3.30.2009

Ok - I have a threadbare, cotton jersey sheet (queen-size) that is simply too ratty to go back on my bed. Do I:

a) turn it into a chair-fort for the kids
b) rip it up into dust rags
c) save it for a craft project or some burst of domesticity that will really never happen
c) other

What say you, oh internets?

3.24.2009

Here Comes the Night

Although I didn’t wean her completely until she was 25 months old, Bee was night-weaned at 18 months. What that means is that, for 18 months, I rolled over and nursed my child every 2-3 hours. Every. Single. Night. By the time she was a year and a half, it was clear that Bee was simply using me as a pacifier, and I was quite sure that she was demanding her comfort nurse so often simply because I was so available. So a decision was made. Actually, a decision had been made over two months earlier, but then I stewed and fretted (and didn’t sleep) for another 10 weeks before I decided that I – that we – could do it.

Bee would be ok; I would be ok. I would get some sleep. We all would. It was a struggle for me to come to this decision, despite the fact that I had returned to work full-time almost six months earlier, and for the first time since Bee was born, the sleep deprivation was starting to get to me. Call me a martyr if you want (or don’t, because I can get cranky when someone calls me that), but I had always said that my decision to reduce breastfeeding or wean altogether would not be based solely on my own comfort, but on the needs of my child, whether they were physical, emotional or biological.

The thing is, I was pretty sure that the reason we were still nursing so frequently at night was based on the guilt I was feeling surrounding my return to work. Once I sorted that out (ha!) and felt reassured that Bee’s physical, emotional and biological needs were being met, I realized that we were, in fact, still night nursing for me, not her. So I picked a weekend, fortified myself, and went to sleep…

…And woke up two hours later when Bee started grunting and pulling at my shirt, looking for her fix. Through a gentle blend of distraction and comfort, we made it through the night. It was a bit rough – tears (mine and hers) and pacing and bouncing and talking and singing through Bee’s protests, but eventually, we all went to sleep.

The next night, Bee woke up twice wanting to nurse, and I simply whispered that it wasn’t time for that, it was time for sleeping, and as I patted her back, she closed her eyes.

The third night, Bee slept.

I felt like a total chump. This was way too easy. True, it would take another year before Bee actually ever slept in her own bed and/or through the night, but night-weaning was nothing even close to the torture I had been expecting.

I was pregnant with my second child two months later, and declared to my husband that this next baby would be night-weaned and in her own bed by 15 months.

Guess how old Dove is?

Guess what I haven’t done yet?

I thought it would be so easy this time around – me, more experienced, second baby, more resilient. But Dove is a juxtaposition of a child, really – hearty and robust in so many ways, but still such a baby in so many others. Not yet a toddler, no not yet, regardless of Chris’ insistence that, now she toddles, and is therefore a toddler.

But she has only just started toddling, arms up, legs unbent, back down on her chubby bum at the first sign of wobble. Dove is also going through some massive teething right now, bottom and top molars and eyeteeth disrupting my normally cheerful baby’s disposition. Hyland’s has helped a little, but we’ve moved on to Baby Tylenol at night, something we never had to do with Bee. Even still, Dove wakes up crying, stuffing her fists as far into her mouth as possible, hoping to stifle the pain. Nursing is the only thing that soothes her, gets the tears to stop. How can I take that away now?

Bee was running by 12 months, and had all of her one-year molars by 13 months. And still I waited five additional months before night weaning; growing pains left far behind.

I try so hard to parent by staying attuned to the needs of my children. I believe there are very natural and obvious cues offered when they are ready to move to the next stage of development, and that it is my job to respond to those cues, guiding development. I just don’t see them yet in regards to Dove’s night weaning. And Dove is my last baby. I won’t nurse any babies after her. I don’t want to rush this, for either of our sakes.

I’m going away for two nights at the end of April, the first time I will ever be leaving Bee with someone other than Chris for the night, and the first time I will be leaving Dove for the night, period. When I made these plans, I thought night nursing would be long behind us. Dove was not yet walking or going through this massive period of growth and teething. I thought night weaning would be even smoother, easier than it was the first time ‘round.

Why I thought that I’m not sure. I mean, I assumed the same thing of labour and delivery, and look how that turned out.

The only thing I’m sure of, at this point, as I worry and Dove wakes, is that there are, without a doubt, sleepless nights ahead.


***

3.23.2009

3.20.2009

About Me

One part earth-mama, one part big mouth, I have become pretty much everything I never thought I would be. Living in Toronto and a full-time copywriter, I spend my after-work hours messing up ambitious crafting projects, googling useless shit, and most importantly, getting into all sorts of trouble with my two delicious girls, Bee born in 2005 and Dove, born in 2007.

For pleasure and therapy, I wax poetic about things like quinoa and dead relatives. Other pastimes include ignoring piles of laundry, guessing how many family members will be in our bed by morning and beating my husband at Scrabble. I'm not interested in the Mommy Wars, but if I was, I'd be a sniper and you'd be a goner.

Thanks for stopping by!

3.17.2009

Kgirl's Book Club

Fascinating characters… A sweeping narrative… A far-off land… Historical significance… A love story… A war…

How does that sound in a novel?




How does that sound in not one, but two novels?




To me, a major bibliophile/word-nerd/all-around enthusiastic reader and book club member, it sounds like heaven.

