Friday, August 31, 2007

Out numbered (and loving it!)

When people find out that we have a 3 1/2 year old, a 2 1/2 year old and a 6 month old baby they all seem to have the same look of pity come over their faces. And nine times out of ten they will comment,"Boy, you must be busy!". To this predictable comment I always add, "... and loving it!".

But, I have to admit, at times we (my husband and I) feel a bit out numbered.

My husband and I never really discussed how many kids we each thought would be ideal. We always knew we would like to have children - in the plural, but no real number was ever discussed. I came from a family of two siblings and David is the eldest of four.

Our adventure started one February morning when we decided to forgo birth control in hopes of starting a family some time soon. Imagine our surprise when it happened that month!

DJ's entry into this world was not easy, smooth or anything like I had envisioned. I had planned and prepared for a drug-free natural birth. But after many, many hours of hard labour, a c-section had to be done. After DJ came into our lives my husband and I never discussed wanting another baby. Unfortunately, DJ had a very rough start to life and ended up in the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. After life saving surgery, we found out that our son has a very rare genetic syndrome. So, after the emotional roller coaster ride we had just been on, we never discussed having a second.

Then, after 3 weeks of thinking I had post partum depression and then the stomach flu, we discovered we were pregnant. Not just a little bit pregnant (if there is such a thing), but 13 weeks pregnant! We were worried at first, but special testing assured us that Anderson did not have any organ/heart anomalies. We felt so blessed - 2 wonderful little boys - less than a year apart.

Since the delivery for Anderson was very traumatic on my body, the doctors recommended no more babies. Slowly, I came to terms with that...though deep down, I knew our family was not yet complete.

David and I discussed and even spoke to our doctor about the Big V. But then, before any appointment could be set up, I started having pregnancy symptoms. A pregnancy test revelled we were expecting our third baby in just over 3 years!

What a blessing and a shock! We were a bit nervous and anxious. Let me rephrase that - I was a bit nervous and David was shell-shocked!!!!!

You see, we had gotten use to having 2 children. Our joke was that we were "made" for two...

...two hands - one for each child to hold

...two shoulders - one for each child to cry or rest on

...two eyes - to keep an eye on each child

...two ears - to listen to each child

...and two of us.

Now that Madigan is here - we have no regrets. But that said, we, especially David, feels out numbered at times. Having three children is very challenging - especially when there is only 38 months between the first and the third.

There are days that I feel frustrated and over whelmed, but then I look into my heart and realize this is my calling, my blessing. Some one up there must really trust me with His/Her precious belongings if He/She sent me three to love, nurture, teach and learn from. I find strength in a loving hug; courage in a silly grin; calm in a loving glance; and beauty in every new experience or skill my children attempt.

My husband loves all three kids so much. I love watching him play with each of them - with all of them! My soccer buddies & scrapbooking pals are always impressed when I arrive sans-children and we all comment on how great it is that David "takes" all three kids. I am very lucky to have such an active, hands-on, understanding parenting partner. He is amazing: knowing when I need a break and making sure I get my own personal time. But, I know he struggles with being out numbered. My heart yearns to help him see what a wonderful father he is and to help him when he is feeling a bit frazzled or over whelmed. We make a wonderful team. A deep desire is to find a way to show David how together we can over come any challenges that these there munchkins can throw at us - now and in the many wonderful years to come.

Our family is now complete, and I am loving it!

And if it is any consolation, "they" say 3 is the new 2!!!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Movie Review

Sunday morning DJ and I spent some quality time together. We went to see a movie together. We had a fabulous time.

While we were in the same room...we each saw a totally different movie - Let me explain.

Sunday was Bus Safety Day for our school system. Since DJ will be starting Junior Kindergarten in a few weeks, he got to attend an information morning. We registered and filed into a classroom. The lights went out and a fun little movie with Winnie The Pooh and friends came on.

DJ sat spell-bound - mesmerized as Pooh and friends went over the 8 rules of bus safety. Eyes fixed on the screen he nodded in agreement, giggled on cue and even objected to Tiger breaking one of the rules. During the credits he was all smiles - grateful that Pooh and his friends safely rode the bus to and from school.

