Tag Archives: baby

Happy 25th to My Brown-Eyed Girl!

It was 25 years ago today, almost to the minute, that my water broke for the first time…what a strange feeling!  I was a couple months shy of my 25th birthday, and this kid was already 15 days late…I was ready to be done with being pregnant!  Most of my maternity clothes were winter ones, and Moncton, New Brunswick had been having a heat wave the previous two weeks…I only had two short-sleeved dresses that I could squeeze my swollen body into!  I mopped the mess up with a towel, and woke up Kaylee’s father to tell him the news.  Then we waited for something to happen.  And waited.  And waited…

Waiting for something to happen...

 

About lunch time, I walked down to the newspaper box around the corner and bought a paper, as per my usual routine.  I brought it home and read it.  Supper time came and went.  I consulted my labour coach, who suggested I call the hospital.  “Your water broke more than 12 hours ago?!!” asked the nurse in disbelief.  The memory is a little foggy, but I think she followed that with the politically correct version of “Get your ass in here!”

My labour coach, Mary Lyn, came and got us in her car…I brought along a beach towel to sit on to save her upholstery.  Once we’d arrived at the hospital, things went along pretty quickly…I was installed in the birthing room and an oxytocin drip was started intravenously to stimulate my labour.  My plan was to do everything naturally…we’d taken the Lamaze class, and I was not having an epidural!  I stuck to my stubborn plan throughout the four-and-a-half hours of hard, fast contractions…that’s what they called them in the class…sounds so much better than pain, doesn’t it?  My family doctor arrived at the critical moment, a surgical clip holding up his too-big scrub pants…the man probably weighed all of 125 lbs. soaking wet!  

Kaylee Marie was finally delivered at 11:32 p.m., all 9 lbs., 14 oz. of her.  She was 22 inches long, and had a mop of dark hair…her paternal grandmother’s Native Canadian heritage was evident in her colouring (eventually, Kaylee’s eyes would be brown).  I had planned to breastfeed the baby…she latched on immediately, and stayed there for the next 18 months, pausing only to sleep about 10 out of every 24 hours.  I perfected the art of dozing in our pink swivel rocker with a child attached…

Kaylee and I...two days old...

When she was 3 weeks old, I received a call from my doctor…there was a problem: Kaylee had a rare form of congenital hypothyroidism.  Luckily, they had been screening all babies born in New Brunswick for the condition for the previous ten years or so…if it hadn’t been discovered, Kaylee would have had a mental age of 4 for her entire life!  I remember taking her for her first blood tests at the hospital…I cried as much as she did when they poked a needle into my baby’s tiny heel, and filled little glass tubes with her precious blood!  The treatment for the condition was taking a synthetic thyroid hormone pill every day for the rest of Kaylee’s life.  Regular blood work every few months was also necessary to determine that the dosage was correct.  

Since Kaylee’s dad worked long hours at the radio station, I was her main caregiver…every day, we would go for a walk, often to the park nearby.  One beautiful summer day, I carried the stroller down the stairs (we lived in an upstairs apartment), and set it up outside.  I went back in to get Kaylee and the diaper bag.  Once I got the baby strapped in, I remembered that I’d left my purse sitting on the steps.  I tried to open the door…I had locked it…my keys were in my purse, inside the apartment…

There were no cell phones then, and I didn’t have any money with me.  I didn’t know my neighbours either, other than to nod as I went by…I saw one of those neighbours outside, and asked if I could use her phone to call Kaylee’s dad at work.  If you were paying attention, you might remember that I said he worked in radio…of course, he was on the air when I called.  I explained my predicament to the woman at the switchboard…she promised she would give him the message.  I don’t think I mentioned that we did not own a car, and the radio station was a half hour walk away…

I sat on our porch steps while I waited for what seemed like an eternity…there were definitely some tears shed (Kaylee cried a little bit too).  An hour-and-a-half later, we were no longer locked out of our apartment…I can’t remember if we ever went for our walk!

Kaylee got used to our walks…when she was about a year-and-a-half, I found her standing naked in our front hall, wearing only rubber boots and holding an open umbrella over her head.  “I’m ready to go for our walk now, Mom!” she announced.  After I took a picture (and put some clothes on her), we did go!

