We have had a load of company since before Eliza was born. It has been so wonderful having so many people come out to see us and I’ve been out and about more in the last few days with some beautiful old friends (and by old, I don’t mean “old” – inside joke) than I have in months.
I went to Buchart Gardens, Beacon Hill park AND wondered all around downtown with two fabulous women for the last three days and I forgot my camera every time. It’s like I have only enough memory for a baby and a diaper bag. The camera has been shut out.
However, now my sister is here and I’ve been pulling out the camera more often. She captivates Eliza. The photo with this post is of my sister lulling Eliza to sleep with her beauty and a few hums of Hush Little Baby. Thuraya has a touch with these little humans.
I get glimpses of my sister when I look at Eliza. I can only hope Eliza takes on some of her qualities – but not the screaming part.
I love you, Thuraya, but you were a loud kid.
When Franklin was born, we lived in a very large house by the ocean. We had tons of space, but very little storage. We had one amazing roommate and very large windows. It was a wonderful place to live. Steps to the ocean, 15 minute walk to downtown. The neighbours were owners of one of the best bookstores in the city and the lady who lived downstairs came up to visit me and take care of Franklin if I needed to sleep off the bazillion bouts of mastitis that I contracted.
We are living what seems to be the opposite. The home we have now is small (North American standard of small anyway), we are several kilometres from the ocean, we have very little space (tons of storage), no roommate and windows that are pretty big but that don’t open upstairs and which has caused me a few sleepless nights going over fire drill scenarios.
The lack of space means we don’t have a change table set up for Eliza. Big deal, right? Sure, but now that I have another child, I constantly compare experiences. I think it will be something I do until Eliza becomes more than a milk drinking blob and I quit thinking she’s actually baby Franklin all over again. Those wee hours of the morning can do wonders for your mind, but that’s an entirely different post.
Franklin’s change table had everything an over-achieving mother is supposed to display for her child – the black and white stimulation mobile as well as a variety of fish and a stash of rattles at the ready. It’s not that he was incredibly fussy and needed all of this, we just wanted him to be a genius in order to placate our own insecurities regarding our own precarious intelligence…
Eliza, however is getting a raw deal in comparison – at least until we move to the new place next month. She gets changed on the floor, the bed or the couch. Her stimulation? Well… Franklin’s silhouette? The frame of my glasses? My soothing rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?
When they say you are more relaxed about the second child, I hope I don’t actually fall into placing her in front of a window and letting my five year old babysit while he simultaneously cooks dinner so that I can have my beauty sleep (wow, that sounds nice…).
Actually, there is one pattern she is attracted to and it is right above the rocking chair where I feed her. A big Marimekko fabric stretched on a canvas that Dickson bought at a garage sale and is our favourite possession. I love these patterns. The one on our wall is a classic and I hope to be able to afford a few more designs in the future.
Recently, I found this clip on you tube (a slight addiction of mine, that you tube).
When I left this blog, I was feeling a little exposed. I was also conscious of the amount of emotion I was sharing with the Internet and I wasn’t quite sure why. I didn’t really like the fact that my friends would start a conversation with me based on something I had revealed only on my blog. I wanted conversations and revelations to be with them, not a result of something I had written days earlier.
As a result, I decided to stop the blog. I wanted to concentrate on other things and most importantly; I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings with my friends through face-to-face conversation. So, did this happen over the course of the year I was away? Absolutely. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of close friendships I have developed. There are people who used to read my blog that I only knew as acquaintances that I now call a close friend. There are others who used to be what I considered a friend but take away the blog and with that, all intimacy we really ever had.
Sometimes I hesitate to write this or mention this to others with blogs because I most certainly don’t think this applies to all who blog but for me, a blog stood in the way of real friendships and falsely propped up others. I had always thought I would return to blogging to would try to save the more intimate portions of my life for my friends and partner instead of just letting them read in online. These friends are not necessarily those in my same city, but they are the ones who return my emails, who come to visit and whom I feel comfortable talking to over the phone (normally, I loath the phone). They are the ones I call when I find out I’m pregnant but can’t tell anyone yet, who are genuinely excited about projects I’m working on and who know how to listen without judgment and always have wise advice.
However, I’m on maternity leave! I’m not reading anything mind-blowing or profound and I’m not taking any courses. Franklin had his booster shots last week and the book about Louis Pasteur was probably the most challenging read I’ve done in a month.
In fact, I’m overdosing on HGTV programs and the news channel until our cable gets cut before the move and providing 24 hour nipple for Eliza. The most perplexing thoughts I seem to have these days are whether her eyes are going to be blue or brown. What to write about? If I’m saving my more personal thoughts for more intimate forums, what do I fill in here? I suppose I will have to just wait and see – and perhaps set myself more of a challenge to read more interesting things than cute television realtors with British accents and whether Brenda Martin is innocent or guilty.
Weekends are definitely more difficult than the weekdays.
I have to constantly remind myself how wonderful Franklin is. When we ask him to prepare for swimming lessons and he says “No” I have to remind myself that if this is the extent of his “rebellion” then we are extremely fortunate.
And it is – the extent of his rebellion. For a child who has been the centre of my life for 5 years, his entire life, he is doing remarkable well with this whole “new sibling” thing.
