7.30.2008

We Are Four

A couple of weeks ago, I had a very vivid, very realistic dream that I had a baby boy, and his name was Griffin.
(Or maybe Gryphon. Or Griffen.)

A few days later, I had the exact same dream. I told Chris about it. He didn’t say much, except that he didn’t really love the name. (I do.)

Two days after the second dream, we were at the park. Chris was splashing around in the wading pool with Bee, when he overheard a conversation between a couple of the parents standing around. He walked over to where I was sitting in the shade with Dove, and said, ‘You’ll never guess what I just heard.’

‘What was it?’ I asked.

‘That man was talking to that woman, and they just discovered that their kids have the same name. Griffin.’

My mouth fell open. I don’t feel like life sends me all that many signs, but I was sure the universe had just dropped one in my lap. A big one. Maybe two.

We took heed.

Chris went for a consultation for a vasectomy this week.

Do we want more children? I do. I know I do. I would have another one now. I would. I love being pregnant, I adore my midwife, I desperately love newborns, and I even really love giving birth. I would do it again in a second, even risking the chance of another c-section – the experience of which I now cherish as much as my homebirth experience.

But that’s not really the point. I will always be fighting biology and emotion over this one, but in the end I will make sure that practicality and reality win. But they will duke it out if I let them. Both Chris and I are one of four siblings, so we also have history and experience to rally against. But we’re going to.

I want to give my girls everything that they need, be it emotional, fiscal, imagined or otherwise. I do not want to struggle to give them my time, my patience, a comfortable home or an education. These were struggles that my parents had, and they weighed heavily on me all my life.

Plus, I grew up in the days before mini-vans, so I always got squished in the front-middle seat of the family sedan.

I do not want my children to have to feel as though they are being squished in to fit where really, there wasn’t much room in the first place.

Oh, and did I mention that both mine and Chris’ mother is a twin? Double Griffins indeed. No effing way.

And so, we decided, before we even had our first, that our second would be our last, if the situation were one we could control. And it seems it is.

I know the material things are the least important, but they must be considered. I don’t want to grow out of our little 3-bedroom, 1-bathroom house. (Ok, I would like another bathroom. The little ones will be teenaged girls one day after all.) Vacations are way easier to take as a family of four. I don’t ever want to drive a minivan. (Fine. I kinda do. Don’t tell.)

We have been so lucky – SO very lucky. Our girls are healthy and beautiful. (knock wood, spit into the wind, evoke whatever talisman needed to not tempt fate) My pregnancies took little permanent toll on me, and as I said, even the c-section was no big deal. Should I roll the dice again?

I think we can provide for them; know that we have done all that we can to help ensure their future successes, whatever they choose them to be.

I am afraid that another child would compromise the promises I’ve made to my girls, in my head and in my heart, that they will always be cared for, always be our priority, always be protected.

Trust me, I’ll think about the third child that I am not going to have, and I’ll think of him often. But I won’t be sad, and I know that down the line we won’t change our minds about our decision. In the end, we are four. And four feels good.

***

And Over at Eat Me...

I'm waxing nostalgic about my pre-baby pretentious childless hipster days, hangover cures, yummy food, and offering a picture of my cute pink melamine plates HERE.

Now git.

7.26.2008

How She Move

Right now, it’s kind of a forward-seated propellation, unless she flips onto her tummy, in which case it's a backwards worm crawl ‘til she bumps into something.

Either way, I am woefully unprepared for 8-month old Dove’s impending mobility.

I was also woefully unprepared for Dove’s foray into food that did not come from my boobage, as well as her foray into clothes that her sister did not fit until she was 18 months, and her foray into the joys of eating carpet fluff and anything else she can get her pudgy little hands on.

However, all of those things are easily remedied – a quick batch of sweet potato puree; a dig into the bins of clothes that it seems I just took out of Bee’s drawers; a deft swish of a finger to clear Dove’s mouth of delicious lint. Dealing with each of those rites of babyhood passage come back swiftly from the annals of motherhood memory when I needed them too, and carry a pretty short (re)learning curve anyway.

But crawling? What the hell am I supposed to do about that one again?

Not only am I feeling daunted by the reality of no longer turning around and seeing my child sitting where I just put her, but this means I have to babyproof the house again, doesn’t it? And (worse), keep it pretty dang clean. Cleaner than I’d like to put in the time for. I mean, at 3, Bee is definitely more likely to make a mess on the floor than to eat one, so I don’t worry much about her, but you know, nothing says good parenting like finding your 8-month old sitting in the corner eating cat hair.

And babyproofing? With Bee, we put in little more babyproofing effort than a gate at the stairs and outlet covers. When the ratio was always at least one parent:one baby, there was little chance of Bee making a move without being under a watchful eye and ready hand, and besides, she was never very interested in opening contraband-concealing cupboards or climbing up bookcases.

Dove, however, is a different story. Not only am I absolutely sure that she will be more of a monkey than her older sister was (only partially because her M.O. is clearly to keep up with her older sister), but the ratio of parent:child is now slightly more skewed in favour of the children (recent husband lay-offs notwithstanding), and I can barely keep track of where my coffee is, let alone what the kids are doing.

