December 2006

How do you know?

by DaniGirl on December 29, 2006 · 38 comments

in Frostie, Infertility, It IS all about me, Loss

How do you know your family is complete? How did you decide? Did you always know? Did you just stop? Were you forced to stop by circumstance, or forced to accept more than you expected?

What’s it like for families who don’t have the spectres of infertility and loss lurking in the shadows of their hearts? How different would all this be if we hadn’t struggled so hard to earn the two precious boys we have?

In one minute, I’m perfectly content to stop. Two beautiful boys is a lifetime of blessings. And then the pendulum swings, and with entirely the same amount of conviction, I know that we’ll have another child. Know it in my bones. It’s a truth, a certainty. That lasts about an hour, and then I don’t know again.

When I look at Tristan and Simon and how truly wonderful they are, I can’t help but think that having another child – boy or girl – would be more of the same, therefore wonderful. How can I say no to the idea of more of the most amazing thing that ever happened to me?

And then the fear kicks in. The fear of pain, the fear of loss, but mostly the fear of really fucking things up. It’s not the idea of the third child that scares me. It’s the risk. The what-ifs.

What if we decide to try, we commit to the idea of that third child, and then we can’t conceive? How long do we try? How do we decide to stop trying? Can I face month after month of not conceiving – again? Can Beloved?

And if we can get past the fear of trying (and let me tell you, even after Tristan and Simon, the struggle with infertility has left deep and painful scars on my heart. Mine, and Beloved’s too)… even if we get past the fear of trying, there are so very many things that can go wrong.

If we are lucky enough to conceive again, I’m now 37 years old and officially of advanced maternal age – and with a history of infertility and miscarriage. Can I deal with nine months of paranoia? What if I have another miscarriage? What if I don’t have another miscarriage, but something is wrong with the baby and we have to face a horrible decision? What if the baby is born, but that baby has needs beyond our ability to cope? Do I even have the right to risk my family’s collective future simply because I selfishly want that which was denied to me?

And these are beyond the more pedestrian worries of whether the boys will be content with another sibling, whether Simon be okay as a middle child, whether I’ll have enough time and energy for a whole other person in the family, how we’ll cope with the logistics of five in a world that favours families of four. All these things seem trivial now, but just six weeks ago seemed like epic problems.

I need closure, trite as that expression may be. I need to know that I can give away my maternity clothes, get rid of the crib, and pack up the baby gear for good. I need to be able to pick out a few favourite things that I’ll keep for sentimental sake, and get rid of the rest of it. I have boxes on boxes of baby and toddler clothes, toys, bottles and spoons and bowls, a baby tub and a cradle and a playpen. I have baby gates and booster seats, stacks of bibs and blankets and towels, and shoes in every size. I have three strollers and three car seats and a beautiful pine crib – and I just to know whether I’ll ever need them again.

That’s a lot of clutter in my house, but mostly it’s a lot of clutter in my heart. I need to know. I can’t just let the idea of my next child drift away like the sunlight fades out of a summer day, dragging on for months or years. I don’t want to feel this sad yearning uncertainty forever. I need to know.


Feed my family!

by DaniGirl on December 28, 2006 · 30 comments

in Life, the Universe and Everything

Okay, bloggy friends. I need your help. (Yes, again.)

In the last couple of weeks months, I’ve gotten into the habit of only buying two or three meals worth of food at the grocery store. Three days later, I’m back in the grocery store again, agonizing over what to make. Two trips a week to the grocery store is neither fiscally prudent, nor incredibly efficient.

The reason is a complete lack of inspiration in the meal-planning department. I’ve never been overly fond of my role as chief meal planner, but in the last little while, it has become an arduous task. I don’t even mind the actual cooking, one I get going; I just can’t think of anything to make. My meal-planning list has been reduced to five or six meals in heavy rotation, and frankly, we’re all getting a little sick of them.

The rotation lately has mainly consisted of spaghetti, chili con carne, tortellini, lasagne, and tacos. Yawn! We need some variety. I pawed through my cookbooks a couple of times (I have all the books in the Looney Spoons collection – LOVE them!) so I can even come up with a few main dishes. But then there’s the whole “what goes with it” side-dish conundrum.

