This penguin is very special...he has several penguins, all with their own special meaning. This particular penguin was purchased by me when I was 37 weeks pregnant and anxiously awaiting his birth. I brought it with to the hospital and it was my focal point and comfort during labor. I slept with it in my arms every night until he was born, it symbolized my new baby I was desperate to hold and brought me peace and hope.
He's yelling at me from his high chair, mouth stuffed full of Eggo. Feed meeeeeeee..... Last year, we were trying to fix his latch. He was still yelling at me, just in that sweet newborn cry, not the high pitched banshee sounds he makes now.
Sweet Boy is eating breakfast now. He nurses once a day in the morning and to be honest, I could stop at any time and I dont think he would care much. He's also refusing any veggies, the little stinker. I've tried telling him he cant live on PB and J English muffins, puffs and yogurt...but he refuses to see reason. At any rate, his birthday was very good. On his actual birthday, I was alone with him much of the day. He got to take his morning nap in my arms. Then we played outside in the grass with his bubble maker, it was such a lovely day. When he woke up from his afternoon nap, I sang him Hap.py Birt.hday and started crying. It was a happy cry, like last year when he was born. DH came home from work and we gave him his cake...homemade chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. He wasnt so much of a fan of the taste but he played with it and made a big mess. We had a party on Saturday with DH's family and a few of my friends. My parents Sky.ped in too which was cool. Low key, lots of food and beer, and baby boy opening his presents. We didnt try to give him cake again, but tried some vanilla ice cream. He spit that out too...it was either too cold or not enough flavor, haha. It was a nice quiet get together...the big birthdays with goody bags, kool-aid stained floors, and tons of rug-rats running under foot..those can wait until he starts school. Lets see what else....oh yes, he can push his play table across the room now. He loves that thing, he stands at it and bounces up and down dancing. He claps his hands on demand and also high fives. He's got quite the sense of humor and now tries to "tickle" me so I'll start tickling him. Mostly this is just stiffening his body, smiling really big, and grabbing my chest, similar to what he does when I tickle him. This usually happens when Im trying to get him down for a nap or bed time. He now has 6 teeth with two of top teeth popping through. He's also going to bed and sleeping through the night which is oh so nice. He doesnt move forward or backward on his butt but he turns himself in circles to get around. Its too funny...he launches his toys and then turns in circles until he gets to them. He loves books and reading. And he loves music too, oh this boy loves music. The year has gone fast...and slow at times too. We cherished every moment. Its true though that time really flies and things change so much. I cant wait to see what this year brings for us. We are blessed.
I cried singing him Happy Birthday today. That was both expected and unexpected. Expected because I'm such a sap and unexpected in that it is just one example of the depth and range of emotions I have felt today.
He makes me swell up with pride and joy and happiness.
So much has changed in a year. In him, me, DH and our family.
We love him dearly.
I guess I dont have the words right now to describe his birthday and how we celebrated. I cant put all his milestones into words. I'm all ferklempt.
Some smart psych guy figured out that humans have three types of conflict that create stress...approach-approach conflict, avoidance-avoidance conflict and approach-avoidance conflict. Approach-approach is the most desirable type of conflict to have because no matter your ultimate decision, the outcome will be positive. Approach-avoidance conflict is likely the most common type of conflict we face and its the weighing of the pros and cons of our decisions for each direction has its positives and negatives. And then there is avoidance-avoidance conflict which is the rock and the hard place, the most stressful sort of conflict in which there is no desirable outcome to be found.
Unemployment, job hunting, moving, and the decisions that come with it in my particular situation is mostly avoidance-avoidance. None of the decisions have a positive outcome right now, other than the ultimate goal of getting employment.
I have a BA in Psych and and MA in Psych. In the US, these are respectable degrees that get jobs in mental health and addictions without too much fuss. Generally, a graduate degree is necessary if one wants to make more than $20 an hour though. Yes there is an exam and licensure to be done in most states but this isnt unattainable by any means and there are plenty of entry level jobs where the appropriate supervision and steps towards licensure are found. Before moving to Canada, I did some basic research and found that the requirements for professional work are not that different and that my degree would be useful here as well. Of course, when I went to school and decided on my program I was looking at my future in the US, not anywhere else. I know that my degree is making my fellow grads very successful in the US in their chosen areas of work.
