Category Archives: La Bebe

Borscht, Baby!

There is a lot of cabbage at my house lately. And not just the cabbage-heads that live here year round. (arf arf arf) And seriously, what do you do with cabbage? Cole slaw? Cabbage rolls? No, let’s be more Polish, people! Borscht of course.

When my mom used to make borscht when I was a kid, the whole house would stink like boiled cabbage. (I mean, it ain’t no light perfume…) And if the smell didn’t turn us off, the vibrant colour sure did. Yeah it put me off the soup until today. Today, I woke up feeling daring. Or feeling like I had a lot of cabbage on my counter taking up space.

So this borscht, curtesy of La Internet only used 1/4 of my enormous cabbage. And I have another one of equal elephant size that I cannot fit in my fridge. So I, the small queen of my house declare, let them eat cabbage!

Oh, and to the questions about how the appointment went yesterday, the answer is: Good. We had a fill-in paediatrician (we didn’t see the cardiologist yesterday as he is apparently on a 3 months vacation) and she was lovely. She was very gentle and didn’t push it when Gabrielle said no. She even got a listen at her heart because Gabrielle controlled the listening end.

Odetta the doll make a great test subject and whatever didn’t make Odetta cry was much more accepted. (Mind you, if the doctor had made a doll cry, she would be a horrible doctor indeed…but a great magician)

Gabrielle is catching up on her growth. She was previously in the 1st percentile in height and weight. Now she is in the 15% in height and the 3% in weight. She grew 10 cm in 6 months and gained 2 1/2 lbs.

I’m so proud of my borscht-eating baby!

An Unexpected Guest

This morning we decided to stay home and drink tea. It was supposed to be a rainy day but in all acts of faith, I hung my laundry on the line anyway. And we had a nice tea party.

Gabrielle chose her guest list carefully, inviting on those with the best manners.

She poured the tea (water) enthusiastically. -Wondering if it’s best to dress this kid in rain gear when having a tea party. Her pajamas were soaked!-

And she concentrated on having a civilized morning tea party with her polite tea-inclined friends.

Suddenly an unexpected guest crashed the party. Ramona Kitty drank unceremoniously right off the table, making all kinds of rude slurpy noises. She horrified the other guests and disrupted the ambiance entirely.

Cats have such nerve!

Ways Her Heart has Changed Her

Before I begin here, I must share my frustrations. My SLR camera base has died thus it fights great battles with the lenses. Thus I fight great wars with my camera and now it doesn’t really work anymore. This is very annoying as I primarily enjoy reading blogs with exquisite photos and now I cannot deliver. So I blog less. Because I’m frustrated. That is all.

I’ve been contemplating lately about how Gabrielle’s heart condition has changed her as a human being. Having never met Gabrielle without the heart condition, all observations are of course, subjective, and as her mother I cannot trust myself to be completely objective anyway. Nevertheless here they are.

Gabrielle is very aware of reducing the amount she hurts. She notices ledges, edges and does not go running off them impulsively. She is a careful creature. Careful on the stairs, careful around cars, cautious around the opening and closing of doors. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t fall or get goose-eggs. It does mean that she tries to avoid them whenever possible. She is not reckless. She does not charge forward. Understanding pain and what it means to be hurt is a way I think her surgeries have changed her. But she will work very hard at something, like climbing up a steep hill, until she masters it. Which brings me to my second point.

Gabrielle is very persistent. When she was learning to walk, she kept at it. Her heart was sapping so much of her energy, that her muscles in her legs, arms and her core muscles were being starved. She couldn’t build any significant muscle to muster the strength to walk on her own. But she never stopped trying. She would walk with our hands until she was blue and panting. She would sit down, catch her breath and then try again. Once her surgery in November (2011) fixed her heart, she walked 4 weeks after open heart surgery. Now that she had the blood flow, she got right down to business. This persistence has translated into every area of her life, whether it be speaking, running, climbing, or letting you know what she WANTS NOW!