Seriously, I need your ideas. Desperately! What’s your favourite easy, healthy family meal? From soup to nuts, spell it all out – and if you want to leave me a recipe or two, I’m willing to try just about anything at this point!


Post-Christmas wrap post

by DaniGirl on December 27, 2006 · 14 comments

in Ah, me boys, It IS all about me

(Editorial note: please stop to admire my careful wordsmithery before proceeding. That’s two devices in three words in a four word title: the post-post repetition, and the wrap as in gift wrap/it’s a wrap pun. What, you don’t love it? Sheesh, you people are hard to please!)

Ahem, well then, on with the show. Without further ado, I’m pleased to present to you this round-up of the Gifts of 2006.

The Theme of the Year award goes to Pixar’s Cars movie. Between the two boys, they got maybe ten or a dozen of the cars characters, including duplicate Lightings and Maters; the Mack playset; the movie; a set of board books; the deck of Uno cards; and a toothbrush each. Close second is the Wiggles, making an appearance in a Memory card game, two DVDs, and two board books, including one with a surprisingly un-annoying digital music player that makes a good toddler-friendly impersonation of Mommy’s iPod.

The If I have to play another round of Candyland I’ll swallow this cyanide pill award goes to Cariboo and Uno. While Cariboo is still a little bit simplistic, it’s a game the boys can play with each other – and without parental engagement. They actually prefer just using the key to open the boxes and hunt for balls, bypassing the rules entirely, but so long as they are playing with each other instead of torturing the dog, we all win. And in Uno I have finally found a game that I could sit for hours and play with Tristan. He needs to be prompted a bit, but can play independently without showing me his cards. We are well on our way to family game nights!

The Have I told you how much I love my mother award goes to – surprise! – my mother, who gave me a small package with a gift tag that read, ‘To Danielle, with love and admiration. From Mom.’ Inside was a small silver key chain, inscribed with the word “mothership”. She printed out the blog banner and brought it to the engraver to duplicate the font – and they did a damn fine approximation. Does my mom rock or what?

The Ohhh, I love a good deal award goes to the Bob the Builder Electronic Workshop. We were in WalMart when I saw a bunch of these stacked on a skid in the toy section. They were reasonably priced at $14.97, so I picked one up for Noah, my two-year-old nephew who has recently become a Bob devotee. The boys were so fascinated by the box that Beloved went out that night and picked up a second one for Simon. A few weeks later, we were in our favourite specialty toy store and they had the same set – for $54.99!!

The Indoctrinate them while they’re young award goes to the 65-piece kitchen set for Simon. He calls it his ‘tea set’ and loves it. He was especially excited by the ‘flipper flopper’, which Tristan precociously informed him was called a spatula. (How he knows from spatulas is beyond me.) I’m hoping to have Simon cooking dinner by the time he’s in grade school.

The I know you better than you know yourself award goes to Beloved, who got me the Penguin Book of Popular Canadian Quotations (he specifically said he thought it would make for good blog fodder), and the first season of the Muppet Show and Sesame Street Old School (1969-1974) on DVD. We’ve recently discovered old Sesame Street clips on YouTube, and have spent hours watching them. Ironically, the boys’ very favourite clip from YouTube is the first sketch on the first episode of the Muppet Show DVD.

The How to flummox the staff of Future Shop award goes to me for trying to find tapes on December 24 to go with Tristan’s portable cassette player. The first clerk I asked had no idea what I was talking about and sent me toward the VHS cassettes. The next two clerks hemmed and hawed and said they didn’t think they carried that kind (insert tone of disdain here) of thing. I finally found them in the car audio section. Sheesh, it’s not like I was looking for laser discs or 8-track tapes, for goodness sake. I bought bulk, just in case.

