Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Still Upset

I'm still upset about how my work situation was handled before I went on maternity leave* back in September.

I have not written about it much yet, but it's still bothering me, 9 months later. So, here's the story.

Basically what happened is that I was going to cut my contract on Sept. 13th to go on "leave" (not really a leave, since I was on contract, and would have no guaranteed job to go back to). I was told that the $$ was there to pay someone to take over the position for at least the duration of the contract (March 31, 2014), with a possibility of give them an extension on the contract until I want to come back (plan was August 1, 2014, if there was funding at that point).

At the end of July, we interviewed someone, really liked her, and my boss gave her a verbal offer. She was going to start September 1st, to overlap with me for about 2 weeks to learn the ropes. The contract was drafted, and her references were being contacted...until it just stopped. During August, both me and the person who was to take over, contacted several people several times about the contract, and why it was taking longer than expected.

Then, near the end of August. she was contact by my boss and another staff member to have a meeting over Skype to talk about the position. She asked me if I knew what this was about, and I didn't..I had no clue what was going on. They had the meeting on the 26th, and it turned out it was actually another interview (without telling her that). They told her the position was NOT going to be what it was at the time, and told her how it would be different (totally different duties, and much lower pay).

In the meantime, I was left out of the loop completely on all of this. I was frantically preparing everything to train the new person the next week, and to make sure everything was all organized for her. Three business days before she was supposed to start, she was offered the new job at the new pay and she turned it down. Again, I had not be told any of this, and never was.

I spent the last 2 weeks of my time there wrapping up loose ends. I knew there was not going to be a replacement for me, but not from my boss or other university staff. In fact, to this day, no one at the university has told me that 1) there would be no replacement for my position, and 2) there would be no option for a job for me to go back too (though we agreed I'd go back August 1, 2014).

Needless to say, I was not happy about how the situation was handled. It still upsets me. Nothing was done wrong in the legal sense, but it was just unprofessional. I have pretty much cut all contact with those I worked with/for**, but I have never brought it up with HR, my boss(es), or anyone else at the university.

What would you have done at the time? Would you do something now?

*Not really maternity leave, since I had no just to go back too.

**Though I do see one of my bosses from time to time with things unrelated to work, which can be awkward (for me, at least...can't speak for them)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Up A Tree

There is a new cat in the neighbourhood (from a couple houses down, we found out). It's black, very young, and super friendly! So friendly, it has tried to come into our house on a number of occasions. Our male cat, Isaac, who is a big and old boy, considers himself the alpha around these parts. He does not like this new one poking about, but he's pretty calm about the whole thing, as long as he asserts his dominance once in a while.

It's (Evan called him "the new Isaac") a very adventurous cat. The other day it decided to chase a bird, who was perched in the highest branches of one of our trees in the backyard.

That silly bird thought it was safe that high up.

After some coaxing, and a few scrambles to not fall to his death, he made his way down low enough that I could grab him as he was dangling from a not-so-stable branch by his claws.

At least it made for some good entertainment for the kids (even though I practically had a heart attack, thinking I was going to have to clean up cat guts from the lawn if he did fall).

Friday, May 23, 2014


Some fun things Evan has said recently :)

Evan was riding on the back of the stroller, and I warned him that we might fall when we go over a bump. A little while later we go over a big bump, but stay upright.
“Mom! We went over a bump and didn’t fall! We didn’t even die!”

DH and Evan were working in the backyard
DH: I need to take a break now.
E: Me too! I need a long break because I’ve been working really hard!

He calls Doritos  "Toronto’s"

Evan is tickling and making me laugh. With a very serious face he says “Shh..mom…it’s okay…this isn’t funny. Stop laughing.”

I go outside to see Evan looking out at the backyard.
Me: What’s going on Evan?
Evan: Shh…I’m thinking.
Me: About what?
Evan is silent for a while. Then “I’m trying to figure out how to chop up that ice”. He then proceeds to throw the shovel at the ice and laughs.

