Me time (aka pre-mat leave time off work)

Last time around, I tried to hoard my vacation days and only booked the week before my due date off. I ended up missing my last two scheduled days of work, calling in “sick” the Thursday because my water broke and I was in the hospital all day, and officially on mat leave on my supposed last day of work because E was born in the early morning.

This time around, I have a scheduled C-section so there is a date and since the due date is earlier in July (10th vs 31st) and there is a one-third chance I won’t even make it to the July 4 C-section date and work year end is end of June spilling into an onslaught of work the first week of July, I was out by mid-day on Monday, June 24. I took about 90 minutes to visit colleagues across four floors and called one in Winnipeg to chat. On one hand, I might see half of them within the next few months during the obligatory visit to introduce everyone to baby, but otherwise, I’m booked off for eighteen months. So many people will have left the firm within that time for one reason or another. So it wasn’t outlandish to “say my goodbyes”. Which I completely did not have a chance to last time. It was, it turned out, emotionally tiring and I needed to start my break that very afternoon!

Day 0 (Monday)

While I was slated to be off work at 1 p.m., I was non-plussed to be leaving closer to 2 p.m. As people noticed that I was carrying a bike helmet, they remarked on me riding with an unnerving amount of concern such that I started getting concerned. Would I be okay? It was mini goal of mine to cap things off with a bike ride home instead of taking the train. Friday afternoon’s commute was the worst I had ever seen with trains running slower than usual and the largest crowds on the platform. I tried to get on a train headed the wrong way and couldn’t get on. And it had been over a week of jostling for a spot on the afternoon train adn being quite annoyed that no one noticed that I’m so protruding and still crowd so close.

So I took the safest route home and did it nice and slowly – down Hornby to the water and along the Seawall. What is usually an aggravatingly long 20-something minutes took me 30 this time. No matter – I’m done work for a long stretch!

My late lunch – I was practically in a tizzy – was at The Juice Truck on 5th Avenue whom I follow on IG and they keep talking about their Bestie Bowl (an acai bowl with almond butter, granola, strawberries, coconut whip and almond milk). It was massive, served in a wide smoothie cup. So good.

Then I hopped over to Purebread because they have the best pastry display case. It’s so big that when you’re at the point of ordering, you might not have been able to see all the choices yet! I went with a savoury choice – which is par for the course for me at Purebread – which was their asiago black pepper scone.

I took a nap and nearly missed daycare pick-up – the day was catching up with me!

Day 1 (Tuesday)

My first sleep-in was deliciously until 8:30. Which of course when I rose from it, I felt a bit of pressure to get things going along so we would get to Bowen Island before – oh – noon. Kiddo is so pleased to have me around that he expresses it so delightfully, “我好鍾意你!” – it is so heart-meltingly sweet.

We made it to Horseshoe Bay for the 11:15 sailing which was actually running late. Whew! – because it only runs every hour.

Bowen Island became a goal for me with kiddo since realizing that I could still realize the goal of kiddo getting onto a car ferry after missing the opportunity to go to Salt Spring Island in May when he got sick. Bowen Island is just a 20-minute ferry ride away and the vessel is small so we visited the outdoor deck on the same level as the car deck, the indoor area, and the upstairs outdoor deck, too. Upon disembarking the ferry, it felt a bit crowded on the main stretch so I continued driving. Kiddo, still rear-facing – could see the school playground so we made a stop and he played amidst the elementary school kids on the playground. I wonder what the official rules are on that but no one said anything to us. I persuaded him to leave so we could find a beach for a picnic but we ended up at Crippen Regional Park where we at at a picnic table and then went on a mini hike on a portion of the Killarny Lake Loop trail. He collected rocks to throw into the lake and it was sweet outdoor time. I hadn’t memorized the schedule and we got into the ferry queue on the main street missing the 2:40 sailing by a few minutes. It gave us opportunity to visit Snug Cafe and a nearby store. On the way back, I wasn’t as concerned with taking photos to capture the ferry ride and felt I was able to explain more thing about the ride, and to point out sea lions who play near the ferries!


Day 2 (Wednesday)

So, if kiddo wakes up at 8:30, we don’t get to daycare until around 10 a.m. and he might miss the opportunity for adventure that is their morning walk.

I felt like I was against a deadline because the dryer vent cleaner was coming at noon. In the less than two hours, I made it to a “white people dollar store” (Your Dollar Store with More at Broadway & Yukon) and “white people grocery store” (Save On a few blocks away) followed by “Asian people dollar store” (Oomoo, which was formerly Daiso) and “Asian grocer” (T&T a block away). After the dryer vent cleaner’s visit then I could take a quick shower and walk out to catch the Rolling Cashew food truck before they closed at 2 p.m. I tried widely from their menu with a combo and their krokets and then tried the new honeycome lavendar latte from Starbucks in order to enjoy my food truck lunch at their outdoor table.