Standing only a few feet away - the film I saw was quite different. And as the credits rolled, I wiped away a tear - grateful for the gift of being a mom and sharing in my son's life as he grows up.

Here is a snippet of the very personal movie I saw at Bus Safety Day.

Cool Slideshows!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Oh, What a Shoe Day!

An all time favorite book in our house is called "The Way I Feel" by Janan Cain. It is a BRILLIANT book explaining different emotions. My boys love it! I love it because it explains many different and complex emotions we feel and enables children to relate and to understand that emotions are OK.

When DJ was about 14 months old the power and impact this book had on him really came out. One morning he got up on the wrong side of the bed - translation: everything that day was going to be tainted by temper tantrums and emotion.

We were sitting and playing when Anderson (3 months old at the time) began crying to be nursed. While I nursed DJ continued playing quietly -and then suddenly began to cry. I asked him what was wrong and he baby-signed "shoes". I did not understand since he had no shoes on nor had any need for shoes at the time.

Off to play group we go. At play group a little guy kept taking DJ's toys. DJ was getting very upset. I intervened and offered lots of hugs and DJ kept baby-signing "shoes".

That afternoon DJ was playing with his favorite toy - a piece of rope. He was attempting to pull it straight and loop it around items (a strange and intriguing fascination he has had since forever - and still does). He was getting mad as the rope was not cooperating. I asked him what was wrong and he baby-signed "shoes".

What the heck?!?!?!?! SHOES. SHOES. SHOES.

That evening during bedtime story, DJ requested "The Way I Feel". We read about feeling silly, scared, disappointed, happy, sad, angry, thankful, and then on the next page:

"I'm Frustrated because I cannot do it.
It is hard and I want to cry.
I do not know whether to give it up
or give it another try."

And the illustration accompanying the explanation of frustrated??? A little gal trying to tie up her shoes.


DJ was trying to say frustrated...not shoes...well, yes, he was saying shoes - but he had made the connection between the feeling and the example in the book. WOW.

Even now, when things do not go our way, or if we (the kids and I) and having a frustrating time, we sign "shoes". A private family sign. Thank you Janan Cain for helping us communicate effectively and avert many a temper tantrum.

Well, that brings me to today. It definitely was a "shoe" day in every sense of the word.

This time Anderson (2.5 yrs) had woken up on the wrong side of the bed and Madigan (6 mths) was cranky with a cold and teething.

Mission for the day: new shoes.

Anderson has out grown his running shoes. So for the past week we have been trying to hand down DJ's slightly used shoes to him. He will have nothing of it! His Pepe is constantly lamenting with him on how hard the second son has it in life. Telling him stories of how he NEVER had a new pair of shoes, always had to wear his brother's hand-me-downs.

Well, perhaps all that sulking with Pepe has made our little Ander even more stubborn than he was to begin with...he would not accept DJ's old shoes. So, off to the store we go to buy new ones.

Well, new ones also did not entice Anderson. Every pair we looked at sent him into hysterics and left me apologizing to the sales lady, shaking my head and repeatedly baby-signing "shoes" to myself!

Finally, I reached a compromise - smart Mommy!

First we would go play with Thomas at the "Coffee and Book Store" (aka Chapters) and then we would go buy new shoes at Wallmart. With plan in hand, we headed out. All during Thomas time I sipped my coffee and kept asking Ander, "What are we doing after Thomas?" and he kept replying with a big grin, "Going to shoe store for me new shoes".

YIPPEEEE!!!! I was excited about accomplishing this weary task.

Thomas time we went...and as soon as we walked into the Wallmart Anderson screamed, "NO SHOES, me want hello-copper ride". All I could think of was how frustrating this task was going be yet again.

Quick thinking Mommy replied, "You can only get on the helicopter with new shoes on, let's go". And it worked. In record time we found a pair of runners and were through the cash and onto the hello-copper ride quicker than anyone could baby-sign "shoes".

