my tragic right hip

Busting out bad joints all over the place

September 10th, 2012

How Many Ways to Cook Your Chicken

I was inspired by Kerry K. Taylor’s post “1 Organic Chicken, 22 Meals, $49.00 Bucks,” and so I roasted a chicken this weekend for our family. My chicken was not as expensive, but I bought two of them (one for the freezer because it’s ever-so hard to get to the butcher), and some other supplies for the upcoming weeks. It’s all a pale attempt for me to put into action the increasing guilt I feel over not cooking enough at home. We order a lot of food, and we’re also trying to civilize (ha ha ha ha ha ha!) our two-year-old and have full family dinners a couple of times a week (RRBB often eats earlier than we do, hopefully this won’t be forever).

So I cooked this lovely old chicken, roasted some vegetables, which were terrible, made an apple crisp and some muffins too this weekend. Sometimes, cooking feels like such a balm to me, it’s work that is rewarding but also fills up the busy time. Having a curious and over-active toddler doesn’t make it easy–he wants to stir everything, dump everything, and generally make a giant mess as I’m trying to keep things tidy, but it’s killing our budget to eat out so much.

I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make some chicken soup this week, because I did make stock from the leftovers, which is at least two, most likely three meals, and then some when you add in Ethan’s meals too. But every week, like anything else in my life, I try so hard to say, “oh, no ordering this week!” and then bam! something hits and we’re stuck back in the same rut of ordering and eating bad food. It’s so unhealthy. Yet, it seems to be all about surviving these days. Add to my over-layered sense of guilt–I read Mark Bittman’s delightful Cooking Solves Everything Byliner original the other day, and have been feeling the pressure to at least try and cook more. It’s easy at the cottage–there’s no phone, and hence no take-out, but the minute we’re back in the city, cheap Chinese food’s on speed dial and there goes another year of my life to bad cholesterol.

My health, for once, feels kind of stable, even if I’m always exhausted and rundown. At least my kidneys are cooperating and my bloodwork isn’t a puzzle for sixteen-dozen specialists to figure out. But even if that’s under control, I’m still the unhealthiest I’ve been in the last five years. Being overweight, under-stimulated, sluggish, and a whole host of side effects from the various medications I’m on, means I’m stuck in a rut that I can’t get out of. It’s hard to put all that pressure on one lonely “happy”-esque chicken to solve my problems, but it was a good step. Fingers crossed our soup turns out.

March 17th, 2012

Busted On The Bloor Line: Take A Moment

There is a marked uneasiness these days. Something isn’t quite right. I can’t trust the weather — it leaves a pit in my stomach that something is going to go horribly and absolutely wrong. It is not normal to be wearing white short-shorts in March to the sugar bush. And I’m not just talking about the sheer oddity of having no snow for an ENTIRE winter, but the fact that the world might be changing in ways that I won’t recognize as my son grows up. (more…)

October 20th, 2011

Busted on the Bloor Line: Delayed Reaction

The euphoria of being back at work hasn’t necessarily worn off, hell, I’m still just so stunned that I’m getting a regular paycheque again that I can barely contain a grin when I look at my bank statements. But I’m finding the day-to-day a difficult adjustment being torn between wanting to be at home with the baby and finding myself truly excited to be engaged at work in a way that’s reminiscent of the early days I spent as an internet hack.

So, I cry in the mornings a little bit as I leave. I race to work. Barely take a break. Race home. Put the baby to bed and then collapse in front of the television before heading up to bed to read a little before getting a bit of sleep until the baby wakes up at about 4 AM and I can’t get back to sleep again. Then, here we are, it’s 622 AM and I’ve been up since 4 and am faced with a very long day without naps where I am expected to think and be productive and all I’m capable of doing is writing run-on sentences and drinking umpteen cups of herbal tea.

(more…)

October 12th, 2011

Busted on the Bloor Line: A Working Mother’s Diary

Today, the RRBB went to daycare for the first time for an entire day. By himself. Without my RRHB as a buffer (he did three transition “days” last week where he left him for a half-hour to get used to the environment). I was crushed. I was immediately struck down with guilt for being excited to go back to work. To be excited to be back at work. And then I had to remind myself that daycare is exceptionally good for the baby. He’s around other kids. He gets to learn in a wonderful environment taught by people who truly enjoy the company of these incredible little critters. But when I picked him up on Monday from his first full day, my heart almost collapsed because he was so upset. His teacher said it’s a fairly typical response: when other parents arrive and a child’s hasn’t arrived, they panic and freak out.

