Thursday, December 29, 2011

So far, so close

I used to think I wasn't going to have kids, and then I changed my mind. Then I had a baby and decided that once you have one, you might as well have two. They're just like kittens, they can amuse each other! I wanted my two little girls to be about two years apart, maybe two and a half years. 

Yes, my second, currently nonexistent child is most decidedly a girl. Shhhh, do not speak to me of 50/50 odds!

The Parasite is now 32 months old, so my children will be at least three and a half and more likely four years apart in age. The Husband and his sister are five years apart, he swears this is the reason they're not closer. Yesterday my friend was here for a visit with her six year old son - a boy four years older than The Parasite, almost to the day. After a lengthy warm up period (about two minutes), the kids were the very best of friends, running around this small house like small, crazed people. They damn near shattered my ear drums, but they certainly did amuse each other.

I'm not worried about the age gap anymore. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

The one where she gives free writing a try

15 minutes of whatever comes to mind for me? Man, that could be dangerous! I presume that's supposed to mean no filter, but I just don't think the world is ready for me with no filter.

Christmas Day is over, but it will carry on for at least three more days as we finish off the holiday visits. We're not a religious household, so I'm not quite sure about the messaging here for The Parasite. Christmas means you show up at a bunch of different people's houses and get presents! That can't be right... I'm sure I'll come up with something more clever by the time she gets around to asking the question. Maybe she won't? Kids are good at just rolling with things. Especially when presents are involved.

In a couple of weeks I'm going on my first Girls' Weekend away since I became a mom. No husbands, no kids, just some fun in the sun. I'm looking forward to it, but I'm also dreading being so far away from my baby. I know she's nearly three, but she'll always be MY baby. It'll be a great bonding experience for her and for The Husband. She's been on a real "Mommy do it" kick for the last few weeks and it's getting impractical. For example, last weekend I was upstairs folding laundry, The Husband was in the kitchen making breakfast. She came UPSTAIRS to ask me to get her a drink. From the kitchen. *sigh* These phases are normal and it will be Daddy's turn soon enough, but I'm kind of hoping a few days on their own will hurry things along a little.

Wow. Five minutes to go. Who knew a time period so short could seem so long? Of course, we're up for the day so that 15 minutes has actually been broken up into several chunks of a few minutes each, but I have been keeping track of how long I have been going at each interval. Maybe that's cheating? I dunno. I can't remember the last time I had 15 uninterrupted minutes, but I imagine it was before April 2009. I may sound like I'm complaining about it, but I'm really not. Watching this kid crouch down like a jaguar along with Dora is worth all the interruptions in the world.

This post is written as part of GBE2 - Week #32 - 15 Minute Free Write.  For more info about GBE,  click here

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Geography - It's fun!

Awwwww, look! It's two penguins sitting on a polar bear so they can reach their ice fishing hole. Or maybe they're taunting the polar bear, which is a pretty stupid move because polar bears are badass. Nonetheless, adorable!

It's on my neighbour's front lawn*. Once you get past the fact that it looks dirty from behind, it's cute. This little vignette was inspired by Coke's 2005 ad campaign with the polar bears and the penguins frolicking on the frozen tundra. Everybody enjoyed a Coke and the audience ooh'd and ahh'd. Only the most astute among us said "Hey, wait a minute..."**
We all had a giggle and then moved on with our lives, but this lawn ornament allows the lie to carry on. And anyway, if polar bears and penguins DID live together, it wouldn't be in harmony. Those penguins look pretty tasty.
* If you are my neighbour I'm sorry about mocking your lawn ornament. But only a little. You're the one that put it out there, after all.
** Image from HERE

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I did it! I finished my shopping!

I have a big shopping list at Christmas. There are 25 names on that list and there's the associated "host" gifts that go along with the holiday visiting too. I had The Husband haul it all upstairs so I could wrap it last night and then by the time I was done working all day and doing the prep for tonight's adventure (a visit to someone else's house, where I will be doing the cooking - long story) and the laundry and getting ready for the workday ahead, I was too damn tired to wrap it all. Back to the basement it goes! I'll try again tomorrow.

