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October 29, 2008

She go crazy!

BM1162~Crazy-Doesn-t-Cover-It-Posters There are moments when I look at Mads, with her big, brown, seal pup eyes and sticky, rosy cheeks, and think to myself, "The girl is certifiable." 

Now, I am the last person to point fingers at Crazy, having taken a trip or two to that part of town myself. But, wow: Toddler crazy is a whole new brand of crazy. 

Last night, after a day full of too much sugar and too little sleep - among every parent's worst nightmares - she was bouncing off the walls. I don't mean that as just a convenient turn of phrase, like, "Everything but the kitchen sink" or "I laughed my ass off" (ha! If only it were that easy). I mean she was bouncing off the walls. Literally. She was spinning in circles, getting dizzy, and knocking into walls. 

Also, not to alarm you, but she sometimes speaks in tongues. Like the girl from The Exorcist, only - in my opinion - way cuter. She'll just suddenly let loose this stream of frenzied, high-pitched gibberish (often while spinning, showing she's inherited her mom's knack for multi-tasking) and then collapse on the floor in an uncontrollable fit of laughter. And while this is happening I look at F and tell him, "That part is all you." 

And all of this leads me to sometimes dredge up that old and tired question which is basically the motto of the Nuerotic Parents' Handbook, emblazoned on its front cover alongside a picture of a dancing cartoon straightjacket: 

Is this Normal? 

But it is, I think. Perfectly. All kids go a little nuts sometimes, right? Do yours? 

October 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 27, 2008

Sleep-deprived and rambling

I should warn you, this probably won't make much sense. If you are looking for poetry or inspiration, you are even less likely to find it here than you would be on a good day. I got a grand total of 3 hours sleep last night and I can barely remember how to spell my own name.

I am exhausted. Actually, that doesn't really begin to cover it. I'm beyond exhausted - I'm almost to the point of being life-with-a-newborn exhausted, when you're so tired you're literally spasming from it, when you find yourself one morning sprawled and drooling on a mat at your Mommy & Me yoga class with absolutely no recollection of how you got there. Disturbingly similar to your college years, only this time it's your maternity pants that are on backwards and instead of the booze you can just blame the baby. (Ah, who am I kidding? University was never that fun for me.)

But this time I can't even blame the baby. Instead it is a cold and an idiotic combination of sinus medication and a late night caffeine fix that had me up until 3:30am, counting the cracks in the ceiling and nearly vibrating. Some people claim to do their best thinking late at night, when saner folks are sleeping. Last night proved beyond a doubt that I am not one of those people. I spent 5.5 hours alone in the dark trying to recall the specifics of at least one episode of Perfect Strangers and contemplating the possibility of a home perm. 

I spent the morning at home with Mads in a stupor, trying to shake off this head cold and wondering if she would notice if I just pried my eyelids open with toothpicks and took a nap on the couch. Oh, and for those of you who find The Wiggles trying at the best of times, I can now assure you that on next to no sleep they are just about enough to send you into a psychotic rage. (Sidebar: Has anyone else noticed that Anthony gets more tanned and oily as the seasons progress? I can pretty much pinpoint the year based on how orange his skin tone is.)

And now she's napping, and I'm about to do the same, but not before a quick rendezvous with some Advil gelcaps. Sweet dreams. 

(Before I fall unconscious, I added an email subscription box to the sidebar - look right, and down. Sign yourself up! I promise to be more coherent in the future. Well, I promise to try.)

October 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 23, 2008

My Mommy moment: Rainy days

So, i suck at drawing on paint. Pictures, Images and PhotosI was driving home from work yesterday and - despite the fact that the dishwasher had sprung a leak the night before, that I’d once again forgotten to pay the cell phone bill, and that Mads has started calling us “you guys” - all just seemed right in the world.

The music was on, the skies were blue, and the leaves seemed suspended in that perfect moment of Autumn, just after they turn and just before they drop to a soggy heap on the ground. Midway through my ridiculously long commute the rain started to fall and by the time I reached my street there was a rainbow overhead.

Now, I live a somewhat chaotic existence. In a way I feel like I thrive on disorder, but I am usually too busy running in crazed circles to know what day it is, never mind to be able recognize when I am in the midst of a somewhat memorable moment. Yesterday was thankfully an exception: I ran into the house and told Mads we were going out. We threw on our jeans, raincoats, and matching navy polka dotted boots - yes, we really are too cute - and headed outside.