My whole world right now is conflicting emotions. I am elated to have a portion of my life back. The working me loves to be working. I adore using my mind and I have a really interesting job at the moment. Working in publishing has its challenges and rewards, but being on the frontline of the ebook revolution is akin to being on the frontline of the digital revolution when I first started working in websites over a decade ago. I get high from the newness of it all — I like the “wild west” feeling of each day (I know that’s a lame analogy but you know what I mean?).  Yet, I’m completely and totally overwhelmed by how much my job has changed in a year and how much of a learning curve there seems to be. I’m terrified everyone will discover I honestly have no qualifications to do what I’m doing. Well, I have some credentials, a good work ethic among them. And then, I struggle with the emotions I feel on an almost minute-by-minute basis about missing the baby, and not just aching for the physical presence of him, but losing whole days where I used to be in constant contact. I’m not going to lie, every day last week I thought, “Well, now I’ve missed three days of my son’s life.”

Many working mothers I’ve surveyed have felt the same way. The question isn’t whether or not we’ll work. The question is how we’ll cope with the fact that we are working. One friend said that the first week would be horrible and then it would get better. My first day back was actually pretty terrific. That hyper-excited ‘back to school’ feeling permeated the entire day and it whizzed by. People were happy to see me. There’s an ease because, well, after being off for a year, I really didn’t have a lot of work to do. Essentially, it’s not a real work day. It didn’t seem like the transition would be all that hard. Oh, how foolish. Today was pretty rough. I had a late conference call and didn’t get home until after 7 PM. Not only did I miss the baby’s day, but I also missed his bedtime. And bedtime is my favourite time. We cuddle. We read stories. It’s the only time he’s a really cushy baby — for most of the other time he’s romping around like a Sendakian wild thing. And I missed it. All of it. There’s a sadness that creeps in around the time that I’m missing. People keep saying to me that it’s quality time and not quantity but at his age, I’m not sure if he can tell the difference. He needs consistency and calm because he’s a whirligig — he can’t tell that I’m sick or tired or frustrated — he only knows that I’m there to catch him when he turns around after crawling half-way up the stairs and decides he’s had enough.

So, to placate me, I think, my RRHB has agreed to do all kinds of ridiculously fun (IMHO) family-type things that neither of us would have imagined a part of our lives before we had the baby. We’ve been to two farms in three weeks, with petting zoos and tractor rides and bucketloads of kids, and then next weekend we’ll have our very first birthday party. I’m going to bake a cake. I’ve taken a day off of work to bake a cake. I know I’m no Tina Fey but I understand how these two important aspects of your life, your job and your role as mother, can have equal importance. I’m lucky that my workplace is so flexible. I went over to get the RRBB a bit early from daycare because I was worried about him and promptly brought him back to the office. That’s where he had dinner. I feel like it’s acceptable for us moms to do stuff like that — I’ve never seen a working dad bring a baby into the office unless it was accompanied by said baby’s mother. And the whole time we were there, I was telling the RRBB, “here’s where mummy works, here’s the books that she works on, here’s my computer and my window, and make sure you finish this food so you don’t get grumpy on the subway.”

I’m lucky to have a lot of vacation this year, which will help mitigate the guilt I have about only having two full days a week to spend with the baby. I’m already dreaming of taking a great vacation somewhere warm where I can equally introduce him to things that inspire his mummy: the ocean, the sunshine, big, tall trees, cobble-stoned streets and maybe a foreign language. Still, I have a horrible feeling I’m going to be playing catch up with my emotions and my parenting. Consistently trying to make up for the fact that I’m somewhere else for the majority of the day. Consistently trying to give him all of my attention for the few hours I do see him before and after I go to work. Greeting him with a smile and a delicious sense of joy even if he wakes up at 5 AM. Maybe that’s what people are talking about when it comes to quality. Or maybe I just need to take a deep breath and give it a bit more time before making all kinds of crazy pronouncements about my failure as both a mother and a publishing professional. Or, maybe, I just need a good cry.

