Friday, 19 June 2009

Young Mary Joe isn't so bad

"Oh, Anne, do come quick," implored Diana nervously. "Minnie May is awful sick - she's got croup. Young Mary Joe says - and Father and Mother are away to town and there's nobody to go for the doctor. Minnie May is awful bad and Young Mary Joe doesn't know what to do - and oh, Anne, I'm so scared!" (this part of "Anne of Green Gables" is found here)

Up until last year, Anne of Green Gables had been my only experience with croup. And what a romantic experience. Matter of fact Anne, after being shunned by Mrs Barry for the currant wine debacle, is able to win back the favour of Mrs Barry by single handedly saving Minnie May by tending to her through the night.

If you had asked me three years ago if croup was even around now, I would have told you with with 100% certainty that it was a virus long gone from first world countries.

Imagine my alarm when LQ woke late one night last year struggling to breathe and freaking us both out with her barking cough. It mustn't have been as bad as Minnie May because once LQ calmed down her wheezing was much abated and she seemed to still have plenty of colour in her face. It only lasted one night, so Dal and I didn't worry too much about it.

Until last night. Old Wheezy came back with a vengeance and this time I was debating whether we should rush to the emergency room or not. Again, once Old Wheezy had calmed down her condition seemed much better, so I diligently searched the internet for a reason for this occurance. "Croup" is what the internet spewed back at me.

And instead of being worried, I immediately felt a special bond with Anne of Green Gables. Except I guess if I were in the story (and I was honest) I would be more like the stupid Young Mary Joe character. So paralysed with panic I don't even think to make the room warmer. I guess next time LQ wakes up with an inflamed larynx, I'll have Dal trudge through the snow to summon my estranged bosom friend.

Some facts about Croup:
  • It is characterised by a cough that sounds like a barking seal and inflamed airways that usually occur during the night.
  • The inflamed airways are different to an asthmatics wheezing by the laboured breathing sound that occurs when the child breathes out.
  • It is mostly children aged three and under that suffer from croup
  • The cold night air actually HELPS the inflamed airways
  • Alternatively you can place a humidifier in the sufferer's room and that can also help
  • Calling your child "Old Wheezy" at three in the morning makes everything funny

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Unnecessary Blubbering

I cried at dance class today.

It wasn't because the teacher was being mean, either.

As I sat watching my darling 2 year old twirling her ribbon on a stick the way SHE wanted, my inner voice clearly said to me "Look. Look at how much fun she is having."

I looked. At that same moment LQ turned to face me. The delightful grin almost took over her face as she showed me her twirling skills, looking for my happy approval.

My inner voice continued "Now here's the lesson to be learned. Does it really matter that she doesn't follow the dance teacher's instructions? Does it really matter that LQ doesn't seem to be keeping up with the other two year olds physically? Do all these vague milestones really matter?"

"Could it just be that LQ being HAPPY is the MOST important thing in her life at the moment? The pressure to succeed will inevitably come to that darling girl. Don't YOU give it to her!"

And that's when I started crying at dance class. Tears of relief that I didn't have to worry anymore.

It was kind of embarrassing.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Taking "Little Queen" too far

This is how LQ is insisting on getting around the house at the moment.Remember we used it on our trip to the US last year? We will be doing it again, but this time I am going to use velcro straps to attach it and not a bungee cord. The velcro will be less fiddly (I hope).

Princess LQ has spoken. Speaking of talking, LQ has learned the phrase "I don't know". Comes in handy when your mother is harassing talking to you.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The Little Girl That Followed Me Around

A little girl followed me around today.

She looked about two-ish, had sandy blonde hair and seemed to come out of nowhere.

She was there when I woke up, so I led her to the tv to keep her amused while I made her some breakfast. I didn't want to be responsible for an unknown child suffering from malnutrition.

Since nobody came to claim her after breakfast my next thought was to leave some toys out for her to play with. I don't know what little children like to do, so I gave her a ball, some paper and crayons, a few dress ups and a singing piggy bank. Don't ask me where those toys came from, they seemed to appear from nowhere just like the little girl that followed me around.

The little girl seemed pleased with the selection and showed her gratitude by giving me a quick cuddle. After the cuddle she pulled my face to hers in her chubby little hands, babbled in an unknown language and then ended her sentence with the word "mummy".