I used to buy Kaylee books all the time (this was long before I was in the book business!).  Her favourite was Peter Rabbitby Beatrix Potter…she had its text memorized and could “read” it along with me by the time she was 18 months old!  We were also frequent visitors at the library…she’s the only one of my kids who reads much now.

Peter Rabbit (photo from franshouseofdollsandtoys.com)

Kaylee did not inherit my love of bugs…she was three when she was freaking out about an insect flying around the bathroom.  I said, “Don’t worry…it’s just a fruit fly looking for an apple.”

Tearfully, she replied, “Well, give him one!”

Kaylee was in the first official kindergarten class in New Brunswick…she loved it, and her teacher, Mrs. S.  I went in every Friday afternoon after lunch to volunteer in her class…after an hour with 25 5-year-olds, I had a whole new respect for the job that teachers do!

When Kaylee started Grade 1, I put her in French Immersion, since we lived in a city where 1/3 of the people spoke French, in a province which was officially bilingual.  She was like a sponge, and was making fun of my limited French by the time she was 7!  “No, Mom…that’s not how you say it!”

When Kaylee was eight, her sister, Anna, was born…she was excited about being a big sister, but it wasn’t an easy transition for her.  She had been an only child for a long time!  I tell people that Kaylee was a “teenager” from the time she was eight…not easy for either one of us!

Kaylee, age 8...behind that innocent smile lurked the beginnings of a teenager...

Her father used to get free tickets to a lot of concerts, and when Kaylee was ten, we took her and Anna to see The Rankin Family…after the concert, we took them backstage to meet the band.  The Rankin girls made a big fuss over our kids…to this day, Kaylee and I still go to see them perform when they come to town.  Great Big Sea is another one of her favourite bands.

Kaylee inherited the bad knees that women in our family all have.  She was eleven when she was walking across our living room and fell down without warning.  A visit to the emergency room confirmed that her knee had collapsed, and that Kaylee had actually broken a one-centimetre piece off her kneecap when she fell.  They gave her a nice cast, and sent her home with crutches.  An appointment with the orthopedic surgeon was scheduled, and a few months later, he did arthroscopic surgery on both her knees to correct her “floating kneecaps.”  In Grade 7, I got a call from Kaylee’s middle school.  Her knee had collapsed again, and she had fallen down the stairs.  After another trip to the hospital, she came home with her leg encased in fibreglass…at least fibreglass was lighter than plaster!

Hope was born when Kaylee was 12…she loved her new little sister!  Kaylee was a big help with Hope when she was little…I will always be grateful to her for babysitting her two sisters while I was working (her father’s and my marriage had broken up by then)!       

Kaylee’s teenage years were not happy ones…we butted heads constantly, and she and Anna fought…a lot (I remember making frantic calls to her father in Ontario begging him to talk some sense into her!).  She was as stubborn as I am…the apple didn’t fall far from the tree!  For a while, Kaylee hosted an online radio show, and flirted with the idea of going into radio…her father worked hard to talk her out of that one! 

Kaylee as a teenager in the light of her computer screen...

Kaylee was about seventeen before she turned into a “human being” again.  She got her first job at Bulk Barn.  Working hard was good for her…she used to come home exhausted from cleaning all day, but she was happy to have her own money!

I was not happy when Kaylee decided at eighteen to get a tongue ring…luckily, her boyfriend at the time told her he didn’t like it, so she let it grow over.  I still love that boy…

That same year, Kaylee decided she wanted to move back to Moncton…she arranged to get an apartment with her best friend, and we packed up her stuff and took her up there.  Three weeks later, she called and told me that it wasn’t working out, and she moved back home again.

In December of 2006, she met Scott online on Plenty of Fish.  They were “an item” by January of 2007.  By then, Kaylee was working in a call centre uptown…she arranged to share an apartment with a friend she worked with, and moved out that spring.

Kaylee and Scott in their early dating days...

 That fall, my mother died…Kaylee was devastated…as the first grandchild, she and my mom had been close!  I didn’t have the money for plane fare to Ontario…it was Kaylee who bought two tickets for us with her credit card (I repaid her later), and helped me pack up my mother’s estate (along with my brother and sister-in-law).  When we returned, Kaylee got a small tattoo on her wrist in honour of her Gramma…

Kaylee and Gramma...Kaylee was about 5 in this picture...

