Casual Racism

I don’t know what else to call what I experienced today through hanging out with a little girl in kindergarten.

We were at the soccer field watching Tyler play soccer like we do most Thursdays in the spring. There was a little girl whose father was playing on a different team and she came over to play with Dmitri. Dmitri was getting his sunscreen on and she wanted some too so her skin didn’t burn. Cool, I like kids that are careful about skin cancer. Though she has little worry about in that regard because she’s black. After sunscreen we shared our pretzels and water and played for a little bit. We went for a walk and then went back to her dad. I asked if I could take her to the playground and splash pad with us and he was happy to let her go. Apparently she goes to the games a lot but gets bored and talks to anyone who will listen to her. Dmitri loved having a friend to play with so off we went.

Dmitri held her hand and mine as we walked towards the playground. She was telling me about how excited she was to play in the water but was worried about being made fun of because she didn’t have a swimsuit. I told her that when people say mean things like that we just walk away. We have no time in our lives for bullies. She seemed to like this and went on and on about how no one needs to be bullied and bullies are just mean. I agreed. She also mentioned that we looked like a family except that she was a different colour. Before I could say anything she said “but that doesn’t matter. Families have different skin like white and black and blue and it’s ok!” Then she laughed because said someone can be blue. I agreed that it isn’t the colour of our skin that makes us a family.

She chatted more about getting sprayed with water as we approached the park and then she and Dmitri took off. I put our stuff on a free bench and she came over to take off her shoes. She kinda looked at a couple boys and said they were staring at her. I told her to ignore their staring and go play with Dmitri but she looked sad and didn’t want to play in the water any more. She asked me where the boys mother’s were and I said I dunno, they didn’t look like they were around. She seemed kind of frightened to go into the water now with the boys around. Obviously I wasn’t going to force her so we took Dmitri to play on the playground.

As we were walking she told me that the boys that were staring called her a ni**er. I didn’t hear it because I was scanning for Dmitri and they were clearly trying to be quiet about it. Telling me this she was just so sad and dejected. I on the other had was pissed as well as sad. No 5 or 6 year old should have to deal with this. The fact that she knew what that word was and how it was used makes me believe she has heard it before at least a few times. And that’s just awful.

The boys that called her that were maybe 10 or 11. Old enough to know exactly what the word means and should know better than to use it. Especially use it against a little girl. Fuck those kid’s parents. Yes the boys should know better but that language starts with the parents. Kids don’t pick stuff like that up out of nowhere.

We heard about how racist America can be but thanks to our white privilege, we’ve never had to experience it (we’ll maybe Tyler with our neighbour possibly thinking he was the Mexican help… it’s a long story). Today though, I got slapped in the face with my white privilege by watching the aftermath of what a racial slur does when experienced by a little girl in kindergarten. I’m so sad for her. I’m sad that she’s had to experience that at such a young age and I’m sad that it’s not going to be the last time. She shouldn’t know what that word is before she’s even finished kindergarten.

I don’t know how to finish this post. There’s nothing I can say or do to fix it. The only thing Tyler and I can do is make sure that Dmitri never uses that kind of language against anyone. I can’t even think of what an appropriate punishment would be for that. Hopefully I never have to.

Fuck racist dicks.

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Support Not Judge

I’m sitting here at 9:30am on Friday morning enjoying my second cup of coffee while Dmitri plays with his cars and watches a YouTube video. A lot has changed in the year and a half since I last posted. We’ve had another Christmas and two Dmitri birthdays and lots of changes from Dmitri. He’s only two so still a toddler but his language is exploding and he pretty much runs everywhere he goes. He still loves his cars and seeing how something works before he plays with it. Future engineer anyone?!

I have no problem with letting Dmitri watch shows on YouTube or Netflix or whatever. He has learned way more from the videos than Tyler and I could have taught him. The videos are much more interactive and exciting. Not to mention, they can easily repeat over and over and don’t get tired. If Dmitri sat there only staring at the screen and not talking to it, he would be limited more than he is. But he doesn’t. He sings along to the songs, counts ahead if the video is too slow and shouts out colour and shapes and whatever the video is showing. I love watching him really getting into a show or movie (a lot of “oh nos” come out of watching Car’s 3 and he laughs at Heihei in Moana).