"Don't be silly little girl. I am not a mummy. I couldn't possibly handle the responsibility of motherhood."

Unperturbed The Little Girl That Followed Me Around went on with her playing and occasional television watching.

After a short while the Little Girl That Followed Me Around took my hand and led me into our spare bedroom. I was right in assuming that this too had change dramatically seemingly overnight into a child's haven. The Little Girl That Followed Me Around indicated that she would like to climb in and out of the crib and who was I to squash her adventurous spirit. I grabbed a nearby stepladder and assisted her Mt Everest Climbs.

The Little Girl That Followed Me Around doesn't seem to have quite grasped the concept of private body parts and at one point grabbed my breast for support during one of her climbs. I guess if I were a mother I would have found it hysterically funny, but being a "non-mother" I was not impressed at the pain searing through my perfect pert bosom.

My day continued much the same. Nobody came to the door looking for a stray little girl, so The Little Girl That Followed Me Around continued to follow me. We went outside for a spell, climbing up and down the stairs, smelling the parsley and laughing uncontrollably when The Little Girl That Followed Me Around pushed me to the ground and hurriedly sat on my tummy.

I figured The Little Girl That Followed Me Around might need a sleep when she started crying at small, seemingly little things. That kind of happens to me when I am tired - I start crying at stupid little things. So I decided to get some use out of the crib that had suddenly appeared. She fell asleep and I was tired.

The Little Girl That Followed Me Around soon woke up and I left her to her own devices while I got stuck into the housework I neglected this morning. But instead of being interested in toys, she kept following me around and trying to help me. I have to tell you the help offered by The Little Girl That Followed Me Around wasn't all that great. I expect more from children if I am to keep them. She is too short to get the cutlery sorted correctly and instead of sweeping crumbs off the floor she eats them!

She seemed to perk up my husband by running away from the car squealing "Daddy!!" as he pulled into the drive. Again I wondered at the ability this little girl had at adapting herself to a new family.

After dinner and a bath it seemed we were all ready to go to bed. My husband and I discussed the possibility of letting The Little Girl That Followed Me Around sleep over. It seemed no one else wanted to claim her, so we decided to keep her for a few days.

And yet as I sit here writing this an inconceivable thought comes to mind. Could it just be possible that this little girl who seemed to spring from nowhere is in fact MINE? If so, the questions remain - who on this earth let ME become a mother and HOW has this little girl survived two years of being mothered by me??

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Children Beware

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking "What's gotten into Hel? All of a sudden she's posting again? What's up with that?"

I say in response to those questions - NOTICE ME!

On to my warning to all Children.

WARNING: If you wake up too early in the morning, not only will your parents be cranky, you will also end up like this:

On another LQ note.... LOOK!!! She has a proper ponytail!!!

It is to save us from the embarrassment of the mullet factor

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

the text was fed to us

I have recently given much thought to my pregnancy with LQ, in particular the actual birth.

Don't worry, I am not going to give you a birth story. The only people who deserve to be put through a birth story are the ones that ask for it AND any new mother to be. I was inundated with birth stories when I was pregnant with LQ, so I believe it is now my turn. Retribution.

But I digress.

Because I had a slight temperature, the people in charge of getting the little lump out of me (I couldn't tell you if they were doctors, interns or midwives) suggested I be induced.

I had read a bit about being induced including a rather annoying book that pretty much stated that ANY intervention from the outside world should be seen as VERY dangerous for both child and mother. Of course the book went on to site varied horror stories about when the medical profession becomes involved in the birthing process. Whilst reading this book, I was able to keep an objective opinion and came away feeling angry that the authors of this book had the hide to even let it out into the public domain. The least they could have done was find a few success stories of intervention, but then I guess that wouldn't have served their purpose - which was to denounce all of the medical profession.

I digress again.

I hadn't read anything too terrible about being induced and because the people who had done this thing many more times than me seemed to think it a good idea, I went along with it.

I had a few gizmo's attached to my stomach to make sure the contractions were going as planned. The problem with that was the machine seemed to be lying to the midwife. I went from zero contractions to laying-on-the-floor-dying contractions within an hour. But the midwife kept telling me that they were little contractions and that I still had MANY hours to go. Not something a girl wants to hear when she is passing out from the pain. I am lucky that I had my mum there. She leaned over and quietly whispered "I think you are a lot closer than the midwife is telling you." If only mum had left before she made her follow up comment regarding my wails of pain - "It must be the italian in her." What THE? I thought EVERYONE cries out when their body is being ripped in two.

