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July 31, 2008

Faith restored

Five years ago one of my best friends and I went out and got ourselves tattoos. I had just gotten married, she was in the midst of a breakup, I suppose we were taking a mildly badass stand for independence and friendship. Mine took about 15 minutes, hers much longer, I fell a little bit in love with the tattoo artist who had more piercings than I could even contemplate. And then we went home.

My tattoo means, in part, “faith,” which is an odd choice for someone who is at best religiously ambivalent. But I took it to mean faith in life, and in the good of people. I don’t want to ever be bitter and jaded; I hope to always hold on to some of my youthful and delusional optimism.

Tunnel_2Lately, though, I have not been feeling all that optimistic. I have been delusional, but I think that’s just a temporary side effect from the ongoing high doses of painkillers, Sudafed, and boxed white wine. In short, I’m bummed, I’m miserable, I’m pathetic.

But earlier this week I hobbled my sick and sorry self to dinner with the girls, a get together I’d planned ages ago before the heavens opened and rained their fury down upon me. Honestly, I didn’t want to go, but I knew I couldn’t cancel because I am coming dangerously close to being that friend that always bails. You know the one.

So there I was waiting at the restaurant and in come my friends one by one carrying towel-wrapped casserole dishes and take-out containers full of dinners for me to bring home. How nice is that?

The next day I went to work, still feeling like ass, but with my spirits lifted. I came home 9 hours later, exhausted, and as I’m catching my breath and cursing my crutches Mads comes running over and asks, “How you feeling, Mommy?” “How am I feeling?” I asked, not sure I’d heard her right. “Yeah. How you feeling, Mommy?” I didn’t even think she knew how to say that. I skipped the long truth and told her I was feeling great. Which, for that moment, I actually was.

So at the end of a long July, my faith is restored. Here’s hoping I survive the rest of the summer.

Technorati: light at the end of the tunnel

July 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 30, 2008

Would you do this for your kid?

Mads has had a cold for the past week (which, by the way, I now have too. Turns out having kids means spending 10 years of your life in a constant germ cycle) and somewhere in the middle of excessive mucous-related googling I came across this: The Nosefrida. And I may never fully recover.

Have you seen this thing before? If not, be forewarned: It's not pretty. Look at your own risk:

Bad_hair_mom2211x234     Elsa

"No more runny noses!" says the Web site. Um, yeah, because it's all in your mouth. Ugh. Okay, so in all fairness it promises not to actually let the stuff near your lips. And I admit that those hospital-issue aspirators do jack squat. But surely there is another solution.

Honestly, I'm not a prissy mom. I get dirt under my fingernails, grass stains on my good jeans, and yes, poop in my hair. But I draw the line at the Nosefrida.

But for those of you willing to suck it up (sorry, how could I not?) and go that extra mile for your kids, it's yours for a mere $15.

July 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 28, 2008

Questioning my mommy instincts

Compass_2 I was going to write - I did write, in fact - a post about my still-broken knee, Maddie's night spent upchucking all over her new Dora bed, F's new job. About the fact that all hell has broken loose on the home front these days and we've been treading water until the tides calm.

But then I read this and suddenly felt the urge to write something else instead.

So here is the question that is on my mind: Do you ever wonder if you are really cut out for this?

I'm not a bad person, but I'm far from a perfect one. I can be selfish, I can be short on patience, I can have unrealistic expectations of people - even pint-sized ones with limited vocabularies. All of those things don't seem to mesh with the image I have of what it means to be a mom.

Sometimes I question my mommy instincts. Because as much as they would have me gladly throw myself in front of a bus to protect my baby, motherhood has not erased my need for self-preservation. I admit it: I don’t want to give my bed over to a lonesome toddler, to give my identity over to this job of being a mom. I just don't seem able to happily and entirely surrender myself to childrearing the way that some women can.

On days when I’m not so hard on myself, I think that maybe this is what it means to be a mom. As much as it’s the first steps and bedtime kisses, the scraped knees and spilt milk, the nursery rhymes sung at the top of our lungs and the messy paintings tacked to the kitchen wall, maybe it’s a whole lot of not-so-Hallmark moments, too.

Maybe motherhood is also pulling the covers over your head when you wake to the sound of your yelling toddler, or rolling your eyes as she melts to the floor in tears for the fifth time that morning over a "broken" Mega Bloks tower (it's supposed to come apart! It's Lego!); maybe it is frustration and irritation and boredom and yes, on a bad day even resentment. And maybe it's also always feeling like you could be doing better.

