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So, before I get into some pretty long-winded thoughts, I’d like to give you a friendly reminder that there is currently a Happy Maps giveaway happening here on This Tiny Blue House. Feel free to enter for a chance to win your very own personalized Happy Map if you haven’t already! Good luck to everyone who has already entered!


Recently, Mer and I sat down to watch a Hemingway documentary on Netflix called Papa. Have you seen it? It really is an interesting window into Hemingway’s life so if you haven’t seen it I would recommend you watch it. Mer isn’t much of a reader and although he knew who Hemingway was he really didn’t know much about him so he was especially interested in watching.  When we got to the part about Hemingway’s 6-word novel (the famous: For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn) – Mer and I just looked at each other with a blank stare and understood perfectly well what the statement was insinuating.

Or, did we?

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What ensued was an interesting conversation about time, perspective and circumstance.

Clearly, we both assumed that there was a dead child involved. But, were our assumptions based on our own experiences of time, perspective and circumstance or is there some universal understanding that when a pair of unworn baby shoes are sold there is a deceased child involved?

When I was a kid my father would tell me that everyone had “cobwebs in their closet” and that “some were thicker” but ultimately everyone had them. I think the conversation started when I broke down crying after my parents separated. It was the late 80’s and by cultural standards at that time I was ashamed of my home life. He told me not to worry about it because everyone had dusty cobwebs hidden in the very back of their closet.

Okay, back to what I was getting at here.

It’s really quite amazing how our own experiences have shaped the way we perceive things around us. Before our losses, I doubt we would have made such a heartbreaking assumption about such a potentially simple statement. We likely may have arrived at it eventually but it would probably not have been our first conclusion. Years ago, my brain would likely have wandered to ideas that the child outgrew the shoes before getting the chance to wear them or perhaps the child had more than one pair rendering this pair unnecessary or that poverty was at the root of the decision to sell them. I doubt though that my brain would have instinctively led me down the path of dead babies.

But, now it does. And, it  highlights that perceptions are altered based on circumstances that are unique to each and every one of us. Our story really dictates how we perceive the world around us doesn’t it?

To the parents who have lost children, that 6 word-novel could mean that a child died. A miscarriage, a still birth, infant loss – the possibilities are endless.

While to some it could be an example of poverty.

To others it could be interpreted as necessity – selling a child’s baby shoes to feed a habit, to turn the lights back on, to buy food, to fuel the car to get to a job interview, to make some extra cash to purchase medication. The possibilities are truly endless.

I suppose then that our individual perceptions of what that statement truly means is fueled by who we are, where we come from and what our  lives look like both past and present.

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Interpreting blog posts functions quite the same way I think. When I write something it comes from my perspective – an anxious repeat loss mom who is acutely aware of what it means to be poor, move up the socioeconomic ladder only to find herself in heaps and heaps of consumer debt years later. But, to those who don’t have those same set of cobwebs, my opinions and beliefs could potentially be misinterpreted ya know?

Perhaps, when I make a blanket statement like “I’m jealous of other women’s pregnancies” it might make me appear to be vile, envious and shallow. But, to those know me, know my story, know my struggle- I might get a little leniency.

The reality behind that statement is that getting my baby here safely was horribly difficult.  Does my statement now become less terrible? Does the meaning somehow change? Does my own circumstance change the intention?

Blog posts, and writing in general is tricky. Often times I catch myself reading and re-reading my posts because I know what baggage comes with my writing but most of the time you the reader don’t. Clearly, there are certain aspects of my life that I’ve shared and if you’ve been reading for a little while you’ll know that I mean no harm by statements like the one above but to a new reader who doesn’t necessarily understand my history that statement might be interpreted completely differently.

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As I’m growing this here blog I’m realizing more and more how perspective and circumstance influence both what I read and what I write. I’ve read countless blog posts from women who are “over” their pregnancies. From their perspectives it’s an innocent claim that likely has no intention of piercing through a loss mom like me. From my perspective, that claim makes me cringe because well you know – some women would give absolutely anything – make a deal with the devil even to bring a healthy full-term baby into the world. Perspective and circumstance.

