Heat, Allergies, and Mental Health

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Everyone is different; our bodies react to weather, stress, and fatigue in different ways. So my experience isn’t the same as everyone else’s.

August sucks for me. Especially weeks like this week, where we had high temperatures and high pollen count. Despite living indoors with air conditioning, the heat and pollen still affect me. It means I can’t sleep very well (up every 20-30 minutes), can’t breath very well, and generally feel crappy.

I think the worse part of poor sleep, allergies, and feeling crappy; is that it makes everything seem worse and hopeless. This isn’t new, but I always forget. In the future, I should probably plan trips around this time to keep me moving and not thinking.

I crashed yesterday and snapped at my wife for something that wasn’t her fault (Sorry).

It’s a vicious cycle of feeling like I should be doing more and not having any energy to do it. So when I take time to rest or relax, I then feel guilty and that makes me feel depressed and anxious.

At least the kids are liking the weather. Here’s a cute picture of them playing on the splash mat in our backyard.

Once the heat breaks, I’ll start feeling a little better. Until then, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay to take time to recover and not to feel guilty about it.

Be kind to yourself!

Éric

Publishing, Co-writing, and Life

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

As you may have read in yesterday’s post, the book Jen and I wrote in winter 2021 has been accepted by a publisher. Renaissance Press is growing fast, lots of amazing authors, anthologies, and books. I wasn’t sure they’d have room for us.

This is going to be my 7th book (Book six Coffee Shop Between the ‘Verses comes out on September 15th.) and I’m always nervous about submitting. This is the first novel that I’ve submitted only to Renaissance, normally I go through the motions of sending them to agents, editors, and contests. I submitted Everdome to a dozen agents and twice as many companies. I received two nice rejections and a lot of silence. I realize that’s what it’s like to be an author. So glad Renaissance accepted this book and that we didn’t need to try to get it out to other, less open, publishers.

One of the joys of this book is the enthusiasm and excitement of my co-author. Her enthusiasm keeps me on track and excited while her excellent writing forces me to up my game. We each have strengths that compliment each other.

I assumed it would be very easy to tell who wrote what parts, but our styles must mesh well because most of our beta readers couldn’t tell which sections were mine and which were hers. I think that’s really cool and I look forward to writing more with her.

Now that this book has a contract we’re hoping to start work on the sequel soon. I’d like to get a little further into Elizabeth 4, which is taking me forever. So I’m hoping mid September or early October. Meanwhile, Jen has started a spin-off novel and we’ve written a short story collection.

Things are about to get really hectic here. Dragon and Jen have decided that it’s best for the kid to go to digital school full time in the Fall. That means a complete change in bedtime schedule for both kids. I foresee a lot of meltdowns and lack of sleep in late August and early September and that’s just for me.

Hopefully we’ll all be vaccinated by Christmas and Dragon can do her last semester of Kindergarten in person.

Stay Safe and be kind,

Éric

Dear Pegasus – First Puke Night

Dear Pegasus,

Last night you woke up and puked large un-chewed chunks of zucchini and little tiny seafood. It wasn’t fun for anyone. (Dragon didn’t wake up, so not bad for her.)

Two baths, three sheets, four pyjamas, and lots of sad looks later, you fell asleep.

You were so afraid of lying down that you insisted on sitting up in my lap. Every time you nodded off, you had this look of worry on your face.

At one point, close to 3:20, you settled into my arm, looked up at me, sighed deeply, and said, “Papa.” It was so soft and sad. You settled into sleep not long after and you insisted on being held while you slept.

A hard night and lots of worry, but you’re fine now and it’s hopefully not going to be a new trend.

I hate not being able to do anything to make it better, but hopefully holding you helped make you feel more comfortable falling asleep. You seem okay now and are happily playing.

Not looking forward to tonight. Hopefully you won’t associate puking with sleep. I also hope this isn’t a new habit.

Love you!

Papa

Busy, pumpkins, and tired

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Work is starting to ramp up for the return of parliament (I do layouts for government reports, a lot of them are tabled in parliament). So I’m really busy. Especially with work, the preparations for the JenEric Advent Calendar, and Dragon going to school.

Pegasus is really into stacking things. Here he’s stacked 2 blue cylinders on my shoulder.

I’m also really tired from the last hurrah of this season’s seasonal allergies (apparently that means I have different allergies each season) and Pegasus having issues sleeping (more teeth and growing pains). All that to say that I haven’t had as much time to dedicate to writing or blogging. Sorry about that.

In other news, pie pumpkins are in stores here which means I’ll be going all out on pumpkin stuff. I’ve already roasted two of them and eaten the seeds. This weekend I’ll attempt Pumpkin & Spice Doughnuts if I have the time and energy.

Hope you’re all doing well.

Stay Safe and Be Kind!