We sat crouched at the end of the driveway in the rain looking up at the sunny, stormy sky, and it felt as though there was nothing else in the world apart from me, my daughter and a rainbow. I watched as her serious brown eyes followed the colours across the sky, as she suddenly smiled and said, “Like the Wiggles’ rainbow!” Then she announced we were going for a walk, and so we did. I stood in the pouring rain watching as Mads ran back and forth and back and forth through a string of puddles she discovered in a nearby alley. When we finally splashed our way back home, she showed me her tiny red fingers and said that her hands were cold. So I told her we’d make hot chocolate when we got to the house. She stopped dead and stared up at me, confused.

Mads: “What are you saying?” (Mads speak for “WTH are you talking about?”)
Me: “Hot chocolate… it’s like chocolate milk, but it’s warm, and it has marshmallows in it.”
Mads: “Oh. Ho-cho-cho-yate... I LOVE that!”

And it turns out she does.

I’ve seen a lot of rainbows and slogged my way through my fair share of puddles. But last night, in those moments of calm amidst all of the chaos, both seemed almost miraculous. I guess that’s what people mean when they talk about seeing the world through the eyes of a child.

Have you had a mommy moment lately?

October 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 19, 2008

Death by broken down grocery cart

Cart What is it about grocery shopping that makes me feel like I could murder someone? Right there in the frozen foods aisle, in between the pizzas and the Ben & Jerry's, I could commit homicide. Or at the very least ram my cart into the Coke can pyramid and be done with it.

I spent two full hours yesterday in grocery hell. Before I had a baby and decided to make an attempt at fiscal responsibility - you know, just for kicks - I used to shop at a lovely store. It had soothing music and hot samples and rotating holiday displays. Now I shop at the cheap store, which seems to have been designed to drive a person straight out of her mind. The colour scheme is an affront to the eyes, it seems to be store policy that the floor of every aisle must be permanently sticky, nothing makes sense (why are the cheese slices with the refrigerated pudding and not with the rest of the cheese family on the other end of the store??) and the staff are literally nowhere to be found - I think they're huddled in the back, hording all the samples, watching the rage-filled chaos and laughing at us. 

While watching a lady pick up a muffin from the bulk bin with her bare hands and then toss it back in, I had a flashback to one particularly enraging shopping trip. It was back when spitting up was at the top of Maddie's list of favourite ways to pass the time. I had her in the Baby Bjorn and was trying to steer the cart full of groceries - it is fate's twisted sense of humour that makes me always get the cart with the wonky wheel - when of course the inevitable happened and... splash! That morning's peaches and YoBaby now a puddle on the floor. So I'm bending over to mop it up with a spit cloth, holding onto Mads with one hand and feeling my back misalign one vertebrate at a time, when from behind me comes a dramatic sigh. "Could you at least move your cart? I have to get by!" Apparently the chaos that was my life at the time and my giant post-pregnancy ass was getting in the way of this woman's mad dash to the Cocoa Puffs. I think I made a big sarcastic show of how sorry I was, which she mistook for a genuinely felt apology, thereby of course pissing me off even more.

Yesterday was not much better. I chased down an actual employee (who'd accidentally wandered out in to the store) to see if there was any butter anywhere, or if they'd just decided to stop selling it (but I asked him without the side of bitchy) - he said he'd go check and then never came back. Never ever. I think he went home.

On the way out I was in need of a margarita, but opted for a McDonalds hamburger with extra pickles instead. The margarita probably would've been the healthier option - those count as a fruit serving, right?

So, question of the day... do you shop with the kids, or without?

October 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

October 16, 2008

Like Eddie Murphy, back when he was funny

Parents tend to go on and on about the supposedly hilarious things their pint-sized comedians do. You know what I’m talking about, you’ve surely heard the stories: “Yesterday she picked up her purple bedazzled Croc and started talking into it like it was a telephone! She ordered a pizza! Can you imagine?” or “When I asked what he wanted for lunch he said, ‘Chicken Poodle Soup.’ That’s what he calls it! Oh, I just about died.”

N548797673_1987990_7410 Before I had kids of my own, these stories would seem… cute. Adorable, even. But hysterically funny? Not so much. Let’s just say they didn’t leave me rolling in the aisles.

But now, I get it. Now I’m the one telling these stories, laughing so hard I get a stitch in my side while the person I’ve trapped in the lunch room nods and smiles and says something along the lines of, “Aww.”