And as Ander enjoyed his ride with his spiffy new shoes on, Mommy comforted a crying baby and was thinking, "Oh, what a shoe day!"

Anderson's New Shoes!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I am so addicted to blogging. I love reading blogs and I am now posting my own entries on a very regular basis. It is a wonderful means of self-expression. It is free therapy on the web. It is a great way to meet new people and stay connected with family and friends.

I wanted to share my last posting with a dear soccer buddy of mine. I thought she may get a kick (pun intended) out of it. I sent a quick email - but the email bounced back and I received this delivery error message: failed after I sent the message.Remote host said: 500 Message rejected because it contains links to an IP address that is blacklisted.


I am blacklisted - sounds so underground, so rebellious.

So not me!!!!

I do not think I have ever been rebellious or deviant in my life. Unless you count the time in high school when I rolled my school kilt up at the waist so that it hung ABOVE (*gasp*) my knees. Good Lord have mercy on my soul!

Now, at the prime age of 38 I get blacklisted by a corporation. Perhaps this will allow me to come out of my comfort zone - be a little more risqué. What could be next?? hmmmm...let me see...maybe I will use cran-raisins in my afternoon cookie baking instead of regular raisins.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Play the Whistle

I have played soccer for over 30 years and along with basic soccer skills, I have learned:
1) Play with your head and elbows up,
2) Always put a name on the ball,
3) Do not be afraid of the ball,
4) The ref is always right, and
5) Always play the whistle.

My involvement in sports has also taught me the importance of team work, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat (can you picture that poor skier that aired during the 1980's CBC Sports montage?), and sportsmanship.

Last night at soccer the opposing team got past our defence and there was a kerfuffle in front of the net. I made a sprawling save - or what I thought was a save. Within nano-seconds the ball was cleared and it appeared that play was continuing - there was no whistle.

The other team was yelling that it was a goal, but the ref allowed play to continue all the way to half...until he looked at me and saw me tangled in the net and unable to free myself. (can you picture orka stuck in a fishing net, then, you get the picture). The ref stopped play and I honestly thought it was because I was incapacitated. Instead he motioned for a goal. While the other team celebrated, many on our team were protesting.

The ref asked me if the ball. I replied it could not have been all the way over the reasoning...there was no whistle. Now in soccer, the ENTIRE ball must cross the line for the goal to count. Perhaps it did, perhaps it did not...but in my mind, the referee's job is to be in the right spot to make the right call - not to second guess himself AND then ask players for their opinion. Whatever call he makes is the right call, but he must stick to his call.

Yes, refs are human. Yes, this is an Over 30 Rec League. But, a ref is paid to do his job, not ask for the input of players and then change his mind. I have no respect for refs doing this type of officiating. (nor if they do not call illegal throw-ins, but that is a whole separate vent!) they need to be decisive.

I mentioned that through my involvement in sports that I have learned sportsmanship. I hold that quality in high degree. I am the first to encourage the most sportsmanship thing to do. So then, should I have fessed up that the ball did, I mean "probably" crossed the line? To me, sprawled over the ground, I just kept playing and assumed "no whistle, no goal".

Now my defender (an extremely talented player & friendly gal) confessed that (from her angle) the ball had crossed the line and therefore, and was a goal. I applauded her honesty and her decisiveness - personality traits and attributes that I highly respect. But I think if the situation should happen again (and sadly, it will), I will once again plead ignorance and leave it to the ref to call...and I will only stop playing when the whistle blows.

And as I always say after a goal, "Odd's 0-0, let's win this half!"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

12 % of Men and 22% of Women

12 % of Men and 22% of Women regret the person they married. WOW - some interesting numbers I heard on the radio on the way to soccer this evening. CRAZY...almost 1/4 of the women polled regret being married to their spouse.

Did they not know what they were getting into? And with whom? Did they simply settle? Did they have cause for concern but leaped into marriage just the same? Or have they grown apart from that person they spoke vows to one day past? And what the numbers do not tell us is how many stay in an unhappy marriage? How many cheat? How many cause strife and burden to the products of the relationship - the children?

