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March 19, 2011

I'll never understand any of this

Sept6

Mads and I have really been at odds lately, for the first time in our little life together. It's put me off-kilter.

We have a funny sort of relationship, the two of us. It's a hard thing to put into words. I very clearly remember the day she turned one month old: We sat together in utter misery together at my parents' house in the early hours of the morning. She was wailing, which wasn't uncommon, and I was settling into a sinkhole of depression. To be more specific, I was thinking about nice it must feel to drown. I looked over at her in her blue bouncy chair and she stopped crying and smiled her first ever smile. Completely out of the blue, right at me. Since then, through whatever else, we've been on the same side.

Until now.

It hasn't exactly been smooth sailing to this point, but I've always felt like I know how to talk to her, like I really understand her. But lately... I just don't. Suddenly absolutely everything is a battle. Eating, sleeping, getting dressed, going out, staying in - it's all become a gigantic ordeal. It's like we've regressed three years, only now the resistance comes complete with eye rolls and dirty looks. Suddenly, it seems, I'm just "so boooring." And to be honest, she's no picnic either.

As always, the non-existant motherhood manual is no help at all on this one so I've been winging it, employing a possibly toxic combination of bribery, threats and talkings-to. All of which have of course gone ignored. 

And then one day this week, as I sat daydreaming about enlisting her in a Maury Pauvich-style bootcamp, the whole thing disappeared as suddenly as it had arrived. She was my sweet Mads, with her pleases and thank yous, her silly grins and those hugs that squeeze my heart until it just about busts. As soon as it came it was gone.

And all I'm left with is that old aching gratitude, and this far-off feeling that the only thing I will ever know is that I don't know anything at all.

Welcome to motherhood.

March 19, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 02, 2011

One Fish, Two Fish, Make It Stop

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Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!

I have a complicated relationship with the good Dr. Most books I just love, and around these parts childhood just would not be complete without him. There are a few, though, that make me want to stick pins in my eyeballs. 

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, for example. I cringe inside when that book gets pulled off the shelf by sticky little fingers at the end of the day.

At our house
we open cans.
We have to open
many cans.
And that is why
we have a Zans.

A Zans for cans is very good.
Have you a Zans for cans?
You should.

63 long, long pages.

But then there's Oh, the Places You'll Go! We stencilled that phrase across the wall of Mads' pink bedroom when she was just a baby. I hope it's up there for a good while longer, before she decides to cover it up with black paint or a Bob Marley pot poster in a fit of teenage angst.

In one, short, kid-friendly book Dr. Seuss managed to sum up just about every life lesson I hope to instill in my girls over the next 18 years or so: Use your brain, trust your instincts, believe in yourself, get through the bad times, celebrate the good ones. And always be nice to your mom. Okay, I added that last bit.

So in honour of today, what would have been Dr. Seuss' 107th birthday, here are a few of my very favourite quotes.

  • “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”
  • “Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”
  • “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
  • "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose."
  • “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”
  • Then come my Black Days. MAD. And loud. I howl. I growl at every cloud."
  • "I'm sorry to say so but, sadly it's true
    that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you"
  • "What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
    What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
  • "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?"
  • "ASAP. Whatever that means. It must mean, 'Act swiftly awesome pacyderm!"

Favourite Seuss book? Least favourite?

March 2, 2011 | 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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