Who You Will Become

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We registered Cameron for Kindergarten this past week. In all the big things and transitions of parenting, this is one of those monumental milestones. Or, at least it feels that way to my husband. He’s feeling a little overwhelmed by this whole new stage. Suddenly, we have a kid who isn’t so little anymore. We have someone who is ready to spend his days with teachers and kids his own age learning and playing. We have a kid who is moving on to the whole next stage of his life – one that will last at least thirteen more years and take him into his late teens. The baby stage is long over. The toddler stage is just a memory. And now, those preschool days are numbered. We’re right at the very edge of it being gone too.

Cameron Registered for Kindergarten  | Mommy Miracles

Every few days we drive by the neighbourhood school and Dan will sigh. “I can’t believe he’s registered for kindergarten.”

But I can.

Cameron is bright and social and skillful. On a scale of one to get your backpack on, Cameron is definitely ready to go to school. My kid even finds math fun, for goodness sakes.

Of course, there are parts of this new stage that cause me anxiety, like what school he will go to and what program he will be in. If I want him in French Immersion, I need to apply for him to be transferred to an out of area school and pray that he gets one of those coveted spots. You can bet that I am feeling anxious about that process, and whether it really is the right decision to put him in a school a little further away and in a program to learn a new language.

And maybe I’ll worry about him on that first day of school as he walks into that new world all by himself, in a new building surrounded by new people. A Mama’s heart is built to worry about these things, even when they’re going to go amazing. Even though I am certain that kindergarten will be an amazing time for Cameron, I might even feel a little sad when the time comes because it will be so obvious I can’t slow life down, not even a little. But right now, I’m excited for him.

I loved school. I’m so thrilled to give my kid the experience to love it like I did. You should hear him talk about things he gets excited about! He will talk your ear off about Pokémon or Star Wars. My Dad recently asked him why he wasn’t using all this brain power to learn about more important things, but it is because he’s not in an environment to get excited about learning right now. (Also, I reminded my Dad that we all have passions that are important to us, even if they aren’t important to the rest of the world). I know that when he gets home from those first days of school, he’ll be showing off all the amazing things he has been learning, just like he does every time he “learns” about a new Pokémon by watching his favourite show.

Cameron deserves the world, and I am so excited to open that world up to him. I want him to have every opportunity, and by signing those kindergarten papers and brining them in to the school secretary, I am doing just that. While that process may have been too life-changing for my husband’s heart to endure right now, for me, it was wonderful.

Who You Will Become | Mommy Miracles

Now, you can go to kindergarten, Cameron. Welcome to school. I excited to watch you learn. I can’t wait to see who you’ll become!


Netflix wants to open up a world of opportunities to our kids too. Sometimes, on days when the snow keeps falling and the temperatures are freezing and Mom is putting a lot of focus onto a new baby, there’s only so many ways that our kids can be inspired. Maybe they want to be a scientist like Sid the Science Kid or a firefighter like Fireman Sam or a palaeontologist like Dr. Scott from Dinosaur Train. The imaginative play ignited by these shows can lead to dreams and aspirations for an exciting future.

 

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I am a member of Netflix’s Stream Team and as such I have been compensated with a complementary Netflix subscription and a few other perks. The stories and opinions are all my own and have not been bought.

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Like I Need a Hole in the Head

“You might want to leave. 90% of the parents choose to leave during this procedure. It can be hard to watch. Do you need anything? Why don’t you go get some lunch?”

For the second time in 2015, we’re at the hospital. The first time was to bring my baby Logan home. Now, he’s back.

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When I made my way in to our family doctor on Tuesday morning, I questioned my motives. I’m a third-time Mama! Do third babies even go to the doctor? Aren’t seasoned mothers supposed to have it all figured out, not running to the doctor for every little wheeze or fever? Was this just a little wheeze and fever? Logan’s fever had been elevated since the evening. He was crying more than usual and, most concerning to me, he had not wanted to breastfeed at all during the night, even though his cold and cough had him awake often.

“His fever was only 100.7 overnight. Nothing high enough to make me rush to Emerge or anything.” I told my doctor this as he examined Logan; his ears, his throat, his breathing, his temperature. I still wasn’t even entirely convinced that I wasn’t overreacting.

“Actually, I’d like you to take him to the Emergency Department.”

Oh.

