Monday, 9 December 2013

Pulling the goalie-a controversial move.

As a mama, I have to make decisions about the social lives of my very young girls. These decisions are often, not well received. By other adults.

While I have only just returned to watching hockey on a regular basis, I think of the mama decisions as akin to whether or not the goalie should be pulled at close to the end of the third period when the opposition is leading by one.  Sure, it puts six players on the ice that can all focus on scoring a game tying goal. But it also means that no one is on defense.  No one is guarding the net.  And a wide open net can be scored on from more than half way across the ice. By any of the five players who are already kicking your butt.

I feel at this point I should reiterate, I've only just returned to watching-that's watching-hockey. My husband Mark will surely laugh and have a few pointers for me on how to refine my analogy,  and having played hockey as a kid and watched it all of his life, I will certainly take his feedback and apply it for the future.  But onwards.

As  a mama, I have to consider all the possibilities before I agree to a big or small social event for my girls.  Sometimes it's easy.  Invited to the W's or the C's? Unless someone is contagious or immobile, Mark and I need that social time too, so we're going! Those two mamas parent like I do and won't bat an eyelash if I inform then my misbehaving kid has to stay by my side for a while.  They will just as quickly lend pjs and a blanket if someone gets sleepy.  

Going anywhere by car that required driving more then thirty minutes when C was a baby? Not going to happen. Not for strawberry picking nor seeing the pandas at the zoo.  That kid can scream for an hour straight at a deafening volume making it impossible to think near her never mind focus on traffic on the 401. 

Invited to an acquaintance's that we said yes to but my girls have a day of not listening and clearly need to unwind at home before an early bedtime? Sorry, I'm going to have to cancel even if it makes your kids sad.

 Invited to a loyal friend's annual family Christmas party? We're there, even if it is in shifts or just me or for a short time. 

Plans to go downtown on a Saturday that turn into a Sunday dinner "somewhere" without reservations during Christmas season and my girls have been hyper, need a bath, need to generally get ready for school and have an extra early start the next day when I'm on my own with three grumpy bears? Not going to happen. 

In all of those instances above and others where I have had to decline invitations or cancel plans, I'm never worried about the reaction of my girls but rather that of the adults involved.  Most of whom are parents.  I understand that you can't let your kids rule your life. But I also understand that I can't let an adult's expectations cloud what is best for my girls.  And generally, a warm bath, a hot dinner, and hanging out while listening to music and reading, trumps the hassle. The hassle, not of going out, but of everything going to hell in a hand basket when we get home again and I have uncooperative, overstimulated, exhausted children x 3!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Favourite Things, Eh

Recently, a friend (I can call her that with complete confidence thorough we have never met in-person because she is the cousin of a super awesome friend in my life. So obviously if I knew her we'd be close in-person too!) posted about her favourite things on her blog, Full of Graces, 

In the interest of being honest, I need to fully disclose, I'm not an Oprah fan. No particular reason and no big rant about why. It's not a thing, it just is.  But as we all know, favourite things, is originally inspired by Sound of Music. And so, without any attempt at poetry or a posh English accent a la Julie Andrews! I bring you, by way of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, a few of my favourite things in no particular order other then the order I remembered them in!

-The One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale ( I try to go to this show every year at Christmas. It's an eleven-day event featuring exhibitors from all across Canada (and possibly beyond, I'm not sure. The artisan website wasn't as transparent as it should be.) and their original art work ranging from jewellery to butcher blocks and knives. From puppets and superhero costumes to ridiculously expensive shortbread and jellies. From hats,scarves, purses, kids clothes, and baby clothes to wood carved pepper mills and chocolate everything!  There is stunning photography, frozen dips, smoked spices,and every kind of knitted or woven or crocheted garment imaginable.  Mostly I go to look, and to dream of what I would buy with unlimited funds. But I also always buy the duck rillettes from Les canardises; the lobster dip; and the Christmas pudding.  This year, my friend LW went for the first time and it was nice to experience the show with her for the first time "again".  When I arrived on site she was already there with another friend heading up aisle V. I felt that the ticket process took an absurdly long time, so when I got through the doors I headed to aisle T and zipped through. Then went over to aisle S when I got LW's text saying she was about to head over to aisle U! Whaaat? It was a good reminder to slow down, enjoy the sights, and artistry and talk to friends while I was at it.  I need reminding of that when I don't have my girls with me, Anxiety sets in like I'm forgetting something or about to be late for something so I rush around, heart thumping, as if I've just mainlined coffee. LW smartly advised I cash in my free drink voucher for a glass of cab-sauv rather then the bottle of caffeine I was eyeing.  Much better!