Really, I think this gift wrapping custom is for the birds. Next year I'm going to stick stuff in my reusable shopping bags, tie some ribbon around the handles and call it done. I have already started with Santa gifts for The Parasite. No wrapping paper, just a tag with her name on it and maybe a bow. It depends entirely on how much wine I get into on Christmas Eve. As I look ahead at the next few days, it's looking pretty grim for the bow on Santa's gifts.

My poor little girl is getting a cold just in time for the holiday visiting frenzy. Nothing like showing up with a snot-encrusted toddler to help you beat a hasty retreat! Sleep issues notwithstanding, there's a totally different sound to her cry for Mommy when she's sick. When she got up at 4:30 this morning I knew I was in for it. Into our bed she went! A little something to take down the inflammation and a whole lot of back pats later, she and The Husband - you know, the two people who DON'T have to go to work today - are snoozing away and I'm here, kicked out of my own bed by a two year old, typing at you. Merry Christmas!

Speaking of the dinner being made at someone else's house, check out Life with a Parasite, The Facebook page for the recipe I'll be working with. If it's great, I'll tell you all about it. If it went horribly wrong and I give everyone food poisoning, I'll lie, say it was great, and tell you all about it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I really "Like" you!

It's Life with a Parasite, The Facebook page! Why? I think the more important question is... why not? You'll note there is currently a pitiful ONE fan of the page, and it's me. This will not do!

What's in it for you? Well, right now, nothing but gratitude. BUT, sometime early in the New Year, I'm going to post a PR policy and first crack at whatever rewards (contests, giveaways, etc.) may come from that will go to the people who were with me in the early days. Because I'm loyal like that.

Please go "Like" Life with a Parasite, The Facebook page. After all, one really is the loneliest number.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Stroke awareness - Remember the signs

A close family member had a minor stroke this week. I suppose if you have to have a stroke, a minor one is the way to go. Still, it's pretty sobering to think about how much different this holiday season could have been. There's a long road to rehab and we're still not sure if a complete recovery is possible, but we hope for the best. One of the reasons recovery is in the cards is the prompt medical attention they received.

Please take a moment to review the five warning signs of a stroke. Feel free to yoink this image and share it wherever and whenever your heart desires. I got it from here:
I hope you never need to remember the signs, but if this message helps ONE person call 911 in time, then my work here is done.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Using every tool in the toolbox

I was one of those parents that everybody loves to hate. I had to wake The Parasite up to eat for the first few weeks because she wanted to keep on sleeping. By eight weeks, she was sleeping through the night and other than a few teething episodes and short-lived sleep regressions, this kid has been an absolute dream at bedtime for the last two and half years.

Until recently.

Lately she has been having trouble getting to sleep. I'm not talking about the usual toddler stall tactics like "I need to go pee. I need a drink. I need a hug and a kiss." I mean an hour of ballyhooing, screaming, crying fits that finally culminate in an exhausted baby falling asleep between heart-wrenching sobs. It came on suddenly enough that I know it's just another phase. We've been here before, we'll be here again. But that doesn't mean it's not exhausting.

I'm sick today and I was just not in the mood for the shenanigans. In a moment of desperation, I pulled a total Bad Mommy manoeuvre. Tonight, when the bullshit started up I gave her a sip of water and one more trip to the potty, telling her it was the last time she was getting out of bed for the night. Then on the way back to her room, I started singing "Santa Claus is coming to town." I put particular emphasis on the "sees you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake" bit. And THEN I told her that if she didn't lay down and go to sleep, I was going to call Santa and tell him not to bring her any presents.