At the children’s Emergency department, we learned that doctors don’t take these kind of illnesses in babies lightly. “This will probably be the most investigated cold in his entire life” a nurse told me. Because of his fever and his breathing, they took blood samples, urine samples, a sample from his sinus, and a lumbar puncture. And then we were admitted to the hospital with the explanation that we would be able to leave once the cultures came back normal – in 48 hours.

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And that’s how our 15 minute doctor’s appointment turned into a three day hospital ordeal.*

It was during that Lumbar Puncture that the nurse encouraged me to step out. They had offered during the blood collection too, but I didn’t feel the need to. I’m a brave Mama. I feel like it is my job to comfort this tiny little boy while the medical team do their job. I feel useful holding his hand and rubbing his head and talking to him calmly while they try three times to get a line into one of his tiny hands.

But what do I know about Lumbar Punctures? So I trusted the nurse and left.

It wasn’t until that moment that I started to worry. It wasn’t until I could no longer see and touch and be there for Logan that my anxieties soared.

The truth is, I’m not a worrier about my kids and their health. People are telling me during this event that I’m worried and they reassure me that everything will be fine, but I never really started worrying. I’m the kind of Mama who reserves her worrying for that time when the experts tell me that there is something to worry about. So even though we’re in the hospital, I’m brave. I’m not worried. I have no doubt in my mind that Logan will be fine and that this will all be over soon.

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But I nearly had a panic attack when I left him.

It happened again that evening, after being brought up to our room in the Paediatric Unit. Considering I wasn’t expecting a two night hospital stay when I went to Logan’s doctor appointment that morning and that I had our one family vehicle, I knew I needed to make a quick run home. It was rush hour, and we live thirty minutes away from the hospital in good traffic, so my quick jaunt home wasn’t going to be so quick. I felt sick the whole time. Logan was alone in a room and I couldn’t get to him. The nurse’s station was listening to him on a monitor, but after the day that Logan had already had, I didn’t want him to be alone. All that bravery I had vanished when I wasn’t near him.

It wasn’t until last night that my strength faltered. Apparently Mama bravery has its limits, and mine was so stupid. I thought the hard part was over last night. He had already undergone all of his tests and we were just waiting, expecting to be released the following day. But then the nurse came in to administer to antibiotics through his IV line and noticed that the vein was no longer good. They had to put a new one in and his hands and feet weren’t good options anymore.

So they went to his head.

Apparently IV lines in the head is incredibly common for babies and no big deal. But it came as a shock to me. I was expecting to be strong for my baby while he screamed through pokes on his hands, but I was not expecting them to puncture my little infant’s head. I wasn’t expecting an IV line would require them to shave his hair.

I freaked out about the hair thing. Or maybe it wasn’t that that was bothering me. Maybe it was everything, but I vocalized the hair part of it. How stupid is that? But Logan has the most beautiful head of hair. He’s my only baby who was actually born with a whole head of it, even everywhere. And it is dark and lovely. It usually takes moms a year or two to bring their heart to a place where they can cut their child’s hair for the first time, and here we were, 1 month in, shaving a small patch of my baby’s hair off.

But what does it matter in the grand scheme of things? It is just hair.

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It is weird to be in a place like this – the paediatric unit of a children’s hospital. Even though Logan has been admitted and has a justifiable reason to be here, I still feel like this isn’t where we belong. Here’s my little, relatively healthy baby and he’s in a place where children are incredibly, heart-breakingly sick. It is hard to even fathom the experiences of the families who are here day in and day out and it isn’t even fair to speculate.

Compared to home, there’s a lot of quiet here. And we’re stuck in this room so there is a lot of time to sit and think and listen. I can’t help but hear the cries. I can handle the baby cries I hear. Maybe they’re just hungry. Whatever it is, they won’t remember it when they’re older. But oh. Those big kid cries. I can’t pretend to shut them out. My Mama-heart aches. My human heart-aches.

There’s not enough bravery to go around. Not from me anyway. But maybe that’s because my bravery only needs to be big enough for Logan right now. And gratefully, that’s not very big.

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*Hopefully only 3 days.

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The Magic in Marriage

What does love in marriage look like? What does love look like with three kids under five? What does it look like when nights are full of newborn wake-ups and days are full of meetings and a child has laid claim on my breasts? What does love look like when life can be classified as nothing short of exhausting? Messy? Where is the love in that?

