12.31.2007

Merry Merry, Happy Happy


the best present under the tree




the sisters and their cousin



the feast



the fan and her loot




the next morning



the boxing day constitutional with grandpa



hope your holidays were as merry as ours.



***

12.17.2007

one-handed blogging...

...means it's a good time for a pictures-only post.
sorry 'bout the focus - even with two hands, i'm pretty useless.







***

12.11.2007

The Name Game, Part II

My goodness, if you think that coming up with a real-life moniker for your soon-to-bee or newborn is tough, try coming up with a fitting blog pseudonym for that very same child.

With Bee, it was easy (Note to expectant second time parents – from here on out everything that happens with your second will be benchmarked against your first. Notice that I did not say compared. Benchmarked is more non-partisan, non?) – she looked like a bumblebee in utero, and that’s how we referred to her. Bee is not her real-life nickname, but it’s still a good fit here.

This one? Once I accepted that she was real and was staying put inside me for the duration (and then some), we referred to her as Baby Sister. (Note to expectant second time parents – from here on out, everything you do with or about the second will be with the ease, comfort, security and enjoyment of the first in mind. Transitions can be tough. So can toddlers.) But I’m not going to call her Baby Sister here, because I can blog without worrying about how very sensitive Big Sister will react (at least until she can read), and Baby Sister deserves her own identity, one that does not have to do with her relationship to sensitive Big Sister.

So, phew. Ok. Who is she? I’m tempted to call her Grunty McSnortSnort, because her sounds are freakin’ too too much (especially benchmarked against Bee’s strong, silent infanthood), but readers may not interpret that in the same lovable, adorable, melt-my-heart-while-laughing kind of way. Plus, she’s not a character in a Dr. Seuss picture book.

I could call her Princess Fartsalot, but again, it may not seem very dignified down the line.

Peanut? No. The Baby? No. By her initial, C? No? Cupcake? Shayna Maidela? Sky, because her eyes are crazy blue and I’m kind of a hippie? No. No. No.

And then it came to me.

As I wrote in an earlier post, we didn’t name this baby after my dad - but that’s not entirely true. We didn’t name her after him in English. But Jewish children get Hebrew names, and she is named after my dad in Hebrew. In Hebrew, my dad’s name is Dov, which actually means bear.

This baby’s Hebrew name is a feminized version of that, but I think I like just calling her Dov. Dove. And it fits. She is very bird-like – she coos, and cranes her neck and flaps her little arms. And as evidenced by the tattoo on my ankle, symbolically, doves mean a lot to me. But this Dove will be part bear as well, and that right there – that is what I want to teach my children, and I will swell with pride if that’s who they are – peaceful and hopeful in spirit and heart and strong and resilient and fierce as hell when they need to be.

So, welcome to the blogospere, Dove.


***

12.07.2007

'Tis the Season. Oy Gevalt.

One of the nice things about being the matriarch (ha!) of a blended family is that I get to pick and choose the holidays that I want our family to celebrate, and I get to pick and choose how we celebrate them.

Passover? Sure, why not. I like the food and the opportunity to bring out my bag o' plagues, but I’m not staying Kosher for the duration.

Lent? Uh, no. I’m not so good at the fasting, repentance or sacrifice, which is why I pretty much also skip Yom Kippur until we get together at the end to break the fast and eat.

Rosh Hashana? Yes! I like the New Year, and apples and honey, too.

Epiphany? Oh yeah, baby. I celebrate this every year. January 6 is my birthday. You’re supposed to get drunk and sing karaoke on Epiphany, right?

And of course, we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas, because they are fun and I get presents.

Kidding.

Hanukkah is actually a non-religious Jewish festival, and there is nothing about the story of Hanukkah that indicates that presents should be given. It is the proximity to Christmas that sparked the gift-giving tradition, although my parents, being freakin’ conservative when it suited them, decided that they were not going to believe the hype.

So, for Hanukkah we got latkes and chocolate money. Maybe a pair of slippers or a hat that my mom knit if we were lucky.

That’s totally fine with me, and I have always felt a little self-righteous in my being denied the commercialization of yet another holiday.

So, on Hanukkah, we eat latkes, light our menorah, and sing ‘Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah’ because I can’t remember the proper prayers. I have never bought Bee a Hanukkah present, though in a demented turnaround of heart, my mom goes all out on Hanukkah presents for her grandchildren.

However,

As I DID marry a righteous gentile (albeit one in denial of his gentile-ness), I reserve the right to poach as much of the Christmas spirit from his heritage as I please.

That means that, while we happily go to Chris’ parents over Christmas and let them go whole-hog apeshit on the holidays and spoil us with copious amounts of food, drink, gift and merriment, I like to inject a bit of the season into our lives too.

Like Christmas music. As a copywriter for a record company that does a huge seasonal business, I am saturated in Christmas music by July, and totally sick of it by August, but come December, when it’s been a few months and I don’t have to worry about cleverly and sentimentally describing it in print, I love listening to Christmas music. Love it. Love singing it too.

Here are my top 5 Christmas Music picks:

Christmas Canon in D – Trans Siberian Orchestra
Good King Wenceslas – The Skydiggers
Song For a Winter’s Night – Sarah McLachlan
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Barenaked Ladies
Mary Had a Baby – Bruce Cockburn

I realize this is almost a completely Canadian list, with one Russian artist thrown in as a shout-out to my Gypsy heritage.

I also try to bake a lot at Christmastime. Two days ago I made Rice Krispie squares (They’re gone now. Yum.), and yesterday Bee and I spent the afternoon decorating and baking gingerbread and sugar cookies. That was fun, but don’t think I made the dough. No way. I bought the dough and we did the decorating. I am only 2-weeks post-partum, dudes. Speaking of which, I was nursing the little one when the timer went off on the cookies, so they are kind of burnt. Bee doesn’t seem to care, go figure.


yes, it is the middle of the afternoon and Bee is still in her pajamas. We love that kind of day.


I also like to decorate and wrap presents in fancy and creative ways, though I don’t know how much decorating I’ll be doing this year. And btw, I don’t mean putting some god-awful fake greenery on my door or a string of blinking multi-coloured lights in my window. I like a nice vase full of pretty ornaments, or perhaps a festive table runner and a bowl of pinecones. If you like the blinky-blink, blow-up kind of decorations, good on ya, and I like looking at houses that do that kind of thing. But I am just kind of pretending here, so I can’t rock it myself.

Although if Bee or the baby ever asks for one of these, I may have to acquiesce.

Merry Christmukkah!


***

12.01.2007

Everybody Should Have Two Kids!

Ohmygod, I’m so good at this!

Everybody said that being a mother of two would be vastly different than being a mother of one, and boy, are they right!

The biggest difference? I’m so good at it! I know! I was kind of surprised too!

But seriously folks, I’m such a superstar. So far, we have made it through the following week-one milestones with absolutely no freaking out:

The projectile super-pooper

When Bee punk’d me at about 4 days old by squirting chocolate-pudding poo all over my hand, I reacted by withdrawing my hand in a flash of movement, sending the aforementioned pudding poo all over Chris, who was unwisely sitting next to me.

This time around, a) it only takes one of us to change a diaper and b) when the 8-day old mustard squirt came at me, I reacted by putting a diaper there as quickly as possible. Yes, I still got it all over my shirt, pants and bed, but not all over my husband. Superstar!

The holycrap-call 911-my-baby-is-possessed-and-choking-and-coughing-up-a-hairball day 1-3 hacking

We never actually called 911 when Bee did this, but do you parents remember the gagging, retching sound that a newborn makes while extracting the last of the pre-natal mucus from her lungs? Scared the shit out of us the first time and left me shaking for a day thinking that something very horrible had nearly happened to my child.

This time? I simply put her over my shoulder for a better throat-clearing position, and let my little kitten cough that hairball up but good. No shrieking, shaking or shock at all.

The nurse your baby laying down sleep deprivation saviour

It took me a good few weeks to figure this one out with Bee, and I was a much happier camper once I finally did.

Now? Dude, I just started nursing this one sitting up. Horizontal parenting is the shiznit.

The what-is-she-doing-what-does-that-mean-what-should-I-be-doing? newborn weirdness

No learning curve this time - I’m bilingual. I speak baby.

That tiny ‘o’ she makes with her mouth? She’s about to poop.

Eyes open, brow-scrunch when she was asleep a minute ago? She has to poop.

Just put a clean diaper on her? She’s gonna poop.

Neck-craning, mouth shut? She needs to burp.

Scrunchy face, hands waving when I thought she was asleep? Needs to burp.

Neck-craning, mouth open? Hungry.

Wildly stuffing both hands in her mouth, grunting and squealing? Hungry.

Really, it’s an easy language to learn – she either needs to poop, burp or eat. I was just a lot dumber the first time around.

The what-should-she-be-wearing-is-she-too-hot-too-cold-I’d-better-disturb-her-8000-times-to-be-sure-she’s-not-too-hot-or-too-cold ridiculousness

Bee was born May 2005, a very warm May. The first time I dared go outside with her when she was a few days old (we got as far as the back deck, how adventurous), I put her in a onesie, a sleeper and a light fleece bunting bag. Then I placed her in the bassinette in the shade and proceeded to poke her and prod her over and over again trying to gauge her temperature. I was so stressed out after 10 minutes that we went back inside and Chris called me a lunatic.

