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Hayley

Hayley

Bionic Baby

I think I’ve sufficiently recovered from the trauma to talk about it, so here goes.

Yeah, this happened.

Poor baby fractured her arm very badly last week and is now Bucky Barnes.

***

Here’s how it went down:

8.00pm

Theo and Hayley go to bed. More accurately, they begin the process of going to bed, which can sometimes last for 2, maybe 3 hours depending on how robust they happen to be feeling that particular evening. It always starts with a nice warm bottle of milk to get them feeling a little sleepy because I’m an optimist.

8.20pm

Hayley turns to her brother and asks sweetly, “kor kor, can I sit unicorn?” Theo’s love for her is deep so the answer to that question is always yes.

What is this unicorn game, you might wonder. Is it a magical gentle calming ride across a rainbow and into the sunset? No. I don’t know what kind of unicorn they have been exposed to but I would describe it as a very angry and violent mechanical bull on steroids. Theo will attempt to throw her off his back (as gently as he possibly can, which is not gentle at all) while she holds on to his ears. I repeatedly tell them that this game isn’t going to end well but these babies don’t ever listen.

Thankfully, nobody gets hurt from this, so they decide to move on to a more exciting game.

8.45pm

They move on to Theo’s favourite game, something called Destroy Enemies. They build a fortress around the perimeter of the bed with pillows + bolsters and proceed to fight imaginary enemies.

Meanwhile, I’m like “You guys need to go to bed. All the enemies have been destroyed, it’s calm and peaceful and it’s time to sleep. Mommy will be on watch duty, I’ll make sure the perimeter is secure” but Theo will not be fooled. He’s all “I need to check…oh wait, I spy some new enemies coming. WE MUST FIGHT THEM.” This goes on for another 20 minutes.

9.15pm

You would think that it’s time for bed after all the enemies have been defeated but that would make my life far too easy. They start throwing their stuffed toys onto the floor and I am appointed the designated toy picker. At first, I refused to be part of this madness because that would only encourage more madness but Hayley was all “please please please mom? My meh-meh will be sad all alone on the floor.”

I tried to be like “well you should really have thought of that before flinging her off the bed” but she flashed me her bambi eyes and with great reluctance, I sighed and went right about my toy picking duties. They clearly thought this was hilarious because they started throwing more and more toys for me to pick.

9.35pm

Next thing I knew, Hayley leaned over too far off the bed to fling a toy and fell off the side of the bed. Instinctively she stretched out her left arm to break the fall and ended up breaking that arm instead. She screamed like I have never heard her scream before. I rushed to pick her up and she managed to get in the words “MY…ARM…HURTS!!

I took one look at her arm and my heart sank is fast and so far I could barely breathe. Her left forearm was bent backwards and it was dangling like a pair of nunchucks. I’ve never been more terrified in my life and this image has been permanently seared into my brain.

I ran to the kids’ room and told the husband “Babe it’s an emergency, we need to bring Hayley to KKH now.” The husband came in, took a look at Hayley’s arm and said “ok yeah that’s broken, let’s bring her in now.

10.o0pm

At KKH, the doctor confirmed that both her radius and ulna on the forearm were fractured and they put her on ketamine before resetting the bones and putting her arm in a cast. It was all very traumatic.

***

These are some of the things I learnt through this ordeal.

1. Broken bones are not fun. But the doctor says that Hayley should make a full recovery and she could go on to be a baseball player if she wanted to.

2. This baby is a badass. After the initial screaming, she took it like a champ. She came home and told her brothers that she has acquired a new super bionic arm with special powers.

3. She will have to be in the cast for 2 months, so that’s 2 months of “MOMMY SCRATCH IT!!” Every night as she goes to bed, she instructs me to scratch the inside of her cast, which I pretend to rub gently and she’s like “DO IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT, MOM. SCRATCH IT SUPER HARD!!” I tell her that scratching is going to make it worse so we compromise and I offer to blow her armpits / upper arm area to ease the itch, which I do remarkably well.

4. Has she learnt not to put herself in danger from now on? That’s a big fat no. She has since attempted to climb the double decker bed + ride the scooter with her single arm and is running everywhere like her giant stump of an arm isn’t even a thing. I seriously don’t know what to do with this baby.

 

Hayley

Look who’s two!

Also celebrating her birthday in June is little squishy cheeks right here, who despite my best efforts in telling her to stop growing, is now two years old.

Happy birthday sweetheart, but also this is entirely unacceptable.

How did it happen? Clearly this baby needs to work on her instruction-following skills. Right now, I’d rate it a 2/10 if I’m being optimistic. It’s like she’s not even trying.

I would be a lot sadder about this development but as it turns out, two years old happens to be my favourite age so I’m reluctantly allowing it while strongly registering my disapproval – all this growing business is to be halted immediately.

