Tag Archives: daughters

Daddy Quotes

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A father is someone that holds your hand at the fair makes sure you do what your mother says holds back your hair when you are sick brushes that hair when it is tangled because mother is too busy lets you eat ice cream for breakfast but only when mother is away he walks you down the aisle and tells you everything is gonna be Ok! ~ Anonymous

The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, “Daddy, I need to ask you something,” he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan. ~ Garrison Keillor

It is impossible to please all the world and one’s father. ~ Jean de La Fontaine

Parents are often so busy with the physical rearing of children that they miss the glory of parenthood, just as the grandeur of the trees is lost when raking leaves. ~ Marcelene Cox

Be kind to thy father, for when thou were young, who loved thee so fondly as he? He caught the first accents that fell from thy tongue, and joined in thy innocent glee. ~ Margaret Courtney

All fathers are invisible in daytime; daytime is ruled by mothers and fathers come out at night. Darkness brings home fathers, with their real, unspeakable power. There is more to fathers than meets the eye. ~ Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eyes

The father is always a Republican toward his son, and his mother’s always a democrat. ~ Robert Frost

My son and daughter tell me where they are in very different ways. I know where my son is because I hear him. I know where my daughter is because she tells me. ~ Anonymous

A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again. ~ Enid Bagnold

“Mommy, Where Do Babies Come From?”

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228149Oh yes, that bomb dropped last week.  I guess I had it coming now that we are pregnant, but I didn’t think at 4, she would be asking me.  We were getting ready for school and she came up to me with the most curious look on her face.

“Mommy, where do babies come from?” she asked.  I stood there for a good 5 minutes trying to find the most age appropriate answer.

“Umm, where do you think they come from?” I asked using the movie ‘Knocked Up’ as my saving grace.

“I think when you eat food it sits in your stomach until it grows into a baby,” she answered seriously.

“Yup.”  And that was the end of the discussion.  I wish I had something much better to offer at the time, but I was unprepared and needed time to figure out what, if anything I wanted to provide given her age.

I started researching how was the best way, if it was appropriate to tell them at a young age and what repercussions to expect.  From what I gathered, any age is appropriate as long as the material is age appropriate and straightforward.  A study showed that children who were given information from an early age and information that continued on throughout youth and puberty were less likely to have unprotected sex, teen pregnancy and STD’s.  That was enough to convince me to give her the facts.  And besides, I don’t want to be that mother (or grandmother) on Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant.  Nooo thank you.  I ran into my neighbour, who is also the blogger from Mafa’s World, she suggested ‘It’s Not The Stork’ by Robie H. Harris.   So off I went to my local book store and kindly approached the sales rep.

“Um excuse me, do you have any books on sex,” I whispered, “that are appropriate for 4 year olds?”

“Yes, sure, follow me,” she replied and led me to the children’s section.  She said that most parent decide what books they want and how much they edit.  She handed me a book about periods.

“Um, no sorry, for 4 year olds, not 14 year olds.  I need a book about where babies come from.”

She handed me ‘It’s Not The Stork’ as well as ‘A New Baby Is Coming! A Guide For A Big Brother Or Sister’ by Emily Menendez-Aponte.  I paid for the books and went on my way.

I was so nervous picking her up from school that I must have dropped the bag about 6 times.  Flashbacks of my ‘sex talk’ came flooding back.  I was maybe 12 years old and I was in the living room watching the original version of Degrassi Junior High, the episode where Spike announces she’s pregnant.  My mother whom was sitting in the kitchen saw what was on the TV.

“Do you have any questions?” she yelled.

And as quickly as she asked, I quickly replied, “Nope!”

And that was the extent of my sex talk in my preteens.  She always had warned me about boys and their intentions, STD’s and pregnancy but that was definitely the moment that stuck out in my head.

So when the Princess and I got home, I read ‘A New Baby is Coming!’  I really liked this book.  It didn’t give specifics but openly discussed that sometimes children have feelings of sadness, or anger and that it was alright to ask Mommy and Daddy about it.  We then read ‘It’s Not The Stork’ which gives a much more detailed account and cartoon pictures of private parts and how exactly babies are made. S-E-X.  When I said the three-letter word, the Princess just looked at me with this quasi confused and disgusted look on her face.  I didn’t give her the how to’s, but she was pretty much content with what I told her.  But when Daddy came home, she felt the need to inform him also.