Evan crawls over me to pick a book and says, “Mommy, you’re squishy like a marshmallow”

While choosing bedtime books, Evan picks my Kindle, so I start reading the book I’m reading. He takes it, asks if he can try, then repeats the lasts sentence I read, then says “That’s so silly!!!”

After rough-housing with Daddy. Evan throws a pillow at Daddy and he doesn’t catch it. With a taunting tone, he says “You gotta be faster than that, SON!”

Every night I ask him what he’s going to dream about and tonight he said “fish poop”

E: I don’t like our toilet. We need a new one.
Me: Why don’t you like it?
E: I don’t know.
Me: What would you change?
E: The colour!
Me: What colour should it be?

E: Red! We NEED a red toilet!

When he's search for a word, he literally "hmms" and "huhs" and then says "Mommy, I lost the word. What is it?", and then I have to ask him questions until he finds a different way to explain what he's talking about.

He likes to pretend to be cats and we "meow" to each other instead of using words. It's amazing how much we ca communicate this way.

When we play I Spy, and he guess the right object, he says "NAILED IT!!"

This kid cracks me up on a daily basis - so much fun with words and language these days! Love it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Just Noticed

Remember when I wrote about how I was having a tough time typing after the stroke?

I just noticed today that there is no noticeable issue there anymore. It's probably been that way for months. I don't have to strain to use ";" or ":" or think about the movement difference between "o" and "p". I don't have to think harder about "," or "." - in fact, I don't have to think at all.

I remember thinking I might not ever be able to type like I used to, and now here I am.

Crazy. Thank GOD the brain can reinvent itself. It's an amazing thing.

Fig. 1: Love my brain (and love yours too)!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Hair

I did it! I let my hair grow out enough to finally get a style! Take that, stroke!

Thank you to Lisa S. at Salon Entrenous for doing such an amazing job!!



Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Good Start

As of this week, Evan is now home with me (and Carter) two days a week. Mostly for two reasons: 1) this was supposed to happen soon after Carter was born so I could spend time with both of them, but he could still socialize with other kids before starting school, and 2) it saves us money!

To be honest, I was nervous to have both kids at home after so long of it just being me and Carter. Tuesday was our first day together, and it went pretty well. There were a couple instances where they both wanted/needed my attention at the same time, or when Evan had a meltdown about not wanting to help me, or Carter kept waking up during his nap and interrupting Evan's construction-site playtime.

But, there were also good times like when we went to the playground in the morning and for a bike ride in the afternoon. I also got some quiet time when Carter had a nap and Evan watched his favourite show before his nap (too bad they didn't both nap at the same time though!).

What matters is that we got through it, and it went relatively well! I also got a glimpse of what raising brothers will be like - seeing Evan involve Carter in his play, and then taking away a toy that he gave me. Carter is enthralled with his big brother and will try to do anything Evan does. I'm so excited to see their relationship evolve.

Photo Credit: my friend Amy

Thursday, May 8, 2014

7 Months of Carter

Some huge changes in the last month!

- He LOVES solids and does really well with them. He learned pretty quickly, and is hitting his mouth much more than not lately ;) We can tell he's ingesting a good portion, and he has a lot of fun with it. We aren't "allowed" to eat without him having some too.

- He has great balance - I'm confident when I sit him down that he won't fall over. He can also stand pretty well just holding on to my fingers.

- He's MOBILE! He can scoot around on his bum while sitting up. Never seen a kids do this before (well, on commercials I have), and he can go 3-4 feet in a couple of minutes! It's funny to watch. He has also been able to crawl backwards. This makes him happy because he can try to get to the cats.

- He's so much more curious about his surroundings. He'll pick up toys he's played with for weeks and investigate every aspect of them, flip them around, turn them upside down. etc. He's noticing things around him that he's never paid attention to before. He loves it when I fill a basket with his toys so he can pull them all out and investigate each one.

- He's getting more mischievous too. The other day, he was banging his spoon on the table as loudly as possible and looking at me as if to ask "are you seeing what I'm doing, mom?"

