Just a white girl.

Folks, please read to the end, this is a heavy topic and something that is weighing on me.  If I outrage you, please read on and then tell me all about your rage, or maybe you’ll see I’m trying my best.  I want to be part of the solution, but not in the hippy, holding your pinky up while sipping your overpriced organic leaves.  If I’ve made a grievous error, tell me, help me.  

I’ve seen this term a lot lately, “white privilege”.  Granted I’m not that new to this idea, but lately it’s been a lot more prevalent.   As a result it’s been on my mind a lot lately.  I don’t want to discuss this on Facebook, because it’s too serious, too heavy for my Facebook persona*.  But rest assured, it’s there, percolating, just under the surface, the ideas, the comments, the fear, hope, the questions.

I have so many questions.  I know what white privilege is, I know I benefit from it.  I benefited from it.  Honestly though, I’ve only in the past few years have learned about it.  I’ve always been in the camp that “I don’t see colour”.  I know this to be naive now.  But back to white privilege, I don’t know how I feel about it, or how I *should* feel about it.  I say *should* with some trepidation.  I don’t want to be a mindless monkey, spouting some party line.  “It’s bad!”  “It’s unfair!”  Yes, those are true, but what about guilt?  Should I feel guilty?  What if I do?  Or worse, what if I don’t? I didn’t make myself white.  I was born this way.  Which sounds so snotty and widening the chasm and frankly, the problem.  I truly believe it’s bad and unfair, but I feel like it’s deeper than that, but wrapping my own mind around it and what it means to me, is hard.

More clarification….

If you know me, you know my history.  A big part of who I am comes from my past.  A short lesson: I had a crummy childhood, quintessential crummy, rife with all of the abuses (physical, emotional etc.).  I don’t want to vilify my mom, she was young, she did what she could, with what she had.  I grew up in an area with a lot of white people, a lot of First Nations and a sprinkling of other POC, but not a lot.  I grew up poor, I grew up on welfare.  I graduated from high school, early with honours.  I went to university.  I graduated from university.  I didn’t have sex until I was 22.  I was determined to not fall into the same sink pit I grew up in, in a cultural sense, not location.  I. WAS. DETERMINED.  I see my family now, particularly my younger brother, who didn’t get out, and it smacks me hard that I am not that removed from that pit.  I have dreams where I’ve made a small change in a choice and things turn out differently for me.  I’d like to think my determination would have pulled me through, but it’s a real fear for me.  I believe in the Butterfly Effect.  Now history lesson aside, I worked hard, after university too, I kicked ass and worked harder.  I met a boy, he also is full of determination.  He’s also white.  But this isn’t about him.

So my issue: part of my identity is wrapped up in my struggle to get from that determined, angry, sad little girl to me, now.  White privilege tells me that it wasn’t just determination.  I was also lucky, based on my skin colour.  This makes me sad, confused and anxious.  It’s like a substantial part of who I am, is a little changed.  The thing is that I’m not angry that I’ve lost this because it diminishes my struggle, I’m disappointed because my struggle is now less of a struggle.  It’s like that notion of having an even playing field.  I like to think I pulled myself out by my bootstraps, so to speak, but as it turns out, I got a boost.

And here we are.  I’m in Silicon Valley, the wife to a softwear engineer on a steep upward trajectory, mother to 3 amazing children, and pretty removed to a lot of the race issues I see people talking about in the world.  Silicon Valley is it’s own little bubble, where everyone is happily geeking out together, kinda, sorta.

So now… I want my children to kick ass in life.  I see great things for them, Ivy Leauge, if they so desire, CEOs, Olympics, whatever makes them happy.  But I want them to achieve those things based on their own merits, so they can bask in the accolades justifiably.  In my eyes my children are exceptional, and I was their successes in life to be based on their excellence alone.  They don’t need white privilege.

I promise this:  My children will know what white privilege is.  I will keep learning about it and how it impacts us and how it impacts others.  I will be an ally in the best way I know how.  I’m going to put my faith in humanity.

