November 2007

November 03

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

We live on a dirt road.  It is not a through road.  I try to take the dogs (and sometimes Bronwyn) for a walk every day.  It is great because the dogs can run free and I can walk in the middle of the road since the traffic is confined to the 12 houses that occupy said road.  There are actually more cows living on our street than people.  Lately, the farmer who owns these cows has been putting them out to pasture in the section that allows them the most visibilty from the road.  Bronwyn loves seeing them and as we round the corner to where she knows she can start to see them, she gets all excited and shouts “moo moo”.  Which sounds more like “mboo mboo” but whatever.  This is where the dogs shine.  They race back and forth along the fence, barking and growling and generally “herding” the group.  Dude is in his prime for those 25 metres.  He won’t let the cows anywhere near the fence when I am walking, and practically shakes with suppressed fury when one of them tries to come any closer than about 30 feet from the fence.  Needless to say this is all done with the maximum amount of barking, growling, mooing and lowing at the maximum volume for 2 dogs and 40 cows. 
 
Today, Bruce took Dude grouse hunting, and left Nevis home with me.  Since Dude would not need a walk (he would like one I am sure though!!) after running through the bush all day, I decided to take Bronwyn and Nevis out early.  We rounded the bend as usual, and I prepared to close my ears to the din that always accompanied our visits.  Nothing.  Not even a “moo”.  The cows just looked and looked.  They did not say a thing (bad reference to Are You My Mother?).  Nevis tried.  He really did.  He barked.  He growled.  He ran back and forth and even put his paws up on the fence and stared at them.  But the cows knew.  They just kept eating.  You could almost see them laughing.  I was starting to feel bad for Nevis.  He must have wondered what was going on.  Why weren’t the cows panicking?  This only served to make him redouble his efforts on the way back.  This time the cows had the nerve to start walking towards him!  He was beside himself.  I had to call him away and try not to laugh myself.  Such a great big dog he is.  And used to striking fear in strangers with his deep “woof”. 
 
I guess we now know who the cows are really afraid of.  And Nevis does too…

Making the Grade

When I found out that my nephew was being born on tuesday, and that I would have a ride to and from Sudbury, I made the impromptu decision to pack Bronwyn into her carseat and hitch my way to my sister.  Ethan John Denis Huisjes was born at 21:34 tuesday November 6, 2007.  He weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs 11 oz and measured 22.5 in from crown to teeny tiny toes.  He also has the most endearing shock of spiky reddish-blonde hair.  He looks just like his dad (which became more obvious once Mrs. Huisjes whipped out her baby pictures of Ryan at that age for us to compare!!).  Mom and baby are doing well.
 
I am so glad I was able to be there at this special time.  Even if Elaine was in hospital for most of the visit.  And even though Bronwyn was terribly disoriented by the sudden change of venue.  I can’t imagine staying away for such an important occasion.  My first nephew. 
 
And Elaine did so well.  I am more proud of her than I can express.  She was strong, and calm, and in control.  She’s taking everything in stride, as if she had been a mother her whole life.  Or as if she had been meant to be a mother her whole life, and this week was just the culmination of all her life experiences.  The final test you might say.  And Elaine, you passed with flying colours. 
November 11

Plus, who will take care of the dogs?

Bronwyn met her first cousin this week.  I really wanted them to get some good quality bonding time in.  You know- pictures of her kissing the top of his head, and quiet times of reading together on the couch.  So what really happened?  Bronwyn freaked out that my lap was full of some strange baby and in her haste to toddle over and remedy the situation, she tripped and fell headlong into Ethan, scratching his perfect little face and giving him his first bloody lip. 
 
I am now having nightmares about how the next few months are going to be.  What was I thinking?  Hearing Ethan cry and watching Elaine and Ryan’s eyes get more and more bloodshot is crashing down all the barriers of my suppressed memories of our own first few weeks as parents.  Anybody remember that?  How I was so sore I could hardly sit?  How badly the breastfeeding started so that I ended up needing to travel to Whitby every other day for six weeks to get professional help?  How I found out that CSI plays every night at 3am?  I am remembering the periods of numbness where I couldn’t move, and couldn’t make decisions, and was afraid to leave the house.  How I worried that she would wake up only minutes after I’d fallen asleep.  And then worried that she wouldn’t wake up…  All of these feelings and memories are vying with the realization that I will go through all that again, and have Bronwyn to contend with.  An apparently jealous Bronwyn who is prone to hurting innocent babies!!  How will I ever keep them both safe and happy??!!?  My mom will of course be coming up for a few weeks, and Bruce has decided to take time off as well.  I figure I will need all hands on deck for this one. 
 