//

Two year old Hayley is a dream and I can’t get enough of this baby. She’s sweet and adorable and feisty and funny and perfect in every way.

As an infant, her cuteness level was very high, but I had to pay the price (in the form of sleepless nights and exhaustion and long-suffering) in order to get to the good parts. Remember those days? I do.

But right now, it’s all just good parts and I’m enjoying this phase immensely.

She’s all talky talk non stop these days, which is the cutest thing. For the record, I’m all down for babies learning to use words because it’s been a huge turning point in our relationship. I tried watching those youtube videos on deciphering babies’ cries (THEY ALL SOUND THE SAME!!) but I always had difficulty understanding her very loud and angry high pitched screams. And now that she’s using words that I understand? Yes please!

Like when she’s tired, she announces “I’m very tired, I need to sleep” and I bring her to bed and she sleeps and problem solved. When she wants a snack, she asks for it and I fix her a snack. When she wants some momma lovin’, she yells “KISS ME, MOM!!” and grabs my face for a kiss and I cannot even.

Maybe its all that interaction with her siblings, but she’s got a wonderful sense of humour. She saw Theo trip and fall the other day and started laughing really hard and I was like “Hey, don’t laugh at your brother, falling down is not funny!” and she retorted back with “It’s a bit funny” and okay fair enough, it is a bit funny. Just make sure they’re fine before laughing.

She adores all of them though. Her favourite thing in the world is just to follow them around and be part of their madness. She’s finally big enough to get in on all the action and she’s terribly pleased about it.

One of the benefits of being the baby around here is that she’s got everyone wrapped around her tiny little finger and she knows it. She makes her 3 brothers take turns giving her unicorn rides (on their backs) and bouncy castle rides (on their tummies) and airplane rides (on their feet). Whenever she’s bored, she saunters up to one of them and says, “kor kor Finn, I want sit bouncy castle!!” and he will be like “ok sure!

If it so happens that Finn is busy and replies with “later ok baby? kor kor is reading a book,” she turns on her bambi eyes and says “Pleeeease?? Just small tiny one?” and immediately, her brother will be all “”aarrgghh, ok fine fine come sit here on my tum tum…

Sometimes I think about how close we were to not having this baby and I’m so glad that we did the crazy thing and went for baby #5. :)

Hayley

Just what the doctor ordered

As you can imagine, having 5 small humans in one house is a recipe for things to go viral pretty frequently. And by things, I’m referring to actual viruses, the kind that are accompanied by sniffly noses and too-warm babies.

So who’s lost the battle with a nasty flu bug this time?

This little Hayley bunny.

Poor baby just got out of KKH for a bad stomach bug last month and now this but you know what’s the one good thing about sniffly babies? They are the babiest babies of all. And you know that’s exactly how I like my babies. Babies who can’t wait to grow up are ok I guess but babies who are all baby and all out milking it? My heart doesn’t know how to resist that.

Wait a moment, this is starting to sound like my masochistic subconscious acting up and being all “I’ve been enjoying all this delicious uninterrupted sleep for far too long, let’s see how we can set that straight…oooh feverish baby for a few nights? Exactly what the doctor ordered!“, which might be a little bit of what’s happening here but its mostly just me enjoying all the extra cuddle time with this baby. Right now, I’m at the point in my life where I’ll take cuddle time any way I can get it. At 2 in the morning? I’m down with that. At 3.3oam for the third night in a row? I’m all in.

To be clear, if I could choose between a fluish baby or a non-fluish baby, it would 100% be the non-fluish baby every single time. I’m not sure what it says about me that I have to clarify this but umm yeah, here we are.

My point is that I’ve been around babies enough to know that the flu happens and yes, the baby will become a clingy, needy tyrant covered with an extra dose of grumps sauce. But all that misery comes with a silver lining and you bet I’m hanging on to that silver lining for as long as I can.

The flu usually shows up with a drippy nose followed by a fever and then comes the cough. We’ve weathered the first two but this cough, it’s been the worst. It’s the kind that sends her into a breathless fit until she’s struggling for air in between coughs.

Hayley vomit,” she says with tears.

It’s a cough, baby. I know it’s bad but you’ll feel better soon okay?

Look at these sad baby eyes. Sad baby eyes needs extra hugs and me! me!! I’ll volunteer my baby hugging services.

Today, I had this baby lie on my chest for hours because this is the most comforting place for her to be. For me too. My arm is dead and my shoulder is twitching involuntarily but I’ve missed feeling this warm baby weight on my chest so much. When you hold a baby for long enough, your chest gets all warm and toasty in the most incredible way possible; I highly recommend it.