My baby is now sleeping like a baby with the Fear of God in her, and I have paved my own path straight to hell. Thank you and goodnight!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The one where she talks about secrets and lies

My family was recently rocked by a secret that my grandmother took to her grave. I won't go into details publicly because God knows enough people are already licking wounds, but suffice it to say there is hurt, confusion and maybe a little bit of anger. At some point, a secret becomes a lie. I don't know exactly when that invisible line is crossed, but keeping a big secret inevitably requires a series of half-truths and lies of omission, just laying in wait for someone to slip up.

When you learn the people you love and trust the most have lied to you, you're left with hurt over whatever the lie was about AND feelings of betrayal. It adds insult to injury. I'm not talking about keeping someone's birthday surprise a secret, I mean BFDs. Big secrets and the lies they eventually become.

I choose to live out loud, even when it's hard because of my hatred of those secrets that become lies. I choose to tell my daughter that her great-grandmother died rather than telling her she went to sleep or she's gone away and will see her another day. Yes, it's probably more difficult than lying, but only in the short term. And who said being the grown up was supposed to be easy, anyway?

The next time you're faced with decision, tell a lie because it's easy or tell the truth even though it's hard, pick truth. It's always the better choice in the long run.

This post is written as part of GBE2 - Week #29 word prompt: Truth. For more info about GBE,  click here

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Je me souviens

On December 6th, 1989, 14 people were shot and killed at L'Ecole Polytechnique in what has become known as the Montreal Massacre. Another 23 were injured before the shooter turned the gun on himself. It was, and is, the largest mass murder in Canadian history.

What heinous crime did the victims commit to deserve such a fate? They were born women. After claiming that he was "fighting feminism," the shooter entered a classroom, separated the men from the women, and opened fire. Room by room, he repeated the process. Men who tried to intervene were also shot, though none of them fatally. To dismiss his actions as those of a madman is too easy, and it makes excuses for it. Random thing, crazy guy. Move along, nothing to see here.  

As a Canadian, as a woman and as the mother of a daughter in a world where women still die every day simply because they were born a girl, it is my duty to remember. May the mothers who lost daughters on that horrible day take some small comfort in knowing that two decades later... Je me souviens.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Got a Lego nut on your list?

The Parasite has recently entered the Duplo years. I see Lego sets with many, many pieces in our future. Building a tower is of our favourite things to do. Sitting on the floor in front of a giant box of blocks, it's fascinating to watch her learn about how things fit together, and about what a cruel master gravity can be. It's really one of my favourite indoor activities because cleaning up rarely involves holding my nose and a damp cloth.

Got a Lego fan of your own on your holiday shopping list? There's still time to shop online for Lego for the holidays!

**Disclosure: If you shop using the link provided, I receive a small commission on the sale.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Course of Treatment

I had a post-surgical follow up with the baby doctor on Wednesday. All systems are go for the plumbing so we're ready to start treatment, which will be daily injections of Gonal-F for me and daily orgasms for The Husband. Hardly seems fair... I tried for something in pill format because I'm just not good with needles, but no dice. In treatment cycles I'll start every day with a wand in the hoohah, a donation to the blood clinic AND a needle in the the belly.

It was too late to start for this cycle (by two days!), the clinic is closed for a couple of weeks over the holidays and will re-open when it's too late for my next cycle, I'm away for a few days in January and then we have a family vacation in February. Both trips involve travel to the U.S. and I'm not keen on running needles past the ever so friendly TSA agents. Our prolonged game of hurry up and wait will continue for a few more months.