After the Princess went to bed, Hubby flipped through the books and just said he was ‘not ready’ for this conversation yet.  I edited some of the information as she’s still only 4, but at least we have these materials available for future questions.  So far, she is content with what she knows.

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Pregnancy Gender Myths

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I haven’t had any telltale feeling as to what the sex of this baby is.  In the beginning, I felt it was a girl, but with how different I feel this time around, I’m not sure.  With the Princess I could have sworn I was having a boy but everyone around me said “No, you are carrying high so it’s a girl.”  Turns out they were right.  The Princess would like our Rainbow to be a Prince, but I’ve been getting mixed reviews from people.  Some say boy, others say girl.  In the beginning of February, I will finally know.

We’ve all heard them.  The old wives tales people tell to determine prior to an ultrasound or the big day what the sex of the child will be.  Science has debunked a majority of them, but it’s for fun. So here are a few;

  • How you carry.  If you are carrying high, then it’s a girl.  If you carry low, then it’s a boy.
  • Heartbeats.  If the heartbeat is higher than 140, it’s a girl.  If it is lower than 140, it’s a boy.
  • Cravings.  People say that if you are craving something sweet, it’s a girl, but if you are craving sour, then it’s a boy.  Maybe there is something behind “sugar and spice, and everything nice.”
  • Weight Gain.  If your Hubby gains weight, then it’s a girl, but if he doesn’t gain a pound, then it’s a boy.
  • Your Face.  Apparently, if your face becomes round and rosy, then you are carrying a girl.  If not, it’s a boy.
  • Acne.  If you develop acne during pregnancy, then it’s a girl.  Some suggest it’s from extra female hormones.  If not, then obviously, it’s a boy!

So according to these myths I will be having a boy, so in a few weeks I will be able to say whether or not they are right.  A study was done, 71% of the time, mother’s guessed correctly the sex of their unborn baby.  While I’m not sure, I will go with my original feeling and say a girl.

What Makes you Beautiful?

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The Princess asked me a loaded question that had me struggling to find an answer.  The Princess received lip chap and play make up for her birthday and loved wearing every ounce of it at the same time.  She’d always watched me put my make up on in the morning and would play make up with Hubby.  I always stressed that she was beautiful but smart and kind and wonderful.  I try to avoid stories or movies that emphasize beauty above all else.  But despite all my best efforts, I heard this;

“Mommy, you wear make up so that you’ll be beautiful right?”

“No, people are beautiful without make up,” I reassured.

“Then why do you wear it?” she asked.

“Ummm,” I stuttered.  I wanted to answer this correctly.  I didn’t want to say that I didn’t look nice without make up or that women looked better with it.  I always try to be aware of how I answer her so that I can avoid making a mistake.  “I wear it because I work in an office where I have to look professional.”

“Ok Mom.” And she skipped away.

There have been a few moments in my life that left my speechless and this was one of them.  I help my make up brush in one hand and my eyeshadow in the other and sat silently in the bathroom on the side of the tub.  Perhaps I think too much and mull over what I say and do around my daughter, but I knew in the deepest parts of my soul that I didn’t want her to equate outside beauty with self-worth.

I remember what it felt like to be a young pre-teen and then a teenager.  As a preteen I had awful acne and was in that awkward phase of going from the tomboy to accepting my womanly fate.  It wasn’t always the greatest feeling being uncomfortable in your own skin.  And then the teenage years came and then it was peer pressure and cliques and attention from the opposite sex.  It wasn’t until I got into my late teens and then into university that I really came to terms with “liking me.”

I’ve never been or ever will be a size 2, let alone a size 6.  I have broad shoulders, I’m short and stocky, and a cow lick that will never go away.  But while these may be my least favourite attributes, I actually like who I am.  I like that I have freckles and that I have high cheek bones and green eyes.  And while I think that you should love yourself for yourself, I will admit that Hubby really helped me see how beautiful I was.  He thinks I’m the most gorgeous woman on Earth.  At first I thought “yeah right,” but after speaking with him more and more, I realize that he really does.  And if he can see how beautiful I am, then why can’t I?  I know I’ll never be a model but I’m ok with that.  I finally feel like this skin is my own.  It took time and maturity and knowing that I was loved for who I was that lead to this transformation.