I tried to put her down when she fell asleep but she instinctively wrapped both arms tighter around my neck and I was like “you know what, baby? They’re gonna have to pry you from my cold dead hands because mommy will hold you for all of eternity. Or until you feel better in a few days. Most probably the second one.

Hopefully this baby will turn the corner tomorrow but while I get to still feel her arms wrapped too tightly around me, I’m going to enjoy that too.

Hayley

21 months

Okay how big has this baby gotten? Too big is the answer.

And more importantly, how long have I got left to baby this baby before I’m all out of babies??

It’s a strange thing, after 10 years of having my life revolve around one or more babies, to suddenly be all done. Knowing that my babying days are numbered, I’ve been actively trying to soak in as many baby moments as I can, constantly aware that today could be the last time I hear her refer to herself as “baby Haaaay” because she’s now able to pronounce her “L’s” with the astonishing clarity (and swagger) of a precocious toddler. She now emphasises the “Hay-LEY” with a grin, letting the L slowly roll off her tongue, evidently pleased with herself. Or today could be the last time she wants me to hold her face to sleep or the last time she needs help opening doors.

I can feel all these moments slipping out of my hands and it makes me a little sad.

I suppose my only consolation in all this is that as she grows out of her babyness, she’s growing into my favourite baby age ever, right around the 18-month to 3-year-old window.

//

Baby Hayley as a 21-month-old is out of control adorable.

She adores dogs but gets very angry with them when they get too excitable because she’s a delicate flower. She’ll be all over the dog wanting to pat it and cuddle it but the moment it tries to play with her, she’s like “nuh-uh, okay I’m done here.

She also adores her brothers + sister but gets very angry when they get too excitable because yes, she’s a delicate flower. She’ll be watching them play their crazy games and part of her will want to join in but once she’s part of the madness, she’ll suddenly be like “WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?? MOMMMM MAKE THIS STOP!!

There are a lot of things I like about having a 21-month-old, such as the way she toddles around on tippy toes when she’s having a good day. I like the way she tries to kiss me 10 times in a row like Theo does but can only count up to 4 before getting stuck. I like all her mispronounced words and her uncoordinated enthusiastic dance moves. I like the way she holds on to my arm when I hug her to sleep as if to make it clear that I’m not allowed to take it away.

But most of all, I like the way she still looks at me like I’m her entire world.

Having 4 bigger kids, I know this doesn’t last forever. The big kids have started to catch on to this whole my-mommy-is-the-awesomest-human-in-the-world myth. They’re now looking at me like I’m a pretty okay mom who does a decent job and that’s ok but for now, I think I’ll enjoy this baby’s looks of adoration while it lasts. :)

Hayley

Can’t get enough

Baby Hayley is at the most delightful age and I cannot get enough of this baby.

At just 16 months, the selfie game is already strong in this one. I mean, this girl is front facing camera all the way. The moment she sees herself on the phone, she goes from Oh Look That’s Me to Let Me Ham It Up to Woah Okayy That’s A Fine Looking Baby all at once.

She’s also the only baby who enjoys having her photos taken. I’m not going to get ahead of myself but I’ve never seen a baby this good at taking direction on how to pose.

I’m like “Let’s start with happy face” and boom, done.

Taking it to something more demure like you’re a damsel.

Gorgeous, I love it! Okay, serious face, let’s go.

How about more feeling? We need to turn on the feels.” and she’s like “MORE FEELS? SAY NO MORE, MOM, I’VE GOT THIS!

Yeah okay, maybe dial back the feels. Do it like you’re thinking about something vaguely important.

:)

On this note, I used to feel like it was more important to be fully present in the moments and to really enjoy them while they were happening instead of obsessing about capturing them all down in photos. Which was great but as the kids got bigger, I found myself spending a lot of time looking back at all of the photos and then remembering all the amazing moments.

So now I’m feeling like I need more photos of everything. Give me all of the photos!!

//

In a few days, we’re going to do something we’ve never done before: go explore the world with 4 kids. We’ll be heading to New York + Niagara + Orlando with Truett, Kirsten, Finn and Theo for the next 3 weeks.

I gave a lot of thought to the possibility of bringing all 5 but after coming at it from every possible angle, this remains a puzzle I can’t seem to crack and it would be irresponsible to try. Knowing how mopey I’m going to be without my baby, the husband was all “Let’s just do it!! See, she’s such a good girl. It will be the craziest thing we’ve ever done but we’ll manage, don’t worry! At least we’ll all be together…” and I was like “YOU NEED TO STOP ME, you’re supposed to be the voice of reason!” This is exactly why I married this man.

We could probably survive it if everything went according to plan, but things rarely go according to plan and we would be completely out of our depth if we brought baby Hayley along so it is with great sadness that we’re leaving her behind.