Today, Kaylee and Scott are the parents of my 20-month-old granddaughter, Elise.  They have their own house about 25 minutes away, and come to see us every couple of weeks.  Kaylee is a great mom, and is perfectly happy staying home with the baby (I was itching to go back to work by the time my kids were 18 months).  She uses cloth diapers for Elise, and they’ve been teaching her sign language since she was an infant.  Kaylee has her own website promoting contests open to Canadians (she’s been entering, and winning, every contest she can find since she was in her late teens – she won a Vespa scooter a few years ago).  Kaylee loves 80’s music, and is vocal about human rights issues (homophobes had best be silent when Kaylee’s in the vicinity!).  She is also the Coupon Queen, hunting online for the best deals on groceries for her family.  Kaylee inherited my love of cooking and baking, and hates cleaning up as much as I do…luckily, Scott takes up the slack in that department!  Kaylee gets exasperated sometimes when I give her vague answers when she calls me to get my recipes!  She and Scott frequently entertain friends in their home.  Kaylee dabbles in photography and has thousands of photos and videos of Elise!

Kaylee with Elise...April, 2011

Kaylee and I are a lot closer now than we were when she was a teenager, although I often have to find out things through Facebook (like when she got pregnant, for example!).  I am proud of the young woman she’s become: smart, strong and loving!  Happy Birthday, Kaylee Marie!  I love you!

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A Love Letter, Teenage Talent, and a Zombie Baby…

It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon…Jim and the kids have gone to buy tires for the Corolla and have lunch at my least favourite fast food restaurant (I’ll give you a hint – its spokesperson is a clown with a rhyming name).  I wish they had taken Jake with them…he’s driving me crazy…wants to go out on the deck and chase the chipmunks and squirrels!  I’ve got a Hannah Georgas concert playing on the computer while I work (thank you CBC Concerts on Demand).  The second of three loads of laundry is spinning in the dryer…I’m saving a fortune on dryer sheets!  I bought a couple of those dryer balls at the dollar store, and they actually work!

One of the best dollars I ever spent...dryer balls!

The ear, nose and throat specialist called on Monday with the date for Jim’s sinus surgery: November 10th.  He’s having his deviated septum fixed, and they’re scooping stuff out of his sinus cavity.  I’m glad we’ve finally got the date: Jim’s been off work most of the week with another sinus infection…he regaled me this morning with a description of the secretions he’s harbouring.  Thanks, honey…I really didn’t want to eat lunch today!

Tuesday night was Dad’s chorus rehearsal night, and I was looking for something easy to make for supper…I had gotten turkey bacon on sale the day before, and had bagels in the fridge.  I cooked the bacon, sliced and toasted the bagels, spread them with peanut butter (both sides), put a couple of slices of bacon on, and top them with the other bagel slice.  Jim refuses to eat them (he ate his leftover jambalaya, which was good, but my wimpy intestine did not agree).  However, the girls and I love my bagel/bacon sandwiches!  Try it…you’ll like it!

On Wednesday, I wandered uptown to get some money from the banking machine…I saw one of my male friends pushing his daughter down the sidewalk in her umbrella stroller.  He was doing the “Daddy Push” as I call it…you know the one: one hand on the handle, walking beside it like, “This kid isn’t really mine.  I was just walking down the street and my hand caught on this stroller handle…”  In my head, I know it’s because umbrella strollers are poorly designed for tall people, but I can’t help thinking that there’s more to it when I see a man pushing a stroller that way…like it’s not cool to be a dad or something!

As many of you know, Thursday was the one-week anniversary of my blog being “Freshly Pressed” for the second time.  I had what I thought was an amazing idea…why not do a funny piece about the roller coaster ride that being FP’d is?  Unfortunately, my regular readers thought I was upset, and went about trying to console me!  So, here is a love letter to all my “peeps”:

Dear Fans of Herding Cats (you know who you are):

I would just like to thank you for taking the time out of your day to visit  Hammond River and the ramblings of my brain.  Your compliments and encouragement (and even your criticisms!) are always much appreciated!  I have been fortunate to be in the company of some truly talented writers, all of whom I consider friends, even though we’ve never met (please take the time to check them out on my Blogroll – He Said/She Said).  To my family and “touchable” friends, I love that you care about me enough to read what I write – it means a lot!

