Friday, December 30, 2005
Wednesday evening we welcomed our Edmonton pals Shroomy and Thor, who were in town for the holidays, but had enough of their folks and the burbs. Mi aero mattresso es su aero mattresso (so not even close to being Spanish, or even Spanglish !) The only catch was they had to babysit upon arrival. I had to go to Ragdoll's lovely wedding party (she was giddy and glowing. She needed to end off 2005 like that after the year she's had) and so our initial time together was short, but long enough to get them feeling comfy with Nate and vice versa. It was so amazing to catch up with them in person and to talk for long hours into the night drinking wine. This was also the stupidest thing I could have done two nights in a row.
Going to bed at 4:30 am means peeing at 4:30 am, which would wake Nate (we need to do the tough love thing again as the holidays have spoiled his good sleeping). Nate would sleep restlessly in the bed with me while hauling on the tit. That meant I slept shitty and still had to get up between 6 and 8 (his normal wake up range) to play and mash bananas. Faaaack! I'm a touch on the owie side today. I should be in bed now, except I'm so hopped up on caffeine that I can't.
Shroomy made sure to drop off the latest issue of Today's Parent magazine for me, since our friend Double Momma has written a very personal essay in the January issue about her experience giving birth to her preemies, Maggie and Daisy. It is a beautiful piece and I hope y'all will read the piece and support my fabulous friend.
This whole long lead up to talk about Double Momma. Typical verbose scarbie! My dad used to give me shit for going into too much detail growing up. Perhaps I became worse to spite him. They do say that God is in the details, so it can't be that bad. Anyway, back to Double Momma.
When I first met her 3.5 years ago, it was under strange circumstances. I was in Edmonton for the first time, for the wedding of Shroomy and Thor. It was July and I was still very much the hipster party girl. We went out of town to play flying disc golf, Thor's obsession at the time, and meet his friends. I was already out of my element being in Alberta, but by the time we got to the dug-up field-cum-disc golf course-cum-police training facility-cum-construction site, I knew I wasn't in Kansas anymore. I was trying to impress and was a bit over-dressed for the event. I even had a purse! Looking back at this photo of that "old me" makes me laugh. Needless to say, I've never been good at sports.
Double Momma showed up with her husband Dangerous D/Stampy. She was wearing a kilt and a homemade iron-on tee. This diminutive person (and for me to say that, you know she's gotta be tiny!) was small in stature only. She had/has something so booming and powerful about her. So much so that she inspired this photo I took of her. I was instantly insecure and intimidated. She was a respected journalist and I wrote Top 10 lists. She was a hippie and coordinated and outdoorsy. There is no way this chick is going to dig me, I thought. Oh how they loved the Dog, but they didn't really feel the Scarb.
But over the years I've thought of her fondly and with respect. I never thought we'd ever really bond. Even when we were both pregnant, I didn't really think of it as something in common. She was having twins via IVF and that seemed worlds different from what I was doing. I wasn't even sure how I felt about IVF and science getting involved in something so natural. Maybe some people just should forget about having their own kids, I thought. Can't they just adopt? The news of her early delivery came and I could only think of it with ignorant envy. She had done it au naturel and the Dog was trying to pressure me to go that route. I didn't have the balls to stomach the pain.
It wasn't until I crossed to other side, until I gave birth and had my own horrible NICU ordeal, that I began to get a sense of what she might have gone through with her twins. Months in the hospital with monitors going off. I had done it for over a week and had aged years. They had done it for two months! Thankfully, her twins were snugly home by the time Nate came into the world nearly a year ago. When I met the twins for the first time last June, and I saw these lovely human beings, my friends, with THEIR children, I regretted all my assumptions instantly. They were born to love and care for these two little girls. And I was so happy that they were given the chance.
If there is anything I have learned from the giving birth thing, it's that you can't make assumptions about people's lives. The whole "walk a mile in their shoes" deal is fo rilla . Yes, motherhood has made me soft. It's also given me a bond with some incredible women that I would not have gotten to know well enough otherwise. So Double Momma, if you are reading this, I just want you to know that I am glad that motherhood has brough us closer. I just wish motherhood would allow me more time to call you or email you. Damn children!
If you would like to read more on amazingly teeny babies, Toronto Life magazine also published THIS STORY on a T-dot momma's experience with preems and the incredible NICU at Women's College Hospital (where Nate lived for 9 days). We are so truly fortunate to live in a country where everyone can access this type of medical care. Think about that at the polls next month.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Confused? It basically goes down like this. Christmas Eve is spent with the Dog's family. My parents and sister and 20 million cousins, aunts and uncles spend that night celebrating my cousin's wife's birthday, an event I now miss out on every year (somewhat gladly). We wake up at the Dog's parents' place on the 25th, then off to my folks for dry turkey with no yummy North American trimmings. It's not really our Christmas, but we get together because we have the day off work and because my sister and I have grown up as Canadians. Boxing Day is usually spent visiting friends who now live abroad and have come home for the holidays. I am usually off for the rest of the week and so I meet up with peeps and do a bit of cheap shopping for my Armenian family. The Armenian family get together on New Year's Eve. This is the BIG family party of the year and there are usually 25-30 of us with "enough food to float a boat" as my dad would say. In Armenian culture, it is Father New Year who brings the gifts. This was a bitch growing up. Who can wait an extra week to open presents when everyone else on your street already got theirs? I can't even imagine being part of a culture/religion where there are ZERO gifts, but you live in North America where this gift business is in your face for months! Armenian Christmas Day (January 6) is strictly a religious day and normally falls on a weekday, so though we try to get together, it doesn't always work out.
Anyway, the whole thing spells chaos. Add my neice-in-law's birthday on December 29th and now Nate's birthday on January 2nd and now I'm looking forward to a long nap in the second two weeks of January before I'm due back at work.
But this is what the holidays are about now, with families crossing cultures, religions, divorces, remarriages, kids from both sets of parents, etc. It's a time of stress, but also a time to catch up with those you don't see that often -- and eventually remember why that is.
Christmas passed relatively peacefully. The 23rd began with a knock at the door from the postie and the arrival of James Frey's A Million Little Pieces on my doorstep. Thanks Ragdoll -- I cannot put this book down! I spent Christmas Eve-Eve with my folks, who played with Nate while I got my house under control and wrapped presents. I actually was still wrapping when the Dog got home from work at 1 am! That's what I get for leaving the shittiest part of gift-giving to the end.
Got into a spat with the Dog on Christmas Eve morning. We never used to get upset with each other this often, but since the baby... suddenly all these issues are popping up. I know he wanted to leave by noon, but it became apparent that it wasn't going down like that. So I got all panicky that he was possibly seething downstairs, while I was doing my hair for once. And I got angry with him that he was always rushing me, instead of being proactive and helping by feeding Nate or packing his stuff up for the night. But seriously, why does that always have to be my job? I just want to look nice once-in-a-while! I'd like to pluck my eyebrows in peace and wear a silk top and not get banana hands on it. Once. Please?
