guess who can stand!
Archive for March 2009
In honour of mother’s day I’m actually going to post pictures of me, a rarity! We’ve had a wonderful weekend with the boys and I feel so blessed to be their mother.
We started the weekend with a hike/bike in woods not too far from the house, strategically located near a farm shop that has a cafe for coffee and cake.
Fraser’s been enjoying the sling again, I can’t believe that at 9 1/2 months he’s still loving being snuggled up in it. Fortunately he’s on the lighter side for his age or I doubt I’d be able to carry him for long.
After yesterday’s hike, Cory gave me the afternoon off for a bike ride and I found some hilly back roads that made me think I wasn’t too out of shape after all. There was also an encounter with a confused lamb, who chased me down the road at top speed while bleating pitifully. It sounds mad to dash away from a wee lamb, but all I could think of was it getting caught in my wheels so I was sprinting away as fast as I could. It actually took a considerable effort to pull away, my speedometer read 35 km/hr when I finally lost it. Poor wee lamb! My poor legs!
Then today we thought we’d take the boys back to the same field to see the lambs, the fields next to us don’t have any yet. Strangely, although fascinated by bikes, they were rather scared of humans on foot so we had to watch from afar. It was great though and Duncan was very interested to see the lambs feeding and make the connection between how I feed Fraser. I hope both boys grow up rooted in the land around them and in touch with the seasons. Hopefully we’ll have many more trips to show them the babies of spring…
It’s been one of those weeks. Fraser’s still not well and the intelligent posts that are half-written in my journal will have to wait until we’re a bit better rested. But since life doesn’t stop when someone’s puking, we did manage to get out on Saturday for a family walk down by the river.
Sometimes I think these walks are the only thing that keep me sane. I took Jane Eyre with me today up to the castle and read in the woods while both boys slept in the buggy. Although I was cold, sitting on a damp log and trying to hide from the wind, it was lovely and peaceful amid the trees and the deer. (Jane Eyre stops at marriage, so does Jane Austen and most of the greats of literature. After the slog of today, I can understand why. It just doesn’t make for good reading.)
On a half-intelligent note, although Jane Eyre is a great book, I much prefer some of Austen’s slower plots. Lunatic wife in the attic, long lost cousins found by coincidence, cruelty and religion in excess… it makes for great reading, but doesn’t ring as true as a gentle plot and is a far cry from the book I’m most in love with these days: Hostages to Fortune.
Number of times I’ve been on my hands and knees cleaning up puke and poo from the floor today: 4
Number of additional times the poo was contained on the changing mat: 2
Number of times Duncan has pretended to gag at the sight of his brother’s mess: 6
Number of things broken by Duncan today: 3
Number of things subsequently fixed: 3 (whew!)
Number of times too many that I turned the TV on to get a minute of sanity: 2
I just had my part time request accepted – I’m back at work in May but only 3/5ths of the time (which in my case is five mornings a week).
(random cuddles – with threatening invasion from F)
I feel like I should apologize for the change in attitude a bit here. Just over two years ago (Jan 2007) I was often writing about being back at work and raving about the assumption that we mothers couldn’t work full-time. I was convinced that if both parents were willing to participate in childcare and housework, things could be equal and mothers could maintain all their career goals. I particularly abhored the stereotypes that said that childrearing was mum’s work. Fast forward two years and one more kid later….
We did sort of make full-time work okay. Cory dropped Duncan off and I dashed out the office for pick up. I was promoted, wrote papers, accepted new responsibilities. Duncan laughed and giggled and Cory did dishes. But when it came time to scheduling doctors appointments, worrying about balanced diets, discipline, buying new clothes, talking with nursery staff; in short when in came to childrearing, I was the manager. And being back fulltime meant that I spent too much of my evenings and weekends being the manager. In Duncan’s eyes, Mummy was the boss and Daddy was for play. Most of the time he picked Daddy over me. That made me cry, a lot.