While I cannot pretend to assume what it is like for girls today with social media and insane expectations of them, I really hope that I am able to ensure that Princess is a well-rounded and confident young woman and can see just how wonderful and beautiful I think and know she is.

What makes you beautiful?

Let’s Go To The Ex!

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In celebration of the Princess’ first day of school next week, we wanted to take in as much fun as possible this weekend.  So today we went to the CNE.  One of my favourite things growing up was going to local fairs.  I loved the smell in the air, the feel of the sun beating down on me, the sounds of the games and rides whooshing by and the sights of the large stuffed animals swinging from the games I wanted to win.  The multi-sensory experience of it sent me into a fantastical ecstasy that only Santa Claus could rival.  My parents were always exhausted, but my sisters and I were on a cotton candy flavoured cloud nine!  Since moving to Toronto 4 years ago today, I hadn’t been to a fair.  I had been to local festivals and ribfest, but nothing with adult sized midway rides, so while Hubby groaned and belly ached about having to go since it “sucked” in his opinion, I wanted to go.  I finally swayed his decision when I scored free admission and lunch for the three of us.

Memories of my childhood came flooding back when I stepped in the gates.  It was all what I had imagined and more.  I had never been to fair of this size before and was impressed by the array of food vendors, rides, games and entertainment.  I had to keep reminding myself that I had brought the Princess and cease my “ooh can we go on this ride?” as I tugged Hubby’s shirt.  I was acting like my 3 1/2 year old.   When we got to the midway, we bought a wrist band for unlimited rides for Princess and a sheet of 55 tickets for Hubby and I to go on.  We had assumed that like Ribfest and Taste of the Kingsway that may of the rides were child appropriate and she could go on them without us for the most part.  Not the case at the CNE.  Many of the rides, including the ones located in the “Kid Zone” are a minimum of 42 inches to get on, even with an adult accompanying them.  Poor Princess was 41 inches and was turned away at most of the rides.  She did get to go on some, but not nearly as many as we had hoped.  To be honest, had I known that she would have had such a limited selection, we probably wouldn’t have gone.

The first ride we went on was the Gondolas and it wasn’t until we were at the very top, overlooking downtown Toronto that I was quickly reminded how petrified of heights I really am.  Princess and Hubby were laughing and giggling away as I curled up and clung to the centre pole with my eyes as tight as the grip I had on the pole.  There was no harness or cage, just a swaying door in a cup at ridiculous heights.  It’s funny how it never looks as high from the bottom but once you reach the top, bring on the belly shaking nerves.  The gondola swung unmercifully causing me to beg my family members to quit moving, despite the fact they hadn’t moved a muscle.  Thankfully they let us off first as I’m sure the ride operators were laughing hysterically at me hunched over with a white knuckle grip each time we passed.

Next ride came the obstacle course that Princess was able to go in by herself.  However Hubby had to finish it with her as the glass portion of the maze is not “kid-friendly.”  Hubby and I waited on the ground level watching Princess maneuver her way through the glass pane maze when all of a sudden Bang! Princess had raced forward and smashed her face off the glass pane at the dead-end.  Tears ensued and the operator rushed in and brought her out.  While we were consoling her and getting Hubby ready to go through with her, came another Bang! when another little boy had pulled the same thing as Princess.  Turns out, children and glass houses don’t mix.  Hubby even admitted that he had to keep his arm extended so that he didn’t do it too.

Princess is a fast paced, speed junkie and when she saw the Tilt-A-Whirl, she had to go.  I didn’t mind as I used to love it, but after today, it should be renamed Tilt-A-Hurl.  The pock faced, pubescent gonad ride operator was as crusty as day old bread, barking at the riders to “sit down.”  He must’ve wanted to unleash his teen angst onto the riders as with each vicious spin, the ride got faster and turned and twirled some more.   Princess yelped with glee, laughing and screaming “faster, faster!”  Hubby tried to take pictures as we passed but his laughter at my facial expressions.  Apparently the look of extreme nausea is hilarious.  I got off with a massive headache and a worse stomach ache.  Princess asked, “Can we go again?”  Um, no thanks!