The Dog is not programmed to think of what Nate needs past the morning duties of diaper change and banana/cereal feed. After the 9 am nap, the Dog just clues out. Other than feeding him the banana/cereal combo, the Dog has never made a meal for Nate on his own. Not a fresh, warm meal. And considering that he will be Nate's primary caregiver come January 23rd, I just think he needs to pick up the slack a bit.
Anyway, tears gave way to hugs and we decided to exchange our gifts to each other in the privacy of our own home. We bought that huge mattress a few weeks ago and so we agreed to keep the gifts small. I was very excited about the Dog's gift. He actually bought it weeks ago instead of his usual last minute rush job. It ended up being a rather practical mortar and pestle (I like to grind up my own spices), but since he bought it in Little India, the box said Motal and Pestle. Funny. And cute. And sweet that he tried. And that's romantic in a way that only fits my husband. It's not his fault. No one can compete with the master gift giver. No really, I am THAT good.
As long as I have been in the Dog's life, it has become apparent to him that he should learn his mother tongue. My family speaks a hybrid of four languages (English, Armenian, Turkish and French) -- a dialect unique to our household. And when we went to Norway in 2004, the Dog felt bad that is cousins had to learn English to converse with him, instead of the other way around. He's been trying to find Norwegian classes, but has had no luck. So I ordered him a set of lessons on CD. I figured he could load them onto his ipod and listen to them on the way to work and while falling asleep. It's a base, "repeat after me" style, but better than most. Anyway, he was floored and got emotional and said it was the best gift I've ever given him.
We left for his mom's after Nate's noontime nap. The Dog's mom is Norwegian and Norskies take Christmas Eve very fucking seriously. There are about six standard dishes that are cooked on December 24th depending which part of Norway you live in. No matter how modern Norwegians are becoming in their daily cooking life, for Christmas Eve they all go back to the ways of the farmers and fishermen they came from. Gifts are opened on the 24th, stockings (from Santa) on the morning of the 25th. We used to get oranges or clementines in our stockings, but Grandma was pretty sauced and tired by the time she went down to stuff the stockings, so price tags were left on and oranges were left out. Heh.
The Dog's dad is English, so add this to the stoic Norwegian and you get a family who keeps grievances with one another locked away for 364 days of the year. On December 24th, everyone deals by getting hammered and then it all comes out. And boy is it messy. Being from a loud middle eastern family that tell each other to fuck off the second we are angry (and then it's like it never happened five minutes later), this is strange to me. Also, nothing makes you feel like you're not family faster than the actual immediate family getting into a feud in front of your face.
Of course as I've moved closer towards becoming a family member (comes with time I suppose), the heat has also started to turn on me. Last year I was spared due to pregnancy, so this year I was scared.
So I took the Dog's advice and started pounding back the Christmas cheer. And my sis-in-law and mum-in-law started to love it during dinner, so I realized I had to stop. I am not a good drunk. I have foot-in-the-mouth disease at the best of times. I am loud on herbal tea. "I'd better stop before I turn into someone's mother," I said to my future brother-in-law with a knowing wink. Future brother-in-law! That's right, our very own Paul Bunyan from Newfoundland popped the question before we opened gifts. He had even asked the Dog's dad for permission the night before. It was a Christmas miracle. Something to deflect attention from me. I saw the diamond from across the room and started screaming. This sent Nate and Bex (my niece-in-law) into tears, for different reasons.
Bex dad left 6 years ago. On Christmas Eve. Until Paul Bunyan (PB) came into her life, we all had to relive that horrible night with my sis-in-law each year. I was still the relatively new girlfriend the night he left and it was my first official Christmas Eve with their fam. Whoa. What an introduction. There were tears and fights. I took my usual roll of cheerleader and tried to save Christmas. But really, who could save that Christmas?
Bex was only almost three then. She can hardly remember what her dad was like, or even what he looked like save for some photos. After years of silence, he has been emailing with her. He has a new family now (the reason he left) and though Bex refers to him as her step-brother, she has a half-brother somewhere in Europe, but that concept is too much for someone who is almost nine. PB has been waking up and making her breakfast and taking her to school and being the man in her life for nearly three years now. But he's not her dad.
She walked in Christmas Eve and the first thing she showed me was a set of earrings and a bracelet. "My daddy gave me these," she said proudly. We all cringed. Your daddy was a dick, we're all thinking. He left you, the most beautiful, lovely almost three year-old, on Christmas to go off with his gypsy lover. We can never forgive him. But she doesn't think of him like that. He is her DADDY. It's a magical concept. And her mother's engagement only symbolized one thing: Mommy and Daddy are not getting back together.
PB handled it with the silent grace he always does. He hugged her and told her this doesn't really change anything and that he loves her and will always be there for her. He is a good man and nothing short of a miracle for this family. God bless him. We opened the rest of the gifts and drank some more and I noticed that tension between mum-in-law and sis-in-law was building (because they are both terrible drunks). I tried to ignore it and focused on Nate, who was trying to figure out what all the hype and wrapping paper was all about. I kept him up as long as I could and then took him upstairs to bed.
When I came back downstairs, I was greeted by the Dog at the bottom step. "You don't want to be down here," he said at the same moment I heard the sobbing. Oh fuck, here we go. Sis-in-law sobbing and blubbering and mum-in-law looking somewhat guilty, but for what? She was too drunk to know. I talked them both off the ledge somehow and we finished with the gifts and got onto talking. And it didn't get out of hand. And no one got pissy or overly political or opinionated. (Debating with people who have the wrong information makes me insane) And my sis-in-law complimented me for knowing a lot of stuff ("I really respect you for that") instead of insulting my know-it-all-ness. It must have been the light off that diamond. Thank Christ!
The rest of Christmas was fun and uneventful and peaceful. My family's Christmas sounds like a snooze compared to theirs -- and man do I LOVE my family for that. They provide enough fodder for the rest of the year, so I'll leave it at that. Nate got some sweet booty, but nothing excessive... sorta. I am particularly smitten with the luxe Burberry knickers, care of his Tante. She's making the Burberry gift an annual tradition she says. And you know what? I'm actually diggin' that my son gets to sport some subtle bling. He's no Rocco Ritchie, but if someone wants to spoil him with the things I can't afford, well Ho Ho HO! I'm down with that sleigh ride. The label train is unavoidable at Christmastime. And though I think a lot of it is evil, I am a much better mom once I relax on my ideals a bit. Plus I get to enjoy a couple of Christmasses where my son is totally oblivious to all that nonsense, before he starts asking for things by name.
Anyway, hope your Christmas weekend was fun. Feel free to comment below (ANYONE can comment. You can leave some of the fields blank as you wish) with your horror stories.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Um, hullo? Bored? Hmm. There are still unpacked boxes in the basement and we've been here since August. There are mountains of gifts that need to be wrapped. The Christmas cards only JUST came from the printer and they need to be personalized and addressed and mailed! There is clean laundry waiting to be put away in the basket and dirty laundry waiting to be washed in the hamper. The fridge is EMPTY. Oh, is that too domestic for you? It's been a year and a half since K & A got married an you still haven't finished their wedding video.