And I was unbelievably tired. I’m still tired, but even with the demands of a not-so-laid-back younger brother, Duncan doesn’t always pick Daddy over Mummy anymore. Mummy is the boss, but I’m also the constant in his life. There’s plenty of time for play when Fraser’s not feeding, being fed in the highchair, crying, pooing… In short, D and I are much closer and happier.
(just like mummy’s bike)
So I’m heading back part-time, hoping that this will allow me to do a bit of both – keep my career simmering away for a few years until I’ve more energy and allow me to be present physically in more of my sons’ lives. Even though Cory’s great at dishes and laundry and lego, his job is demanding and we need someone who has the time, energy, and organization to take the kids to the doctor, sort out meals, and figure out the best way to reward good behaviour (positive reinforcement beats the naughty step with mr. d every time). Those books that filled me with rage, that made the feminist in me so angry – we could be in them, a perfect case study. But life is all about shifting expectations and we’ve had to move ours.
I meant to sit down on Saturday with a cup of coffee, nine months after you were born, and tell you how big you’ve grown and how wonderful you are. What I didn’t expect was your father to get a phone call at 8am and rush out the door to the heliport to deal with a breakdown offshore (machinery – not people). I also didn’t expect you to be throwing up and running a fever all day, but hey – that’s typical of our timing. Daddy’s back after an overnight trip and you’re almost healthy though so here we are, just two days late…
Enjoying Daddy’s birthday cake
You’re standing up as I write this, nonchalantly leaning on me while you watch your big brother play. Standing, with only minor support from my leg. You crawled a bit later than your brother, but you’ve more than made up the ground recently. I’m not ready for you to be standing yet, nor walking with a walker, or climbing, or waving, or playing hide and seek with Duncan. I’m thrilled and proud, but I’m also feeling sad. This will almost certainly be the last time we live through these milestones and they’re coming so fast and furious, it almost seems like we’re missing out on savouring them fully.
I don’t want to turn you into my permanent baby, to hold you back instead of celebrating how you’re growing up. But please, take pity on your mummy and let’s have lots more sleepy cuddles like this morning where you feel asleep in my arms after feeding and we spent the next hour bathed in sunlight from the window, perfectly snug. I can’t wait until you’re old enough to run and play and ride bikes like your brother, but I also can’t remember ever being as happy as right now. Except for Saturday, when your dad called from the taxi to confirm he was headed offshore, you were running a fever, and I was feeling ill myself. Saturday wasn’t my favourite day. But today we’re on the mend and the sun is bright.
I’m squeaking this post in ahead of Fraser’s nine-month update. He’ll be nine months old tomorrow – I can’t believe it, but more about that later. We’ve not had the car this week, Cory’s needed it for work and then it was in getting MOT’d, so we’ve essentially been trapped in the house. You know what? I’ve loved it. The weather’s been nice enough to get out for some great walks (and a less than memorable picnic in absolutely freezing weather) and I feel like I’ve had some really great time with the boys.
Cuddles with D.
My return to work is fast approaching and I feel very differently about it this time than last time. Last time I was keen to get back to work, missing my job and the intellectual stimulation. This time, aware of how bloody hard it is to balance work and kids, I’m wishing I could slow time down and stay home for longer. It’s not the actual being at work, but the nursery drop-off, pick-up, dash home, food-on-the-table squeeze. Squeeze is a good word for it, it just feels like I’m trying to squeeze too much into any one day. We did talk about me not going back to work, but that terrifies me – I’m not laid back enough to not have another outlet and in this financial climate, we don’t want to take the risk of being a one-income family. So fingers crossed it’ll work out okay and that Fraser will take to nursery as well as Duncan did.
I’m not used to writing such honest posts anymore, things that go beyond how gorgeous it is outside or how the boys are growing. And I know work reads this site… but the site becomes pretty pointless if we never talk about real things, and this is a big deal to all of us right now. Being happy with our decision doesn’t mean we still don’t feel a lot of anxiety about how it’ll go.