I will continue to write Herding Cats in Hammond River as long as we’re both enjoying it!  Thanks again!

Love,

Wendy

P.S. Really…I’m FINE (and I wasn’t “harbouring small rodents in my eyebrows”)! WM      

Last night, Hope and her friend, Gabrielle, were signed up to participate in an Open Mic Night for kids aged 8 to 15.  Jim, Anna and I went to the Coffee Mill in Lancaster Mall for supper before the show (Hope was at Gabrielle’s and would meet us at the show).  Their average customer keeps his teeth in a glass beside the bed and gets a pension cheque once a month, so we missed the rush by arriving at 5:20.   They make the best Philly Cheese Steak sandwich at the Coffee Mill, and their fries are awesome too!  Jim had the roast turkey dinner, and Anna went for the chicken burger platter and chocolate milkshake.  Yummy! 

We got to the venue for the show, paid our $5 admission and took a seat in a large room where about a dozen teenage boys seemed to be making preparations for the show.  Jim and Anna got their cameras out…Jim was taking still shots, and Anna was doing a video of Hope’s performance.  We waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally at 6:50 (20 minutes after the show was supposed to start), the director came to the microphone and introduced the first act: a kid about 12 who played a trumpet solo…not bad! 

Then the director called Hope and Gabrielle onstage.  We chatted amongst ourselves while technical difficulties with Hope’s CD were being sorted out.  No luck!  It was decided to bring up another act and try again later.  An 11-year-old came up and told an improvised story which only he and his relatives found amusing…please sit down, you obnoxious child! (I thought – I don’t think I said it out loud).  Then, Take 2 of the Hope and Gabrielle duet of “Bulletproof” by La Roux.  The informal tech crew was able to get the CD to play on some kid’s laptop.  The girls did a good job, although Hope kept glancing nervously around behind her at the laptop…her fears were realized when the CD crapped out in the middle of the song.  The girls stopped singing, we applauded, and the show went on.

Gabrielle and Hope in their "Bulletproof" vests...

After a performance by two cute 8-year-old girls who played violin, and then sang a Taylor Swift song badly, the next act came on: A trio of teenagers called All About Appearance.  The lead singer was a Justin Bieber lookalike who could sing and play guitar.  His sidekicks were a male guitarist, and a female drummer.  They were good, and sang three songs.  After that, the show went downhill.  We stuck around hoping it would get better…it didn’t!  Two brothers tortured us with an “experimental” techno song played on a synthesizer keyboard…it lasted an interminable six minutes  (it was at that point that my dad decided he’d had enough, and made for the door). 

The next band was four young teenage boys who were enthusiastic, and could play their instruments, but the lead singer couldn’t sing, and the other guitar player left the stage every two minutes to throw up (the lead singer felt the need to tell us that).  After four deafening “songs” punctuated with heavy drumming, we made our escape!  I’ve always frowned on parents leaving a show right after their child had performed, but I knew that if I didn’t get out of there, I might lose my mind!  I’m all for encouraging young talent, but I believe that some organization and some minimum standards for shows are necessary!

We dropped Hope off at her friend’s sleepover/birthday party on the way home…better late than never!

When we got home, I opened up Facebook to find that my daughter Kaylee’s profile picture had changed:

Zombie Baby...yikes!

I was not amused that someone with far too much time on her hands had turned my sweet “Puddin Pop” into a zombie baby…

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Two Thanksgivings, A Quarantine, A Helicopter Attack, and A Giant Pumpkin…

So, this was our Thanksgiving weekend…it was a busy one.  On Sunday night, we went to Jim’s parents for a combination Thanksgiving/birthday dinner for Jim’s son, Devin.  He turned 17 on October 4th.

The Birthday Boy...

We had a lovely meal: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, rolls, green beans, gravy, cucumber/tomato slices, and a delicious turnip puff that Jim’s sister, Kim, made.  I had two helpings!