September 23rd, 2011

Notes From A House Frau: The Final Edition?

When Life Hands You Lemons: Suck Them, Hard.

Right now, the only fresh fruit the RRBB will eat unfooled is a lemon. This photo’s a bit blurry and disguises his actual enjoyment, which vasilates between, “oooh sour!” to “ooooh delicious!” in a matter of seconds, but it cracks me up beyond belief when he chows down, peel and all, on something most people generally use as garnish or to bolster a shot of tequila. Awesome.

It’s been a very trying few weeks. We closed the cottage, which is always bittersweet. It’s hard work and it’s made even worse by a baby who hates being in the cage of a play yard. The summer feels over. There’s a touch of cool that shades the hot of the days now, and I am this-close (eight business days and counting) to heading back to work after my maternity leave. I can’t believe the year is almost over — I will be going back almost to date to when I ended up in the hospital with my bleeding lungs and I wish, I wish, I wish I was better by now. Yet, I am not. Between the massive amounts of disease meds, and the pummelling of the disease itself, things aren’t desperate or dire (there’s very little active disease in my body and I have few symptoms) but I am sicker now than I have been in months. (more…)

September 2nd, 2011

Notes From A House Frau – A Summer Diary

We had a crazy thunderstorm last night. The sound boomed so loud that it shook the entire cottage. Lightning lit up the whole lake in shock after shock. I was a little scared, lying in bed, both of my boys sound asleep (the thunder had woken the baby up once; he went right back to sleep), wondering what I would do if the weather turned truly scary, and had to resist the impulse to pull the RRBB out of his slumber and into my arms, like that would be any safer.

The summer has been glorious. The RRBB’s halfway to walking, crashing his head on anything that it lands on, and barrelling through it all, and having awesome falls. They made me incredibly upset at first. Especially the one where he landed so hard on his face that he had the imprint of the carpet on his forehead. But he was, and is, fine. There’s a moment before he falls, a big fall, not just a bump on the bum, where I look at him and think: “This isn’t going to be good.” And then, crash. He’s got the stool on top of him and his wailing and the only thing that will calm him down afterwards seems to be a good book. I read a long while ago in my What to Expect the First Year tome that young babies don’t like storybooks. That little soft, chewy, baby books are best for bed time and/or sleep routines. Yet, we have been reading a lot of storybooks and the baby seems to be enjoying them — a lot. He skips over the baby books, with the exception of a couple Baby Einstein books that my aunt bought him, and goes right to The Gruffalo.

So, what does a 10 1/2 month-old actually understand? I find it amazing that he recognizes the books and illustrations that are his favourites: Tubby (which is a baby book), Grumpy Bird, Boo Hoo Bird, Not a Box, the list goes on. We introduced The Gruffalo a few weeks ago and he didn’t take to it at once. Just like he refuses to pay attention to all of the Peter Rabbit board book that I bought. At first he didn’t sit through the whole thing. Then last week when we got to the point where the Gruffalo makes his appearance, he cried. I mean, he makes strange with people, sometimes, but never with an imaginary creature in a book. He’s 10 months old. Only he won’t stop choosing The Gruffalo. He picks it out of the pile of books. He turns the pages in advance of where we’re reading to see the monster, and then, when it appears, he makes a stink face that’s hilarious. I’m amazed and intrigued at the same time. What does he understand? Is he actually scared or does he enjoy the monster enough that he craves it now? Either way, I am going to keep reading it to him, and assume that he likes most of it, just not the part where the Gruffalo actually shows up. Cracks me up.

So, bully to you WTETFY, because my baby seems to like all kinds of books, not just baby books, but maybe I’m showing my own preferences too much. I can’t stand silly books. I can’t stand silly books for adults, tolerating them for kid seems hard for me. I spent most of his infancy reading Mister Men books. While he won’t sit still for those any more, he consistently pulls out Oliver Jeffers and Russell the Sheep, all books for toddlers. And he’s the one picking the books, we put them in a pile in front of him and he chooses, one after another, until we’ve gone through the stack. He’s turning the pages (prompted by me, of course) and he sits still throughout six or seven books, even gets very grumpy when story time is over and it’s time for bed.

In a way, I’m pushing him to be a reader. I know that. I’m trying so hard to instil a love a books into the boy that I’m afraid I’m not ruining it for him forever. Although we may need some new material. It’s probably time to start hitting up the library for more gems. I look happily for suggestions from other parents out there about their favourites.