This time? Ok, well, she’s 9 days old and thanks to the c-section we haven’t gone outside yet, but I live in an old, drafty cold house and it’s December. And I’ve barely touched the back of my baby’s neck, trusting that in a sleeper, wrapped in a blanket and next to me, she’s good. We’re good. And I can’t wait to go outside, because I’m going a little batshit stir-crazy in the house, and when we do, by golly, I’m gonna bundle both my kiddies up, and we’re gonna have a crazy good time walking around the block or maybe to Starbucks. Nothing insane about that.

So to sum up:

Baby #1 – scary, confusing and hard.
Baby #2 – piece of cake, and I rock.

It’ll always be like this, right? Even when the painkillers wear off? Maybe I'd better save a few for when they're teenagers.


***

11.29.2007

Transitions, Part II

My second daughter was born one week ago.

My dad died ten weeks ago.

Despite my fiercest hopes and wishes, I was not able to tell him about the birth of his third granddaughter. I wrote about my hope, but based on how relentlessly the disease progressed right before his death, I realize now how far off that possibility really was.

But I’ve been thinking about him a lot. Of course I have.

I get the feeling that everybody has been watching me a little closer than necessary, wondering if the birth of my child would truly bring home the reality of the death of my father. I don’t know if I would go so far as to say that my midwives were concerned about PPD, but they stayed close at hand for the first five days, knowing so well that post-birth emotions and hormones can get to a girl, especially one who may be mourning the loss of both a parent and a birth plan.

The thing is, I am feeling my dad’s presence more than his absence right now.

When we had to make the scary and disappointing decision to deliver via c-section, I thought about all the scary and disappointing medical decisions my dad had to make. When I was walking around with an IV attached to my hand, I thought about the many times over the 8 months that he was ill that my dad had a tube attached to his body. Sometimes his IV was delivering sustenance and medicine, but sometimes it was poison.

He endured agonizing tests that yielded unfavourable results over and over again. But he didn’t complain about having to go through it.

I thought about why I was experiencing my discomfort and why he experienced his. I drew strength and perspective from these thoughts.

I thought very clearly about why I was there, and what I was getting out of the experience.

I am not mourning the loss of my perfect birth expectations. I am celebrating the birth of my perfect child.

My dad would be proud of me. He would have been worried, and happy and proud of me.

He would have loved this child; this child that snorts and grunts and squeals like a little piglet, and makes faces when she sleeps and gazes wide-eyed when she’s awake.

He would have loved her name. It would have made him smile and probably shake his head a bit, in acknowledgement that her name is so us. That it is so her. He would understand why we decided not to name her after him. He would understand that it was too soon, that he was still too present for us to place his absence so symbolically on this tiny child. And if we had, he would have been embarrassed, tried to convince us not to.

He won’t know her, and I could cry ten thousand tears over this painful fact. But she will know him. She will know him from pictures and stories and music and favourite places.

I don’t know if I can say that I look at my daughter and see my father. Maybe as she grows I will see aspects of him in her behaviour or expressions or habits. I hope I can teach her the things that he taught me, like patience and tolerance and how to understand hockey stats. And if his lousy sense of direction skips a generation, well, that’s ok too.


once upon a time



***

11.26.2007

Born To Me

Well, she’s here. Thankfully, blissfully, finally here. And if her entrance into this world is any indication, she’s gonna be trouble.

If there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that best-laid plans are simply that, and that there are no guarantees.

Like a baby remaining head-down at 41 weeks and 2 days gestation. Apparently, in my grand naivety, I thought we had this one in the bag.

I woke up Wednesday morning early, sad to have to say goodbye to my sister and niece who, after a nearly 3-week stay had to travel back to BC to fulfill a previously-made commitment. Seems naivety runs in my family, as my sister was sure that this child would have made her entrance by then. Ensconced in panic that our labour/childcare support plans A, B and C was walking out the door, we hastily implemented plan D, and Chris’ mom was on a train to Toronto within the hour. My sister joked that more than sex, spicy food or acupuncture, her stepping on a plane would surely be our successful method of labour induction. She wasn’t far off.

That afternoon, as Chris and Bee headed to the train station to pick up my mother-in-law, I went to my scheduled midwife appointment. We joked about some of the non-traditional induction methods we might think of implementing as Tracy, my midwife, felt my belly. Abruptly, the joking stopped and Tracy looked at me more seriously than she had throughout this or my previous pregnancy with her.

‘She’s transverse again.’

Oh, good Christ on the cross, I thought, this child is so grounded when she’s born.

After much palpating, consultation and discussion with all of the midwives in the clinic, Tracy sent me home for a vigorous walk with Chris. She would be back at my place in a couple of hours, and we would map out next steps then.

So off we go, in the pouring, cold rain, to try to walk this baby back into head-down position. We had already discussed the possible courses of action and outcomes, so really, the time we were given was pretty much just to come to peace with what lay ahead. At that point, only one thing was pretty certain – this was not going to be the birth we had expected.

Sure enough, Tracy’s visit revealed no new information, and we headed to the hospital for a consultation with an OB. The only time I had ever been in this particular hospital was to register for each of my births, and though I can see the place from my bedroom window, I certainly never expected that one day I would be looking out the window of the hospital back at my house.

In triage we met the on-call OB, a warm, straightforward doctor originally from Africa, who went over the options that Tracy had alluded to. Really, this whole part was a ruse, designed to make me and Chris feel as though we actually had options. We didn’t. Well, we did. We could choose to wait for or implement a couple of risky things that would most likely end in an emergency c-section, or we could plan for a c-section now, and at least enjoy the benefits of controlling as many of the circumstances as possible. It didn’t take long for us to let them know our ‘choice.’

The next 4 hours were completely surreal. Even though I was now well on my way to delivering via c-section, I had a really hard time realizing that it was me that would have to actually go through it. As the IV was set up and inserted, as we walked the hallways with the drip, waiting to be summoned to the OR, as Chris was taken away to be gloved, gowned and masked and as I was prepped for and administered a spinal block, I had this weird sensation that this was just all part of some third-person narrative, and that this was not actually happening to me.

The morphine helped. Stupidly, I thought it was the oxygen going up my nose that was making me kind of giddy, and I remember remarking that it was obvious why people liked going to oxygen bars. I believe it was the anesthesiologist that said, ‘Oh, they don’t get what you’re getting at the oxygen bar!’

So Chris came in, the surgery began, and so did the puking. I’m a puker. It actually had a pretty good distraction factor, and I don’t really recall much sensation of the surgery because of it. Or maybe that was the morphine.

At any rate, our baby was born healthy and purple at 1:37 am, the news of which I believe I reacted to by barfing. She had a good rubbing by my midwives, and then was able to enjoy skin-to-skin contact with Chris, which I think was really wonderful for him, and helped him recover from looking over the sheet just a little too early and peering into a pool of my blood with a purple leg sticking out.

The next couple of hours, also blurry, due to the rush of hormones, and well, morphine, but I do remember a few things about being in recovery. I remember ice chips, and I remember the baby practically crawling up my chest to latch herself onto my boob, and I remember Chris holding the little blue trough over the baby’s head so that I could puke without disturbing her first meal.

The hospital stay was not as bad as I had anticipated a hospital stay being, and improved greatly once a private room became available after the first night. The nurses were attentive, and for the most part very warm and considerate of both the fact that I was a midwife’s client and the fact that I intended to make informed decisions, but I still managed to piss a few of them off. Like after the decision not to allow them to bathe the baby after 8 hours on the outside, and the decision to not allow them to repeat the jaundice blood test after the first, administered with the PKU, did not yield enough blood to get results. You poke my baby 3 times already and leave a bruise on her heel and you are not my friend. You’re not coming back for more.

I also pissed off a night nurse who didn’t like my latch. She woke us up in the middle of the night to check temp/blood pressure for the millionth time, and at that point the baby was pretty much asleep on the boob, after having nursed for a good half hour previously. She was slipping off already, and the nurse was concerned that she was too high up on the nipple. I insisted that she was ok, that I was in no pain, and that this was just fine for a baby that had just been nursing lying down for a while. The nurse clucked at me and left, and Chris made a joke that she was going to sic a lactation consultant on us. I balked, but sure enough, at 8 am the next morning, there was a knock on the door and in walked Lori, the lactation consultant. I happened to be nursing at that point, and her visit was a very short one, especially when I told her that I had just weaned my firstborn 5 months prior.

Rest assured that although I viewed this as a minor, humourous annoyance, I am impressed and happy that so much effort is made to ensure breastfeeding success. I’m just not used to someone second-guessing my mad breastfeeding skillz.

Anyway, I was released on Saturday, early by hospital standards, and again I was thankful that I had my midwives as both advocates for my release and as dedicated caregivers responsible for overseeing my recovery at home.

