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June 30, 2008

Just when you think you've got it all figured out...

N548797673_1426140_5287_3 It's Day 2 of vacation and here I sit, blogging. I'll be offline for a week or so after this, but just wanted to let you know that I didn't finally fall off the edge and into the great motherhood abyss.

But while I'm here, I might as well fill you in on Vacation, Day 1. It started with me going bathing suit shopping. I know, I know. Bad idea. What can I say, it was hot, I may have been feverish. But the 3-way mirror quickly snapped me out of my haze. Whoever invented those things should be shot. Or maybe they should be given a lifetime achievement award, because even though they have caused me moments of utter shock and horror, they have also saved me from making some disastrous fashion choices - like jeans with no back pockets, for example. Bad. Very, very  bad. But I digress.

Things got marginally better from there when the dog wretched all over the back of the car in the midst of our road trip. Good times.

But here's the real highlight: Our holiday hideaway has no crib. I knew that going in, and so decided it would be the perfect time to make the dreaded leap to the big girl bed. On vacation. I swear, at the time it made so much sense. We bought the Dora sheets, we hyped it up, we did everything we were supposed to do. And yet still, I admit, the air was thick with the weight of my own panic.

So fast forward to the Day 1 nap: Mads yelling and banging the door, me lying her back down. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. AP mamas beware, you're not going to like this. We eventually shut the door and left her in there. She protested (nice word for it, isn't it? I envision her with a Crayola drawn picket sign: NO CRIB, NO PEACE) for a while, and by the time she finally fell quiet I was the one who was bawling. But at least she was sleeping. Sure, it only lasted 20 minutes, but it was a start. Then I went in to find her still very tired with the carpet pattern imprinted on her cheek. She readily admitted that she slept "right here" - pointing to the rug by the bedroom door. Heart. Breaking.

The night went much better, as did today's nap. Tonight, as I've been writing, she's been yelling. But now she seems - knock on wood, fingers crossed - settled.

If you have an in with the sleep gods, please put in a good word for us.

Happy and restful weeks to everyone... xo

June 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 25, 2008

G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S

This weekend I decided that I am in serious need of change. I need to see the world, to take up religion, or glass blowing, or at the very least advanced needlepoint. But all of those things just seem like so much work, so instead I decided to chop off my hair. Well, I decided to have someone else chop off my hair for me, because the last time I trimmed Maddie's bangs she ended up bearing an uncanny resemblance to Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber. She managed to almost pull it off, but that would so not be a good look for me.

Now, just about everyone I know gets real, grown-up haircuts at fancypants downtown salons. If only I weren't so cheap frugal that is the kind of haircut I would get, too (I've recently put us on a budget - more on that another time). But instead I ended up at the mall, in the suburbs. I didn't even need to call ahead, I just walked right in and sat down at the sink. It was that kind of place. Thirty bucks and 15 minutes later I was done, my once-glorious mane (okay, I exaggerate) a mouse-brown heap on the peeling linoleum floor.

On the way home I picked up a box of hair dye to complete the stunning transformation. I applied it during a quick intermission from our nightly dvd rental (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - a French flick about a guy locked inside his paralyzed body. Yeah, it was a riot, as you can imagine). Anyways, as I was throwing away recycling the dye box I noticed that one of the full bottles was still in there. Which means it was not mixed in with the goop on my head, where it was supposed to be. Ugh. F said I should just rinse it out since it had only been a couple of minutes. Um, and waste $9.29?! I don't think so.

So I took my chances and while the result is not a total and complete disaster, I am far from the "Shimmering Golden Toffee" I had planned on becoming. I do not shimmer, I am not golden. As for the toffee part... not so much. Transformation complete. Kind of.

I'm taking it in stride, though. I've pretty much been having one giant bad hair day since I became a mom (perma-ponytail, anyone?), so how much worse could it get?

ps - The Baby Borrowers premieres tonight!

June 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 23, 2008

Teenage pregnancy: Everyone's doing it!

Juno_2  My fellow bloggy mom Courtney and many others have been posting about this story this week, and I’m about to jump on their bandwagon.

By now I’m sure everyone’s heard about the Gloucester High School “pregnancy pact” which has resulted in 17 teenage girls – all under 16 years old – waddling around town with babies on the way. Officials are saying it wasn’t a conspiracy, but the fact is that there are 4 times more girls pregnant this year than last, so either they set out to do it or there’s something in the water out there.

Apparently the girls were eager to become pregnant by any means – the dads-to-be range from their high school classmates to, in one case, “a 24-year-old homeless guy.” Nice. I’m not sure if that’ll fit on the birth certificate.