Annnywaay, the picture’s a little blurry but I love, too, how he’s surrounded my dozens of toys all the time and here’s what he chooses to play with: the camera case (as pictured), shoes, my glasses, my hair, the carpet, the fiddly metal things on the chest in the living room, his father’s belt, any socks, and all kinds of other things that we have to consistently pull him away from. And he’s such a boy. For a long time, when I was in university taking feminist philosophy, I read so many books about gender, nature vs. nurture, and all kinds of interesting theory about personality development. Now, ten months into motherhood and I’m about to declare it all bunk. This is revolutionary to me. I prided myself on all kinds of political correct arguments about innate behaviour and how it’s our society that does all kinds of damage where gender is concerned. Now, I can’t argue with any of these valid points. It’s a bit frustrating for me that when he was born, I said to myself, “who cares how he’s dressed,” but the fourth or fifth time he was mistaken for a girl in his yellow jumper, I decided enough was enough. He has lovely musical toys that he adores. He has wonderful bits and bobs that are great for any baby. But he also has trains and trucks and he gravitates to them. I’m not sure he knows what they are or why he likes them, but it’s hard when you are blessed with the gifts of second-hand toys, which to me is more important than what the toy actually is as long as its safe and he likes it, to complain that they’re all “boy” toys, you know?

I am imagining it’ll be a good philosophical experiment, raising a boy, to see how much of his nature we can influence — to raise him to be respectful of women, to raise him to believe in equality, to raise him to understand that everyone has a right to sexual and gender freedom, to raise him up to be strong with good manners that aren’t archaic but familiar and comforting — all of these things that seem to be separate from his utter “boyish” nature, things that we are meant to teach him as his parents, things that I feel are important. Perhaps I shouldn’t have gotten rid of all those feminist textbooks after all. Maybe I need to remind myself of why I believed those arguments in the first place. Or maybe I’m just rambling at the end of a long, beautiful summer with my delicious little boy at a place I love with my family, spending time raising him up, watching him crash back down, and then cuddling him within an inch of his desperately short little life.

August 12th, 2011

Notes From A House Frau: The Summer Edition IV

Today was not a day. Just like the box is Not a Box. Today was a marathon. And now, at the end of it, because of all the medication, I can’t have a drink. So, even before breakfast the RRBB had almost killed himself.

I jest.

One would imagine he’s simply taking an interest in his father’s Bocce set — but if we look closely at the hazards around him: dirty laundry in the pail, bleach, vinegar, lye, booze bottles, and all kinds of other household cleaning products, I am surprised no one came to collect this baby and call me unfit this morning.

He woke up at 530 AM. This picture was taken at around 7 AM. We hadn’t even gone back to sleep at this point — luckily, the RRBB takes awesome naps in the AM.

Not so much today. Lots of bawling. He slept for an hour and a bit. We got back up at 955 AM.

Then, it’s time to walk. The best thing I ever did? Haul his gigantic stroller up here from the city. Why? Freedom. Freedom that doesn’t involve fossil fuels, that is. We walked down the cottage road and stopped at the dam. I felt a little like the late Michael Jackson trying to balance the baby (and not toss him overboard) and take a photo at the same time but we managed.

The weather was amazing today. Bright, sunny, and totally clear. Strange that two days ago we were bundled up in sweats to take the same walk. The dam hasn’t changed the entire time I’ve been alive — no, wait, it has — there’s less water in the river and they’ve chained off the top so you can’t walk on it any more, but, really, it’s the same.

The toads, however, have gone missing. When I was a kid, around this time in August, the roads would be littered, LITTERED, with baby toads. Little brown hopping things going who the flapjack knows where and I adored them. Now, no toads. I saw one big toad on the road on the way back from Marmora the other day and it honestly made me cry. That is how much I miss the toads. Or maybe my childhood. Or maybe I am simply hoping that nothing up here ever changes because it’s truly the only home I still have (next to my beautiful house in Toronto but I am waxing historical here people). (more…)

August 10th, 2011

Notes From A House Frau: The Summer Edition III

If you say this is fun, then, yes, this is fun!