In Ontario, the Social Work degree is stroked lovingly and most jobs in mental health are looking for a BSW or MSW degree. Social workers manipulate the system, moving people, advocating, case management. At least that is their training. However, in Ontario at least, they have evolved into counsellors that offer services beyond their scope. I have way more experience and actual training in mental health, addictions and appropriate therapy techniques than brand-new BSW grads and yet I'm being passed up because I have the wrong letters. To register with my MA in the SW college requires me to have supervision under a social worker and "competence in core areas of social work." To register my MA in the psych college, I need to have supervision under a psychologist and then I'll be autonomous but this takes several years. Both of these options mean I need a job under said social worker or psychologist....see the problem? Cant get registered without a job, cant get a job without registration.
So what does one do with 2 degrees, 6 years of schooling, several years experience and 100k in debt? Here are my options...any thoughts you may have are appreciated.
1. Get registered with the SW college one of two ways...try to find the one job that doesnt require registration right away (virtually impossible because BSW or MSW grads can walk out of school and get registered whereas I have to do all this extra garbage to prove my "competence") and work under a social worker to get registered. This may not work either, I've known a person that tried to go this route and was still denied registration despite working in social work for many years. Getting registered with the psych college is useless at this point...MA candidates will be phased out of getting registered in that college and only doctoral candidates will be registered.
2. Go back to school to get the "right" letters (a BSW) and then get registered. This burns my ass to no end. I cant afford it in time or money and it just really pisses me off that I even have to do this when its the SAME thing (and I have more, thankyouverymuch). I am in major anger mode when I even entertain this idea. It would likely take me 1-2 years to do it hopefully I would be able to transfer a number of my credits...but its the principle of it all. I do not need another series of letters behind my name, the ones I have should be more than good enough. The only way I would consider going back to school is for a doctorate in psych but thats even more time and money and still not certain it would work out to anything.
3. Change my career path completely. This makes me all sorts of angry and sad and depressed. I am very good at my work, it is my passion and I've worked so hard. I also feel that I havent been able to get really established in a long-term position in the field so to throw in the towel now is just frustrating. I have NO IDEA what other career I would even want to do or what I would be good at doing. It is unbelievably scary to even entertain this option. I'm not ready and I dont think I ever will be...but the longer I'm on the outs, the harder it will be to get back.
At this point we are also being forced to move which DH has been fighting for awhile. He's finally come to the realization that we need to move for both of us to be working. My DH is trained in computers and education and he's bilingual...he's golden no matter where we go in the province. Its me that is slowing us down and our town is just not working anymore. We dont want to move...we've been in our home for only two years, we'll take a big hit when we sell. Hopefully by moving and getting us both working, this will be a temporary financial blip. We have an awesome circle of friends here, finally after 4 years I feel like I fit in up here. DH's family is a mere 90 minutes away and we spend a great deal of our time with them. Its scary to think about moving but its scarier to think about what could happen to me, us, our home, our finances and our marriage if something doesnt change soon.
Oh and here is a sobering statistic that CBC The National reported the other night....the unemployment rate for immigrants in Canada is 14%, double the national average. Boy that really gets me all giddy and hopeful inside....
Weaning....we are in it at full speed right now. Since Sweet Boy's weight stalled right around 9 months, after wrangling with the doc who knows nothing about BFing, we decided to introduce cows milk around 10.5 months. There is tons of advice out there about solids and BFing. It seems ambiguous and cookie-cutter and I finally just stopped reading and started looking at him. He didnt take to solids at the 6 month mark, it was more like 8 months. He didnt want to do BLW like I planned so we did a mix of purees and table foods and he went to full on table food by 11 months. He seems like a bottomless pit some days when it comes to eating. It stopped making sense to keep boosting my milk supply when it was clearly dropping off naturally due to him wanting to nurse less and eat more. I get that 90% of his nutrition for the first year should come from breast milk and I did everything right about offering the breast first before food, etc etc. It just was much harder after 10 months to keep going against what he wanted and what was frustrating to me. He took to the cows milk really well and at first, I replaced one nursing session with cows milk. Its progressed now to where he is nursing at wake up and at bed time. He night weaned himself about 3 weeks ago which Im relieved because I didnt really want to fight that battle. I wasnt really going to push night weaning until after his birthday but I'm glad he did it on