As you may remember, Mark came down with strep throat last week. He then passed it on to me, so I was feeling pretty terrible for several days this week. And now, as the icing on this cake, Penelope has also come down with strep throat. This is why I haven’t been writing over the past several days- I have been too sick and too busy taking care of the sick to expend any energy on writing. I wanted to let you know that I haven’t disappeared- it’s just been a rough week. I’m crossing my fingers that Charlotte will avoid this fate, but I don’t feel too hopeful about it. I know that sharing is the foundation of a happy family, but I could really do without the sharing of illnesses.
So, apparently, it was just the weekend. I must have blinked and missed it, because it feels like it should still be Friday evening and not Monday morning. Though, I’m probably not the best judge of anything at the moment- Mark has passed his illness (which turned out to be strep throat) onto me and I feel absolutely wretched. And I don’t know why I’m so surprised that I’m sick again. Every November, it’s the same thing- I end up feeling ill on and off all month. This year, I’ve fought off a sore throat/cough at the beginning of the month, then it was a sinus infection, now strep throat. Next October, I will have to do something to boost my immune system to prevent this from happening again. I don’t know what that something is just yet (would blood doping boost my immune system? Or is that only good for cheating at bike racing?) but I have to get better at warding off illness. I do not have time to be sick.
Anyhow, my brain is pretty fried right now, so this is about all the writing I have in me for today. Here are some photos of our Christmas-themed weekend which flew by:
Alright, Penelope and I are going to find some low-key way to spend the morning. Only three hours til naptime…
I was bad last night. I skipped my workout, even though it was my regular night to go. Normally, on Thursday evenings, I go to the BodyPump class at my local GoodLife Fitness branch. But last night, Mark was sick (the Man Cold has returned, worse than ever. He’s convinced he’s on the verge of death) and by the time I got both girls to bed, I was far too late for my class, I was exhausted, and I did not have it in me to head out into the cold night to do a regular workout. Hopefully, Mark will be well enough this evening to take care of bedtime and I will be able to get in a workout at a more reasonable hour.
At first, I felt really guilty about skipping the gym. But I reminded myself that there have been several moments lately where, despite feeling stressed or sad or sick, I worked out anyway. And so I gave myself a pass. Taking a night off from the gym will not derail my healthy lifestyle initiative, but being too hard on myself will- there’s nothing like feeling guilty and like a failure to send me straight to McDonald’s for some empty-calorie comfort. So I relaxed, put on some cozy jammies, and watched some Property Brothers episodes on Netflix. And now I feel refreshed, relaxed, and more than ready to head to the gym at the earliest possible opportunity.
I encourage everyone to take a night off now and then- whether it’s a night off from the gym or giving the kids a bath or folding laundry or whatever- just give yourself permission to relax. Unless it’s something that has a set deadline, your task will be waiting for you to do it tomorrow, and with some recharged batteries, you will be better equipped to face it.
So that’s my nugget of wisdom for the day. Oh, and here’s another one: when faced with the deadly Man Cold, practice your poker face so that you don’t burst out laughing when the patient says, “I can’t believe how terrible I feel. I’ve never been this sick before.” He says that EVERY TIME he’s sick. But I do feel kinda bad for laughing.
One day, when I was about twelve years old, I started having heart palpitations. It kept happening, and the longer it went on, the more freaked out I got (which I’m sure wasn’t helping matters). It got to the point where I was crying, convinced that at the ripe old age of twelve, I was having a heart attack. I made my mom drop everything and take me to the doctor. My doctor patiently checked me out, and then we had a little chat about dealing with anxiety.
I blame my adolescent hypochondria on reading those YA books by Lurlene McDaniel. The books were all about kids dealing with serious, often fatal, illnesses. For months, I was secretly convinced I had a brain tumour because I would sometimes get headaches and that’s how one of her characters discovered she had a brain tumour. As I got older, I grew out of this hypochondria. Certainly, nursing school extinguished any remaining flickers of that fire. When you start interacting with patients who are dealing with real medical problems, you pretty quickly adopt an attitude of “Meh, you’ll be fine” to anything short of profuse bleeding (NOTE: this attitude is only directed to myself and my family- patient concerns are always treated seriously).
Every once in awhile, though, I will notice some sort of physical anomaly on myself, and instead of just brushing it off, I will worry about it. Like when Penelope was about a month old, I discovered a palpable mass in my abdomen and was convinced that I had some sort of reproductive cancer. I booked an appointment for my doctor to examine me at the same time as Penelope’s two month check-up and I was legitimately terrified about what she would say. Of course, it was not cancer- it was only a hernia (apparently they are fairly common following repeat C-sections, a fact of which I had previously been unaware) and the only threat it posed was of a cosmetic nature.
And I am currently battling with myself over what must be a benign condition. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a bump, about the size of a quarter, on my forehead. It’s barely noticeable when I look in the mirror, but I can definitely feel it when I touch my forehead. Which I do all the time now to check if it’s still there and obsess over whether or not it’s gotten any bigger. It’s not painful, it’s not a pimple, there’s no skin discolouration- it’s just a bump on my forehead. I have been tempted to Google “forehead tumour” but I’m too scared to find out if “forehead tumours” are actually a thing.
So instead, I’m going to repeat to myself, complete with a Schwarzenegger accent, “It’s not a tumour.” And I will remember that there are plenty of people suffering from real medical conditions, and that I am not currently one of them, thankfully. But someone please tell me that I’m not the only one who does this needless worrying about harmless things! I can’t be the only recovering hypochondriac out there, so please share your stories so I don’t feel so ridiculous. I will enjoy reading about them whilst rubbing my forehead bump.
