Thursday, June 20, 2013

Vocational Epiphany

This morning as I was nursing Stefan on the couch while watching Fraser frolic around the living room (and responding to his frequent and heart melting “HI MOMMY!” with an equally exuberant “HI FRASER!”), I was reflecting on my passions and where it is I should be vocationally (I mean, other than being a mama, because that’s CLEARLY where I’m meant to be right now).

Here follows my thought process.

ENGLISH. Written word, grammar, and punctuation faux pas drive me batty (for example, apostrophes are required for possessives but NOT for plurals; there vs their vs they're; then vs than etc etc etc the list goes on). Overuse of texting shorthand (innocent may it be) also makes me want to poke my eyeballs with a fork. I am not, however, opposed to colourful, trendy ‘slang’ (e.g., totes, cray, adorbs), the occasional made up word, or the overuse of brackets (can you tell?)… double standard I know. I began to think of how I love to write, I appreciate well written/witty prose, and I’m somewhat of a grammar nazi. Hmmmm…. Perhaps I should have become an English teacher. But wait, I don’t think I’d like teaching a million kids at a time, and I’d like to teach ONLY English (not all those other subjects they make you learn in school). But I don’t like poetry. Or Shakespeare. I’d like to just teach appropriate grammar and punctuation use. And proper articulation. Preferably to little kids. Then it dawned on me. Hang on a tick… I’M A SPEECH AND LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST! In a PRESCHOOL! THAT'S WHAT I DO. Seriously, this is no joke. That was literally my thought process. EPIPHANY! As sad as it is, folks, this is the first time that I realized that I’m actually truly and completely IN THE RIGHT FIELD! Well blow me over.

As I excitedly exclaimed this to Lowell, he looked at me like ‘well DUH!’

Before you jump to the (possibly accurate) conclusion that I’m a complete dimwit, let me explain why it took so long for me to come to this conclusion. I feel like I sort of stumbled into speech. In high school while I was frantically attempting to figure out what to do with the rest of my life, my mom casually mentioned that her cousin was a Speech Pathologist (the one male speech path in the universe). I hadn’t heard of this speech pathology thing, so I set up some job shadowing with two brilliant clinicians. I liked what I saw, and began grooming the ol resume and working towards the ultimate (and still somewhat unclear) goal of becoming a Speech and Language Pathologist. Only BY THE GRACE OF GOD did I skiff my way through the masters program. It. Was. Hard. When people now enthusiastically inform me that they’ve been accepted into a speech program, I offer them my hearty congratulations then secretly throw up in my mouth a little. If I was told that I had to go back and do the program again, well, I wouldn’t.

There’s more.

My first job as a speech path was in a preschool with (mostly) awesome colleagues, but the one non-SLP colleague that I worked the most closely with was very very NOT awesome, and her non-awesomeness totally shook my already faltering confidence. I then moved to New Zealand and worked in a whole new setting (older adults/neurological conditions/hospital setting/mostly swallowing) which was a different ball of wax with a STEEP learning curve. Since returning to Canada, I’ve worked here, there, and everywhere, but mostly with preschool kiddies. While I have enjoyed the variety of employment opportunities and vast learning experiences, became tight with colleagues in various settings, and loved making a difference in the lives of my clients… I still wasn’t SURE that speech was where I should be. Now that I have kids of my own, however, I realize a big part of the reason for my restlessness was that I was ready to be a mommy. The whole ‘finding an appropriate career’ thing was sort of just buying time until I birthed my own babies. Now that I’ve been blessed to add ‘mom’ to my resume (TWICE!!), I find myself increasingly content with my career choice. As long as it doesn’t exceed two days per week…. because I am, after all, first and foremost a mama.

 I consider myself affirmed. And I treated myself to Starbucks in celebration (not that I need an excuse for Starbucks).

So thank you, Del (random cousin of my mom’s who I’ve met twice in my life), for steering me in the right direction. If I see you again in the next 20 years, coffees are on me.

As affirmed as I may be in my career, these three are still my number one priority.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The truth comes out...

I did not advertise such facts on the internet as we didn’t want to get, well, ROBBED, but we spent the first 7.5 weeks of Stefan’s life under my parents’ roof. That’s right… we moved back in with the rents! And it was hands down the best decision we have EVER made (other than deciding to get married and procreate, of course). You see, I was not supposed to lift any more than 10 lbs during the six weeks following Stefan’s c-section delivery, and Lowell was unable to take more than one week off work. So, Nana & Papa to the rescue! They took EXCELLENT care of all of us, and it made our transition to a four-person family WAY easier. Two to six lattes per day? Naps? Constant childcare at one’s fingertips? Meals and housework taken care of? Fraser’s routine covered?  Intense Nana/Papa/Fraser bonding? Nightly sing-alongs with Papa and his guitar? regular adult companionship/conversation? What’s not to love? The following images simply scratch the surface of how amazing our time with my parents was.  Fraser and Stefan soaked in tons of Nana & Papa time- starting right from the hospital...

EXPLANATION! My parents often randomly bust out their dance moves. This time they did so much to Fraser's amusement.

This photo also requires an explanation! Fraser frequently pretends to blow Nana & Papa away (because he gets such a good reaction out of them, no doubt), so they were hiding behind the almond bag in an attempt to avoid the powerful wind gusts. Obviously.


I realize it’s truly unusual for 30-somethings WITH KIDS to happily move in with their parents- or worse- IN-LAWS, and that makes me all the more grateful that we did so with much success. And trust me… we were in nooooo rush to leave. Those Hutterites sure have the right idea with their colony living. I wonder if Fraser’s development (speech and language growth in particular) would have been different had we not lived with my parents (which provided him with an insanely language rich environment). We have NO CLUE how many words he now has (?over 200?), and he’s combining them into 2-3 word phrases. Most of these words/phrases are not understood by anyone but us… but still. CUTE.

We've already expressed our thanks and appreciation a million times, but one more time doesn't hurt... THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU MOM & DAD!!!

Stefan slept legitimately THROUGH THE NIGHT on our first night back home (10:30pm to 7:30am... I know right? WICKED welcome home!), and both kids were doing amazing, but I felt horrible. I thought I just missed my mama THAT much, but it turns out that I had developed a nasty little case of mastitis. Nothing a few antibiotics couldn’t shake, however, and now I’m good as new, both boys are still sleeping well, and we’ve settled nicely into a little routine in our own home.

I have three keys for my success at home (thus far) with two wee ones:
1. Freezer meals. (Lowell is especially grateful for these, otherwise we would be eating eggs and toast every night. Or cereal. No joke.)
2. Mandatory nap time. (It's not an option. If you live under this roof, you nap, and so far both boys seem to be on board so yay.) (This is 99% for me.)
3. Live two blocks away from Nana & Papa and/or live with them for at least the first 7 weeks of any newborn's life (if not permanently haha).

There. Done.