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August 31, 2008

Not drunk but still a bit disorderly

BeerThere are things you can easily get away with before your baby is really able to vocalize things. For example, if you nearly amputate a thumb while cooking and are bleeding profusely you can cry, "Shit!" without worrying about her then making the expletive the theme of a song that she bursts into at the doctor, the toy store, church.... You can talk to your husband about things like cookies or birthday gifts without having to spell the words out ("She wants some i-c-e-c-r-e-a-m for d-e-s-s-e-r-t but s-h-i-t I forgot to buy some"). And I discovered another one this weekend: You can bring them to the liquor store without feeling like a lousy mom who deserves a visit from social services.

So we were out running errands: Craft store for some finger paint and stickers, grocery store for some milk and strawberries (for her) and jelly beans (for me), liquor store for a refill on the old box-o-wine. No big deal, right? But I guess it's been a while since I've brought her with me because it was a decidedly more awkward outing than I recall.

First of all, I was getting some sideways glances from my fellow shoppers, which I have to say I found odd. It's not like I met her out front and was in there buying her a mickey of vodka to mix with her slurpee. And anyways lady, I just saw sneak your third Bacardi Breezer sample - do you really want to start casting stones?

But I guess the judgement could have something to do with the fact that her loud running commentary could easily lead to some wrong conclusions. For instance: "Look Mommy, there Daddy beer! Daddy drink a lot of beer!" (For the record, because he sometimes reads this and I kind of like my marriage, she greatly exaggerates.) And also when she leaned into a bottle of some sort of horrible creamsicle-vodka concoction and basically salivated while saying, "Mm, nummy nummy! This my favourite!" To which I laughed nervously and said something along the lines of, "Oh silly goose, that's not your favourite. You're so funny! Organic peaches and flax seed and a stable home life are your favourite..."

I should have known better, I suppose. This is, after all, the same girl who now talks a mile a minute when the mood strikes, and the other day exclaimed over the purple dragon sleeping in the apple tree in the front yard. After an extensive search I can say with certainty there was no dragon.

But in any case, I think I may be crossing it off the list of mother-daughter outings.

August 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

August 28, 2008

She's with stupid

Imwithstupid_2I just spent 40 minutes of my life that I will never get back wrapping Cosco warehouse packs of chicken parts for the freezer. If I think too hard about the chicken itself - the way it smells, the way I can feel it underneath my fingernails, the fact that it not too long ago had a beak and talons - I taste bile.

So instead I did a quick evaluation of my life and mental state and have determined that as Mads is getting smarter with each passing day, I am going the opposite route. I can only assume that she's sucking brain power from me by osmosis.

The proof:

  1. Last weekend F and I went out for dinner for our 5th anniversary. Midway through the calamari we realized that as we were discussing the chest wax scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin ("Dude, you look like a man-o-lantern") the young couple at the table next to us was debating Japan's "protectionist policies." Ouch.

  2. 8 times out of 10 I put Maddie's shoes on the wrong feet on the first attempt. Even when I stop and think about it - look at the shoes, look at the feet, hold up my hands to see which one makes the L-for-left shape between thumb and forefinger - I still usually get it wrong. Poor girl, she's doomed.

  3. After resisting its pull for an entire year, I gave in to the repeats aired over the summer and am now pathetically and near-obsessively hooked on Gossip Girl. I'm 32. (Season 2 premieres on Sept 1 - eek!)

  4. I've stopped even attempting the crossword in the newspaper because there is just nothing fun about having to confront your own stupidity over coffee every morning. Although I am happy to say that I haven't crossed over to the dark side that is the Word Jumble. Never.

  5. While driving yesterday I was singing Old McDonald had a Farm (because my 2-year-old demanded it and I'm a little bit afraid of her) and once I'd gotten through the pig, cow, horse & duck I literally could not think of another animal. Actually, that's not true - I did come up with a zebra, but I realized I have no idea what sound a zebra might make. Think about it for a couple of minutes - or an entire afternoon, like I did. Weird.

I suppose donating brain cells to the next generation is a worthwhile cause. Maybe I could write it off...

August 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 24, 2008

We're baaack...

Aug_beach_3Did you even know that we'd left? We spent the last week beachside under overcast skies and pouring rain. And now we're back at the casa, as Dora would say, and it's still a downpour. Although, now my view is not of the ocean but of roadwork and a tipped over garbage can. Sweet.