We only get three chances with this course of treatment, and The Husband and I have already decided we're not willing to get more expensive. Oops, I mean more aggressive. By The Parasite's birthday in April we'll be done with fertility treatments. We're giving it until the end of next year for something to happen - assisted or not - before we shutter the factory. If The Parasite ends up being an only child, I will be sad but will accept that it wasn't meant to be. That doesn't mean we won't spend the next 12 months giving it our very best shot.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaBloPoMo: Mission Complete 2.0

Can you imagine doing 29 says of NaBloPoMo only to fuck it up on the last day? It nearly happened! See I had the follow up at the fertility clinic today and I'm a little distracted. But I'll tell you more about that tomorrow or another day. Mostly because I don't know how the story ends just yet. Until then, thanks for sticking it out with me for the last 30 days. We'll be back to our regular, more sporadic, less filler-esque posting schedule. G'night!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Boss Man Frasier Crane

There's a new show on called "Boss" with Kelsey Grammer as the terminally ill Mayor of Chicago. It's excellent, but I keep waiting for him to wonder aloud about what to do with the tossed salad and scrambled eggs.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My latest adventure

So I decided something had to be done about the ever-expanding size of my ass. I'd blame it on the kid, but I was well below my pre-pregnancy weight by six months postpartum. It really started creeping up when I went back to work. I guess I didn't realize how much activity was involved in lifting a 20+lb baby about a hundred times a day and pushing around a stroller for most of my errands. In reality it's a pound here and a pound there that come together for a really BIG party, but it always seems like it's all of a sudden none of your pants fit.

Having to move to the "other" side of the store to find pants that fit was a pretty good motivator. Oh right, here's where I'm supposed to say that I want to live a healthier life to set an example for my daughter. Give her a fit mom to run and jump and play with, all that shit. Sure. Fine. OK. And maybe it would be nice to stop avoiding the camera so when she's older she'll have some pictures of her mom to look back on. But really, it's about the pants and the "other" side of the store.

Enter the online version of Weight Watchers. Why online? I've been to WW meetings, the group support thing just isn't for me. I find myself bored and rolling my eyes at the accomplishments of others. Mean, but true. Yes, I am aware there roughly a million free online weight loss tools. But I know myself well enough to know I'm a lot more likely to take it seriously when I've put some money on the line. So the pain in the ass, poorly designed, hopelessly lacking in ethnic foods WW online system it is!

You know what the greatest revelation has been so far? That my relaxing pail glass of wine or two in the evening has probably been my downfall all along. Sunday to Thursday I have replaced it with a nice mug of sleepy time tea. Things would probably go faster if I gave it up altogether, but then my life wouldn't be worth living. OK it would, but I'd be a whole lot crankier. Right now I'm drinking that steamy cup of herbal tea and you know what? It's just not the same.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What's THAT got to do with the price of eggs?

I got nothing. It's day 27 of NaBloPoMo and I'm running out of steam. So rather than dusting off an oldie from the archives I'm going to bitch, very briefly, about the price of eggs. You keep hearing about eggs as a cheap source of protein and relative to every kind of meat that's true. But the cheapest dozen eggs I could find today was $2.89. For 12 eggs. What's up with that?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Winter Magic!

There are a lot of drawbacks to raising a family in a big city like smaller houses unless you've got a gagillion dollars to spend, fierce competition for daycare and activity spaces and a general lack of wide open spaces. But there are a lot of pluses too, like a heavy concentration of activities for little people. For example, today the city hosted Winter Magic, a kid's carnival with rides and character visits and a stage show. It was right downtown so when we were done with the carnival we went through the Eaton Centre to see the Swarovski Christmas Tree and Giant Reindeer display.

It took a while, but I figured out why they call it Winter Magic. Though I'm not much of a Christmas person, I find the lights and colours of the season fascinating. This year, The Parasite is old enough to catch a bit of the spirit too. It's one thing to take in the sights on your own, but it's an entirely different, wonderful thing to see the sights through the wondrous expressions on the face of the person you love the most.

That she makes a funny face every time I try to capture it on film is just part of the charm.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Stream of Consciousness: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

I've seen a few of the stream of consciousness posts. The deal is you're supposed to set a timer and write for five minutes, no editing, just go. But I write stuff for a living in my day job. I... can't turn off the inner editor. This is my best shot.