Home, ahh. It’s better to be here for sure (hospital food really is as bad as everyone says it is, although Bee loved the copious amounts of jello I always saved for her), but the realities of recovering from abdominal surgery are slightly more vivid than they were in the hospital. Apparently I’m healing very well, and Tracy took my staples out today, but I’m a bit overwhelmed by the long road to full recovery. No steps until next week if I can help it, and no picking up Bee for 6 weeks. The pain is manageable, peaking at night or when I sneeze (holy fuck, sneezing hurts), and I’ll milk this for as long as I (or Chris) can manage.

And the baby? Holy mother of sweetness, she is worth any discomfort, any discarded birth plan, any sneeze trauma and any perma-paunch that comes my way. I forgot how tiny, how alien, how fascinating, how miraculous new babies are. As for the bond that I always thought could only come from the anticipation and hormonal rush of early labour; from feeling my body extract my child in an intense choreography of pleasure and pain; from that new baby being placed immediately on my chest; from introducing Bee to her baby sister in the warm, welcoming comfort of the bed that she had also been born in – well, I was wrong about that. I didn’t have any of those things this time, but the result is there. The result is the same, and it is powerful. She is my baby. She was born to me. And she is love.




***

11.23.2007

guess who?


guest post by chris the new dad

who is this?
who's this cute little baby girl who was born Thursday Nov 22nd at 1:37am, at 7pounds 7 ounces?
and why, after all of our most carefully laid plans went all topsy turvy, is she giving us the finger?

kgirl will be back on the weekend with the full story.

11.18.2007

I Must Have Been An Elephant In a Previous Life

Still freaking pregnant.

But having good contractions. Won't post again until the baby is here, but rest assured, we have now tried EVERYTHING.

xok


***

11.16.2007

I Love You. Get Out.

Hey, so if you’re clicking over because I’m all nice and bold in bloglines, and you figure this must be baby news,

Psyche!

The only news I have is that there is no baby yet. The title of this post is also my continuous mantra to my unborn daughter, and she’s not listening. I used to be all, ‘Hi baby, come out please so that we can love love love you,’ but Lisa B, smart girl that she is, convinced me that I might need to take a bit more of a hardline approach.

Since I am technically only 3 days late today, my midwives and I are not even discussing interventions, but so far, spicy food, accupuncture and long walks on the beach (seriously) have not coerced this babe from my uterus. I must be one hell of a comfy incubator. Or maybe this is just a super-mellow child who sees no need to rush her introduction to the world. Yes, let’s go with that.

Anyway, the circumstances did allow for me and Chris to go out for a wonderful sushi dinner for his 32nd birthday last night. (Happy birthday love! Don’t worry internets, I didn’t eat raw fish.) However, he was kind of hoping that he’d get a new baby for his birthday.

And I have had a few good false alarms, and there is so much pressure where there needs to be that I feel like I am already crowning, so I know it’ll happen soon.

It’s just starting to feel like not soon enough.

So, my dear, precious, desired, anticipated baby girl:

I love you. Get out.


***

11.12.2007

Passed Due

So, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll see that I am one day away from my actual due date. For all of my bitching and pleading, I’m technically not even overdue yet.

Today, to celebrate the very end of my pregnancy, I thought I would ruminate a bit over the very beginning of my pregnancy. Specifically, conception.

See, Soon-to-Bee, due mid-November, give or take, owes her conception to the year’s (and fertility’s) biggest cliché, Valentine’s Day. Sad but true, Soon-to-Bee more than likely began as a fun, but somewhat obligatory romp between her tired parents; the result of a paternity line that seems to rev up the fertility meter at this time of year – her father and grandfather are both mid-November babies, and though I haven’t traced the lineage further, I suspect Hallmark does pretty big business in my husband’s family on Feb. 14.

How ‘bout you? When you were born? Really, it says quite a bit about whom your parents are. I was thinking of my own birthday, January 6, and realized that it is almost 40 weeks to the day from my parents’ former April 4 anniversary. So my birthday makes perfect sense and my conception was hopefully a communication of love that, truth be told, I rarely glimpsed during my life.

Are there a lot of you born end of September/beginning of October? If so, you must obviously credit your existence to New Year’s revelry and perhaps more than a little bit of the bubbly. Born a little bit earlier in the year and it could be deduced that your parents were indulging in a wee bit of the Christmas cheer when you became a zygote.

Mid-December baby are you? Thank St. Patrick next March for helping your parents get drunk enough to think that it was (or wasn’t, heh heh) the right time of the month.

Are you a Pisces? Perhaps your parents celebrated Flag Day by raising a pole of their own.

Does your birthday fall around the middle of July? You might want to ask for a DNA test to make sure Mom wasn’t being too generous on National Boss Day. And if Mom is the boss, you should definitely get the test.

Birthday at the beginning of September? Blessed with unaccountable gifts such as water-parting, the healing touch, flocking lepers at your door or the ability to spark two thousand years of senseless war? Hmmm – what were your parents doing (or not doing) during Immaculate Conception?

Beginning of May babies (like Bee and many of her friends) make the most sense of course; their conception date?

Labour Day.

***

11.08.2007

Still Pregnant + Devilish Toddler + Houseguests = I'm Just Going to Go Lay Down and Cry

Seriously. Is it not enough that I am 40 weeks pregnant and this little acrobat of mine is insisting on doing somersaults until she is absolutely forced to move head down and y’know, be birthed, keeping her mother in a constant state of second plan-ing, in case my water breaks somewhere stupid like, say, Loblaws, and I must call for an ambulance to haul my on-all-fours, waggling ass to a hospital (shudder) for cord presentation assessment?

Must I also add to the fray a 2 1/2 year old who is channeling the devil (or at least roadrunner) and seems to have gone deaf to my pleading voice for her to please, come back, come here, don’t run away, stay with the group, mummy can’t run after you, please put your shoes on, please put your pants on, please sit for two seconds so I can brush out your rat’s nest of a hairdo, ok, no snack/park/show/train store/special treat for you. (She could care less, by the way. Off she goes.)

How about if I mix in a little bit of visiting sister and niece, who I begged to come and be here for the birth, but right now are baring the brunt of my super-pregnant impatient control-freakyness, because they do things differently than I do, and right now that is simply too much for me to handle graciously. So Jen, my sister that I love and adore and rely on so much, just humour me, and put only beverages on the top shelf of the fridge, and clean up the kitchen as you go instead of leaving it until later, and just let me pack the groceries the way they are supposed to be I would prefer to pack them.

I promise, I promise, once this child finally, finally decides to vacate my body, I will go back to being my only-slightly-insane usual self. Except for on Day 3. Because those Day 3 vacating hormones will get a gal every time. Consider yourself warned.

***

11.02.2007

New Computer! Whoot Whoot

Sorry 'bout the bullets; lots to say and I know my energy ups don't last long...

• I am blogging! From my own computer! My very own, pretty new Imac! Normally I wouldn’t brag, but seriously, this thing is pretty. And I was starting to feel incredibly cut off from the rest of the world. Well, except for the wordwhomping old men. I’m down with those fellas.

• Thank you, oh kind bloggers that are NOT participating in NoGoBloMe or whatever it is called. See, I’s having a baby real, real soon, and there is no chance in hell that I will be able to keep up with those that are participating. I will barely be able to keep up with those that aren’t. I will barely be able to keep up with my friend knitrovert, who posts twice a year.

• I am getting really, really excited to have this baby. This will make many of you hate me, but I am excited to go into labour. I’m planning another homebirth, and my first was what my midwife likes to call ‘efficient.’ As in, 4 hours. That’s it. So, I’m figuring baby #2 should be at least as efficient, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. Oh yeah, and I’m also excited to meet my new child.

• In fact, I’m so ready to have this babe that we’ve started the completely unproven, wives’ tale methods of getting things going. Today, spicy Indian food. Tomorrow we may even try sex. After that, who know? Bumpy roads? Castor oil? My midwife has already offered a Sn’S, but they make me feel yucky, so I’m holding out.

• Not sure if I’m nesting yet. I fluctuate between complete physical exhaustion and doing something stupid like magic-erasering the wall, or organizing the 1001 hair clips that are lying around my house. Nothing practical like cleaning the bathtub or say, finding some clothes for my newborn to wear. True to form, Chris is doing the lion’s share of the childcare and prep work while I go nap.

• Halloween at our house was not nearly the spectacle it has been in the past – Chris, ever-mindful of impending babydom, didn’t want to go all apeshit this year in case the baby came in the middle of things and we end up being those people that leave the decorations out until Easter – but we managed to have fun. Bee was transformed into a freakin cute ladybug, and though she was way too shy to actually go to our neighbours’ houses and trick-or-treat, she had a ball handing out the candy. (photo coming as soon as I can find the dang cord.) I have seriously enjoyed the pictures of all of your little trick-or-treaters, and even if I haven’t had a chance to leave a comment, what I would have said was that your kid(s) is totally adorable.


Burst… of energy… waning… must go lay down…


***

10.30.2007

So This Is How The Other Half Lives

Ok, so, I know I haven't posted in a few days, and I think that pretty soon my absence will be met with a hmmm... baby?
Well, I just want you all to know that no, there is no baby yet.

