Thursday, May 30, 2013


She was the first person I called when I found out I was pregnant (and she's actually the one who suggested I get the pregnancy test just to be sure when I missed my period.) She is the one to call whether it's to cheer me on in times of triumph or to cheer me up in moments of defeat. She is the best sister and the best friend that anyone could hope to have and I'm so grateful that she's mine. She's my sister, May.

When we were kids I have to admit I was a little bit afraid of her, especially during those moody teen years. She always seemed to be angry and in a hurry. I mostly just tried to stay out of her way. I always admired my big sister. She was beautiful and smart and I wanted to be just like her. As a child I used to copy her. I wanted all the same toys she had. When she had to learn a song and dance routine for school I wanted to do it too. The best compliment I ever got was when I was a teenager and an old friend of hers saw me and thought that I was May at first. Several people said that we looked alike. As we got older we became close friends. Through the years she has remained my dearest friend and confidante. No one "gets me" the way she does (and I'm not always easy to take!) Whenever I need a sympathetic ear to listen, a voice of reason, advice, wisdom, kindness, humour -- she is the one I turn to.

We have the same strange sense of humour and have shared some amazing laughs over the years (including some bizarre inside jokes that no one else would get). Even when things would go wrong May would find the humour in it and lighten the mood -- "See a few things, LEARN a few things" she said one time when we got lost, a phrase that stuck with me for years. Any time things would go wrong I'd hear her saying "See a few things, LEARN a few things" -- every experience is a learning experience and sometimes bad experiences become the best anecdotes. Even if you can't laugh about it at the time you see the humour in it afterward. We had some hilarious moments when we used to go nightclubbing. We couldn't believe some of the strange characters that approached us. It was always fun being with May no matter what happened. No one makes me laugh like she does (until I'm in tears and almost wet myself.)

We always shared a lot of the same interests -- fashion, Barbies, scrapbooking, interior design, gardening etc. We like the same shows (we're both fans of The Bachelor and Bachelorette series and I love talking about the show with her. Incidentally Desiree is the new Bachelorette and I love the show so far!)

I never expected to be a Mom. That was one thing I didn't think we would ever have in common. May had mentioned on a few occasions years ago that she thought I'd be a good Mom and was surprised that I didn't want kids. It just wasn't something I ever imagined for myself. My sister told me (and of course she was right) that there is no love that compares to the love you feel for your child. My sister is such a sweet and loving Mom. Since having Michelle I have turned to her so many times for advice when I was panicked over something. She always managed to calm me down, to talk me through whatever the "emergency" was. Kind, understanding, sensible, non-judgmental, supportive, she has a way of putting everything in perspective. I always feel better after talking to her. She always reassures me that everything will be OK. I honestly don't know what I'd do without her. She has helped me out of some of the darkest days and most stressful experiences of my life.

I do talk to my Mom a lot too. Of course, it's different with Mom. She can be negative. She's a worrier. She's not someone you want to talk to if you're already stressed out because she won't exactly put your mind at ease! I know she means well when she checks in on me all the time but sometimes she does stress me out even more. I am grateful to have had input from both my Mom and my sister since having Michelle though. Getting advice from two experienced Moms is a huge help when I'm struggling to figure things out. My Mom and sister are so different but in a way they balance each other out, like yin and yang (or good cop bad cop!) Being a first time Mom and a single Mom at that I've really needed their support and I am so grateful that they've been there for me.

We celebrated May's birthday at my Mom's place. I wanted to give her something special. With money tighter than ever these days I couldn't afford anything extravagant so I gave her a gift from the heart instead. I also wanted to dedicate a blog to her to thank her for being the amazing person that she is.

It's only fitting that she's named after the month of May, arguably the most beautiful month of the year -- Spring/Summer, flowers blooming, perfect weather (most of the time -- although this year it has been unseasonably hot and cold on certain days so you just never know!) I was born in May too of course but obviously Mom couldn't have two Mays. I used to wish I'd been born in April because I like that name and then we could have been April and May.

There definitely is only one May. She is the most extraordinary person I've ever known. Everyone who knows her can't help but love her. I am grateful to call her my big sister and my best friend. For all that you do May, thank you from the bottom of my heart. xo

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tea is for Trouble

Michelle grabs at everything in sight. You could sit 100 toys in front of her and one non-toy and she will reach for the thing she's not supposed to have. Even if it's something dangerous. Perhaps especially then. At home I am careful not to leave anything dangerous in her path. She reaches for everything I try to eat or drink which makes it tricky to have dinner with her in my lap. Usually I try to eat when she's eating in her high chair so she's at a safe distance. When I'm drinking she reaches for the glass or can as the case may be. I've explained to her that she doesn't drink milk from a glass (yet. Won't be long now though before I can introduce cow's milk. But it will be 3.25% not 1% milk ) but from Mommy, that OJ has too much sugar, that I won't let her drink Coca Cola until she's a teenager.