F got me a $22 drugstore cane for my birthday, because apparently I turned 92 and somebody forgot to tell me. (Actually, he got me something much nicer, but the cane was bought on my birthday weekend to help me hobble around on my STILL bad knee - we're on week 8 if anyone's counting - so because I am prone to dramatics this will forever be known as the birthday that I got my first cane.)

It's hard to be cool with a cane when you're in your 30s; my hat's off to those who manage it. On two different occasions I was approached by people well over 80 to compare models. I've taken to calling it the "Magic Stick" to give it a little street cred, and considered buying a monocle because then it might seem like I was at least making some kind of conscious fashion statement. But I know full well don't have the flair to actually pull that off. So it's just me and my cane.

Mads had a great time, despite the weather. She seemed to have another language burst or explosion or blowout or whatever they're officially called. I just can't get over the changes in her lately. She's like this little... person. The best of her newly acquired vocabulary is "My favourite!" which is usually said when she spots cake or chocolate or frozen fish sticks (you can see her diet continues the downward spiral that began when she turned 2 and turned picky). "Mm, my pab-o-rite, Mommy!" she declares, closing her little eyes and rubbing her belly. And I also love, "Oh my gosh!" which comes complete with the Home-Alone-kid-hands-on-either-side-of-the-face. I love it.

So now that we're back I promise to pick up on the blog again, I know I've been a little hit-or-miss with it these days.

Hopefully everyone is enjoying some fun and sunny summer days!

August 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 13, 2008

Whales are so overrated

I woke up on Sunday determined to make it a family day. Normally F and I spend the first half of “family days” deciding where to go. This hours long debate involves a whole lot of “whatevers” and “I don’t knows” and “um… maybes” and not much else. But on Sunday we were feeling oddly efficient and were out of the house and on our way to the aquarium by 10am.

Of course we talked it up big time to Mads on the drive down – “Whales, Mads! BIIIG whales! And octopus (octopi?)! And Portuguese man-o-wars!” By the time we got there she was near vibrating with excitement. Nothing gets her going like a Portuguese man-o-war.

Then we got there and after waiting in an obscenely long line saw that the cost of admission was $25 each. Seriously? Add the $8 for parking and $15 for the requisite overpriced and quickly forgotten gift shop toy and we’re looking at $75 to spend the morning crowded around a murky jellyfish tank with a thousand strangers. No thanks.

So we were standing in the parking lot trying to convince ourselves that we were taking a stand for common sense in a capitalist world run amok and not just being plain old cheap, and also feeling horribly guilty as Mads asked, “Whale time now? See big whale time, Mommy?” I tried to distract her by pointing out a few seagulls picking over an old bag of popcorn, but compared to the majesty of killer whales it didn’t quite cut it.

August_sp_goose_2When it comes to parenting F and I don’t always get it right, but we try very hard to at least keep our end of the bargain. If she’s promised a popsicle, she gets a popsicle. If I tell her we’ll go to the library, we do – even though I have ten other things to do and in all honesty the library is very far down on my list of favourite places. I’m always expecting to find dried ketchup in between the pages of library books and it really icks me out. Just another of my loveable quirks...

So I felt truly terrible letting her down. Then as if by magic a squirrel chase led us to discover that there was a train ride and petting zoo right next door to the aquarium! The zoo smelled like turd and I just about passed out when I saw a rat scurrying about in the cattle stall, but for $3 I’m not complaining. And as far as Mads was concerned an hour spent in the company of geese, sheep & psychotic jumping mountain goats more than made up for missing out on the marine life.

Don’t you love it when things just work out?

August 13, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 09, 2008

Matthew McConaughey & me

Baby_headphones766146_3 So because I do some blogging for a celebrity baby site I spend abnormal amounts of time trolling the Web for gossip. It’s unhealthy, really. In the early morning hours while sane people are sleeping I sit in the dark by the glow of the laptop finding out which mom lost her baby weight overnight (Nicole Kidman) and which mom never lets her kids wear an outfit twice (J.Lo). My brain is slowly melting.

And so that is how I know that Matthew McConaughey brought his weeks-old baby along to a John Mellencamp concert recently. To quote the shirtless dad, he and his girlfriend Camila Alves lug little Levi around everywhere so that he will be "equipped to be around the sights and sounds of people.” He also said they saved the placenta to bury in a field somewhere, but that’s a story for another day.

Don’t you just love the way he talks? I particularly enjoyed his recollection of the birth itself:

“Contractions started kicking in. I sat there with her, right between her legs. We got tribal on it, we danced to it! I was DJ-ing this Brazilian music… We were jamming! She was sweating. No painkiller, let's go.”