The one bright spot that shines through all the darkening clouds of fear and trepidation is the same one that is causing all of these hormone-induced day-mares.  One day, in the next few weeks, I will be a mommy to two children.  There will be one more life that I helped to create, and one more mind I will be allowed to nurture.  I will be able to take all this love I have for Bronwyn and experience it expanding to engulf another little being. 
 
As Elaine and I were sitting on the couch watching Bronwyn play, and getting ready to change Ethan’s diaper, Elaine calls out to my 15 month old to “bring me the diaper”.  She points to the ottomon across the room and repeats the command.  Bronwyn walks over to the place where Elaine has pointed.  Grabs the diaper and looks back towards us.  She then grabs the wet washcloth that Mrs. Huisjes had also left there and brings both articles over to Elaine. 
 
Yes, it will be difficult.  There will be sleepless nights juxtaposed against busy days.  But when I think about scenarios like that, I remember why we are doing it. 
November 27

Update

Well, for those of you who will pounce on this title eagerly, my update is that there is no update…
 
My official due date is sunday, but after my appointment thursday, where our doctor inflated my hopes unnecessarily, nothing has happened at all.  I see him again tomorrow.
 
That out of the way, Rhaydon is doing fine, measuring within average but on the smaller side.  I have gained a total of 16 lbs (hooray!!) and the heartbeat is strong.  Significantly less movement this past week which may indicate a gearing up for the big event, but like I said earlier, I am not raising my hopes again.  My many many bags are packed and arrangements made.  Bruce finally set up the cradle, and I started washing baby clothes and organizing what exactly we have and don’t have.  It was a good thing that we had such a scare on thursday without actually having the baby that day as it reminded Bruce and I that we were definitely not ready and that a real live baby will be joining our family shortly.  In Bruce’s words “the baby can’t come tonight, we aren’t ready”. 
 
No, Bruce YOU aren’t ready!! 
 
I have been ready for nine months.  That of course isn’t true.  They say you need the nine months to prepare yourself.  I thought I was ready weeks ago, but after seeing Ethan and hearing I may deliver soon, I realized that not only was I not physically prepared (many many bags folks) but I was not mentally prepared either.  With Bronwyn it was easy, I had been eagerly anticipating the birth of our firstborn since the day the rabbit died, but with Rhaydon, I have managed to ignore this pregnancy for most of the time.  I am so sorry honey, for when you read this, but if you are Rhea and not Graydon, you will understand one day.  Therefore, when I heard I could (and would) be welcoming a baby within a few days, I had to step back and reevalate.  Was I ready to accept the responsibility of another life?  Was I ready to give up my perfect schedule again?  Was I ready for the exhaustion?  The work?  The feelings? 
 
Whoa, Julie!  Didn’t you think of this nine months ago?  A little late now don’t you think?  But that is not my point.  I needed to come to grips with the fact that my life will be changing soon, and I need to accept and embrace that.  I need to NEED this baby out.  I know that God has His perfect timing, and I recognize that had Rhaydon been born last week, I wouldn’t have coped so well as I will if s/he arrives this week.  I hope I am making sense.  You can’t possibly be strong enough to endure the labour and delivery of your child* if you don’t really really want him or her.  Not that I don’t want this baby.  I do.  But I needed to realize that.  This pregnancy has gone by so quickly, and I love being pregnant, so it is hard to want to go through all that pain again. 
 
But I will, and I want to.  Because I want to want Rhaydon just as much as I wanted Bronwyn.  The desire to meet him or her is growing and soon it will encompass me again, and then I will be ready.  And then my body will know.  And that is when I will go into labour for real.  Because God’s timing is perfect. 
 
 
 
*without any pain medications.  This is not an indication that I think that people who use meds are in any way weak or inferior or that they don’t want their children.  Nor do I think or support that women who choose to give up their babies cannot birth them naturally. 
November 30

Effete

This was the word of the day today, and I think it is fitting:
 

Effete (adjective)

Pronunciation: [ê-‘feet]

Definition: Depleted, exhausted, lacking strength, vitality or efficacy; effeminate; infertile.

Usage: Perhaps the most famous usage of this word in the US was former vice president Spiro Agnew’s depiction of the student anti-war protesters of the 60s as “effete intellectual snobs.” The phrase is still floating around. The adjective has an adverb, “effetely,” and a noun, “effeteness.”

Suggested Usage: When revolutionaries asked Russian Tsar Nicholas II to abandon the throne in 1917, his regime had become so effete that he did so without resistance. However, don’t be afraid of using this word around the house: “Wimpy has become so effete that the dog doesn’t even respond to his command any more.”

