It’s not the swine flu

This past weekend was a write-off for me. Lyra started to feel sick on Friday, and by Saturday she was pretty unhappy about it. I started to feel sick on Saturday, and by Sunday I understood why Lyra was so miserable on Saturday. Fortunately she was already feeling better by Sunday, so that was one good thing. This cold is rather short-lived – the worst of it was over in a day. At this point we’re both still a bit stuffy and my throat feels perpetually dry, but the headache is gone and I have enough energy to walk around outside again.

It’s good that we’re getting better now, because being sick when we fly to Ontario would suck, so very, very much. They’d probably quarantine us and refuse to let us on a plane.

I’m trying to sort out what needs doing before we go back east. I should make myself a checklist or something to make sure I don’t miss anything. So much to do…

Ontario, May 9th-21st

Adam, Lyra & I will be visiting Ontario for a bit in a couple of weeks. We discovered a seat sale that basically saved us 1000$ over going in August as previously planned, so we jumped on it. We fly into Toronto on the 9th in the evening, and will stay in North York for a couple of days at least. If anyone wants to see us in that time, please get in touch. We will be making plans with Adam’s Toronto family (I’m leaving that up to him to do) but will try to work around that schedule to see our friends before we head up to New Liskeard.

If, on the other hand, you are in New Liskeard, I imagine we will see you around. It’s not that big a place. If there is something specific you want to do with us there, let us know and we’ll figure it out.

Getting back on two wheels

Tonight I went biking in Port Moody with Maryn and Steve. It wasn’t a very long ride, and it wasn’t a super difficult trail. I’m out of practice and have lost my biking legs to some degree, however, and I’m still trying to get the hang of my Nomad, so shorter and easier was what I was looking for. Steve, who is awesome to ride with, stayed back with me and led the way, letting me know what was ahead on the trail and waiting up for me when I got freaked out by shadows and such. The trail itself was flowy, and covered in dirt instead of eroded down to the rocks like most of the North Shore is.

Basically, it was awesome.

The weather was perfect for an evening ride – sunny and a bit cool. We started at seven so it was late enough in the day that the sun wasn’t intensely bright or excessively hot. We cheated on the ride up – Maryn convinced her husband to drive us to the meeting point with our bikes. I went to the box, and then I felt shame. There was a pleasant, leisurely ride to the trailhead through the forest, which was quite lovely. The trail itself was in a remarkably pretty area. At one point I stopped with Steve and we looked at the pattern of the sun, painting gold through the trees and on the ground like it does in the evenings on the mountainside. It was beautiful, and made me wish I had brought my camera. Steven pointed out that we could see the water through the trees as well – and where in the area could you get that? I mentioned maybe riding up Burnaby, but really, Burnaby Mountain is nowhere near as lovely as Eagle. Burnaby still feels like city to me – Eagle doesn’t, even though the city of Port Moody is not far away.

So while I didn’t quite reach that zone where riding is the only thing that exists (I kept getting distracted by my brain talking too much… must smack it around a bit and get it to shut up when I ride) I did have a good, fun ride, and I started to feel a bit like I was getting used to my new bike. Finally. I forget, when I’m not riding, why I like riding so much. I forget, when I’m riding annoying trails I don’t like, why riding is so much fun when I’m on trails I like. I’m incredibly happy that Adam took care of Lyra tonight and let me go out to Port Moody for a ride. I’m starting to remember how to enjoy it. I want to go back and ride some more.

Struggling with anti-social tendencies and other things

When I went on maternity/parental leave, I had visions of getting involved in mommy groups, going to baby & mommy playtimes and songtimes and other random groups that are designed to entertain babies and help mothers feel a sense of community, and discover new friends to replace the ones who slowly vanish when kids come into the picture. You know; the friends who don’t have kids, the ones you used to go out and do things that aren’t kid-friendly with. Kind of like losing a percentage of your single friends when you get into a serious relationship. But I digress.

I imagined that I would get involved in my community, find people to talk parenting with (although it wasn’t a side of me I could actually see, I had faith that it would come out), and generally have this whole ‘North Van Mom’ identity.

It hasn’t happened.

My prenatal group of moms makes an effort to get together once every four months or so. We enjoy visiting for an afternoon, but it’s not a common occurrence and we don’t go out of our way to make it a regular weekly thing by any means. One of them I see more than the rest – she lives down the road from me so we will get together and go for a walk every two weeks or so. So that’s something I guess, but I wouldn’t call us really close by any measure.

I spent a few months going to the La Leche League meetings, which were interesting and all, but never made friends with anyone through that – I never once talked to them outside the group, I didn’t exchange phone numbers or emails with them, and we never planned playgroups and afternoon tea with each other. Or at least, if some of them did, I wasn’t involved. I am rather terrible at making conversation with strangers, or approaching people I don’t know well and interjecting myself into their conversations. It makes me uncomfortable. At any rate, I stopped going a while ago because reminder emails started going into my spam filter, and I’m fairly certain it wasn’t really noticed. I don’t have much to say there, really.