Your son? Remember him? He's like 10 days away from being ONE! There's a party to plan, a house to clean, a gift to be bought! Plus, he's practically walking (any day now, so scary) and he needs constant supervision. So forgive me if I hoped you would play with him while I cleaned the side of the toilet that only YOU pee on.
I didn't actually say any of that of course. I told him he was getting on my nerves and I can't live like that and he should just go and get his damn haircut already. Every morning he wakes up and looks at himself and says, "Damn, I really need to get my haircut." Newsflash: make an appointment! It's that easy!
Anyway, I don't always rag on him like that. He really is great with both of us, but he was PMSing too it seems. So out for a walk and a haircut he went. He came back, I made him lunch, wailed on his head, we had a HUGE heart-to-heart and then lots of snuggly make out time.
Friday: Dinner with the girls at Le Paradis (cheap French food, sexy French waiter, shits and giggles with the gals, Nate at my parents' = fun)
Saturday: Busy Busy! Nate still with Yaya/Dede. The Dog and I audition for a doc because the ad said it paid 1K if you get the gig. That's a weekend away I figure so I drag us to Hotel Le Germain for the try out. "Do you think we got it?" I ask excitedly. "Not a chance in hell," replied the Dog, "I suck at these things".
"Oh yes, you're right there. It's all you. If I was married to that guy in the hall, the one that looked like a Gap ad, WE would have got it for sure."
We had lunch at the revamped Prague Deli (perogies=yum!), which turned into an impromptu double date with a pair who used to work with the Dog in commercial casting (irony). They are hilarious and I have a weird crush on the guy because he is essentially the twin of Seth Cohen from the O.C.
That night we took Ragdoll (My Tragic Right Hip, link on the right, don't feel like typing code now) out for her Mocklorette. She is having what she deems a "non-wedding" on the 28th of December and so it was only fitting that we take her out and get drunk. We ended up at El Convento Rico, a latin club that has a drag show. So it was essentially full of horny latin men that also enjoy watching men who tape their sacks to their backs.
It was so gross in that club that you could have done an episode of CSI My ASS! Dust my booty for prints and shine the black light on it. I got the DNA of several sleazies on me, but Blondie got it the worst. After suggesting to me that most of the patrons might think she's a man due to her height (most of the men there are diminutive) and the concentration of trannies in the joint, Blondie had her cooch... twinkled (how to aptly describe?) while in line for a drink. Was he checking to see if she had a ballsack? I don't know, but at least he could have offered to pay for her drink fer fack's sake!
Sunday: My in-laws had their annual Christmas open house. Nate got introduced to friends of the family and handled it gracefully. He had on this gorgeous sweater that I bought from Monoprix (Walmart with class and wine) in Paris. I gotta get a pic of it and post it for all y'all. Two words: FUDGE TREE!
Monday: We went to the Ontario Science Centre to see the controversial (this link not for the squeemish) Body Worlds 2 exhibit. Is it art? Is it science? Is it just plain weird? It's all those things.
Nate was particularly cute as we walked around the dead bodies, preserved forever through Dr. von Haugen's invention of plastination. He was babbling really loudly. "Doodoodoo" is the latest of cute chants along with "LiddleDiddlediddle". Did I mention he said "Up" on command last week? I must have. God that was awesome.
So there's Nate, trying to stand on and bang on the glass cases which are clearly marked "Do not lean on glass" and everyone looking at me like I am a bad mom who can't control my kid. But he was so cute, how could I deny him the banging? He flirted with some pretty girls and then made me hold his hands while he walked in circles, constantly returning to the skeleton of a small child in a walking pose.
So here were these dead people who had donated their fit bodies to this cause after working so hard on them while alive. Taut muscles exposed, but with schlongdorf and balls still there. With no sac, the balls just hung there. "It looked like Gonzo with earrings," my friend Double D suggested. Yes, yes it did. (oh fuck, I found an image on Google, don't look if you can't handle it) If I had been there with a girlfriend, we would have been kicked out for sure. But I can't be THAT immature around the Dog, he gets pissy. It was interesting to see how my twat might look when I'm doing a back bend in yoga though (you'll have to pay your $25 to see what I'm talking about).
I left the pup with Daddy Dog for a bit while I went to check out the dark curtained room. Outside the room were tiny embryos age 4-8 weeks. No bigger than a grain of rice. Some far smaller than that. It's hard to imagine that something that small can reek so much havoc on your body! In the dark room were some dead fetuses, 20 weeks and up, curled up as they would be in their mother's tummies. It was so fucking sad. And so breathtakingly beautiful.
And then there was the one that made me cry.
A woman, 5-months pregnant, her tummy splayed open to reveal the beautiful baby inside. A first look at something so miraculous, yet so stunning in the true sense of the word. I was stunned. They were dead. They never got to experience what I have just lived every minute of for the past year and a half. But here they were, together forever in physical form, in the utmost embrace and symbol of love -- a woman giving her body up to her growing child. I will be haunted by this image for a long time.
Anyway, I walked away in awe of the human body and the complex web of muscles, ligaments, nerves, bones, vessels and organs that comprise it. And I am in awe of anyone that would take the time to do something in such loving detail.
We walked around the Sports Arcade because no matter what he says, the Dog just wants to throw a fastball and kick the asses of all the little kids and all their dads too. But it's also a room with lotsa buttons for Nate to push -- and you can ride the luge!
T-DOT MOM TIP: So of course we totally miss the part that is specifially designed for his age group until 5 minutes before they close. So we at least use the family washroom, which is so badass! They have short toilets for kiddies next to grown up toilets, a short sink for the wee ones, a change table and free diaper wipes! There is a mini Loblaws style market (not in the washroom silly) with cash registers and fake produce that we MUST go back to check out, so to speak.
Tuesday: Kind of a blur. That was the day of our fight. I recall making a kickass grilled cheese in the sandwich maker. And oh yes, dinner out with Blondie and Crown, et al. at Southern Accent. My sis-in-law babysat for the first time (unlike my sis, she has her own kid, so mine is not the centre of her universe). The surprise appearance of the Dings at dinner was nice. Dingle was single for a blink, then got married and moved away to Vancouver and I had not seen since I was dancing to Madonna, fully preggers at her wedding. GTs my friends. GTs.
Wednesday: I went into the office. Butterflies in my stomach until I got there. And then it wasn't so bad. I met a bunch of new people who seem nice enough, the obligatory temp who looked hopeful that she would indeed see me on the other side of the calendar, and my old faves still hanging in there. Some women I worked with in other departments had gotten pregnant and started their mat leaves while I was on mine. I'd forgotten how quickly you can get knocked up and have a baby. It seems like forever when it's happening to you, but in a lifespan, it's really short.
Blondie and I went for lunch and Tante and Weirdo met up with us. Nate had fallen asleep in the stroller and we realized how strange that must be -- you fall asleep and then you wake up in a sushi restaurant to people staring at you. And oh! Your Tante is there too all of a sudden. And who is this new person? And oh, there's my mummy so I guess it's OK. Somebody stick a boob in my mouth quick! I feel like I'm on Alias.