So some are blaming this on Jamie Lynn Spears, the poster girl for teenage pregnancy, while others are calling it the “Juno effect.” I call it stupid. Plain and simple. I loved The Breakfast Club as much as the next girl, but it didn’t make me want me to spend my life in detention making out with the goth guy from the smoke pit (ugh, I just dated myself, didn’t I?). And yes, maybe I’m glossing over the fact that some of these girls must have felt pretty desperate to decide that a baby was the answer to their problems. But as my pal Seuss so wisely put it, they’ve got brains in their heads and feet in their shoes. Put them to use.

I don't know if 16 is old enough to be a mom - for some I'm sure it is, I suppose it all just depends on the mom in question. I know that for me 31 feels barely old enough on some days. But 16 is definitely old enough to know that movies are not real life, and that babies are more than a super cute accessory. Babies, as we all know firsthand, cry and scream and spit up and don’t sleep and have truly spectacular and god awful bowel movements. They require infinite patience and a healthy perspective and industrial strength earplugs. More than that even, they need a whole lot of attention and moms who are prepared to put their needs above all else.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the selflessness of motherhood. If I am completely honest with you, I wanted a baby in part for my own selfish reasons. I wanted to be a mom, I wanted the long, lazy Saturdays at the park and the cute little Gymboree wardrobe. And then I had Mads and quickly realized that those Saturdays at the park can be very long indeed, and it’s hard to be lazy when you’re having to remind your chipmunk-cheeked toddler for the 25th time that hour that no, dirt is not actually a food group.

But more – far, far more – than I wanted a baby to dress up and show off, I wanted to raise a child, to help her grow into a person who is good and kind and loving. That is a big job, as these girls from Gloucester will soon find out.

In the interest of all us moms sticking together, I wish them what I wish for any new mother: Babies who sleep through the night and nurse with ease; quick deliveries and a swift trip through the baby blues; patience and understanding, and when they’re out of both a strong shoulder to lean on and a cold glass of wine… er, make that soda.

Technorati: Gloucester High School

June 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 21, 2008

Good days and bad

Every morning Mads wakes up asking what kind of day we're going to have. "Beach Day?" "Bookstore Day?" "Go Ice Cream Day?"

Ah, to be a kid again. Everything is fun and shiny, every cloud not only has a silver lining but is shaped like a bunny rabbit or a lollipop.

I like to think of myself as being just a stone's throw from my high school years, but truth be told even Hercules would have trouble throwing a rock that far back. Though I try to shield myself from the undeniable truth, every once in a while it hits me: I'm an adult. A grown-up. A mom.

Whereas Mads weighs her options of "Big Slide Day" and "Lake Duck Day" I find myself anticipating "Dye Hair to Cover the Grey Day" and "Make Sure There's Enough in the Bank to Cover the Mortgage Day."

But then, I guess that's the amazing part of being a parent. Well, one of the amazing parts, because my ability to smell a poopy diaper from 20 yards is pretty damn amazing, too. But thanks to Mads in amongst all of our grown up worries and responsibilities there is always time for the beach, the park, the playground. And of course, for ice cream.

Now, I'd love to stay and chat but I'm smack in the middle of "If I Have to do One More Load of Laundry I'm Going to Kill Somebody Day." And you just know how I'd hate to miss out on that.

But before I go, a couple pics from this morning's Park Day...

June_beach_1 June_beach_2_2


June 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 19, 2008

Odds and ends

Because my brain is a sieve I keep forgetting to tell you about Maddie’s hairbows, which are the in the running for being the cutest things ever. (Michelle, you’d asked about the one in the ice cream pictures the other day.) Even though she doesn’t actually have enough hair to warrant a perma-hairbow, she is rarely without one for the simple reason that if I hear one more time what a “cute little fella” she is I’m going to pull my own hair out.

So anyways, they’re No Slippy Hair Clippies. Here's the Web site, and more importantly here’s the sale site. I’m actually trying to overcome a No Slippy addiction, so haven’t ordered for a month or two. But here are a few of my favourites of Maddie’s:

Green_starPink_flower Fun_betsywhtlad_2

Pretty stinking cute, right?

One day when I get myself organized enough to organize the rest of this site I’ll have a place to house such essentials as No Slippy Hair Clippy recommendations, but knowing me that could take a while. So for now I’ll just post them here in the blog.

Oh! And one more thing: Even though the site asks for your email address when you leave a comment I’ve disabled that so you don’t actually have to include it if you don’t want to. It’s just computer trickery, don’t be fooled. So comment away knowing that I won’t be able cyberstalk you with chain emails including pictures of kittens chasing balls of yarn that yammer on about friendship and love and then threaten the life of your grandmother if you don’t forward it on to 100 people in the next two minutes.