I have had the theme for National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation stuck in my head for two days now. Surely it's some kind of sign. Are distant relatives going to show up on my doorstep with an obnoxious dog this year? Will my tree catch fire? Will a large icicle from our eavestrough careen through our super yuppie neighbour's window? Because we DO have a couple rather like Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and whatever the guy who played her husband's name was two doors down.

Someone will get drunk (let's face it, probably me) someone will cry over dinner (probably The Parasite) and someone will probably completely blow their stack. You might think that'll be The Husband, but no, me again! Wow, it's hard to focus for five minutes. Also, I'm a really lousy typist. How many words a minute is this? 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - TIME'S UP!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Winter Vacation

This week, I made the final payment on our winter vacation. We're taking a cruise that goes from Tampa to Honduras, Belize and Mexico. It is literally months away and I'm trying to decide what day activities we're going to do. I have already determined how many points I'll need for the flights for our summer vacation. It's a sickness, people. A sickness!

After last Friday's relaxation, I have decided most of you are right, I need to do it more often. I am doing the laundry tonight and I'm going grocery shopping tomorrow night so that on Sunday I can sleep in and goof off, dammit! Wish me luck with that, I'll probably need it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! I hope those of you going shopping tomorrow are wearing full protective gear and keeping your elbows sharp.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Technical Difficulties

Oh hai! My wireless? She is broken. The Husband is working on it. It's nice having tech support literally in-house. Why not plug in, you ask? I don't have a cable. 12,456 cables in this place, but none of the are the one I need. So I'm posting this from my phone, because that's how seriously I take NaBloPoMo, man. But this post won't be particularly well proofread because, as we know, I'm really quite lazy.

Speaking of lazy, does anyone know how to disable the exceedingly annoying typewriter sound on the iPhone keyboard? I'm sure it's a settings thing that I lack the patience to find.

Also, preschool has turned my sweet baby into an obnoxious tyrant. I love that autocorrect thinks I meant Tyra in that last sentence. No, silly phone, that would be Naomi Campbell! Anyway, I know transitions are hard on the small fry, but could someone please give me an idea of how long we're talking about until things settle back down? Because if it's not soon I may hand her off to the nearest pack of traveling gypsies!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The one where she laughs until she cries

Those who have been new mothers know that those first few weeks can make you a little, well, crazy. You've got that hormonal shift from being pregnant to bonding with a baby, you haven't slept for longer than a couple of hours at a once for many days, people keep showing up at your house while you're in your bathrobe (YES at 6:00 in the evening) and if you're REALLY lucky, like I was, you'll find yourself unable to sleep most of the time anyway.

Hormones. Crazy.

Throw in a problem with breastfeeding and you're just asking for a meltdown. Or five. When The Parasite was two weeks old she decided that she wasn't so much interested in providing us with evidence that she was getting enough to eat. That's right, she decided poopin' was for suckers. I was beside myself with worry. After a few days we called the doctor, they said give it a week. On day 10, we were going to have to take her to the hospital. On day 9, she decided to let loose. And boy, did she ever make up for lost time.

It was The Husband's turn. And as the disgusting mess was happening right before our eyes, I started to snicker. And then giggle. And then laugh. And then I didn't stop. I laughed until my face was wet with tears and I was on the floor, clutching my sides in pain, but I did not stop. I laughed until I couldn't breathe, and then I laughed some more. Stress and exhaustion came to a head and released as I laughed, and laughed, and laughed. It has been two and a half years since The Night Of Which We Do Not Speak and I still smile when I think about how much better that laugh made me feel. It really is the best medicine.

This post is part of GBE2 - Week #27 word prompt: Laughter. For more info,  click here

Monday, November 21, 2011

I don't like Mondays

Ever had one of those days where you wonder why you bothered getting out of bed? There were more tears when dropping The Parasite off in the new room at daycare, I was late for a meeting where I discovered some work stuff is just not going according to plan, the daycare director called me with a whole bunch of bitch in her tone to say that our fees are not up to date for the new room (not true, their fault, not mine), I got a flu shot which hurts like hell at the injection site, the subway ride home was jammed beyond belief so I had strange people touching me (Ew!) and I overcooked the shit out of dinner.

