Monday, January 5, 2015

Versions Of Me...

In another dimension there is a version of me that...

Finishes her to-do list with ease. She never forgets anything when grocery shopping so gets it done quickly and effectively and never has to make multiple trips. She finds organizing simple and the fact that she has four children does not hinder her from getting tasks done. Her children, as a matter of fact, are so well behaved and listen to her requests the first time she makes them. She never has to repeat herself. She never ever has to utter the words "if you choose not to do this, then this will happen" because her children just know exactly what to do and when to do it. In fact, they don't do much and are agreeable to have their daily activities planned for them. Her husband brings her flowers every other day and is usually quiet. He never leaves the toilet seat up or the bath mat sopping wet. Her baby eats meticulously and hardly ever needs a bib or a change of clothes after meals. He plays nicely alone and very rarely needs to be constantly entertained. But the most attractive quality of this little chap is that he sleeps long naps during the day and sleeps all through the night. Her house is organized and everything is put away exactly where it goes and is easy to find when needed next. Her windows are clear and smudge and hand-print free so she can overlook her garden as she relaxes and sips her tea, which she finds herself doing often as there isn't much else to do. Her minivan is shockingly clean because her children never leave food in their car seats or in the compartments beside their seats. There are zero crumbs or dirt because everyone is careful to not track stuff on their shoes when they get in. Plus, she always remembers to have a bag handy to collect the trash. She never worries about the past or the future. And she certainly doesn't dread having to stay up all night with sick, coughing, vomiting, feverish children all requiring her attention at once. She seems to always know just what to cook and her children eat up what she serves. She's always cheerful and hardly tired despite her full days because she's well rested, of course.

Obviously, this other woman has nothing to complain about. And yet...

She wishes sometimes spontaneity happened. She wonders what it would be like if her children were a bit more wild, louder, took risks, asked a million questions and were more creative. She wonders if her baby didn't sleep so much what it would be like to snuggle and breathe in his sweet smelling head in the wee hours of the night. She sometimes gets frustrated with the almost robotic way her husband talks with her and wonders what it would be like if he sometimes let loose, was passionate and gave her ways she could take care of him to make her feel more useful.

She looks around at her house and, while it is pristine and perfect, she often feels bored and wishes she had more to do. She wishes her baby needed her more because he is just growing up too fast and she wants to enjoy him more.

She just wishes she had a challenge, you know, something to overcome, to accomplish so she could feel proud. She wants to feel a range of emotions...feeling cheerful all the time gets boring. And after all, it's not true bone-deep happiness. She wants that. She wants to feel it all...happy, angry, sad, excited, scared, worried and she imagines this would add a sense of feeling alive.

Then one day, something pretty amazing happened and for a brief second both of these women got a glimpse of each other's lives within and without.

Then the me I am realized that my life, my reality, my every day, is what the other woman wanted.

All that was left for me to do then was say: "Thank You."

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve: My Intentions

Ah, the last day of 2014.

While I am not one to make a big deal about New Year's Eve, resolutions and all that jazz... I do feel pulled toward a sense of needing change for the coming year. I've learned over the years that changing is mostly a personal, internal thing. I mean, you just really can't change others. So, I know this need for change means I need to change things within me.

This past year has been a mesh and rollercoaster ride of awesome-ness and heartache. But thankfully the highs have balanced out the lows and I can gratefully say I am blessed.

So very blessed.

My reason for wanting to be a happy, grateful, better human is simply that I want to live and be freaking happy. Don't get me wrong, I know I am and have so much to be grateful for. But even then, I find the tricky mind going down the path of the "why me" lane.

I also want to be a pretty great example for my kids. You know all that "be the change" deal. I really do believe it has great merit.