Wow, this turned into a housekeeping post. I don’t think I’ve ever done one of those before. Well, since I don’t housekeep around the home, I suppose I might as well do it here.

June 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 16, 2008

Take your milestones and shove 'em

I spent the weekend immersed in childhood – Maddie’s of course, but also the faded memories of my own.

BeachbucketWe had a busy couple of days: We built sandcastles at the beach, collected buckets of broken shells and fallen pinecones, ate melting ice cream cones in the shade, rolled down a grassy hill so many times I could barely stand up from dizziness, planted a garden, and ate a front yard picnic of frozen fish sticks and fries.

By yesterday evening I was sticky and tired, with sand in my hair and dirt under my fingernails, and felt like not a thing was wrong with the world. Or, with my world at least.

It made me think of that line from You’ve Got Mail (yes, I know that movie by heart): “All this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings.” I spend a lot of time thinking about the “somethings”: About what I want to teach Mads and who she will become; about the loathesome milestones, about colours and letters and numbers and shapes; about pleases and thank yous and the proper way to tie a shoe; about the little things I may be doing right and the endless ways that I am screwing this whole thing up.

But days like these remind me that maybe where we’re headed isn’t as important as how we’re getting there. Maybe it’s not the educational flashcards or the time spent sounding out letters that will leave an indelible impression. Maybe it’s all those hours hiding under kitchen tables and the constant frenzied games of chase, the long, slow walks to the park and the time passed crouched over driveway puddles looking for tadpoles or beluga whales. Maybe a lifetime worth of these little nothings, of moments that come and go without recognition, without performance and applause and gold star rewards, add up to more than all the big somethings combined.

After the picnic last night, as the warm summer air was cooling and F was finishing mowing the lawn, I asked Mads if she was tired. She replied, “No, happy!” The fact that this is her answer to every question these days (Are you sick? No, happy! Are you cold? No, happy! Are you listening? No, happy!) didn’t make the moment any less sweet.

(Photo from Photobucket)

June 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 13, 2008

A real life little shop of horrors

Ds0405I'm still shaken by last night's events. I'm pale and clammy and shell-shocked and maybe, possibly, scarred for life.

With Father's Day just a few days away I thought it would be fun to take a little mother-daughter shopping trip yesterday after work. You know: Shop, spend, bond. Through a combination of optimism, poor planning, and good old fashioned stupidity we ended up at the mall without a stroller. Yeah, you can tell where this is headed. If not, I promise you it's nowhere good.

It started out okay, she was mildly crazy, but nothing that would make strangers stop and stare. I had things under control. Then I saw a 40% off sale. Who can resist a 40% off sale? And if I did resist, what would I be teaching Mads? That frugality isn't important? That money grows on trees? I think I am a better parent than that. So in we went. Now, I should say that this is the kind of store that I only shop in during massive sales because otherwise I can't afford it. The kind of store that doesn't have a 3-for-$10 bin or a freezer aisle. People dress nicely and sip carbonated water and honestly I feel out of place there at the best of times. Enter Mads.

I don't know what got into her, but she suddenly kicked it up a notch and went insane. Deciding it was playtime, she was crawling in and out of cubbies, knocking over belt displays, running dizzy circles around the mannequins in the window display, hiding behind fistfuls of white linen pants playing peek-a-boo. She was that kid, and I was that mom. The one faking calm beneath a sheen of sweat, the one physically restraining her two-year-old who is happily screeching like a cracked-out banshee, the one who is in so over her head she can't find a way out. Why, why didn't I just leave?? That is the clear solution right now, but at the time I thought I should "handle it." So I took her into the change room to try to calm us both down, but she started kicking the mirror and rolling around on the floor. The saleslady knocked on our door and held out Mads' sippy cup as though it was infested with rabies, saying, "I found this on the floor."

Kill me now. That's what I was thinking. Somebody show me some mercy and make me the victim of a terrible accident involving a clothes hanger and a marked-down V-neck sweater.

We managed to escape with a tiny shred of sanity intact and absolutely no dignity whatsoever. As I was strapping her into the carseat she smiled at me and said, "HI Mommy!" and because she is adorable and I am the sap who loves her beyond comprehension I of course forgave her in a split second.

So tonight I'm attempting Father's Day shopping for a second time. BY MYSELF.

Happy weekends... care xo

June 13, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 11, 2008

A photo op

I haven't been posting many pictures of Mads lately, but these ones are pretty flipping cute.

