It may not be the first time Fred has worn hand-me-downs from Nyana, but it’s definitely the first noteworthy time. On the left is Nyana on the morning of her first birthday. On the right is Fred taken this morning, barely five and a half months old. I don’t have many opportunities to look back on Nyana’s baby photos and compare her baby face to Fred, what with all the oxygen tubing and BiPAP in her way. So when I remembered we had this photo of Nyana in her Batjamas, I just knew I had to put together a “who wore it better?” piece. You tell me.
It’s just past six o’clock on a Saturday morning and you and I have been awake for almost an hour. Your sister has climbed herself out of bed once already and I’ve managed to put her back to bed though I’m not sure how long that will last. The sun is shining and the birds are chirping; as your sister would say, “it’s a beeee-youtiful day!” We have friends coming over today for a hockey game—you may not believe this but when you were born the Maple Leafs were the laughing stock of the NHL, and today’s game is only the second playoff game they’ve played in almost a decade. Naturally, your father is very happy today, and he’s thrilled to be able to share afternoon hockey games with you. When Nyana was your age we used to take a laptop to the hospital and stream the games from her NICU room. It was OK, but not as nice as having a beer in my hand and you on my lap.
Ever since we found out we were pregnant with Freddy, we’ve been pushing the “big girl” angle on Nyana. She needs to be a big girl to help with her brother. She needs to be a big girl and put her toys away. Big girls eat all their dinner. Big girls don’t throw things. Big girls cooperate and don’t cry and respect their parents. Even when it’s all trickling down over the course of a few weeks or months, it’s a lot for a little lady to take in. But Ny has been a trooper, and for the most part has played along with us, and if I thought on her second birthday that she was growing up too quickly… well, I’d be close to crying in the fetal position on the floor today if I didn’t have Freddy here to remind me how trying the baby phase can be.
So, kids are fun once conversations start happening. The other day I was in the living room with Nyana and Fred, working on Fred’s rolling over and Nyana’s sharing. Suddenly, Nyana picked up a stuffed animal that Fred was chewing on, threw it across the room, then looked at me deadpan and proclaimed “You’ll never see that bunny again.” Seriously. My hand went to my mouth and I gasped in surprise. Where the bleep did that come from?!
The things that come out of this girl’s mouth sometimes are astounding, and we’ve had some interesting conversations as of late.
I’m in the kitchen emptying the dishwasher while Nyana plays in the living room:
Nyana: “Uh oh.”
Me: “Uh oh, what, sweetie?”
Nyana: “I eated it.”
I come into the living room to see Nyana reading a lift-the-flap story; she’s on a picture of a sheep.
Me: “You ate what, sweetheart?”
I can now see a large chunk missing from the sheep’s head.
Nyana: “I eated the face. Oh crap.”
Nyana came to me today, in that dead hour between Daniel Tiger’s Neigbourhood and lunchtime, and said to me, “Mama, you go outside for do a nature walk with meeeeeee?” My heart melted. I was wearing sweatpants and finishing my second coffee and secretly praying for an inside day and a third cuppa joe, but she has this adorably cute inflection that makes the end of her sentences raise half an octave, and the begging look in her big blue eyes made it hard to say no.
It’s not easy to keep a two year old entertained in a small suburban apartment. We survived the winter cooped up indoors with a toddler and a newborn, so as the sun becomes more social with us, we’ve been enjoying the freedom of the outdoors as often as we can. We try to get Nyana to the park as often as possible, but on days when the playground is just a bit too far away or the weather is a bit too crappy, I dress Nyana in her outdoor gear, give her a bucket, and take her out for an hour on a quote unquote nature walk. It started one day with an overtired Ny needing something to keep her occupied until dinner, and an exasperated me with no better idea than to let her bring her sand bucket with us on a walk around the apartment complex. The subsequent “nature walks” that have resulted from that one desperate moment have been nothing short of awesome, and they’re moments I look forward to and treasure.
“OK, we’re all packed. We’ll get up when Fred gets up at six a.m. and start packing the car. If we hope to be out by eight, we should for sure be on the road by nine.”
“Alright, we have everything? Booster chair, bouncy chair, bucket seat, potty? Fred’s pack and play and swaddle blankets and sleepers? Crayons? Puffers? Clothes? Mobile? Blankets and pillows? Ny’s violet doll and Mr Potato Head? Snacks for the drive? Diapers and wipes and receiving blankets? Extra receiving blankets? Paper towels? Sippy cups and formula and bottles and bibs? Suck-A-Duck? The cat has been fed? Dishes done? Lights are off? OK. Let’s get everything downstairs. Nyana, can you carry your stuffed doll down to Yellow Car for us? Thanks! Ok, let’s go. Say goodbye, house! Goodbye, Sofie! Bye, elevator!”
Daisy Rae is packed to the gills and the first ever fambly road trip commences. We’re on our way to Grannie’s.
My wife and I have never been “flower people”. We don’t…”do” flowers. Not fresh cut flowers, anyway. We’ve been living with a pooled income for years now and they have always seemed like such an excessive waste. When you think of it, here are these pretty little flowers and then they get chopped off from their roots, processed and sold to us at inflated rates, and we’re happy to pay through the nose for the honour of enduring a futile struggle to keep them ‘alive’ as long as we can. No, it’s not that we don’t like flowers, it’s just that we have better things to do with our money, I guess. And it’s not like we haven’t tried – over the years Karen and I have actively participated in gifting each other living plants and flowers – in pots, with dirt and roots and everything – as a “more meaningful” token of love on suitable occasions. Somehow they still ended up as futile struggles for life…but the extra effort (and soil) has always justified the inevitable demise of any type of plant in this house. At the end of the day though, I’d say we don’t do flowers.
Fred’s going to be three months old on Friday and the last update out of our camp was to tell you all that he was two months old. I live in a perpetual state of not knowing what day it is; an ongoing Groundhog Day of playgrounds, grocery stores, piles of laundry, and piles of diapers. I do intend to have a proper post for you all, soon—I have piles of half written posts in drafts and even more rolling around my head. The key, of course, is finding time to share them. Until then, a picture post. Nyana and Fred, as seen on Instagram.
Time keeps on ticking, ticking…
Two months already. Two months and a bit, actually. Time keeps on ticking and Fred keeps getting bigger. 14 pounds, 8 ounces at his two month check up last week. Seriously, the child is monstrous. He’s stury, and he’s strong. See? He holds his head up all by himself. Holds his head up while wearing a six-month sleeper.
Nyana has had her share of nurses in her short life. From Tarrah, the very first nurse to watch over her when she crash landed in the NICU, to Heidi AKA Nurse Awesome, who wheeled our Cadillac of a stroller down the long yellow hallway out to a waiting taxi on Nyana’s 222nd day of life. From two nurses a day for her first seven months to nurses in our home three days a week once we brought her home, Nyana has spent her whole life with an up-close and personal glimpse into one of this world’s finest professions.
It’s no secret that when Nyana was in the NICU I had a love/hate relationship with the nurses. The tone of an entire day could be set off by a nurse who rubbed me the wrong way, and on nights when Ny was in the care of a nurse that I didn’t like—or worse, didn’t feel comfortable with—then leaving her alone and heading out across the city without her was even harder than it needed to be. As we prepared to bring her home I anxiously looked forward to days without nurses, despite being granted a maximum of 48 hours of home respite nursing per week—enough government-funded respite to allow for an eight-hour shift six days a week. It took us two months to come around to the idea, but we eventually made arrangements for 18 hours a week—10am-4pm, Tuesday through Thursday—and that’s how it’s stood since June 2011.