I tried to join a baby & me boot camp back in November, and it got cancelled before it even began. Theoretically I could join one again, but really, I don’t have the extra cash to keep joining classes.

Lyra and I started Baby Bubbles in January, which was fun. We went through the entire 12 week class, and we talked to the other moms & babies in the class, but I never felt like I had reached a comfort zone of wanting to ask about going for coffee. A lot of them already knew each other anyhow. Again, I don’t interject myself well. I signed us up for a second session of Baby Bubbles, which we’re now doing. This time I’m not really expecting anything more than going, playing in the pool for a while, then coming home.

So I’m not outgoing and sociable. I enjoy spending time with people, I like being part of a group, but it’s not something that comes naturally to me. Never has, probably never will. Most of the time I don’t feel like it’s missing from my life, but sometimes I really want to talk to a group of moms about our babies, and fish for ideas and suggestions in a group of like-minded parents when I need some advice or alternatives, and give Lyra the opportunity to play with other babies close in age to her now that she’s showing an interest in doing so.

But I’m running out of time. I feel like time is counting down, and the end of my leave is rapidly approaching. There are things I wish I had done – vague concepts of things, anyhow – that I haven’t, and I don’t think I’ll fit them in. I guess it’s more a sense of loss than anything. Sending Lyra to daycare of some sort means that she will have the opportunity to play with other kids her own age… but I won’t be there to see it, and that makes me feel sad. And I feel like I’ve missed out on something with not having a group, however small, of other moms with babies to confide in, to talk about my problems with, to discuss poop because let’s face it, no one wants to hear about poop but other moms with babies understand why you feel the need to talk about it, and will let you.

I’m just running out of time. I wish I could afford to just hang out with Lyra full time. I love doing it, and I can’t shake the feeling that if I just had more time these relationships would happen. But realistically speaking, it’s not possible. I can’t daydream about getting a car at the same time as I daydream about staying home with Lyra for just a few more years… I can’t have both. I can’t even have one of them. They’re both out of reach. I will do the best with what I have, and can do.

That’s all anyone can do, right?

Nine Months

A few days ago Lyra turned nine months old.

That’s nine months of changing diapers (I was afraid I would get sick of it, but it’s just something I do), of washing baby clothes, of staring at you trying to figure out who you look like (you have my eyes), of listening to you scream with delight or growl like a possessed demon at us (or the cats, or your toys, or fish at the aquarium), of wondering who you are, of watching that personality make its way out through the barriers of language you have yet to cross, of taking picture after picture after picture of you…

You’re crawling now, although sometimes it seems more like you’re trying to walk on your feet and just can’t figure out how to push your body and hands up off the ground. You don’t entirely have a grasp on space yet – under the coffee table, where toys sometimes go, is a frustrating cycle of reach for the toy, bonk your head on the coffee table, yell for a minute, repeat. You love to upend the cat food & water bowls and play with the computer cables that go around the room – until we figure out how to move or hide those, we will continue to yell “Reset baby!” as we move you back to the centre of the room away from the temptations – which you immediately head for again.

A little charmer, you have fans at the local coffee shop, and walking down the street, and at the stores we frequent. Smiles for strangers are rare, and often require special efforts on the part of the stranger. So many times I’ve seen you give a stranger a solemn stare while they make faces at you trying to elicit a smile. When you do offer one up, it’s like a beam of sunshine after a week of Vancouver winter. Little old ladies have been known to cross the street and cut me off just to talk to you.

Food is adding a whole new level to things these days. It took you a while to warm up to the concept, but you’ll now happily chew on cheerios, or feed yourself messily with a spoon – peas and yams and avocados and all sorts of other random foods we try without much rhyme or reason. Sometimes you want a taste of what I’m having – you loved the butter chicken, even though it was spicy, and you chewed on my pizza crust for quite a while. Tonight I made butternut squash soup for everyone – and we all loved it. Tonight was the first time I made dinner for all three of us. It kind of made me wish we had a dining table to eat at, but we make do without one just fine.

You’ve also started to realize that things happen on screens that are somehow related to real life. Today you saw a PBS HD Special on Patagonia, and your favourite scenes were full of pumas (yay kitties!) foxes (yay puppies!) and Guanacos (kinda like Llamas… yay puppies again?) You especially loved when the Guanago chased the fox through the meadow. That made you crack up into giggles, which set me off, of course. You watched an episode of Pingu on Youtube with your dad tonight and seemed to actually understand what was going on, rather than just being amused by the moving pictures. You got upset when the seal hurt his flipper, and you were happy when he got better. It’s a whole new world now.

Tonight playing piano with your dad you realized that the lower keys play low notes and the higher keys play high notes – apparently you had to play both. You also figured out that if you put you head on top of your hands to push down on the piano keys, the sound is louder. Tiny little realizations in your head that we get to see happening – it’s like magic sometimes. There are so many new games you’re playing with us; half the time we don’t even realize it until we’re well into it.

What I do know is that you are amused by strange things (much like we are) and that you seem to be plotting something sinister and mischievous much of the time. You are becoming yourself, and I get to watch. It’s all so exciting.