Then it was time for me to Rest before I bounced back up again and made a vegan tomato sauce for dinner (sundried tomato cashew cream) then cycle to my maternity doctor’s office for One Last Appointment. It was nice to have the ability and independence and activity of cycling and I was tired of driving and parking and paying for parking from the morning! Since my appointment was at 3:40, I arrived after 4 and didn’t have to wait too long and was back with time to breath before daycare pick-up!

Day 3 (Thursday)

I learned that those days I’m spending with kiddo will have challenges and I need to adjust my expectations because kids will have curious souls and not understand the adult urgency.

We went to McArthurGlen Designer Outlet near the airport and accomplished buying him new shoes and spending time with my aunt and lunch and that is all.

Oh, and during nap, I chat with my sister on the phone and that is a rarity I hope improves as we have more in common now…

Then the focus was getting dinner into him so we could go to the Neighbourhood Party at Playland. So that’s not really Me Time but it’s life that I can’t extricate myself from responsibility. Last year, there were only four rides they could go on and it was vastly improved this year even if my myopic self feels like he hasn’t grown much. Kiddo and A “” (“my friend at grandma and grandpa’s”) are like two peas in a pod and no younger siblings will come close to their close age gap, common interests and growing up together so far.


Day 4 (Friday)

Another daycare day so there was hope of a super-productive day again, even if drop-off wasn’t until 10 a.m. again.

First stop was Ikea – I was back in Richmond again. Yes, that green-themed bookshelf does spark job. The new Fado lamps are beautiful, too, especially if you have so many in a row!

Back in the day when my sister was doing lab work for her Honours thesis, I got her the plush rat as a nod but she didn’t like it much and didn’t bring it on her move to Toronto and my mother is terrified of it. Kiddo likes it but that doesn’t mean I’m bringing it back on a visit – leave something there for him to enjoy. So it was nice to see that Ikea still makes that model haha.


Second stop was Bulk Barn – although it’s going quite deep into Richmond, I was on a mission – I wanted to find vanilla bean pods or vanilla bean powder for a recipe and I wanted to know if they had the best prices for bulk nuts – my protruding belly is a conversation starter and the woman clearing out the oat bran bin claimed that it’s often empty and she’s getting it for her daughter(-in-law) who makes “porridge” (probably similar to the oatmeal I like making) – I’ll continue getting mine at Save On where I did once run into a shortage, and just note the Bulk Barn price for comparison – I did by the puffed cereal crisps with quinoa, sorgum and black bean. Doesn’t it look a bit like dog food? It was a good drive down to Bulk Barn and I was feeling good about being out.

I recently bought a box of aloe drink from Costco but Bulk Barn had a few other flavours and it was cheaper to get a drink there than elsewhere. NPY went and looked up the effects of drinking aloe on pregnancy and I unfortunately had to stop after a few sips. :-(



Third stop was Kam Do. D’oh! – I entered the wrong No 3 Road Kam Do address in the satnav which doesn’t have parking and then had to slog along inNo 3 Road traffic to get down several blocks and then I hated driving and all my energy was sapped. Kam Do is the bakery that Alain and I hit up when we ran to Richmond once and he didn’t know that Toronto-style bakeries existed in Vancouver – yes! But just this one!

Fourth stop was Milkcow I heard a while from Daily Hive that during the month of June, they were running a watermelon ice cream sandwich special that I learned of last year. It looks gorgeous and refreshing and highly instagrammable. “Do it for da gram.” I wasn’t so keen on watermelon soft serve and thought I might save the watermelon for kiddo – hah! I just picked away at the watermelon after finishing the ice cream – it was studded with chocolate chips.


Fifth stop was McArthurGlen Designer Outlet (again) I was so outraged at myself for finding my Carter’s GCs the very same day I was shopping there but only afterwards – I wouldn’t have such a problem using the GCs up if it weren’t for the fact that the website doesn’t (didn’t) accept their GCs. (Outrageous!) But compared to arriving at 10 a.m. and finding a good parking spot, I saw the parking situation and knew I had to go to the very end of the mall to get to Carter’s and figuratively turned on my heels, left the parking lot.

My sixth and final stop out was at Superstore, trying to replace a salt+pepper mill NPY smashed but did some other shopping , of course! Although technically not shopping with kid(s), I took advantage of the Family Friendly shopping because … seriously … look at me! Okay, don’t look at me – I’m not going to be posting a bump photo!