A quick jaunt to Mecca, I mean Holt Renfrew, who have made an effort with their second floor "Mother's Room." Except once you're done changing and nursing the baby, you have to leave the baby unattended in order to pee, because the Mother's Room has no toilet. It's in the john mind you, so the toilet is close, but like I said, you can't fit your fat ass AND the stroller in the wee regular stall. I had to nurse Nate with the door propped open for air because the disposal company hadn't come to clean out the dirty nappy bin. So it wasn't the 5 star experience I was hoping for. I resolved to buy my Lancome Hypnose (THE BEST) mascara at Shopper's instead so I could get Optimum points.
Then I went back to the office for a quick visit with my work boyfie, Witty J. Oh how I had missed him. He had organized our Amazing Race Pool that I somehow won (I never win anything and when I do, I lose something expensive -- $200 stroller anyone? -- to make it not as much fun), so I used the excuse that I had to collect my cash to finally see him. I heart him.
The one thing I really missed about the office was the free chocolate. It's just not the same when you just have it lying around your house. That reminds me! I bought Ben and Jerry's today! I'll tell you my fave flava if you tell me yours... Excuse me a moment...
So here we go, Christmas Eve Eve upon us. The real drama is about to unfold. I'm not pregnant this year, so the gloves will be off. The family bullies will be out in full force and I will have to use my son as a shield. Heaven help us all.
I'll be back next week with fab stories of torture that will rival Saddam's.
Merry (insert appropriate holiday here)
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
OK, back to what I started last week.
I found myself doing it the other day: using the Santa Clause. "If you don't put those CDs back mister, I'm going to tell Santa!" Crap.
My pal Crafty, made this card with her own talented little fingers last year. After she had her second child 13 months after her first one (read the tale of her double uterus fiasco -- yes, you heard correctly -- here). In this photo, her second child is barely 6 months-old. Crafty makes time for these things. And she doesn't get all Martha Stewarty about it either. She just does it for fun.
Anyway, I just love this photo and look at it often because it makes me laugh. Dylan's utter devestation at being made to sit on the lap of the scary man in red. Sammie's patience and easygoing way. And the look in Santa's eyes is priceless.
It's amazing how we force Santa -- once a symbol of charity and generosity, now a symbol of consumerism and greed -- on our children at such a young age. People are already asking Nate, "Are you excited for Christmas?" Um... he's excited if he's getting banana in his boring cereal OK? He doesn't know what the fuck Christmas is. And I am not sure how I can teach him the true meaning of Christmas when everything around us is buy buy buy.
So I think what I shall start to do is this: every gift he gets a double of (or already has) I will put aside to give to a Christmas Wish organization next year. As he gets older, he may whine about this, wanting instead to exchange it for more stuff. And that's where the lesson comes in. Whaddya think? Yes, I also think he may resent me when he's older, but that's going to happen regardless.
I watched The Passion of the Christ recently for the first time. I am always at odds with my spiritual upbringing and my relationship with the idea of Christianity. While part of me adores the idea of unabashed faith, I see that fervent believers are those who do the best and WORST acts in our society. My heart wants to believe just enough to get me through, but my brain doesn't buy the stories or the evil acts that cloak themselves in the shroud of religion.
The film moved me and I thought about it as I imagined what I might do to those who stole my stroller. Then I remembered a simple suggestion. Love Thine Enemies. And I thought long and hard about the type of person who would steal a stroller. From a baby. Right before Christmas.
Whomever would do such a thing is in far worse shape than I. They either need money for Christmas, or a stroller for their baby, or are drunks or drug addicts, or punk ass kids having a laugh, or any combination of those. And so I thought, nope, I'm not going to hate on them. I'm going to hope that they find their way in life. Whether or not you believe, the root of these teachings is not evil, but a nugget of goodness and wisdom that anyone, of any faith or walk of life can take away with them. We just need to find a way to take the stigma out of the dogma - heh, always wanted to use both those in a sentence.
And then good ol' St. Nick made his first appearance of the season via a Christmas miracle. The generosity of someone I am only JUST getting to know. An angel in the form of a neighbour and fast-growing friend. A phone call to say she had a stroller she wasn't using that I was welcome to. It totally renewed my faith... in my fellow human being.
Merry Christmas friends.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
He is totally asserting himself now, making it REALLY clear when he's not down with something. Last week it was his afternoon nap, and then last night at 1 am, it was sleeping in general.
While Squareface is generally obedient, FuckFace likes to look you in the eye and laugh as he touches something he shouldn't be. Last week, I caught him with his hand in the bathroom trash can, about to chew on (wait for it) a used condom! NASTY! As if I didn't have enough things turning me off of sex lately. (At least we finally managed to get it on)
While Squareface eats everything with joy and great pleasure, FuckFace likes to take food and fling it to the ground in a defiant simian fashion. FuckFace will also seal his mouth with every muscle in his face and has even learned to chuckle with lips vaulted (this is my fault, as I frequently make him laugh only to sneak a spoonful in his mouth).
Squareface will cry for a few minutes before settling down on his own for his nap or bedtime. FuckFace will scream in octaves Mariah Carey wishes she could hit -- for 30 minutes to an hour. The alternate noise of choice is the low, growling wail of an animal, reminiscent of the Tasmanian Devil. Squareface will share his milk with his Elmo doll (a post on this new development to come), while FuckFace will grab Elmo by his hard plastic eyeballs and toss him out of the crib.
Squareface quietly chews on a Robee or babbles cutely while having his diaper changed. FuckFace grabs his shit-covered balls and laughs. Then he tries to touch your face.
FuckFace never wants to leave your side. Not to sleep, not so you can shower or pee or blog. He is constantly whining for you, climbing up your leg, or trying to suck your tit with your clothes still on.
FuckFace does make the prospect of going back to work a touch easier. But I'm sure that when I'm drudging away at my desk in a month's time, I'll be thinking of the Double-F's antics and giggling until I bawl at my desk.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Who the fuck would steal a stroller, from a BABY, off my porch, RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS?
I have a good suspiscion who.
Last night was the 15th of the month, meaning (I'm about to be so mutha fucking politically incorrect here) Welfare cheques were doled out. To most people this doesn't mean anything. To those who need it, perhaps it offers them a chance to pay some bills, buy some food and try to survive in this expensive city for another month. To those who ABUSE it, like my next door fucking neighbours who were EVICTED and decided not to leave, it means PARTY TIME.
They were out all night partying away. Outside of the house, in the snow, coming and going in cars, very DRUNK mind you. I was just out shovelling the snow and I saw a messed up woman and loser guy (they looked seriously fucked up) stagger out of the house. They don't live there.
Lord help me I want to kick some ass. What do I do? Do I call the cops and suggest that it was my neighbours or their loser friends? They've had a high chair covered in snow sitting in their yard for 2 months. These are people who think that if you attach a snowblower motor to a bike with a pipe cleaner, you can have your own motor bike! NO JOKE! "All the kids are doing it these days," the youngest skid said after he asked us for some pipe cleaner.