Tyler and I decided together that as long as Dmitri is learning and not just staring blankly, he can have shows. This is a choice we made for our family. Other people make the same or completely different decisions for their family. And guess what? That’s ok! There’s so much judgement and mom-shaming out there that is so unnecessary. Recently we were judged and shamed by someone because Dmitri was watching shows to calm down (his toys kept getting stolen) and he ate some chicken nuggets for lunch (he was refusing to eat any other meat). This same person also tried to shame me for using formula using the whole “I don’t want to put chemicals in my baby’s body” thing. Like, really? Why is this a thing? Shouldn’t we be helping fellow mums instead of trying to tear them down? I’ve had new mum friends ask me for advice or tell me things they were doing that I didn’t do with Dmitri. Like, one’s baby would only sleep on his front. That worked for them so great! I know how terrible the sleeping thing is. Dmitri was a shit sleeper, still is sometimes. So do what works for you. I never thought “oh my god she shouldn’t do that I’m gonna tell her how terrible that is”. Like, no. It’s not terrible. The baby was close to the age of rolling over himself anyway and it got him to sleep so yay!

I have no room in my life for people who want to judge me and try to shame me for the choices I make for my family. Like yah, if I’m harming Dmitri in some way call me out but shit, watching videos and eating chicken nuggets? Sounds like pretty typical 2 year old stuff. He knows his colours, can count in sequence 1-20 (and is working on 20 and beyond), knows his shapes including rhombus and parallelogram and knows way more animals than I could ever have taught him at his age. So I’m pretty sure the chicken nuggets and shows aren’t hurting his development lol.

So let’s try to be kinder to eachother. Let’s not judge and shame someone because you personally wouldn’t do something. We don’t live in small villages anymore where we have tons of help. And some of us are even more isolated and have almost zero help than the rest.

So to all the new mums and about to be mums and the veteran mums, you do you and fuck the jugdey shammers. They aren’t worth your time and energy.

I’m ending this post with a disorganised collection of Dmitri pics because why not. He’s adorable!

That First Cup of Tea

Today I made myself a cup of afternoon tea for the first time in…a year and a half? It used to be almost daily I would have tea in the afternoons. Lately I had been having cold coffee because it is there and quick.

I miss having tea, and having the time to enjoy a cup. Having a baby is so exhausting and even when he naps, there are other things to do besides enjoy a cup of tea. couple that with battle some pretty extreme exhaustion and there’s just no time, or really no energy, to make a cup.

Dmitri has always appreciated his alone time; always been good at keeping himself occupied. It would usually only last long enough for me to sit down and answer some messages though. As he’s gotten older, his independent play time has stretched out even longer so that I can get half an hour to myself at a time. Still not long enough to make a drink a cup of tea without burning myself.

The exhaustion I’ve been dealing with turns out to be Epstein-Barr virus. The virus that causes mono. I was lucky enough to get it without getting mono. the only symptom I got was exhaustion, which isn’t at all helpful when trying to get a diagnosis.

So now that the Epstein-Barr seems to be cycling down for now, and Dmitri is happily playing with his cars in the same room as me but not being engaged by me, I was able to make a cup of tea. It may seem like a silly thing to make my first blog post in months about but it feels important. To me at least Having energy to do things again is amazing and hopefully I’ll be able to keep this blog up more.

‘Tis the Season

Well our first Christmas as a complete little family has come and gone. We had most of Tyler’s family here, minus his sister and sister-in-law. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see everyone we wanted like my dad and the rest of the family but that’s to be expected living far away. Dmitri loved having his grandparents here and I’m pretty sure they enjoyed his company too. He got passed around to everyone every day and was loving all the attention. Even though our house was full of people it was relatively stress-free. My only anxiety was when the creator of the Fucked-up Family Bullshit got sneaky access to Dmitri (which is something we expressly told them not to do (seriously, how can you think that sneaking behind my back to see Dmitri is going to fix our relationship, like at all. For fucks sake grow up.)) while we were Skyping with family. Fortunately that call couldn’t last very long because I had to go make dinner. I am really not impressed by the stunt they pulled but when you are dealing with someone who feels they are entitled to, well, everything, I’m not surprised they did that. Next time we’ll just ask to be called back when they aren’t there. Because fuck that. Seriously.

