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January 31, 2011

Who's happy?

I'm not happy.

I mean, I'm not not happy. But I'm not really happy, either. I'm somewhere in between, adrift.

By all accounts I should be brimming, buzzing, bursting with joy. My marriage, my girls, my home, my job, my friends, my family - I am insanely, embarassingly blessed. I should be singing my gratitude from the rooftop. But I'm not.

It's not just that I'm too tired (I am) or that I'm too busy (I am) or that I'm still in post-ppd recovery mode. All of that is in the background: Clutter, noise. Somewhere along the way I think I've lost that thing, whatever it is, that welcomes happiness - finds it, holds it, lives it.

Yesterday I was in a dismal mood and it spilled over into my day with the girls: Irritated, distracted, disinterested. As I lay in bed, restless and waiting for sleep, it settled on me that I took a lovely day and threw it away, for no real reason. And that was a lesson that I taught to my preschooler, my tiny little sponge.

As much as I'd love for it to be lurking in a tiny wine-soaked Parisian cafe, I have a feeling that happiness can't really be tracked down to a specific location. Just like there is a place in us for sadness, for anger, even for that empty disconnect that rattles around from time to time, there should be a place for joy - just pure, deep, untethered happiness. I guess that's what I need to make room for.

How? I'm not entirely sure - I'm new at this. But I think it has something to do with taking time out to breathe, laugh, talk, listen, leap, help, recognize, connect. Lifting my head up from my small, consuming little life to see the bigger view. So that's what I'll do. Every day - every day - one thing in the name of happiness. And I'll try to chronicle it - well, most of it - here along with everything else, because otherwise I'm sure I won't bother actually doing it.

And if you could do with a little more happiness, maybe you'll join me.

It's my 2011 resolution, one month late - ironically enough, my first New Years resolution was to try to be on time. I guess I'll just keep trying.

January 31, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 28, 2011

Mommy's little hellion


Look at that face. That is a baby who is up to no good. She knows it, I know it, she knows that I know it. And she couldn't care less.

This is A at her finest. The girl is hell on wheels, in a loveable sort of way.

Mads was a notoriously challenging baby, because she basically hated being a baby. A, on the other hand, loves being a baby. She loves the irritating, primary-coloured, squaking toys; she loves whole the sitting-up-in-the-crib-instead-of-sleeping routine; she loves eating the week-old M&Ms she finds hiding under the couch.

She can sniff out the things she shouldn't be getting into, she can army crawl her way over to her sister's Thomas the Train track before I get a chance to even think of the damage she's about to do. She's mischevious and single-minded and full of no-good intentions. And she's kind of adorable.

In not even 9 months A has endured more bumps and bruises than her big sister had in her first 2 years. With Mads I thought I was above baby-proofing - why hide your valuables (ha! as if I have valuables) when you can just say "No touch!" I'm now on the verge of bubble-wrapping my entire living room.

Yet more proof that being a mom does not prepare you for being a mom again. These kids are out to destroy me. But I love 'em.

January 28, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 26, 2011

The day from hell... and it's only 10am


Dear today: You suck.

It actually started out okay. A was up a bit earlier than usual, I'm still fighting the tail end of a flu, but we rolled with it. Mads got up, hugs and kisses, how'd you sleep, here's some juice...everything is on track.

Then just before 9am, as I vacuumed up the wafts of dog hair that A just loves stuffing in her mouth, Mads started coughing. Cough, cough, vomit. Splash, all over the couch, the floor, me.

I plopped A in the jumperoo and turned back to Mads... Splash. And then again, only by the third time my truly terrible survival insincts kicked in and instead of just letting it hit the floor, I caught it. With my hands.

I eventually got her into the bathroom, into the bathtub. Poor baby, just wailing. After distracting her with a tub full of toys I went to mop up the mess and get A out of the jumperoo - which is apparently some ancient torture chamber, judging by the volume of her screaming.

Mess cleaned, I ran back to the bathroom where Mads was calling me from the tub. All of 7 seconds later... THUMP! WAAAAHH! From the living room. I rush back there to see A sprawled beside the table. Forgetting that she can barely even crawl, never mind climb, I guess she'd tried her hand at scaling the furniture. It didn't go so well.

Now it's 10:05am and, knock on wood, nobody's crying and nobody is projectile vomiting. I'm about to take my first sip of the cup of coffee I poured 2 hours ago and have reheated 4 times. Things are looking up... what can I say, I've lowered my standards.


January 26, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 24, 2011

I just can't stop

I seem to have some sort of adult-onset ADD. Some sort of motherhood-inspired mania.

Even when the girls are occupied, or asleep, or out of the house all together, I can't ever just... stop. I'm always boiling bottles or steaming carrot sticks or poaching apples or emptying diaper bins or organazing Playmobil. Cleaning something, cooking something, writing something.

"Sit down," F tells me at the end of the day, when the dishes are done and the kids are in bed. And I do, and it feels amazing. For about 25 seconds. Then my mind wanders from whatever it is we're watching on TV and I think, "Is there bread for tomorrow's breakfast? Did I put the girls' laundry in the machine? Is the bottle still in the diaper bag? Did I empty the bathtub? What did I do with that fieldtrip form?"