We are not wealthy people. OK, wealthy by third world standards -- yes. But our car doesn't start and has a dent in the side. We've lived with our tub duct taped to the wall because we couldn't afford to fix our bathroom until I went back to work. We spent every dime we had on a home for our baby boy. We're hard working people who are just trying to make ends meet like everyone else. We ride bikes and take transit. We are kind to strangers. We try give what little we have to charity. We shovel out neighbour's walk. (not the skids, our nice neighbours on the other side. The skids can go fuck themselves) Why? Why? Why would someone do this to us?
I can't fucking believe this shit. And it's actually nice enough out to have taken a stroll with the all terrain tires. It's not the thing itself, it's the principle. It wasn't the most expensive stroller, but it was a gift from my mum-in-law and sis-in-law. And frankly with Christmas and crap and being on sort of a fixed income right now, I can't afford to get a new one. Not a semi-decent, tires won't fall off when they touch the snow one anyway.
Now the fact that someone could come right up to my front door while I'm sleeping really pisses me off. I am so used to those idiots making noise out front that I've learned to ignore it as opposed to waking up and seeing what it might be. But the gloves are off. I am getting them kicked out come hell or high water man. Their days on this street are numbered.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
He kinda looks like a merman. I hate that word, but mermaid just doesn't cut it. Like ballerina and ballerino(?) Is ballerino even a word? I have no clue, but sometimes changing the gender of these words makes a totally dumb-ass word.
The stocking was a tad snug. Ideally it would have come up to his chest to avoid the Brad Pitt/Fight Club hip groove that makes this photo feel a little... wrong. But he's still pretty cute so I thought I'd show it off anyway. He promptly peed on my Turkish antique rug after this photo was taken. Merry Christmas Mommy!
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
The first mouse showed up about two months ago. The cat was bashing it about on the stair landing and I was frozen at the top step wondering if I had the balls to get down. This went on for about 24 hours off and on. Then my man decided to be all heroic and save the wee mouse from the clutches of the cat and take him outside to safety. And how did this cute mouse thank him? By biting him twice on the hand.
Two bandaids and a tetanus shot later, the Dog was convinced that there was only one mouse and it was dealt with. No, I insisted, these things have a gestational period of like 10 days or something. So when there is one mouse, there are MORE. Telltale signs of mouse shit started appearing underneath my sink. They were clearly enjoying the warmth behind the dishwasher and sneaking out for crumbs when the cat was on break.
The cat caught two more mice. Both times she brought them upstairs into Nate's room. Both times the Dog managed to usher her outside with her prey, a murderous look in her eyes. Then I insisted on traps. Nate is the crawl-master now and all over the floor. His pincer grip is able to grasp the tiniest fleck with thumb and index finger, making it easy for him to basically eat mouse shit. The mice HAD to go.
The first trap killed one within 20 minutes of being set. The Dog sighed. "I don't like to kill things," he muttered, tossing the dead carcass onto the backyard snow. I felt bad for being such a cold bitch and told him we wouldn't set anymore traps and leave the rest to the cat.
The next morning, we were about to FINALLY get it on and baptize the new mattress. Nate started to cry in his room. Well actually, the Dog got turned on as I was nursing Nate in our bed (we all like a snuggle in the morn). "Sometimes it turns me on that you can do that," he said, giving me the look. Hey, I'm no fool, so I told him to put the baby in his room with some toys and shut the door. (Bad Mommy, I know, I am a fucking whore) But just as the Dog made it back into our bedroom, Nate started whining. "Give him a toy that makes noise," I instructed. "Push some buttons to distract him."
So he stepped out the door to our room and SQUISH! Turns out the cat had been playing with a mouse on the stairs and the Dog was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He smashed its head in with his foot (thank God we hadn't gotten far enough for his socks to be off) and there was blood all over my top step. Needless to say, we didn't pick up where we left off.
The traps were promptly re-set. This week we've caught 6 mice in traps and the cat took care of another. But all has been quiet for the last few days when the extreme cold must have taken care of the rest of them.
Still I can't help but feel a little twinge of guilt each night as I read from Goodnight Moon , "There was a little toyhouse/ And a young mouse" and notice that the cute mouse is in almost every colour illustration in the damn book. Ah well.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Today I came home to part of my holiday Indigo book order and a gift for Nate from friends in Arizona. I also had a rather large envelope from Today's Parent magazine.
"Holy shit Nate," I muttered, baby on my lap, hot and squirming to get out of his ski jacket, "They are turning Mommy down! I can't fucking believe this."
I had pitched them an article a while back on Mom blogs. Ann, Jen, Marla and Kristin were all going to contribute with snazzy quotes. It was going to fucking rock. But while I have a lot of writing experience for online, I don't have a ton of print experience (one zine and one magazine). Nor do I have any formal training. And maybe I'm just not Today's Parent material. (Maybe I should have mentioned that I would not be using the word "Fuck" in my article? God I love the word. FUCK!)
I had never queried a magazine before and the whole process was new to me. Still, I had high hopes. I guess I was thinking that getting the greenlight from a major Canadian publication would be the start of a freelance career. But alas, no.
How do people do it? There are so many fabulous writers out there. So many who are already working. So many who are writing blogs who are yet undiscovered. REALLY good writers. How do you turn it into something successful for yourself when there is so much competition out there? Sometimes it scares me. What if my dreams don't come true?
My dad has been writing his whole life. He had a manuscript turned down in the 80s and he never recovered. So he hides in his fave Archie Bunker chair and scribbles the same book over and over in different ways. I am eager to break the cycle, and I guess with my web, screen and small mag writing I've already had more professional success than him. But is that all the success I'm meant to have? And how will I find the time to actually write something meaningful with a baby and a job?
Sometimes I realize that I'm losing the battle before I've gone to war (to use a cliché -- which you're never supposed to do). But I'm a mom in my 30s and I feel the clock ticking. My creative career clock. I guess you are always searching for at least one of the big three: Your life's passion, your life's great love, and your life's great belief (Is that the third one? I can't fucking remember now). So what happens when you find your passion, but have no clue about how to make it a reality?
Now I totally know how the Dog feels when one of his films get rejected by a film festival. The ego is bruised. I feel a tad like a loser who's going nowhere and should be nicer to people in corporations, since she'll be in a veal-fattening pen her whole life.
I also know that like anything, you just have to get back on the bike and try again. But FUCKFUCKFUCK it sucks so much ass to get turned down.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
I used to write whatever I felt or thought about pregnancy, that's how I got into this whole blogging thing. None of my closest gal pals were pregnant and I was nursing the 12 week first trimester secret. All these strange things were happening to me that no one had told me about and I was desperate to put them down in non-clinical terms. I wanted to write them in such a way that when my friends became pregnant, they could look back at what I'd experienced and be able to laugh and feel like it was normal to go through some of these physical and emotional changes.
But then, as Jen said, people started to read me. And I started to think about what I write, instead of just writing what I think. Then people I knew started reading and it became hard to say someone is pissing me off on the off chance that they would read and take offence.