This silly poll, by God knows who, has really stuck in my brain.

Perhaps I am zeroing in on these stats because one of my closest friends is currently struggling to save his marriage. My heart goes out to him and his children - and even to his wife, who made the decision to leave. I cannot fathom what they must be going through.

Or perhaps I am focusing on these statistics because I am one of those lucky regrets! In 2000 I met the man of my dreams and have lived in bliss since then. He is every thing and more that I could have ever hoped or dreamed for in a husband, and best friend. He knows me, understands me, cares for me and accepts me - and I him. We are a team.

We life in a world of instant gratification - perhaps that would explain why so many people are not happy with their significant other.

I have no regrets. And I know that my children see my husband and I as a team. They witness the loving glances, the total respect and love we share for each other. They are learning that marriage is a wonderful thing - a meeting of two souls, two ideals, two beings. Marriage should not be difficult or hard work. My children are an extension of my love for my husband and I am so proud of that fact. Regrets, I have none!

What Big Boys Do

This week DJ is at "work-camp" - a fun day camp offered by my husband's work. So, it is just Anderson, Madigan and Mommy for the week. I am looking forward to spending some quality time with Ander.

Monday morning I asked him what he wanted to do for the day. He announced "Baby Play Group". So, we packed a snack and headed off to the local Early Years Centre for the 9AM play group.

Upon pulling into the parking lot Anderson let out a blood curdling scream " NOOoooooooo". After calming him down, I realized he wanted to go to the play group across town. No matter. We are not working for the devil and this is OUR day. So, off we went.

Once we arrived at the play group I was surprised that Anderson did not run off and attack his regular play stations. Instead he walked around surveying all the toys. His behaviour did not seem odd as we have not been to that play group since the spring time.

What persuade definitely pulled at my heart strings and made me proud.

Anderson gathered up a few toys and sat down next to Madigan. He then showed her each toy and explained what it was and then made every attempt to play with her. It was so wonderful to see my two little ones sharing a moment of fun. Without DJ around, Anderson quickly fell into the Big Brother role and excelled at it!

After play group we had lunch at the park and headed home. Upon pulling into the driveway Anderson let out a blood curdling scream " NOOoooooooo Big Boy Play Group!".

I glanced at the time - 1:24 - Afternoon play group at a third location would be starting in 6 we went.

During circle time Anderson was super-duper-good. No running around, messing around or interrupting the leader. Instead he was...well, a big boy. He participated so nicely and had a great time!

On the way home I casually commented on what a big boy Ander was at big boy play group and suggested that big boys use the potty instead of diapers. Anderson just grinned and sheepishly commented " Mommy, big boys no nap".

And he was right!

Mrs. Mitchell

The summer is almost over - hard to believe! What is even harder to believe is that we are starting to prepare our eldest son for Junior Kindergarten!

Every year, no matter my scholastic status, I get a sense of melancholy around the "back to school season". The early TV ads showing happy parents and sad kiddies certainly magnify my primitive need to reflect on my school days.

The first teacher to always come to mind is Mrs. Mitchell. My grade three teacher. That last sentence seems so cort and certainly does not embody everything this wonderful woman was to me. She was a very special teacher and I will always remember her. Mrs. Mitchell went way beyond her call of duty to make learning fun. She inspired, nurtured, and truly connected with me - and probably the entire class. I was so lucky to have her as a teacher- and even more lucky to have her in my life for longer than that school year. My parents befriended dear Mrs. Mitchell and she became a family friend - attending my dance recitals, family dinners and the like. We had a special connection. Every summer she would pick me up in her electric blue car and we would speed off to Stratford to see a Shakespearian play - it was a highlight of my summer. I still remember the time we stopped mid-way home to watch shooting stars. Mrs. Mitchell certainly taught me to reach for the stars. Thank you, Mrs. Mitchell.