After dealing with that, I finished making my turkey (which ended up being a little dry because I was on Skype too long) and the rest and I must say, it was pretty delicious. I enjoy cooking, even giant meals like Christmas dinner, as long as Dmitri is being taken care of. Luckily I had tons of people willing to sacrifice their afternoon to help me out.

After Tyler’s family left, he had a couple days off work still so we got to spend some time together and he got to have lot’s of Dmitri time, which they both loved. Now it’s just Dmitri and I again and he’s been getting pissed that he only has be around but he’ll get over it. He got quite a few new toys for Christmas so we’ve been cycling through them each day and he’s forgetting about changing hands so often. Soon we’ll be back to normal and he’ll only want a change of handlers once Tyler gets home. He does love his Man Time

The next celebration coming up will be Dmitri’s birthday and I’m pretty sure That’ll be the next post unless we do something exciting. I think for the most part I’m going to keep Dmitri pictures to a minimum here and post most of them on my Facebook. I’ve set my privacy settings so that only friends can see what I post and I would like to keeps pictures of him more private. Anyone can read this blog, which is cool, but I do want to keep Dmitri more protected.

I will post a couple lot of Christmas pics because they are too cute not to share!

 

Half a Year

I know that it’s totally cliche, but it seems crazy to me that Dmitri is already 6 months. We’ve been able to keep another human alive for six whole months! Dmitri is now at the age where he is experiencing separation anxiety. I put him down and he looses his shit. While it’s fairly annoying, I have to keep reminding myself that he’s just learned that I can leave him and that is scary as shit for someone who has always known that I or Tyler will always be right there. Instead of being frustrated that I can’t really get anything done unless he’s napping, I need to make a conscious effort to not be annoyed and go give him cuddles. If the house is a mess and dinner isn’t made, it shouldn’t matter. It will get done eventually. Luckily Tyler fully supports this and knows that taking care of Dmitri is a full time job. I feel so incredibly lucky to have such a supportive husband and a husband that takes Dmitri as soon as he gets home from work so I can make dinner and clean and go pee.

I always get mad at myself for getting frustrated with Dmitri when he whines or cries. I know that he is doing it for a reason and I’m still adjusting to ‘everything else can wait’. I want to have a tidy house and dinner cooking but those things don’t matter as much as Dmitri does. I want him to have a happy childhood and not feel as though he takes second place to whatever I am doing.

We always want our children to have what we didn’t or have a better life than us. Unless of course you had a fantastic childhood and had everything in the world. For me, I want him to have 2 supportive and loving parents. I want him to have more good memories than bad. I know that I cannot make all his memories good, because I will fuck up. I know that I will never be a perfect parent because, you do as you know. Unless you break the cycle, as I am constantly trying to do. I’m not saying that every part of my childhood was awful because it wasn’t. But I do have more bad memories than good ones and they’re all of stuff I never want Dmitri to ever experience. So, while he is still young and won’t remember anything, I continuously question what I’m doing and asking myself “Is this what was done to me that had a negative impact?”. So far, I don’t think I’ve done anything to fuck him up yet but I know it will only get harder the older he gets. I am hoping though that, by always questioning my actions or thoughts, it will become second nature and not a conscious effort. Hopefully eventually, I will naturally do what’s right, and not what’s damaging.

One thing we have done to hopefully help make sure Dmitri doesn’t experience the same kind of abuse I suffered is we cut the family member who caused the fucked up family bullshit and trauma in my childhood (except for this blog because I am not tech savvy enough to know how to block their access). With them out of our lives for now, I can focus on what I need to do in order to not have history repeat itself.

Each month with Dmitri comes with new challenges but more importantly, more joys. He is so much fun to be around is always just a happy smiling guy who seems to really enjoy his existence in life. That is something I am determined to continue as long as I am living.