I haven't had nearly the success with the blog that Jen at MUBAR has. The Mom Show used some of what I wrote, but that's about it. And in reality, writing a blog with the hopes of getting a book deal really fucks with your writing and that just defeats the whole purpose. Obsessing with site metres and wondering who's reading me just messes with my ego.
Don't get me wrong, I love that you lovelies, take time out of your day to see what I'm up to. It is one of the great rewards of putting yourself out there. But Queen Nomad mentioned in Paris that my blog voice was like a face that I put on, like the "work laugh". And it made me think. I'm putting something out there, but how much of it is still really me?
So no more censorship of my feelings and my reality, no more toning down my truck driver vocab, no more Mr. Nice Mom.
Here I am folks. A flawed, sarcastic, scared freak. A loving, laughing, living human. If you don't like it, go fuck yourself.
But if you do like a good side of snark, pull up a chair, because the bitch is back.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Everyone I know who gets the flu-shot (really just Blondie/Beaches) gets freakin' more sick than I do. I've known Blondie to get Norwalk and every other nasty bug that the damn flu shot doesn't cover. Last year, she couldn't get the flu shot because she was recovering from a cold when they were doling them out at work. And know what? She didn't really get sick all winter.
So I don't know what the verdict on this is. I know I won't be getting one, but should I believe the massive health campaign from the gov't and dose him up? Am I already too late to be making this decision?
We woke up this morning to mountains of snow. The kind of snow that makes it a battle to push a stroller, takes buses hours to reach their destinations, and makes getting around the city a bitch. One of those "If you don't have to go out, don't" days. A day to look out your back window and try to figure out what animal made the tracks in your otherwise pristinely blanketed yard. The kind of day for playing Scrabble and watching soaps and putzing about the house.
So on Tante's suggestion (she's been sitting in traffic for an hour and a half -- and she, unlike moi, is normally super-punctual), I cancelled my appointment to visit the office. Which is a little bit too bad, because I had psyched myself up for it. But alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
But the mattress is huge and fluffy and fabulous. I forgot that we also got the memory foam stuff that Queen Nomad had been raving about, the stuff that you just sink into and wraps around your whole body. (No Christmas prezzies for each other this year.) The sales pitch was that we spend one third of our lives sleeping and most of us spend more money on shoes in a lifetime. (Um yeah. Who the fuck sees my mattress? I spend a lot of time on my feet too!) So when we finally went to bed last night, I was thrilled.
What happened to me when I lay down was similar to what happens at the end of yoga during Shivasina (sp?). It was a release. Release of tension and emotions. And for the first time it hit me. In a few weeks time I will no longer be Nate's primary caregiver.
So I did what any Mommy obsessed with her son would do. I BAWLED my friggin' eyes out.
I hate the thought of going back to work. There, I said it. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that I'll be able to afford to fix my bathroom (which is in utter shambles) and pay off my line of credit. Sure. But I'd rather be in debt forever than have to be relegated to looking forward to my weekends again. My two days a week, the only days when I will have time during the hours of 8am and 6 pm to be with my bay boy. It sucks hairy assholes.
The fact that a total stranger will be the one my son goes to for comfort, I can't bear it. And until this morning, I had no clue who this total stranger would be. While many of my mommy peers signed up for daycare waiting lists at 12 weeks pregnant, I have been in denial and took to long to look into daycare. I'm on, oh, ZERO waiting lists. Daycare spaces for babies (under 18 months old) are SUPER LIMITED, which is a good thing for the babies, but due to the high demand, most places wouldn't even return my calls!
I am going into work on Friday to meet some of the new members of our department. People hired while I was away that I will be working with in the new year. I am extremely nervous about even entering the building after so much time away. Getting back into the swing of things makes it all the more real. It's happening. I can do nothing to stop it.
All of these things are piling up on my emotional state and last night I let go for the first time. The Dog woke up to find me sobbing hysterically and reached over to hold me as I splashed giant globby tears on his furry chest. He tried to reassure me that everything will be OK. I so want to believe that it will, but I'm worried about what this will do to my family. We've finally got our groove on and it will all be disrupted in 45 days.
This morning I finally got a call back from my sister-in-law's home daycare provider. She was rather reassuring, but not so nurturing-sounding that I would worry about her taking my place. Nate would be the only baby in the home, with a two and a 1/2 year-old and a three and a 1/2 year-old to play with. The rest of the kids go to school and so it's probably a touch chaotic between 4 and 5:30 pm, but other than that it seems relatively low key and homey. She provides food taking the stress off me to prepare stuff (will have to chill out on my organic obsession I guess). She will take him to library programs and drop-in centres. Things that I wasn't so awesome at doing myself this year.
So perhaps it will be OK. But as I settled in for a mid-morning nap with Nate on my lovely mattress today, I couldn't help but savour it and stay under the covers longer than I should. Knowing that soon, mornings like this will be a treat that gets me through my work week.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Case in point, this whole issue with getting Nate to stay asleep. I have read three books with three totally different viewpoints on the subject. I tried a bit of each and when that didn’t work, I decided to stick to one method and go hardcore.
My mother-in-law calls.
“We’ve been letting him cry,” I inform her.
“Oh you are? Oh poor thing.”
“It’s not so bad. The longest he’s cried is for an hour.”
“An hour! You let him cry for a whole hour? Oh poor little guy.”
This is when I start to backtrack so the person giving me the message doesn’t think I’m a total asshole.
“Well we’ve been going to him to try to comfort him and make sure he’s dry and fever-free, but that only seems to make him more upset. So we had to just let him do it on his own.”
“But he doesn’t seem psychologically damaged in the mornings. He’s in a great mood!”
Shovel shovel shovel.
Then my mother calls.
“How did my son sleep last night?” (Suddenly he’s HER son.)
“Good. We let him cry it out and it seemed to work.”
Insert high-pitched Middle Eastern accent here. “What?!”
“Yup. Nothing else is working. We had to go cold turkey.”
“OK, but don’t let him cry too hard. You know what they say about letting boys cry and their havgeets (eggs).”
Every time she starts a sentence with “you know what they say” I should just tune out immediately.
“No Ma, what do they say?”
“Well I don’t know exactly, but it’s supposed to be bad. Even Hovsep said so. So promise me you won’t let him cry too hard.”
This is usually when I lose my patience with her. Hovsep is an Armenian man in his 70s. He is not the world’s leading authority on my son’s havgeets. But suddenly I’m afraid for Nate’s reproductive organs. I look it up on the Internet right away. The rare case, no one on Earth with access to the web has experienced this. Or maybe I Googled it wrong.
Anyway, miraculously, Nate slept from 7:30 pm to 7:30 am last night without waking up and crying once. The conditioning has worked, though his thumb looks like leather from the sucking with the teeth to soothe himself. We celebrated by buying a new mattress -- pocket coils, pillow top, the works. (We actually bought it a week ago in anticipation. It arrives tomorrow! Zzzzzzzzz
Monday, December 05, 2005
Apparently we all looked good, but the Dog came off a little weird. Mostly because I can write these shows in my sleep and know exactly what to say, whereas he is used to being on the other side of the camera. Also got the report that the house looks larger and better than in real life, which I find hillarious, because it was in mega reno state at the time.