his own. As a result of cows milk and a hearty appetite for food, he's gained 2 lbs. He's still hanging around 17 lbs which is a bit small for his age but I'm not concerned at this point. The boy loves to eat and he eats everything we put in front of him. I will never blame BFing for his weight stall though, I think he's totally normal, he was just really ready for more. Weaning has its mix of emotions of course. I realize the importance and benefits of extended breast feeding into the toddler years. I give mad props to those moms who continue to nurse toddlers. As my baby approaches toddler status though, I find myself getting impatient with nursing. He has bitten me a few times which I've been able to tolerate well despite the intense pain. However now he's just leaving deep teeth marks when nursing, not intentionally biting, and nursing has become uncomfortable as a result. He isnt much of a comfort nursling either. I'm ready to have my body to myself again before I get pregnant and start the cycle over. Hard core breast feeders dont believe that is a valid reason to wean but I think a mother's feelings matter just as much as the child's and if it clouds my nursing relationship, its time to move forward. I have finally been able to wear regular bras during the day again which makes me happy and confident in my appearance again. Nursing bras do absolutely nothing for a woman's figure and I'm glad to be throwing mine away soon. I have said recently that I will start at 12 months and hopefully by 18 months he'll have weaned on his own completely. I think it will be much faster than 18 months though considering we're already down to two nursing sessions right now. And yet part of me knows I will miss it. I already miss it, each nursing session seems to be a small little goodbye to his baby years. Its a sign of the next step, the next period in his life. I'm not sure if I'm ready to have a toddler though I dont have a choice. I have cherished 99% of our nursing moments together and I'm proud of both of us for sticking it out. I know that when I'm older and grayer in 18-25 years and watching him graduate high school, go to university, get married...that I'll be thinking of these days. It already makes me sad to know that he wont fit in my lap forever and that he doesnt even want to sit with me for very long now. Staying at home has made me miserable many days, but it has also enabled me to reach my 1 year goal of breast feeding without the hassle that working moms have and for that I'm grateful. So here is to the next step. Kicking and screaming into the toddler years. I dont feel guilty for this decision to parent-led wean, just nostalgic and weepy. I suppose this is just normal as my baby approaches his first birthday on the 11th. He'll be enrolling in college on the 12th.
This song makes me crank up the radio, sing as loudly and badly as possible and dance like a complete moron. It makes me feel sexy, to the point where I should have a pole at hand and some slutty clothes because I feel like a whore and shake my ass when I hear this song. One of my friend's says the same thing...it brings out her inner slut kitten. I love it so much and its a recent pop tune by Rihanna. I should say now that I have a huge girl-crush on Rihanna. She has an amazing set of pipes, her music is fun and infectious and she is incredibly sexy. I give her mad props for handling her personal life with grace and strength as well. When she performs on awards shows, I must watch. Her vocal strength is really at the forefront of this song. And the video is fun...though I feel like I should drop acid before watching it, I like that its not choreographed and that she dances awkwardly and seduces the camera awkwardly (well as awkward as she'll ever get) at times...like a real woman instead of a polished dancer. Just a fun song all around and who doesnt like to feel like the only girl in the world who know how to make their men feel like men?
I generally hate very few bands but I usually dislike manufactured pop stars that are so auto-tuned even I could sound good if I looked that good. I also tend to dislike female artists that are more about selling sex than about writing or singing music that matters. Hey sex has its time and place and I'm not completely against it...I have a few guilty pleasures in music. Anyway, I hate Taylor Swift and Ke$ha...Taylor Swift is incredibly over-rated in my opinion and has way too many accolades for her youth. There are women in country (and pop) music much more deserving. Listening to her sing live vs. on the radio are totally different. She was brutal, absolutely brutal at the Grammys, when she sang with Stevie Nicks. I hear she has an entertaining concert but I'll pass. Her music is rather mediocre at best, mostly sappy teeny bopper songs about puppy love and teenage concerns...all well and fine but she's quickly approaching an age where her music needs to grow up a bit. It pains me to say that I actually like her most recent single "Back to December." I only like it enough to say I like the lyrics and the tune...if it was another singer, I would LOVE it. It is more grown up, compared to her earlier tunes. So I'll post that one because its the most tolerable. I hate Ke$ha because she is everything wrong with the music business these days....auto-tuned, glitter covered, dirty, cracked out trash. I get that she's meant to be a keg party music sort of star and not really to be taken seriously but I cant even stand her enough to dance mindlessly to her music. Yes I have strong opinions, haha. I wont even bother posting one of her videos, but that "We R Who We R" makes me want to stick knives into my ears.
