Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Birthday Love Letter

Love at First Ultrasound

The first time I saw you, you were a wavy blur on a a black and white screen. The doctor pointed out your heart, complete with its tiny valves and my own heart skipped a beat or two. We watched you kick your little feet and swing your arms and I began counting the days until we'd meet. I also remember thinking, Man, that little thing sure is hyper. My first inkling of just what I was in for!

From Butterflies to The Irish Jig

As you grew inside me, those kicks got remarkably stronger.  What started out as a ticklish butterfly feeling soon progressed to swift sharp jabs to the ribs. I imagined you kicking up your heels like some kind of fetal Michael Flatley doing the Riverdance. Christmas and Latino-style music really got you moving. Also, the sound of Jim Cramer's voice on Mad Money - BOOyah!

The Arrival

Exactly ten days after your due date, you finally introduced yourself. Very quietly. It actually kind of frightened me how little noise you made. Daddy Libra (yes, you have two Libra's parents) gave me the play-by-play as the nurses cleaned and wrapped you in a blue blanket. He's perfect, were the words I still remember him saying.

And so you were. A calm peacefulness resonated from you. I held you close and breathed in your newborn smell. Your big blue eyes locked on mine and I knew my life would never be the same. I'm your Mama, I started to explain. But you had a wisdom about you that seemed to already understand. Still, I had to say what I'd been waiting nine months to tell you. I am going to take very good care of you. I promise.  You looked at me solemnly and the oath was sealed. Now, four years later those words mean just as much to me, if not more, as they did on the day you were born.

Happy Birthday My Beautiful Boy!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mama's Boy

I'm sure it's just one of those never-ending phases that kids go through, but over the past year, Ciaran has become more and more clingy to me. It's gotten to the point where I can't go to the washroom without him wandering in behind me. I have to distract him with a toy or something so I can run to the ladies room & lock the door behind me. But as soon as he realizes I'm gone, he's dashing down the hall and pounding on the door shouting Mommy, Mommy! Let me in, I have to pee! So, of course, I open the door in case he really has to go, but 90% of the time he doesn't. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that he wants to be around me, especially since it wasn't always that way.

For pretty much the first three years of his life, I could come and go without him blinking an eye. He would stay with anyone and barely seemed to notice when I'd leave or return. Once my mother-in-law commented about how strange it was that he didn't jump all over me when I came home. Like all her kids used to. I'll admit it - that got to me. I wondered if I was a good mom. If I was, was there something wrong with him? Like maybe he wasn't responding to me in a normal way? He seemed almost detached at times. My husband told me to stop analyzing things. But as every mom knows, it's impossible not to worry.

Now it's a different kind of worry. I worry about him starting school. I know sooner or later he'll have to break out of his shell, but he's started asking if I can ride the bus to school with him. The first time, I sort of brushed him off and said No, of course not, honey. Only kids go on the school bus. Then he got really quiet and didn't say anything for a long time. Thirty minutes later, when I'd already forgotten the conversation, he looked up at me with big, sad eyes and said Well, maybe Nona can ride the bus with me. It breaks my heart that he's already anxious about something that won't happen for months.

What he's also anxious about lately is anyone other than me dressing, bathing or feeding him. From the time he wakes up in the morning until bedtime, if I'm not the one rousing him from bed, getting his juice and putting on his slippers, all hell breaks loose. If my husband tries to help put him to bed or read a story, well, that's just asking for trouble. Ciaran will yell at him to Go away! and I want Mommy! And it's becoming very stressful, especially after coming home from a long day at work. I'm not liking the solo mothering thing. I have a whole new respect for single moms, because honestly, that's how I've been feeling lately.

On the other hand, while putting him to bed after snuggling up with a bedtime story, there's no better feeling in the world than hearing a little voice say I love you Mama, you're my favorite girwil!  Guess I'll just suck it up and enjoy this phase while it lasts.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Cat Came Back

Long ago, back in our child-free days that I like to refer to as B.C., or Before Ciaran, my husband and I adopted our first baby - a cuddly little black and gray tabby kitten. Given our quirky natures, we named our tiny new fur-ball Dr. Acula - get it? Dracula? Well, we thought it was clever at the time. Anyway, our new pet really did live up to his name. After the first few playful months, that is.

In the beginning

He was as cute and mischievous as every other young feline. We changed his slightly sinister misnomer to a shortened and less threatening nickname of Acci. But then a change took place. One day the affectionate swats, nips and sweet little meows turned into fang-bearing hisses and deep guttural growls that seemed to be summoning something from the gates of hell. Pretty scary stuff. He'd stalk and attack us, taking pleasure in clawing and biting any bit of exposed flesh he could find.

Something had to be done

Being an indoor cat, we had him declawed, mostly for the sake of our wounded, scratched-up arms. After that, other than a few semi-vicious attacks, which drew blood on occasion, we managed to co-exist peacefully most of the time. He was like a child to us. A very temperamental one, but ours nonetheless. We had birthday parties for him every March 17 (yep - an extra special St. Paddy's Day for us!). I even bought him a Halloween witch costume, complete with cape and pointy hat. He did not find it nearly as humorous as I did.  

