Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Letting go and reluctantly letting God

At breakfast this morning, I promised Deaglan that if he ate his cinnamon toast he could have some Pez candy afterwards. In my defense, it was either send him to daycare on an empty stomach or a sugar high.

And yesterday when he refused to come out of the jungle gym at McDonald's playland, feeling completely defeated I coaxed him out by lying that I had seen Gramma and Grampa out in the parking lot. Sorry Bill and Fran but I tried everything else from threats to bribes. I probably should have let him play first and get the sundae afterwards.

I find letting go to be the most difficult part of parenting. Letting go of ideals - the kind of parent you swore you'd be before you actually had kids; letting go of judgements - the I can't believe they let their kids do that kind of thinking and the hardest letting go - letting go of your kids when they are ready to break away from you bit by bit.

If you've read even two posts from this blog, you know that until recently, Deaglan was the centre of my universe. And with the addition of his brother in our lives, the relationship between my first boy and I has shifted in a way that has sometimes left me heartbroken.

I know as a fairly well-read person that all the changes are normal given the new family dynamic as well as his stage in development. Like how he lets me know that he doesn't want to see me at the end of his visits with his grandparents every Saturday or that he seems just as content having Shaune read to him before bed when that used to be 'our' thing. I'm trying to take all of these changes in stride, trying to keep my ego out of it.

I've been telling myself that even though some of these changes feel really really uncomfortable, I accept them. That there is a larger story unfolding here. The story of our lives. The story of my life, and of their lives.

Oh and while I'm making a very good case for why I will definitely NOT get mother-of-the-year award, you should also know that last week when he bolted away from me at the park - me with a three week old in the stroller and still aching from the c-section - and I finally caught up with him, I instilled a fear of "the bad man" in him that makes me cringe with shame everytime I think back on it.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

The second night and the period of purple crying

Yesterday while we were driving, Shaune reached over and touching my chin said: hey your face is losing that chub.

As you can imagine, this was not well received by me. He tried to back out of this comment by saying that if pregnancy and giving birth were his responsibilities, we would be childless.

No kidding.

I notice people say lots of things about pregnancy, birth and babyhood in general that aren't necessarily true. When I had Deaglan, the second night in the hospital was really tough. He cried the entire night and I was a wreck. Some people said that he was that fussy because I was a nervous new mom and he sensing this was reacting.

Not true.

The hospital staff on the second day of Naveen's life gave me a pamphlet entitled The Second Night. It explained that after the first 24 hours, babies begin to realize that they are no longer in the womb. This is why they have such a difficult next few days. The nurse taking care of me that day explained that she wanted to prepare me for the night ahead, that I should know it was perfectly normal for the baby to be unsettled and that there was likely very little I could do to soothe him.

I can't tell you what a blessing that preparation was.

During Deaglan's first three months, for about three hours every evening, he cried and cried and we could do nothing to quiet him. It was frustrating. We were always asking other parents for solutions - maybe it was gas, or maybe I wasn't nursing right, maybe he was suffering from some mysterious internal ailment.

Before we left the hospital this last time, we were asked to watch a 10 minute video called The Period of Purple Crying. The video which is mandatory to watch for parents of new infants in Ontario, explains how most babies will cry unconsolably for a few hours every day and this is perfectly normal. The video and and accompanying pamphlet are meant to decrease shaken baby syndrome.

Wow. What a difference a little education and preparation can make.

I know that people will always have their opinions about pregnancy and babyhood. Most of this is based on their own experiences. Sometimes I take it with a grain of salt and other times I embrace it.

I can tell you that Shaune is not an insensitive jerk by nature. And boy did I make him sorry he ever uttered that comment.

Thursday, 24 June 2010


I don't remember ever being this tired before. I'm trying to do all the recommended things - sleep while the baby sleeps, take naps when Shaune can care for both kids - but I'll tell ya, this is no picnic!