Or maybe this is just me, tired and sore and needing to book a therapy session…

(ps - Sorry I went MIA for a little while, the blog broke. Seems we're all falling apart a bit these days!)

July 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 19, 2008

Mommy look boob-i-full

A couple of weeks ago we were sitting around with my brother, who hadn't seen Mads for a couple of months. She greeted him with her standard stink-eye, but soon warmed up and was flirting awkwardly (she gets the awkward part from me, sadly). Anyways, Mads and I were in the midst of an in-depth discussion about the pros and cons of wearing socks in the swimming pool when I noticed my brother was looking at me like I'd sprouted horns. I asked him what was up and he said, "You act like she's actually speaking English." Which, to me, she clearly is.

I do get what he's saying, though, because her dialect is one particular to those under the age of 3. There are definitely times when even I have no clue what she's saying - which pisses her off to no end, might I add. Let's just say that enunciation isn't really her strong suit. And there are a lot of words that, no matter how many times we correct her, she just prefers to say her own way.

For instance, "Chicken McNuggets" are Chicka McBuckets. Um... not that she eats that processed devil's food, of course. Flax seed or bust, that's what I always say. "Garage" is pronounced with the rolling accent of a drunken Frenchman - I am always finding ways to trick her into saying it because it just cracks me up every time. And really, what are children for if not to constantly entertain us? "Mads, mommy keeps forgetting - where did we leave the car?" "In da Garrrrache!"

Then today, apparently swept away by the hotness of my ankle-to-thigh leg brace, she said to me, "Mommy look boob-i-full." Before you get all weepy, Mads throws "beautiful" around on a pretty regular basis. I like flattery as much as the next girl, but it's hard to get too carried away by it when five minutes ago she declared the stainless steel coffee maker to be beautiful with equal enthusiasm.

But heartfelt or not, as far as compliments go, it doesn't get much better than "boob-i-full." My B-cups swell with pride.

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

July 15, 2008

Counting my blessings, pain and all

Gratitude I'm miserable. My knee is the size of a football (okay, a small football), but that is the least of it. My whole body hurts. Literally. My back, my shoulders, my arms. My hips ache. Even my hands are sore. Either my crutching skillls leave a lot to be desired or I have the upper body strength of a newborn, because every step on those things is like an exercise in torture. I want to curl up in a fetal position on the floor, but I know I'd never ever get up again. But hey, at least my infectious positive outlook is still intact, right?

And with that in mind, it is beyond time for a reminder of all the things with which I'm blessed. Beware of falling chunks of sunshine and other warm and shiny things. Here goes...

1. My husband, who is currently chef, chauffeur, maid, and all-around personal man-servant. Yes, at the end of the day I have to listen to him run through his list of accomplishments (“I made dinner, I washed the floor, I gave Mads a bath, I parted the Red Sea. I'm amazing!), but I'd say that's more than a fair trade-off.

2. My New Kids On the Block tickets. Enough said.

3. The endless supply of M&Ms in the cupboard, with which I am bribing Maddie to stay in her big girl bed during naptime rather than run around her room like an asylum patient for 2 hours until she finally passes out asleep on the floor.

4. I took my first unassisted shower last night! (Dream big, everyone. Dream big.)

5. My new nephew! My sister-in-law had a baby last night. He's perfect and beautiful, although her graphic birth details have put me off of going for #2 for the foreseeable future. Seriously, how does anyone do that twice?

6. My Mads. A month ago when she wanted me to leave the room she'd tell me to "Go away!" Now she says "Bye bye Mommy" and blows me a kiss. Sure, sometimes she yells it and the kiss is followed by a push in the direction of the door. But still, if that's not progress I don't know what is.

Thank you to everyone for the good thoughts - oh, and the carseat safety tips. Seriously, I have been wallowing in it and your well wishes talked me a step or two back from the ledge. Thank you!

July 15, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2008

Desperate times call for desperate measures

A 2-year-old. A vomiting dog. A road trip. You do what you have to in order to survive.

The carseat ice cream cone was all F's idea. My saner suggestion of a lollipop was seemingly vetoed. Yes, it was a god awful mess. But I have to admit, it worked.