This applies to everything really. Discussions on minimalism, vegetarianism, veganism, politics, opinions, beliefs, religion on so on and so on.

Essentially, anytime we put something out there we are opting to have our words which are inspired and peppered by our own perspectives interpreted by people and their unique worldview right?

How much effect do you think perspective has on interpretation of blog posts and writing in general?

What are your thoughts and interpretation of  Hemingways 6 word-novel?

 

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The week just flew by. It seems that as soon as Monday rolls around life is on fast forward as we cruise through the week to Friday right? We’re pretty much on a fixed schedule around these parts when it comes to day to day life which although kinda boring helps keep me stay organized and top of Margs’ needs and all the household stuff that needs doing. Mer has been up earlier than usual these days (thank you winter snowpocalyse) to head to work and is usually arriving very late into the evening thanks to traffic and snow mayhem so I’ve been sorta parenting solo all week.

On that note, I found it really helpful to talk about my highs & lows last week so I decided that I’d make this a recurring series on This Tiny Blue House. I really enjoyed sharing both my ups and downs with you fine folks but more importantly I loved reading yours.

So here we go – installment two!

Highs

[1] Valentine’s day was literally amazing. I woke up at 7am to find baby missing from her cot. I stomped down the stairs (my hips and feet are still messed up from bed rest) to find Mer and Margs sleeping on the couch. I promptly woke him up and told him he was going to be late for work (Mer is a sleepy sleepy guy – not a morning person at all) when he kindly informed me that he took the day off to be home with me and baby for the fine consumer holiday we call Valentine’s day.  So, not only did I get to sleep in but I got to take a nap late afternoon and lounge around with my 2 favorite people. It’s all about simple pleasures folks!

[2] Sleep training is working (most nights) and by consequence my sleep habits are improving too! Margs  usually only wakes up one time per night (a bottle of water and a back rub usually helps her fall back asleep promptly) but spends the entire night in her cot. This is such a game changer for us. Not only do we get to sleep in the same bed again but we’re both getting far better sleep. We’re just crossing our fingers that she doesn’t revert back to wanting to co-sleep.

[3] Mer surprised me with a Valentine’s day gift this year. At first I sorta looked at him strangely when he appeared with this red bag with hearts shmeared all over it. When I opened it I found this Weekly Planner and the coolest oversized mug. So, although we never buy gifts he decided to break the rules and buy me an agenda so I could have a place to keep track of all my blog post ideas (I suppose he was fed up of finding scraps of paper everywhere). The mug is precious and he bought it to replace my giant mug that we had to retire recently after our cat nose bumped it right off the counter.

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* I love love love this Weekly Planner. First, it’s huge which means there is tons of space to brainstorm, doodle and jot down ideas. Second, it’s super cheap as far as planners go – Mer told me that he had looked at a few at Walmart and Staples and that they were all in the price range of 20-30$. At roughly 8$ this is totally worth the money especially if you combine it with another item or two to score free shipping.

Lows

[1] Snow. Folks, it has snowed so so much over the last week. On Monday we got 30 cm of snow – the wet heavy kind that makes shoveling really hard. Then, on Wednesday we got another 20 or so centimeters making the grand total somewhere in the ballpark of 50 cm. It’s enough now, my body seriously cannot handle shoveling any more snow. We’re also stuck putting it on our property because this suburb doesn’t pick up snow – there’s honestly no room left on our front lawn. If you come driving down our street you cannot even see our front door – that’s how much snow has accumulated. We’re starting to get a little nervous about the spring thaw – flooding is a huge concern for us right now because this much snow is going to create a ton of water.

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[2] Locking myself out of my fucking house, not one but TWICE this week. So this house has a fancy key pad on the front door which means that I don’t have to worry about forgetting my keys (one of my recurring bad habits). Well, wouldn’t you know that the key pad refuses to work in -10 degree weather or colder. The first time we thought it was the batteries so we swapped them out – then it happened again. Needless to say I’m going to make it a point to bring my keys with me from now on. Thankfully, Mer was on his way home both times so Margs and I weren’t stuck outside in the cold for too too long.