Unfortunately, Jim’s dad only joined us for a few minutes, sitting way over in the corner by himself…he was suffering from a bad cold, and didn’t want to give it to anyone.  He had spent the past few days in the basement.  Kim’s husband, Chris, pointed out that Gordon couldn’t have been suffering too much…he had the big screen TV, computer, and a fridge nearby.  Gordon came up to watch Devin open his presents: he got some clothes, lots of money, and a remote control helicopter that Jim bought for him.  It was fun watching it fly around, although it didn’t fly very high on the first night…it wasn’t fully charged.

Dessert was yummy…my blueberry pie, Jim’s mom’s pumpkin cheesecake, and purchased carrot cake for the birthday boy, who doesn’t like chocolate.   Jim’s sister, Tracy, had to wait for a minute to bring Devin’s cake out…Jim wasn’t ready with his camera…

Kim invited us to her Halloween party: “Everybody has to wear a costume!”  I have no idea what I’m going to be.  Halloween isn’t my favourite holiday…Jim the smartass suggested I go as a “party pooper.”

We got home just in time for Amazing Race.  I was so happy it turned out to be a non-elimination leg…I like Kevin and his dad!

I woke up Monday morning feeling like a dump truck had driven over me several times…my cold was back!  Jim didn’t feel much better.  I dragged my butt out of bed, made a bagel and tea for breakfast, and started getting the stuffing made for the turkey.  Kaylee, Scott and Elise were coming over for Thanksgiving dinner.

I got the turkey into the oven by noon…then I went out to the garden to harvest some vegetables for dinner.  I got a couple of Red Kuri squash, some beets, three rutabagas, and some mutant-looking carrots (average 4″ long, but fat little things).

Carrots, Rutabagas, Squash, Beets from the Garden...

I took a little break and sat down at my computer to check e-mail and Facebook.  Jim and the kids were playing with Devin’s birthday present again.  It went really high – almost up to the ceiling!  I was sitting there minding my own business when I felt a breeze over my head…a couple of seconds later, there was a helicopter entangled in my hair!

The Killer Helicopter...

Jim swears it was an accident: “It just lost power!”   I think he was secretly getting revenge for the times I injured him earlier in the week…an elbow to the nose (“It hurt for two days!”), and a whack to the temple with a snow brush handle (we were cleaning out the car, and he asked me to hand it to him so he could put it in the trunk).   I apologized profusely, both times, but warned Jim that there probably would be a third time…these things always happen in threes!

It took a few minutes to free my hair from the vehicle nesting in it.  It was at that point I decided it would be a good idea to have a shower.

Devin and Brianna went to their mom’s house for their second Thanksgiving dinner of the weekend.

Kaylee and family arrived about 4.  Elise is now taking a few steps on her own, and asking what everything is.  I didn’t have much time to spend with her though, because I was busy cooking (and also didn’t want to reinfect her with another cold). 

Kaylee wanted some pictures of Elise with a pumpkin, so everybody trooped outside, leaving me in the kitchen with the food.  Jim took the photos below:

Elise and the Pumpkin...

"Let's see how it tastes..."

"Yummy!"

Apparently, Elise couldn’t wait for supper.  She also sampled some fall leaves…I let her take the pumpkin home, since she’d already licked it!

Our Thanksgiving dinner was also delicious, if I do say so myself!  In addition to the turkey, stuffing, and vegetables from the garden, we had whipped potatoes, broccoli, and corn.  Jim made his Grammy’s dressing (which Hope loves), gravy, and a sauce for the beets.

Elise was falling asleep, so Kaylee and Scott left before dessert…I sent them home with a blueberry pie.  The rest of us ate pumpkin pie…it was yummy!  Devin and Brianna made it home just in time!

Jim and I packed the leftover food into lunch containers…Jim is planning a turkey stew for his night to cook…looking forward to it!

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Happy Birthday, Puddin’ Pop!

The phone beside our bed rang.  It was 5:20 a.m. on September 9, 2009.  I roused myself from sleep to answer it…my oldest daughter, Kaylee, was on the other end.  “We’re going to the hospital,” she said.  “I can’t take it any more.”  I promised to meet them there.  The time had come…I was about to become a Gramma (although at 48, I was far too young!).  I did a quick sponge bath, threw on some clothes, and hastily applied enough makeup to avoid trauma for the nurses.  Jim got dressed and stumbled down to the car to drive me to town.  We arrived at the Saint John Regional Hospital about 6, after stopping at the Tim Hortons Drive-Thru to grab tea and a bacon breakfast sandwich.  Jim dropped me at the front door, and headed back home (he had to go to work later).  I boarded the elevator and rode up to the Labour and Delivery Unit.  I explained to the nurse at the desk that I was looking for my daughter, who was in labour…she led me down the corridor to the room where I would spend most of the next 15 hours.