We took a little drive to the neighbouring town of Marmora this afternoon so I could get a bit of a break, and the baby could have a chance to not kill himself for five minutes. There’s no stopping him (as I might have mentioned) and it’s a ceaseless game of chasing him down so he doesn’t pull the vacuum cleaner, garbage pail, ancient heater, entire dresser, antique sewing machine, box of toys, and anything else he can get his hands on to pull himself up, down on top of himself. He won’t even sit still in the bath. And you can forget about trying to get him either changed or dressed.

So I am learning a new skill: patience. It’s not that I’m impatient but I do have a temper, and I’m trying to take it out on anything but the baby — it’s not hard, just exhausting. Remember all those months ago when I scoffed at the endless people telling me to “sleep when the baby sleeps”? I have taken that advice to heart and then some. He naps, I nap. He goes to bed, and I try to get to bed at a reasonable hour, but then there’s so much to keep me awake. A beautiful moon. Interesting noises coming from the back room. Sentences that should be scribbled down. And I think it’s all because I spend the entire day chasing away any thoughts at all, having conversations with someone who responds by babbling, that by the time the evening rolls around I’m desperate for adult company, even if it’s just my own.

He tried his first piece of corn on the cob yesterday. This pretty much sums up what he thought of it: WTF? Food does normally look like food, right? It’s hard to strike the right balance between introducing him to “real” food and not baby mush. Like any other time in this baby’s life — he does thing exactly when he’s ready. He’s a good eater, don’t get me wrong, but you know when he doesn’t like something. Right now, that’s all fresh fruit. Banana in. Banana out. Peach in. Peach out. Sometimes I fool him and the look of pure anger and betrayal that I get back cracks me up. I only wish that I ate as balanced a diet as the baby. By the time the cottage is swept, tidied, dishes done, baby down, toys put away, fire on (it’s 12 tonight, 12!), wood in, I’m ready to collapse on a frozen pizza like it’s a bed.

We’ve been taking really great walks during the day, though. All the way down the cottage road to the dam, and tomorrow I’m going to try for the Fish Hatchery. The first day, I forgot water. The second, sun screen. And then the more stuff you pile on, the less you feel like you’re just taking a walk — you feel ready to hike up Kilamanjaro or something with the amount of crap you’re hauling around. But I still wonder at his wonder. When he saw the dam, with all that rushing water and a wee baby muskrat mucking about, he was awed. Today when we went back, he wanted to dive right down into the rocks beneath the river — no fear of crashing his head or smashing up all of his bones — what was down there was just so fascinating.

We saw deer this afternoon. One with spots on the way out and one without on the way back in. I tried to get a good picture but I didn’t have time to point the camera AND remember to turn off the flash, so the deer has demon eyes. Truly, they were soft and beautiful, just like their fur looks, and they were not remotely afraid of us. The baby was playing with his toy clop-clop horse, and from the shaking I heard from the backseat, I’m gathering he did not notice the deer at all. But I did. Stopped the car. Paused. Told them how beautiful I thought they were and let the wind sing all around me.

In the end, it’s good to remember that I’m surrounded by truly wonderful things. A cool, crisp lake. A forest that endlessly fascinates my son as we walk down the road. Places to go. Swings to visit. Parts of your heart to hold on to as your baby grows up inch by inch in front of your eyes. He doesn’t pause, not for a moment, and that’s probably okay — everything is new to him. And I have to remember to take a moment to think the same thing: to see everything afresh, to notice the cool red mushrooms and the wild asparagus-looking plants at the side of the road. Not race down so fast that I almost come crashing into the fawn who so graciously jumped in front of me at the very moment I forgot that I was at the cottage at all.

August 7th, 2011

Notes From A House Frau: The Summer Edition II

Our bed at the cottageBless my family. My aunt didn’t like this bed set nor the mattress cover she had bought, so we brought it up north along with a new bed this summer. What a difference a comfortable bed makes. The last bed we slept in tilted so far down that you ended up sleeping in something that approximated a Canada’s Wonderland gravity-depriving ride. This bed has made my summer. We are sleeping so well, even with a leaking roof, even with a mouse infestation that I have never seen before in my life (we are finally winning; they ate our COUCH), even with the ups and downs of the weather, and even with the constant dragging sickness that’s following me around like a bad smell this summer.

