Saturday, September 11, 2010


For most people, September 11th marks a sad anniversary, serving as a reminder to be thankful for the loved ones we are blessed to have in our lives. While I still think about September 11th and remember the thousands of lives lost in 2001, it also marks the date my father passed away five years ago, in 2005. He didn't die on Septeber 11th, but that was the day we all knew our time with him was drawing to a close. I remember my father's death the same way I remember my children's births, recalling the hours that lead up to each event, thinking about where I was, and what I was doing.

For the past five years, my father had been sick, diagnosed with liver cancer when I was expecting our first child. When we were waiting for Owen to be born, it was a strange time, my father was in palliative care at the Civic Hospital in Ottawa, the days leading up to Owen's birth were a mixture of emotions, anticipating both life and death at the same time.

Owen was born at home. In a reversal of the usual events, after he was born, I took him to the hospital to introduce my father to his newest grandson. Identified as a carrier of MRSA, commonly known as a 'super bug', visits with my father required that we wear gowns, masks, and gloves at all times. The fact that my father had no skin-to-skin contact in his last days of life is something that continues to bother me to this day, he was denied the opportunity to hold his newest grandson in his arms.

The weekend my father passed was also Baby Boom weekend. On Saturday, after I worked the booth at Baby Boom, I went to the hospital to visit with him and tell him how the day went. Among the many jobs he held (we often joked he was a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker), my father was a shopkeeper for several years in England. When I wanted to open the store, he strongly advised me against it, but after he saw that his crazy daughter wasn't so crazy at all, he was happy to indulge me in my shop talk. When I went to visit him that night, he was not lucid, he seemed to be floating back and forth between the present and the past. Until that point, I had been fearful to let him touch Owen, worried the nurses would catch me and I would be exiled from his room. I slipped Owen's hand out from the sling, and my father held his grandson's finger for the first time, repeating 'this is heaven' over and over.

That was the last time I spoke with my father. The next morning, as I was getting ready for Baby Boom, we got the call that my father was dying. Needless to say, I spent the day at the hospital by my father's side. My father's eyes were open, his gaze unblinking; he was gasping for breath, his body shaking each time he took in air. At that moment, I regretted not telling him all the things I had wanted to tell him at each visit prior to that day. I never wanted to acknowledge what was happening, to admit how much I loved him and would miss him was to admit he was dying. I whispered the words to him that day, hoping he could still hear me.

My father passed away in the early hours of September 12th, 2005. I was lying in bed, I had just nursed Owen, I couldn't fall back asleep. My brother knocked on our door, and whispered the news to us. The next time I saw my father, he was finally at peace. The breathing tubes were gone, he looked like my dad again. As horrible as that time was, it taught me the value of telling your loved ones how you feel.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Baby Boom, baby!

It's hard to believe a year has zipped by already, but we've set up our booth again (#1, baby!) at Baby Boom, Ottawa's own everything-from-prental-to-preschool parenting show, an annual affair held at the Nepean Sportsplex. This show is a great opportunity for new and expecting parents to see all that Ottawa has to offer in the way of businesses that cater to their crowd, from Footprints to Photographers, there is a wide array of businesses and services gathered under one roof.

This will be our sixth year exhibiting at Baby Boom, it provides us with fabulous exposure, we still rely heavily on word-of-mouth (thank-you!) to help grow our business, but this show affords us another way to connect with parents who may not be aware of the alternatives to disposable diapers, Baby Bjorns, etc. We have demo diapers and slings on-hand at the booth, and we also put on a workshop every year based on the popular cloth diapering workshop we offer at our stores on the second Saturday of every month.

In an effort to make it worthwhile for parents to visit us at the show, we offer show specials, some are available only at the show (because I don't want to truck any detergent home with me!), some specials will be offered at the show and both of our B&M store locations (Saturday only!). So here it is, your chance to preview this weekend's savings, you might want to sleep with your running shoes on today, they are *that* hot! OK, not really, but still. If you're interested, don't dilly-dally, come to the show (or the store) bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Saturday morning, because stock is available in limited quantities, and I won't be restocking for Sunday (seriously, I don't want to truck anything home with me!).

