Saturday, October 15, 2011

New name!

I decided to change the name of my blog. I think I chose the old name in a passive aggressive response to some Momzilla debate I became embroiled in a long time ago but can't quite remember. So it's not really appropriate anymore.

I think I plan to change the URL at some point too, as soon as I can figure out the safest way to do that.

Un-happy anniversary (warning, sad miscarriage related)

Today is a blue day. Four years ago today was the worst day of my life.

Hubby and I had been trying to have a baby for almost a year and not having much luck. When we finally had a positive pregnancy test, I was delighted. There was a lot of stress and turmoil going on at the time and this was a bright light in an otherwise dark time. I started spreading the news, and was crazy excited.

(Don't read this next paragraph if you're fragile)

And then October 15th came. I went to work that morning, bubbling with my secret, wishing I could tell people at work. And then I went to the bathroom and saw spotting. I told myself it was ok, lots of women have that and it's fine. I googled it and started to get scared. Way more bad outcomes than good. I called Hubby and told him and he said he wanted to come pick me up and go to the hospital. I went to the bathroom again while I was waiting and this time I saw what I now know was my baby. But I was still in denial and hopeful that it would all be ok. This was something that happens to other people, not me. Not when this baby was so wanted.  A few hours later, after waiting, cramping, and bleeding more and more, I was seen by the doctors and ultrasound department and they confirmed that my baby was gone.

I fell apart. I knew that miscarriages happened, but never considered it might happen to me. I was feeling every emotion all at once. Sadness, anger, jealousy, hopelessness. I could not be in the same room with pregnant people, or even people with small kids. I felt like I would never have that.

Normally when something bad happens to me, I am able to find a lesson from it. I needed to learn humility, or to be more independent, or that I am stronger than I thought, or to be more patient. I searched and searched for the lesson I needed to learn from this, and I just could not see it. Wasn't a year of infertility enough of a test to teach me patience? Didn't starting my life over again and learning to be alone and support myself teach me to be strong and independent? Didn't trying to conceive and failing teach me I wasn't in control of my entire life? Didn't I learn to be less jealous when I had to smile and congratulate friends on their pregnancies when I couldn't have that? Losing my dog unexpectedly was traumatic and taught me to deal with loss and grief. My wedding was stressful enough. I'd already lived through tight finances and impossible deadlines. I didn't NEED any more lessons. I racked my brain to try to see the good I would take away from this loss and I was unable to see it.

Two months later I was pregnant again. And this time I didn't tell as many people right away. This time I was cautious. This time I respected it and cherished every second of it, not knowing if it might be my last. This baby was even more wanted than the first one had been, and I spent a lot of time in fear that I would lose this one, even after he was safely born.

When he was 9 months old, I was pregnant again, this time a complete surprise. Now, I have two amazing, wonderful boys that call me Mommy and I can't imagine life without either of them.

The lesson hit me just recently. If I hadn't lost that baby, if things hadn't unfolded the way they did, I wouldn't have my boys. My wonderful, special, perfect boys. And that would be horrible.

On the day that would have been my first baby's due date, I went off alone to a park. I wanted to just walk, and be alone, and cry. The whole time I was there, a robin was flying around, following me along the pathway and to a playground where I sat for a while with my tears. I named my angel Robin that day. And we've had a robin living in our yard in both houses we've lived in since then. I like to think it's her.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Junior Dog Rescuers

In my pre-kids life, I was a dog rescuer. Usually this meant taking foster dogs in to live with me for a while and helping them, training them, rehabbing them as needed. And of course then screening applicants and approving or rejecting matches. Sometimes I would transport dogs around the province (or further).

I also roped my hubby into this job. We placed a few foster dogs together and he grew to love it too. A few short weeks after we were married, we took in a foster who had some aggression issues, but we didn't know how bad they were until he broke down our door, bit a child, and then bit the animal control officer who came to give us a warning about this. We made the painful decision after much consultation with our rescue organization, several behaviourists, and even an animal communicator (psychic) to release him to the Rainbow Bridge. It was the right decision, albeit terribly painful.

I found out I was pregnant with our first baby just a few days after he was humanely euthanized at our home, in my arms. In my grief and excitement, I told myself his spirit was part of our baby and I was so happy that the universe had granted me this gift. I lost that baby a few weeks later. That was without question the worst time in my life. I was wrecked over the loss of the baby and it re-opened all my wounds for the foster dog.

This experience made me step back and take a break from fostering for a while. Also the fact that I became pregnant again soon after with B1, and then again soon after with B2. Being pregnant and having infants around, especially colicky, clingy, terrible sleeping infants like mine have been, just doesn't leave a lot left over to help dogs, even as much as one might want to do it. I still helped where I could with transports and interviews, even driving 12 hours in a day once to deliver a dog to a foster home while 7 months pregnant. And made a few road trips with one or two babies in tow. The aggressive foster also fought with one of our own dogs, and made him a little dog reactive. Both of our dogs are special needs (one has a serious heart condition, the other is blind) so I was feeling protective over our family. But I still missed it.