The Most Annoying Toy award goes to Mr Bucket. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Simon has developed a peculiar obsession with Mr Bucket, going into paroxysm of excitement every time he spotted it in a flyer or catalogue. We have no idea why, even going so far as to ask the caregiver if she has this game. She does not. Simon has simply become fixated on this particular toy for some reason. So of course, we bought it for him for Christmas. And he hates it. Well, that’s not entirely true. Mostly, he’s afraid of the noise it makes. Unfortunately, he forgets about every three hours that he hates it, and takes it out of the box, plays with it for 90 seconds, and puts it back.

The No really, I bought it for the kids award goes to two winners this year: Marble Run and Superfort. It’s a natural progression from the hours I’m willing to spend building intricate and looping wooden train tracks to building intricate and looping marble runs and really fun and funky forts. Bonus marks to Cranium, makers of Superfort: after watching me just once, Tristan is already building his own forts. I am highly impressed! Now, could somebody please add an expansion pack for Marble Run to my Tristan’s birthday wish list?

On a less commercial note, the Awwwwww award goes to Simon, who loved everything he got. Everything! Every time he opened a gift, it was the best gift ever. Not once did he ask for more presents, even when the festivities paused to regroup or welcome a late arriving guest.

And finally, the Big brother award goes to Tristan, who has made my jaw drop open more than once in the past few days with the tenderness he has shown in helping Simon open stuck toys, reach high shelves and find lost toys. There has also been plenty of bickering and sniping, but I’ve been so impressed with Tristan’s behaviour that it merits a mention.

In retrospect, it was a blissful, bountiful Christmas. I’ve said it before: I’m a lucky girl!

Now I’ve got two preschoolers and my mother’s birthday coming up in the next ten weeks. Any recommendations for more great gifts?


Too big for my britches

by DaniGirl on December 27, 2006 · 21 comments

in It IS all about me

I had to go shopping for pants yesterday. I was down to two pairs for work and one ragged pair of jeans, and not having any pants that fit was making me unbearably cranky. I’m not thrilled about buying in the larger size, but it’s better than the other two unacceptable alternatives of pants that don’t fit and maternity pants five weeks beyond being unpregnant.

Much to my dismay, when I lost the pregnancy last month, I didn’t lose a single pound of accumulated pregnancy weight. Thankfully, I hadn’t gained much in four months, but with the extra two pounds I’ve added by self-medicating with Doritos and shortbread cookies in the month-long recovery phase, I’m a solid 10 lbs heavier than I was this summer – which was already a solid 10 lbs heavier than I really wanted to be.

So while losing 10 lbs seemed achievable enough in an “oh, it will come off eventually” sort of way, losing 20 lbs seems rather daunting. I bought some new pants because being naked in an Ottawa winter will be pleasant for neither me nor any onlookers, but I’m hoping that I don’t have to rely on them for too long.

I know myself well enough not to bother dieting, nor to make sweeping declarations that I will never eat a potato chip or drink a coke again. And the weight watchers thing did nothing for me. Rather, I’m trying a ‘moderation in all things’ approach where I pick and choose my indulgences, rather than giving over to every whim and craving, and to try to be conscious about what I’m eating and why. That’s the plan, anyhow.

Mostly, I’m planning on increasing my physical activity. I’m hoping to add two days a week to my existing once-a-week gym habit. I currently do 25 minutes on a cardio machine and a weight circuit every Saturday morning, and my gym membership covers access to both a club in my neighbourhood and one downtown where I work. I’m hoping to add a morning workout one day a week before work, and there’s a class called ‘on the ball’ that I’m thinking of taking one day a week at lunchtime.

So why am I iterating all of this in what may be the most boring blog post ever? Well, pretty much because I tend to blog what’s in my head, and this is definitely taking up a lot of space in my head right now. Mostly, though, I want to hold myself accountable, and being open about all this will be help me with that – knowing it’s not only me but all of you who want me to lose 20 lbs in the next couple of months.


It’s midafternoon on Christmas day. The boys have been up since 5:25, after having stayed up many hours past their bedtime on Christmas Eve. Presents have been played with, DVDs have been watched, and no healthy food has been consumed. They are, in a word, done.