-Red wine.  An obvious choice, but I was recently introduced to a semi local (Niagara wine region is about 90 minutes away,  Well more like two hours seeing as I have to get three kids out the door and now drive a lot slower given my precious cargo and /or the precious cargo waiting for me at home if I'm alone) baco noir.  It is a Henry of Pelham and lays to rest my qualms that  Ontario reds just don't get enough sun and heat to fully develop.   Let's be honest. Red wine, full-stop, is a favourite thing but I'm trying to be Canadian! Yumm!  If you are looking for an Ontario white to try, I highly recommend Cave Springs Reisling.  It's not as sweet as you think it will be and almost has a bubble to it.  So delicious with curries, or oysters if you don't want bubbles, or a very large glass pairs quite well with it also.

-Montreal. Oh my gosh, if you haven't been you must, must, MUST go. The people are so lovely, and quite pretty to look at too. The food is delicious. The core is comprised of unique neighbourhoods and stores reflecting that.  The nightlife-not that I've partake in it old is R? heavy on the dance music but music and bars abound. I would drop everything to move there with Mark and my girls. Cinq-a-sept is a thing there! Everyone works really hard until 4:59pm and then zoom! Off they jet to the bar for wine or cocktails from 5-to-7. Supper is later. And luxurious. Want Poutine? Go to the local dive. So good. Cider, in its standard form or ice cider, is so quaffable you might become an addict. The perfect escape to somewhere other then here is exemplified in the vieux ville (old part of the city on the water's edge).  It is a maze of cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages, ultra modern spas, and churches more than a 100 years old that you can simply sit in and revel at the beauty or kneel and say a prayer of gratitude. Also? Boutique hotels. I made the mistake of staying at Hotel St.Paul ( in June.  I will never be able to stay at a chain hotel again without sighing and moaning in despair.  The best guest services ever.  Toiletries you want to steal extras of but that are handed to you freely. Chocolate truffles on the pillows, a view and a restaurant named Hambar ( where they cure their own prosciutto type meats. I had Mother's Day Brunch there which included a Caesar served with the aforementioned bacon as a garnish. If you ever go, search here:

-Malepeque Bay oysters.  Briny, succulent, like the sea in a mouthful of meaty deliciousness. I could eat dozens of these.  I have eaten dozens of these.  Just the thought of oysters makes me want to run out and buy some.   In fact, just the thought of horseradish ( and yes,I think of it more often than you'd think) makes me want to go get oysters. The worst thing I ever did was cultivate an appreciation for oysters in Mark because now I have to share.  

-Caesars ( when I was pregnant with L and then with C, I drank a lot of virgin Caesars. The juice, the spice, the salt, the vitamin c, the tangy notes of fresh lemon or lime, the horseradish (again! I should share my recipe for a horseradish sauce for grouper fillets). Pretty much all of the things my body wanted. I guess the craving stuck and I seriously can't get enough of them.

-The farmers market (April to October) Not only do I love my purchases but I love the experience.  I go with my girls every Friday. Before school so R can enjoy it too. I actually have a honey lady, and a venison and sausage family, a cheese lady, and yes, of course, a maple syrup guy. All of them are regular vendors at one of the local farmers market's. In Ontario we have arguably the best strawberries, incredible wild blueberries (I'd say the best are in Quebec), juicy peaches, sweet corn, and bursting with flavour heirloom tomatoes.  Sadly, all of it must be eaten in season or it just doesn't live up to the expectations.