Interesting then, that although I have used the same words to describe both of these books, the similarities in my experience with each of them ends there.

Our January book club selection, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a true gem. Although it took me a chapter or two to get my bearings in the author's intended time (post WWII) and space (bombed-out London/Channel Islands), once I did, I was hooked.

And I do mean hooked. This engaging, clever, fascinating story reads like a mosaic – each quirky character and exchange a tile; each location and event a seemingly separate piece that once side by side, reveals a grand and beautiful landscape as well as the author’s fine hand.

Through a series of letters, we meet a spinster authoress blazing her way through London in the late 1940s, and a group of people that are to become her friends and muses – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, survivors of the German occupation of the Channel Isalnds, and each with a unique voice and fascinating, heart-breaking story to tell.

The book sparked a lively discussion at our book club, each member relaying their favourite character and their own hypothesis on how the author-sharing circumstances played out through the book’s back-half. (Mary Ann Shaffer, the book’s primary author had to relinquish the completion of the book to her niece, Annie Barrows. It’s fun to try and pinpoint the exact place this happens in the story.)

Guernsey is a book that I am proud to display on my shelf – or at least, it will be, once I get it back from my best friend, who lent it to her mom. It’s that kind of book.

The In-Between World of Vikram Lall, M.G. Vassanji’s 2003 Giller Winner, should be that kind of book, but just isn’t.

While it too delivers on all of the promises of my opening paragraph, our February book club selection was an entirely different experience.

This was a book that I had been meaning to read for years, and I was disappointed to find myself labouring through it. The story is also a fascinating one, as we learn of the life of Vikram Lall, a disgraced opportunist whose history takes us through years of corruption, violence, war and redemption in the Asian neighbourhoods of Kenya as it fought for independence.

Often brutal, sometimes beautiful and, unfortunately, in desperate need of an editor, the book suffers mainly from the malady common to so many canonical works of Can Lit – verbal diarrhea. Page upon page of descriptive narrative can be tough on a bleary-eyed mother, but resist the temptation to skim the paragraphs – Vassanji likes to hide significant nuggets in his reams of prose, and skipping ahead only ensures that you will soon be leafing backwards, trying to find out when, exactly you glossed over the answer to a mystery you had been waiting 200 pages to solve.

In the end, I’m glad I read this book. It introduced me to a time and place that I will admit, barely knew existed, and I am better for the education of it. However, I do have another Vassanji piece sitting on my bookshelf, just waiting to be cracked, and I dare say, I’m just fine if it has to wait a while longer.

Up next, our March selection:

Jpod by Douglas Coupland. I’m excited.


***

3.10.2009

Because I Am a Woman of Many Dimensions

I've hinted that I am a crafter, but I am really just that - a hint of a crafter. I am definitely more bitch than stitch, and most of my crafting attempts have been laid to waste in piles of unravelling yarn along the path of good intentions (I wrote about it a couple of years ago), but I think I've hit upon a craft I might just stick with.

To whit, I've completed 5 pieces (that's 5 finishes in crafter-speak), and am currently working on 3 others, excited about them all.

I'm not that good at it, but now that I've finally given my latest project to the person I made it for, I wanted to share:




Isn't that little guy cute? I got the pattern from one of my very favourite Etsy stores, Expression Essentials.

May the baby (and mama) that it is intended for be happy, healthy and know how much they are loved.


***

3.09.2009

Showdown

Scene: Very crowded parking lot of Loblaws.

Kgirl has begun putting her grocercies into the hatch. She is two spaces away from the mother/child parking, which was available when she arrived, but from which she abstained from parking in, seeing as she had no baby with her. If she had had the baby with her, she would have taken the spot, but the baby is home, hopefully napping.

Kgirl digresses.

A Mercedes-Benz station wagon pulls into the mother/child parking spot, the only spot available for miles on this busy Sunday morning. Kgirl can clearly, clearly see that there is no baby in the car. There are not even any carseats. Kgirl waits, incredulously, to see if the driver of the car is pregnant.
The driver exits the car. You can bet her fake and bake lululemons this woman is NOT pregnant.

Kgirl: Are you seriously going to park there?

Woman: Mind your own business.

Kgirl: (louder) Are you seriously going to park there?

Woman: Yes! I’m a mother and a child.

Kgirl: No, you’re an inconsiderate bitch.

Inconsiderate Bitch: (walking away) Mind your own business!

Kgirl shakes head, locks car doors and walks buggy back to buggy park. Inconsiderate Bitch starts walking back towards Kgirl.

Kgirl stands outside of her car and adopts what she hopes is an assertive stance.

Inconsiderate Bitch: I’m going to watch you leave so that you don’t vandalize my car.

Kgirl: (laughs, truly surprised) I’m not going to vandalize your car! I’m not an inconsiderate bitch! Get out of my way, stupid cow.

Inconsiderate Bitch: (incoherently) Mind your own business…. big mouth… watching you… park where I want to….

Kgirl laughs again and gets into her car. She starts it backs out of the spot. As she passes Inconsiderate Bitch, she rolls down her window.

Kgirl: Hey lady, why don’t you take your sense of privilege and shove it up your ass?

Kgirl rolls up her window and proceeds to drive out of the parking lot, shaking her head.


***

3.02.2009

Monday Morning

I just came back from my friend's son's funeral.

I will never forget her face as she walked behind his tiny, white casket.



***