metro mama

Monday, January 25, 2010

Breast Is Best (For Me)

Update: I have just realized there is some new breastfeeding controversy going on. Don't know the details (and don't care to) but honestly, I didn't time this post to capitalize on it!

Sherwood will be six months on the 29th. Isn’t that crazy? The dude is twenty pounds (!), with fat thighs that you have to squeeze, and cheeks like apples that I chomp on while he pulls my hair and giggles. He likes to sit with us while we eat dinner. His jaw hangs open and he drools, and it’s hard to hold him on your lap while you eat anymore as he swipes at your fork and tries to yank your placemat off the table.

The boy is ready for solids. I’ve purchased cereal, new dishes, cutlery, bibs and all the accoutrements I can justify. I have no reason not to start, but I keep putting it off, even though he is starting to nurse every two hours again. The thing is, I love nursing him. Each week he feeds a little faster and I don’t want to give up any of this precious time.

I’m amazed I’ve reached this point. Breastfeeding was hell at first; I didn’t think it would ever be easy, let alone pleasurable. But it is. I can feel the endorphins flowing when he suckles. We’re relaxed, and it is such an intimate, sensual feeling—I’m not a good enough writer to do it justice.

I had such a different experience with Cakes. She never nursed. At six months, we had her going to her own bed at 7 pm sharp. She never slept with us. Sherwood wrangled his way into our bed months ago, and I just can’t kick him out. He wakes up once during the night, but there is nothing easier than nursing him, half asleep, then curling up around him again. And it makes my day to start it by waking to a little pat on the cheek from a chubby hand, and a beautiful, beaming smile from my amazing boy.

A few months ago I was bemoaning the fact that he wouldn’t take a bottle, and I couldn’t get away from him for very long at a time. Now I don’t want to let him go.

If you’re coming here because you googled something like “breastfeeding problems” or “breastfeeding is hard” (as I did six months ago) you’re not alone. It’s incredibly hard at first, but it really, really is worth it. Stick with it, not because of pressure to breastfeed, but for selfish reasons. Did I mention I'm eating cake every day and still losing weight?


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Childcare Dilemma Solved!

Sherwood will be six months on the 29th. Can you believe it? (There is a big post on him coming soon. He is all kinds of awesome). I’m still planning to go back to work on April 1, and McHotty will stay home for three months. We’re going to juggle vacation time to look after the kids in July and August.

I know it’s a long time before I need to worry about childcare, but I’m one of those people who plans things ridiculously far in advance. I had looked into daycare for two kids and I just about died—it would pretty much eat up my entire take-home pay. So I’m overjoyed that we’ve found the ideal solution. I’ve gotten to know my neighbour who lives two doors away. She has a girl who is less than a year younger than Cakes, and a baby girl who is just three months older than Sherwood. She mentioned she was thinking of doing a home daycare, but wasn’t sure if she wanted that much work. We only need someone about 10 days per month. How perfect is that!

I’m so thrilled to have this settled, and what an ideal situation. I really like my neighbour, each child will have a playmate, and I won’t be working for nothing. Plus, the morning drop off will be a hell of a lot easier (the two girls will both be in half-day kindergarten).

*Huge sigh of relief*

Sunday, January 17, 2010


It’s been an emotional week around here. Like everyone else, we’re deeply saddened by what’s happening in Haiti. My husband's been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride. He belongs to an emergency team that is specially trained to rescue people in an urban environment. He’s spent many weekends training for the team, and wants nothing more than to put his skills to good use. Last Thursday they were put on standby to go to Haiti. It was pretty scary, but he was so eager to go, and I was so proud. After a day or so pacing around the house and jumping each time the phone rang, he learned they would not be going after all. The airport is jammed and the U.N. or the U.S. (whoever is running the show) is prioritizing who can come. This team does not come with their own security, and it seems this is a factor. Whatever the reasons, it's a terrible shame, and it was quite the blow.

Coincidentally, I had prearranged plans to see Dr. James Orbinski speak at the Heliconian Club last week. Dr. Orbinski is the author of An Imperfect Offering (a book everyone should read) and he was the International President of Médecins sans Frontières in 1999 when it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was in charge of the MSF mission during the Rwandan genocide. He has witnessed the most horrendous crimes against humanity. He’s literally seen streets running with human blood. Yet, what is so incredible and inspiring is that he remains hopeful. He has seen the worst, but he’s also seen people do the most extraordinary things. He’s seen a father carry a son (the sole survivor of his murdered family, the rest cut down with machetes) hundreds of kilometres on his back, only to lose him a few days later (despite his loss the father waited to thank the doctor for his help). He has many, many stories like this one. He’s witnessed courage, dignity, compassion and generosity under incomprehensible conditions. What also keeps him hopeful, he explains, is that we have the means to make a choice how we live our lives. We can do what we believe to be just.

Dr. Orbinski finished his talk by explaining hope versus optimism. Optimism is the belief that things will turn out right based on evidence. Hope is based on certainty that a given action is right, regardless of how it turns out. If you engage with the world in a hopeful manner, over and over, you contribute to creating the conditions for optimism.

How can you help? Give. Due to the extraordinary generosity of Canadians, MSF’s website has been overwhelmed. But you can click here to access their donation portal directly. Please consider giving to this amazing organization that is doing such brave, hopeful work in Haiti right now.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

New Decade, New Blog

When I decide to do something, I don’t waste time. The new blog is up! It’s called Read, Play, Blog and you can find it here. I’ve copied over the last few book posts, and there’s a new review of our current book club pick, Annabel Lyon’s marvellous The Golden Mean.

Speaking of our book club, there is an online component to the club and anyone is welcome to join in our discussions. You can find us here. It’s shits and giggles! If you're on Twitter, we try to tag book club tweets with #tdbbc.

I still plan to keep this blog along with the new one. The new space is more professional, but this place is where I can curse and ask you for advice. And by the way, thanks for all of your support and advice over the past few years. It has helped me so very much.

One last thing….sorry if old posts are popping up in your readers. I’m fixing some broken links. Will be done tonight.


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion

I’m quoted on two national sites this week! First, the inimitable Julie Wilson spoke with me about my wonderful book club over at CBC Books. See it here.

Second, the National Post has an excellent piece on the best books and the biggest publishing stories of the decade (I’m quoted at the end). Check it out here.

Sweet, no?

In other news, I’ve been giving my online identity a lot of thought. I’ve been trying to avoid having more than one blog, but it’s just not working. I want to give myself the freedom to say what I want here, and I still want a place to talk about motherhood when I need it. But I want to do more blogging about books, and I think, for the most part, the two audiences are very different. So I’m working on a fresh new space to begin the new decade. I’ll have a link for you in the next week or so. Hope some of you will find your way there!


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