Now that B1 and B2 are a little bigger, we took a leap and opened our home to another foster. She has been with us for a month and she's an absolute delight. From the first few days, we had to keep reminding ourselves, "She's not staying/We can't adopt her/Don't love her too much." She needed to gain some weight and needed time to adjust to family life, and we didn't want to rush putting her up for adoption because she's so lovely and we adore her so.

Today she went up for adoption. I've been hovering on the edge of tears all day. When I sent the link to Hubby, he replied saying "Don't show me that, now I want to keep her!" B1 constantly sings songs about her and tells us he wants her to stay for a long, long, time. And wants to plan what to buy her for Christmas. She probably won't be here for Christmas. She's a lovely and remarkably problem-free dog. I have no doubt she'll be snapped up quickly. And I want that for her...I want her to get into her forever home and start living her happily ever after. I will be very choosy and will not hesitate to reject any applicant that is less than a rock star dog parent.

This one's going to hurt a lot. I've temporarily loved and said goodbye to over 20 dogs over the years, and it's always hard, but I have a feeling this one is going to be as hard as my first, if not harder. Mainly because this time I also have my kids to worry about. B1 in particular is going to be crushed and will probably hate me for a while after she goes. But also there was just so much backstory...I have been so afraid to make myself vulnerable again after all the pain that happened last time I fostered a dog. Taking this girl in was a big leap and letting her go will be emotionally really tough.

Painful or not though, she has been worth it. Having her in our lives has been a gift and I'm grateful we did it. Even if I do kind of wish she could stay forever.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Play dating

Ugh, I thought I was done with the awkwardness of dating once I got married! Apparently not so. I'm currently enjoying torturing myself and obsessing over whether or not to ask this question:

"Are you Kid Friend's mom?"

Why would I feel nervous to ask that? Why would I feel compelled to ask that? Well, because Kid Friend is blond and fair as can be. Mom (?) is a visible minority. And from what I know of genetics, that isn't very possible. However, it is possible he's adopted, or is her step-kid, so assuming this woman is the nanny just feels wrong, and racist. Add to that the fact that I overheard her say goodbye and she hugged and kissed Kid Friend and said "I love you", and I'm not really sure if a nanny would do that.

So the trouble is I want to invite Kid Friend for a playdate, because B1 will not stop talking about this guy. But I really don't want to insult who might be his mother by asking this question. I SAW her with him, and I wouldn't ask if she was his mom if he had darker hair and skin. So why do I feel like asking in this case??

I just really don't want to risk offending someone who could be in our lives for a long time, if these boys grow to be friends, over such a stupid question.

Maybe I could get someone else to ask her for me or drop a hint that I'm interested. That used to work with guys sometimes when I was single.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Caution: Mommy cracking

I read an article recently about a study that was done and proved that a child's whining makes parents unable to make good decisions, to concentrate, and to keep cool. No kidding.

I also read a stat that on average a child whines 11 times before either giving up or getting his way. And the average parent has the capacity to hear 10 whines before giving in.

Honestly, whining has never been my Achilles heel. My kids have always just gone straight to the epic tantrum. With defcon 5 screaming, turning purple, crapping their pants, using vomit as a weapon, etc.

And this I am unable to deal with. I try, oh how I try, but I apparently have a limit of just slightly shorter than B2's tantrum stamina.

This morning he asked for some bearpaws as we got in the van. Except it wasn't snack time, and we didn't have any bearpaws. I offered him something else. I told him he could have some when we got home. No dice. He wanted them, and wanted them NOW.

I managed to make it 12 minutes with smiles and sympathy and patience. At minute 13, I snapped. "We don't have bearpaws! Stop screaming at me!! That is enough!!!"

The irony of bellowing at someone not to yell does not escape me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Perception is at least 80% of reality

Recently B1 came home from preschool complaining about someone pushing and "bumping" him. This kid, "X", was apparently bumping into him in line to wash their hands at snack time. B1 mentioned it every day, which could mean it happened every day or it could mean it happened once and he was ruminating about it for weeks. I know this because it's what I do when I think someone may have done something mean to me.

This situation has been resolved and now B1 tells me X is his friend.

But one morning when I was dropping him off a mom bumped into me and then swung her bag and hit me with it. I spent the whole morning stewing about it and wondering if she did it on purpose and why and who she thought she was and getting really mad about it.

Then I remembered. The entry way is very small and congested. I should be surprised more people don't smash into each other. I highly doubt she did it on purpose and maybe didn't even realize it happened.

But just look at all that time I spent being upset about it. If I was 3, I might have said something to my parents. I might have repeated it for days. And it might all have been nothing.

If I ever needed proof that B1 is my kid, this is it. He not only inherited my facial features, he evidently got some of my neuroses too! Poor guy...I'd better start saving for his therapist now. Guess I need to start teaching him the world isn't against him!

And the really funny part...the mom that bumped into me...was X's mom.