When I arrived, Kaylee was in a lot of pain.  Scott was holding up quite well.  We met the two nurses who would be taking care of Kaylee while she was in labour.  One was about my age…we hit it off immediately.  She was the kind of person I like – a straight-shooter, but with a sense of humour.  She’d been doing obstetrics for more than 20 years.  The other lady was slightly younger, and I somehow missed that she had a hearing problem.  I kept wondering why she seemed to be ignoring me when I spoke to her.  Her colleague explained that she read lips (while she was out of the room on a break).  After that, I made a point of looking at her when I talked…

The first “doctor” who came in to examine Kaylee looked like he should have been wearing a “letter jacket” and holding a basketball rather than a stethoscope.  “Does his mommy know he’s a doctor?” I thought.

After a few hours, the doctors decided it was time to give Kaylee the epidural she wanted (I went “au naturel” for all three of my labours – I couldn’t talk Kaylee into that).  The anethetist was very cute…he was tall, and had prematurely grey hair…I kept hoping he would come back to check on her!

Once the drugs kicked in, I was about as useful as tits on a bull.  I had pictured talking Kaylee through breathing techniques as my labour coaches had with me…none of that was needed here!  I sat down on one of the rather uncomfortable chairs, and wished I’d remembered to bring a book.  The hours crawled by…

Scott’s dad made a brief appearance…it was my first time meeting him.  Nice fella.

Labour progressed, but the baby wasn’t liking the process of travelling down the birth canal very well.  About seven o’clock, it was decided that they would take Kaylee to the operating room, and attempt to use forceps to deliver the baby.  If it didn’t work, they would do a C-section. 

Only one other person was allowed in the operating room…Scott, being the dad, was the logical choice.  He changed out of his street clothes into the operating room scrubs.  Unfortunately, the string on the pants was broken.  He called me from the bathroom with his dilemma.  I asked the nurse for another pair of pants, which she brought.  Scott put on the second pair of pants, and then decided to make a pit stop before going into the operating room.  He had a small accident…he managed to dribble on the baggy pants while he was doing his business.  I flagged down one of the residents, and explained the situation and the need for a third pair of pants.  Scott was standing behind the bathroom door, throughly embarrassed that I had told the doctor all the details.  I told him that when the baby grew up, I was going to tell her that her father was so excited to see her, that he peed his pants!  If looks could kill, I wouldn’t be typing this now!

The medical staff loaded Kaylee on to a stretcher, and I went to the waiting room.  Scott’s mom was there, and we had a great conversation while we were waiting.  I’d never met her before.  Finally about 10:00, Scott came out and told us that Elise Marie Louise Lee had arrived.  She weighed 6 lbs., 12 oz. and had been delivered by forceps at 9 p.m.  (making her birth date 09/09/09 at 9:00 – will never forget that).  I called Jim, and he said he’d come to pick me up.  Then we went back into the room to see Kaylee and our new family member.  Scott’s dad and his wife arrived soon after that.  Jim came, and I met him in the waiting room and brought him in to see the baby.

We all went home…I went to bed right away…it had been a long day! 

Anna took this photo of me and Elise...she was a few days old here...

Today, Elise is a child of few words: cat, puppy and baby are her favourites at the moment.  She is a very happy baby…rarely gives her parents a moment of trouble.  She is quite squirmy, and will not sit still for a story.  Elise is now able to stand on her own, but hasn’t taken that first step yet.

I always said I wouldn’t be the kind of grandmother who forced people to look at endless photos of her grandchild…guess what I carry in my purse: a photo album filled with pictures of “my” baby in case I run into somebody on the street who doesn’t have Facebook!

My Pig-Tailed Puddin' Pop!

Happy Birthday, Puddin’ Pop!  I’m so happy you’re in my life!

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