[3] Dirty laundry. We’ve been dealing with blow outs pretty much all week. The extra bottle of water at night time means that Margs’ diapers are extra wet in the morning. I’ve been washing sheets, blankets and her cot mattress protector basically every single day this week. I’ll take it though – if it means she’ll sleep through the night in her cot and not in our bed, I’ll just deal. Eventually we’re hoping she wont need the extra bottle which will reduce her output at night time. There’s no way I’m waking my baby to change her in the middle of the night and risking having to put her back to sleep.

What are your highs and lows for this fine week of February 13th?

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parent

I got treated to a coffee date with one of my dearest girlfriends Saturday. After speaking to her Friday and letting her in on my need for a break she asked me on a date so we could chat and catch up. Since our move last summer I haven’t really been able to see my friends on a regular basis – we’ve all got a ton going on and with this new distance between us it’s a little difficult to get together as much as before. So, this was an extra special treat. Naturally, the conversation came full circle and we ended up talking about our kiddos (break right?). I told her about my blog and how I write about how damn hard parenting is sometimes and she stopped me dead in my tracks by asking me what makes me an awesome parent.

Well shit, do you know that I really didn’t know how to answer her? I just looked at her dumbfounded and in that moment I realized that I don’t give myself enough credit for the parts of motherhood that I’m actually pretty good at.

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I don’t have it all figured out- nope, not even close but I am doing the absolute best I can. There are days that I consciously ignore my kids saggy diaper butt to avoid another diaper change meltdown. There are also days where she watches more T.V than is recommended and we don’t delve into book reading, creative activities or momtastic activities like foot painting or glitter gluing.

There are days that my brain, heart and body are just tired and you know what, I think that’s okay… sometimes.

There are bad days and there are good days and on those good days I’ll tickle my little girl until she laughs so hard she cries. Those days are the ones where I let her explore, make messes and let her just be her – in all her messy glory. Those days actually happen more often than they don’t. So, maybe I’m being a little too hard on myself.

After much thought and reflection this weekend I came up with a random list of reasons why I’m an awesome mum to Margs. I think “us” Mums/Dads are far too hard on ourselves and often fail to see and acknowledge what a good job we do most of the time. We are good enough – we just have to stop, take a deep breath and appreciate it more often, don’t we?

Let’s have at it, shall we?

/ I am an awesome Mum because I’ve created and maintain a safe physical and emotional space for Margs

/ I am an awesome Mum because I love Margs unconditionally and always put her first

/ I am an awesome Mum because (despite my type A personality) I’m allowing Margs to “fall” so she can teach herself to get right back up again (both figuratively and literally)

My friend reminded me to stop and pat myself on the back every now and again so now I’m going to do the same for you – some days we just need that extra shove to put it all in perspective.

Now, I absolutely, categorically insist that you share why YOU are an AWESOME parent too!

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I’m so so excited that it is finally Friday – it’s been a rough week anxiety wise and I’m really looking forward to having Mer around to give me a small break this weekend. I think I might head to a local coffee shop tomorrow and treat myself to a cappuccino and a much needed emotional/physical break from my role as mom. I feel awful that I’m so desperately craving a break from my kid but it’s just been such a rough week (sleep training, teething, general fussiness coupled with my own anxiety issues) that I just need some time to sit and just be me and not mom for a few hours.

Highs

[1] Margs slept in her pack and play 4 nights this week. This is HUGE since we couldn’t even put her down anywhere but our bed without having her wake up screaming. She hasn’t slept through the night yet but the physical separation means that Mer and I are finally sleeping in the same bed again. We’ll take it – even if it means getting up 2-3 times per night to help soothe her back to sleep. Eventually, we hope she’ll be able to self soothe. But, for now we’re celebrating this small victory.

[2] My meal prep on Sunday has made dinners this week an absolute breeze. I prepped a cottage pie, baked fried chicken, pork chops in a white wine mushroom sauce, Mediterranean chicken, rice with lentils, broccoli rab & green beans. Dinner has been basically been heat and serve – there’s no mess to clean and it makes our evening routine with Margs much more relaxed an easy to manage. Is anyone interested in the recipes? If so, I’d be more than willing to post them on the blog. Just let me know!

