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July 31, 2009

In other words…

Unnecessary quotation marks Sometimes other people just say it better. This time it’s Uma Thurman. What, were you expecting Plato?

So Uma’s been talking up her new movie titled Motherhood that’s coming out around Christmas. Being a mom herself (sidenote: I'm still a bit sad about Ethan Hawk (allegedly) cheating on her and their subsequent divorce, even though it was 5 years ago and he's gone on to have another baby with the former nanny and she's engaged to a billionaire. What can I say, these things hit me hard.) she had this to say about identifying with the topic:

“My big wish now is to make a little time for myself. I think many women, working women, get this. I mean how do you justify that hour and a half to yourself? When you have this to do and that to do and you want to be there… So I really want to do that. I really think it’s necessary…. That’s what [the film] Motherhood is about. The chaos and the confusion – and also the loss of yourself. Of course there is a good part to losing yourself – any mother that doesn’t give herself up isn’t a good mother, but at the same time you can get to a point where you can’t reach the identity that helped you be stable in the first place – and that is quite a frightening feeling. I must have gone through years of it. Just years of confusion. Guilty when you’re here and guilty when you’re there, of being torn in half.”

I’m certainly not saying I feel like this every day. If I did, I wouldn’t be sitting upright typing right now, I’d be hunkered down rocking in a corner somewhere. But… I have my moments.

Every once in a while you read something that makes you nod your head vigorously in agreement and shout out “Amen, sister!” on a bus full of sweaty strangers. Uma Thurman. Who knew?

Remind me to see this movie.

ps - the picture above has absolutely nothing to do with this post. I Googled "quotation marks" because I was planning on quoting Uma and I laughed when this pic came up in the results. Come on, who doesn't love misplaced quotation marks?

July 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 27, 2009

Little Miss Bossy

Miss_bossy So can someone can tell me if it’s just a girl thing, or if being a total bossy bosserton is a trait inherent in all 3-year-olds? No matter how many times I try to tell her she’s not in charge, Mads still seems to think she rules the roost. Ah, I remember those infant days when, heady with power, I alone decided what we ate/watched/read/played/wore. (This weekend I brought her home the cutest bathing suit but when I went to put it on her she took it from me, said almost sympathetically, like she felt sorry for me for actually believing I had some say in the matter, “No, no, no, Mommy. I am not going to wear that ever,” then neatly put it back in the drawer, turned around and left the room naked.)

Mads manages to turn practically every waking minute into some kind of game (“Let’s play restaurant! Haircut! School day! Doctor! Library lady! Music class! Birthday party! Balloonia!”), which is all kinds of creative and all out adorable. Until someone – usually me – goes and ruins everything by ignoring the extensive and exhausting set of rules she has created, memorized and of course refused to share.

Case in point: Yesterday’s game, which I’ll call “Maddie Looking Out The Window.” It starts with – get ready for it – Maddie looking out the window. And… Action!

Mads: "Mommy, you come and ask me what I’m looking at."
Me: "Okay. What are you looking at, Maddie?"
Mads: "Noo! You come closer and then ask me."
Me (walking over to the window): "What are – "
Mads: "NO! Mommy, you don’t look out the window, I look out the window. You stand at that chair."
Me (now at the chair): "What are you looking at?"
Mads: "You say, ‘What are you looking at, MADDIE?’"
Me (sighing): "What are you looking at, MADDIE?"
Mads: "Oh, I’m just looking out the window at aaall of the animals."
Me: "What’s going on out there? Are there birds, or – "
Mads: "No, stop saying that, Mommy! You're supposed to say, ‘Ooooh.’"
Me (imitating her high pitch because, as it turns out, I’m not above mocking a 3-year-old): ‘Ooooh.’”
Maddie: “That’s good. Now let’s start from the beginning.”

I've got to admire her, though. Think of all the time we spend waiting in lines, twiddling our thumbs, passing the time. Life would probably be that much more fun if we could remember how to fill all those mundane minutes with make believe.

I'm sitting outside as I write this, in our half-finished backyard, and just swallowed a unfortunately textured insect along with my sip of $9 chardonnay. So I think that'd be my cue to sign off for tonight.

July 27, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 17, 2009

Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be so hard

4961_118112642673_548797673_3353662_7139568_n So last night I had, luxury of all luxuries, an evening out with a few of my favourite girls. Add wine, subtract kids, sounds pretty perfect to me. Midway through I check my voicemail to hear a muffled and sobbing message from Mads: “I love you, Mommy. I (gasp, sob) miss you, Mommy. I see you tomorrow, Mommy.” It turns out the poor girl had been crying for a solid hour so as a last resort F suggested she call me. I, of course, was too busy with my wine and chatter to pick up. Thus the horrible, heartbreaking message. I listened to it three times and then cried.

On the way home it struck me that this is precisely why it is impossible to understand what it’s going to be like to be a parent until you actually are one. Going into this baby adventure, I thought I was as prepared as possible. I read the books, chatted to friends, did extensive Googling. (Side note: Looking back, I find it near hysterical that at 7 months pregnant I was reading books about the epidemic of bullying and the tragedy of kids not connecting with nature. Like those would be my most pressing concerns. I see now I should’ve grabbed the book titled, Holy Sh*t, What Do I Do Now? And Other Common Parenting Questions.)

I had read all about the sleepless nights, seen kids having meltdowns at the grocery store, felt the tiny, fat fingers of a newborn curled around my pinky finger. But that stuff barely scratches the surface of it.