Overall the day was good.  We ate our lunch and watched performers play with fire and jump through a flaming hoop ringed in sharp knives.  We ate cotton candy, snow cones and candied pop corn.  We had budgeted $100 for today and spent $102.  So not bad.  But a word to the wise, buy the wrist bands for unlimited rides, as each ride can be up to 6 tickets each.  A wrist band is only $36, while a sheet of tickets can be up to $55.  We will probably wait until Princess is 7 before we go back as the rides are not as child friendly as we had originally thought.

Faces of Loss

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As many of you know, I lost my angel baby Emery on March 25th, 2011.  It has been 16 months since I lost her, but I still cry myself to sleep.  I was never prepared for what came after.  The doctors never gave me any pamphlets on bereavement and I didn’t have much of a support group.  Most people didn’t know what to say, or never mentioned it again.  For a long time, it seemed like everyone else had moved on, but I was stuck.  The doctors had sent me home to pass her despite my requests for a D&C and on the 25th, I held my lifeless little girl in the palm of my hand.  I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.  That was one of the most devastating moments of my life.  But it seemed that only I was really affected.  No one else was grieving like I was.  I didn’t know anyone who had suffered a miscarriage and I kept getting told “just get over it, move on.”

Now most people know that if you mix baking soda and vinegar in a bottle then put the cap on, eventually the pressure would cause the top to blow.  I was that bottle for quite some time.  Everyone kept giving me the “stop being negative, it was only a miscarriage, at least you have a child.”  And for a long time I kept how I was feeling to myself.  Everyone else was over it, maybe so should I.  But I had this nagging feeling that I wasn’t crazy, that maybe I was supposed to be this upset.  That was my daughter, I had carried her throughout her entire life.  From the moment of the positive pregnancy test, everything was about her.  My body was her safe vessel and I was the captain.  She breathed through me, was fed through me, lived in me.  Every thought I had, was in regards to her safety and well-being just as I did with my Princess.  And when she left us, I mourned her like I would anyone I loved.  But despite the short time we had together, I loved her whole-heartedly.  So every time someone would tell me how I was to feel, I would blow my top like my insides were baking soda and their comments were the vinegar and have a full on meltdown.  And then I was told I was the crazy one.  Had I lost a living child, would my grief been justified?  Was Emery a second-class citizen because she died before she left my womb?  And because of that, did she deserve a second-class mourning?  I grieved alone because no one else would mourn her.

It wasn’t until her angelversary that I knew I had to do something about this.  I was growing more and more angry with people.  Why didn’t they understand?  Who were they to tell me to let go of my daughter?  You let go of someone who love and tell me how it feels when someone says to get over it.  I knew I needed to find something or someone who understood.  I began searching the internet for groups and people telling their stories and I found Faces of Loss.  I was looking through its Groups page and I was able to find one in Toronto.   I messaged the group leader and last night I went to my very first meeting.  I have never felt more accepted.  These women understand my heartache and my grief and all those crazy thoughts that went through my mind.  They gave me ideas as to how to communicate with Hubby, how to grieve and ways that I could commemorate Emery’s life.  I am so grateful for this group and wanted to write about it so that if there are any other women out there looking for support, it IS out there.

Five Rounds at Dinner Time!

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Welcome Ladies & Gentlemen.  You are all about to witness the greatest battle in Mommydom.  This is it, the Toronto Mommy/Daughter Dinnertime Showdown Championship! Through blood and sweat and tears, you are going to see two rivals face off in Five Rounds at Dinner Time.  Let’s Get Ready to Rumbleeeeeee!

In the blue corner, weighing only 35 pounds and measuring 3 1/2 feet, we have Princess Danger!  Don’t let her button nose, dimples and curly blonde hair fool you, she’s a Warrior of Defiance!  This featherweight has sharp teeth, a stiff upper lip and sneaky right hook.

In the red corner, the veteran heavyweight measuring 5 feet 3 inches tall and weights not to be told, Mommy Lionheart.  26 years in the culinary world have made her a contender, but that gullibility may be her downfall.  So Ladies and Gentlemen, please take your seats as Five Rounds at Dinner Time is about to begin!

DING!!!

ROUND 1

Mommy Lionheart starts with an opening jab; fajitas for dinner.  The smell entices Princess Danger and it brings her too close.  Wham!!!  Princess Danger falls for the grated cheese.  And a right hook from Lionheart with the surprise of chocolate milk for dinner.  Round 1 goes to Lionheart and the crowd goes wild!