There is also no computer at my house yet.

I am blogging from the library.

Happy as I am for the free computer and internet access right around the corner from my house, I'm not really into blogging at the library.

For one thing, there's the old men hovering around me waiting for my 15 minutes to end so that they can play wordwhomp and check the weather. For another, there's that 15 minute thing.

There's not much I can't get done in 15 minutes, but blogging isn't one of them.

So, in the interest of the 11:43 I have left, I will keep this short and sweet, and hopefully have time to visit at least a few of you before the old men start complaining. So if I'm a bad bloggy friend for the next week or so until we get our new shiny happy Imac, I'm very sorry.

And I'm still pregnant.

***

10.25.2007

Peanut Butter Cup AND Glossettes. Yummy.

Now that I am no longer distracted by the chocolate in my purse (heh heh), on to a few question rattling around in the jellybowl that passes for my brain these days:

  • Do you think I'd have an easier time writing about the traditional music of China if I was actually listening to the traditional music of China and not You Tube videos of the Grateful Dead performing Cassidy in 1992? (But I was at that show!)
  • Would now be a good time to clean out my desk at work, considering tomorrow is my last day?
  • Does anybody know the magic words to say to a daughter in-utero who, exactly like her big sister did, decided that 37 weeks and 2 days gestation is the perfect time to go all transverse on me?
  • How much longer can I answer the question, 'Can we put the furnace on?' with 'You can put a sweater on.'
  • Is it ok to just let your kid fall asleep on the couch next to you with the hockey game on because sitting in a rocking chair next to her bed for an hour while she sings to you is adorable but sometimes just not worth the heartburn? (Literally)
  • How much more banal will my posts get once I actually HAVE the baby?

stay tuned...

***

10.24.2007

Oh My God, I'd Be So Much Less of a Bitch If I Just Ate the F*ing Chocolate

I just think that you all should know that there is a box of 95 Halloween chocolate bars sitting on top of my fridge - UNOPENED. And it has been there since SATURDAY.


I am practicing restraint. It's very Zen.


(I'll write something for real when I am less distracted by the big box of Halloween chocolate bars sitting on top of my fridge, taunting me.)


***

10.23.2007

21 days and counting

1. Sort out baby clothes
2. Wash baby clothes
3. Put baby clothes in dresser
4. Move dresser upstairs
5. Assemble co-sleeper
6. Put together remainder of homebirth kit
7. Put together just-in-case hospital bag
8. Wrap Bee’s ‘From Your Baby Sister’ present
9. Wash my hair
10. Drop off Bee’s nursery school enrollment forms
11. Get after-birth necessities (arnica, food, slingshot for pelting guests that stay too long)
12. Spend 10 minutes alone with my husband
13. Have sex with my husband
14. Decide on a name for child in the remaining 5 minutes
15. Sell old strollers on craigslist to make room for snazzy new stroller
16. Wax the beav
17. Clean baby carseat
18. Plant memorial rosebush that has been sitting in pot in garden since my dad died
19. Get Halloween pumpkin
20. Turn pumpkin into jackolantern
21. Toast pumpkin seeds for healthy, zinc-filled snack
22. Make labour-ade; freeze half
23. Freeze grapes (I ate a lot of frozen grapes while in labour with Bee)
24. Wash my hair
25. Give birth

bonus - got to have coffee with a friend

***

10.19.2007

25 Lines About 25 Days*

I feel like I am Grover, and there is a monster at the end of this book. I look at the lilypie ticker at the bottom of my site and, flailing arms, yell, ‘WHAT DOES THAT SAY?! DOES THAT SAY THAT THERE IS A BABY DUE IN 25 DAYS?!’

Now, really, I look more like Gonzo and I act more like Oscar, but humour me. And I won’t beg anybody not to turn the page, as I really am excitedly anticipating what’s coming at the end, but y’know, it would be ok if things just slowed down a bit. I’d be ok if we weren’t turning the pages quite so quickly. And it’s not because I’m scared – I’m totally not. Bee was born after 4 hours of (the hard part of) labour, and I expect this child to be even more efficient. My midwife is already joking that she’s just moving in November 1 so that she won’t miss it. So no, not scared.

The thing is, I have a lot of shit to do before Soon-to-Bee arrives. A lot. And I don’t get much done on any given day. In fact, just getting through the regularly scheduled, minimum-effort required day is a huge accomplishment. And so far, no freaking nesting instinct, which would help greatly.

By this point in my pregnancy with Bee, I was staying up until 4am to magic erase my entire kitchen floor. This time, not so much. Although I have been baking a lot of muffins.

Anyway, the point is, I need to get organized. 25 days, people; 25 days.

I have decided to create a to-do list, prioritizing only the most important tasks**. Many other tasks, like cleaning the bathroom, have been left off the list because I just don’t care to do them. Someone else can. Or not. Don’t care. So here’s my list; if I can do one task each day, awesome. If not, well, baby’s coming no matter what. Eventually we will get to the end of the book.

Kgirl’s pre-baby 25 things to-do in 25 days list:

1. Sort out baby clothes
2. Wash baby clothes
3. Put baby clothes in dresser
4. Move dresser upstairs
5. Assemble co-sleeper
6. Put together remainder of homebirth kit
7. Put together just-in-case hospital bag
8. Wrap Bee’s ‘From Your Baby Sister’ present
9. Wash my hair
10. Drop off Bee’s nursery school enrollment forms
11. Get after-birth necessities (arnica, food, slingshot for pelting guests that stay too long)
12. Spend 10 minutes alone with my husband
13. Have sex with my husband
14. Decide on a name for child in the remaining 5 minutes
15. Sell old strollers on craigslist to make room for snazzy new stroller
16. Wax the beav
17. Clean baby carseat
18. Plant memorial rosebush that has been sitting in pot in garden since my dad died
19. Get Halloween pumpkin
20. Turn pumpkin into jackolantern
21. Toast pumpkin seeds for healthy, zinc-filled snack
22. Make labour-ade; freeze half
23. Freeze grapes (I ate a lot of frozen grapes while in labour with Bee)
24. Wash my hair
25. Give birth

...And you were so scared.


*Points if you guess this reference and think that it is as obvious and not really clever as I do

**Sleep would normally take up all 25 lines on this list, but I have given up on sleep. It’s not gonna happen, and I accept that. But if this post is rambly and disjointed, you know why.


***

10.16.2007

Hair Apparent

I have never been one of those ‘My hair is my crowning glory” kind of women. I have chopped it, grown it, shaved it, dyed it, loved it, hated it and everything in between. I allow the state of my head to be ruled purely by whim, and the results have varied.

There have been unfortunate incidences borne of trust, desperation and/or drunken folly; there have been incidences that have netted magnificent results, borne of many of the same things.

I have cried after insisting that Chris cut my hair NOW NOW NOW NOW, because I couldn’t take my growing-out bangs hanging in my eyes any longer. I have taken a day off work more than once after a botched home-highlighting debacle. (The box promised glowing, natural tendrils. I ended up looking as though an octopus suctioned itself to my noggin.) I have bullied many a sister and friend into chopping me up, insisting that it would be easy to coax a short, shaggy, cute coif out of their inexperienced, unqualified, shaking hands. Once I ended up with a short, shaggy, cute coif (thank you, Karla), and once I ended up looking like a raging, unstyled lunatic and had no recourse but to shave it all off. (Thanks a whole fucking lot, Brenda)

Once in a while I go to an acutal, licensed stylist, and once in a while I get what I actually wanted.




Does this haircut make my friend Emilie's boobs look big?


***

10.11.2007

A Mighty, Mighty Good Man

1. Who is your man?

Chris is my man.

2. How long have you been together?

8 years, 5 in wedded bliss

3. How long did you date?

Duh, 3

4. How old is your man?

31 – I’m 10 months older and he’s the first ‘younger’ man I’ve ever dated.

5. Who eats more?

Depends on how pregnant I am.

6. Who said "I love you" first?

It was mutual, and it was on television. Sex TV. I shit you not. It’s a good story.

7. Who is taller?

He’s about a foot taller. I married him so that my kids have a fightin’ chance at a good nose and some height.

8. Who sings better?

Chris, hands down. He has a really nice voice. I make him sing Christmas carols or talk to me in a soft voice about the stars when I can't fall asleep. Works every time.

9. Who is smarter?

In the Trivial Pursuit game of life, he takes Geography, Science and History; I get Entertainment, Sports & Leisure and Art & Literature. We’re a good team.

10. Whose temper is worse?

That would be me. By a loooooong shot. Wanna make something of it?

11. Who does the laundry?

He shleps and washes; I line-dry and fold. Tragically, we rarely manage to put our laundry in actual drawers. cough*lazy*cough.

12. Who takes out the garbage?

Chris is in charge of all garbage and all poop-related incidents. And bugs.

13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?

He does.

14. Who pays the bills?

Generally Chris does. I am an avoider.

15. Who is better with the computer?

He is really good with all things technical, though even he could not save our stupid powerbook from sudden demise.

16. Who mows the lawn?

We share. Our lawn is small and we have a cute turquoise push-mower that I like to get behind.

