Writing and editing

I finished primary last week. Everything seems to be in working order. Only one leg will stay behind my head in Supta Kurmasana and by the time I get there, I am so pooped I can’t quite jump out of bakasana without the little cheating toe touch. I can do my dropbacks and I feel some, but not a lot of sensation in the front of my body around the incision. The biggest difference in my post-surgery practice is not being able to pick up in between navasanas. I have talked to a few c-section ladies, I haven’t talked to one who can do it yet. Does anyone, out there in interweb-land, know of a post c-section successful pickup practice? I am also hella stiff from collapsing into my back as I cart around the enormous vegan monster baby. My hamstrings are unforgiving, but that seems pretty mutable.

Speaking of carting around a monster – we bought one of these:

Word. I can put the baby down! At the moment he is having a nap, not on my chest, but on his own. Glory be. The biggest achievement so far of my mommy career is getting rid of the lame elephant mobile the swing came with and outfitting it with a smily baby face/veggie rattle/shiny heart mobile. Who wants to stare at elephant ass while trying to go to sleep?

Holden, David and I are preparing for our big trip to Copenhagen and Stockholm in less than a week. David will be teaching at the Astanga Yoga Studio in Copenhagen and yogayama in Stockholm. I have been in baby land and focusing more on logistics of flying with a two-month-old.  But really, thank the lord for Scandinavians. A seemingly complicated trip has been made so comfortable and effortlessly organized.

For example, David and I realized in a panic the other day that Mikko from Astanga Yoga Studio was picking us up and we weren’t going to have a car seat for the baby. We thought about options and whether we should just go ahead and lug a car seat around for two weeks. David wrote to Mikko, and of course, Mikko had thought of it (before even we had considered it) and had arranged to have a car seat fitted into the ride (cue angelic music). So fantastic!

The emails David and Eva from yogayama have been exchanging would restore even the most cynical person’s faith in human kindness. Eva is beyond sweet. And of course we are so looking forward to catching up with Laruga and David who have been incredibly supportive and awesome. When we were in Mysore together I was trying to keep up with the boys and and their appetites. Now that I am nursing, I am pretty sure I can go head to head with the two Davids. Woot! I love eating!

Because I am lazy and distrustful of the interweb, I would love tourist suggestions for Sweden and Denmark. Let me know if you have any advice – things I can do with a monster baby.

He enjoys: moving, looking at light fixtures and breastfeeding. He dislikes: not moving, breastmilk in a bottle, and stupid doctors. Ok, I just added in that last one.

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The other day I had finished nursing the baby and handed him to David so I could eat dinner.

D: He smells like poo even though I just changed him

S: Yeah, I know. I’ll give him a bath after….

The fork poised in front of my mouth, I looked over at the rocking chair where Holden and I had been sitting and there was a long line of mustardy poo running down the front of it. I glanced down at my legs and they were covered in poo. I looked up at David, holding the baby, and his shirt had streaks of poo down the front.

S: The chair….My leg…..Your shirt….

At that moment both of  us noticed the large round puddle of poo

S: The floor!

We laughed.

The baby stared placidly on.

category: baby
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Mercedes reminded me the other day of something I used to talk to Holden about when he was in the NICU. I was really scared out of my brain for him and his relatively short stay seemed almost interminable.

The culture at the NICU is strange because they have your baby at such a young age, the nurses and doctors take a bit of ownership over your little one. Every new shift change is a new negotiation, how can I convey the issues my baby is having? how can I get you to let me hold him? take him out of here?

I can see if you were there for a while, you have two options either you develop a good relationship with the staff or you just sort of check out of the whole thing and wait for the staff to let you know when you can take the baby home. After spending some time in the NICU, I wouldn’t judge either decision and it seemed that both types of parents were present (or not present as the case may be).

For the first day and a half we could just touch Holden through the arm holes in his incubator. He seemed really big in comparison to the little early babies around him. When one baby would cry, the babies would domino on down the room – a wave of tears and high pitched cries. You could tell when it was your baby crying right away. This is my favourite picture from that time, because he looks so relieved to be held, finally.

Trudging back and forth from my room to the NICU in my elegant hospital gown/coat combo I started thinking about our trip to Farm Sanctuary, and if Holden and I could just make it through this we would go the farm and everything would be OK. When I was allowed to hold him at 3 hour intervals, I would talk to him about the goats and the chickens on the farm. I told him the goats would nibble on his toes and the chickens would be scared of him because he was so big. Getting to the farm at that time seemed so far away from the beeping of monitors and recycled air of the hospital.

When we did get to the farm, I had forgotten about the stories I told Holden, and  seeing the goats, although amazing and fun, wasn’t as crucial for healing as it was the day after he was born.

I found his diapers that we took home from the hospital and they are so impossibly small. How could he have been that small? When he was born  I thought he was huge. He won’t ever be that small again.

It never seems like that big of a deal at the time, and then afterwards I realize how quickly everything has changed in such a fundamental way – for my baby and my family. All these big monents, I hope I can stay present for some of it before time rushes it out of my hands.

A few weekends ago, I went to a beautiful elopement party in the park with Holden. It was a perfect day and the ceremony was lovely. Afterwards, someone asked me if I always coordinated my outfits with Holden’s. I looked down at myself, and realized that 1) we were wearing the same colours 2) I was momentarily relieved to notice that I was, in fact, fully dressed.