There isn’t a lot of magic in my marriage right now, at least in the traditional sense. The presence of any long-lasting romance or sparks disappeared right around the time when our first child joined our family. Two children later and we are right in the thick of adult responsibility. We haven’t dated in who knows how long. There are some nights that we aren’t even sleeping in the same bed.

And yet, on this Valentine’s Day, I feel like Dan and I are closer and stronger than we have been on Valentines past.

Valentine's Day | Mommy Miracles

When things get tough, it can be really easy to take out the frustration on those who are closest to us. It is ironic that the person we start out trying to impress in those early days of dating eventually becomes the person that we are our worst around. They get the brunt of our exhaustion and frustration and anger. They get us on our messiest days.

But herein lies the magic. Magic in marriage isn’t the sparks or the time alone or the late nights in bed. The magic is that year after year, we keep growing closer. We keep getting stronger.

This past summer, my husband and I were both going through an emotional, frustrating experience. It was something that could easily (and has in the past) cause a rift between us. But instead of letting this issue come between us, we leaned on each other. We came together. We endured the messiness together. I was shocked that although I had been dreading this experience and that I legitimately wasn’t enjoying what was happening, I was still being uplifted because I felt so loved. Sometimes it is when things get really hard that we realize how desperately we need our spouse.

The magic happens when we turn to our spouse for support instead of releasing our frustration upon them.

Since this experience in the summer, I’ve noticed that we have weathered the storms together more than we have put the storms between us. I don’t think it was a conscious decision on either of our parts. If it were, we would have done it a long time ago. Everyone wants a great marriage, but it isn’t always easy. For us, I think this has been a result of our relationship’s maturity.

I admit that I was dreading having a baby. And while I love being on maternity leave, I dreaded that too. It isn’t quite the sleepless nights or the endless neediness that I fear, it is the animosity I have felt towards the father of my children in the past when I felt like I was going through the slog of parenting and housekeeping alone. When we both work, my husband and I are good at sharing responsibilities, but it has been hard hard when our daily tasks looked so drastically different.

While this transition from two children to three has actually been easier for many reasons, it has been harder on me. I am taking on more responsibility than I ever needed to during any of the other newborn transitions. I am pretty sure my husband hasn’t even changed one of Logan’s diapers yet.  I am essentially the only parent available for most hours of the day for all three children. But, it isn’t Dan’s fault.

Because, it is harder for Dan too. His job is different than it was when Cameron and Gavin were born and he is relied upon much more heavily at work. On top of that, he is also working a second job. I love seeing him use his talents and his gifts in these ways. He is good and useful in both of these roles. But together, they both keep him busy late into the nights and on weekends and he is left burnt out when he finally allows himself to shut down.

In the past, this would have been the perfect recipe to an angry, bitter marriage. And yet, dare I say it? I feel like we might be thriving.

That’s the magic.

Instead of being bitter about what we each have to do, we’re leaning on each other, in our mutually exhausted states. We are talking. We are listening. We are encouraging each other.

When I pictured being married, I looked forward to having the certainty that I would always be loved by someone who chose me. I wanted to share a life with someone. I wanted that safety and commitment of an ever after “I Do.” Being a Mom with the Dad right beside me was my dream. I admit that it is different than I expected. I thought we’d be exhausted all the time from staying up late into the night talking. Instead we are too tired from the day to manage any pillow talk. I thought we’d be able to find more “us” time as we built up this life around us. But those are such simple things. Seven years, three kids later and I can honestly say that I have that marriage that I dreamed of.

We’re exhausted. We’re burdened. But we are doing it together. We aren’t letting these messes get between us. We are talking about work and the kids and our days. We are building each other up. We are taking things on for the other person to ease their load and we’re acknowledging when we want to, but can’t. I don’t think he knows it, but when he tells me that he’s grateful for all that I’m doing it, it keeps me going.

I feel like I have my life partner. I feel like we have each other. I feel like I’m not alone.

Eventually we’ll get back the rest of the “magic”. We’ll leave the kids with the grandparents and we’ll go on a date. Maybe even an overnighter. Maybe even a vacation. We’ll get our room and our nights back to ourselves. But the real magic hasn’t left. The real magic is that life isn’t harder because he’s in it, but better.

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