We were at my Mom's and Michelle was walking around the ottoman. Sometimes letting go, sometimes holding on. Grabbing the toys that were on it, reaching for ornaments and things around it. My Mom came in with her tea. I didn't notice she had sat the tea on the ottoman. I was focusing on Michelle and making sure that she didn't lean forward and fall. Then I must have glanced away for a second and "OMG!" she had her fingers in my Mom's teacup. The tea spilled over, Michelle was screaming, I was in shock. My mother yelled "Run cold water on her fingers!" I raced with Michelle over to the tap and ran cold water on her little red fingers. I was furious with my Mom. "OMG! You don't sit HOT TEA where Michelle can reach it! She grabs at EVERYTHING!" "I know. I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking," my Mom said. I was shaking. My Mom doesn't even put milk or cream in her tea to cool it down. She drinks it black. It must have been scalding. I suddenly felt ill at the thought of leaving Michelle with my Mom. What kind of death trap would she be in? I had visions of Michelle playing with matches, running with scissors, juggling knives. My Mom blamed her aging brain but she has a friend who's older than her who cares for several grandchildren. She says that it keeps her young. As a control freak it's tough to let go and to leave your child with someone else. I wouldn't trust her with a stranger but even with my Mom I worry. Now more than ever.

My Mom explained that all of us were burned by tea as kids. As if that made it better. Apparently I managed to get my toe into a cup of tea as a baby. My brothers and my sister all got scalded too. I was suddenly very glad that I don't drink tea or coffee so it's been a non-issue with me. My Mom said that is how kids learn. They all get burned. When my nephew James was little one of his first words was "HOT!" spoken with an emphasis on the "H." He had maybe learned the hard way not to touch things that are hot. Why is it human nature to be drawn to things that will hurt us? How can I explain to Michelle not to touch things that are dangerous? Even as an adult I didn't have the common sense to avoid being hurt. I fell in love with the worst man in the world (her father) and definitely got burned there.

Thank God she was OK. Within minutes her fingers weren't red anymore and she was back to crawling and climbing and grabbing things as though nothing had happened. I am pretty sure my Mom will NEVER put tea on the ottoman again.

Kids do get hurt. No matter how careful you try to be and how relentlessly you watch them you can not protect them from everything at every second. There is always a margin for human error. A moment's inattention or a slight miscalculation. Getting hurt is part of learning too I suppose. Explaining doesn't have quite the same effect as experience. Someone can tell you a thing a million times but it doesn't mean anything until you actually live it.

When I hugged Michelle after she had gotten hurt, she hugged me tighter than ever. That night she was more snuggly than she had ever been. It's like she realized I am her comforter when anything bad happens. She has a book called "Why I love my Mommy" and on the front is a Mama bunny kissing a baby bunny's foot. There are all different animals illlustrating the different reasons kids love their mommies. The bunny page says "I love my Mommy because she kisses me better." Of course your kisses can't magically make something better whether it's a burn or another kind of booboo, but it's the love that makes a hurt easier to bear. Love has the power to heal anything.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Look Ma, No Hands!

Michelle had been pulling up for a while and becoming more proficient at it. Then suddenly she started pushing up to stand, right in the middle of the floor. Now if she could just start to take some steps without wobbling and falling over she'd be all set. It has been a big relief now that I know she can stand and balance on her own. I don't have to run and grab her every second with my heart in my throat. She has also mastered falling without getting hurt --  landing on her butt. I tried to reinforce the message over a month ago when I used to sing "Fall on your bum and you won't get hurt!" It seems to have worked because each time she'd get up and land back down on her butt. She even seems to know instinctively now to put her hands out when she does fall forward.

When Michelle stands on her own sometimes she waves and flaps her hands excitedly and looks at me like "Wow! Look at me Mama!" Other times (usually when she's concentrating on a toy that she's holding) she just stands there quite nonchalantly as though she's been doing it forever.

Bending over to guide her as she walks is the most back-breaking job I've had since having Michelle. Once she can walk on her own it will be a huge relief (although YES I do realize that she can get herself into a whole world of trouble once she's more mobile and independent.) It is a little easier now that I can just have one finger lightly in each hand rather than having to hold her chest or stomach as she wobbles along. Now that she can stand alone in the middle of the floor I sometimes have her walk toward me. She only makes it a step or two before lunging forward into my arms. Sometimes I think that my being there to catch her all the time is actually holding her back. I'm sure she will figure out the whole balance thing soon though. She keeps curling her toes up. If she would keep them flat she'd be able to walk a lot easier.