ROUND 2

Round 2 is starting off with a bit of back and forth with Princess Danger crippling Mommy Lionheart with some hesitations of sitting in the middle chair.  Oh out of left field comes an uppercut to the Lionheart with Danger beginning to whine “I don’t like dinner.”  Lionheart stumbles but comes back with “You need to eat so you can grow big and strong.”  Great recovery.  Danger sits in the chair but is not out of the fight yet.  Tie for Round 2.

ROUND 3

The battle for dinner time commences in Round 3.  Both look at each other, weighing their strengths and weaknesses.  Lionheart has the authority, but Danger has a unparralleled stubbornness.  This will be a close one.  Danger is toying with Lionheart’s gullibility.  A few love taps are exchanged.  Danger plays with her food, dancing circles around Lionheart persistent nagging.  “Please eat.”  Danger returns with “I am eating, just slowllllyyy.”  Bam!!! Jab to the ribs of Lionheart with Danger sticking out her tongue.  Lionheart counters with Time Out!  Lionheart wins for Round 3.

ROUND 4

Danger is weary but not broken.  After returning from Time Out, she plays safe, slowly eating her dinner, watching Lionheart from the corner of her eye.  Lionheart eases back, sensing her contender’s submission.  Danger pulls a sneak move, dropping her fork on the floor and “accidentally” spilling her food on the floor.  “I’m all done now.” Kapow!!!  Lionheart counters with a fresh plate of food.  Danger, now agitated, starts to pout and pulls out all the stops.  “Daddy Big Softie Pants, please feed me.”  Lionheart screams “Interference, interference!”  The referee does nothing.  2 against 1, how unfair!  Lionheart does her best to keep the authority, but the arrival of the tag team player, throws her off and Round 4 goes to Danger!

ROUND 5

Lionheart is bruised and bloody but the fight continues.  The tag team is becoming too much.  Danger is only strengthened by Big Softie Pants and they begin dancing circles around her.  She swings tirelessly but it’s no use.  Danger stalls with eating.  “I want ice cream for dessert” Danger begs, and before Lionheart can jab in a “No!” Big Softie Pants throws a right hook “Only if you eat your dinner.”  Lionheart is dizzy.  She tries to negotiate with “Five more bites” but it is no use for the Dynamic Duo.  “You did good Danger, you can have ice cream.” Whoa did you see that coming?!  Despite Danger not finishing her dinner, Big Softie Pants delivers the final blow and it is the final blow to Lionheart!  TKO!!!!!!!!!  Total Knockout Win for Princess Danger and Daddy Big Softie Pants!!!!!!!!  The trophy for today is a Cotton Candy Ice Cream Cone with Sprinkles from Baskin Robbins.

 

*This is a fictionalized account of our dinner time dramas as of late.  Princess is testing every last nerve when it comes to dinner.  As you can see, I’m outnumbered”

The Princess and Mommy’s Home Spa Day

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Since toddlers and children are not overly welcome at spa’s and my Princess loves being pampered, I have to say I was at a bit of a loss.  How was I to keep both happy?  Keep the spa happy by not bringing my precious little girl who loves getting her nails done or get kicked out of said spa for bringing a 3 1/2 year old whose volume control is limited?  So I created a win-win situation.  Home Spa Day.  Armed with nothing more than Johnson & Johnson’s lotion, nail polish, a foot spa and epsom salts, I gave my Princess the Spa Day she was craving.

Someone is happy!

Learning to “Grin and Bear it”

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Since learning that I am infertile, one of the hardest things I’ve had to come to terms with is learning to ‘grin and bear it’.  I will admit it is not one of my strongest personality traits as I am one of those people who whatever I am feeling is almost guaranteed to show on my face.  If it’s annoyance, anger, disbelief, happiness, or sadness, the expression is there on my face.  I don’t like to hide, I don’t like to lie, but at the same time, sometimes the time and place for such conversations are not appropriate.  My Princess is almost 4 years old now and many of our friends and family are having children.  And with that, the question Hubby and I dread is being asked at every turn.

“So,” they cheerfully ask, poking me in the abdomen.  “When is she getting a brother or a sister.”

Cue the awkward smile and shift in my stance.  Most of the time they corner Hubby and I alone so we are unable to lean on each other for support or help with the answer.  I know they don’t do it out of spite or malice, but I cringe when I am asked it.