And yet, they are refusing to nap. I wouldn’t ordinarily expect Tristan to nap, except he outlasted his brother the night before by a solid hour or two, and has been sneezing all over the house, shooting snotrockets onto toys, books, DVDs, and his unappreciative family. The boys desperately need a nap. So, for that matter, do I. Since I’m unlikely to get one in any circumstance, I figure I’d rather they nap than none of us nap and I bundle them up for a ride in the car.

I hope that by the time they are old enough to drive they overcome their car-triggered narcolepsy, but for now I am grateful that in the five minutes it takes me to drive through the nearest Tim Hortons and head for the country roads south of Barrhaven, they are inevitably fast asleep.

I head to the nearest Tim’s, already yawning myself, and am shocked when I arrive. They are closed. Tim Hortons is closed. I take this for an abberation, and drive to one that is attached to a convenience store, reasoning they must be open.

They are not. Neither are the other three Tim Hortons to which I drive in an increasingly agitated state. I am not impressed. There should be some sort of national ordinance compelling Tim’s to be open every day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no scrooge. I know it’s Christmas Day, and the minimum wage workers deserve to be home with their families as much as the next guy. But the boys are by now asleep, I have at least an hour to kill in the car, and I’ve had about half my required sleep the last couple of nights. This is no minor inconvenience. I NEED A COFFEE.

I briefly debate the merits of running in to a gas station for what will inevitably be a really terrible cup of coffee, but guiltily remember what happened the last time I left the boys sleeping in the car and decide against it. No cup of coffee is worth that kind of anxiety.

Then, it occurs to me that Tim Horton isn’t the only game in town. In fact, just this past summer, a Starbucks drivethrough opened – the first one in Barrhaven.

The Canadian coffee drinking world falls into one of two camps – the Starbucks crowd, and the Tim Hortons crowd. And ne’er the two shall meet. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I am almost praying as I pull off Woodroffe and peer into the windows of the Starbucks – and sure enough, they are open.

I really can’t stomach their regular coffee, but I’m a fan of the occassional skinny latte. I order myself a grande, and tip the barrista half the price of the (already ridiculously overpriced) latte in gratitude.

For close to 90 minutes, I make my usual contented loops through the countryside south of Ottawa, from Manotick to Kars to North Gower to Richmond to Stittsville and back. I sip my Christmas latte contentedly and consider switching teams. If it weren’t four times the price, I could get used to this.


Merry Christmas!

by DaniGirl on December 25, 2006 · 24 comments

in Uncategorized

Wishing you and your families

a wonderful Christmas

filled with joy, laughter…

and a lazy afternoon nap.
From Dani, Simon, Tristan and Beloved
P.S. More photos from Christmas 2006 on Flickr!


Festive cocktail party comment game

22 December 2006 How I love the Interwebs

I’m so excited! Today is the kids’ Christmas party at work, one of my favourite parts of the holiday season. Beloved is bringing the boys in within the hour. I’ve learned my lesson after last year’s Santa gift fiasco, and this year Santa will give them each the same toy. Not only that, but Santa […]

23 comments Read the full article →

The class Christmas party

21 December 2006 Working and mothering

Sometimes, I worry about silly things for no reason. I can work myself into a pretty good lather over them, too. (Stunning revelation, no?) For the better part of a week, I’ve been angsting over Tristan’s class Christmas party. The angst reached a fever pitch last night, with me near tears in the dollar store. […]

6 comments Read the full article →

The year in review

21 December 2006 Memes

Filched from Angry Pregnant Lawyer. The year in review, by posting the first sentence of the first blog post of each month of 2006. What happened to my baby? Although today is Simon’s birthday (and thank you for all the birthday wishes!), we celebrated it with the family last Saturday. Sorry about yesterday’s blatant cry […]

7 comments Read the full article →

Donder. Not Donner, DONDER.

20 December 2006 Rants and rambles

“You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen;Comet and Cupid and DONDER and Blitzen…” Ah yes, it’s that time of year again. Those of you who know me well are rolling your eyes and saying “oh no, not the reindeer thing again.” Yes, the reindeer thing again. If I can educate just ONE person […]

48 comments Read the full article →