I promise, I am getting to the point of my story.

I managed to get through the birth with a shot of pethadine and that lovely, darling, wonderful, magical GAS. It only lasted three hours, so I wondered how some women can go for longer and sometimes without any pain relief. It just didn't seem physically possible.

And then earlier this year, my SIL mentioned that she had been reading about hypno-birthing. Apparently the book that she had been reading declared that pain during birth was the fault of the mother. According to the book, if you don't know what is going on with your body, then you are fighting the process, hence the pain. Which makes sense to a certain point. But honestly -- I just don't think all those women passing out from pain are going to appreciate that they are being blamed for the pain that they are feeling. That just made me angry. Can I just add that there seems to be a LOT of stupid books in circulation.

This concept got me thinking. I like to think that I knew what was going to happen (up to a point). I knew what a contraction was and that it started at the top and went all the way to the bottom of the uterus. I knew all those breathing techniques. Dal and I had some great relaxation ideas. But those ideas don't work when your body gets surprised by the BIG I.N.D.U.C.T.I.O.N. I wanted to know if the pain experienced after being induced is in fact worse than normal.

It turns out that they are. WARNING: Being induced brings on harder and faster contractions before your body has had enough time to produce its own endorphins to combat the pain. Therefore the pain is felt more thoroughly by one being induced. I will certainly think twice about saying yes to that awful drug again.

HOWEVER... this is not the point to my story. Here it is.

Being a first time mother is daunting at the best of times. The fact that there are so many "expert" opinions out there each claiming that they are correct makes me angry. Any woman who tells a new mother to be a list of opinions stating them as facts makes me even angrier. If there is one thing I have learned it is that every woman is different. I am sure that if my mother-in-law had not had epidurals she probably would have died from the pain. As it was, she went through one birth of her 11 pound son whose shoulders were so wide they had to be broken in order for him to make it out. For someone (or a book) to tell her that she was endangering her child by having an epidural or that the pain she felt was all because she didn't know how to handle it is just insulting.

Let women come together and embrace each other's differences. Let us STOP competing and start burning those dumb books!!!

What's on my mind today

LQ attends a dance class every Wednesday afternoon. On a good day there are about three children that attend. LQ and G are the two regulars while others come and go. G's mother just gave birth to a little boy.

I was very excited to learn all about the little cutie and how G was coping with having a new brother a few weeks ago. Grandma came with little G, so I asked excitedly "how is the new addition?!"

Not so excitedly, G's Grandma told me that the doctors found fluid on the brain after the birth, so they did a CAT scan which showed a brain tumor in the tiny boy. Upon learning of the brain tumor, the paediatrician order another series of test. Ultimately the tiny little baby boy was diagnosed with advanced cancer. Because he is so tiny, there is nothing that can be done.

I was shocked to hear the news. My thoughts immediately went to this family who must have felt such bittersweet feelings. I sent my love along with G's grandma not knowing what else I could do.

Today, G showed up with her mum. We talked about how G was coping with being a big sister. Then we talked about how G's baby brother was doing. G's mum said that he is functioning as any normal baby would. Waking them up during the night, demanding everyone's time and attention. But unlike any normal baby, his parents know that all this blissful time with him is short and precious. G's mum said with a smile on her face "You know, he was obviously meant to be born. So we are just appreciating the time that we do have with him."

What an amazing show of heroism. This woman, instead of looking at her son and seeing what eventually will be lost, is looking for all the good times to be had with her tiny son. What strength, what courage. What a splendid show of perfect mothering.

I thought about all this on the drive home from dancing. I realised that instead of looking at all the things that LQ is NOT doing, I need to be looking at all that she IS doing. Every day she learns more words. And although she doesn't follow most instructions at dancing, she is still able to dance at home. She shrugs her shoulders to a beat. She tip-toed with me this morning. She gives me more cuddles. She is a big helper... putting away dishes and rearranging clothing. She even ate some broccoli tonight!

I am so lucky to be a mum to a healthy, wonderful little girl who wants nothing more than to learn and grow. I'm just thinking that I should be enjoying the play dough more.