17. Who cooks dinner?

Me. Unless we bbq or want kick-ass grilled cheese sandwiches, because he makes ‘em good.

18. Who drives when you are together?

He mostly does. Apparently, I make him. This goes back to a very unfeminist, archaic rant I went on circa 7 years ago about ‘his jobs’ and ‘my jobs.’ I’d like to take it all back, but he won’t let me forget about it.

19. Who pays when you go out?

Whoever has money in their wallet. It’s all the same to us.

20. Who is most stubborn?

Fine. Me.

21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong?

I like Sin’s answer best, but the truth is, he is. I have a tough time apologizing, though I’m getting better.

22. Whose parents do you see the most?

My mom.

23. Who kissed who first?

I tried to kiss him loads of times. Well, I tried to sleep with him, but he kept insisting that he had to go to his own home, and held out for a while until our first unofficial date. And then, well, yes, it was probably still me that attacked him.

24. Who asked who out?

Didn’t really happen that way. We went out as a group thing a bunch of times, and once, well, the group just didn’t show up.

25. Who proposed?

Didn’t really happen that way. He’ll tell you that he was threatened with a steak knife, but what happened was that it was our first anniversary, and we were in huge suite at the Royal York, sipping mimosas and eating free breakfast room service before I went to the spa (we had friends in good places), and well, we couldn’t not get engaged.

26. Who is more sensitive?

Toss up. He is more sensitive in the ways that nice people are more sensitive; I am more sensitive in the way that pregnant women are sensitive.

27. Who has more friends?

Probably me.

28. Who has more siblings?

Equal. I have two sisters and a brother, he has two brothers and a sister.

29. Who wears the pants in the family?

When I can find a pair that fit, I do.




and he makes cute babies to boot



***

10.09.2007

The Tease

You are breathing heavily as his hands traverse your body: an unknown landscape eager to be explored. His lips graze your neck, your collarbone. Your back arches to meet his lowering chest and your hands reach to his hips to pull him even closer –


I know you want more.

Get it here.


***

10.04.2007

mmmm

Adam Brody $ex dreams.

That's all.


(Apparently I'm a cougar when I'm pregnant.)


***

10.01.2007

Workin' 5-9

The new normal at casa k-girl consists of me high-fiving my husband as I walk in the door that he is walking out of at about 4:30 pm. We may or may not see each other again that night, depending on my energy level, and/or how early he finishes all of his tasks skips out on work.

This means that I am responsible for the evening shift with Bee every night. Every night. 8 months pregnant. Every night. Did I mention that I am 8 months pregnant?

Despite the fact that I am doing this every night, and I am 8 months pregnant, things are going ok. Here’s how our evenings now go:

4:30 – 5:00 Bee time. My friend (who is a veteran of evening shifts while pregnant, with a toddler. Poor girl.) made it explicitly clear that there is no peace if there is no one-on-one time when I first arrive home. It’s good advice, though tough to navigate into something I have energy for. Bee wants to watch TV. I think her father gets away with not turning it on all day by telling her that she’ll have to wait until I get home. And then I get home and am greeted not with hugs and kisses, but with, “I watch a show?” Uh, no. Not because I care so so much about the TV being on, but because it becomes so so hard to turn it off. So now we must do something active. Bee always wants to go across the street to the park. I want to have tea parties lying down. We compromise with a Wiggles dance party (gently turning down her pleas to ‘Hop wif me!), sidewalk chalk abstract art extravaganza, bubbles on the back deck or a walk up the street to the library renovation site to marvel at the diggers.

5:00 – 5:45 Attempt to create a healthy dinner. Sometimes this is linguine with homemade leek pesto, grilled chicken and veggies plus a spinach salad. Sometimes this is a frozen pizza. Usually I am somewhere in between: perogies plus leftover roasted chicken and cut up broccoli, tomatoes and cucumbers. Try to make enough for leftovers the next day because the nutritional value of Chris’ lunches is suspect. He likes to put jam on everything.

5:45- 6:30 Dinner. Mmmm. Yummy in Bee’s tummy. She is nothing if not a good eater. I often try to stretch this out as long as possible, because it is something we do sitting down.

6:30 – 7:30 More playtime, structured around my energy level. Sometimes I get a good burst of energy and we do indeed head to the park. Most often we play in the backyard for a while, where filling up the bird feeder and then chasing squirrels away from it lasts until the sun goes down. Sometimes Bee gets a special treat and is allowed to watch Backyardigans and Diego. Bee goes apeshit when we are allowed to do this, yelping about getting a special treat. Bless her little heart. I’m glad she thinks it’s all about her, because little does she know that this is actually my special treat. See? That’s me, dozing on the couch for an hour.

7:30 – 8:00 Filth removal and pajamas. I have mentioned before that Bee is an aquaphobe. She hates being washed. ‘Bath time’ is Bee standing OUTSIDE the bathtub, while I fill a bowl of warm water and soap her up while trying to distract her from the fact that she is indeed being forced to partake in de-griming. She screams, cries and tries to hide behind the toilet, which is only slightly cleaner than my child most of the time. But the big finish – washing her hair – is the real treat. I soap up her smelly little head like I have the rest of her tiny body, and then turn on the showerhead. Then, I pick up my slippery little eel while she thrashes around, and must – without dropping her – get her under the shower to rinse all the soap off. And water can’t get in her eyes or her ears or she screams and cries so much that I am sure my neighbours debate calling the authorities on me. I only go through this torture once a week. Mommy can’t drink right now, so the other nights we are both satisfied with a sponge bath in the kitchen sink.

8:00 Bedtime. I suck at bedtime. Suck, suck, suck at it. I do everything I am supposed to, and it never goes well. Well, it never goes quickly. It can be pleasant, but it never takes less than an hour, and often creeps its way up to two. I’m serious. Bee miraculously sleeps in her own room now. I had nothing to do with this, it was all Chris. This has not helped me at bedtime. I read her 4 stories while she lays in bed, then I turn the lights off and we sing and chat while she strokes my arm, which is very uncomfortable for me, as I am sitting in the rocking chair next to her bed. I can’t get into her bed because there is no room for both of us in it right now. The real problem is that she won’t let me leave. Yes, I am held hostage by my two year old, who gets very upset if I leave before she is asleep. But in order for her to fall asleep, she must be holding onto my arm, which is being contorted and pulled, and the dim light is making me sleepy and I want to lie down so badly, but I totally resist bringing her into our bed just so that I can lie down too. It would be so easy, so wonderful, but I think Chris would kill me. Even flexible, attachment whore me knows that this would be a backward step. So instead I shift, and pull Bee from her just-about-asleep stage and then we start the whole shebang over again. And then finally she is asleep.

Did I mention that this experience is uniquely mine? Chris is back downstairs with Bee happily in dreamland within about ½ an hour. My sister babysat on the weekend and made her way downstairs while Bee was still awake. WTF?

9:30ish – Make my way downstairs, lay on the couch, and fall asleep.

12ish – Chris gets home, scaring the shit out me every single night, and I go to sleep.

Fun times. Only 25 more nights like this, and then I am off the hook. My mat leave will begin, Chris will go back to days, and I’ll get to watch The OC every night at 7:00. It’ll be like a freakin vacation! Until baby #2 arrives. Right. Crap. Forgot about that part.

Perhaps I should learn how to appreciate the simplistic task of juggling only one child’s needs. And how to sleep in the rocking chair.

***

9.26.2007

Good Things

Edited again, because this is a really, really auspicious week. Happy.

Her wonderful news.

And her wonderful news.

And her wonderful news.

And now her wonderful news.

And this video.

And this video.

And this wee ragamuffin:




edited to add:

A Very Good Thing

In response to all the bullsh*t being spewed about nursing mothers needing to cover up, and in solidarity with all those who realize the power of the boob - and our voices - I'll link to an old post that for me, says it all.

***

9.24.2007

What the hell am I supposed to do now?

I’m ready to write, but how do I do it? How am I supposed to just jump back into the written word; be irreverent, be interesting, be entertaining, be meaningful, as if nothing has happened – as if my father’s death does not loom like a shadow. And it’s a mean shadow. It’s a shadow that leaves me alone much of the time, allowing me to hug and smile and laugh and take my daughter apple picking and share in my friend’s enjoyment over her new furniture. And then, when I’m not paying attention, it punches me in the stomach, doubling me over in pain and tears and grief. And the crafty bastard makes sure that I didn’t see it coming.

I don’t cry in the hours that I sit awake at night, or when people offer me condolences. I don’t cry when I am talking about my dad, or attending to the business that death leaves behind. I didn’t cry once in the 4 days following his death, when my house was busy with family and friends filling in the spaces and silences. But then Chris will remind me of his goofy laugh. Or Bee will open her little photo album and point and happily declare, ‘Bee and Big Guy!’ Or the new Bruce Springsteen song will come on the radio, and I will remind myself to tell my dad about his new album. And then remind myself that I can’t.

It is the natural order of things, I know this. But my dad was young. He had just turned 65. My brother is 24 and my sister is 22 and I had my dad for almost 10 years longer than they did, so how must they be feeling?