This week we were back in the city. I had doctors’ appointments, blood tests, and other miscellaneous medical-related things to do and, plus, we had a wedding reception to attend on Saturday night. It’s been a good week. A good news week, I should say. For the first time in ages, the reports coming back from the doctor aren’t filled with horror, dread and more tests. The results of the kidney biopsy I did about eight weeks ago were surprisingly good. There’s a lot of damage from both the pregnancy and the insane flare caused by the aforementioned pregnancy, but there was a very, very small amount of actual disease activity. That means the medication is finally starting to control the Wegener’s. That means I only have to be on the big guns for another six weeks. That means I’ll be off them before I go back to work in October (just barely but it’s something). They’re also starting to taper the prednisone, which is awesome. Just to be off that horrible drug for the first time in a year will be a revelation.

So, for once, good news. I hardly know what to do with myself. Celebrate, I imagine, but the medication they have me on to stop the protein going through my organ (the blood pressure medicine) has dropped my BP so low that I feel a little foggy most of the time (92/66! 90s/50s when I take it at home). Put me in a restorative yoga class and I might end up in a coma. Kidding. But celebrate is what I did on Saturday night at the wedding we were graciously invited to. Never in my life have I been in one place so filled with Wikipedia entries for Canadian musicians. I had three-point-five glasses of white wine — more alcohol than I have had in almost two years, and promptly spent the evening telling everyone how uncomfortable my underwear were, and then, after taking them off, that I, ahem, had to take them off. It was sweltering, rained a bit, but we were outside with great music, and our impromptu dance floor consisted of about four or five of us die-hard dancing types (at weddings and my living room now only) requesting insane songs of the poor deejay and shaking it so hard that both shoes and shoulder straps came flying off and more than one drink went in the wrong direction. At one point, my RRHB was talking to a member of a huge Canadian indie band when I promptly told him the underwear removal story and then flounced my way off to shake my naked-under-my-dress ass to A Tribe Called Quest. Yes, it was that awesome.

But there was something else in the imbibing than just getting drunk in a glorious celebration of the newly and happily married couple. A lot of people ask me on a regular basis how I am and often my response is, “I’m not dead!” Yes, I’m being flippant. Yes, it’s not entirely true that I’m this-close to death’s door anymore but I find it’s easier than to go into an hour-long diatribe about my current mental and physical state. Now, I’m just smiling and saying, “fine,” even though that’s not entirely the case. This year has been magnificent in so many ways: I’ve got to spend a ridiculous amount of time with my wonderful child, taking, I hope, good care of him, warming him up for his time with his father in the fall by getting him into good routines, good behaviour (ha!) and generally encouraging his already amazing little personality. But all of my time, any spare time, any awake time, any time away from the baby has really and truly been taken up by disease-related crap. Doctors. Blood tests. Biopsies. More blood tests. Different doctors. Stress fractures. Baby weight. Prenisone weight. And it all takes a huge toll on you. I am an entirely different person this time around. I no longer wish for the disease to take me, Dylan Thomas style, raging into the night (I know, I know, I’ve got the poem all backwards but you get what I mean, right?). There were times in my life when I would tell the Wegener’s just to be done with it already. I’m sick of it and I’m sick of being sick. But now, I’m just tired. Many months have gone by where I believed that I would never catch up on my sleep, let alone get enough rest to battle the disease back, and my armour, while pockmarked and pitted, finally seems to be holding again.

So when the SFDD asked if I could reschedule my appointment from last Wednesday to this upcoming Wednesday, I did something entirely out of character. I said no. I told them I would be up north now until September. I am taking a holiday.

 Because before you know it I will be back and work and done nothing with this amazing gift of time outside of the RRBB. Not that he isn’t a job enough, but as I was speaking to a friend, a father to a three-year-old, he was laughing about how funny the adjustment period to parenthood actually is — he’d take care of their little guy, then drop him in bed, play the guitar like crazy, create some art, and then remind himself to go to sleep at a reasonable hour because he’d wake up to another crazy-filled day of taking care of an almost-toddler.

The RRBB is crazily still in this photo. That’s a rare occasion. He’s pulling himself up on everything, half-walking, crawling like a maniac and smiling impishly when I or his father say no. There’s little we can do to contain him. He barrels into everything: hard objects, soft objects, sleep. And I love every inch of him, even when he’s wriggling so much that it takes both of almost twenty minutes just to change his diaper. Imagine what it’s like with me on my own.