Before anything else goes wrong I'm going to back away slowly from the keyboard. I'll have a less whiny post tomorrow, promise!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Dangers of PVR

I let The Husband sleep in while I took The Parasite downstairs yesterday. I know, he IS lucky to have me. But it's totally an "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" arrangement and it was my turn today. Except that he got a call about a problem at work that he's been working on remotely since before 7:00 this morning. No snooze for ME!

In anticipation of my later morning I had a few glasses of wine last night. It's not a full blown hangover, I'm just a little fuzzy-headed. From the moment she woke up, The Parasite has been asking about "Da Mister of da Kai." What the fuck does that mean? I DON'T KNOW. My lack of comprehension was the source of a rather impressive (and high-pitched) tantrum. 

After much pleading for quiet because of the poor neighbours' ears (and mine) we went through a careful process of elimination. Da Mister of da kai = The Backyardigans, Season 3, Episode 10: The Master of Disguise. Ta-daaaah! Order has been restored and I am free to enjoy the coffee I just got from the awesome home delivery service. That's right, a nice man brought coffee, roasted on Friday, to my front door yesterday. He's like Santa only way, way better.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Perpetual Motion Machine

They did a dry run yesterday afternoon bringing The Parasite over to the preschool room. It... did not go well. Lo, the tears! Thankfully, I only heard about them after the fact because it probably would have broken my heart to see it in action. It's new, and new things are scary when you're two. The Husband does drop off and I do pick up but we're both going with her on Monday to meet her new teachers. I hope she transitions well, because nothing makes me feel like Mom of the Year like leaving my kid sobbing in a puddle of her own tears.

Last night I was tired. I know, what else is new? But it was an extra layer of tired. All I really wanted to do was curl up on the couch and go to sleep. For a minute I felt guilty about it. There's laundry to be done! Who will prepare the shopping list? The sweater! What about the sweater?

Why do I feel like I need to be doing something every moment of every day? It was a long damn week and I needed a break. So I took it. I laid down on the couch and watched a crappy movie with The Husband before going to bed early. When The Parasite woke up at 6:30 I was rested enough to take her downstairs and play with her, rather than dragging my cranky ass all over the place.

I don't know why I worry about something as trivial about a night on the couch so much. I look ahead at the mountain of shit to do and stress about it until it's done. It's 12:40, The Parasite is napping, the last load of laundry is in the dryer, the menu plan for the week and the shopping list are done and I'm about to head to the grocery store. In other words, early to bed, early to rise caused no disruption to overall productivity whatsoever. God, I need to cut myself a little slack once in a while!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mama, I'm a big girl now

Today is The Parasite's last day in the toddler room at her daycare. When I went back to work a couple of days after her first birthday she was in a home daycare with a loving mom who had a son the same age. It was a great arrangement for that first year, but it became pretty clear she needed a little more stimulation so we moved her to the centre she's at now.

Three very caring women tend to her all day, singing her songs and teaching her about sharing and life outside her own home. A few times I have picked her up to find that Bing, one of the teachers, has played with her hair and put it into adorable designs. She won't sit still long enough for me to do that. At first I was really jealous. What the hell? Another female is grooming my monkey! But then I realized that it means that while I am off at work all day, there's another woman who cares for her, and kisses her booboos and puts her in time out for throwing things. I trust other women to look after the most precious thing I have, and the care and dedication they show doing their job allows me to go off every day and do mine.

She's going to be the baby in the room, kids older and bigger than her are going to snatch her toys and possibly knock her down in the scramble to get where they're going. She's a tough little cookie and I have no doubt that she'll assert herself just fine. She is her mother's daughter, after all. There will be a pecking order, she'll have new teachers, new women to tend to her, guide her, shape her sponge-like little mind. More structure, more learning, but still a lot of playtime and general tomfoolery.