A friend once told me about a woman they knew, who answered her door topless by accident. I now think that she must have been breastfeeding. That said, I did show up to my midwives appointment with my pants completely undone. They were being held up and obscured by the baby carrier. But the top button and the zipper were undone on the 40 minute subway ride to see the midwife. I only noticed the button was undone when I took off the carrier and handed the baby to the midwife and she gave me an odd look.

Holden’s Practice Notes:

The Buffalo crew from East Meets West are always so welcoming and fun to hang out with. Buffalo is really quite pretty if you aren’t just heading straight to the nearest Target, plus America is the land of a million vegan treats that you can’t get in Canada. This year, we discovered these:

Even the cashier at the store told us, “If you haven’t had these before, you are starting something you shouldn’t.” Oh lord. I am almost glad that we can’t get them in Canada. Now, why Buffalo – land of wings and almost winning football teams – has better vegan treats than Toronto, I have no idea. I just know if I lived here I would be 600 lbs and camped out at the Lexington Co-op.

So, while his mom is slowly slipping into a diabetic coma, Holden took a yoga class with the wonderful Sarah. Itsy Bitsy Yoga was so much fun, and Sarah said that Holden was a super genius for not crying. Ok, maybe she didn’t say he was a super genius but she might have mentioned Yale. I think our vinyasa should certainly include the song, “1,2,3,4 – I love you, forever and more!” I’ll write to Sharath – maybe at janu c?

Today we head home, I’m sad to say goodbye to all the desserts and the lovely peeps – but I’m excited to get back to our routine and see Mercedes and my mom.

I have been internetless in Farm Sanctuary over the past week. But I am going to make up for it with critter pictures!

AYCT sponsors a pig and a cow from Farm Sanctuary, which is a charity that does rescue and advocacy work for farm and food animals. Every year for the last three, David and I have travelled down to Ithaca, New York to visit the animals and spend time on the farm. It is a peaceful and beautiful place and it puts me in touch with why we are vegan.

This year we learned that Sprinkles, our pig had some medical problems due to his unnaturally large size. He wasn’t bred to reach this age, and he has developed leg and hip problems. He is on medication, but he seemed pretty content when I caught up with him again.

Samuel, our adopted cow, is in the special needs herd because he likes the senior citizens. He is also massive. He was pretty bothered by flies when we were hanging out and was swinging his head wildly from side to side, which is why we are keeping a respectful distance in the picture.

My favourite are the goats. Goats are friends with everybody, so you can always be sure of a warm reception in the goat barn.

Holden liked the goats too.

But the tour was pretty exhausting.

Practice Notes:

I practiced in YOGA PANTS for the first time in 6 weeks last Tuesday. Usually I practice in my undies at home, but that isn’t really acceptable attire at the studio. Yippee! It was stinking hot, but I had such a great time. I went up to Janu C and I did a backbend and full closing. At this point I have worked up to navasana with dropbacks, and David told me today that I am ready to finish primary, which I am a little scared about. Navasana is basically the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Trying to lift my feet off the floor for the pick up seems like a far away dream. My belly is still pretty numb from surgery, but I can keep plugging away at it.

I love the studio, I love being able to practice. Mercedes watched the baby and I felt an overwhelming amount of gratitude that he has such a great older sister. It was such a gift to be back.

We are in Buffalo for the next few days, and by golly we have internet! I hope to update over the weekend with Holden’s practice notes. He took his first yoga class today. Super genius!

Holden slept 6 hours on Saturday night. I woke up with a start thinking for sure he was dead. I think I might have woken him up when I leaned over him to check to see if he was still breathing. 6 hours. My mind started racing – could I possibly try to sleep 2 more hours during the day to make it a full 8? 8 hours in one day would be like a normal person, and then I might start behaving like a normal person!

I didn’t get the extra two hours, so I’m still a big unsocialized weirdo, but thankfully my family and friends are understanding.

I told everyone I knew yesterday that Little Owl slept 6 hours. Every conversation went something like this:

Friend/family member: Hi.How are you?

Stan: Holden slept 6 hours!

David said all the moms respond like the baby got into Harvard, and it is true. I could replace “slept 6 hours” with “got into Harvard”.

S: Holden got into Harvard!

F: What! That is terrific. My baby only got into Harvard at 6 months.

— or —

F: Wow! My baby never got into Harvard!

— or —

F: Holden got into Harvard? You are doing a really good job?

I heard my mother on the telephone with friend yesterday;

Mom: Hello?…..Oh Hi! Holden got into Harvard last night!

Apparently, Harvard checked my bank balance, because during the night they decided he isn’t going after all. What would 2 hours be? Community college?

He smiles now – obviously ready for the Ivy League!

Practice Notes:

This morning, I heard Mercedes leave with David and I realized I had missed an opportunity to practice at the studio. I got on the mat and the day stretched out before me long and unbroken, and I suddenly started to cry. Like a dark cloud passing, it was over just as quickly as it started and I was left sitting on the mat wide-eyed and listening to Holden cooing himself awake in the next room.

I decided I would write a screenplay about a woman who spent her days alone with her baby (Ok – this is really not at all true of me, my family is amazingly supportive) because her husband is a high powered something or other (Hahaha!). Her left side begins to get overdeveloped because she is carrying a 75 lb baby around all the time and her right side withers because it is only used to shovel food in her mouth (Ok – this is a distinct possibility for me). She starts having delusions about her baby getting accepted into Havard. Then in a strange and horrible twist of fate, she goes so crazy about the Havard thing that Child Services takes the baby away and gives him to the next door neighbours. She spends the rest of her life picking her baby’s cigarette butts out of her flower garden and listening to his adoptive parents call him “Faggot”.

The end!