Mads is, to me at least, a total riot. My mom has a theory that the world is a little short on laughter – as Alan Alda says, “People generally aren’t killing each other when they’re laughing” – but I think that we meet the quota with Mads around these days.

Sometimes I wish I could stick a flashlight in her ear and take a peek at just how her little brain works, just how these odd comments end up coming out of her 2-year-old blueberry-stained mouth.

Like the other day when we were out for a walk and as she pointed out every speck of garbage – “Garbage here! Garbage here! Garbage way over there!” – her sniper eyes spotted dog turd. She cracked up and said, “Eww! Noo Mommy, I don’t like dog poop in my mouth!” As though I had suggested it as a mid-morning snack. Huh? I crossed my fingers that she wasn’t speaking from personal experience and left it at that. I would imagine dog poop is something of an acquired taste.

Ah, life with a toddler. Laughing until it hurts one minute, pulling your hair out the next.

October 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 14, 2008

It's election day!

VoteIn Canada, that is. Although, I've heard rumour those of you down South are having a little election of your own this year?  

I have a confession: I love election day.

Maybe it’s the entire country making the trek to the local elementary school gym to cast their votes. Maybe it’s the excitement of sitting with a bowl of popcorn watching the results come in (I know, I am a giant geek). Maybe it’s knowing that if you don’t vote, you can’t complain – and lord knows I like to complain. In any case, today is a big day.

Politics used to be a year-round obsession for me. It was kind of a hobby - I followed the ins and outs of Parliament the way some people play racquet sports. Only, without all of the sweating. In school I think I may have harboured secret fantasies of being Prime Minister – or at least the person who wrote her speeches. Or brought her coffee. Something. For reasons I can’t quite explain, my interest has seriously waned since becoming a mom.

I know, that doesn't make much sense. I now have this little person who I adore who will – if all goes right with the universe – be around long after I’m gone. I should care even more about what happens in the world, right? But… not so much. I care, I just am more of a spectator these days than an active participant. Okay, even that is being generous – if I am a spectator, I’m up in the nosebleeds. I hear the cheering but can barely catch sight of what all the fuss is about.

I feel as though right now I’m just too busy with my own family to think all that much about life beyond our doorstep. Oh, how my former, slimmer, saner pre-baby self would hate hearing me utter those words. But it’s true. I used to think that I would go on to do good things in the world. Now I seem to be content with doing good things for Mads. ABCs and pleases and thank yous and our hunt for the perfect autumn leaf have taken precedence over keeping up on foreign policy.

Sometimes I think that if we all can raise kids who are kind and compassionate, with open and inquisitive minds, then maybe that’s all the contribution we need to make. And then other times I think that’s just passing the buck.

Things to ponder, I guess. And in the meantime, happy voting…

October 14, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 10, 2008

Me against the music

Img_3787_5In preparation for Round 812 of renovations, F spent a couple of hours cleaning the ballroom last weekend. Before you go getting the wrong idea, the term "ballroom" is a bit misleading. You may be picturing a grand space with shimmering chandeliers where I while away the hours in my debutante gown. In fact it is a tiny room under the stairs with no walls to speak of where my dad would hang the netted bags of soccer balls after practice when we were kids. Thus the name, the ballroom.

Anyhoo. F was cleaning it out and unearthed the box of old tapes and CDs that I have never quite been able to part with. There are some gems in that there box: The NKOTB Christmas album (featuring the vastly under-appreciated "Funky, Funky XMas"), a Soul II Soul cassette single, a Queensryche tape, and of course my beloved Lisa Loeb firecracker CD.

Lisa Loeb provided the soundtrack to my angst-ridden early 20s. Well, to be honest they weren't actually all that angsty. I was going to university, dating F, slinging espresso part-time, living with my parents. They weren't the hardest of times. But I do remember slamming way more doors back then than I do now, so something must have been pissing me off.

I admit, listening to the CD again this week, it didn't cut to the core quite the way it did back then. I still liked it, but when I was 21 and Lisa sang, "You can't stand in front of an oven, cause it's warm, and the fumes are dangerous," I pumped my fist in tearful solidarity. Now my first thought was, Is that oven open? Are we trying to heat the whole neighbourhood?

Ah, how times change.