All of these endless, tiny, ridiculous distractions cycle through my mind and I fidget and ruminate and stew until finally I get up and start going through the list.

"Sit down," F says again. "I will, soon...."I tell him from the other room.

But I can't. stop. moving. Doing things. Checking things.

I remember being a kid, all of us settling down in front of a movie at home. As soon as the opening credits began my mom would be up, putting away leftovers, washing the last of the dishes, checking on the washing machine. It drove me nuts. But now I think I get it.

January 24, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 16, 2011

I love you forever

"I love you more than anything in the whole world."

This from my Mads today, as we ran dodging fat raindrops back to the car.

"I love you too, baby girl."

"More than anything?"

"I could never love anything more than I love you," I told her, feeling her little hand in mine.

I didn't tell her that I love her so much that there are times when I can hardly find room for breath in my chest.

That I sometimes just want to hold her to me, to breathe her, to remember her.

That the word 'love' is too tiny, too contained, too defined.

That she's the first thing that's made me wonder if maybe something bigger really does exist.

That it seems hard to believe the world ever existed without her.

After all of this - the depression, the kitchen dance parties, the first steps, the sleepless nights, the sloppy kisses, the Baby Einstein marathons, the endless ups and downs - the only thing that really counts is that I love her. I could never love anything more than I love her.

January 16, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 06, 2011

Tell me a story, kid


Santa may have messed up on the Whoopie cushion - though it was so much fun the first 40 times I fake farted at the dinner table - but he made up for it with these.

You flip the cards one at a time and use them to tell a story. We got the Fairy Tale theme - because around these parts a story just isn't a story without a princess - but there are others. Mads loves them. She loves them so much that they've replaced the Disney Princess Storybook at bedtime. Hallelujah.

And her storytelling has already gotten a lot better. The early versions went something like this:
  • Once upon a time there was a golden key.
  • Meanwhile there was a castle on a tall, tall hill.
  • Meanwhile there was a mean witch in a bottle.
  • Meanwhile there was a storm!
  • The end.

Not exactly thrilling stuff. But now we have some plot, some conflict, some character development. Last night's story ended with a wedding between Jack and the Princess. We all cried.

For those in Canada I've seen them at Chapters (sorry, Indigo - I still can't get used to that). If you're down south, Amazon has them.

Disclaimer: Absolutely no money or free goods were provided in exchange for this review. Though I would've accepted them had they been offered. ;)

care xo


January 6, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 04, 2011

Meet my 4-year-old teenager


So something very odd happened over the holiday... Mads aged about 8 years. You wouldn't know it to look at her. She still has the crooked grin, the big doe eyes, the preschooler's pronounciation. But she is undeniably... older.

For starters, Mommy and Daddy are a thing of the past. It's Mom and Dad now. And she takes every opportunity to rub salt in that wound.

"Mom? Where are my felts, Mom? Mom! My felts, Mom?"

"Dad! I don't want to go, Dad. It's too cold, Dad. Dad? Dad? Dad, I don't want to go, Dad."

Holy hell. There are only two of us, I think we can figure it out without the constant labels.

Another thing: The girl who could not care less about what she wore, the girl who flat out refused to wear jeans or anything at all that isn't stretchy, suddenly insists on a "pretty skirt" every day. In the middle of the winter. Apparently she read in last month's Cosmo that a "pretty skirt" is the must-have fashion piece of the season. So a skirt it is, though I force her to put a pair of pants on underneath.

As soon as she gets dressed - I'm not allowed in her room while she gets ready, did I forget to mention that little gem? - it's, "Don't look, Mom! Mom? Mom, don't look!" as she runs down the hall to the full-length mirror in our bedroom. I peak around the corner and see her turning this way, then that, whispering, "Oh my gosh! So cute!"

These little quirks could be considered adorable. Not so adorable is the stream of "No! I don't want to! I'm not coming! I don't like that! That's not what I said! I already said that!"


On the other hand, I must tell this story: While A was "working it out" in her crib last night - a necessary evil, in my world of parenting - Mads could see I was stressed and said, "Mom? Mom? Do you want me to go check on her, Mom?"

So she's still my sweet, sweet girl... just a bit better dressed.

January 4, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 01, 2011

See ya, 2010

Happy new year!

Sorry to say it, 2010, but I'm not all that sorry to see you go. Yes, you brought me my daughter, so I'll thank you for that. But overall you were full of drama and chaos and general mayhem. You were a trouble-maker and I'm kind of glad to see the last of you.

2011 is only 12 hours old, so it's still bright and shiny and new and brimming with promise and possibility. I'm nothing if not practical, so I know it will likely disappoint. But it may also be pretty amazing. Mads will be turning 5 (and when she does you'll find me sobbing over her baby pictures and drinking wine through a straw), she'll be starting kindergarten, making friends and learning things and dipping her toes into the wide world that exists outside of our four happy little walls. And A will be turning into a little person all her own. I can't wait to see who she's on her way to becoming.

Six months ago I was lost, empty, drowning. Today, as I write this, Mads is squealing over an intense game of Mouse Trap and A is in her highchair beside me happily chomping on blueberries and toast. The progress is infinite.

Happy new year... here's hoping 2011 is a good one for all of us. xo

January 1, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1) | 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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