How do I write a post about the freaking most adorable things that Bee is saying lately? (Will you do me a favourite, Mummy? Look, Mummy, a helpicopter!) Or about what sex is like when you’re 33 weeks pregnant and plagued with heartburn? How do I let life back in without declaring constantly that yes, right now I’m smiling, but there is a shadow lurking, and it knows how to take me down?



***

9.13.2007

Hi everyone--it’s metro mama here. Kgirl probably won’t have a chance to post for a few days and didn’t want you to worry.

As you know, her dad’s been very sick for some time, and I’m saddened to tell you, he passed away last night.

Kgirl’s doing as well as can be expected. She’s wrapping herself up in that beautiful little family of hers, keeping things as routine as possible for Bee’s sake. I stopped by this afternoon and her BFF was there. She has chocolate, and, as always, her strong spirit.

What she does not have right now, unfortunately, is a working computer. It refused to start up yesterday, and hasn’t recovered since. What timing. I suspect there are some lovely words of comfort from her bloggy friends waiting in her inbox—she’s hoping to get to them soon.

In the meantime, she’s having visitation this weekend at her place. If you want to stop by, after 3 pm is best (Bee naps from 1-3 and you don’t need to be reminded about the sanctity of a child’s naptime).

Kgirl, when you’re able to read this, know we are all thinking about you with love and sympathy.

Julie

9.10.2007

Testing, Testing

So, while the rest of you were watching Britney crash and burn perform on the MVA’s last night, I was engaged in something a little more, well, um…

I’m a total nerd. I was participating in Test the Nation: Watch Your Language, a 2-hour language and grammar test on CBC.

Not only was I watching and participating, but I also had the official score card for home use. And I had my pen, and I made Chris put Bee to sleep so that I wouldn’t miss any of it. How could I resist? I’m a writer and copy editor by trade and choice, and this kind of thing seriously turns me on. (Although Chris debates whether it is the challenge, or the fact that it probably isn’t a challenge and will easily award me positive reinforcement, that actually turns me on.)

Anyway, this isn’t about my tragic need to do well and be called smart. It’s about my tragic need to win.

So here I am, scorecard and pen poised and at the ready (balanced between my second helping of chicken pot pie, because winning makes me hungry), sussing out my studio audience competition, comprised of 7 groups – ad writers, word gamers, English teachers, fraternity and sorority members, comedians, romance novelists and celebrities. And by celebrities, I mean Canadian celebrities that were not a-list enough to be attending the MVA’s or TIFF or some local bocce ball tourney, so they were available for a national grammar test. So yeah, I recognized two of them.

But I digress.

So, ok, let’s get started! Spelling is the first subject, so I’m pumped. After all, I did make it all the way to provincials in the great Spelling Bee of ’86.

Question #1:
How do you spell the name of this flower:

a) chrysanthenum
b) chrasanthemum
c) chrysanthemum
d) chrysanthamum

Fuck.

Ok, so I get one wrong. No biggie. I can still get, like 99%, and be smarter than all but 1% of Canada (and I’ll have you know, we’re quite the nation of bright people).

The rest of the spelling test goes pretty well, until I get asked to spell this measure of time:

a) milenium
b) milennium
c) millennium
d) millenium

Oh crap. C looked right, until I saw D. One L? Two N’s? Two L’s and two N’s? Ah! Ah! Time is running out… okay, D it is.

Crap. Chris will later make fun of me for not knowing how to spell the name of the most influential spacecraft of all time (that would be the Millennium Falcon, of course), and I will owe him a ½ hour back rub, because even after I get the results of the test, I still can’t remember how to spell fucking millennium.

Anyway, I totally breeze right through the next category, Language Terms – c’mon with questions like:

What is the name for words like buzz, thud, clang and hiss?

a) Homonym
b) Synonym
c) Onomatopoeia
d) Homophobe

how could I do poorly? I even knew how to spell ‘onomatopoeia.’ (Hey, it’s no chrysanthemum). I also leave all the boomers in the dust as I ace the next section, Modern English, comprised of questions about ‘Teen Speak’ and texting (What does BRB stand for?), and am feeling very confident as we move into the next category, Everyday Mistakes. Happily, I don’t make any, and get all the questions right, except for one stupid trick question, and I bet you won’t get it right, either:

People who get what’s coming to them get their…

a) Just desserts
b) Just deserts
c) Justy zerts
d) Justazerts

Clearly we are looking to not fall into the desserts/deserts trap, right? Well, heh, heh, I am a copy editor, y’know, so, A.

Excuse me? It’s freakin’ what? Oh, so sorry that I did not know that in this instance, the word ‘deserts’ is derived from the ancient English form of ‘deserve,’ and therefore only has one S.

Whatever.

Plurals! Goody! I can do plurals! (And I don’t find it funny at all when the question, What is Toronto’s Hockey Team Called, comes up, and some joker in the audience yells, The Losers! Not. Funny. At. All.)

I get a perfect score on the next few categories (Euphemisms. Pfft. The Arts. Yawn. Nursery Rhymes. I could answer these in my sleep…), and then the Made in Canada section begins. This is where our national pride, and not just grammatical skillz are on the line. This is where we must step up and represent the mighty beaver. The Great White North…

Bismarks, Jambusters and Burlington Buns are all names for what?

Someone from Winnipeg is called…

In Newfoundland, a ‘vamp’ refers to…

In Saskatchewan, a ‘bunny hug’ is a…

In Thunder Bay, a ‘shag’ is a…

Seriously? This is supposed to represent my knowledge of Canada? Where are the questions about the extra ‘U?’ Where are the questions about Tim Horton or eavestroughs or The Tragically Hip or Laura Secord or Aero bars? This is getting ridiculous. My score is getting weaker with every query on regional minutiae they throw at me. Stupid CBC!

Deep breath. I think I can still achieve at least 80%, as long as the next category is something that I know a thing or two about, since obviously I know nothing about my country.

And the final category is… Word Origins. Hmmm. We’ll see how this goes. The ‘Just Deserts’ debacle kind of leaves me a bit worried about this one.

And worried I should be.

Which word is not originally a Native Canadian word?

Which word originally meant leisure?

What does Coquitlam mean?

(btw – it means STINKING WITH FISH. Gee, how did I not know that?)

So, I end the test on a not-so-glorious (or dignified if you’re from Coquitlam) note, and it is time to add up the score. I don’t cheat. Not one little bitty ‘oh, that’s what I meant to say,’ change. Nope. Totally honest.

Ok, so, here we go… carry the four…. and that would give me…

74%.

What? WHAT?

Ok, I have a huge nerd confession to make, but 74% was a very rare sighting in my academic career. Didn’t happen. At least, not often, and not in university where I was in an honours program and had to maintain at least 80%. So 74% is bad enough, but to have 74% in ENGLISH? I’m not humiliated, or worried that the freakin’ ad writers beat my score; I’m just kind of angry. Because let’s face it - those stupid Made in Canada questions? Garbage. And the word origins category?

This blows. No, this stinks like fish.

Forget it. I’m omitting the last two categories. They shouldn’t have been in there. They didn’t have anything to do with anything, and I’M THE GRADE 6 REGIONAL SPELLING CHAMPION! HELLO!

Get rid of those two. Now the test is out of a score of 50, and I get…

90%

That is better. That is a better indication of the kind of scholar I am.

The creative kind.

Now, let’s see what Britney’s up to. I know I’m smarter than her.


***

9.05.2007

Transitions

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying
.

Lots of people have been writing about the rotation of the seasons and what it means to them – the exchanging of sandals for sweaters; beach bags for backpacks; feverish heat for falling leaves.

If, in my past, I have looked at the burgeoning autumn that way, the same certainly cannot be said of summer’s end this year. Perhaps the only thing I share with the mood of the season’s change of previous years is the sweet melancholy that seems to accompany it.

This year – this unique, special year, I am seeing things differently. The transitions in my life – in my body, in my world – are no more significant than the wonder of nature readying herself for a long hibernation, but in my life – in my world, in my body – they have never been greater.

And, as in nature, the transitions have begun slowly - not imperceptible, but certainly nothing to disrupt the usual flow of our lives. Like the leaves, working hard to siphon the last of the chlorophyll-rich sunshine out of the sky and into their veins, we have certainly been grasping at summer’s last offerings of warm days and welcomed breezes, spending as much time as possible outdoors, with friends and family. Our barbeque and patio furniture are being egged on to the finish line. Their showing will be impressive.

But the transitions are growing more noticeable. Growing in importance, they are undeniably marking steps in a march, gentle but persistent, that leads to an inevitable conclusion. Conclusions.

The most obvious, analogous example is of course, my growing belly. My growing baby. But we’re not quite there yet.

First we must get used to life without Bee’s nanny, who, due to circumstances with the family we shared her with, spent her last day with us on Friday. This means getting used to Chris caring for Bee during the day and tagging out when I come home from work so that he can go and work the evening shift at his company. We’re lucky that this was an option for us, and Bee and her father will enjoy the special time they spend together, the most since she was born.