And finally, I'm going to offer up something a little corny, a little cheesey, that's not actually edible: get-togethers.  I love hosting get togethers.  Big or small. Potluck or all my dishes.  Super informal or a little more organized.  With or without the skinny dipping in the summer after the kids go to bed. With kids or without. Mark and I are good co-hosts and we love throwing a party. Our recent wedding (September of this year) was so much fun it was pretty hard not say "getting married" as one of my favourite things.  But then again, it is.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Ten days until Christmas

Last year I got a new job in the middle of November. This year my contract was terminated Nov 29. And so while money for the new year is going to be tight, what better way to get ready for Christmas then a month off work to destress, enjoy my girls, make crafts with C, make cookies with my girls, decorate, and generally snuggle people I love in my pjs? No deadlines, no phone calls, no other people's urgent matters and angst. Being able to feel at peace with my girls, and with myself, is truly a gift I plan on relishing.  It is a rare opportunity that I do not intend to waste. Of course, I might be testing the resiliency of my inner peace on Boxing Day. (See the end of this post for how.)

It warms my heart, to use a cheesey expression to see my social media feeds filled with plans by other parents to downscale the Christmas pagentry and upscale the meaning of Christmas.  Ever since I met Mark and we spent our first Christmas mostly apart because of family obligations and circumstances beyond our control, I've been focused on spending Christmas being with people I love, who love me, and sharing good food, frequent hugs, a bottle of bubbly and one of Baileys, and a superhero movie. Because without the love and laughter of family and friends, it doesn't matter how many presents are under the tree. We have tried to maintain that tradition with his older kids and our girls. 

I don't think it would be stretching things to say that our Christmas revolves around feasting. I like  to plan our big meals over a couple of weekends with my girls and Mark. Ok, we start planning the weekend after Thanksgiving.  It's a thing for us.  Pouring over recipe books, flipping through magazines, pulling out the notebooks where all our feasts from the past ten years are written down. Trying to find the perfect balance between tradition and new. It's actually the perfect microcosm for our 

A friend of ours mentioned Christmas traditions and trying to decipher or distinguish between what is nostalgic and what is good.  I'm trying to build what is good and throw in some nostalgia, and limit the over indulgences for our girls. 

Some of our current favourite traditions are from our own childhood, from the books we read- The Nativity, The Polar Express-to the music we listen to: New-ish rock versions of Christmas carols mixed in with some German arrangements by James Last, a little Elvis, some John Denver and the Muppets, and of course, the classic crooners.  We put our own spin on this with newer books and listineing to the music every morning with the Christmas lights twinkling as we get ready for school. It is a fun way to start the morning and infact I may just keep the fairy lights up in the window for the long dark months of winter!  As a kid, we always made a semolina alcohol infused cake and milk toffee that was distributed to everyone we knew.  I don't have that with family and friends, but I'd like to start something similar, one year, when I'm more organized! But what we do have is the baking together, we bake and decorate sugar cookies and try new cookie recipes too.  This year we even made cake pops and it may or may not have been because the chocolate cake collapsed in here middle and I needed a solution. Let's just say they were appreciated and perhaps might become our tradition. Of course, there's a tree to decorate in a haphazard, all hands on deck way, and getting a real one every year is something Mark does for me and while I wish we could get it earlier, and always consider an artificial one, it's a tradition we have that I don't want to give up. We keep the presents hidden until just before Christmas because it adds to the anticipation. Though the stockings decorate the stairs from the time the lights go up.

Unlike when I was a kid, Santa, doesn't bring the big stuff. It has to fit In your stocking and tends to be more old fashioned like chocolate, a clementine, socks, and a little toy.  Every year we buy the girls a book, an outfit, Christmas Eve pjs and one other fun item.  Last year it was an easy bake oven.  For both of the bigger girls. Yes,that's right, a shared present. They are getting a shared gift this year too. I like to have my shopping done before the first. No need to think about navigating traffic and swarms of unhappy shoppers.  I spent too many years in retail to subject the poor employees to that.  Yes, I get it, the market and the economy, but sheesh, nothing about that requires you to be a complete pain in the ass as a shopper. 