Etymology: From Latin effetus “worn out, exhausted” consisting of ex- “out of” + fetus “filled with young, pregnant.” The PIE root of “fetus” was *dhe-, which, suffixed with -t gave us not only “fetus,” but also “fawn.” The latter came down from Old French feon “young animal,” a reduction of Vulgar Latin *feton-, a form of Latin “fetus,” which ultimately came to mean “offspring.” Suffixed with –m and -n, it developed into “feminine,” the French reflex of Latin femina “woman.” With the suffixes –l and –k, the same root turns up in “felicity” taken from Latin felix (felic-s) “fruitful, lucky, happy.”

 

Notice how the latin root of fetus means “pregnant” or “filled with young”?  It later took on the meaning of offspring.  But the original meaning implied that to be pregnant meant exhaustion. 

 

I woke up this morning full of energy after having terrible dreams all night.  I dreamed that I was invited to a girls’ sleepover as the chaperone (am I feeling old or what?!).  Before we get there though we have to stop in this snow filled parking lot, where, long story short, a tree falls over and crushes my car.  Then the icicles begin to form around us in a circle, but they have been electrified by the fallen tree on the electricity wires.  I have a baby with me.  It is Bronwyn but she is a newborn.  As I see all the other girls being electrocuted as the massive monster icicles fall on them, I decide to suffocate Bronwyn with her swaddling blanket before she too is killed by electrocution.  Somehow I am the last person huddled in the middle of the rapidly decreasing circle, and everything stops.  I look up, and the sun is out and has melted all of the ice.  I look down at the baby still cradled in my arms and she is pink and sleeping.  I haven’t killed her after all. 

I am not sure what this means.  There was more to the dream after that, but I don’t remember it.  It didn’t follow with the previous sequence either.  Am I so exhausted with the uncertainty of childbirth and the imminence of Christmas and the never-ending state of uncleanliness which is my house that had to dream that I was going to die?  And where was Bruce?  And why wasn’t I pregnant?

I woke up from that dream at 5am to use the bathroom, and proceeded to have mild contractions for the next 3 hours while dreaming that I was in labour.  I had to ask Bruce in the morning if I had woken him up in the middle of the night to go to the hospital.  It was very real, but obviously we were still in bed come alarm clock ringing time. 

But, like I was saying, I had so much energy this morning that I decided to clean Bronwyn’s room from top to bottom.  I succeeded, and even managed to vacuum by placing her in her crib with some toys and books while I sucked up dirt around, beside, and underneath her.  This worked so well, that I vacuumed my whole top floor.  This of course necessitated moving stuff out of the way to vacuum underneath it.  Note I did not say put away.  The stuff on the floor that I am referring to is Bruce’s hunting gear that has yet to be unpacked or even removed from the hallway where it was dumped over a week ago.  I don’t really mind that it is there.  It isn’t exactly in my way, and my portion of the house is certainly not so clean as to justify any complaints on my part.  However, I draw the line at putting away anything that he used that I didn’t a) pack b) use c) condone the purchase of.  After I succeeded in cleaning the living room, kitchen, hallway, Bronwyn’s room and most of the bathroom, I was in quite the groove.  This is where I started to get greedy I think.  With dirty diapers in my pail, I lugged both my 20 lbs daughter and my 30 lbs pail to the basement where I started the arduous process of bending, stooping and lifting that is LAUNDRY in my home.  Boy do I miss my front load, stackable washer and dryer combo!!  Anyway, after the shuttling of wet, dirty and dry clothing to their respective locations was accomplished, I looked around and thought, “I should vacuum and dust in here too”.  Greedy.  I lugged out the hose again and tried in vain to get enough suction to make any headway at all.  It occurred to me that the bag was probably full, but this is where the effeteness kicked in.  Besides the central vac is well over my head, and even I know that this could only end in disaster!  I could hear Bronwyn expressing her extreme dislike at being cooped up in the stairwell while I operated a loud, scary machine.  I couldn’t let her roam the basement in case she tried to touch the woodstove, and I couldn’t attempt to keep her upstairs while I was downstairs because the level of crying that would effect would be beyond my capabilities to cope with at this point.  So, I let her play on the stairs.  I finally gave up after Brownyn threw my little Mexican figurine down the stairs, narrowly missing my head and shattering on the wooden steps. 

Needless to say, after lunch was given the same treatment, Bronwyn went down for an early nap, safely ensconced and barricaded in her dirt and dust free room.

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