Will DJ have a Mrs. Mitchell during his scholastic career? I hope and pray he has many. But I must say, he is currently batting 1000! His preschool teachers were wonderful and they have prepared him for "big girl and boy school".

While DJ still talks about all 3 of his teachers, there is one that he simply adores - Marlene. Marlene is a loving, wonderful person who knows how to connect with 3 year olds in a very special way. What a thrill the other day to receive a post card from Marlene. I wish I could have had a camera to take a photo of DJ and I as we read this wonderful postcard. DJ all smiles and jumping around all excited while I was wiping away tears! What a wonderful teacher to send us a post card from her summer travels. A personal note filled with love, support and friendship. Marlene exemplifies what it is to be a wonderful teacher, friend and all-round wonderful person. I cannot explain how grateful I am that DJ had such a wonderful teacher for his first classroom experience. Marlene has certainly touched DJ; Marlene has touched our entire family. I am inspired to become even more supportive in my children's development and education because of Marlene. DJ is confident and ready for Junior Kindergarten, because of Marlene. Thank you Marlene!

I have met DJ's Junior Kindergarten teacher twice and am thrilled to say, she may be our next Mrs. Mitchell or Marlene. She is a caring, energetic, strong, patient and loving woman. I am excited for DJ. He is about to embark on a long, challenging journey through the corridors of our school system. And with wonderful mentors like Marlene and Mrs. B, I am sure he will do fine.

My little boy is growing up!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Number of comments:1

Yippeeeeeeee ---- my first comment - and boy, was it exciting to see that counter change from 0 to 1.

Thank you so much Slouching Towards 40. I LOVE your blog and visit regularly. I am inspired by your posts and love your sense of being!

Blogging is my new addiction. It is a great way to meet interesting people, explore your own life and have a little fun --- all life objectives of mine while I walk the lunatic fringe!
PS - Your thoughts, words of encouragements and comments on my new addiction are VERY welcomed! (and appreciated!)

Friday, August 17, 2007

That means you are special - Part 1 and 2

I have 2 separate stories I would like to share with my "faithful" readers - well, with my wonderful husband and my mom - since I am pretty sure they are the only people reviewing my posts.

When DJ (my eldest son) was just 10 days old he had emergency surgery that saved his life. It is certainly amazing what the medical field can do...and we are eternally thankful. He was left with a faint, long, narrow scar on his belly. When he was just over 2 years old he questioned his scar. Thinking on my feet, I replied that it is a line that says "you are special" and that Dr. Reuben put it there when he saw "how special you are".

Now when anyone comments on DJ's scar or on his little medic alert bracelet, he replies that both mean he is special ---- which he truly is.

Part one of my story begins with the bewitching hour, when Mommy makes dinner and the kids destroy the house. Well, as I made dinner, I could hear the boys chatting in the front room:

Anderson: What's that??

DJ: That's my special line that Dr. Ruby gave me when he made me better. It means that I am special.

Anderson: OH.

DJ: I do not see one on you...MOMMY, why doesn't Sanson have a special line too??

Mommy from the kitchen: Anderson did not have tummy troubles, so he does not have a line, but we all know he is very special - aren't you Sweetheart?

Anderson: (proudly) Me special too.

That was the end of the conversation...or so, I thought.

At bath time I helped DJ take off his clothes and climb into the tub...and when I pulled off Anderson's shirt my mouth dropped. There in thick, permanent marker was scribbles and lines masterfully done by no one but a 2 year old.

DJ proudly confessed by saying " Mommy, Sanson is very special too, so, I made sure he knows it!"

How could I be mad? My heart swelled. Big brother DJ making sure little brother Anderson (and everyone else) knew he was special too.

I will always cherish that moment, and remember it forever.

Part Two

Jump ahead almost a year. Part two begins on a hot summer afternoon. Mommy and DJ are putting on our bathing suits to take a dip in our pool. Very innocently, DJ comes over to my side and rubs my belly. I feel a little bit self conscience - you see, I am currently struggling with my weight and ask him what he is doing. Three preganancies in three years has wreeked havoc on my body, leaving lots of extra pounds, stretch marks and sadly, a low self-esteem.