Deaglan is in daycare for three days a week until the end of July and Shaune's parents take him out one day a week. This has been a great help.

I know that this phase too shall pass and I'm trying to enjoy the aspects that I can. I find that if I try to make my day as normal as possible - showering and doing my hair, cleaning the house a bit, getting out if I can - my mental health remains fairly normal.

I do like being this busy, it removes the extraneous crap that can act as a filler to my day.

Trying to train a newborn to sleep during the night feels like the hardest task in the world. The nights are so long. I've forgotten what control of my body feels like. If I'm not nursing, or changing diapers, I'm trying to get cuddle time in with Deaglan who has regressed in several areas. He's getting up more during the night and taking a lot longer to fall back to sleep. He seems to want to snuggle with me all the time which I love except that I am feeding the baby most of this time. On the other hand, he is really acting up, taking out his frustrations on Shaune and especially me.

Shaune and I are both on edge most of the time since neither of us is getting much rest. I know from past experience that this first few months is a survival game. This poor baby was in utero for almost a year and was used to getting all of his needs met without asking. Now he must cry out for everything in a world where the other humans don't speak his language.

I'm also trying to ignore the extra 20 pounds that isn't budging. I gained a total of 50 and know that eventually I will get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. However, I have to remind myself that I need to let my body heal from the surgery before I can start exercising.

I know, I know, whine, whine, whine. I'm hoping that writing about it will get it out of my head.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010


The other day I grabbed myself a bowl of cheerios and took a well deserved break on the couch to eat it. Deaglan noticing this said: Mommy, no eating on the couch! Do you want a time out?

Sheesh! Hasn't this kid ever heard of double standards??

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Father's feast

Tell me if you think this is worrisome or a case of genetics. Deaglan, Naveen, the cat and I gave Shaune a couple of live lobsters for Father's Day. When Deaglan saw them, the first thing he said was: Mmmmmm, I'm hungry.

Genetics right???

Happy Father's Day to Shaune and Grampa and Papa!!

Thursday, 17 June 2010


When you lose someone suddenly- when that person has left this place of their own volition -you find yourself in a state of confusion and remorse but most of all everything feels unfinished.

I knew him but I know I didn't. He had a completely separate life in Toronto among his friends. He was someone else there, someone I wish I had been privileged to know, someone I wish I had made more of an effort to learn about.

After he was gone, I began to recall every phone call, every email, every text. What did I miss? What could I have said? Why didn't I take things more seriously? Why the hell didn't I do something???

Why didn't I take more pictures of him?

Desperate little prayers run through my head - please God don't let it be true that he's gone.

Yesterday when I logged onto Facebook, there he was at the top right corner and the message said: Reconnect with Matt. It made me want to vomit. But I couldn't bring myself to unfriend him. His hundreds of friends are still writing beautiful condolences on his wall. It would feel like losing more of him.

Lately Deaglan is in the habit of asking the whereabouts of friends and family. While playing with a truck Matt had gifted him, he asked: where is Uncle Matt mommy?

Wincing I replied: In heaven.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Okay so maybe he needs a little more time to adjust...

I think with time and exposure to Naveen, Deaglan will come to accept that he is a permanent part of our lives. Maybe then he will stop telling the baby things like:

This is my mommy, Baby! Your mommy is at home.

It makes me wonder where he thinks the baby lives.

I've also had to keep a close eye for random acts of resentment like the flicking of towels at Naveen, or trying to push the baby swing a little too high etc.

It's hard to know the right things to do. We've been making Deaglan the centre of attention to the point where we are forgetting to take pictures of poor little Naveen. When Deaglan was born, it was like the paparazzi had arrived in our lives. People were snapping pictures left and right.

For some, I understand, that a toddler is a lot more rewarding to interact with. I just hope that we don't lose sight of the fact that our little Naveen is just as special.