Lyra in her Chair JennyLee & Lyra at the Dolphin tank

Gamer girl

My daughter, who crawls rather effectively these days, is a sneaky little girl.

I was putting the washing machine on in the kitchen, and asked Adam, who was playing some Motorstorm: Pacific Rift while Lyra played with her toys in the middle of the floor. I asked Adam to help me out with something quickly, so he paused the game and walked over to the kitchen. In our apartment, the kitchen and living room are pretty much in the same space, so we weren’t far. Lyra was just out of our line of sight.

I think she was planning this all along.

Adam walked into the kitchen to help me with the machine. About ten seconds later, I heard the Playstation 3 go “beep… beep” followed by the sound of a disk ejecting. I walked around the corner to check on the little LyraMonster, and there she sat in front of the PS3, brandishing the game disk for Motorstorm. She looked quite proud of herself. I broke down into uncontrollable giggles while I took the disk away from her and reset her to the middle of the room again. She was not impressed with losing her prize, but distracted herself with another toy quickly.

I noticed then that she not only ejected the disk and removed it from the PS3, but she also hit an entirely different button and shut the playstation right down. It took her around fifteen seconds from Adam leaving her sitting in the middle of the room.

I am terribly amused.

Activities!

The weekend was full of activity. It was good.

Friday during the day I got together with my work husband Eli and we went for a nice hike out to Quarry Rock in Deep Cove. There was a lot of up and down involved. I had Lyra in the Ergo Baby as a test run for Sunday’s NSMBA Trail Day, and it went pretty well – she stayed awake the entire way out to the rock, and fell asleep on the way back. Also, we lost one of her cute boots – they never stayed on her feet anyhow. Here is a photo of Eli & Lyra hanging out on the rock:

Eli & Lyra on the Rock

Friday evening Adam had set up babysitting for Lyra without telling me, and had me fooled into thinking we were going out with her to dinner with some of his friends from work. Instead we went down to Gust di Quattro where we had a fantastically good meal. I had the Hand Made Gnocchi with creamy gorgonzola sauce, toasted pine nuts, grilled radicchio & port marinated figs. It was absolutely delicious. We also had some wine – Tantalus Reisling – quite outstanding as well. And then we went for dessert at Dairy Queen, because I’ve been craving DQ for weeks I think. We also got in a little shopping at Winners, where both of us picked up a shirt each, and we bought a new sheet set.

Saturday morning was my sports conditioning clinic, which was very challenging, I must say. My legs were already tired out from the hike the day before, so I was in kind of rough shape to begin with. I got though the whole workout, though. For the afternoon on Saturday we went downtown to check out the open house at the new Convention Centre near Waterfront. It’s a pretty building. My friend Ian was working there, doing some A/V techie stuff (babysitting projectors and playing music for the Cirque people in the ballroom.) There was much walking around the building.

On the way home, I took Lyra back from Adam (he had been carrying her in the Ergo most of the day) and we got on the seabus. We stopped to pick a couple of things up near Lonsdale Quay on our way home, and walked back to Lonsdale Ave. to catch a bus up the hill. The first bus that arrived was very full, and didn’t stop for us. We waited another fifteen minutes for the next one, which stopped at our stop to let people off, then told us that there was only room for one. Since there were three of us (plus a Lyra on my front) we didn’t get on; one of the other people went ahead. We were quite annoyed, however, to look at the actual fullness of the bus and notice that there was enough room for another five or six people to get on easily. The driver shut the door and took off, however. I was angry, so I phoned Translink to complain to them about it.

We then walked home from the Quay, 19 blocks uphill. I was already really tired, so it was a slow walk. Lyra slept for a good part of it in the Ergo.

Sunday we got up bright and early for the NSMBA Trail Day on Mt. Seymour. I was taking photos for the write up, since I can’t do any trail work with Lyra in the Ergo. We were working on a lower Seymour Trail – The Empress Bypass, a multi-use trail for mountain biking, hiking, and maybe horses? I’m not sure on the horses – I’ve only ever seen horses on the Bridal Path when I’ve been biking on Seymour. The work done was mostly maintenance and upkeep – fixing drainage, armouring corners and parts that get rutted, and so on. I hiked up and down the trail a few times throughout the day with Lyra on my back. By the time we were at home after spending the better part of a gorgeous day on the mountain, my legs felt like jelly, and were aching.

This morning was the new round of Baby Bubbles classes – there were no more Wednesday classes so I switched to Monday mornings instead. I was planning on walking to the Rec Centre, but my mom took the West Coast Express out from Pitt Meadows to join us for Baby Bubbles, so we took a bus over instead. For some reason my mom didn’t want to walk up the huge hill on 19th St. After class we walked up to Lynn Valley Mall, then came back home. I walked down to the grocery store with Lyra in the afternoon, so I got to spend a lot of time outside in the gorgeous warm sun. Spring is really, truly here now, I think. I could’ve been comfortable in shorts today.

Speaking of which… I need some shorts.

Also, I need to go biking. Being active is so very nice.