She's becoming more adventurous in her cruising as well. Before she would only try to pull up on or lean on things that were at her level. Now anything is fair game. Even the wall. She had fun leaning on the wall and playing with her shadow one evening just before sunset. I couldn't resist getting a few pictures. Then I realized that I had been so busy this month I hadn't even taken any video of Michelle. I wanted to record something every month. I wanted to capture a little of Michelle and her quirks at this stage. Thankfully she obliged and gave me footage of some of my favourite Michelle antics -- including the new pushing up to stand move (though she doesn't last long in the video she can usually go longer), her adorable "Awww" sound and snuggle with a stuffed bunny (apparently all the affection I've showered on her is making her a very affectionate, snuggly, sweet little girl), clapping her hands and touching her head (unfortunately whacking herself in the head! "Wow, I could have had a V8!") on command. Here's the video from Youtube:

One thing that drives me crazy about Michelle (and my Mom says it's true of all babies) is that she has 10 million toys (slight exaggeration but it does feel like that many, especially when she pulls them all out, plays with them for one second and leaves them there after I just tidied up) and yet she would rather play with things that aren't toys, that don't (to me) seem even remotely interesting and that are sometimes dangerous -- boxes, paper, plastic, phones, remote controls, you name it. She grabs literally everything in her path and half of it ends up in her mouth. If it's something I think can't harm her (nor she it) then I let her enjoy it. I figure I can't say "No" all the time or she'll be discouraged and stop exploring at all. Life is an adventure and the world is a magical place as she discovers everything. I now understand why they put warnings on plastic bags (keep away from children) because children (at least Michelle does) LOVE plastic bags. She had a great time playing with a pack of Baby Wipes. I was pretty sure she was safe with it because it was sealed. It kept her entertained for a while. Longer than any of her toys. Though she does play with her own little toy phone with the blue eyes and pink wheels she is infinitely more fascinated by the real telephone and has hung up on my Mom a few times. She's always grabbing at the phone when I'm on it.
Some days it is so exhausting and discouraging trying to manage on my own. Some days it really feels like the Universe is conspiring against me (I have noticed that everything seems a thousand times worse when I'm on no sleep. A nap can work wonders. "Sleep when the baby sleeps" may be the best advice ever. Sometimes you just have to grab a catnap. It's more important than whatever else you were going to try to do. Being a healthy happy Mom for your baby is better than being a sick exhausted irritable Mom on no sleep. It can be a challenge to get things done though.) There was one day where I had just finished cleaning the floors. I have been trying to vacuum and wash the floors more often. With Michelle crawling around on hands and knees everywhere and then putting her hands in her mouth I figure I have to keep on top of it. Then I was in the kitchen and saw something on the floor. I went to check it out. Good thing I did. It was POO! Apparently Ali, my grey tabby cat, must have had a piece dangling from her fur after using the litter box. Awesome. So I picked it up in a piece of toilet paper and went to flush it down the toilet. I rarely use the bathroom on the main floor. To my shock and horror when I went to flush the toilet it kind of exploded! Something had come loose in the back of the toilet and water was spraying everywhere. "YOU'VE GOT TO BE F-ing KIDDING ME!" I muttered to myself (I couldn't scream at the top of my lungs like I wanted to because Michelle was -- Miracle of miracles -- asleep.) So I turned off the water and fixed the toilet but now I had toilet water (and I don't mean perfume!) all over the bathroom floor. I was LIVID. It was like a cruel joke. So I cleaned the floors only to have poop and then toilet water on them. Brutal. Sh*& happens. Literally. I could see the humour in it later. I didn't have a sense of humour about it at the time.
Some days it does feel like an uphill battle as a struggling single Mom. I find myself feeling depleted and defeated but then I think of the good things, mostly my sweet little girl, and it keeps me going. A lot of life is perspective. The truth is that the glass is half full AND half empty. You choose what to focus on. Sometimes I feel weary and wonder how I'll go on but other times I realize how blessed I am and I feel so grateful. I want to think positive and attract positive energy rather than negative. I do notice that the more I focus on things going wrong, the more things seem to go wrong. Sometimes it's Michelle herself that reminds me don't worry, be happy, to just enjoy the simple things and to keep my sense of humour. She's always making me smile and laugh. I think she's going to be quite the comedian as she gets older. We have to be there for each other. When she's a little cranky I can cheer her up and when I'm feeling overwhelmed she can go a little easier on me (sometimes she actually does.) The more her personality begins to emerge the more it feels like she's not just my little girl, she's my dearest little friend.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Another year older...

It was my first birthday as a Mom. We celebrated with the family on the weekend at my Mom's house. They spoiled me. My sister got me a new Nikon camera (I still can't believe she did that!) since my old one has had no flash for a long while now. It's something I couldn't have gotten for myself especially right now when money is so tight. May knows how important photos are to me. The birthday pictures taken inside with my old camera were all a blur (I was able to manage at my sister's place which is always flooded with light but it's too dark at my Mom's place to get by without a flash.) My Mom got me a really big fan (I don't have A/C so I can always use one of those), a dress and a jacket. My brother gave me what I need most these days (CASH!)