And finally, thanks to all of you, my friends, for the warm words of comfort that you have wrapped me in recently. I love this blogging life I am a part of. Some of you I owe thank you's to - like Jenn for making our little Naveen some sweet pants, mitts and a hat. You are so thoughtful and well just plain inspiring since you only recently had your second baby! And to some of you I owe a phone call like my wonderful friend Kelly. I think about you all the time. And to others, like Rachel, Christy and Wendy whose posts about their recent new additions have kept me going, please don't stop writing!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


I wore mascara yesterday even though I knew it would be a mistake. I am all tears.

Sweet tears of joy for Naveen, whose name in Hindu translates as new.

Hot salty jealous tears as I sit breastfeeding every hour or so and watch my other boy entangled in play with his dad. My arms are long enough to hold both of you, I want to plead. Please come sit with me like before. I miss us.

Tears of bone-aching tiredness that this baby doesn't know it is night time. And tears of frustration that arise from not sleeping.

Tears of deep sadness at the loss of one I loved so dearly. Everyday I miss him more and seem to lose him all over again. Yesterday I asked Shaune to stop reading the sympathy cards aloud, the heartfelt words of friends and family that leave me broken.

But also tears of gratefulness that I could be so lucky in this lifetime to have these two children and this husband and so many family and friends willing to love me.

And just when I think the tears will finally stop, I catch a glimpse of joy or sorrow and begin again.

So it is best I leave the mascara in the vanity until another day. A day where I can see these things and contain them in my heart. For I know that this joy, this sadness, this jealousy, this tiredness, they are all meant to be, meant to make me grow, meant to heal me.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Naveen and us

Well, here he is. Naveen Matthew McNamara. I'll write some about the birth later but he came to us via C-section on Monday May 31, 2010 at 2:12 pm weighing 9lbs, 14 oz and 21.5 inches long. Unlike with Deaglan who was considered an emergency C-section, we were allowed to bring the camera into the OR and I was able to kiss his little face when they showed him to me. He was breathtaking.

Shaune wasn't as nervous this time. When Deaglan was born, his only experience with babies had been with his little sister Chrissy who is 25 now.

Every day we look at each other and raise an eyebrow. We can't believe how much Naveen resembles his older brother.

And speaking of big brother, I can't tell you how surprised and pleased we've been with his reactions. On the first meeting he said these things:
Mommy is that your baby?
Mommy did you get a new shirt? (pulling on my hospital gown)
Why is baby brother crying? and before I could answer I didn't make you sad baby brother.

On the second meeting he said:
Can I kiss him? (He asked this several times throughout the visit)
I love baby brother.
Can he come home too?

When I got home yesterday he said these things:
Can I give baby brother some bacon?
Can I help feed baby brother? (we gotta start enforcing Naveen's name - the poor kid's gonna grow up with some issues)
I want to hold baby brother. (this is said several times a day)
We're laying low this week. Trying to figure some of this out. We've each taken on a kid as you might have guessed. Some of the things I've noticed since Shaune has been 'in charge' of Deaglan are:
  • Deaglan's outfits rarely match
  • Crackers and cashews are considered lunch (there are a lot of good nut fats in cashews - Shaune reminded me of this when I went to object)
  • Instead of carrying around a diaper bag with the travel size diapering needs I use, he uses a plastic grocery bag and fills it with like eight diapers, a full size container of vaseline and the large box of wipes.

I'm not complaining, just observing.

I'm doing pretty well I think. I'm in the normal amount of pain you would expect from surgery. Naveen has caught onto breastfeeding really fast and it all came back to me within a few days. Shaune and I have both been very conscious of how we are interacting with Deaglan. I try to make sure he is the centre of my attention when he's in the room. It's been challenging squeezing onto a chair trying to feed the baby and cuddle with Deaglan while maintaining a position that doesn't have me doubled over in pain.

And here's an errand Shaune never thought he would have to run. I just sent him to Walmart with the largest nursing bra I own and told him to ask one of the associates to find the exact same bra but two sizes bigger. He just grabbed it from me without skipping a beat and went on his way.