We clearly needed children

The day we brought Ciaran home from the hospital was one of apprehension, mixed with delirious new-parent joy. While pregnant, I worried about how Acci would handle the arrival of a new baby. After warding off another spastic cat attack during a midnight fridge raid, I seriously considered well, dumping him. How could I justify potentially putting my newborn at risk? I struggled with the idea of giving Acci away, wrote down all the pros and cons and finally decided, well, if he attacks me one more time...

A change has come

Luckily for all of us, Acci must have sensed that things were not in his favor. From the moment we carefully introduced baby Ciaran to him, something in that little cat brain of his switched to calm. It was like he knew he'd better start behaving and once again, I witnessed a major transformation - this time for the better. He became a completely different animal. He would keep his distance until Baby C's bedtime and then creep silently into the family room, looking around to make sure the coast was clear. No kid? Whew, he seemed to be thinking while jumping up beside me for a quick petting session. And, for the past four years we've lived free of any bad kitty drama - up until last week.

The not-so-great escape

Last Wednesday evening, Tony slid open the back door and - whoosh - just like that Acci slipped out and disappeared into the night. The worst part is, I didn't notice he was gone for two whole days! I figured he was hiding in the basement or curled up asleep in the guestroom. His usual hang-outs. As always, I was  too preoccupied with Ciaran, work or other everyday things to even bother checking up on him. Once I finally realized he'd never come in from his backyard jaunt, he'd been gone for two nights, most likely without food or water. On top of it all, for the last 24 hours it had been raining non-stop. My poor tamed beast was lost or... worse!

The Mission

After noticing that the food and water dishes we'd left out for him had not been touched, we knew more drastic measures had to be taken. He's out there somewhere, Tony insisted to my I have a bad feeling he's never coming home. If he won't come to us, we'll have to go to him, he said, pulling on his old running shoes and grabbing a broken umbrella. And, armed with a single piece of Kentucky Fried Chicken, umbrella thrashing in the wind, off he went in search of Dr. Acula.

Yes, that's right, KFC. Acci's most favorite thing to eat in the entire food kingdom. One sniff of that stuff and he'd meow and purr in a slightly deranged manner, rubbing his head against our legs until we'd relent and throw a bite or two in his direction. If anything could lure him back home, it was a delicious morsel of chicken coated with the Colonels secret recipe.

For an hour Tony roamed the neighborhood, peeking under cars and trees, chasing after any four legged creature that crossed his path. All the while shaking the piece of chicken like a madman. Pretty much normal behavior in this neck of the woods. (more on that in later posts). But, unfortunately, his efforts proved to be futile. He jumped in his car and circled our block for another hour or so, but still, no sign of Acci. We both kept watch out the windows for the rest of the evening, but in my mind, I'd come to accept the fact that he'd gone for good.

The Homecoming 

For no other reason than perhaps his kitty senses were tingling, Tony decided to check outside one last time. At two in the morning. He figured that was normally Acci's most active time of night and he may have come out of hiding to begin his journey home. And lo and behold, there he was, sitting in front of the door, sniffing at the air, meowing and purring insanely, rubbing his head against Tony's leg. Once inside, he chowed down on his chicken, lapped up some water and crashed on his cozy yellow blanket for the better part of three days. As chaotic as it sometimes gets, our house finally feels back to normal now.

Welcome home Acci - we missed you!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rainy Day Fun

Ciaran's solution for keeping busy on a cold, rainy day - take every cushion & pillow in the house & pile 'em all up. He was not a happy camper when they inevitably came tumbling down!

A Blog of My Own

I am super excited to have finally created my own blog! After years of worrying about whether or not I'd have anything worthwhile writing about, I decided to just do it! I mean, why not? I've always loved writing as a form of self-expression and had pretty much given up journaling when my son was born almost *gasp* 4 years ago?!

When I returned back to work after mat leave, I took a job as a copywriter which, unfortunately, did nothing to satisfy my creative side. I mean, I love shoes as much as the next woman, (in fact, maybe even slightly more - just ask my husband) but really, how many different ways can you describe them? They're shoes - you buy a nice pair in your size aaannd you wear them on your feet. The end. On the plus side, shoes are much more interesting than say sink faucets or self-watering plant containers. Yes, come to think of it, I've reviewed & written about way more boring things than shoes!

Now here I am with my very own blog, over which I have complete creative control! This is completely awesome! The best thing is I already have tons of things to talk about, all inspired by my somewhat crazy everyday life. The challenge for me will be finding the time to post them all!

I can't wait to tell you all about my cutie patootie, ladybug-loving, washing machine obsessed, Ciaran, Daddy Tony and our very charismatic (ok, not really) tabby Acci, otherwise known as Dr. Acula.

So, feel free to drop by anytime and peek in at this wonderful cast of characters, not to mention my work (and life) in progress!
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