 

Healing

Healing is hard. While I’m mostly healed, I’m not at 100%. I still have a hard time bending all the way over without feeling it pulling and if I’ve had a particularly active day, I still get sore. Leaning forwards against a counter, or anything really, is a bad idea and Noklop still can’t walk over me.

Everyone always talks about just the good things about having a baby. I think part of that is because the hormones that make you forget how awful pregnancy and childbirth are are still present to make you forget about the first few months (that and sleep deprivation) but also I think as mothers, we are expected to enjoy every minute of being a new mother and god forbid you say anything negative. We shouldn’t have to struggle with anything because having a baby is supposed to be so natural. They are supposed to come out maybe not with ease but it should be natural, baby should latch right away and the baby should be a good sleeper. If we show that we are struggling, it makes us look like, or feel like, we aren’t able to be a good parent. You never hear of anyone else struggling so why are you? Your friend’s baby latched and breastfeeding was a breeze so why are you having such a hard time with it? Well, I’m willing to bet that your friend didn’t have an easy go at breastfeeding. I’ll bet she was engored for a while and it was also painful and maybe there were other issues but she didn’t admit it to you because, well, I don’t know. I have no shame in admitting my struggles in the first 2 months. While Dmitri has always had a good latch, I had way too much milk. I dreaded feeding him because there was so much milk that he always choked and was only getting foremilk. Even if I pumped out 4 ounces, there was still too much for him to handle. I couldn’t lay down to feed him because I couldn’t lay on my side for about 6 weeks because of the c-section. But, we struggled through it and my milk supply has finally figured itself out. Mostly. He’s been eating less frequently but taking more so I still get engored but it’s not every day now. Maybe once or twice a week I get uncomfortable. I’ll take that over waking up every morning with rocks under my skin.

Earlier, I wrote about hormones taking me by surprise. They got better as time went on but I had to deal with some fucked up family bullshit and the anxiety and stress of it all almost sent me over the edge. Up until then, my hormones were good. They made Dmitri and I bond and made me miss him when Tyler took him in the mornings (I still miss him, but not as strongly). However, the stress of the family bullshit sent my anxiety through the roof and dealing with all that fucked up shit made me so stressed out that my milk all but dried up for a few days. Because of my over-production of milk I had plenty of food for him but I didn’t know when I would get my supply back. It took at least a week before I could feed him without having to add bottled milk. That stressed me out even more and my anxiety got out of control. I was so much more weepy than before and I couldn’t control it. I knew it was situational and not true postpartum depression/anxiety but I didn’t think I would be able to get myself out of it. I had my 6 week check a week or so later so I talked with my nurse practitioner about my situation, already planning on asking for help through it. She sat and listened and agreed that it was the situation that was fucked up (my words not hers, she talked about Jesus…) and asked if I wanted something to help me. I agreed and was given a prescription for a low dose of Zoloft.  The Zoloft helped immensely and I could feel my brain clearing up. Part of that was the hormones finally leveling off but I knew I needed the Zoloft to help calm the anxiety so that the hormones could stop going crazy.

Just as I have no shame in talking about how shitty being a new mother can be, I have no shame in admitting I needed help with mental health due in part by being a new mum. Women are always comparing themselves to each other and I think that’s bullshit. I could easily have read all the stories about how birth was easy and believed the bitchy women that say that you’re weak for having a c-section but I didn’t and I hate that some mums out there do. I fully believe that without the c-section either Dmitri, or myself would not be here today. When I wrote about Dmitri tearing his way into the world, I wrote about the very little bit that I remember. I did leave some stuff out, not because I forgot but because I didn’t want to add how dire my situation became. I remember the sense of urgency in the OR and I remember being suctioned out. A lot. I also remember the surgeon talking about how they had to get my bleeding under control. My uterus had gotten so swollen that it kept tearing. And tearing and tearing. It took them an hour and a half to get that under control. My healing from the c-section wasn’t just from the usual incisions, but also from a patched up uterus.  If Tyler and I want to have another spawn (this is a very big if) I have to wait at least 2 years and will have to have a c-section again. And I will probably be considered higher risk due to scar tissue.