“Oh, umm, you know, hmm, when it happens.  We’ll see how it goes.”  I divert my eyes anywhere but in theirs.  I don’t want to have to see their expression when I don’t give them a straight forward answer.  How do I say, “Well my prolactin levels are extremely high and have drained my estrogen levels so my body is incapable of maintaining any pregnancy and my ovaries are not releasing any eggs.  My body is essentially going into early menopause and I’m only 26. Oh and my ovaries are covered in cysts.”  That doesn’t really make for a great conversation.  It is one thing for me to be uncomfortable, but I really wouldn’t want to be the cause of someone else’s discomfort.  I’ve had strangers on the bus ask me, teachers at my daughter’s daycare, coworkers, friends, family and everyone else in between.  I haven’t yet found a suitable answer.

So many people I know are having babies.  My sister is pregnant and so is a close family member.  My cousin just had a baby and her sister is due any day.  My hubby’s brother had a beautiful blue-eyed baby girl 6 months ago and my friend is having a baby as well.  I am all very happy for them, I really am.  I rub their tummy’s, ask them how they are feeling, celebrate the life the life that is about to be brought into this world.  But as I smile there is a dull ache that lies inside.  It’s not cramps from bad food or from menstruation or ovulation, it’s a dull ache from a fear that I may never get to feel another kick, hear the whooshing of the ultrasound, crave pickles, have heartburn radiating through my body or be hunched over a toilet praying to the porcelain gods again.

I’ve received so many comments from people who I know mean well, but they come off so inconsiderate and back-handed.

“You just need to go back and enjoy sex again.  Then you’ll get pregnant.”

I really wish it were that simple.  Out of 28-35 days, depending on your cycle length, you only have about 25 – 30% chance of becoming pregnant.  You have to determine when you ovulate, how long your luteal phase is, how soft and where your cervix is.  I took Siberian Ginseng, Prenatal Vitamins, Evening Primrose Oil, Dong Quai and Green Tea for their ‘fertility’ aid. I was charting my entire cycle.  I charted my basal temperature, my cervical mucus, how tender my breasts were, lower back pain, how heavy my flow, how long it lasted, basically acting as an ovulatory detective searching for clues when my ovaries will release an egg and when to approach Hubby and give a very small timeline to when we have to “enjoy sex”.   Nothing says ‘sexy’ like “We have to have sex right now and tomorrow and I have to elevate my hips for 30 minutes.”

“Just chill out, you are way to stressed.”

Unfortunately stress and infertility often go hand in hand.  Stress can lead to infertility and infertility only increases stress.  It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of situation.

“You should be grateful you have one child.  Some people don’t have any.”

I would have to say this is the most inconsiderate and cruel comment I’ve ever received.  I am very grateful for my beautiful brown-eyed, blonde curly-haired little Princess.  She is my entire world.  I look at her and thank every lucky star in the universe for giving her to me.  We almost lost her at 3 months, and the cord wrapped around her neck during labour and she was born via c-section.  I hug her and kiss her and tell her how much she means to me every single day.  Most of my happy moments are the ones where I am with her.  But I also dreamt of giving her siblings.  A house full of siblings.  I always wanted to be a mom to many children.  I took care of my sisters and babysat many children.  I love kids.  Their laughs, smiles, their attitudes, everything about them makes me smile.  They are so innocent and happy that it always boggles my brain when people say they annoy them.  The old adage “Barefoot and Pregnant” was my mantra growing up and I couldn’t think of a better dream for me.  I’m not talking about pulling a Dugger, but I wanted at least 4 kids, if not more.  Just a house full of children running around, me ragged and tired, but overjoyed.  The doctor says I’ll be lucky if I am able to have one more.

“There’s always adoption and surrogates.”

Generally it’s these people who know nothing about costs and legal matters.  These options are not always available to everyone.

I think what hurts the most is that I have to look at my little girl when she asks me where the ‘baby’ went and why she doesn’t have a sister and try to come up with some sort of child-friendly response and then look at my Husband, who wanted a house full of kids and try to articulate ‘I’m sorry’ that I let him down.  I am 26, at the supposed height of my fertile years and have to say “I’m infertile”.   I never thought that phrase would ever come from me.  I’m not embarrassed or ashamed.  I have come to know many people who are infertile and are suffering from what I am suffering from.  It’s just an overwhelming sadness, guilt and grief that is so very hard to explain, comprehend and come to terms with.