Bamboozle fitted diapers $14.00 (both show and instore!)

This is one of our favourite nighttime diaper solutions, thick and thirsty, the Bamboozle is great for heavywetters! Regularly priced at $21.00, reduced to $14.00 to make way for the new stretch bamboo version of the same diaper. Pair this baby with a wool soaker for a leakproof nighttime combination that's good to your little one's delicate skin.

Fuzzibunz perfect-size diapers, discontinued colors for $16.75 (show only!)

I've been humming and hawing about putting the 'old' colors on sale, to be honest, I think the 'old' colors are quite nice, and I like variety (is there such a thing as 'too much color'? Is there?). For you bargain-hunters, I've brought a selection of discontinued colors to the show, for a one-time price reduction of 30%. Limited quantities, limit of four diapers per customer (I like to spread the wealth!). Butter yellow, sage green, periwinkle blue, royal blue, and aqua blue, in sizes small, medium, and large.

Buy any detergent at the show, receive a 50% off coupon (show only!)

Buy a bag of Rockin' Green Hard Rock 2.0 for $20.00, buy your next bag for $10.00. Buy a tin of Nellies, get a coupon you can use towards your next Nellies refill (bring the empty tin to the store), your next 100 loads will set you back a measly $7.00! Buy a box of Country Save (have I mentioned how fabulous Country Save is?), get your next box for $5.49. Coupons only valid instore, not valid online.

Amber teething necklaces - $10.00 (both show and instore!)

Skeptical? Don't take our word for for it, mosey on down to the show or the store (Ottawa or Waterloo) and see for yourself. Regularly priced at $16.00, this a great opportunity to give amber a whirl...

Adult-sized necklaces will also be marked down, regular price $24.00, sale-priced at $16.00 (why should babies have all the fun?).

Cloth diaper sample kit (show only!)

If you're considering cloth diapers, but you don't know where to start, this is your opportunity to pick up three of our most popular diapers, tax-free, and a discount. This kit comes with:

  • 1 flip cover

  • 2 stay-dry flip inserts

  • 1 one-size Fuzzibunz diaper

  • 1 EasyFit one-size AIO

  • 6 Tiny Bubbles detergent samples

  • 1 Thirsties duffel tote

  • washing instructions

  • a gift certificate valued between $10-$25 (you'll find out how much it's worth at the time of redemption)

All yours for the low, low price of $85, no tax (we pay the HST!). One kit will contain a 'golden ticket' of sorts, a 50% off coupon that can be applied to any purchase up to $400.00. You feeling lucky?

Organic Ergo carriers - $99.00 (both show and instore!)

OK, I don't want to brag, but this is kind of a big deal. Regularly-priced at $140.00 (and worth every single penny!), select colors will be marked down to $99.00 at the show and both stores (Saturday only). Sienna, Navy, and Sea Green (shown). The Ergo carrier is a fabulous front and back carrier, good up until approximately 40 lbs.

Sleepy Wrap carriers - $40.00 (both show and instore!)

This is one of my favourite carriers for newborns, it offers both parent and baby great support. The Sleepy Wrap can be used comfortably from birth until approximately 20 lbs (generally 4-6 months). Regularly priced at $50.00 (and again, worth every single penny!), all colors will be marked down to $40.00 at the show and both stores (Saturday only).

Do you understand what this means? You could purchase an Ergo and a Sleepy Wrap for $139.00, less than the regular price of an organic Ergo. Take care of your babywearing needs from birth through toddlerhood in one fell swoop...

Save $10.00 on the purchase of a shiny, new Beco Gemini (show only!)

We received a partial order of the new Beco Gemini today, like the Ergo carrier, it allows a front and back carry (it also advertises a hip carry, but I'm generally leary of any SSC that claims it can allow a hip carry, more on that once I've tried it out!). The major difference between the Beco Gemini and other SSCs is the fact it allows for a front-facing carry -- if this is your baby's preference (and some babies do have a preference), save some coin tomorrow at the show, and be the envy of all your friends (they sure are purdy!).