Then I was home to tackle making fish soup (ugh!), some vegan gravy and assemble a veggie rice bowl! And make it to daycare pick-up at 5:30!

Interlude (Saturday)

It wasn’t a me day by far but I wanted to share it anyhow.

While NPY was at spin, I took kiddo out to the grounds at nearby development Navio. I took plenty of photos of the flowers along the landscaped path which aren’t necessarily indigenous to this area but nice to know their names anyhow. It is fun to teach kiddo about the outdoors, like the job bees do for flowers, that they don’t want to harm us, the causes of floods like from the water fountain, fun stuff.

The highlight of the day was getting our haircut at NPY’s hair salon, where kiddo has been going for a while. I looked up “lob” options and identified that the A-line lob would work well with me. Chop, chop and all that hair is gone. It’s only hair. Oh, and I heard about the superstitions regarding hair cut at this point and I’d Love to hear the opposition.

Straight out of the shower with straight hair, I felt like Victoria Beckham. But even my thick straight hair had a wave when short and it’s not that noticeable an A-line with the waves.


We had dinner at home because leftovers aren’t getting any fresher. And NPY has this all-important pick-up hockey game at the Richmond Oval with friends and family to get to. Dinner consisted of a leftover veggie bowl, takeaway spaghetti Bolognese from Nook, homemade fish soup that kiddo liked (!!), and I made banana-coconut toast for myself.

A recent revelation is that while I don’t eat ice cream floats like in root beer and orange soda, the “splash of milk” that I’ll add to ice cream which really is more than a splash, is like a milk float! The Breyers Dark Chocolate Truffle NPY bought is too sweet so that’s soy milk to counter it and also to float.

Finally, sitting at the table to use the computer with my legs splayed out “like a dude” (as the physio recommended) is more comfortable than sitting on the couch but how to watch episodes of Enterprise on the TV behind me? By using our big windows as a projector!


Day 5 (Tuesday)

After a long weekend that included Canada Day (Monday), it was back to the grind for two more days for NPY.

On the Tuesday, I hustled kiddo out the door to make it to Maplewood Farm in North Vancouver before they opened at 10 a.m. by setting a Google Home alarm for 9:30 and saying we had to be out the door before the alarm went off or we wouldn’t be going. And it worked! Because I needed to be consistent and rush myself and him or else I’d have to deal with the crying, and maybe relent and look inconsistent. Kiddo saw the playground as I drove too deep into the parking lot and after an hour of farm animals – he was most interested in feeding fowl, especially ducks like they do in Peppa cartoons, and petting rabbits and goats – he had a great time at the playground where I was impressed he nailed all five climbing challenges without my assistance. It makes my breath just a bit easier when he’s out of my sight (and at daycare).

He cleans up well (courtesy of my outfit planning) and we had dim sum lunch with Loks in East Vancouver. After lunch, I took care of getting rid of donation items nearby at Value Village and dropping off a U-Pick blueberry haul given to me by my relatives to MIL who is fanatical about blueberries.

As I’ve learned that days with kiddo aren’t going to be so productive, I just enjoyed the fact we did what we did in the morning and nap raged until 6 p.m. and it was time to make dinner.

Day 6 (Wednesday)

Which meant Wednesday – my last day – would be an errands day again! I set the Google Home alarm for 9 a.m. and we made it out the door in time because breakfast was one of the easier ones to go down: an oat bran porridge.

Amongst errands completed were going to the Fed Ex depot in Richmond, returning to McArthurGlen for real this time and returning/exchanging items at Carters, making purchases at Corningware and ThinkKitchen, getting cash and getting more bakery items at Kam Do, swing by Cartem’s but their July special Nanaimo Bar donut was sold out, and go to Save On to raid their bulk section for some no-bake baking. I had a lot of conversations with my mother while driving and even my sister over a phone call and that is a preview of my availability to connect with them this coming year (18 months). The last two things I wanted to make are lactation energy bites (missing a key ingredient but the store wouldn’t be open again until Thursday) and some muffin mix. Oh, and I took a bath. It wasn’t as luxurious or comfortable as I hoped and it’s not like there won’t be a chance to later, too.

As if to agonize me, I wondered if squeezes I felt throughout the day were contractions or not. Maybe, but they stayed at bay and weren’t regular and the squeezy feeling seemed to be correlated with me standing from sitting. So it was usually just generalized pressure in the area instead of real contractions? I’m such a newb at this even though it’s not my first! It was inanely important to me to be able to finish everything on my list!

On this day..