It’s knowing that you can never, ever sleep in. It’s coming home from a long day at work and immediately flicking the switch into mommy mode. It’s being sick as a dog and still playing tea party. It’s feeling a blast of cold air as the shower curtain is thrown back by your crying toddler who just accidentally turned off her favourite TV show. It’s forgetting what it feels like to be in your own home all by yourself. It’s having moments where you can’t remember who you used to be, and can’t figure out who you’ve become. It’s the frustrated desperation that creeps in when your kid refuses to eat, or sleep (or poop!!!!). It’s the knowledge that while you’re enjoying your first evening out in ages your baby is crying at home because she misses you.

I don't want this to sound all dreary and depressing. Honestly, I don’t mind not sleeping in. And who doesn’t love a good tea party? And of course along with these things come countless others: Before you had kids, when was the last time you went on a swing? Or searched for starfish? Or read Dr. Seuss? When did you last stir up a big cup of chocolate milk? Or drink from one of those crazy, twisty straws? When did you last look in the sky and pick shapes out among the clouds or get excited at the sound of a train whistle? When was the last time someone said, “I’m going to tell you the best thing you ever heard in the whole entire world, okay? It’s… I LOVE YOU!”

I guess there is really no preparing for parenthood because it’s impossible to predict all of the huge and tiny, wonderful and heartbreaking ways your life is going to change.

Tonight I have a date with another one of my favourite girls. Something tells me we’ll be having tea.

July 17, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

July 10, 2009

I am hippo, hear me roll

Gloria1 After another nutritious dinner of sliced hot dog (“NO BUN!!!”), ketchup, grated cheese, ketchup, cucumbers and more ketchup I found Mads standing in front of the bathroom mirror and looking intently at her now-full – but not too full for a popsicle – belly.

“Look at my tummy, Mommy… I look like a hippo!” This was followed by fits of laughter, wailing sounds that I assume were meant to replicate the calls of a hippo, and repeated exclamations of, “I’m a hippo! I’m a hippo!”

Ah, toddlerhood, when it doesn’t matter if your hair has toothpaste in it or you still have yesterday’s peanut butter on your chin or you boast an insanely high percentage of body fat. When looking like a wild jungle beast is a cause for celebration.

I have hippo moments of my own of course, after that ill-advised cheeseburger happy meal or one (dozen) too many Timbits. I tend to greet them not with gales of gleeful laughter, but with a powerful cocktail of self-loathing, exercise and empire-waist tops.

So is it the daily onslaught of Barbie dolls and Fergie’s abs on MTV? Or maybe that single horrifying moment when Shelly, your 6th grade nemesis, waltzes in with her bedazzled jean mini and glossy blonde hair as you sit suddenly conscious of your seafoam-coloured sweatpants and that mess of a bad home perm that refuses to grow out. Most likely it’s a bit of both.

But wouldn’t it be nice if we could always feel as good about ourselves as we do when we’re 3 years old? Let’s just all take a moment to embrace our inner – and outer – hippos.

July 10, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 04, 2009

Still alive...

IMG_5920 Sooo.... I've been drifting from the blog a bit lately. My twice-weekly ramblings have dwindled to once a month or so and even that feels like a challenge at times. I feel the need to explain.

First of all, to borrow an excuse from my multi-tasking, Blackberry-addicted generation: I'm ridiculous busy. It's nuts.

Before I had Maddie I thought I lived life at a respectable pace, but looking back I see that my days involved an admirable amount of couch-lounging and leisurely strolls with the dog. Then the girl arrived and our lives got kicked onto another plane of activity, where our days are full and even our nights are sometimes interrupted by sad wails coming from behind her closed bedroom door. (These are getting more creative all the time - last night she woke up two hours after bedtime crying because she suddenly realized that I hadn't cut the washing instructions tag off of her T-shirt; last week it was that her pyjama sleeve was "all pushed up." She lives a tragic life, that girl.)

Those of you with two, three, five, eight kids ('fess up, Octomom - I know you're out there) are probably laughing at me right now, or angrily screaming, You think you're busy?! Try my life you pathetic one-kid cow. And you have a point, I know. But along with the work of being a mom I have taken on a couple of extra jobs over the years and while I love it, it's just... busy. That's all.

The other thing, and I aways knew at some point this time would come, is that it's getting harder for me to tell stories about Mads these days. She's no longer a blob of a human being who falls flat on her face if not propped up by strategically-placed pillows. She this little person now, with little person thoughts and feelings and fears and ideas and experiences all her own. She tells her own stories, which makes it harder for me to tell them for her. I've thought about telling my own stories for a while, but honestly there's not much to tell. I work, I eat too many chips, I attend daily pretend tea parties hosted by Mads' alter-egos "Judy" and "Cindabelya", I change diapers (YES, STILL!), I have a glass of wine. I read a few pages of a book, I see a friend, I buy a new pair of shoes. That's me, in a nutshell.

So that's where things stand. For so long, since I first found myself adrift in a stormy sea of spit-up and pureed peaches with only a screaming baby for company, this little blog has been my lifeline. It's like a living, breathing thing to me, and I'm not ready to leave it behind entirely just yet. Eventually I'll print all of these entries of neuroses and frustration and joy and bind them for the day when Mads is old enough to read and understand them, and hopefully to see that while I may be far, far, far from perfect (like, football field distances from perfect), I love her.

Until then, I'm still around.

July 4, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | 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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