I do not know what the future holds. I do know that intentions are powerful. So instead of resolutions, I am making intentions this year on what I want to change about myself and my life:

  • I intend to speak from the heart because when I don't I feel shitty and unauthentic.
  • I intend to reduce the bitchy lash-outs that my dear husband gets...and work on getting more sleep and taking care of myself so I don't get bitchy in the first place.
  • I intend to live life to the fullest and not hold myself back by unnecessary guilt or fear. Gosh, I have to remind myself it's OK to want to do things alone once in a while. Or do whatever. Just live to the fullest in whatever I need to do.
  • I intend to live and be myself and not be bothered by what those who do not love me think about me or about what I should do. This means, I will continue to be my clean freak self (among other things) and to hell with it.
  • I intend to be kind and forgiving to myself as, while I am this way to others, I do not usually do the same for me. Yeah, it's true.
  • I intend to ensure my husband knows he is loved unconditionally, even when I get upset he's playing his computer game, again. We all need alone time after all. 
  • I intend to say out loud those compliments I may think that would make people smile and not hold back on account of being awkward.
  • I intend to be openly grateful for what I am blessed with.
  • I intend to fill my beautiful children with love and joy and to know that at least one person in this big world loves them unconditionally. 
And with that, I welcome in the New Year! 

<3 Happy 2015 to all <3

Friday, November 14, 2014

Baby Boo

I wrote this almost two years ago. I never published it then because, well, I don't know. It was more of a private written expression of what I was feeling at the time:

"I have a Christmas Cactus plant that has come close to death many times. Mostly because I forget to water it. One of these times, the plant looked so sad and ill, that I wondered to myself if it would ever recover. I definitely gave up hope that it would ever bloom again.

When we moved to our new home this past summer, I brought it along and set it by a window that would ensure it had lots of sun, but also some shade during the day. I watered it, when I remembered, but I was more on top of this than in previous months. Over time, the little plant remained alive. Not tangibly thriving or changing, but not showing signs of death either.

Today, as I was admiring my blooming geranium plant, I noticed there were tiny pink-ish buds at the tips of the cactus leaves.

I cannot even begin to express my delight, gratitude and complete awe. I showed the flowers-to-be to Mermaid Girl and we both delighted in the wonders of Mother Nature.

"The little plant is connected to Mother Nature!" were her exact words.

Inside I felt a stirring. A hope renewed. Because you see, I realized that often I see myself as that little cactus plant: alive, but somehow lacking, somehow not thriving, somehow having something that doesn't work as it should. Not being able to bloom flowers. This goes back to years ago when my hubby and I found ourselves trying to get pregnant, and unable to get pregnant after 2 years of trying. We overcame that hurdle, but not without the lasting emotional, mental and physical marks of infertility. Now, I often find myself wondering if the cesarean births of Sharky Boy and Bebecita have had negative impacts on my ability to conceive again. Not that I want to have a baby at this point in my life, but if I ever did, would I even be able to?

Seeing those beautiful little flower buds, so close to being born into flowers, gave me a renewed sense of hope that I am not lacking or flawed. I am just me. I will take care of myself, keep myself as healthy as I can, getting lots of sun, but also some shade. And if and when the time comes to consider an addition to the family, I will remember those little flower buds and trust that my body will be able to do what it needs."

But today, I sit here, blessed with being a mother to a new precious, beautiful little life. I nurtured him within for 39 weeks and now he's been Earthside for 9 months! Time is flying! He is just an amazing little human. He is a fighter, a miracle. One day soon I will share his entire story. But for now, I want to introduce our sweet baby boy. The other kids call him Baby Boo, and it's stuck.

Welcome Baby Boo!

Baby Boo, 2 months old

Baby Boo, 2 months old

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How Wheat Ruined My Baby Boy's First Year

Almost 4 years ago, I had a baby boy who cried inconsolably day and night. He was fussy, gassy and his baby skin was covered in eczema.

"He's just colicky."

I know it sounds cheesy or perhaps airy-fairy, but deep down I knew something just wasn't right. I'd lived through a colicky baby, and this was different. It was like he was in constant pain.

So I sought out the help of our family doc, who said,

"He has reflux. Here is a prescription for Zantac."

We tried that, but it didn't really do much. After a few months on it, he was sent to a pediatrician who put him on Prevacid, a different anti-acid. But that made him worse.

We lived in a haze. Sleep deprived, cranky, in survival mode. Dreading every night because it was always the same.