Of course my greatest gift is Michelle. She says "Mama" all the time now, hugs and kisses me. It makes up for the times she is cranky and impossible and puts me through sheer hell. She's very close to walking now. While I was in the washroom and my Mom was watching Michelle she counted the seconds while Michelle stood on her own not holding anything. "35 seconds!" my Mom exclaimed. She seems to stand a lot better than she walks. She tends to lean forward when she walks so if you weren't there to catch her she'd land flat on her face. I guess she'll get better the more she practices. I think she'll be a pro at 10 months.

It was a beautiful day out so we went out to the yard. I love when the flowers are in bloom. Michelle and I were both wearing white dresses so the white flowers in the background were perfect. My sister snapped a few pictures and even managed to get some of Michelle smiling. I love putting dresses on Michelle. I can't wait until she has a little more hair so I can put her hair in pigtails with little bows. I tried putting a flower in her hair but she wasn't having it. I remember when I was pregnant and didn't know whether the baby would be a boy or a girl. I wanted a girl so badly. I'm so grateful to have my little girl. I can't imagine life without her now. I hope she's going to be a girlie girl and like dresses and dolls. She is really starting to like stuffed animals. She is so affectionate with them. She hugs them and snuggles them against her and says "Aww."

My brother Chris meanwhile was having some male bonding time with my nephew Reggie. Lifting him into the air and hanging him upside down. I'm not sure I want him to do that with Michelle when she's older! Michelle was a little nervous of Chris. She has been making strange lately with my Dad too. She did warm up to Chris though after a while. When he was leaving she waved to him and leaned forward to watch where he was going.

Michelle had been a little fussy when we started the drive back home so I sang her to sleep. I found myself moving from lullabies to old songs from the 50s, songs from the 70s, 80s. I was singing songs from my childhood. Anything that popped into my head. I was feeling nostalgic. Then I started thinking about my birthdays the past couple of years. Last year I was pregnant and we celebrated at my sister's place. The year before that I was heading to Florida with my boyfriend at the time (another Scorpion. A blond Hungarian. He was my Summer Scorpio. Little did I know after our romance fell apart that I'd fall for another Scorpio in the Fall and that he would change my life forever -- give me the greatest heartbreak and the greatest gift of my life.) I'd always wanted to take a long road trip in a convertible. Getting to live out that dream (with who I thought was the man of my dreams at the time) was even better than I'd imagined. Scenes from my life started to play out like a movie. I started to tear up. I was grateful for all of it. Even the painful moments. They were all part of my life story and I wouldn't change a thing. I looked in the rearview mirror and saw Michelle sleeping like a little angel. The sun was setting and the sky was pink. As stressed out as I get sometimes with all that's going on, I am grateful. It is a beautiful world. It is a beautiful life. Even when it's tough.

It was Victoria Day weekend. My Mom always used to say I was a little firecracker born on Firecracker Day. When Michelle and I got back home from my Mom's place, Michelle woke up and wouldn't settle back down for a while. I decided we might as well watch the fireworks together. I've always loved fireworks. I explained to Michelle that they were exploding lights in the sky. Some of them popped, some banged, some screamed, sparkled and fizzled. There were red and green and gold and white ones. Michelle seemed pretty blase about it. She was tired and fell asleep in my arms. The house was a bit warm so I kept the windows open to let the fresh air in. People were still lighting fireworks but Michelle was able to sleep through it all. Next thing I knew a strong wind was blowing and all of a sudden there was a thunderstorm. I guess Mother Nature wanted to show off her own fireworks.

When I went to bed I began to see scenes from my life again -- relationships, trips, experiences that seemed random and yet in a way were all connected because they all led me here. Everything that happened in my past had to happen to lead me to where I am right here, right now: Mom to the sweetest little girl in the world (except when she's a little monster but I still love her even then!)

Friday, May 17, 2013


Every day is a surprise now. You just never know what she's going to do. All of a sudden, Michelle WALKED! On her own! Mind you, it was only a few steps but obviously she's getting the concept so hopefully (er..I mean frighteningly) it's probably only a matter of time before she can walk alone. On one hand I'm anxious for her to master walking so I don't have to bend over to help her along and don't have to run constantly to catch her from falling. Mind you then I'll have a whole new set of worries. The day she took her first fledgling steps she initially pulled up on the ottoman as usual but then suddenly she let go of it and stood there quite casually playing with a toy. Not holding onto anything. Then, without warning, she took a couple of steps over to the couch. I stared in awe, my hands out to catch her if she stumbled but she made it on her own.

Michelle is cruising. It almost makes me want to set up furniture at her level all over the house to give her a path to move from one piece to the next. I know that this is the first step in her walking on her own. She is still very wobbly and looks like an old man stumbling home from the bar but it's a start! She tends to lean forward a lot so if I wasn't there to grab her she'd fall flat on her face. She seems to like to walk on her tiptoes as well. I tried explaining to her that she'd have better balance on flat feet. Maybe she'll be a little ballerina. My Mom said I loved walking on my toes as a baby. (Incidentally I always wanted to take ballet but Mom said we couldn't afford it. When I was older I learned that it was too late. You pretty much have to start when you're 4 years old to be a dancer for real. If Michelle wants to dance I'll do everything in my power to make it happen.)