Éric

I’m tired Pegasus

Hello Imaginary Friends,

I’m writing this Monday early in the morning. Pegasus refused to nap and then fell asleep at 8pm. He woke up at 9pm and hasn’t shown any indication of fatigue yet… It’s now 2am.

Pegasus tried to write this post since he doesn’t speak yet, writing proved difficult.

I’ll need a lot of coffee when I wake up.

Here’s to hoping I don’t see 3am.

Be kind and be safe,

Éric

Dear Pegasus – 6 months

Dear baby Pegasus,

You give fantastic hugs.

You’ve been around for just over 6 months and you’ve been a great baby. You love to sleep (except this past week), you eat well, and you are the smiliest child ever.

I’m amazed at how long you are willing to play by yourself (mostly) and by how alert and resourceful you are.

You’re moments away from crawling and that sometimes frustrates you or makes you fall on your face. It’s adorable and a little funny.

The past week you’ve thrown your sleep schedule out the window and decided anything goes. A few nights you refused to sleep before 3 in the morning. It was hard, especially that your sister had a cold/flu thing and really needed the sleep.

I’m sorry for having been a little less than patient. It never lasts because you turn that darling smile on me and I melt.

Before you were born I was worried that I didn’t have room to love you as much as I love your sister. I was very wrong.

I love you so much little Pegasus!

Your Papa

Dear Dragon – Consequences Suck

Dear Sweet Dragon,

You are a fantastic kid but you’ve inherited every stubborn molecule from all sides of the family.

Our biggest struggle with you right now is how much you love your brother. That doesn’t sound too bad, except for the fact that you never stop touching, pulling, holding, squishing, hugging, or loudly singing/roaring/screaming at him.

You still don’t know your strength and he can not tell you to stop. He will occasionally make noises of annoyance but he’s not consistent enough for you to listen… even if you were inclined to listen.

So our current largest battle is getting you to respect his bodily autonomy and ask before touching him. You need to ask us, since he’s too young to reply for himself. Unfortunately, you refuse to listen or forget to remember… not sure which.

Note: Compared to hitting him or any other kind of mischief you could get into, this isn’t terrible, but it is very frustrating.

So last night you harassed him to the point of him being upset and us having had enough. We told you to not touch him or you were going to bed. Less than a minute later you saw him drooling and whipped around, grabbed his burp-cloth and wiped his face. I thought you’d hit him when I saw his head fall back but mum says he must have been surprised because you’re always gentle.

Either way, your face registered an, “Oh shit” moment and then you pretended not to notice.

We sent you to bed. You were not pleased. You cried yourself to sleep once at 9:30, then at 11:30, then at 2:30, then at 9, and finally you woke up at 10 and cried yourself into puking. Your tummy hurt so much that food was hard to handle.

This is hard on you and I hope you’ve learned to listen and respect others’ bodily autonomy, but I’m not so sure. Time will tell.

Something you might not realize right now, or even when you read this;hers’ really hard on us too. We love you and you’re a wonderful human being. Punishing you is hard.

I love you so much,

Your tired Papa

*Addendum added 2019-10-13* Okay Dragon. I didn’t go into details because I didn’t think it was relevant.

Here’s what happened when you were sent to bed.

  1. You got changed into PJs.
  2. We took you to pee and have water.
  3. We tucked you in and explained why you were going to bed early.
  4. We told you we love you.
  5. We let you try to sleep once you stopped crying.
  6. When you called for us we went up and did 3, 4, and 5 again.

We never leave you alone to cry and we refuse to force you to stop. We’ll comfort you and snuggle you but it’s okay to cry. (even if your crying almost always leads to gagging or puking.)

The 5 Steps in Toddler Dragon’s Bedtime Routine

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Having children gives you a serious appreciation for the absurd. The Toddler Dragon’s bedtime routine has constantly evolved. This past week it’s hit peak silly.

Here are The 5 Steps in Toddler Dragon’s Bedtime Routine:

Step 1: The Cleanup

This is the step where we help her clean up her toys. Jen starts while I pour milk and cut cheese and then I take over while she drinks and eats.

There are only two ways this step goes. Shockingly easy or maddeningly difficult.

The Dragon will either be eager to please and go to bed or mischievously stubborn. On the difficult modes, she’ll bury herself in pillows, run around, and giggle at our frustration. Sometimes I give up and pick her up while making helicopter noises. She can’t run away and picks up the toys.

Sometimes this has all the excitement of an Easter egg hunt.

Step 2: The Chase

She insists on turning on the light on the stairs and the monitor. Even when she tells me to “DO IT!” like a bad 90’s sitcom, she gets annoyed if she didn’t do it herself. Then she runs away to our bedroom, either the master bath or closet. She stands in the dark until we come get her.

Once he have her, we get her onto the toilet for her first GOPEE! This is usually followed by an angry no and nomore.