It’s been almost a year since the disease came back with a vengeance. That’s a long time to stay cooped up in my own head. It’s no wonder I exploded on the dance floor in a fit of giggles and silly comments last night. I am lonely. I know that — I have been missing my various communities for months now, either too sick or too tired to really be my old self. Yet, I’ve clung to many good things over these hard months: a few well put together sentences, sometimes my own, sometimes belonging to someone else, have given me pause. I am completely different. I am altogether the same. And I have two months to try to feel “working” better and not just “mummy” (who can stay in her jogging pants and not shower for two, sometimes three, yes I’m saying it out loud, days) better before heading back to work.

 

July 26th, 2011

Notes From A House Frau: The Summer Edition

RRBB The summer seems to be moving so quickly, it’s hard to keep up with my real life let alone my virtual life. We’ve been spending lovely, long periods of time at the cottage, and the baby (while this particular photo isn’t at the cottage) seems to love the water, most of the time. Sometimes, it’s like anything, really, in life, it just takes a bit of getting used to.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve got about two months of maternity leave left. I’m going back a bit early, because I had taken off early because of all the crazy medical stuff surrounding my pregnancy. And, let’s face it, we are broke. But I am hanging on to what Gail Vaz-Oxlade says: emergency funds are for sickness, and boy have I ever had a crazy year. The latest? I have a stress fracture in my pelvis. That’s right, I have been walking around on a broken pelvis (no wonder it farking hurts) for the last few months. Who knows how it happened but it has something to do with the prednisone. Thankfully, I am taking 1/6 of the dose (from 60mgs to 10) that I was when we started this whole lungs-bleeding-disease-going-mental stuff started with the disease, and I hope that the new drug, the cyclophosphomide, is finally doing the trick.

We have gone beyond exhaustion these days. Luckily, our brilliant little baby excels at almost sleeping through the night. Regardless, the Wegener’s makes you tired, the drugs make you nauseous, sick, and tired, and taking care of an ever-going, never-stoping infant, well, I can barely string together a coherent thought let alone an entire blog post. But the weather has been beautiful and the temperature at the lake remains perfect for swimming. I’m trying to go every day but I don’t always get there. I am trying to make more of his baby food but I don’t always get there either. I am learning that the conveniences of life, while they make me feel guilty as hell, are meant to do just that help mothers like me who are less than healthy.

The most difficult part of dealing with an illness isn’t just the “oh, I’m sick part,” — for me, it’s always been about the loss. I never imagined how much I would love motherhood. Never thought it could become such an essential part of me so quickly. Before I got pregnant, our plans were never to have children, as I’ve written here before. Now, I can’t imagine my life any other way. And it’s not a little change — there’s a brand-new, entirely whole personality now attached to our lives and he takes up a lot of space. He’s a very impressive little one: moving around like a maniac, claiming his mind day by day as his own, deciding his likes and dislikes, putting every single thing in his path in his mouth. But it’s a welcome, wonderful new life, and even if it’s been a rocky road, maybe we’ve turned a corner. In my heart, I would have 27 more babies. I would fill my house up and numerous diaper pails, but I know it’s not reasonable. It’s not practical. I only have so many lives to lose. The disease will only give me so many second chances. So, no more babies for us. It’s the right choice. It’s the only choice. But it does break my heart a little, contemplating him on my birthday and in my favourite season at my favourite place in the world.

I had these grand plans a la Antonia Fraser to keep a summer diary. To take a picture every day and post it up here — a living journal of the only summer I’ve spent not working since I was a teenager. Maybe I will start in August. Maybe I will have more moments to actually prop open my eyes and my heart. Keep your fingers crossed for me: I see the Super-Fancy Disease Doctor on the 3rd. Let’s hope it’s only three months on the big guns, it’s reducing the prednisone and it’s healing up that fracture, and I can have one month, just four good weeks of awesome health before I am back to the daily grind and the whole new distinction of being a working mother.

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Girl with titanium hip will rock. Girl with titanium hip will write. Girl with titanium hip will read. Girl with titanium hip will battle crazy-ass disease called Wegener's Granulomatosis. Now stuff that in your spelling bee!

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