The first time I heard about "cruising" in the baby sense was months ago when we had gone to the public playtime and a 10 month old boy stumbled onto my lap. "Sorry" his Mom said "he's cruising. Making the rounds." He was making his way around the room moving from one object and person to another. I was just one of the signposts along his wobbly journey. I remember thinking how surreal it was that in a few months Michelle could be walking. I remember before she could sit up and I got so excited when she could finally sit without toppling over. Then in no time it was second nature to her. Babies change so fast at this stage. From one day to the next. So much to learn. So many milestones. They go from being a helpless lump unable to even hold their heads up to being a little individual with a unique personality talking, walking around, playing, laughing. That's why I couldn't miss this. Not for all the money in the world. (Even though financially things have been tight on maternity leave. To make matters worse recently my car failed the emission test and I had to have it repaired. I started to tear up a little when he told me it failed. The guy felt so bad for me he didn't charge me for the re-test where thankfully it passed. When you're trying to budget yourself so that you don't buy anything but necessities like groceries, unexpected expenses are a KILLER!)

Michelle has even started standing up in the middle of the floor sometimes. Pushing herself up without holding on to anything. She gets up on her feet and looks quite proud of herself but then she goes to move and falls forward. I'm always there to catch her. Sometimes she'll take off like she wants to run and I can barely keep up. I've gone from bending over and holding her tummy (which is MURDER on the back!) to having one finger in each of her little hands lightly as she runs along. She seems more confident and more stable all the time but I don't know when she'll actually be able to walk completely on her own. It could be any day now. I read that babies can start walking anywhere from 9 months to 12 months and are usually walking well by 15 months. Some babies are a little sooner and some a little later. Each child is different. In my family we were early but we had walkers back then as training. (And of course they were dangerous. My sister left the basement door open one day and I apparently landed face first at the bottom of the stairs in my walker. I'm not sure when they started banning them. I guess after one too many babies was seriously injured in them.)

Michelle seems to understand more and more all the time. Words, expressions. She mimics gestures. She tries to say more and more. "Mama" is still my favourite word. She even has her own made up language and laughs when I repeat her nonsense words like "fnew" and "etna." She knows how to manipulate Mommy and get what she wants. She knows how to placate Mommy when I'm at the end of my rope. She can make my heart melt. As soon as she knows she's in trouble (hitting or scratching Mama, knocking my glasses off my face etc) she will nuzzle her head into my neck and be my sweet girl. She has even started saying "Awww" because I go "awww" when she does something sweet. She'll even lean her head on her hand or hug her little stuffed monkey and go "Awww." A little actress already! Drama Queen like Mama. Great. I can't even imagine when she's a teenager.

Some days I'm so stressed out with everything going on that I don't know how I'll cope. My sister is always the best person to talk to -- the calm, nurturing, supportive voice of reason when I feel overwhelmed. She should have been a social worker or motivational speaker or something. She always helps me to put things in perspective. She reminds me -- one thing at a time. One day at a time. I'll start worrying about things months from now and that on top of my daily stresses just puts me over the edge.

Lately the weather has been beautiful again so I've been going out to get some fresh air with Michelle. It helps me to breathe and find my Zen again. Often Michelle will fall asleep in the afternoon in her stroller which is a bonus because then I can just bring the carseat in and get some things done while she naps for a while or keep her outside with me while I pull some weeds and do some gardening. She seems to like sleeping out in the fresh air. 

Recently we went for a walk through the park. No matter how hectic life can get, sometimes you really do have to stop and smell the flowers. Michelle wasn't too sure how she felt about the grass. She's not a big fan of sand either. She will get used to it of course the more time we spend outside. I'm hoping to spend a little time at the beach this summer at least. I got her a little pair of water shoes because I figured they'd be soft and pliable enough for her to walk in. At home she's barefoot but I wanted her to have some shoes for when we're outside (not that she can walk on her own yet but I thought she should get a little practice on different surfaces.)

I can't believe we're halfway through May already. I know I must sound like a broken record but time really is going by way too fast. I want to hold on. It's heartbreaking. I've been trying to wean Michelle gradually. I've gone from nursing her every two hours to three and now even increased it to four. I know that I will have to have her almost completely weaned by July when I return to work. I still can't imagine how I'm going to survive it. I don't want her to feel like I'm abandoning her. She's used to having me there 24-7. Soon I'll be gone all day. She's used to nursing all the time. Soon I'll be cutting her down to 1 or 2 feedings a day or none at all (I don't want to cut her off entirely. I know there are so many benefits to breast milk. I may even try to keep pumping milk even after she's completely weaned so she can still get the nutrients.) The doctor said I can start giving her whole milk in July. I may try to introduce cow's milk gradually as my Mom suggested, in cereal etc. I'll have to sleep train her in June so she's ready for when my Mom is watching her on the nights that I won't be there. It's overwhelming. I don't want to leave her. I'm afraid it will be hard on her and on my mother but it may be worst of all on me. As challenging as it is to care for her all the time on my own, I am so attached to her I can't imagine not being with her every second. It's tearing me apart.