I have to remind myself that after I put Eliza down and Franklin yells across the room about some random shark fact (did you know that Shark Water is out on video finally? FINALLY?) and she wakes up again that it wasn’t intentional. The fact that he forgets she’s here isn’t his fault and really, it’s nice that he isn’t worried about her all the time.
I have to remind myself that my reminder of hugging her gently was actually followed through and that his leap onto the bed before that and narrowly missing her head is only enthusiasm and not malice. We are lucky he is so enamoured with her.
I have to remind myself that we have a wonderful boy who is trying so hard. Having a sibling this late in the game will take getting used to. My brother (18 months older) didn’t really know any different. I probably always seemed like I was there. Franklin, on the other hand, can remember before Eliza was born. He remembers what it was like.
I had a friend come over for a visit today. Her children are spread 4 years apart. Her son reminds her of what things were like before his little brother came along – “Mommy and Me Time”. It breaks her heart. I wonder if Franklin thinks about this. He seems good about it all. He tells Eliza he loves her (even when he thinks we aren’t listening) but I hope he’s also happy. He’s such a pleaser (inherited from his mother) that I wonder if he believes this is how he’s supposed to act.
I’ve tried to talk to him about it but we weren’t alone and I think he needs some time to think about what we talked about. His responses were very “No big deal, Mum”.
Of course, I may also be over thinking this entire thing. He may truly feel that things are “No big deal”. Perhaps he has inherited the ability to take things in stride from… not me.
or maybe when you are born on the west coast it seeps into your genes.
Motherhood the second time around is funny. In many, many, MANY respects, it is easier. The breastfeeding went smoothly. The recovery time went smoothly. Even the inevitable haemorrhoid has been better. You know what to expect and when it does, you know the solution before it gets worse. When it doesn’t happen, you are pleasantly surprised.
I am also fortunate to have a loving family. My mother came for a few weeks and then my mother-in-law came for a few weeks after that. They cooked, cleaned, rocked and shhhh’d their way into Eliza’s heart. As well, they learned all about aliens, dinosaurs and sharks from Franklin and there is no boy on earth that has had a baby sister be born and be lavished with so much attention at the same time.
My mother-in-law has left tonight. It was a little odd to have no company in the house after 6 weeks of in and out relatives. Of course, there was still her meatloaf ready for dinner on the kitchen counter but other than that; I was actually left to my own devices. While Dickson was at the airport and then off to school to finish a final project I ate dinner with Franklin (with Eliza feeding away), got him ready for bed and brushed his teeth (while burping Eliza) and then read him stories and put him to bed (while she fell asleep).
It feels like the same kind of system we’ve always had with one added difficulty level – Eliza. However, I think we’ll be fine. In fact, I think we’ll be wonderful.
I have a feeling that my mother and mother-in-law are worried about us. In a way, this hurts, as I know the two of them did it on their own with three or more children. They didn’t have automatic washers or supportive families like I do. They did it anyway. They were tough. They persevered.
I’m tough. I’m game. I can do this too. I think I’ll just have to show them that we are going to be okay. Of course, we are also moving in less than a month and I have to pack this house up tout suite (yes, moving mid-May!) but I’m competitive that way. They’re ringer washer and language barrier difficulty levels have to be matched somehow, right?
For the birth of Eliza, it was arranged that there would be one person to be with Franklin while I was in labour (my mother-in-law) and then my mother (doula) and Dickson with me. We weren’t sure if we were going to do the home birth or a hospital birth until the last few weeks revealed I was positive for GBS and I wanted a hospital birth for observational reasons. Regardless, I wasn’t going to assume that Franklin wanted to be with me at home so I wanted to make sure he had someone else to “hang with” while I, breathing low, slow and ever so gracefully, laboured through the night.
The evening my mother and father arrived my water broke with an audible “pop”. I woke up my dubious partner from his comfortable sleep and then took a nice long shower. My labour started the same way as with Franklin; steadily increasing with intensity, but nothing unmanageable. The only difference was that the contractions were more intense. In the end, Dickson had very little time to catch Eliza. She shot out like a cannon. In fact, she came out so fast that her head looked as if I had a caesarean. She also had quite a bit of trouble coughing up residual mucus, something that also tends to happen with caesareans, as the baby doesn’t squeeze it out while going through the birth canal – makes for a few scary first days while she choked and stopped breathing every once and awhile… (ack).
Out she shot and then once he tried to place her on my chest she only came to my belly. Her umbilical cord was too short to go any further. No wonder she was head down since I was 18 weeks pregnant. No other option!
Anyway, it was a wonderful birth. Two midwives, my partner, my mother and… my father who was called in while my leg was way up in the air and I was mid-push. Poor man. He was waiting outside the door and my midwife thought hey! He’s here! Ada? Want your father to come in?
The look on his face… he thought that the baby had already been born.
However don’t get me wrong, it was incredible special to have all of those people in the room with me. I think if I ever give birth for a third time I’ll bring in my entire family, Dickson’s family, Franklin’s classroom and any co-workers and friends who want to stop by. We can serve beer and nachos and have the game on in the background.