But truth be told, I struggle with whether to take the girls to the shopping centres-I want them to see the lights and decorations because they are pretty but no one is calm in a busy mall so we drive around the various neighbourhoods. I'm also bit of a monster as I don't perpetuate the Santa myth. But, they believe though I don't encourage it and so that eases up on trying to get the picture if my girls on a strange man's lap. My little L is currently fascinated with the man in red and I briefly thought about taking her to the village at Sherway Gardens shopping centre when I was there for shampoo the other day. Side note, trust me, it was an essential visit or I wouldn't have been there as no one needs to see me without hair product! But from several stores away at 9:30am I could hear the shrill voices of the "elves" and hear the chaos of dozens of families crammed into the centre of the mall armed with toys to make their kids smile, cameras (multiple), and twice that number of kids split between being absolutely terrified and completely bouncing off the walls hyper.  

Nothing about that scenario said Christmas to me.  Nothing about that said , listen, prepare, be joyful, have hope, let the baggage go, exude peace.  As I thought about it, I realized that I don't have to indulge in my child's desire to go see Santa and write a wish list of presents to receive. Advent is a time of preparation, of hope and of anticipation. We just returned to church and while I have so many issues with the dogma and governance of the church (though I quite like Pope Francis!) my faith is important to me and I'm happy we are bringing that tradition back into our lives. It doesn't mean I have to blindly accept all of the church's traditions, but it also plays both ways: I don't have to accept all of the commercial traditions either!

Come to think of it, none of my girls have ever actually asked to do either of those things.  The grandparents ask for lists, which we reluctantly provide only to try to stay the influx of useless presents and aim for things the girls actually need and want.  My girls are pretty gracious kids so a book or a game would make them so happy if you would indulge them by reading to or playing with them.  Every animated movie on blu ray. Nope, don't need it.  Singing, flashing, plastic toys-nope. A CD of music you think or know they like or that you do-awesome!  Look, I get it, it's fun to buy gifts for kids and to wrap them and then watch them unwrap 'em. Take them for lunch, take them for a walk, take them sledding, take them shopping if you must because at least it will be an event. My girls have received gifts we have sent straight to goodwill the next day and we only felt guilty about the waste of money. If you have money to burn on my kids, they have a university education we need to help pay for!  It's interesting to me that R's godfather, who doesn't have kids, and only one nephew just a year or two older then R,gets it's he brings her chocolate and a gift card for books or music.  They eat the chocolate with her sisters and then he watches a movie with her and let's her read to him and they play a game or make a puzzle. Perfect! Another friend makes them presents that they love, but she also takes them swimming in the summer and for tacos, which they adore!

So here is where my inner peace is at risk. For the last three years we avoided the dual family get togethers at the holidays- but that was for us. Mark and I have a hard time navigating the demands on our families.  But maybe our girls would like to resume it. And maybe we need to just let it go and let it be what it will be. (Trust me, there are a few moments from our wedding that we are trying to forget involving our families being in the same place at the same time.  But at least the hostility wasn't directed at each other.) So we will give it a whirl again this year. We're thinking Boxing Day brunch. Extend the love by extending the feasting. Besides, it's not too early to pour some Bailey's into my coffee if it's brunch not breakfast right?

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Just a chocolate quickie

OMG I can't believe I haven't shared this fabulous discovery with everyone.  Because as far as I know, everyone has a love-hate relationship with Nutella.  As in, they love it and they may or may not eat it with a spoon.  But they hate giving it to their kids because it contains the dreaded modified palm kernel oil.

And so, in my opinion, I have made a life changing discovery: homemade chocolate spread!

I realize that this discovery is not unique and certainly most Italians familiar with gianduja, will be quite familiar with my life altering recipe; however, that will not stop me from proclaiming its awesomeness.

With many props to the domestic goddess Nigella Lawson, without who's recipe for 
Chocolate-Pistachio cake, I would not have made this delicious and delectable spread.