Okay, I know the current issue in the world is that a lot of black people are getting killed just because of the colour of their skin.  I know this is awful.  I don’t want to diminish this at all.  I do think that white people need to really understand what white privilege means to them, to know in their soul, their heart.  And not in a flippant way, not just knowing the ratios and how they’re awful.  I mean learning how it rocks your core because of how wrong it is.  I feel that only then can we help to make the changes needed in this world.

*If you really think I am just who I put forth on Facebook, then I’ve done a good job on marketing myself well.

 

Mazarine is 8 months old!

Dearest Maizie,

You’re 8 months old now!  Well if the truth were to be told you’re a little older, I’m a little behind on writing this.  Such is the life of 3 children.  But I’ve been keeping notes!

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This month was a fun one, we made a trip up to Canada to visit some of Mama’s family, which is special because most of the time when we go to Canada it’s to see Daddy’s family.  We had a lot of fun at the reunion.  It was at a camping resort in the Rockies between Kelowna and Calgary just outside of Revelstoke.  And wouldn’t you know it, that area is the world’s only inland rainforest.  Even though I’ve driven through there hundreds of times I didn’t know it was a rainforest!  Needless to say our trip was a rainy one, but we did manage to get in some good visiting with relatives and lots of time playing in the hotsprings pools.

While we were travelling you were a trooper, as ever, which was even more notable because you had pneumonia, which was shocking to find out.  Although you’ve been plagued by a persistent cold that would not give up, finally after a long cold and many doctor visits including an X-ray we were referred to a pulmonologist who diagnosed your pneumonia pretty easily according to your X-ray.  So you were on a nebulizer starting with 3 times a day then two and finally once.  You handled it mostly well, preferring to not wear the mask, so I’d hold it near your face while you nursed.  You also had your first ever round of antibiotics.  After your pneumonia was gone your wheeze persisted and so we tried a round of a steroid puffer, which helped to clear up your wheeze easily.  And so the doctor determined that you also have asthma.  Hopefully it’s something you’ll grow out of, apparently lots of children do manage to shake it.  So your eighth month has been a trying one, health wise, but you are a trooper.  You were always a happy baby, despite wheezing so badly and being racked by awful coughing.  Luckily your oxygen levels never dropped dangerously, or really at all, you were always a delightful shade of pink and full of smiles for everyone, as long as it was Mama holding you.

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You continued eating like a champ this month.  It can be said that you’ve taken to solid foods very well.  You like to nurse a lot, but I’m sure that’s mostly for comfort.  So far we haven’t had any aversions or allergies, and you love everything we’ve given you.

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You’ve started to get more mobile and started to shimmy on your belly on the ground.  Most folks like to call it an army crawl, but you don’t really dig with your knees, rather you propel yourself forward with your big toes.  It’s really interesting to watch, but you’re getting more and more efficient.  I still hope you wait until at least 12 months to be a walker!

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My sweet baby.  I feel like this year is going so fast!  You’re such a treat and add so much joy to our family.  We are so blessed.

Love always and forever,

Mama.

Maizie is 7 months old

My Dearest Mazarine.

You are seven months old now!  Practically an old lady.

This past month you, your brother and sister and myself decided to fly across the country to go an visit a friend of Mama’s.  We went to North Carolina and golly it was hot and muggy.  I learned that you’re still a happy baby even in humidity, but Mama fares less well.  All in all we had a really great time visiting friends, and making new friends for you!

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This month you started eating real food, and I wanted to wait until we were back from North Carolina, but you had other plans.  So you started food in earnest while we were away.  We discovered that you love food, and happily ate your sweet potatoes, runny egg yolk and pears.  Over the month you tried other things as well, but you loved sweet potato the best.  Trixie is happy that I am making lots of sweet potato because she has such a sweet tooth, so you and her have been bonding over delicious orange goo.