I am grateful for the year that I've had with Michelle. It has been a blessing. I will always cherish it as the best, most beautiful (and sometimes most harrowing!) time of my life. I still have another month and a half at home with her. I have to enjoy the present rather than worrying about the future. Each day is a gift and an adventure. I can't wait to see what she does next.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mom's the word

Michelle and I had a nice Mother's Day celebrating with the family at my sister's house. It was a weird day for weather though. We'd been having such warm summery weather that the sudden blast of wintery cold wind was a shock. Even more surprising was the hailstorm that came with it. Maybe Mother Nature was angry that she didn't get a Mother's Day card.

It was my first Mother's Day as a Mom.  I didn't get a card from Michelle of course. She did say "Mama" though which I am happy about. Unfortunately "Dada" has been resurrected as well. She had stopped saying it for a while and now has started again. She's also been adding other sounds and words to her repertoire. The cutest thing she does is growling like a tiger whenever she sees a picture of a tiger. And she's started saying "Awww" when I go "awww" at her doing something cute. She's already learning how to manipulate me. If she grabs off my glasses or smacks me in the face and I say "No! That's not nice! Be nice to Mama!" she nuzzles into me or touches my face gently to make up for it and then I say "Awww. That's a nice girl." When she looks up at me and says "Mama" I could forgive her for just about anything.

Being a single Mom is more than a full-time job. 24-7 with no help. I didn't get much of a break on Mother's Day either. Michelle is starting to make strange. She cries when my Dad tries to take her. She was even reluctant to let my sister hold her. It's really tough on me because I'm used to giving my arms a bit of a rest when we visit. Usually my Mom, Dad, sister and brother take turns holding her. Now she fusses and reaches for me when anyone else takes her. She is still pretty good for my Mom. She better not make strange with my Mom or we'll really be in trouble! I'm relying on Mom to watch Michelle when I return to work. I still don't know how on Earth I'm going to survive leaving her.

It's still hard for me to accept how fast time is going by. I can't believe she's going to be a year old in a couple of months. I've had several strangers tell me how "tall" she is when we're out and they ask how old she is. When I say "Nine months" they're in shock. She is wearing 12 month old clothes. When I put her in a dress and she stands up she looks like a little girl to me. I can picture her twirling around on her toes. She already tries to dance and loves standing on her toes. My Mom noticed that Michelle thinks she can walk. She will be holding onto the ottoman and suddenly go to turn and step away as though she could just walk across the room but then she only makes it a step before she stumbles. She knows someone (usually me!) will always be there to catch her. A couple of times she has managed to just stand, holding onto nothing. "Wow!" I think, "she'll be walking any minute" but then she'll notice "Oh wait, I'm not holding anything!" and her legs buckle under her.

More and more I am seeing her personality emerge -- her moodiness, mischievousness, sweetness, sense of humour. Her favourite game now is chasing Mama -- I crawl around on all fours and she crawls after me. She laughs her head off. I love her laugh. I remember one of my friends saying that babies become a lot more fun from 9-12 months. They laugh more. They can do more. As newborns they don't do a whole lot. The older they get the more their character begins to shine through. I love her excitement when she clenches her fists and shakes. I love her curiosity (though it also drives me crazy when she grabs at absolutely EVERYTHING.) I am so grateful and so proud to be her Mom.

I did get a card on Mother's Day, from my Mom. She said how proud she is of me and what a good Mom I am to Michelle. It meant a lot to me. Though I do make mistakes along the way, I am doing my best. My Mom may not always agree with my methods (things were very different in her day) but she sees how much I love Michelle, how devoted I am to her, how I would do anything for her. Since becoming a Mom myself I appreciate my own Mom more than ever. I realize now that being a mother is the most difficult (and the most amazing) job in the world.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Well I got my wish -- Michelle can say Mama! She's saying it over and over, mostly in a monster voice (hey, I don't mind I'm just glad to hear it!) "Mama" "Maamaa" "Ma-ma-ma" and just in time for Mother's Day on the weekend. The first time she said it was in the car with my Mom. Why is it that all her milestones seem to happen when she's with my sister or my Mom?! I'm with her 24-7 and then someone else is with her for two minutes and she does something for them that she's never done for me! Oh well. I was happy to hear it. "Do you hear that?" my Mom asked from the backseat (she always sits in the back to keep Michelle entertained during long trips) "She's saying Mama!" "I know!" I said "I can't believe it!" I was hoping she would say Mama before Mother's Day and she has. I hope this wish coming true thing is a trend and if so I'd like to reiterate to the universe that I REALLY WISH I WOULD WIN THE LOTTERY! NOW! :)

Michelle has also been saying "Baba." Her favourite word is "Tee" -- meant to be tree I thought because she kept saying it and pointing at the palm tree but then she also says it for everything. When she's eating "Tee" when we're outside "Tee" when she's playing with her toys "Tee." Sometimes she'll say a word incessantly until she tires of it. Luckily "Dada" has been put to rest. I hope Mama never gets old. The most distressing word she keeps saying now is "Die!" at least that's what it sounds like. I don't know what people must think when we're out. She's my baby monster, growling and yelling "DIE!" (I guess there is a little of her father in her!)