So, without further ado, run to your kitchen and grab a couple of handfuls of hazelnuts or pistachios. Hazelnuts will be more authentic, however they have a tendency to go rancid a little faster.  And yes, I used salted pistachios and did not find the end result salty.  In a food processor, though a vitamix would result in the smoothest powder and a mallet or rolling pin would do in a pinch with the crunchiest powder, blitz the nuts to powder. Simultaneously melt a few bars of Lindt 70%cocoa chocolate bras.  I chose Lindt because it's the best quality I can find at costco! as money is a factor here.  These bars have no modified oils of any kind listed in the label and no artificial flavours.  Once the chocolate is melted and cooled but not hardened, add to food processor with a couple of tablespoons of unsalted or salted butter, a splash of vanilla, and a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar.  Blitz until creamy and try not to eat the entire thing with a spoon.  Obviously the butter renders this unstable for shelf storage but you could easily dollop it in a ice cube tray and leave that I'm the fridge or wrap it in wax paper and slice off small amounts to come to room temperature before use.

And that my friends is how you make a little bit of awesomeness with chocolate.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Insert clever title about anxiety and being away from your kids here.

In exactly two months I will be taking a vacation with my Mark for a week without my girls. Given that C still nurses through the night and L throws herself around me howling in despair whenever I go to leave the house without her I'm not sure how to even start preparing emotionally for this. And let's not forget the beautiful and stoic R who is excited to be spending a week with her aunts and grandparents in charge, likely envisioning seven days of wheat and sugar overload along with a Jem and the Holograms marathon and a mountain of new books to read. In between going to school.

So here's the question: how much notice should I give L?  If it was me, and I know R is the same way, I'd want weeks of notice so I could plan and prepare and know exactly what was coming. But with L, sometimes it is better just to spring things on her because honestly she is going to cry anyway so why make her deal with weeks or even days of anxiety?  She isn't dense, so she is going to clue in at some point and I'm scared to pieces that I will fall apart because I can barely keep it together right now. So last week I passed the buck on to a slightly miffed Mark and told him to prepare our girls and make all the arrangements because I was out.

I've kinda had it with taking it all on my shoulders to figure out options and talking it to death and worrying myself sick. I'm not saying my partner-husband!-isn't fully involved, he is but he is an introvert with a tendency to just grimace and bear it when it comes to my extroverted thinking out loud c-o-n-s-t-a-n-t-l-y process. Did I mention that the  past few weeks I have been on an eating binge, I can't shake my anxiety, I've been short tempered -which makes me horribly sad because I had really been doing so much better-and there isn't enough sleep in the world for me yet I can't sleep and when I do I have horrible dreams? Fun stuff. So I told Mark to do it. And yet, here I am all curled up in a ball overthinking crap out loud (sort of).

I have never been away from my girls for more than fifteen hours. The longest I have been away from the house without them was twenty three hours on the night/day C was born and they spent the entire day with me before I got home at 11:30pm. And that was the last time they were away from me for more than a school day and that was almost 22 months ago. I get that this is as more about me and my anxiety and not about last minute sadness from R, or L and hers or weaning C from her nighttime nursing.  Because, let's be honest, R is logical and will be fine. if there are no boobs to drink, C is either going to kill off one member of my family at a time, deafen all of them the first night so that the remaining five are dulled, or just roll with it because I won't be here.  