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This month was monumental for Mama, which didn’t affect you much, but I hope some day it will.  I ran another triathlon, but I did so well, I beat my previous time by 20 minutes (or so).  I hope that my working hard to make myself stronger will reflect well onto you and your siblings and that you guys will make sure that fitness is something that you will want to always work into your lives.  I find it’s always a struggle for me.  Some days I would rather watch TV and relax than drag myself outside for a run or a ride, but I always feel better after I’ve done it.  I don’t ever want to nag you guys to be active, I hope that just by watching me do it, you’ll want to.  I see your sister is already starting and starting get interested in triathlons and running, it warms my heart.  I think it would be so wonderful for all of us as a family to do fun runs together.  Hopefully, in a couple years.

This month has been a little trying for us with your health.  You’ve had this awful cold that we can’t seem to shake.  It started out as your typical runny nose and now it’s a wheezy cough that is annoying.  You’re still happy as ever, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing you down, but it is a little worrisome.  Your doctor is on top of it though.  I can’t seem to manage to keep your runny noses away, you’ve had one after another after another since you were tiny.  Hopefully this is the end of it all!  We’ll see!  Luckily over all you’re healthy and just seem to weather this well.

Regarding mobility, you’re still not crawling, but you are rolling!  And sitting!  And clapping!  I do adore the clapping.  It’s ever so cute!  And frankly I am okay with you not being a mobile baby yet.  It makes it easier for me to know that when I set you down, you’ll still be in the same spot when I get back!   You are an excellent stander, but you’re not going anywhere with it, which is okay.  A few times you’ve tried to change your stance, and reach for something, and you’ve learned that it wasn’t a good idea.  But you’re happy to just stand and look around, so proud of yourself.

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Oh my sweet girl.  You’re getting bigger too quickly.  I know it’s cliche to talk about how quickly it goes by, but it is fast.  This first year is always the fastest and so I am trying to savour it all as much as I can.  I love you so much, to the moon and back, as big as the universe, so much!

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Love, always,

Mama.

Maizie is 6 months!

Dear Sweet Maizie,

You’re 6 months now!  Half a year!  I can’t believe it!

You had your 6 month check up a couple of days shy of your 1/2 birthday and it’s confirmed, you’re a big baby!  You’re 19 pounds 7.5 ounces and 26 inches long.  This puts you around 93% for weight and 50something for height.  I am reveling in your baby chunk, because I know as soon as you start crawling and walking, it will all go away.  You are a really busy baby!  I think part of the reason is that you see your siblings whirling about around you, so you are just following suit.  You 3 really are the Terrific Trio, of loud, happy children.  LOUD!  Oh my they are loud to amuse you and you’re loud right back to amuse them, it’s a never ending circle.  I should invest in ear plugs.  You’re not yet mobile enough to move with them, but you’re trying.  You move about by arching your back and then dropping it, kind of like an inch worm on your back.  You work yourself along, moving slowly, but you do manage to move some.  You’re not yet crawling, but I suspect you will be soon.  You can sit unsupported now, and you can roll front to back.  Mostly if you want to get somewhere you get out a few good grunts and someone will help you.  You’ve trained us all quite well!

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You are still happily drinking formula and Mama milk.  You’d nurse all night if I’d let you.  And you need to nurse to fall asleep most nights.  You’re still not a cuddly baby, but you do like to be held, you like to look around and even when you’re sleepy you’re alert and checking everything out, just with more eye rubs.

In the past month there were some fun events!

Daddy turned 36 and you helped celebrate.

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Grandma and Grandpa Berkan came to visit and you charmed them all, after suffering a little bit of stranger anxiety you quickly got over it.

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Oh a whim one day I gave you Trixie’s old baby doll from when she was about 10 months old.

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It’s a happy baby again to be getting some more love.  You giggle when you see her and reach for her.  It’s quite adorable!  I should try to find her clothes and dress her again.  And perhaps figure out how to inflate her again.