By this point he was about 9 months old. He was still an unhappy little baby, covered with eczema. And when he got little colds, they went straight to his chest. He had awful coughing and wheezing fits. The doctor said he was probably asthmatic.

I had taken him to a massage therapist, a chiropractor, an osteopath and a Naturopath.

I thought I was out of options, but thankfully, I decided to try our Naturopath again.

I don't know why I waited that long. It really is strange because I had been seeing an ND regularly before getting pregnant, and in fact got pregnant because of her treatments!

I finally booked an appointment with her. Looking back it was the best decision I could have made for his health.

I basically cried when I saw her. I was exhausted. I felt like a failure because I could not help him, I could barely console him when he was in full blown crying mode, which happened often.

I knew what she would suggest would involve a deeper sort of healing, turns out I really had no idea how deep that would go.

"I believe he has a food intolerance/sensitivity, because you're breastfeeding we need to get you on an elimination diet to see what it is. Or we could do testing."

The testing was a bit pricey for us at that time, so I decided to do the diet. I thought it would be easy.


We ate pretty healthy already, so I was really skeptical and hesitant. The list didn't seem to long, but the foods to be eliminated were pretty much in everything we ate: dairy, eggs, soy, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, sugar (for good measure), wheat....WAIT...what? WHEAT!?

Oh man.

In addition she put him on probiotics (to help heal and restore his gut flora after being born by cesarean and the antibiotics he received via me) and Omega 3 fish oil (to help reduce the inflammation in his body).

We started with foods I didn't really eat much of anyways. Soy was easy because I didn't eat it anyways. I just made sure I didn't have anything with hidden soy, but that wasn't too bad, I just had to read labels carefully. First full-on elimination was dairy, but that didn't do much for his symptoms. Then after a few weeks of no dairy, we tried wheat. This was harder to do. Bread, lasagna, spaghetti, quiche...the list went on. Some of our favorite foods had wheat in them somewhere. Whether the main dish or hidden, wheat seemed to be everywhere. But I stuck to it somehow, it helped to have the support of the hubby.

I tried it for the recommended week and...

He got better!!! It was like night and day. 

His eczema disappeared. He started SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!
He wasn't crying all night long.

It was bliss. Well, not really. Cooking wheat-free was a real challenge. Back then, the wheat-free and gluten-free options available were pretty much nil (options are much better today).

But I trucked along. I had many relapses. And suffered the consequences! By this point our whole family reacted to wheat if we ate it, not as bad as our son, but we felt awful and began calling it "wheat belly", code for diarrhea, bloating, gas, abdominal pain. Very unpleasant things. Which made us wonder if we'd always been wheat-intolerant and just didn't know it.

And every time I had a slip, I would see my baby boy suffer. It was like clockwork. Within hours of consuming wheat, he would get a hard, hard belly, he would cry and scream and have gas like crazy. The next day he would have a horribly runny poop. And about 2 days after the wheat ingestion he would get fresh new patches of eczema.

After a while, I couldn't deny it anymore. I couldn't live wishing he would outgrow his sensitivity. Perhaps he would, but at that time, we needed to be totally wheat free for him, for us.

We were strict wheat free eaters for a loooong time. And we saw amazing changes in our son.

Now four years later our family is still wheat-free, for the most part. His gut has healed, so he can tolerate tiny amounts of wheat, once in a while. But the thing is we all feel so much better eating wheat-free that we choose to keep eating this way.

{A good summary article here: Fifty Shades of Gluten (Intolerance)}

I have learned so much about wheat intolerance over the last four years, and much of it points to the fact that it is actually very common, people just don't know it. Not to mention, the many other foods that are commonly associated with food intolerances (soy and corn, for example).

I know my family's story, my son's story, is a little anecdote in the billions of people out there. But whenever I hear of a Mama who is at her wit's end and the baby's symptoms sound familiar, I share my story. Hopefully it may help someone, somewhere.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Watch Out Fake Brain

As part of my doula work, I am passionate about advocacy. I encourage parents-to-be to advocate for themselves and their ask for informed decision process and to stand up for their rights.

Well, I should know by now that life has a way of slapping you in the face with the truth.