After 2 years of trying to get pregnant, I have found an online community that has truly helped me realize I’m not alone and one blogger in particular, Practical Katie and her post “When One Isn’t Enough” really did help me understand this.  And to my readers, your kind words have really helped pick me up when I have been feeling down.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugliness of Daycare

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My Princess has been in daycare since she was 18 months old.  I went back to work on weekend and nights when she was about 10 months old but didn’t go back fulltime until she was 16 months.  I moved from Ottawa to Toronto when I was 7 months pregnant and decided that when I went back to work, I wasn’t getting a transfer.  I knew I needed a job that paid the bills, left a little in the bank and would still cover the cost of daycare.  I searched all over Toronto but most were either inflexible hours, too little pay or ridiculously far away from where we lived.  So I found a job where I worked nights on the weekend.  Despite hating it, it put money in the bank and I didn’t need a sitter.  But eventually it just wasn’t enough, I really didn’t want it to be my career, let alone my job.  So I started looking again for another job.

Finally I found the job where I work now.  I am a food writer for a catering company in Toronto and I’m also the Head Catering Coordinator.  The hours are great, so are my coworkers and it is only a 35 – 45 minute commute each way.  Not bad for Toronto.  I began my search for childcare.  We found one woman who ran her own daycare out of her home who lived near us.  She was relatively priced, had children of her own, so it seemed like a great fit.  We went away the weekend before I was supposed to start and when we came home that Sunday I had a message on my machine.

“I’m really sorry to do this to you so last-minute, but I’ve changed my mind.  I’m closing down my home daycare.”

Are you serious?!  Thank goodness for my in-laws who helped us out extraordinarily with our search for childcare.  They watched her until we found someone else.  While I was searching for the first place, I had come across a Nanny (or so she called herself) that was fresh out of college.  She was currently working at a daycare, but wished to go into business herself.  She was willing to come to our home and watch her.  She was all up to date with her CPR and First Aid.  She graduated from the Early Childhood Education program at a Toronto College.  She had references from daycare, families and other related jobs and all the references came back stellar.  I even had a police background check done and it was clean.  I did my research and was thorough, she was the person.  It wasn’t long until we learned our lesson.

It started off fairly early that she was not showing up to work, or calling in sick.  Once she told me she couldn’t work on Monday because she “thought” her cousin was getting married.  Then we started to hear from our neighbours that there were people waiting outside for her throughout the day.  We had a discussion with her and told her that under NO circumstances was she to have anyone in our home.  She said she understood.  Next thing we noticed, food from our fridge was missing.  Not a little bit at a time, like cans of soup, tube of cookie dough, you name it, it started to go missing.  We started looking for daycare, because it was getting to be too much.  Then this (insert expletive) did something so atrocious that she will rot in a special place for what she did.  Hubby and I keep all our twoonies to put in the Princess’ piggy bank.  It goes towards her college fund and the Wednesday prior to this day, we had counted it and there was $100 in it.  Hubby suggested that we roll it and put it in the bank.  The next Monday, I came home from work and found numerous Tim Horton cups in our trash.  I remember she brought one when she arrived that morning, but there were three in the garbage and Hubby said he didn’t have any.  Then I went to the sink and found three bowls of Alphaghetti in there.  And none were of my daughter’s special children’s bowls.  Hubby said when he got home, there was someone waiting outside.  Hmm.  My spider senses were beginning to tingle.  I was going to call her that night to ask if she had anyone over.  But first, I had twoonies in my purse that I was going to put in her piggy bank.  Now I kept our laundry money, spare change jar and the Princess’ piggy bank in our bedroom with the door closed.  She was aware that our bedroom was off-limits and she was never to go in there.  So that night, when I went to put the change in the piggy bank, I lifted it up and much to my surprise, it was EMPTY!!!!  Oh I have never been so angry in my life!  I began frantically searching around my home for 50 twoonies.  Asked Hubby if he had taken them to the bank and he said ‘no’.  So I called her.  And this is how the conversation went.

“Hi (insert name).  Did you have someone over today?” I asked calmly.

“No.”

“Well Hubby said he saw your friend outside.”

“Yeah, they were waiting for me.”

“Well I found coffee cups in the garbage.”

“Oh, well they came up to use the bathroom.”