As it is, traveling with all 4 kids would be would be madness enough but I’ve worked out a detailed plan that covers most contingencies. Hopefully. We’ll see how that goes.

**I’ll be posting on Instagram while we’re away, you can find me over here!

Hayley, Theo

Bedtime shenanigans

Theo and Hayley have the most adorable relationship.

With all the other kids, Theo is generally gruff and sort of overly robust for a 3-year-old but baby Hayley seems to bring out a completely different side of him. He’s like a different person when he’s around his baby sister, all gentle and affectionate and sweet to her. It’s very obvious that he’s got a soft spot for this one.

During bedtime some nights ago, these two were up to their usual madness, climbing everywhere and somersaulting all over the place. I had given up asking them to lie down and go to sleep because I knew how futile that was. Instead, I was curled up in my corner pretending to be asleep while trying not to actually fall asleep.

Eventually, Theo was exhausted enough to go to bed but baby Hayley was still all up in his business like “Hey, let’s play some more, kor kor!!” She sat on his head and stuck her fingers up his nostrils trying to make him wake up.

No no, baby Hayley! Kor kor is tired I need to sleep now,” Theo told her firmly, turning away to the side to make his intentions clear.

Did this baby listen? Of course not. She proceeded to yank his head back towards her with more force than babies are supposed to have and Theo was like “MOMMMM take this baby away she’s annoying me!!” That was my cue to intervene so I got up and carried the baby away to the other side of the bed, using my body to separate them.

After like 20 seconds of silence, Theo flipped back over and sighed dramatically in resignation. “Okay fine fine fine baby Hayley can sit on my tummy if she wants,” he said.

This is how these two babies eventually fell asleep.

Hayley

Almost all done

Ask me 9 years ago when I just had Truett and I’d tell you that breastfeeding and I just aren’t meant to be. I had zero technique, insufficient milk, boobs that refused to cooperate, and a baby who hated those boobs. I remember sitting on the bed struggling to feed this angry, screamy baby who would only calm down with a bottle of formula. I had decided then that I was not the breastfeeding sort because you don’t get to have everything you want and that’s ok.

9 years, 5 babies and too many hours of tears later, I’m here nursing baby Hayley, feeling grateful for an experience that I didn’t think I’d get to have.

And you know your relationship is on a whole new level when you go from “what is the least number of months I need to breastfeed this baby without having to deal with that overwhelming mom guilt?” to “how long can I nurse this baby before it starts to get a bit weird? Until she’s 5? 8? 10?

***

When Hayley was born, my breastfeeding goal was nine months – right around the same time I weaned Kirsten, Finn and Theo. All the other babies had transitioned really well at nine months and I was happy to give myself a pat on the back for a job well done. Besides, it was always a relief to have my boobs be all mine again, no more of this mi casa su casa all day open bar boob access arrangement kthxbye.

But when Hayley got to nine months, I knew that I was far from ready to wean this last baby.

Let’s get to 12 months before we decide,” I thought. After all, 12 months is the magic number recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics. What kind of mom would I be if I didn’t constantly strive to outdo myself? And more importantly, who am I to stand in the way of pediatrics and science? It was my job, no, my duty to provide this baby with all the nutrition she needed.

As baby Hayley’s first birthday drew near, I found myself dreading the 12-month mark because it also meant the end of something really special. Something that I’ve come to cherish so much more than I thought I would. I couldn’t do it. The thought of weaning this baby made me want to cry.

She’s not ready,” I told myself, knowing that I was the one who couldn’t let go. “A little longer. Maybe just another few more months.

13 months came and went. 14 months. Then 15. We’re closing in on 16 months and I think it’s finally time. I know she’s ready because she’s eating solids like a champ (she’s basically Theo-level kind of food enjoyment). And every time she spots Finn or Theo holding a bottle of milk while she’s nursing, she immediately unlatches and charges towards them, yelling “MILK, MIIIILLLLLK!!” She’ll gladly take a bottle till she’s full and once she’s done, she’ll pull at my shirt and demand for more milk but we all know that what she really wants is a human pacifier.

I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to wean this baby but at this point, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. I feel like all these extra months of nursing has been a gift for this momma who had such a hard time letting go. I’d be happy to nurse this baby forever but this is already more than I had hoped for and for me now, it’s enough.

The process of weaning is easy enough – gradually reduce the number of feeds until you get to 0. We just went down to 2 feeds a day, soon it’ll be 1 and then sometime over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be all done.

This baby will crawl into my arms and settle in to her spot on my chest the way she’s done maybe two thousand times before. I’ll kiss the top of her head and inhale her delightful baby smell and play with her hair and feed her one last time before crying my eyes out.

I’ll miss this. I’ll miss this an awful lot.

***

Had a chat with this baby about what’s about to happen and I think this means she’s not on board with the plan.