Well I already said that DMB is my favorite band but I have lots of other favorite bands too. DH introduced me to Our Lady Peace a few years back and its been a wonderful love affair ever since. We saw OLP together twice in concert. The second concert I was 37 weeks pregnant so it was Sweet Boy's first rock concert, hehe. They have tons of great songs but after hearing this song live twice and getting chills both times, I love "Naveed." It was their first single waaay back when they were young bucks in their 20's and new in the biz. Its so raw and Raine Maida's voice is like no other. Oh and Raine is gorgeous too and has aged very very well (he's in his 40's now). The best part of the second concert I went to was that Raine came out into the audience, climbing over the seats and stopped right in front of us and our friends...he was literally 5 feet away (I was on the end but he was right in front of DH and his buddy). I'm not a celebri-freak but heaven help me if I didnt get giddy and lose my breath in those few moments as he sang in front of us. It would only be matched if Dave ever got that close but Raine...oh Raine...
A photo of mine from the first concert we attended...its an amazing shot because of the lighting and the shadows and the fact that I was trying to shoot it from several hundred feet behind hundreds of other people. This was taken while they were playing "Naveed." Amazing.
In my opinion, polite conversation doesnt involve and refined folk dont ask these three questions of a woman...
Her marital status and if it will change any time soon.
The state of her uterus.
If any of the above questions come up, I think a refined woman should be able to temporarily lose a few notches in her finishing and tell the questioner..
Go Fuck Yourself.
First, lets talk about age. Well lets not, that just goes without saying.
Second, the marital status question. Thankfully I didnt get this much when I was single, but I have 2 single friends who get it all the damn time. Seriously, I know that they would like to be in relationships and/or married but no amount of prompting and nosy questions from everybody else will make them suddenly have relationships.
Finally, the womb question. Easily the most invasive and personal question on many levels. One it is an inquiry into a couple's sex life and that is just way more than I want to reveal or know about someone else. Two it may be a very painful question for couples having difficulty with trying to conceive, driving the knife of heartache in further. Three, it just opens up the questioner to then invoke their personal opinions and experience on child-rearing and spacing. We got this question a lot immediately following our wedding, like many newlyweds, and now we're getting it again as Sweet Boy approaches his first birthday.
"Time for another one." (Whose clock are you watching? Cuz it sure aint mine)
"Its easier when they are both still in diapers. Then you dont get out of the habit of dealing with diapers" (Easier? Pourquoi? In your humble opinion perhaps, but in mine, paying .40 cents per diaper is not easy on my wallet (in Canada...in the US they are roughly .23 cents which is why I stock up in the States when possible) and is already a nightmare, why would I want to be doing double if I can try to avoid it? Of course I'm flexible enough to understand that potty training my first child will not happen before second baby so come what may. Further to that, when I signed up for this mommyhood biznass, I resigned myself to 6-8 years of diaper changing so there is no chance of the habit being dropped anytime soon).
"Its easier to deal with the sleepless nights." (Ok I sort of can get on board with this, its one reason I am keeping the spacing somewhat close together...so I dont forget the sleepless nights with a newborn. However, quite honestly, I think STTN is a complete myth. After dealing with teething, sickness, messed up routines due to traveling, thinking we've developed a good pattern of sleep and then wham! STTN is no pony I'm going to jump on and ride any time soon. FTR, Sweet Boy has been STTN for 3 weeks now and is completely night weaned on his own. Going back to night nursing wont happen but STTN...that ball will drop again Im sure. Again, sleeplessness is par for the course for the next 6-8 years.
"They'll be the best of friends growing up." Whatever...they could also be mini terrorists towards each other too. No amount of planning for close spacing or not will ensure that my children will be loving, shiny little cherubs and love and respect each other so much their little halos will gleam daily. In fact, I think their halos will be tarnished and crooked at times and thank god for it...it will make things much more interesting around here. Plus they'll fit in better with their crazy mother and father.
Anyway, Im already trying to field this question as politely as possible now that its upon us once again. So well meaning nosy aunties, grannies, other moms, complete strangers...the status of my uterus is not up for analysis.
This one was hard, since I dont listen to music in bed or to help myself fall asleep. It gets me too wired and gets my mind running which is the opposite effect one wants when they need to rest. But jazz or classical piano are always good choices if one wants to rest the mind and body so I chose this one. Its a standard thats been around since 1935. Classic, never out of style, and pure talent.
Duke Ellington and John Coltrane-"In A Sentimental Mood
I like...quoting lyrics, the number 5, getting lost in a book, watching people interact, jewelry and other shiny objects, red wine, newborn babies, dancing, anything red, true talent, the rain, the change of the seasons, frost on the trees, watching my husband sleep, and words.
I'm a lot of things...woman, wife, daughter, American, counselor, teacher, friend, musician, human.