After the toilet, her hands get washed and she runs back to our room staring into the depth of our unlit closet or shower.

Step 3: The Wrestling

Next comes the pyjamas. Her current ones have Stitch on them (you are what you wear?) and getting her into them is sort of like wrestling a small giggling bear. Some days it is affectionate, some days it’s squirmy, and some days you get bitten.

Once all this is done, I pick her up and throw her onto the pillow on mum’s lap for tooth brushing.

That’s when I go to the washroom and the Dragon gets read a story and nursed a little.

This normally ends with her second GOPEE!

Step 4: The Random

Before she GOESPEE, she kisses her Mum goodnight. Then we GOPEE, this usually involves counting toes. I will count and she’ll cut me off with, “One, One, Two, One, Two, Three, Quatre, Six, Huit, Dix!”

From there, I wrestle her into her diaper, she squeezes her squeaky Totoro and says, “Toto-oh”.

Then I ask if she’d like me to sing, tell her a story, or just hang out. (I miss singing and telling stories.) She says NO Sleep! So I awkwardly position myself on her toddler bed and toy box. (I’m a big guy and I really don’t want to break the mattress or bed.) And pretend to snore.

She then climbs on to me and makes me get off the bed. She jumps on my back like a horse rider and I get three steps before she make me lie down on my stomach.

And the highlight (for her) of the night is that she gets to play with the mole on my back… 😐

The past few nights she’s found it hilarious to try and lick said mole. Every time I say, “Don’t lick me.” she bursts into giggles. We then argue about licking until Mum comes back from brushing her teeth and doing her back exercises.

Step 5: The Stall

Mum nurses the Dragon and sings her wonderful songs. (I’m jealous of both of them.)

After the first song we get GOPEE! number three. This one usually gets pee if I bribe her with playing with the mole on my neck.

“Mole!” she says.

“Only if you pee,” I reply, wondering how this conversation became common place.

Next we have more nursing and when it’s all over Jen puts her to bed and tells her to stay in bed. This is followed within a minute by GOPEE! number four. This one is normally just a stalling tactic.

When that’s done, she runs to the master bedroom (diaper less) and gives mom a kiss and hug. (Sometimes an accidental kick or punch.)

I then put her to bed and tell her to stay in bed. That she isn’t a baby anymore and that big kids stay in bed.

This is followed within 5 minutes with GOPEE! number five. I only bring her to the washroom for this one if she’s peed for 3 and 4.

I then put her to bed and tell her to stay in bed. That she isn’t a baby anymore and that big kids stay in bed.

From this point she either goes to sleep or I have to sit with her until she falls asleep.

The whole thing takes maybe 30 minutes and is completely surreal.

We’re completely lucky that she’s this easy but sometimes I really wish I had access to the Dungeons & Dragons spell Sleep.

Later Days,

Éric

Dear Dragon – I Miss You!

Dragon-11-07-2017

Dear Little Dragon,

You still hate sleeping but you’re getting better at falling asleep… sometimes.

You are growing so fast in every way possible. Last week I watched you learn how to climb off the couch safely and Sunday you took your first shuffling steps. Just two little steps but they were steps. You’ll be running around soon enough.

I’ve been at work for over a month and I miss you a lot. It’s hard not being with you and watching you grow every day. I know I see you when I get home but it’s not the same.

I miss you and someday I hope I’ll be able to work from home permanently and see you every day. (You’ll probably be going to school by then.)

I miss seeing your smile when you wake up in the morning. I hope you never lose that easy smile, even if it’s just with family and close friends. Your joy is infectious and even when you’re being mischievous it makes us so happy.

I Love you little Dragon!

Your tired, sappy, and a little sad,
Papa

Dear Dragon – Conventions and Sleep

Dear Baby Dragon,

You’re almost nine months old. I’ve gone back to work and I’m missing you terribly.

Over the past nine months, you’ve been to a lot of activities and conventions. Throughout those events you’ve been absolutely wonderful. During the events, you make all the other parents jealous with how cute, easy going, and friendly you are.

The only downside to bringing you to conventions and other events is how it seems to really drain you. So many people and so many things to look at has you completely overstimulated for a few days after. You get ridiculously clingy and a little grumpy. It’s like having people around you all the time for a few days and then not having anyone, makes you worry that you’re alone.

It makes me really happy that we can share all these things with you. I’m excited and envious of you growing up in the Ottawa geek and writer’s communities. I hope you continue to enjoy them as you grow older.

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On a different subject, GO TO SLEEP! Sigh. You used to hate going to sleep but once you were asleep you were good. Now, you seem to have issues with staying asleep. I’m hoping its only because of your teeth. You’re teething pretty hard right now and I know it hurts.

Please go back to sleeping easily soon.

Love you lots,

Your tired Papa