Another lifesaver: This book. I swear it was the best $20 I've ever spent. I held off on bringing it out until we were approaching meltdown mode, and it kept her happy for a good half hour. Which in toddler time is the equivalent of about 3 weeks.

(Oh, and a translation for those of you who are not well-versed in Mads-ese: "VERY nummy! Little bit (left)." Followed by a lot of very audible lip smacking.)

July 12, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 10, 2008

The big bed update

Dulac_princess_pea_pI'm out of bed and taking refuge in the study - that's the big, fancy name I've given to the room that houses our computer, a broken bookshelf, the paper shredder nobody ever uses, and Maddie's ever-growing collection of garish plastic and in all likelihood toxic toys.

Mads is tormenting me. She seems to find the fact that I am on crutches to be pretty much the funniest thing ever. Any time I venture off the couch she is right there beside me, pointing and laughing at good old crippled mom. And when I say laughing what I really mean is cracking right up. Giant snorting belly chuckles. It's cruel. Seriously, whoever is raising this child is doing a bang up job.

So seeing as I am bored out of my ever loving mind I thought I'd give you an update on the bed situation. The transition to the big bed has been looming out there on the horizon, the Everest of my young parenting career. It's terrified me. Unlike Everest - because I can say with a fair degree of certainty that there are no summit attempts or sherpas in my future - this is one challenge that was unavoidable.

So we did it, we're almost two weeks in, and I am happy to report (knock on super-powered old growth wood) that things are going fairly smoothly. There've been a few missed naps, an early morning or two, but nothing like the 3am after-parties I'd imagined would be taking place.

I don't know if this is something I should admit, but we put one of those doorknob cover thingies on the inside of the door so that she can't find her way out. It seems safer than having her wander the house at all hours in the dark. And besides, it's a time-honoured family tradition - I had a hook-and-eye on the outside of my bedroom door until I was 18. Don't ask me why I kept it there, even after my brothers would lock me in repeatedly. Apparently problem-solving is a skill I developed later on in life. Anyways, this morning she got up and was rattling the handle saying, "Hi Mom! Hi Dad! I'm stuck!" Um, yeah, that's kind of the point...

But all in all she has done great, I'm really proud of her. And honestly, there are few things cuter than seeing her climb into her little Dora bed at the end of the day. It's official: My baby is a big girl now.

ps - oh lord, I hope I didn't jinx it. She's supposed to be in there napping right now, but instead I hear her rocking out to the soothing sounds of Glo-Worm...

(Illustration: Edmund Dulac)

July 10, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 07, 2008

I'm back, tanned and severely crippled

Idrinktokillthepain2 I write to you from bed. I am bedridden.

Vacation was wonderful - sunny, relaxing, calorie-laden, everything a good holiday should be. But things have taken a very steep downward spiral since then. I'll start with the short version: I am crippled and poor Mads will now likely be in diapers for the rest of her life. If that's all you have time for, I completely understand. But if you want to stick around for all of the ugly details, here goes...

So we arrived home  yesterday tanned and glorious, ready to return to life and work and all of that good stuff. I guess I was feeling charitable after so much sun soaking, because I volunteered for bathtime duty even though that meant scrubbing a week's worth of sand and seaweed from between Mads' dirty little toes.

Anyways, an uneventful bathtime passed and I was drying her off when the unthinkable happened: She asked to use the potty. I think it bears repeating: She asked. To use the potty. Miracle! Angels danced and choirs sang. And in my panicked rush to get out of the way I stepped in a puddle of bathwater, my knee went one way, my foot went the other, and POP! Just like that, I dislocated my knee. And holy mother of god, it hurt. I'd put it on par with childbirth, only quicker and without all the mess.

So a few firefighters and a trip to the ER later it was back in place and here I lie. Bedridden. It hurts to move, I can barely walk, I can't drive. And best of all, for the next 4-6 weeks - the height of shorts and skirt weather - I get to wear something that looks like this - only much, much bigger. It's cute, right? The only upside I can see is that while lounging on the beach my nude-coloured partial body cast may draw attention away from my body in a bathing suit.

As for the potty training, I am sure Mads now associates the toilet with me writhing on the floor yelling and swearing like a sailor while she stands screaming, naked and terrified. So I'm guessing we'll be buying Huggies by the case for the foreseeable future.

July 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (12) | 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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