I love the Spring weather and have been enjoying it with Michelle but there's so much to do. Spring cleaning inside and outside the house. Sometimes it's overwhelming. I try to wait until she's asleep to do things but that doesn't always happen so I've had to improvise. I managed to vacuum the house and even mow the lawn with her in her kangaroo pouch. It wasn't easy. I was throroughly exhausted and my back and shoulders ached but I did it. I joked with Michelle "Want to trade places for a minute?" I thought how nice it would be to ride around while someone else did all the work. Michelle seemed to enjoy it. The weather has been gorgeous. Almost like Summer rather than Spring.

I've started taking bubble baths with Michelle. She's getting a little big for the whale tub on the counter and I thought it would kill my back leaning over with her in the big tub. I also thought how nice it would be to have bubble baths again myself (I've missed them!) Michelle loved it. She had fun playing with her rubber duckies. I was a little nervous at first (it can be tricky trying to navigate a tub with a slippery baby) but it worked pretty well. We had both been outside all day and were hot and sweaty (me especially) so it was nice to get fresh and clean for bed.

I try not to think about July because it's too scary. Michelle and I are so inseparable I don't know how on earth I'll manage leaving her. She loves my Mom so much though. Mom is the only one I would leave her with. My Mom said she wouldn't want anyone else to watch Michelle anyway. I just hope she can manage. Michelle exhausts me and Mom is even older to be watching a baby. At least Michelle will be walking by then and hopefully won't expect to be carried a lot. I hope she'll be good for Grandma. Anyway, I'm trying to enjoy the present without worrying about two months from now. Hopefully it will all work out.

I'll have to keep these posts short and sweet. There's so much to do these days and never seems to be enough time. Michelle is napping on my shoulder at the moment (she wouldn't let me put her down. Yeah the crib thing didn't pan out. She wakes up screaming the instant I put her in it every time now so I've just given up) and my left arm is going numb. Sometimes I'm so exhausted and sore and think I just can't go on and then she'll surprise me and kiss my cheek and it's all worth it. And hearing "Mama" (even in a monster voice) is music to my ears.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Nine Months

Nine months inside and nine months outside. My baby has given me the best, most stressful, challenging and extraordinary year and a half of my life. Yes Michelle is now 9 MONTHS OLD and it's freaking me out. I wish life came with a pause button. Time is going by too quickly. Months ago it seemed like I had all the time in the world but it has flown by. We're into May now. Next week is Mother's Day (a holiday which will mean more to me now than ever. I never thought I'd actually be a Mom myself someday.)

There is so much to do and so many things to worry about in the coming months. In July I return to work. I don't know how I'll survive it. I don't know how I am going to leave Michelle for a whole day when I can't bear to leave her for even a minute. I know that I've been very lucky to have been able to stay home with her for a year as some women with grown children remind me that in their day they only got three months on maternity leave. The only one I trust to watch her is my mother (or my sister but she has enough on her plate with her own kids) and even then I worry. With my shifts being long and my Mom living in a different town it's going to be a challenge to say the least. Unfortunately I'd have to be a millionaire to afford a place closer to her neck of the woods. Even if I wanted to leave Michelle with a stranger (which I couldn't) my job has strange hours and no day care would be able to take her. I heard from other Moms who were put on waiting lists for daycare while they were still pregnant. Michelle loves her Grandma and Grandpa and she's always happy when we visit them so she should be OK. I've tried to work out a plan but until the time comes I really don't know how things are going to go. My Mom is nervous about it too. Of course she loves her granddaughter but she's never had to watch her for more than a couple of hours. Michelle will be walking by then so hopefully Mom won't have to carry her too much. It's hard to know how Michelle will be by then. I hope my Mom can manage. My Dad will be there too (thank God because Mom is not an early riser. Not sure how she'll survive my dayshifts dropping Michelle off.) It will probably be hardest of all on me. I'll likely be blubbering like a fool my first day back to work. Already my IBS has been off the charts worrying about everything. Michelle and I have been inseparable 24-7 since she's been born. Even before she was born of course because we were as one for nine months while I was pregnant. At least while I was pregnant I had her with me at work. Maybe I could try to sneak her in in a kangaroo pouch...I've tried to avoid thinking about it because it's too painful and stressful but I can't really avoid it much longer. It will be July before I know it.