We were jamming? How about we were writhing in pain and plotting secret and murderous revenge on our husbands for getting us into this mess in the first place?

But I digress. Back to equipping our babies for “the sights and sounds of people.” I too thought that way, once upon a time. I dragged Mads out to crowded restaurants, hosted noisy dinner parties after bedtime, left the music blaring during naps. Matthew and I were on the same page entirely. And then Mads decided she’d had enough and stopped sleeping. And so we cut the noise and the light, developed a calmer routine. And now here we are 2+ years later with a sound machine in her room and blackout curtains over her windows. And god help the neighbourhood dog that decides to start barking during naptime - I will find you.

I guess it just goes to show that despite our best intentions, sometimes kids just have other plans.

August 9, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 07, 2008

I Don't Care Where Spot Is, & other kids' classics

Bookshelf_2 Reading the same book 42 times every day for weeks on end is one of those special joys that is particular to parenting. Mads loves books, which is great. But I have to say, her taste in literature could stand some improvement. After a dozen or so readings Where is Spot? tends to lose its luster. I sit there screaming (on the inside, of course), “For the love of god, he’s behind the damn bush! He’s always behind the bush!” I’m working on a sequel to the series where that mischievous Spot makes the crucial mistake of hiding at the local pound. Oh, Spot.

(Bea - Spot's in the basket? Really? Who's behind the bush?)

It’s not all bad, though. We do get a break from the nonstop thrill-ride of the Spot books every once in a while. Her current favourite is From Head to Toe by Eric Carle. It’s cute, but I wouldn’t be putting it up for Pulitzer or anything. My current favourite, on the other hand, is Julia Donaldsen’s The Snail and the Whale.

This is the tail of a tiny snail
And a great big blue grey humpback whale…

Love it. Mads doesn’t seem to be blown away by its brilliance the way I am, but she likes it.

I was a real bookworm as a kid, so I’m kind of hoping Mads will be too. I remember reading The Paperback Princess ad nauseum, lying in bed with my Judy Blume books till I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open. Eventually it progressed to a brief teenage Harlequin addiction, when I read obsessively about men named Thor and things that heaved and quivered. And from there all sorts of books about all sorts of people and places. Motherhood has put a bit of a cramp in my literary life – who wants to read a book when you could change a diaper instead? – but I still always have a book on the go.

As someone a whole lot smarter than me once said, “A house without books is like a room without windows.” So if finding Spot for the bazillionth time will lead to Mads one day finding undiscovered worlds of her own then I guess I’ll do it gladly.

August 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 05, 2008

Ode to baby wipes

Alteredbabywipesbox_2 I have a wet wipe obsession. I know I’m not the only one – I see you all out there wandering the malls with your Costco packs of baby wipes close at hand. Some charitable person out there could assist legions of wipe-addicted women by starting up a 12-step program. Wet Wipes Anonymous. I will be a charter member as I worry that I am single-handedly destroying what’s left of the environment with my overconsumption of wipes. But I don't drive to work, so how about we call it even?

It has thankfully become a little easier to ration now that Mads has taken to announcing in advance the size of her, er, movements. It ranges from “Waddie poop! Just a little one, Mommy!” (She has progressed from calling herself “Mavvie” to calling herself “Waddie”… a step down in my opinion, it just lacks that sophisticated air.) to the dreaded “Whoah! Gigantic poop! Very big one!” In which case you’d better pray to god you brought along a back-up pack. As an aside, she’s also now making very loud fart proclamations, usually at the dinner table. Last night I almost choked on my big salad when she put her fork down and yelled “Fart coming in the bum!” It’s the gastrointestinal equivalent of an air raid siren, I guess. Batten down the hatches and hold on tight.

Anyways, back to the wipes: I love them. I even bought a fancy little carrying case to tote them around in. Embarrassing, but adorable. Wet wipes are to messes and bacteria what duct tape is to… well, just about everything else. Peanut butter faces, yogurt-encrusted hair, drippy noses, gigantic poops, germ-infested change tables, shopping carts, washroom floors… there is no task too big for a baby wipe. Soon (I use that term relatively – “soon” in relation to the history of the world, not “soon” as in the foreseeable future) she will be out of diapers and I will still be carrying them around, simply because at this point a day without wiping some foreign substance off of some foreign surface just would not feel complete.

Consider this my ode to wet wipes, and my apology to Mother Nature.

(Photo of a very crafty baby wipes box courtesy of http://mamasheg.com/. Pretty cute, eh?)

August 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | 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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