- He definitely understand what we're saying! I can ask him "where's Isaac (our cat)" and he'll look at him instantly. I can ask him to give me his hands and he will. He's already getting to know what "no" is all about ;)

- He hates bath time just like his brother did, and screams the entire time.

- He has altered his napping completely. He was doing 2 long naps and 2 short naps a day. Now he's down to 2 long naps (about 9-11am and 2-4pm). Gives mommy some nice breaks. His nights go to hell if he doesn't nap well though.

- He definitely hit a distinct growth spurt just after 6 months. His sleep went wonky, and he started waking up every 3 hours at night for a bottle.  Things have gotten a bit better now. We start him off in his crib, and then one of us takes him into the guest bed when he wakes up the first time (usually at 1:30, like clockwork). We give him water, he falls back asleep, and then wakes up again at 4:30 for more water. Then he usually sleeps until 7-8am. We think he just got used to waking up every 3 hours for a bottle during the spurt, and now he's slowly phasing it out (he only takes a couple ounces of water at a time). Hopefully it'll keep getting better because it was pretty rough there for a bit! It'd be nice if he went back to sleeping through the night, but I'm not holding my breath.

- One of my favourite things about him is that he makes people smile wherever we go. He just lights up a room with his smile and bubbly personality! It's heartwarming.

Photo Credit: my friend Amy

Happy 7 months, Carterpillar!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

PPD (Maybe?) Update

Last week I wrote how I'm thinking I might have PPD, or some sort of carry over emotional stuff from the stroke (or both).

I knew things were pretty bad, and I just didn't want to feel that way for any longer. So, with gentle prodding from DH, instead of just keeping my head above water, I decided to try and be proactive. Here's what I did last week (hopefully this list can help anyone wondering what things they can do in a similar situation):

1. I called someone for help. I called a women who facilitates a PPD support group who is available 24/7 to talk, and she helped me calm down and reassure me I was doing all the right things to get back on the rails. I also talked to a couple friends and I now know I can count on them to help if we need it.

2. I went to my family doctor. She did the Edinburgh Scale (for potential PPD), and I scored 12. She also tested my blood for various things that could be (or adding to) the problem (glucose, thyroid, iron, B12, etc.). Turns out I'm anemic and my thyroid level is low. I am now taking iron supplements and I'm getting my thyroid re-tested in a couple of weeks.

3. I made an appointment to see Carter's paediatrician. She thought his restless sleep was due to congestion as he was getting over a cold. She also suggested giving him water at night instead of formula -- since he hasn't had a nighttime bottle for months, she though he was probably dehydrated.

4. I made an appointment with a counsellor who works with women who have PPD. We went over my history and discussed things I want to address and work on. I really liked her and I hope she can help me work through some things. I'll see her every 2 weeks to begin with and go from there if we're a good match.

5. I started to take better care of myself. I got more sleep (DH took on the Carter-care at night, and I got a good sleep every night). I went to the gym a couple times, put Carter in the daycare, and went swimming. I made sure I was eating 3 meals a day and a couple of snacks.

6. I started tracking my mood. In my journal, each day I record how I felt overall that day. :) for a good day, :| for a "meh" day,  :S for frazzled, :( for a bad day, and :'( for a really bad day.

So, a week and a bit later after my crash, how am I feeling now? Not back 100% (whatever that means for me these days), but I feel like I'm doing things to make progress on addressing some of the issues that have come up from time to time the last few months. One good thing is I have more good days than bad, and I just need to remember the good times when I'm not doing so well. And to also remember that, usually, if one day is really bad, the next day will be better somehow.

Basically, this whole parenting, getting over a stroke, and being an adult thing is hard!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bedtime Books

Evan is outgrowing the bedtime books we've been using for a couple of years (Sandra Boynton, Goodnight Moon, etc).

Anyone have any good recommendations for 3+ year-olds that would keep his interest for at least a couple of years?

Just curious, at what point did you start reading chapter books to/with your child(ren) (such as Narnia or Harry Potter)?