The truth is that in my real life, I am "too nice". I have a hard time saying no, to ask for what I want, and, if I don't get what I want, to stand up for myself and say so.

For example, if I get a haircut and it is not what I wanted, I may or may not say something. If I do say something it's usually only part of the whole truth and in the end I still don't get what I wanted.

Another example, a few months ago I hired a woman to help me clean the house. We agreed on pay for 4 hours of work. She finished the work an hour earlier, and instead of asking what else she could do, she left and still charged me the amount as if for 4 hours. Not such a big deal I told myself, but she did it again the next time she came. Then she burned my hardwood floor with the steam mop. Repairing that is going to cost us quite a bit. So I didn't ask her to come back. But still, I didn't tell her the real reason why, I didn't stand up for myself the first time she took advantage.

The past week and a half, I've been noticing this trend in myself and being really observant and mindful about it. No judgement, just observing it. Accepting it.

But now I have gone past the observation phase and I am in the action phase.

Don't get me wrong though, it's not like I am a complete pushover, it's just that I am sometimes hesitant of standing up for myself, when I should be. I rationalize it and think, oh it's no big deal. But then those moments add up and I look and have a whole string of moments that left me without my voice, my power. It's not that I am wanting to turn myself into a bitch, I just want to remember and know I have a voice. And that there is a way to make my voice heard without being rude or hurtful.

With the most recent action taken being that my nanny tried to change her schedule without much notice. I kindly told her, "Sorry, but no. Come when we agreed you would come, I've already made plans."

And guess what, no one exploded or cried, she didn't quit or yell at me.

She said, "OK, no problem." And we had a great day.

Not only do I need to stand up for myself with others, but with ME too.

Side-but-related story: Mermaid Girl came up with the idea of a "fake brain" a couple of years ago when I tried to explain to her what I did as a Life Coach, helping people overcome their own internal self-saboteur. She looked at me and said quite matter-of-fact-ly, "Oh, it's their fake brain." Wise words kiddo.

So I am also standing up to my fake brain. I have been going to yoga classes regularly because I love it. I feel great during and after. It makes me a better person to take care of myself.

Watch out Fake Brain, here comes authentic, vibrant and strong Kat!

Me and Bebecita
Look how big she's getting!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Double standard?

source not known, came across it on my facebook feed

This picture showed up on my facebook newsfeed this evening. And I couldn't keep my mouth here goes....

It is blatantly discriminatory and degrading...not only to "women without curves", but to all women.

Why does this double standard exist?

It certainly wouldn't be OK if the message was written about the opposite situation.

So why is it OK to say things like this?

Well, the truth is that it's not OK. As a woman who would be considered "without curves" {might I add I am healthy and do not have an eating disorder or do extreme dieting, etc. I am just thin. Healthy and thin}, I take offense to being classified as boring simply because of my physical appearance.

Plus, this image and its message is offensive to ALL women because it is sexualizing us, equating us to a "sex ride". Not only that, but it is also categorizing women into very degrading, sexist, and offensive roles. Just look at how the two women are dressed.

I know many would just ignore it. Scroll by it without comment or notice.

But what's even worse, is that this picture has a whole 'lotta likes on facebook. Really? And so many of these likes are from women. Sad, really. It's sad that our great-grandmothers and our grandmothers and our mothers have worked so hard towards the rights of women, to move beyond attributing characteristics simply based on looks...and in one crappily-put-together picture such as this, it's all all seems to go out the window.

Don't get me wrong, it's OK to feel good about our bodies. If we are curvy, then great, and yes, we should feel exciting and sexy and beautiful. The same goes if we are not curvy. What's not OK is to use one group of women against another in an attempt to feel better about our own self image or about how we are perceived by others.

Women of all sizes and shapes and of all walks of life need to say this is not OK. And men too. Men who believe in equality and who respect women are just as important as the women who seek and deserve this respect and equality.

I know it's going to take much more than posts like this to change societal attitude.

But I believe that change can happen.

And it all begins at home. If we raise our children with respect, equality, compassion and teaching the value and importance of these...when they grow up they will bring these into society.

And create a different {hopefully, better} world.