“Did they eat my food too?  I found bowls in the sink.” Rule number one for criminals, get rid of the evidence.

“Ummm.”

“Listen, the Princess’ piggy bank is empty.”

“I never went into your bedroom.”  Caught you!

“That’s funny, because I never told you that’s where the money was.”

Dead silence.

“Listen, you are fired and I’m calling the cops.  You stole money from a baby!  You are low.”

I called the cops and they came and took our statement.  I was assigned a detective and they tried numerous times to call her and go to her place of residence, however, because she lived in an apartment building, and she didn’t answer the buzzer, they couldn’t go in the building.  Robbed a baby and got away with it.  But I was offered this little tidbit of information.  Apparently, in Canada, if you have been arrested but never charged formally, these offenses never show up on your record and our dear sweet thief had been arrested TWICE for shoplifting and theft and ONCE for domestic abuse, but all charges were dropped.  So my background check did absolutely nothing to protect my child.  I did however, call her references and informed them of what she did and they were absolutely wrong to give such stellar ones when she was nothing but a thief.  I felt so guilty after that.  I left my child in the care of someone who robbed her.  Stole money that was to be for her education.  I felt like I made the worst decision of my life.

Soon after that, we found the daycare where we are at now.  It was close to home, reasonably priced and was professionally run.  That is not to say we were not without bumps in the road.  Three days after going into daycare, our Princess contracted Norwalk Virus, and had vicious diarrhea for 3 weeks.  She lost so much weight and her poor bum was so blistered that we had to put a steroid cream just to keep them from bleeding.   She was so miserable it was devastating.  The daycare fortunately refunded us 2 weeks of the cost, however, Hubby and I had to alternatively take days off work just to care for her.  I had literally just started a new job and was missing days out of the week.  I thought for sure I was going to be fired.  But I had no one else.  The daycare wouldn’t take her.  After she finally got over that, it was maybe a week before she got an ear infection that spread to her eyes, throat, sinus and lymph nodes and sent her into a fever that was so high I had to put her in bath of cold water.  She screamed bloody murder.  I put her on the couch naked to try to cool her down when she started to have a seizure.  Her eyes rolled back in her head, she started to shake uncontrollably and was gasping for breath.  I was frantic.  I have epilepsy, but to see it happening to your child is frightening.  She had 12 seizures that day.  She was rushed to the local Children’s Hospital where she spent days in and out of it for close to six months.  Any virus or germ or bacteria that was going around her daycare, she got it.  I never believed it when people told me that once you put them in daycare they get sick all the time, but they were right.  Her drastic change in health put a lot of strain on us emotionally, physically and financially.  I was starting to wonder if going back to work was the right thing to do.

She had lost so much weight and became so weak that she had troubling walking.  She would collapse for no reason, continued to have seizures any time she had a fever and we went for countless tests.  Seeing her hooked up to an EEG machine, with wires running off of her head was so heart breaking.  She went to visit a pediatric neurologist who gave us good news.  She wasn’t epileptic, although her chances of developing it later in life are increased.  He gave us pills that were to crush in her cheek if she had another one and to monitor all her fever’s closely.  Thank GOD she hasn’t had another one after that.  It took about a year in daycare before she was able to ward off any viruses.  But despite her not getting them, she brought them home to us.  Hubby never got tonsilitis until we put her in daycare.  But as soon as she went in, he was getting it every 2 months.  He could even tell before it hit that he was getting it.  Finally in January, after going to the doctors, he had his tonsils removed because the doctor said that his tonsils were basically working against him.   The surgeon said they were the size of meatballs they were so infected.

Now despite a tumultuous year and a half, there were great things about the daycare.  My Princess is a social butterfly and has so many friends.  We would have parents come up to us and say how much their children talk about her.  Kids would fight just to sit next to her.  Her daycare also had fashion shows, plays, puppet shows and field trips that has greatly enriched her life.  Just this week she was able to go to the African Lion Safari which is where you drive through a park of African animals and get to see them close up.  She got to see monkey’s and lions and loved how the monkey’s climbed on the car.  They provided her with life experiences and friends that she may not have gotten if I had stayed home.  I am not worried about her going to Kindergarten now because of how well she flourished in daycare.  I also know now that her immune system is stronger, she won’t be missing that much time at school.  I would recommend our daycare to anyone and if we have another child and I go back to work, we will definitely be using that one again.