird is fooled by his reflection and hugs into the glass at break-neck speed. But shatter the glass, and you and the bird can be set free, swept up by the swirling wind into the heavens above.

For those of us left behind, the sharp fragments of glass cut a painful wound deep into the heart. But if you can manage to shift your view ever so slightly, you will see that the shards become a luminous prism, casting millions of magical rainbows across the landscape and letting us steal a glimpse into that world beyond.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Down Meadow

I'm staying at my parents this week with the kids. Partly to avoid a week of single parenting, while Col is traveling for work, but mostly to spend some time here while I'm still on maternity leave. 

Amelia is at peace here. She loves the chickens, the garden and being able to run around and explore. And she loves here Lalla and Papa Lalla. This means a lot to me--and to them--because you know how fickle and unpredictable toddlers can be.

Angus is being his usual mellow happy self. What a sweet little boy.

And me? I'm fighting the exhaustion of caring for two young children on my own. And trying not to think about going back to work next week. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

2 months

Angus turned 2 months a couple of weeks ago. He's practically 2 1/2 months now. At his doctors appointment I couldn't resist snapping a photo, just as we had done 2 years ago with Amelia. Later, I looked at the two side by side. Genes are unreal. They look so alike, and yet so different. How does that work out that way? I already know they'll BE very different from each other too, personalities reflecting each one of their parents. Amelia--stubborn, dramatic, funny, strong-willed, smart, visual. She's her mama's daughter. Angus--mellow, easy going, tactile, sensitive. He's his papa all the way. After just 2 months of life, I know this about him. I feel I'm just getting to know him, and yet know so much already. And I'm completely in love.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

a dose of reality

It wasn't until our daughter went to the ER for the first time for an allergic reaction that I really felt what it was like to be completely helpless as a parent. The fear was paralyzing; I couldn't think straight. I remember racing to the car with my baby in arms completely naked. She didn't even have a diaper on. It never even occurred to me to use the Epipen. The one tool I have to keep my baby safe and I'm afraid of it. How awful is that?

If you don't have food allergies, it's easy to assume they're not a big deal or that sufferers are just being difficult or "special." 

I can say my daughter was not being difficult when, not even a year old, she broke out in hives after eating scrambled eggs. She was not trying to be special when her lips swelled up after mistakenly eating nuts in a sauce at a restaurant or when she ate an energy bar packed with not one but three offenders: almonds, cashews and flax (we didn't know about her allergies at the time).

I've always been casual about health and people's "issues" with diets and food. I tend to not take them seriously, and so even though we carry Epipens and have been through more bottles of Benedryl than I care to admit, I'm still grappling with what it means to have a child with a disability around food. Not only a disability, but one that is potentially deadly. 

Ever since her food allergy diagnosis and we picked up her first Epipens at the pharmacy, there's been this lump of fear in the back of my throat that Amelia will go into anaphylaxis and I will be paralyzed and not know what to do. 

I don't do well with the unknown, the unpredictable or with things I don't understand. Like, why was she able to eat almond butter so many times before and not react? Why did she not react the time my mother mistakenly fed her flax that was lurking in a butter spread? Why did she break out in hives inexplicably after eating strawberries and carrots at school? She is not allergic to those foods.

I've been thinking about Amelia's allergies more this week, because we had our annual visit to the allergist recently and she had to be retested for her known allergies as well as new ones.

They pricked her back over and over and half of the pricks turned into hives. Amelia was screaming and trying to scratch her itchy back. The cashew one was the biggest. Eggs didn't make a hive at all.

So the good news is Amelia can have eggs now. She's grown out of that allergy. But we discovered she has environmental allergies as well: cats, pollen. We were advised to get rid of our cats and then scrub down the bedroom. Get rid of our cats? They are part of our family. But keeping them could increase her risk of developing asthma.

As a parent, we make decisions every day that are subject to second-guessing. Breast feed or not, work or stay at home, organic or not. But these are not life and death decisions. When it comes to your child's health, are you a criminal for being lax? Keep the cats and risk asthma. Go to a restaurant and risk cross contamination. Give her a piece of chocolate that "may contain traces of nuts"?

I want to care for my child, but I also don't want her to live life feeling as though she can't enjoy it. But is the risk worth it? I don't know enough yet to feel as though I have the right answer. I'm still new at this thing called parenting.
What would you do?

Allergy prick test.

In the ER with puffy lips after eating hazelnuts.

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