Gabrielle is extremely compassionate. I personally believe this is because she has suffered, thus she recognizes the suffering of others. When she was in hospital, there was another family from Pender Island with their little boy undergoing cancer treatment. While in hospital, I met with his mother but the kids never met as they were both sedated and ill. One day, a couple months after Gabrielle’s surgery, we were on the ferry going home and Henry, the little boy with cancer, was on the ferry too. Henry was so sad because he was feeling rotten after an especially hard chemo treatment. Gabrielle walked up to him, and laid her head against Henry’s chest and stroked his arm, as if to say “There there. I know.” I cannot count the times she has seen someone and said “Sad.” or given someone she didn’t know very well a hug. When I told her that I had to go to Vancouver to say good bye to Maya after she died, Gabrielle said solemnly “Maya scar, hurt. Maya bye bye. Maya Mommy sad.” And I said, “Yes Maya’s mommy is very sad, but Maya feels much better now.” I’m amazed how much this kid seems to “get it.”

I said to my dad once, that I don’t wish Gabrielle’s heart condition away because then I would have a different child. I do want my child to be healthy, but this has shaped her and me as I parent her. I find myself in awe at her resilience, at her wisdom. And I am so grateful at all I’ve learned from her in the past year and a half.

Happy 20 months old Gabrielle. Words cannot express how grateful I am to be your mamanee.

Gramma Love

We are very blessed with the fact that our extended family isn’t too far away. Marc’s parents live right on island with us, about a 10 minute drive away. And my parents live a ferry ride and a couple hours drive away. Even our siblings are all living within a day’s travel. Plus in this day and age, it is so easy to stay connected with Skype and Facebook. Gabrielle seems to really grasp the meaning of family and talks about her aunties, uncles, cousin, and grandparents with a lot of fondness.

And when they come to visit, well that’s just the bees knees!

My mom visited us last weekend and brought Gabrielle a tea set. Does it get better? Nanny visiting, and then bringing tea?

Turtle and Mousy enjoyed themselves too.

My mom was so excited to make Gabrielle some tea, she generously asked Gabrielle what kind of tea she would like. Gabrielle, my tiny bee, immediately said “Honey Tea!” My mom put warm water in the teapot with a dollop of honey.

Within 10 minutes we had a very happy sticky girl with a very wet and sticky floor, table, clothes etc. I am of the philosophy that clothes can be washed, floors can be cleaned, but honey tea, well that’s something special.

Gabrielle’s Gramma also loves to give this little one treats. The other day I took Gabrielle to the pool, where her Gramma usually takes her, and I could see she was a bit disappointed to be there with Mommy instead of Gramma. Gramma teaches her how to kick her little feet and blow bubbles. Suddenly, Gabrielle was a very apt little swimmer with secret skills I knew nothing about. She had to show me how to play with her properly in the pool.


The Gramma/Nana love is thick around these parts.

Sweet Summer Days

Summer has fully ensconced us. The heat is finally here. It is after all, the end of July already, and we have flung ourselves into Summer’s clammy embrace… With Pudding. Chocolate to be precise.

We have been going diaperless, doing naked waltzes around the house. (Well, Marc and I are usually diaperless but now Gabrielle has joined us though often she’s the only one doing the nude waltz per se….)

The diaperless movement is in an effort to lean towards potty training, which is not happening in the least around these parts. She sits on the potty for a chocolate chip, and pees promptly *beside* the potty. I think she’s got us trained anyway.

The field that we look out on has been hayed, after Gabrielle’s bedtime of course, which she proclaimed TRACTOR when she should have been sleeping. Oh well, done now.

The bees have swarmed twice. The second time it happened, I think I caught the swarm but haven’t checked on them today. They were swarming because there is a “honey ceiling” in the hive. It is so full with honey that they could not lay another larvae in any nook or cranny. So I added some more apartments to their high rise and we’ll see if that solves the problem.

“A swarm in July ain’t worth a fly

Well I hope that saying doesn’t apply to the mild West Coast, but we’ll see how this little swarm does through the Winter.

And then on the needles; a honey cowl. The pattern is on Ravelry. It is really easy but the wool is so thin (and soft and variegated and beautiful, drool drool) that it keeps me focusing my fingers on the knitting while my mind wanders. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy knitting it with such fine wool, but I do. Finding a rhythm to the needles has me sitting on the deck with some bubbly water, a few drops of lime juice for a tang, knitting away with huge sunglasses on, warding off the butterflies that are flanking the lilacs. This is of course, while she naps.

There’s something all the more sweet about these long Summer days.