With L, it becomes all about minimizing her anxiety.  She had a horrible first month of school, she barely hung on throughout October, but now it's mid November and she actually said "Yay!" when we confirmed that indeed she has school tomorrow. She comes home and buries me in crafts all withi my name and her name and our pictures on it.  She doesn't want anyone other than me to drop her off or pick her up and when I even mention going into the office she freaks out a bit because it is a change in the routine and this whole  "school on a daily basis for six and a half freaking hours " BS maxed out her coping with change mechanisms for the foreseeable future. Now this might sound like I'm exaggerating but this kid won't go to the children's liturgy at mass with her sister and school mates while I am still in the church.  She doesn't want to go to birthday parties unless I am there. She doesnt want to play with visiting friends unless I am within reach and often consequences for poor behaviour fly right over her head or completely devastate her because she is only living in extremes right now.  I just managed to get her to run with her friends in the playground while we wait for her sister instead of begging me to play hopscotch as really, that is both a health hazard to me and to any onlookers who would pee themselves laughing at the sight. But I guess with L, two things are going to happen-she is either going to kill me with her emotional heartbreak and Mark will wish he had left me behind. Or, I don't tell her much and she breaks my heart but lets her aunts, Nana, Dumbu,and sisters distract her. Which leads me to my next point of anxiety-do I call and skype and stress both of us out? Because she has that sad little voice and the big tear filled eyes and C will be jumping out of her skin wondering why I haven't come home yet. I'm pretty sure I'm going to call because that's the one thing that would upset R, if she couldn't talk and connect to me to tell me about how her week is going. And such is the balancing act of a mama with three equally amazing but very different girls.

Surprisingly, the one thing I don't have to worry about is that my Dad, of his own accord, committed to taking the week off work and letting the girls stay in our house in order to maintain a sense of schedule and normalcy. We will see how fast he gets manipulated out of that but I will deal with that later. 

For now, I guess I need to work through my own stuff.  Maybe it's because the last time I was way from them for C's birth things were emotional and I didn't want to be away from them. Or maybe it's because I am a mama bear who spends all day every day with her girls and the idea of being a costly flight away from them is scary for me.  Or maybe it's because I don't know what "resort wear" means having only taken shopping trips to Montreal, conference trips to Vancouver, family pilgrimages to France and Portugal, and backpacked through Thailand with a 23lb backpack, and my camera.  I mean, my reference points for  a beach resort are Dirty Dancing and The Flamingo Kid!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The harsh light of a full day at school

Hey mamas and dads, any advice on how to help my L accept school as her new reality? 

Over the summer we read books about school and played school; she has teachers whom she knows; she has family friends in her class; she took classes and went to day camp to practice being away from Cand I; I acknowledge her anxiety and heartache; we reinforce all that she gets to do at school and still come home to do; she takes photos and mementos to school; we remind her how she didn't like staying home last year when her sister and her friends started school; I've stopped walking all the way into class with her and we do abbreviated goodbyes; her big sister has permission to have lunch with her if she wants it and talks to her about how to not feel sad from a kid's point if view; we have stickers for everyday she goes to school plus another one if she goes without crying; and more.

 But she goes to sleep anxious, she is sad in the mornings and she sobs for me for an hour at school. My social bouncy daughter is quiet and sometimes l find her lying in her bedroom floor staring into space with the oddest look on her face. and this isnt about being tired or needing to recharge. I know how she is when she is in need of that very important "me time". When I pick her up it takes until we are off school property and then she runs and dances with glee. 

We have individual expectations of our girls because they are so different in awesome ways. So we didnt expect L  to love school and learn how to read before the age of five. but she is more adept in social situations then R was at this age; and she comes home with some stories of playing with or talking to other kids. I suspected the reality of school every day would be surprising to L and I know it is only the third week of school but her heartache is palpable and it is taking all of my mama strength and mama logic to not keep her home with me when she cries out for me and wraps here tiny body around kind like a little monkey. 

I want to teach my girls that they can do hard things, that life isn't always easy and that new things are yards. I want to teach them to step up to the challenge and to understand that they can miss someone and survive and more importantly taut the person they love is still there for them emotionally even when separated physically. But isn't that a lot to ask of a four year old? Maybe L just isn't ready? Maybe being with her baby sister who howls and sobs for her at the morning drop off, who handed L her backpack when she started crying and said "home"; who calls out for her in the middle of the night-maybe keeping them together is more important right now. Because L is social and independent and smart and strong but right now she isn't acting like any of those things and I don't think she is feeling like she is any of those things.

So what's a mama to do? 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Present Parenting or An $80,000 Dream.