So, this weekend we had better put up the gates, take down the tchochkes, and sweep the floor – there’s no stopping her now, and as we make accommodations for a baby on the go, I guess I had also ready my heart for the pace at which Dove is leaving infancy behind.

***

7.23.2008

Have You Seen My Cherry?

So, while every other woman blogger in the free freakin blogosphere was attending one blogger 0rgy or another this past weekend, I was licking my wounds at my in-laws and preparing myself for another year of in-jokes I won’t get.

I can have fun! I thought, so I joined a Rock Band with my sister-in-law and mastered my rock n’ roll domain.

I can relax! I thought, so I hightailed it to the pool, where I floated on floaties, got whacked in the head with noodles, let Dove experience her first pool pee and refused to wear a proper bathing suit because, y’know, flab.

*Sorry, the photo had to go. didn't realize it was SOOOOOOO bad! I should not just browse thumbnails when choosing shots.*


I can learn technical stuff! I thought, so I took it upon myself to wade through roughly 27 remote controls in the little remote control caddy and figured out how to turn the g-d tv from aerial to satellite.

I can try new things! I thought, so we headed to the nearby Cherry Festival (hooray for farm country!), and I entered this:


Uh huh. That’s right. This is me, the Southern Ontario Cherry Pit Spittin’ Queen of the Cherry Festival:



And here’s my pit spit:



Dudes, I spit that pit 9 meters! 9 meters! For my American friends, that’s almost 30 feet! 30 feet!



That’s the length of a friggen stegosaurus! That’s as tall as a billboard! That’s as wide as… something 30 feet wide! Friends, that is far.

Ok, so, fine – I didn’t actually spit the pit far enough to make it to the championship round, but I was only 1/2 a meter off the leader. (Let’s not split hairs.)

The point is, I can be proud of my accomplishments this weekend, even if I didn’t get oogled at, farted on, boob knocked, or even recognized.

Sigh.

I’ll just keep telling myself that ‘til next year.

***

I also ate lots of fine food last weekend. Read about all the work I didn’t do here, while Bee chillaxes on the patio.

7.16.2008

Well, There Go The Plans for That 24k Gold Room We Were Hoping For

Once upon a time, there was a Fairly Hip Toronto TV Broadcaster that gave Kick-ass Editor a job.

One day, seven years later, Fairly Hip Toronto TV Broadcaster's daddy died, and his kids put the company up for sale.

Large, Pretty Conservative National TV Broadcaster saw that there was an opportunity to become The Only Game In Town, or at least, The Biggest Game In Town, and bought Fairly Hip Toronto TV Broadcaster.

The Biggest Game In Town sold off a good portion of the original Fairly Hip Toronto TV Broadcaster's stations, because it didn't need them any more, and lots of people lost their job.

Kick-ass Editor had to say goodbye to many friends, but was able to sigh a sigh of relief, because his wife was about to have a baby and go on mat leave, and he had not been given a golden handshake.

Seven months later, he got his hand shook.

Anybody looking to hire a Kick-ass Editor?

***

It's Wednesday!



Five years ago, if anyone had asked me what my five favourite things were in my hip little Queen West kitchen, I’m pretty sure the list would have looked like this:

1. The drawer full of take-out menus
2. My Bodum
3. The Mr. Peanut commemorative blue glass jar
4. The two retro baker’s racks
5. The half-q of weed in the freezer

Fast-forward to today, when the take-out menus get a lot less milage, the Bodum has given way to full-size coffee maker that must be buzzing by 8 am, the Mr. Peanut jar shattered in an unfortunate moving accident (grrr), the baker’s racks are stacked with kids’ toys in the basement and the greenest thing in my freezer is a bag of broccoli. Which doesn’t roll very well.

(eat more)


***

7.13.2008

Squidnuts

It’s not fair, she said.

I know.

It’s been almost a year, she said.

I know.

People think it should be better by now. It’s not. It’s not better. It’s not easier, she said.

I know.

The only thing that’s changed is that the shock has worn off, and now I have to face the realization that this is the way it’s going to be for the rest of my life, she said.

I know.

I miss him, she said.

I know.

I miss him so much, she said.

I know.

There are so, so many people that hate their fathers, that say that they can’t stand their fathers and don’t want anything really to do with them, she said.

I know.

We had such a good father, she said.

I know. I know.

I’m only 22, she said.

I know, love. I know.

I want him back, she said.

I know.

Some days I’m not sure I can get up, she said.

I know.

Some days I just want to lay in bed and cry all day, she said.

I know.

Some days I just don’t know what to do, she said.

Call me, I said.

Ok. I’ll call you next time. I’ll call you and we can just have a codeword so you know that it’s that kind of a day and I just need to talk about it. So what should our codeword be, she said.

Squidnuts, I said.

She laughed, and my heart broke into a million pieces.

***

7.10.2008

Throw Down at the Drop-In

Some people break for it. This is how I heard two mommies battle it out today:

See you later, alligator!

In a while, crocodile!

See you soon, baboon!

At your house, little mouse!

In the shade, lemonade!

At the zoo, kangaroo!

Guttentag-y, little doggie!