The point of this very long post was to show all the new mums (and there have been quite a few in the last little bit) that no, being a new parent isn’t easy. Everyone struggles with some aspect of it. We should be able to complain and admit that we don’t enjoy everything that goes along with it. That doesn’t mean that we don’t love being a new mum and don’t love our babies because we do. There’s a crazy kind of love that you don’t experience until you have your baby and I wouldn’t ever give that up for anything. No matter how many sleepless nights I have, no matter how many times I get engorged, I can’t imagine my life going back to how it was before Dmitri.

I think some people need to remember that just because someone isn’t constantly complaining about how much pain they are in or how they are struggling, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t. Being in pain from surgery was constant and I didn’t think I needed to talk about it every second (though apparently I did). This doesn’t just apply to physical health but mental as well. Anxiety and depression and the like aren’t things that pop up to say hi for 20 minutes then go away. Until the person gets help, it’s ever present. And sometimes even with help, it’s still there a bit. Or a lot. With new mums, we need to remember that they are probably struggling with something and maybe doesn’t want to admit it. New mums and dads need all the support they can get. If you’ve had children, talk about what you struggled with. If you didn’t have any issues you are either full of shit or have completely forgotten. Even If you didn’t have the same issue, be supportive. Don’t pick fights and argue and assume that the new mum being quiet is because she’s pissed at you for some reason. She is probably worried about how she can overcome her issue or is tired. Or in pain. Or all 3.  Try reminding her that everyone struggles in the beginning and while it doesn’t seem like it now, it will get better. “It Will Get Better” was my mantra until about 2 weeks ago because it finally did get better.  That doesn’t mean that I still don’t struggle with feeding him or the pain of healing but it’s much better than it was and I know It Can Only Get Better

The Force Is Strong

Force, nature, hormones, whatever the fuck you want to call the thing that makes my brain completely irrational and weepy. It’s not a bad ‘I can’t/don’t want to deal with my baby’ kind of weepy, it’s what I would call a good weepy. It’s a ‘someone else is caring for my baby for an hour and I miss him so much’ kind of weepy. It’s totally irrational and really fucking annoying and I know that it’s just hormones leveling out but good god. I was never emotional during my pregnancy. I could read sad stories or watch baby commercials without feeling feels (except the Sarah McLachlan SPCA commercials but I don’t know anyone who can watch those without feels) and not get emotional. But this last week and especially yesterday was really tough.

Tyler’s mum wanted to go for a run and Tyler’s dad suggested taking Dmitri in his pram.I didn’t really think anything of it and was kind of excited to get to have a nap considering I was up pretty much all night with Dmitri and could use a bit of a restart. They left for their run and I retreated to my bedroom but was overtaken my an overwhelming sense of lonliness and sadness because I missed him so goddamn much already. I know that part of that was due to exhaustion and the rest was from hormones. I wasn’t worried about his safety or anything like that because I knew he was in good hands and the pram has pretty awesome shocks on it so I knew he wouldn’t get jostled around. My only thoughts were of how much I missed him. Which is stupid because I knew he would be back in like an hour and I would be able to hold him and kiss him all I wanted but the irrational part of my brain just wouldn’t leave and let the rational part take over again. I basically cried myself to sleep. Then slept for 3 hours so at some point my rational brain must have come back because I didn’t even hear them come back and didn’t hear his cry for dinner or anything.

I’m not an emotional person so having absolutely no control over these fucking hormones has been tough and annoying. I know that they will pass in a couple weeks and as long as they don’t turn from good weepy to bad weepy, they aren’t worrisome.

The best way to calm that force down is baby snuggles. They still have the same effect on me that they had the night I delivered him. A great sense of calm washes over me and I can feel us both relax so we can settle into a good cuddle session.

I never thought I could love something so strongly so quickly. I was worried about making that bond with him but turns out I worried for nothing. I immediately felt a connection to him and it keeps getting deeper and deeper. I think I can’t love him anymore than I do but then I look at him or hold him and love him even more. It’s a good feeling.

Here are some more Dmitri pictures because why not.