With the Ontario Midwifery Student Conference a year behind me, that's how far removed from the MEP I am. Last year I was faced with a very significant decision about my status in the program. Now, while I had a year to actually confirm this decision; that's not really my style. I didn't want to spend every other weekend in angst over what to do, how to do it, and making pro/con lists that I recite out loud to Mark. Trust me when I tell you, he did not want me to go over this in angst either- funny, how he thought there were better ways to spend the few hours (minutes) alone that way.
Ironically, (in the true sense of the word), the conference sealed my fate.
We had a minor emergency situation at the conference last September, that leads me to believe that my heart made it's decision even as my head still struggled. I had made my first presentation( read about it here), gone for lunch with my daughters and Mark, caught up with friends, met new midwifery students, caught up with my (former) midwife and was prepping for my next presentation. And then my bouncy little L returned with Mark and R. She looked pale for my little brown baby and was shockingly still. In my bag of mama tricks I had ibuprofen and chocolate ( to keep her blood sugar and mood up!) and I quickly procured water and ice. Fifteen minutes later she was looking worse. So we left. The conference presentations were running long/late and there was no way I could concentrate knowing my little one was in pain. I informed the appropriate people. Or so I thought.

People were looking for me. The general impression I got was that a few folks had been unimpressed I'd left because of a sprained wrist. Which actually, thanks to my google diagnosis, was a dislocated elbow!!! My baby girl was in severe pain until the doc at th ER popped it back in for her. Had I forced her to stay so that I could have a few minutes of attention I would never have forgiven myself. I had to put her in the baby wrap to carry her back to the car because walking and the jarring motion of the stroller was too much for her. 

Here's the thing, if I'd been on-call and had been paged, I would have had to go. If I was at a birth, as a student, and had left for this minor emergency my grades would have been in jeopardy. I'm quite positive some of the other mama midwifery students would have made the same choice i did. But I'm equally positive many more would not have. L was after all, in the strong and loving hands of her daddy, and I had made a commitment so I should have stayed and transited or cabbed it back home with C. Or, I should have had back up care for C. Or, I should have let Mark handle R, L, and C on his own. And you know what, he could have. I trust him like no other with our children. But if I'd been on my own, I would have absolutely called him for advice at minimum and help with one or more girls if necessary. When we got in a fender bender last year, he dropped everything and came to get us even though he didn't "have to". I'm not quite sure I want to be in a situation, in a lifestyle, where I can't do the same for him. Where I can't be there for my girls.

That night I showed L and R images on-line of her elbow and explained what would happen. We made funny plans for her to sneak to Tim Horton's without me and R after she saw a doctor. R and I tidied , talked about how l wasn't going to the hospital because L wasn't sick and that her injury was minor so she might have to wait but ultimately, she'd be home pretty quickly and then we watched a movie together beside baby C. L came bouncing back in the house a couple of hours later. That's basic mama-ing I couldn't provide if I was in school. Make no mistake, Mark "had this". He totally would've handled the situation in his amazing Dad way. I mean,  this is the guy who told our kids their (dead) fish went on a sleepover at his fruend's house because our place was too cold! He's just awesome as a parent and I love being a patent by his side.

Flash forward to today, I'm desperately trying to get a hold of someone at the program so I can discuss my situation. I have friends in different stages of the program all of whom didn't find out until 2 weeks ago when their classes were and where they had to be (and at what time, as some of them have shift work coming up). Many of them have children, all of them have lives. Everyone was on hold from April and now, chaos! The program has asked me to come in to speak with them "hopefully that's not too much trouble." Um, yeah, it is! I have three kids, I'm 35 minutes away from campus on a good day but its September, so there is no good day or time. The roads are packed, with lane reductions and overwhelming heat. The transit parking lots are full and the bus is not conducive to managing three kids, a stroller and multiple backpacks and water bottles. Because when you travel with three kids, even for a 15 minute meeting 35 minutes away, there are always multiple backpacks and water bottles. 

So the situation has really solved itself. I'm not going back. I'm withdrawing, hopefully only for a couple more years but who knows. At this point it is hard to justify spending another 80k on myself which is money we don't have and money our girls could use for their post secondary education if we did have it. Or you know, we could pay off our mortgage before everyone starts migrating to the colonies in space.