My kid’s cuter, stupid cow!


(Ok, I added that last part. But I could see she was thinking it.)


***

7.09.2008

Ketchup Stew and Other Tastes of Childhood

When you think of your childhood, what are you eating?

For me, the food of childhood is the food of a frugal, frustrated mother trying to keep her husband and four picky children happy on a tight budget. Things like spaghetti and meat sauce; sausage and peppers; chicken soup with matzo balls; various cheap cuts of meat sprinkled with garlic salt and paprika and stuck under the broiler – that is the stuff that stuffed me as a kid. There were also plenty of signature dishes of differing levels of appeal making their way out of our mother’s kitchen; dishes that my sister and I gave names like ‘Ketchup Stew’ and ‘Monsterloaf.’

(read more)

7.07.2008

Tell Me Something Good

This little corner of the blogosphere is one that I cherish. It has lifted, inspired, guided, championed, supported and tickled this mama more times than I can count. I don’t have to go on extolling the virtues of the mamablogging community, because you’re here too; you already know.

But…

(And you knew this was coming)

But…

There are days when I honestly think that I am the only person out here that actually likes having kids.

I know, I know. It’s not true.

We all write so much about our pride in, and our love for our families. As I’ve said before, and I believe it, our blogs are love letters to our children. And we are a talented bunch, crafting our letters so beautifully; words truly to be cherished.

We also write to unload, to vent, to bitch and to reach out for sympathy when we need to. Of course we do. This part is more about survival than creativity, but it’s still important.

I guess tho, there are days when the scales seem to be tipped, or maybe the moon is full or the tide is out, or maybe the days are too hot or too long, or maybe all sorts of coffee makers went on the fritz simultaneously this morning, or maybe forest fairies forgot to place their magic pebbles on their toadstools and so everything has gone to shit. Dunno. All I know is that there are days when my bloglines give me nothing but misery and fear and complaining, and it just. Gets. Me. Down.

Like I said, we all have our moments, and though I really do try to focus on the good here, I know I’m not to be completely excluded. But we do like to go on, don’t we? We do like to flog those dead horses, Tired, Scared and Suffocated, don’t we? Is that really how we want to define our experiences as mothers?

Anyway, look, now I’m complaining.

So, I’m going to leave you with a cute anecdote, and a plea: Tell me something good. I know it’s there.


***

Bee, at three, is much too clever. As I struggle to find a creative, inspiring, empowering way to guide and discipline her, she has found an airtight defense to any of her ahem, less desirable actions. An example:

Bee takes a toy out of her sister’s hand, and throws it just out of Dove’s reach. Dove cries. I ask her not to do that again. Bee does it again. When I go to her to try to remedy the issue, explaining why she shouldn’t do it, she looks at me squarely in the eye and smiles an angelic smile.

“I was just joking, Mom.”

Yeah, I’m fucked.

***

7.02.2008

Surely These Were Born In The Depths Of Hell And Released Only To Torture Me For Unseen Wrongoings

Pretty dramatic title for a post on our little mini-break up North, huh?

Well, it fits. Like a glove. But before I get to the little fuckers that tried to do me in these last 5 days (no, not my kids), let me begin by saying that we really had a great time. There was a tiny bit too much rain, and not enough beer, but the company was good, the water was warm, and I slept in until 9:30 EVERY morning! Yay!

Chris’ grandparents are truly adorable, and I love being in their home. They live full-time in the cottage that has been in the family since 1933, and though it has gone through many changes, it has all of the most charming qualities of an old cottage (that musty smell; mis-matched cutlery; a crazy layout thanks to countless add-ons), as well as all of the most charming qualities of an old people’s house (that musty smell; doilies; salad dressing in the fridge that expired in ’00).

Bee absolutely loves it there; partly because her great-grandparents cater to her every whim, and partly because she spends her time like this:



And this:


And this:


And when the kids were finally spending their time like this:


We would spend our time doing cottage-y evening things like reading, or doing this:




Lovely. Sigh.

But – and you knew this was coming – But..
We also happened to be there during four of the ten days that Satan unleashes his most disgusting of beasts onto the area of Northern Ontario that we were in. True, they do not bite, sting, pinch or nip. Don’t matter, because I freak out when they come near, and man, they are hard to avoid. So, yeah, I was a bit of a spazz.

Behold! Satan's evil henchmen!



Fucking shadflies! Oh, you don’t think that’s too bad, do you? Hrm? What about now?


WHAT ABOUT NOW?



Gah! It was a wonder I went outside at all. But I did. I even frolicked a little:



Seriously, there were lamposts that looked like they were covered in fur. Bleh. I get the heebiejeebies just thinking about it.

Anyway, eventually we had to go, and though we were sad to do it, we know we will be back up there soon. Who knows what to expect next time - locusts?

On the way home we even took the time to add to a wonderful Canadian tradition, and mark our trip with an Inukshuk left on a ledge of the Canadian shield:



Hope your long weekend was as nice as ours was, but with less of Satan's beasts. Happy Canada Day!

Oh, and hey, if you want to find out how we survive a total of 10 hours in the car with two tiny people, check out the story here.


***