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Oh sweet girl.  You’ve made out lives ever so perfect!  Everyone is so smitten with you.  Everyone who meets you wants to squeeze you.  And Hudson wants to hug you all day, every day.

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I want to hug you all day every day too, and cover you with kisses.  You’re such a sweet baby, and I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t believe how blessed I am to have you and your brother and sister as my very own.

Blessed.

Love always,

Mama.

 

Maizie is 5 months

My Dearest Littlest.

You are 5 months old now my sweet darling.  I feel like time is starting to behave normally and I can catch my breath and witness your growth and development.  The first few months were a whirlwind of nursing, diapers and activities with your big brother and sister.  You’re starting to declare your place in the family and making your presence known.  This isn’t’ to say you’re demanding, but you do interact with your siblings.  Trixie loves to make loud nonsensical sounds at you and you love it right back with giggles and smiles and if we’re lucky sounds right back.  Speaking of sounds you said your first word!  You did!  You said “Mama”, and you’ll say it reliably when you’re angry or upset and demanding me.  You aren’t signing yet, but I’m not terribly consistent with my signs, mostly we work on ‘milk’ and ‘bottle’ with some ‘all done’ thrown in.  You know ‘bottle’ and get quite excited when we show you that sign.  I think it’s because you’re a genius, or maybe you’re just hungry.

You’re not quite sitting yet, but you’re doing really well in your highchair with the tray.  I can sit you in it for a while and you’ll happily play with your toys, doing your baby work.

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Hudson especially loves it when you’re in your chair because you love to BANG!  And he’ll stand next to you chanting “bang it Maizie! BANG IT!” and you’ll oblige him and there are lots of giggles and banking and merriment.

You’re starting to be aware of what’s going on around you and you like to be included.  One day Hudson was eating some carrots and you were watching him so longingly, so I gave you a big one, and you played with it for a couple of days.  Since you have no teeth I knew there was no risk of you actually doing anything with it, and it was so cute to watch you gum it and bang it on your tray.

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My sweet girl.  It’s interesting to think you’ve been here for only 5 months and yet I can’t really think of our family without you.  We all love and adore you so much.

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Love always,

Mama.

 

 

I tri-ed!

On Easter Sunday I competed in my second ever triathlon, my first since Maizie was born.  And I’m proud to announce that I finished and survived.  I didn’t break any world records, I’m not sure if I PRed since the other one had different distances, but I did finish, I didn’t finish in the time I had hoped for though, but it was less than the other tri I did, but that one had a longer bike, but a shorter run.  So it’s hard to say.  I did finish though, I guess that’s what’s important.

I’ve signed up for another tri for in June and potentially later June too.  I’ve sourced out a tri club and sent an email, and I’m waiting to hear back from them, they have a spash and dash series, where you swim a mile then run 5 or 10k, this appeals to be because the bike is my least favourite part, and the swim is in the Steven’s Creek Reservoir, which should be much warmer than the ocean!

Anyhow, we’ll see how much I do this summer before I get knocked up again!

Four is hard!

I’m learning that 4 is hard.  So very very hard.  Or at least it is for my little guy.  Poor guy has so many trials and difficulties in his life.  Picking up his Legos is hard!  Picking up any toys is hard, and he doesn’t like cleaning up at all.  AT ALL!  Not eating ‘baby face noodles’ (tri coloured tortellini as named by my children) for every meal is hard!  Putting on clothes is hard.  Bathing is hard!  Flushing the toilet is hard!  Washing your hands is easy!  Wiping up the resulting puddles all over the bathroom is hard!

Four is hard.

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Good thing he’s so cute!  And in reality there are a lot less hard moments than kind, compassionate, gentle, loving and sweet moments.  I need to remind myself a lot of this.    They make this whole parenting gig so worth it.

Maizie is 4 months!