In case you're thinking, "Wait a second, what about all of the bitching and moaning about the awful weather?" let me assure you that I was not exaggerating. The weather has been truly, stinkingly, appallingly awful. But we did have one or two nice days thrown in there somewhere. Mads and I took advantage of one of them and went for her first ever ice cream cone. Note the matching ice cream T-shirt. I know, how cute are we?

I hadn't planned on partaking myself, but the only way we could get a kiddie cone was to buy a full-sized one. These are the sacrifices we parents have to make. Although I didn't especially appreciate how Mads kept yelling, "Maddie little ice cream. Mommy BIG ICE CREAM! BIG! WHOAH! BIG ONE MOMMY!" Driven to bulimia by my own daughter. Nice. (No, no, not really. Sheesh.)

Ice_cream_border_1


ps - I love the new editing gizmos at Photobucket! Cute border, eh?

June 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 09, 2008

To the weather gods, with love

Umbrella_2So Mother Nature is kind of kicking our asses these days, eh? Seeing as some of you are sweltering in 100 degree heat while others are being battered by storms, I guess I shouldn’t complain about chilly weather and few drops of rain. But lucky for me, I don’t really do stoic.

When I left the house this morning I could see my breath. In June. There is something really wrong about that.

I am so sick of winter. I imagine winter as a guest who I invited to stay at the house for a couple of weeks. She shows up with cups of hot chocolate and cozy turtlenecks and a really great recipe for stew. She reads us Christmas stories and tells us how snowflakes, like people, are all unique and beautiful, and this makes us feel better about the fact that we are missing a toenail. She makes everything smell like nutmeg and always slips a little extra into the hot toddy. Fast forward a few months and she’s still holed up in your spare room knitting you yet another pair of itchy legwarmers, blaring a scratchy old Bing Crosby record and sending your heating bill through the roof. One more bowl of stew and you’re going to stick a fork in your eye. The bitch has got to go.

Weather used to be an inconvenience, but with a kid in tow it can make or break a weekend. It has to strike a perfect balance – too hot and you’re risking sunstroke, too wet and she’ll end up with yet another cold. It’s the weather that determines whether you spend your days building sandcastles and having picnics or wandering aimlessly around the mall. Which is what we did this weekend. Again. Not that Mads minds; they have a train that takes you from one end of the mall to the other for $1, and as far as she’s concerned that puts it on par with Disneyland. Plus there’s a bakery that sells the gooiest chocolate chip cookies ev-ah. (With the benefit of hindsight I can see that the best thing about childhood may not be the innocence or happy, fuzzy-edged memories, but the complete absence of dieting. Those glorious days when a packet of Sweet N Low didn’t qualify as dessert.)

In any case, a message to the weather gods: I know the whole global warming thing has your back up, and I can’t say as I blame you for that. But if I personally have done something to piss you off - maybe it was that time that I threw the yogurt container into the mixed papers recycling bag and was too lazy to fish it out? - I apologize. I will happily offer up my neighbour’s SUV as a sacrifice if need be. Let me know.

June 9, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 04, 2008

Confessions of a desperate housewife

I think I am ready to admit defeat: I am not cut out for this housewife business.

Housewife_med_2There are women out there – and maybe you’re one of them, in which case I hate you just a little bit – who are able to work, cook delicious meals, nurture young minds, perform their, ahem, wifely duties, and keep a clean home. It's official: I am not one of them.

Last night we had macaroni and cheese for dinner. To my credit, it was homemade. It also tasted like cardboard. To say that Kraft Dinner would have been a whole lot tastier is an understatement. I’m half convinced the box the KD comes in would’ve been pretty close.

The house is a sty. There, I said it. To the untrained eye it might pass as being not completely disgusting, but unfortunately my husband does not have an untrained eye. And neither does my mother-in-law. Laundry gets done when the pile becomes too big to maneuver around. When it’s time to dust, I just put my face really close to the bookshelf and blow hard. Mads is always on my case about the fact that the kitchen floor needs mopping (um, maybe instead of scrubbing the floors every day we could try, oh I don’t know, NOT THROWING FOOD AROUND?). And I don’t even want to tell you the last time I cleaned the oven. Between you and me, do people actually do that or is it just an old wives’ tale?

Give it to me straight – am I a total failure? Or is this a job that is flat out impossible to actually keep up with? I like to tell myself it’s the latter. That I am just one of millions of women with holes in their stockings and turkey dogs in the frying pan and clouds of dust rolling like tumbleweed across the living room floor.

Failure or not, something’s got to give. So F, if you’re reading this, I give up. Call your cleaning lady. Hell, move her in if you want. If I’m going to run myself ragged I’d at least like to do it on gleaming hardwood floors.

June 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

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"Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don't have the top for." ~Jerry Seinfeld.

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