Well, I guess this is it. Winter is here. I suppose it doesn’t officially arrive for over a month, but it is here nonetheless. There is blanket of snow covering the trees, lawns, and homes in our neighbourhood. There is a mountain of winter gear that has taken up residence in our living room. Winter is not my favourite season, so I know I may sound a bit unenthusiastic about this. I mean, yes, it’s beautiful, but it would be more picturesque if there weren’t still leaves on the trees and Halloween decorations on some houses.
I am trying to pump myself up for the season, though. After all, the pre-Christmas winter is the best part of winter, before everything turns dull and gray and we have wind chills of -30C on a regular basis. I will drag out the Christmas decorations this week, and I’m sure that will have an uplifting effect on my attitude toward the snow.
I am thinking that I will have to get Charlotte to practice putting on her winter gear. It took about 20 minutes for her to get her snowpants, coat, hat, mitts, scarf, and boots on this morning. I purposely had her start to get ready early, because I knew it would be time-consuming, but wow. By the time she finally was dressed to go outside, I was ready to buy a one-way ticket to California so that I wouldn’t have to face this every day.
I suppose there are a few reasons to be happy about winter’s arrival. It means I can do some Christmas baking- there is gingerbread and fudge and peanut butter balls and shortbread to be made. There’s the Beaches Santa Claus parade happening this coming Sunday, which is a fantastic alternative to the crowded downtown parade. There’s cozy sweaters and hot chocolate with Baileys in it. There’s Christmas specials and movies to be watched and, of course, singing along to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” at every opportunity.
All right, I guess I will hold off on booking a flight down south for now. But someone better bring me some Baileys and Christmas cookies, STAT!
Yesterday, the weather was cold and gloomy. I even saw some snowflakes falling. So what did Penelope and I do? Why, we went swimming, of course!
There is a community centre about five minutes from our house, and it has a fantastic baby pool. I’ve been meaning to take Penelope for ages now, but with our busy schedule of late, I just haven’t found the time. Finally, on Thursday, we had a day free of appointments, so I checked the swim schedule, and there was a drop-in swim block for kids from 0900-1100- perfect!
The first step in our swimming journey was to pack. From the size of the bag I prepared, you would have thought that I had decided to fly to Mexico to go swimming there. I had towels, two changes of clothes for Penelope, diapers, cloths, flip-flops for me, the most adorable little bathrobe for Penelope, and a plastic bag to put all our wet things in afterward.
Up next was the task of getting Penelope ready. I decided to put her in her swim diaper and wetsuit at home to so I wouldn’t have to fuss with doing that in the pool change room. Normally, by this time of day, Penelope will have already done her first poop. Yesterday, of course, it hadn’t happened yet. I was a bit nervous about this- the thought of changing a swim diaper filled with poop did not appeal to me, but I threw caution to the wind, and we went anyway. I wrestled her into her little fleece-lined wetsuit, and then into her snowsuit, and then into her carseat, and we were off like a herd of turtles, as my grandfather would say.
At the community centre, we made our way into the change room, where we stripped down to our swimsuits, and then headed to the baby pool. It was lovely. The water was warm, and Penelope was fascinated by these unfamiliar surroundings. I thought she would be more interested in splashing- she tends to splash a lot in the bathtub, but she was calm and still. She didn’t cry once. Every once in awhile, her face would break out in a huge smile, and she would babble happily.
I have been noticing more and more tightness in her muscles lately, and I thought that the warm water would have a relaxing effect on her, but she remained pretty tight the whole time. I don’t know, maybe she just needs to get used to the pool, and then she will be more relaxed? At any rate, it was certainly an enjoyable experience, and I will definitely be taking her again.
Oh, and like the good little baby that she is, she waited til we got home to do a massive poop. Thank god- dealing with that mess in a public pool change room would likely have been enough to turn me off swimming for good.
Oh. My. God. Dinner last night with Charlotte. It was…hmm, how best to describe it? Frustrating. Exasperating. Infuriating. Maddening. You see, I feel that her diet could do with a little more variation and so I have been making her meals that consist of something other than chicken fingers or fish sticks. Last night, I made her quesadillas. I mean, seriously, a kid’s quesadilla is one of the most inoffensive foods there is. It is cheese melted between two tortillas. And, yes, I snuck a little butternut squash puree in there too, but come on- butternut squash has only a mildly sweet flavour, and you absolutely could not detect it. I tried these quesadillas- they were delicious. But you would have thought I was trying to poison her given her attempts to avoid eating it.
“I have to go to the bathroom!” (I swear, she summoned that poop out of her intestines just to delay having to eat her dinner).
“I have a tummy ache.”
Unfortunately for Charlotte, I was not buying any of these excuses (I did allow her to go to the bathroom, though- that’s not something I’m willing to risk calling her bluff on). And so we sat at the dinner table for over an hour, while she nibbled away at her meal, bite after excruciatingly tiny bite. Now, I am not someone who believes in forcing kids to eat every last bite of every meal they are served. If they are truly too tired or too full or if they genuinely don’t like something and they are gagging or refusing to swallow, then I have no problem calling it quits with the meal. But in this case, I knew that Charlotte’s problem with the quesadilla was only that it was unfamiliar. And if I had any hope of expanding her diet, I had to see her eat the whole thing.
And she did eat it all. Around about minute 58 of her meal, she could tell how unhappy I was with her antics, so she sidled over to me and started massaging my shoulders. “This will make you feel better, Mommy.” Charming little bugger. How am I supposed to stay stern and poker-faced when she does that? Of course, I burst out laughing and she crawled onto my lap and ate the last few bites snuggled up in my arms.
So all’s well that ends well, I guess. I’m just glad tonight I have my BodyPump class to go to and I will get to avoid all that mealtime madness.