But I’m going to miss Bee’s nanny, and so will she. And I’m going to miss my husband, who I will high-5 as I enter the house that he is exiting. I will miss us being a family of three, together for dinner and bedtime and books and snuggles, while the time for us to be a family of three runs down. I know we can do it; I know we’ll be ok doing it, even if it means that I can’t tag off bedtimes when my feet are swelling or my patience is thinning; even if it means that Chris will be blurry-eyed at 7 am and delirious at midnight. It’s not for long.

It’s for eight weeks. Eight weeks, and then I begin my maternity leave. Eight weeks and then the big transition – bigger than Halloween or a November blizzard or hearing the first cozy crackle of burning logs in the fireplace.

Eight weeks and then we simply wait for the arrival of a new person in our lives. A new person that will emerge from my body into our lives. A new person that will bring more change, more joy, more love, more hope than I will ever think it is possible for a new person to bring. I don’t know who this new person will be, and yet she already means so much to me.

This baby, growing inside of me. Growing stronger. Getting ready to take her first breath.

And another transition. Inevitable, unavoidable, its time of metamorphosis unknown, but growing closer with every day.

I cannot fool myself into not thinking about the universal irony, the cosmic balance that will result in the birth of my daughter and the death of my father.

As my baby grows stronger, my father becomes weaker. As she moves towards taking her first breath, my father moves towards his last. It’s a cliché, it sounds impersonal, it’s dramatic, but it’s true. I know that as I adjust to life with a new baby, I will, at some time surrounding that miraculous transition, also be adjusting to life without my father.

My hope, of course, is that I am able to tell my father about the birth of his third granddaughter. That he is able to at least see a picture of her, hear her precious mewls over the phone.

But like the advancing autumn, the days are unpredictable. As the leaves grow pale and the temperature drops, as the evening’s robes descend ever longer, I will simply hold on to the last of the sun’s warm rays, and hope that they will shine on us again tomorrow.


***

8.28.2007

The Name Game

Well, here we go. According to my lilypie ticker, I have about 77 days before our next bundle of poop spitup joy arrives. This we know. We also know that our bundle is a girl. And the other thing we know is that we’re going to have to call her something besides, ‘Here, take the baby.’

So.

Giving a person a name is serious business. Most of you have done it, so you know what I mean. And maybe for you, it was easy. Maybe you have a family tradition that you knew you were going to carry on, and that’s just awesome for your little Johnston Clayton Eugene The Fifth. Maybe you have had your children’s names picked out since before you first ovulated, and you have a very malleable husband who let you live the dream. But if I were to do that, this child would either be named Paulette Jenny, after my Cabbage Patch Kid, or Zeppelin, after grabbing my big sister’s pant leg and not letting go until she dragged me into my first foray of ‘cool.’

We won’t be doing that to little Soon-to-Bee.

You’d think this time it would be easier, as we know we’re having another girl and we should just be able to pick one of the loads of girls’ names we had originally come up with for Bee.

Well, not so much. Partly because we didn't come up with loads of names – we came up with one. Ok, ok, let me clarify – I came up with lots of great names, and Chris came up with lots of ridiculous names (please help me explain to my husband that with a Jewish mother and a whitey-white father, it’s just not fair to name a child after a Japanese Anime character.) and in the end, we agreed on one.

And we loved it. And we decided that it would be her name. And then Bee was born, and I took one look at the sweetest face that ever existed, and knew that the name we had picked was definitely not who this baby was. But then it came to me – a name that we had tossed around months earlier, both liked but hadn’t felt was THE name. But it was. It was her name. And I said, ‘I think that’s who she is,’ and my husband knew better than to argue with the woman that had just endured a drug-free labour and was going to have to pee standing up for a while.

So that’s who she was. That’s who she IS.

This time, we’re back to where we were with Bee before she was born. We have a name. One name. And we’re figuring it will be hers, but if it’s not, I’m not sure which one will suddenly fly out of the archives and present itself as THE ONE. (Don’t worry, it won’t be Neo.)

And, I’m sorry, internets, but I probably won’t be telling you guys what it is, either. For some reason, I feel like if I keep my child(ren)’s name private, than we remain private and somewhat anonymous. I know that’s not exactly the case, but that’s a whole other post. My kids won’t even have the same last name as me. Nevertheless, that’s my paranoia decision, but in light of it, after she is born and named, I will let you know some of the names we had bounced around and dismissed – who knows? One of them might just bounce back in about 77 days.

***


On a completely different note, because I must share, I had my first pregnancy sex dream last night! And starring in it? My husband. Awwww.

And my husband looked exactly like Adam Brody.


***

8.21.2007

Of Wedges - The Emotional, The Marital and The Palliative

Well, the emotions have calmed down, the spouses have, ahem, made up, and I have gotten some much-needed sleep.

We can now resume our version of a normal life, with normal pregnant-woman insanity and toddler shenanigans. Of course, Chris will keep in mind that pregnant wife meltdowns may be as prevalent as toddler meltdowns, and he will take it in stride, even if they are not nearly as cute.

And I will try not to hit him over the head with any more pillows. Apparently he does not like getting the beatdown, even if it’s just with a pillow. When I explained to my sister’s girlfriend that it was one of those wedges, a pregnancy pillow, she said that that just made it sound even more abusive.

And thank you as well, for not only putting up with me, but for helping pull me out of a grief-induced, sleep-deprived fog. I felt the hugs, and though I may have been sitting by myself, I no longer felt alone.


***

8.19.2007

I’m home from Florida, and I’m tired. It’s not just from lack of sleep.

My head hurts, my heart hurts, and less than 24 hours after returning, my husband is sleeping in the basement because I took it out on him, and I’m too tired to work it out .

The rest of my family thought that coming over for dinner was a better idea than going to a restaurant for my sister’s birthday, so that we could all have a visit. I barely cracked a smile and let everybody else do all the work.

I’m seven months pregnant and my dad is dying. He just turned 65 and he weighs 122 pounds. Ten pounds less than I do.

I’ve unpacked my bags, but the ones under my eyes will be harder to get rid of.

If it weren’t for the daugher I have and the daughter I will have, I’d feel very alone.


***

8.14.2007

KGIRL ABANDONS FAMILY TO WOLVES WHO SPIT BEES WEEK

guest blog by chris the husband.

Bee and I woke up especially early this morning to drop Kgirl and soon to bee off at the airport to florida, the act of which kicked off another KGIRL FAMILY ABANDONMENT WEEK here at the kids are alright.
Oh, yes, Kgirl has left us before, and yet we lived.
Day 1 went smooth and easy, as I used a killer combo of instant pizza, the park and a double shot of Dora before putting and exhausted Bee to sleep. So instead, I’ll recap a weekend event.

Bee woke up from her nap on the weekend to find her mom and I playing a snowboarding video game called SSX. It’s actually one of the rare video games Kgirl will play with me, mostly because for every win, you get to shop for outfits to dress up your snowboarder in, like this hot pink halter top I’ve been working toward, which would just go so well with the pom pom tuke, and, you know, um, not gay.


It’s great spending time with Kgirl in this way, (cause I can’t take another episode of OC) except during the game she puts a lot of pressure on me to perform, because if I don’t win that race, Kgirl can’t unlock the skinny pants. And being 7 months pregnant, she desperately wants to put on skinny pants, even if it is by proxy, so I've got to take charge and be the man and bring home the pants. For my wife to wear.

Bee saves my already shaky masculintiy by saying in her too cute “asking” voice “I try?” Sure, love.
She has played the vids before, with mixed results. I started Bee early around 2 months or so, playing Tekken, the greatest kung fu game ever made by the good people at Namco. As this was her first game, I picked the Giant Panda for her, figuring the panda’s large size and crushing grip would make up for her inexperience. However, her poor basic motor skills and tendency to suck on the controller at critical moments proved her undoing, resulting in a staggering 5-0 victory for me. Sure, some may claim that a victory over an endangered species controlled by an inattentive 2 month old is not something to be proud of, but they would be woefully misinformed. It’s really just continuing a strong family tradition where as a young lad my dad laid the smack down on me with a game of Pong.


Once the tears dried and the green tinged nightmares subsided, I was all the better for it.

Bee is also doing much better with our snowboarding game, her fine motor skills have come in to the fore, she is holding rather than drooling the controller, discovering the core fundamentals, methodically practising her left turn, just grabbing the game by the horns and aggressively turning left, really nailing that left turn, just really working some future NASCAR basics. Our snowboarder character over the next 5 mins OWNS the counterclockwise turn. None can touch her.

Like any proud father, my hope is to one day provide my children with the abilities to master the combos I never could, and to let them know that if they put their minds to it, they too can reach for the stars, and fight the aliens therein. And maybe just one day, save the world. Save. The. World.

Tomorrow...a day at the farm! will roosters traumitize Bee again? we'll find out!

8.10.2007

It's In the Bag

I don't really carry a purse. I have a pretty cool diaper bag, and I have a huge hippie sack, and lots of little purses for special occasions that rarely see the light of day.

But MotherBumper and Bad have showed me theirs, so I feel it's only fair to show them mine. You can be voyeurs, or hey! Join in the fun! HBM will link to you and we can all see how long it's been since you've cleaned out your damn purse.