I'm glad it turned out well. We now have a nice little momento of the summer we moved into this house and the day Nate got his first tooth.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Yay, now playing Ephemera's "Girls Keep Secrets." Things are looking up indeed.
Anyway, Holy Fuck my baby is going to have ADD and it’s all my fault!
Then my BFF Queen Nomad sent me this from the BBC, a rant about paranoia and parenthood and how we don’t let our children experience the world for themselves anymore. And many parents commented that the world is far too scary to let children experience fuck all for themselves. (I personally love the bit about parents leaving their kids in the car while they duck into the pub. Heh.)
So I’m adding up all my experiences of the past year and everything comes down to one complex message: Too Much Information Leads to Fear, Which Leads to Spending. And who gives us this information? Oh it’s just too easy to blame the media. The actual answer is EVERYBODY.
When I was younger my mother used to try to convince me to take the dumb road. “Don’t ask too many questions,” she would caution. “With some things, it’s better if you don’t know.” But as in everything, I’ve always disregarded her advice and done the opposite just to piss her off. Somehow it drove me to be more inquisitive, to always question the world around me and challenge authority. And I gotta tell ya – she was right – it’s only landed me up shit’s creek.
When I got pregnant, in true to scarbie doll form, I read everything I could get my hands on. And that’s where it starts – in the womb. Everything you read or hear leads you to believe the following messages:
If you DON'T do/consume/buy THIS, (pause for effect) your baby could die.
If you DO do/consume/buy THIS, (pause for effect) your baby could die.
Wait a second. Is it me, or are those two messages fucking contradictory and confusing? Ghost of Marshall McLuhan, can you explain this shit to me? Because much like points cards in my wallet, the damn messages are piling up and weighing me down.
The last thing on earth any of us want to be is a bad parent. Lord knows we’ve all had those in our lives. It’s the reason many of my friends opt out of parenthood altogether. I get that. So when someone insists that something is bad for your child, no matter how ridiculous, you will ponder its validity for a few minutes. Then you’ll inevitably turn to the king of information evil: the good ol’ www.
No one on the web has anything positive to say. If I research infant strokes, I will end up believing that my son will never walk, never dance at the prom and never be able to hold his own child. (Bwaaah!) If I look up car seats, somebody’s child will have died in an accident involving the exact model that is in my car. (Shall I slit my wrists now or later?) You get the picture. The Internet feeds on fear and the insatiable need of humans to learn about the worst-case scenario. And then it points you to the appropriate site that will take your money out of your hands to make you feel better.
Your baby has colic? You’ll buy every bottle/nipple combo on the market until the damn 3 months have passed and the colic is over. Your baby has a fever? Well the digital ear thermometer that looked so awesome at Sears when you had no clue, it won’t work on babies under 3, so maybe you should buy the rectal one. Oh wait, you tried that and it was icky? Then you should buy the new pacifier model. You gotta buy the Bugaboo stroller. You want to be a good parent, don’t you? Ka-ching.
Here are some more annoying messages found on toys, etc.:
Never Leave Child Unattended. (I wrote a whole post on this annoying message here)
Always Use Restraint. (I like that one in particular. It means use the safety belt, but it really has a deeper meaning)
Surface Wash Only (If I can’t throw the cow that says “Moo” that Nate chews on all day in the wash – what the fuck is the point?)
Got any annoying messages you’d like to share?
Friday, December 02, 2005
Oh dear lord, I hope not.
Lemme think... last night?
Tried making out with the Dog when he came home from work just after idnight but he rolled over and passed out before anything actually happened.
Last week period, so maybe just a hand-job... the week before?
Nah, I think the baby woke up screaming right in the middle...
It's happening folks.
The tiredness of parenthood is killing our once ultra-hot sex life.
My chooch is getting a little dusty from lack of use. I am procrastinating my visit to the wax lady and the new bra set I got in France has only been worn once. I actually blow-dried my hair yesterday and wore a clean t-shirt and the Dog asked, "Who you getting all sexied up for?" A clean t-shirt people! Hair not in a pony tail! When did that start to equal "sexied up" ??? I gotta start getting out of my jammies more often.
On November 18th I tried to write about my baby sister turning 30, about our relationship with one another, but words failed me. It was too painful, too complicated, and I always feel like people just won't get it. To the outside world, what we have is often viewed as unhealthy, not normal, and a little scary at times. As Lori Lansens writes, "I love my sister as I love myself. I hate her that way too."
Exactly 1 year, 4 months and 11 days younger than me, my mother had her "oops" moment when I was just 8 months-old. My baby sister arrived by scheduled cesarian and was incubated for jaundice for a few days. I was brought to the hospital room and turned every pillow and bouquet upside down looking for "Baby? Bay-bee?"
A month later, my interest subsided, morphing into the greenest of envy. "Um, excuse me, but wasn't I the centre of everyone's universe? Bitch please! Who the fuck do you think you are coming all up in here like this." My favourite Christmas photo involves me trying to escape a perfectly nice Kodak moment next to our fake tree (that they only got rid of two years ago mind you!). In the moment the photo was captured, my struggle caused my month-old sister's head to hit the edge of the sharp teak coffee table.
And so began the unique dance of sisters who were not quite twins, nor technically conjoined, but locked together for life. In some ways so utterly wonderful, and in others, so toxicly unhealthy.
Lori Lansens gets it. Reading The Girls , I was struck by how much I could relate to the characters of Rose and Ruby. Next to my husband and now my son, my sister is the closest person to me on this planet. In many ways, she knows things about me that no other human could ever know. Things you can only know about someone by sharing their history (and their living space) for decades. In our case, a quarter of a century. Just the sheer being aroud someone for so long. It's like you pick things up about each other through osmosis.
Much like conjoined twins, we are a package. You want one of us, you usually get both through no choice of your own. There was never a birthday party I was invited to that I went to without my sister (though mainly because my mother forced me to take her everywhere. Looking at it now, I realize it was a ploy to get alone time). Even our early dating experiences were side-by-side. Brothers, best friends, these were often relationships of convenience. "You go for him, I'll go for that one and we can all hang out." As we grew older, the fates of our romantic relationships were sealed by the guy's abilty or inability to also woo the sister. The Dog knew when he put the ring on my finger that Sista Sunny would be coming along for parts of the journey too. He still doesn't fully get it, but he rarely objects.
In high school, we were referred to as The Twins. Not only do we look similar, but we also sound identical. Unlike Rose and Ruby, we do finish one another's sentences. Or say the exact same thing at the same time. Or find that we are both humming the same obscure old pop song out of nowhere. We call this phenomenon the "Me Too" syndrome. "My right eye hurts." "Me too!"
But that's really where the similarities stop. We have common interests (Duran Duran, shopping, family, travel, pop culture) but our tastes in these individual areas vary greatly. We do our best to respect the style of the other. She's Bloor Street to my Kensington Market. She's Simon Le Bon, I'm John Taylor.