With big blue eyes, and a very innocent and loving heart he asks, "Mommy, what's that?" I realize that he is either pointing at my stretch marks or to the indentation the waist band of my pre-pregnancy pants have left on my plump tummy. I start to explain how having babies in Mommy's tummy changed her body and DJ interupts, "Mommy you sure have lots of lines that say you are special - I love you and you are my special Mommy - you are the best Mommy in the world. Can we go swimming now?"

I have never been prouder of those stretch marks.

And, I have never been motivated more to change my eating habits and loose this baby weight. So, that I can keep up with my 3 very special kids.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cleaning for the Cleaning Lady

I have to admit it - I am not a clean freak. And the sad thing is that I HAD the potential to become a clean freak growing up in my parents' house...but I rebelled.

After 2 or 3 years of being baffled how many of my "Mommy Friends" keep their houses so clean, I have discovered the truth...many have cleaning ladies! Not all of them --- but many do. How sweet is that - someone to pick up the toys, clean the bathrooms, wash the floors, the list could go on for pages. I sit here in the computer room that is in disarray...thinking of the unwashed dishes in the kitchen, and the unfolded laundry on my dresser, and in the playpen! Fantasizing of hiring someone to tidy and clean and organize my house.....awe........

But that wonderful image suddenly explodes into a million pieces of Lego, thousands of dinky cars, and heaps of clean/dirty laundry with a vivid for the cleaning lady!

Yep...while my mother kept a remarkably clean house (still does) she and my father opted for a cleaning lady once a week when I was in high school. I guess they must have given up on me ever inheriting my mom's clean-gene. And to give my mother and father a break on the tedious particulars of keeping a house tidy with two teenagers, they hired a cleaning lady. And every Thursday morning I would hear - "Laura Louise, clean for the cleaning lady - I do not want her to see how messy your room is".

WHAT?!?!?!?!? Clean for the CLEANING lady? How ridiculous is that?!?!?!?! But we did it - and it was all worth it when we returned from school to find the house sparkly and clean.

After hearing the tales of 3 of my Mommy Friends and how much they appreciate their cleaning lady (and the fact that one is accepting new clients!) I started wondering if we could afford someone to come in and clean once a week.

Then, I remembered the rush to "clean for the cleaning lady" and totally related to my mother's desire to not let the cleaning lady see how messy my room was...there is no way I could hire someone to come clean my house...I would have to clean too much!

So, instead, as I type the last line of this post I yell out to my 2 and 3 year old...."guess what- the cleaning lady is coming - let's clean for the cleaning lady..." (If they can have imaginary friends...I can have an imaginary cleaning lady!)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Murky Waters

Can I say I am new at this??? This whole blogging phenomena? Having never posted a blog, in the true sense, perhaps I am...but then for years I have kept a journal...does that count? Yes. I think it should. So, while I am not new to the catharsis of putting thought, peeve, desire or anecdotes onto paper, I am new to this on-line spuing of inner-thoughts.

Why take the plunge?

While washing the dishes this morning I was gazing out our back window. And there in front of me was our wonderfully refreshing in-ground pool. My pool made me do it! The green, murky water called to me...and I decided to dive right in!

You see, our pool has a crack in a pipe and it has made it near impossible to clean. So, the dirt and crud has settled on the bottom. And if you look closely, or if we do get a bit of the pool vacuumed, you can see the water is blue and clear - it is all the crap that has settled that makes it appear murky, cloudy and icky.

hmmmmmmm.... is it a metaphor of my current life? For years I kept a journal and then when my life took a most fabulous turn - I stopped. I met the most amazing man, started an amazing courtship, marriage and family. I am now blessed with three wonderful children. Life is great - but bumpy at times. So, why not start journaling again? The waters of my life are clear - I have found my calling in being a wife and mother...but at times things are not as clear or clean...and some crud always seems to settle when you least expect it.

So, jump on in and join my pool party...come splash around...have fun and help me perfect the front crawl and back stroke of life.