Here's what's in mine:



Ok, not the cat, but she just can't stay away from my shit, so she's in the picutre. Her name's Miko.

Top Row:
Swag bag from baby shower I recently attended, 2 kleenexes (unused - miraculous), sample sunscreen wipe, empty pill bottle (once housed a few tums), 3-pack of emery boards with only 2 left, a tum, a bottle of tums because that stupid little pill bottle I was trying to reuse wouldn't even get me through 9 am, dental floss, sunglasses, random receipt, dirty tupperware (held my homemade oatmeal/blueberry/raspberry muffin).

Middle(ish) Row:
Puffer, two burt's bees lip glosses, one fatty lips lip balm, 6 cents, three pens (no notebook), keys, 20% off Children's Place coupon. (ripped out of Chatelain magazine that I would never buy, at mother's request.)

Bottom(ish) Row:
Old Navy maternity cardigan, wallet, juice box, granola bar, 2 ancient pay stubs, 3 hair clips + 1 hair elastic, broken necklace.

Not too too bad, mainly because most of my crap is floating around in the diaper bag. But still, thought it might net my lost sunglasses, notebook, maybe a bit more cash and/or a good magazine.


***

8.09.2007

I Like Me!

Sage has tagged me for the Stuart Smiley meme, and I always do what hot, smart women tell me to.

10 Things I Like About Me:

1. I am quick to smile. And my mouth is large and so are my teeth, so when I smile, you know it.

2. I can make Chris and Bee laugh, and Chris and Bee like my laugh, and I like laughing.

3. I think I have a good instinct and attitude for parenting. Really, I do. I like the way I parent almost all of the time (a little bit of pregnancy impatience notwithstanding). And I think Bee is a really good reflection of my really good parenting.

4. I add sound effects to all of my gaffes. If I trip, drop something, remember something I was supposed to do yesterday or bump into the wall, you will know it. And it won’t just be a delicate ‘oopsie!’ – it will be a warbled, jumbled ‘woooahahhhrl!’ It’s very difficult to take yourself too seriously when you make sounds like that.

5. I chalk up my environmentalist/earth mama tendencies to an early pioneer fetish.

6. I like the tone of my writing. Even if I’m not the wittiest or most prolific author out there, I dig what I do.

7. When somebody tells me that my behaviour or something I’ve done upsets or hurts them, I really work at trying to change. Unfortunately, this is new for me. But I’m working on it.

8. I may have to turn away when Bee is playing at the park with Chris (yes, I’m a helicopter), and I have some personal safety issues, but none of those tendencies have stopped me from having lots of amazing experiences: I went on Dead tour at 16; I’ve lived in a warzone while doing international volunteer work; I’ve had one-night stands; I’ve gone white-water rafting; I’ve read poetry onstage in NYC and I’ve shaved my head. I like living.

9. I rarely engage in pity parties for myself, and I’m not a hypochondriac. I hate drama.

10. I am accepting of my physical being. I have a big nose, I’m short and really, I’m kind of funny looking. But that somehow has translated to ‘cute,’ and I can dig it. For the sake of my daughter(s), I will love my physical self.

What hidden talents and happy thoughts do you possess? Let the world know!


Edited to add:
I had a non-alcoholic bevvie for you last night, Jerry. May the four winds blow you safely home.



***

8.02.2007

Yum!

Attn:
President's Choice Customer Relations



August 2, 2007


To Whom It May Concern:

While snacking on a President’s Choice Blue Menu Crunchy Oat biscuit today, I was left with a bit of a surprise – a sliver of plastic or wood in my mouth.

Now, I like surprises as much as the next person, but not in my Crunchy Oat biscuits.

As a label-reader, I certainly would not have picked up a package of biscuits that listed ‘wood or plastic slivers’ as an ingredient.

As a 6-month pregnant woman, I don’t want to be unknowingly ingesting foreign objects that could cause any sort of issue to the health of my unborn baby or myself.

As the mother of a two-year old who regularly snacks on these biscuits as well, I am simply disgusted and appalled. I shudder to think what may have happened if the foreign object I found in my biscuit had been in a biscuit I had given to her. I shudder to think that for all I know, this may have been the case already.

As a consumer, I will be staying far away from this product in the future. In fact, my faith in President’s Choice products, which until now had been strong and loyal, has waned a great deal.

I’ve attached the surprise I found in my snack today and the upc from the package it came in so that you may draw your own conclusions as to it’s source. I really don’t care if you tell me that it’s a husk of wheat or made of cornstarch – it’s hard, it’s sharp, and it should not have been in the product I spent my money on.

(You can't see it, but this is where I attached the sliver that had previously been in my biscuit and my mouth, by a piece of scotch-tape. Doing so felt very forensic.)

I eagerly look forward to your explanation.


Kgirl.


***

7.31.2007

Case In Point

Rather than remaining the quiet observer she usually is, Bee is becoming much, much more outgoing. In fact, she’ll usually respond to just about anyone that talks to her, though what she might say can be slightly less predictable.


We have finished brunch on Sunday and are getting ready to leave the very busy restaurant, when we realize that the wallet is in the car. Chris goes to get it. Meanwhile, our hostess comes around and engages Bee:

Hostess: Did you like your lunch?

Bee (pointing at me): Her name’s Mummy.

Hostess: Did you eat all of your lunch?

Bee: Daddy went to pee!

Mummy: (Gah!) Daddy went to the car to get the wallet!

Bee (sagely): Yeah.

Hostess forces a laugh and backs away.

We leave a good tip.

***

7.30.2007

I’m All Verklempt.

Ok, fine. I wasn’t there. I didn’t meet anyone cool, didn’t get drunk, didn’t make a video, am not in on any one of, like, a million private jokes that must now exist, and did not get to see anyone’s boobs but my own. (as spectacular as they may be.)

But

Can I just say how absolutely proud I am of my fellow Canadian sistahs, and in particular the MBT crew? REPRESENT my honeys! Tales of your deliciousness, debauchery, dedication to the cause and downright delightfullness are all over the blogosphere. It seems like everybody partied with, drank with, ended up in a bathtub with, had occasion to violate, or just said something really nice about the Canadian gals.

I couldn’t be there, but I couldn’t be prouder of the crew that rep’d the maple leaf. Way to go, lovelies.

Can’t wait to really hear all about it.



gratuitous Bee pic, because I need something to brag about too.


***

7.26.2007

Who Needs BlogHer...

When you have TFC?!


Screw you, Aston Villa!


though clearly a hooligan, kgirl was merely acting as her friend's coaster.


***

7.25.2007

Oh, People

So, funny thing just happened:

I’m waiting to get my bagel from the little sandwich place in our food court, and a gentleman comes and orders a bagel as well. We are the only people at the stand, waiting for food. It’s early, like 7:30am. I am 6 months pregnant. Clearly pregnant. I am leaning so that I am facing this man, though we don’t acknowledge each other.

A moment later, a woman, presumably a coworker, walks over to this man from wherever she had been in the food court – looks like McDonalds. They start chatting. Did I mention that we are approximately 3 feet from each other? I am not really listening to their conversation, but like I said, we are spittin’ distance of each other (were I a spittin’ gal), so I couldn’t help but overhear –

“…well my neighbour just had a miscarriage at 35 weeks. Apparently, it happens all the time. Yup, 35 weeks…”

For a moment I feel like I’m in a tv show, because, unprompted, how could someone possibly say such a thing with a 6-month pregnant woman standing RIGHT BESIDE HIM?

I am seriously aghast. Aghast. There is no other word. How do I react? I kind of want to cry; I kind of want to pull some serious bitch on him. Instead, I sense the blood rushing out of my face, and I feel, well, like a 6-month pregnant woman who has just, unsolicited, been reminded that the worst thing I could possibly think of with regards to being pregnant, happens. All the time. The woman behind the counter hands me my bagel and as I turn, I make eye contact with the man.

“Great story,” I practically whisper, and continue back to my office.

One chocolate milk and a half hour later, the blood seems to be returning to my head. Wonder how long it will be before he can get the foot out of his mouth?

***

7.20.2007

10 Reasons Why It’s Ok That I’m Not Going to BlogHer

10. My Gals are getting there road-trip style, together in one van, and they smell.

9. I don’t want to share my awesome Canadian chocolate with you.

8. I would give myself gestational diabetes by stopping here every night for a snack.

7. My last trip to Chicago involved cops, the scary ghetto, a cage, a huge waste of company time and so much fun that I’m afraid no trip back would ever measure up.

6. We now have Sephora, H&M and terrorism paranoia in Canada. Pfft. I don’t need you, America.

5. This gives someone else the chance to accomplish the most embarrasing faux pas of the weekend.

4. Redneck Mommy would have the biggest girl-crush on me, and you’d all be jealous.

3. Tickets for the Wiggles will be going on sale during that time, and I’ll be a way better mom than you when I get tickets for my kid, and you don’t.

2. Some of you puritans might look down on a 6-month pregnant woman getting hammered.

1. Reading bloggers is ok, but listening to them talk in real life? God, so boring.


***