My sister will give you the Juicy Couture top off her back ("I'm getting bored of it anyway.") if it makes you smile. She feels sorry for me that I am married to a perma-poor artist and can't afford a real designer bag ("Don't worry. The fake one looks pretty real."). She doesn't see that this doesn't really bother me at all, but she does appreciate how happy I can be in a vintage shop. To me finding that one perfect item with a history is equivalent, if not better, than any Louis Vuitton bag. Likewise, I can understand how she might feel carrying her Speedy around town like an ingenue.
My sister does not feel things in greys, rather in absolute black or white. "I HATE house parties!" "I LOVE Alias!" "We HAVE to rent a villa in Italy next summer!" Because she feels so passionately about things, she also hurts as strongly when someone disappoints her. She doesn't get mad, she becomes enraged. She doesn't cry softly, she tells you you've ruined her life. Thus she is shy amongst strangers and very guarded with her emotions. You have to earn her trust. And as a result, so often she comes off as a total BITCH. But she's so much more complex than that. So loving and protective and soft in the middle.
We hurt each other like no other two people could. We know exactly which buttons to push, which wounds will hurt more. We criticize one another often (I more than she, a bad trait learned from my mother) and our emotional currency is guilt. She demands unrealistic things of me at times, and still I try to please her, even when there is no winning. I have failed her time and time over, but she remains ever-loyal, reeling from the sting of disappointment, loving me whole-heartedly nonetheless. The days and nights for gallavanting and playing games are greatly reduced, but we still can have a good laugh. She knows I have a family and responsibilities of my own and magically appears to my rescue just when I need her the most.
Like conjoined twins, I've often thought about cutting her off. Being separated. Being allowed to fully be an individual without the need for input or acceptance from the other. But to do so would surely be the death of me. She is so much a part of who I am. And it's as beautiful as it is difficult. If you're reading this (you're not because you're already bored to tears by now), I love you. "So many things I've never done, but oh, how I've been loved. And, if such things were to be, I'd live a thousand lives as me, to be loved so exponentially."
But I digress (am I the only one who thinks of Bill and Ted when I hear that phrase?). It's just that The Girls opened up my Pandora's Box. The vault of memories. The need to define a relationship so indecipherable. "I have never looked into my sister's eyes," the book begins. That line still gives me chills.The descriptions of Southwestern Ontario with farms, bungalows and an incestuously small community made me feel as though I too grew up there, though it couldn't be further from my suburban Scarborough upbringing of townhouse complexes and strip malls. I couldn't decide which twin I liked better, they both had such admirable qualities about them. Their lives were extraordinary. The fact that they could grow up fairly normally, despite their unique predicament, made the situations they got into that much more interesting.
The fact that Rose is an aspiring writer really spoke to me too. "How can I be a writer of I don't even have a degree?" Rose asks early on. I am always struggling with the fact that I never finished university. It's my life's one regret (well that and sleeping with this idiot) and so it struck a chord. A lot of Rose's difficulties with writing made me think that the author was experiencing these issues through the character. Writer's block for example.
Lori Lansens really gets into these characters, as though she was wearing them while she was writing. She has said that she was inspired by breastfeeding her own children. And there are definite similarities to being joined to a child and being joined to a twin. Especially a twin you have to carry on your hip like a child. But part of me truly wonders if Lori Lansens has a super close sibling like me. If this ever comes up in a Google Search, perhaps she could leave us a comment and let us know. Anyway, I think I shall have to read her first novel Rush Home Road now. I am a definite fan. If I saw her at say... Fresh on Queen West, I'd have to go up to her and give her props.
What did y'all think of the book? Perhaps your comments will ignite some more ideas from me. I will say that I finished the book on the way home from Paris and I sobbed the most embarrassing sobs ever in public.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Our front porch is old. It needs to come down. We know this. But for the time being, we agreed that we would try to make it as slip-proof as possible. The wood on the stairs up to our door is soft and smooth. Combine that with rain and some leaves... well we knew it was coming. In fact we were on our way to the Crappy Tire to find a solution.
It was mild so I had on my Paris boots and a skirt. Daddy Dog forgot something in the house, so he passed me Nate in the doorway. I stood at the end of the porch and said to Nate, "Now we've got to be careful so we don't slip." Took the first step, no prob. Second step--Oh Fuck I'm FALLING! And then my ass hit a step hard. I lost my grip. My baby flew out of my arms.
My hands are shaking as I write this. I am accident-prone. I have a short attention span and am often looking the other way when there's a truck coming towards me. You get the picture.
Never in a million years would I have thought that I would let go of my child in that situation. But somehow I did.
I got on my feet as quickly as I could. The whole thing went by so fast. He was lying motionless, face-first on the ground between my stairs and my next-door neighbour's. Holy Fuck. He's dead, I thought. Then he started to scream. Oh my lord, he's broken his arm, I thought. I shouted for the Dog as I picked my baby up and tried to console him. There were so many sharp, hard places he could have hit his head: my neighbour's steps, a concrete brick, the sticking-up root of a bush. But he landed right between them all in a pile of soft wet leaves. I have no recollection of how far he fell. But he only has one tiny bruise on his knee.
Thank Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, whoever it was.
I, on the other hand, am feeling like maybe I bit off more than I can chew with this motherhood thing. That maybe someone as unsafe as me should not be handling someone else's life on a daily basis. Not to mention I'm in my thirties and a fall like that is not one you just spring back from. I feel like I was in a WWF/E match. The bruise on my ass and hip is purply black and in a perfectly straight line about 8 inches long. Longer than my c-section scar! I tore my stockings, shredded my knee, scraped my new boots, pulled my back and also badly bruised my arms. What a crap week.
The remarkable thing is that I did sorta spring back. Or at least, into action. Seeing my son lying there like that... well normally I would have sat on the step and cried and milked it and tried to make the Dog feel guilty for putting off the whole fixing of the stairs thing. But I didn't have time. All I could think of was Nate. Who was totally fine by the way.
Even with all the Crying It Out this week, the giant tumble, the pain in my body, the lack of sleep... it could be worse. Nate has been so gracious through it all. I am amazed by resilient he is. How strong and coordinated and careful. How happy and giggly. He clearly doesn't hold a grudge, 'cause when he wakes up in the morning after a night of Crying It Out, he's all smiles to see me.
He will be 11 months-old tomorrow. I can't believe how fast it's gone by. It's something you can't gauge until it happens to you, no matter how many people tell you the cliche. And no matter how scary, or how much work, responsibility and time it is, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Even the bad parts. Anything for one of those Natey smiles.
He's my dream come true.
Now you'll have to excuse me, I've got a birthday party to plan. *GULP*
Wait, I thought, I'll just do it all online. That's how I avoided malls during my un-friggin-believably pregnant stage this time last year. So I went to Mastermind Toys website and picked out something for the 6 little kiddies in my life. Went to the checkout... wait a minute... oh yeah, I don't actually have any money. Zilch. PC Mastercard? Maxed.
That's what happens when you go to Paris when you're on a fixed government income. Shoulda thought that through more. Suddenly Money Mart commercials pique my interest.