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[3] We celebrated Margs’ 14th month birthday this week. It’s truly amazing to watch her grow. It seems like she’s changing by the minute. She’s currently walking, talking and exploring like it’s nobodies business. She continues to amaze me every single day.

Lows

[1] I’m feeling rather isolated most days which isn’t good for my anxiety because it gives me far too much time to think and feed the spiral. I should try and immerse myself in our small community and start going to play groups with Margs again or find another activity we can join that will give us both the opportunity to socialize but winter in the Canadian north sucks guys – it makes going out so difficult.

[2] I’m over winter. I’m nursing a very sore shoulder thanks to having to chip 2 inches of ice from our driveway. I used to love winter but now it’s just hard. The cold, the unpredictable weather, the crazy amounts of baby gear needed to keep Margs warm and safe. Some days it’s just easier to avoid heading out at altogether. It’s pretty but totally not practical.

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[3] I’m struggling with my own sleep patterns. I’ve never been a great sleeper but recently it’s been increasingly difficult to fall asleep at night. I’m sure our horrible sleep situation wasn’t helping. There are far too many nights where I find myself awake binge watching Netflix hoping I’ll doze off. Some nights that means no sleep until 3-4 am.

[4] I’m still trying to find an allergist to have Margs tested. I’m so incredibly frustrated that one, not one clinic has called me back and that two, we might have to wait up to 2 years to find out if she is in fact allergic to blueberries because the wait list is that long. Socialized health care really sucks sometimes. In the meantime, we’ve got an epi-pen and we’re avoiding blueberries. I’m just worried there are other allergies we don’t know about.

So there you have it, my highs and lows for this week!

What are your highs and lows for this fine week of February 6th?

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Friday! My gosh, how is it already Friday?

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This last week has been a blur – a sleepless blur. I’m somehow convinced that after boasting to our pediatrician that Margs sleeps through the night (albeit in our bed) karma decided to teach me the very important lesson that bragging isn’t cool by having my kid decide that suddenly she wants to be nocturnal.

She’s been up consistently from midnight to 4 am, 3 nights in a row. I’m surviving on short naps and coffee. Hopefully this “phase” (teething possibly?) will pass soon and we’ll be back to business as usual.

Speaking of Margs, I got an email this week asking me why I don’t post full frontal shots of my little girl . Great question since I don’t think I’ve ever directly broached the subject.

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Profile cuteness.

I thought the question was interesting and it sparked an interesting conversation between Mer and I about our own positions on digital citizenship and where we stand with regards to sharing our lives on the internet – or, how much we’re willing to share with the Internets.

Hey, did I ever tell you I was a teacher? I taught math to a bunch of 10 and 11th graders but also got the privilege to teach a class about digital citizenship when I decided to head back to school and get a graduate degree in education and technology. Basically, I  taught kids about responsible internet use in a society where technology is a fundamental part of day to day life. Fun fact,most 10th graders in this area believe that facebook is for old people! – jaw dropping right? That folks is how quickly technology changes.

With that said, digital citizenship is really an important part of our lives. Mer works in medical technology and since I blog and have an online presence albeit a very small one, we’re very cautious about what we put out there with regards to our little girl because ultimately we both feel like posting photos of her isn’t our right. She has no agency in this situation and until she can make those decisions for herself we’re just not comfortable with sharing photos that are any more revealing than the one above. That photo is probably the closest to seeing a full frontal as it’ll get.

I’m just not comfortable with sharing more than that folks and I hope you understand.  I’m just a believer that she’s entitled to a certain level of personal privacy and that as her mum it is my job to protect her privacy until she’s able to tell me “mom I want to be on the blog”. That day may or may not come and I’m cool with that.

So there you have it. The internet can be a beautiful place where you can share ideas and interact with awesome people who have so many brilliant things to share but it can also be a scary place especially when there are children involved and for the time being we’re opting to keep our little off of it as much as possible.

Where do you stand on sharing kiddo pictures? I’m interested to hear different opinions!

 

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