Sure, it may not seem like a big deal to YOU, but to me it's the first of many milestones reminding me she's not a baby anymore. First the preschool room, then the first day of school, junior high, high school. Next thing I know, she's going to be off to university. It's such a cliche, I know, but it really does go too fast. Luckily I have a follow up with the fertility specialist later this month, so hopefully we can do it all over again soon!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Circle of Moms: Top 25 - Voting Ends TODAY!

Life with a Parasite was nominated as a contender for the Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs at Circle of Moms.

Voting ends TODAY! Of course I'm not going to crack the Top 25 and it's flattering just to be nominated (that's what the Oscar losers say, right?) but I'd love as many votes as possible. Please click the link above to vote for me. And while you're there, check out the fantastic community on Circle of Moms.

Thank you in advance for your support!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm just chillin'

Don't mind me. I'm just sitting here, chillin', eating my breakfast and watching some Cat in the Hat. My terrible posture? Oh, I inherited that from my Daddy. My mom snapped a picture of him in the exact same pose, but he wouldn't let her post it. Because, as we already know, he is a fucking spoil sport.

Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

That's MY Goldfish!

A couple of weeks ago I found a flyer in our mailbox from Scouts Canada. Every year they hold a drive to collect food for the local food bank. Boys as young as five struggle to lug the heavy bags down the stairs and back to their waiting wagons. These kids are from my neighbourhood. Most of them will live a pretty privileged existence and, God willing, will never know what it means to go hungry. I'm glad the Scouts are teaching the kids to give back. I wish our local chapter of Girl Guides did something more visible and beneficial to the community than selling cookies, but that's another story for another day.

I forgot until the morning of the collection to pack our bag of non-perishables. These poor kids were hauling their little asses out of bed at the crack of dawn to collect food for the hungry, the least I could do was make it worth their while. Thinking she was out of the room, I put a package of Goldfish crackers in along with the soups and dried pasta. I don't think getting your meals from a food bank means a mom shouldn't know the silence a bag of Goldfish can provide.

I was in the homestretch when she spied it. Shit.

Cue the howling of a toddler watching her beloved fish crackers headed out the door. Yes, there were two more bags in the cupboard, but dammit, she wanted THOSE Goldfish. I sat down with her on the couch to explain that we were giving some of the food that we have to people who didn't have any. Puzzled, she said "They should buy groceries, Mommy!" Then I tried to have a conversation with a two year old about money. That was fun. Of course she didn't "get" it, but she did agree that sharing her Goldfish would be a nice thing to do, so in the bag they went.

Food bank use levels are still high. A disproportionate number of the people served by those food banks are children. That's kids too hungry to concentrate at school, and it makes me very sad. In about 10 minutes on a Saturday morning I could find enough non-perishable food that I could live without until my next shopping trip to fill a bag. I bet some of the people reading this right now could do the same, so please think about giving to your local food bank.

OK, I'll hop off my soap box now.

Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The one where she talks about.... SURPRISE!

Ah, TV. The place where people are (almost) universally happy about surprises. On TV, you can get all the way through a pregnancy and learn "Surprise! It's twins!" and this is good news, no trouble at all! On TV, your hair and makeup are always done when the surprise party is sprung on you. On TV, you find out the person you thought was your father all your life really isn't. Surprise! Then you carry on with Thanksgiving dinner. On TV... well, you get the picture.

In real life, any one of those scenarios would likely put a serious dent in your day. Except the surprise party, because if you're that upset about what you're wearing among friends, you should get some new friends. I plan just about every event in my life, including day to day operations. My clothes are usually laid out the night before, my grocery shopping is done around my meal plans for the week and vacation plans are started as soon as I get back from the last one. I like order, and I like to know what's happening next.