Emotionally, physically and in every way it will be difficult for me to be apart from her. I am so attached. Even though she drives me crazy sometimes (and you'd think I'd be RELIEVED to have a break from watching her when she's so high maintenance) I love her so much. She's everything to me. I still have to try to wean Michelle gradually. She still nurses through the night which is the only way she and I get any sleep. I don't know how I'm going to cut out those feedings but I obviously have to when I'm working nightshift.

I've decided I may end the blog in July. This started as a "baby blog" to track my pregnancy and my experience with Michelle as a baby. She will be turning a year old in July. I think that once I'm back at work it will become more difficult, if not impossible to find time to write here. I may still post once in a while but I won't be able to keep up with the 8 post a month quota that I seem to have set for myself and I'll have to keep the posts short and sweet. I'm already finding it difficult to carve out time to write, though this blog has meant a lot to me. I started it when I needed an outlet (4 months pregnant and abandoned by Michelle's father) and continued it to share my thoughts and experiences, joys and frustrations. The feedback has been wonderful and I'm so grateful to everyone who has been following along and offering their support. If you do want to keep in touch you can always email me at -- just be sure to reference my blog in the subject line so I know it's not spam.

When Michelle was 6 months old and the doctor said she didn't need to see her again until she was 9 months, it seemed like a long way away. Now it seems like those months disappeared in the blink of an eye. The doctor said that Michelle is thriving, very healthy, meeting all of her milestones, tall for her age. Now the doctor doesn't have to see her again until she's 12 months old. What scares me is that these next few months will fly by too. I want to hold on. Maybe that's why I take so many pictures and why I write this blog. It's my way of holding on to these days because I know they won't last.

Instead of being stressed and worried about the future, I decided to try to enjoy the present, to cherish every moment I have with Michelle. The weather has been beautiful (it seems like we went from Winter to Summer without a Spring!) so we've been spending a lot more time outside. At my sister's place we hung out on the deck with May, Shannon and Reggie. Shane barbecued. Michelle was a little bit afraid of his beard. She doesn't see a lot of men and I'm not sure she's ever seen one with a beard. She seemed curious about it so I held her close to him and she reached out and touched it. She pulled her hand back in shock. "He's like the prickly monkey!" I explained. (I have a monkey made out of a coconut from the Dominican. Michelle used to be afraid of it but now she loves him. She reaches out to touch him and he's prickly.)

At my place we hang out on the swing on my backyard beach. I remember swinging on it last summer while I was pregnant. I'm so not a  Winter person but I love Spring and Summer. It feels good to get fresh air and sunshine. It seems to be doing Michelle good too. She's sleeping quite well again (knock on wood.)

There is so much to do that sometimes I get myself frazzled, but then when I take a moment to just decompress I feel so much better. Going for walks with Michelle or just sitting on the swing, doing a bit of gardening while she naps has been good for my soul. Doing some spring cleaning is helping too -- my energy can flow better when the house is tidy and everything is in order -- Feng Shui. Sometimes it's hard to find the time to clean but when everything is in its place I actually breathe easier. I was even inspired to do a headstand and was surprised how easily it came back to me. With all the stress I've been under lately I lost another 5 lbs. Now I just have a few more to go and then some toning up to do.

I have to say that I will miss this blog, if and when I decide to call it quits. It has become like a diary of my experience with the baby (though some have told me I may overshare on occasion and it may not be wise to wear my heart on my sleeve so much for the world to see. Hey, it's what I do. Why break a habit? I even wrote a song about it.)

I still can't believe she's 9 months old. Nine months used to sound like a long time. Now it's gone in the blink of an eye. I remember my baby brother explaining to my Mom why time seems to go so much faster the older you get. He was just a child but wise beyond his years. "A year feels like forever to me because it's like a quarter of my life but you have lived so many years that it's just a small fraction of yours."

Time does go by so quickly that's why it's so important to enjoy each moment. I'm going to try not to let stress over the minutiae of life ruin the time I have to spend with Michelle.

She can say "tree" now. She's still not saying "Mama." She was excited about the palm tree in the yard. "Tee" she kept saying and pointing to it "Tee!" There is a black iron tree wall decoration in my living room as well that she's become obsessed with. "Tee!" she says breathlessly, reaching for it. She even says "Eddy" for Teddy. And still no Mama. Sigh. Mother's Day is next week. I keep hoping she'll say it by then.

Everything is full of wonder when you're just learning about the world. The breeze on her arm, a bird flying overhead, purple flowers blooming in the garden. Watching her excitement is infectious. I realize what a beautiful, magical world it is when you take a moment to notice it. Michelle also enjoyed seeing a spider up close (a real spider not the cute smiling one in her book. I sang itsy bitsy spider and she clapped her hands.) She touches her head now when I say "head" or touch my head. She loves to mimic me. She makes me smile and laugh and suddenly all my worries melt away. Suddenly all the things that seem so urgent don't really matter. Time stands still and for that moment I'm just enjoying being with my little girl. That is the most important thing in the world.