These days I'm not allowed to listen to much other than "Choot Choot Chugga Chugga" or Raffi. My backseat driver is very vocal and near violent when it comes to our choice of travel music (to quote: "Nooo! I don't want this song in my ears!!")

Speaking of my pint-size dictator, it's been a while since I've posted a pic, so here's one from a recent playground run... loving the camera, as usual.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone North of the border! I'm attempting a turkey, if you can believe it.

October 10, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 08, 2008

Take one down, pass it around..

I don’t mean to brag – okay, yes, I do – but Mads is something of a musical genius. A prodigy, if you will.

Yesterday she made up a new song entirely on her own. I am guessing it was titled “Beer” seeing as the lyrics were comprised entirely of that one word.

We were leaving the house for a walk when she saw the Pilsner (nothing but the best around here) box by the recycling bin. “Beer!” she said. I chose the ignore and divert tactic and started talking about worms instead, but it was too late.

And so she spent our stroll through the neighbourhood loudly and gleefully singing a song called “Beer,” to the tune of "Frere Jacques."

“Beer beer beer beer
Beer beer beer beer
Beer beer beer?
Beer beer beer?”

I’m sure you probably get the idea, I won’t bother with the verse.

Mortifying.

I tried to act nonchalant, as though my 2-year-old belting out a kegger song for the neighbours was totally fine by me. But clearly she sensed my panicked discomfort because she kept falling into these uncontrollable fits of laughter before gearing up for another round, totally ignoring my spirited running commentary on cotton candy, butterflies, and the innocence of childhood. It was as though she could smell the scent of parental self-doubt wafting through the air. And she loved it.

On the upside, her pitch was perfect.

Technorati: parenting

October 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 07, 2008

A little laughter never hurts... except when it does

I have this almost-vivid memory of sitting in church as a kid. It must have been Christmas Eve, because my outfit involved an appalling amount of velvet. I don’t remember what exactly my brothers were doing to make me laugh so hard, I just know that I was literally shaking, tears on my cheeks, fingernails dug hard into my hands in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the occasional snorting burst of laughter that exploded from me like gunfire as my mom shot us all the death glare. It would have been better if I’d just laughed and been done with it, because by fighting to hold it in it must have looked like I was in the throes of some sort of seizure.

Anyways, I was reminded of that first thing yesterday morning as I sat at my desk reading this.

A friend sent it to me and it is an instant classic - so take a 2-minute time-out of your own today and enjoy!

Here it is.

In other news, Mads has taken to calling me by my first name. Awesome. But more on that later...

Technorati: JC Penney

October 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 04, 2008

So I guess this means I'm really old

Yesterday as I was driving into work the radio DJ -possibly the most annoying person on the face of god's green earth, might I add. He spent ages yesterday nonsensically musing about how he might freeze his sperm, which he insisted on referring to as his "little soldiers" - said that the new Sarah McLachlan song was coming up after the break. And I thought to myself, "Damn, I wish I was home so that I could tape it." Tape it. Off the radio. Please tell me someone else remembers doing that, sitting with your trigger finger hovering over the record button on your ghettoblaster making a mix tape. Yowsa. Am I really this old?

It got me thinking of all the times I rolled my eyes at how ancient my parents were when I was a kid (even though I think they were actually younger parents than F and I are). Eight-tracks? Beehives? Elvis? Spam sandwiches? What planet were those two from?

And then it got me thinking about how one day Mads will be giving me those same looks, saying things like, "Mom. That is soo last century." And the thing is, she'll be right. It literally was last century.

93cd_1_b_2So rather than spend any more time yelling at the radio and the people living in it, I turned it off and instead came up with a little list of things that I grew up with that Mads will not. I plan to put together an accompanying slideshow that I will bring out at sleepovers, first dates and possibly her high school graduation. Here it is, in no particular order...

Ghettoblasters, VCRs (I actually remember renting VCRs from the video store), handwritten book reports on foolscap paper, endless casseroles involving tater tots, plastic shopping bags, Mork & Mindy, panic over the likely collapse of civilization when we hit "Y2K," the candy counter in the Sears basement, having to use the reference section of the library rather than the Internet, cameras with actual film in them, Little People back when they were just wooden pegs with faces, O'Ryan's Sour Cream & Onion chips (tragic)...

(Ooh, thought of another one... Before there were iPhones, cell phones, cordless phones, and even push button phones, there were these. And before those I think it was just two tin cans and a piece of string.)

What have I missed?

October 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (10) | 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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