Dearest Maizie,

My sweet plump babe,

You’re 4 months old now and an absolute dolly.  Oh my sweet girl I love you so much!  You’re one of the happiest, coo-iest, smiliest babies ever.  You’re happy to see a smiling face, and will return the favour with a full on gummy grin, making whoever is holding you feel ever so special.  While you’re very attached to me, you’re remarkably secure and will let other people hold you, we’ll see how long this lasts, but it seems to bring you happiness to see other smiling faces.

Your 4 month stats are impressive, you’re 15 pounds, 7 ounces which is 73% and 26 inches which is 92%.  Overall you’re a pretty big baby, which is so novel!  I think it goes to show that you’re thriving on my homemade WAPF formula and Mama milk.  You do so LOVE to eat, and will cry when your bottle is done.  People remark that we’re not feeding you enough, but you dont’ seem to eat more than the 4 ounces when it’s done if you’re given a chance.  I think you just love to suck!  You’ll nurse the whole night if I let you, and would like to nurse all day long, if I let you.  And sweet girl, I would let you if I didn’t need sleep or to do laundry and parent your older siblings.

This month was busy for you, we had Trixie’s birthday party, your Grandma and Grandpa came, then Uncle Dale and Auntie Kate and baby cousin Esmee (who’s your big cousin).  We also went to Disneyland for the first time with you, and you were a super star.  You went on lots of rides and slept through most of it.  We alternated having you in the stroller or in a carrier.  To up the cute we dressed you as the same princess as your sister for 2 days, then Buzz like your brother for one day.  It was a nice trip, and showed us that we can manage to have a great time at Disney with all 5 of us.  I am looking forward to lots more trips with the family!disney stroller

Another big milestone this month, albeit a made up one, is that we got you your own highchair, and you’re super adorable in it.  You’re not eating yet, but we have you sit with us when we eat and you play with a toy.  I think you’re plotting how to get your own food, but I’d like to remind you that we need to wait a while, a couple more months please. maizie highchair

My sweet baby, you’re making being a Mama to 3 kids super easy and so rewarding.  Your mellow nature and general happiness is making planning a little brother or sister a easy decision!

I love you so much!  I can’t believe you’ve graced us with your presence, and I can’t imagine not having you here with us.  I know there was a before Maizie time, but I can hardly remember it!

I love you so much!

Love always and forever,

Mama.

Mama is strong.

Tonight I was getting ready to go on a run and Hudson asks where I was going, and I told him for a run, and he asked why.  Trixie answered:

“Mama is running for her tri-thalon, it will make her faster and stronger.  When you’re strong you’re healthy and Mama is strong.”

I wanted to squeeze and kiss her all over.  I don’t preach to them about running or being strong and fit, but we do talk about how walking instead of driving, or taking the stairs when we can etc., is good for our bodies.  It’s so nice to know it’s sinking in.

Plus, it’s heart warming to know that you’re admirable to your wee ones.  (squishy squishy, mush, mush….)

2 years!

In the weight loss surgery world you see a lot of people celebrating their “surgiversary” meaning the anniversary of when they had their surgery.

So my 2 year surgiversary was the day after February 28, or March 1 this year.  (I had my surgery on a leap year.)  The day came and went and there was no fan fare, there were poopy diapers, puke and lots of baby smiles though.  I guess that is my fan fare.

I am still a lovely success story.  Although I weigh more than I did at my one year anniversary, I also have had a healthy pregnancy, birth and shockingly natural conception!  Yeppers, I got pregnant with no drugs.  We’re not sure if it was the surgery that helped with that or the resulting super clean diet, but I did manage to get pregnant.  I guess the next pregnancy will either seal the deal that I cured my PCOS or just show us that this pregnancy was even more special than we thought.

I’m still running, albeit slower (pregnancy) I’m planning another triathlon (April 20) and I still feel good.  My pants size is a little bigger (pregnancy) but that’s okay.

All in all I don’t regret the surgery.  I didn’t do it to weigh X weight, I did it to not be 230lbs.  Even if I gained it all back, Maizie is worth it.  But I won’t gain it back.  Instead I’ll continue to rock my sleeve and keep on keeping on.