We have a selection of other goodies at our booth to give folks an idea of the broad selection of products we sell, and we'll have some free Earth Mama, Angel Baby teabag samples, free cloth diaper literature, as well as a draw for a gift basket with an assortment of products sold at the store. If you come to the show this weekend, please stop by and say 'hello'!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

She's baaaaack!

Aunt Flo, that is. Did you know that the return of your fertility after having a baby is often (but not always!) linked to when your baby goes for a six-hour stretch without nursing at night? Grace started sleeping through the night around eighteen months old, and sure enough, my first postpartum cycle soon followed. I had an inkling my fertility was about to return, I was moody for weeks beforehand, and I'm not talking your average, run-of-the-mill moodiness, I'm talking look-at-me-the-wrong-way-and-I-will- tear-your-fucking-head-off moodiness. For weeks. I was a real joy to be around, let me tell you!

Since Aunt Flo has returned, for the first time in my life, I have a regular cycle. Go figure, my husband gets fixed, then I'm finally fertile! Despite my lack of a regular cycle, we managed to conceive four beautiful children with the aid of "Taking Charge of Your Fertility", a must-read for all women, young and old (it should be required reading in high school!). Thanks to the information in that book, and my husband's super sperm (that's what our fertility doctor called them), baby-making came relatively easy. When it was go-time, we went, and nine months later (give or take), we were holding a new bundle of joy. Easy-peasy!

I didn't get my first period until I was 17 years old, and I would only get it three, maybe four times a year. While the Pearson baby factory was in operation for a full decade (!!!), I had (brace yourself) four periods. Now that I've had a regular cycle for six months, I have come to realize what bliss that period-free period was. This whole period business is kind of a bitch, you see.

My newfound cycle isn't textbook regular, it varies in length from 5-6 weeks, but there is one thing consistent about it, the super-awesome PMS part, Mother Nature's 'heads up' that the shit's about to go down. When I'm PMSing, I spend a few days doing the following:

  • eating things

  • yelling at things

  • crying at things

  • cleaning things (usually while crying and/or yelling at them)

There's also the awesome bloating and acne, can't forget about that! As bad as I thought things were for the fast few months, I was introduced to menstrual cramps during my last cycle. I woke up at around 2am one night to intense abdominal pain, I actually went to the bathroom to check for a crowning head, because prior to that night, the only time I had ever felt pain like that was when a baby was exiting my vagina.

As hard as PMS may be on my body, it's even harder on my poor husband. Often the lone figure in the line of PMS fire, he recently asked me "How come you're so mean to me?" We both doubled over in laughter when we watched "Get Him to The Greek", and Jonah Hill's character sheepishly asked his wife "Are you on your period?" So. True.

PMS aside, I often wonder if my uterus and ovaries are acting in collusion to ensure things never go according plan. If there's something about to happen that would be, like, a million times better if I didn't have my period, you can bet your bottom dollar I will have my period. Case in point: my husband and I are going to Las Vegas together, with no children, in five weeks for our annual pilgrimmage to the ABC Kids juvenile products show. While my husband is quite excited at the prospect of four days (and nights) of wild, unbridled passion, my uterus and ovaries and their new five week cycle have other plans. Although between you and me, that was never going to happen anyway. If I'm going to be away from my beloved children, I'm going to spend my time sleeping and eating. But don't tell him that, I will gladly let my uterus and ovaries take the fall for this one.

As miserable as I may be for the four days prior to Aunt Flo's arrival, I'll admit that I'm a little (OK, a lot) concerned about what it's going to be like when our daughters start their periods, if it's true that women who live together can have cycles that sync up, my husband and our son had better brace themselves for 3-4 days of hell every month. Considering how miserable one PMSing woman can be, I can only imagine what it will be like to have four of us under one roof. I imagine it looks something like this. Have fun with that, dude.