Knowing this, you should be able to guess how much I like surprises. I like the idea of surprises. I have a friend whose husband plans romantic getaways for them all the time. I ooh and ahh about it and think I feel a little pang of jealousy, but if The Husband were to surprise me in a similar fashion I'd be pretty pissed. Luckily he knows me well enough to know that springing things on me is A Very Bad Idea. Another friend welcomed her son 8 days ago, and she had no idea what she was having until the minute he was born. I, on the other hand, freaked the hell out when The Parasite wouldn't cooperate through many, many ultrasounds.

I like to think I'll turn over a new leaf and suddenly become more spontaneous, with a devil may care attitude about what is to come. But the thought of doing something, anything, without at least a framework is making me feel like a case of the hives is coming on. I guess I'll just accept that it's just not in my nature. One day The Parasite is going to have quite the pout because Mom can't just get up and go somewhere without first making a list and checking it thrice. But maybe I'll redeem myself the day I produce an umbrella, dry socks and a cup of hot chocolate at exactly the right moment...

This post is part of GBE2 - Week #26 word prompt: Surprises! Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How does she do it?

It's early. Really early. I went to bed at a reasonable hour and there was no drinking involved last night, but it's the kind of early that coffee can't help because it's caffeine, not a magic potion. The Parasite is up and at 'em. And playful. And cheerful. When she's not whining, which is scientifically proven to be highly irritating. I try to be patient with her in the very early morning, and some days I manage to do pretty well at it.

Today is not one of those days.

I love her with every fibre of my being, but goddamn it this kid is getting on my nerves. I know it's not her fault, she's just being two. I also know I'm the grown up here so I need to pull it together, at least until nap time when I can recharge my batteries too. Between now and then I'll have to do my best to stifle the inner monologue that is really a foul-mouthed tirade about the fucking blue cup and NO I won't dirty another dish because of completely unreasonable demands, you little terrorist. Jesus! Go eat your damn bagel with the topping YOU asked for on it. Penis butter indeed!

Please tell me I'm not the only one who occasionally finds my kid really annoying.

Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Things I Learned on the Internet #3 - Double baggin' it!

Thanks to the tip on The Eye of Sauron your little one's little heiney is no longer getting soaked in public bathrooms. Fantastic! You're thinking it's time to ditch the nighttime diaper but fear nocturnal accidents. Can't say I blame you, fitted crib sheets are a pain in the ass in the harsh light of day. Dealing with them in the dead of night? Forget it! That's why I'm glad a wise mom on the internet once shared the trick of double bagging it. What? Well, you know how many words a picture is worth...

This is actually a clean bed, but let's pretend it's one in need of changing at 3:00 in the morning:
What's this under here? A waterproof mattress pad? Well that's not terribly innovative...
A-ha! But under the mattress pad there is... ANOTHER SHEET! 
Sheet, waterproof mattress pad, sheet. It'll save your life. Or at least your night's sleep. Yes, you still have to deal with the laundry in the morning, but very quickly you can return your child's bed to it's usual, ordered state and march yourself back to bed. Yeah, I don't know where she sleeps either.

Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest we Forget

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

- Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, 1872-1918

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The one where she talks about wild oats

In my garden, there is a raspberry bush. I bought it this year and took literally months to get it in the ground, and I wasn't even the one who finally planted it. Much to much to my surprise, it has bloomed and brought forth a tiny crop of raspberries. I'm not much of a gardener, but since The Husband finally got around to planting it (after giving up on me EVER getting around to it), The Little Raspberry Bush That Could seems to be doing OK. It may or may not survive the first killing frost. I mean, there are lots of raspberry farms not too far away, so it's not like the harsh climate is a problem. THAT is nature.

That same raspberry bush, in better soil with more sunlight and a homeowner who actually thought to sprinkle it with some water once in a while, might thrive. There might be a flowing crop of raspberries coming from the bush with many more crops to come. It would be properly pruned and probably covered as the winter months approach. THAT is nurture.

It's entirely possible The Little Raspberry Bush That Could is just really tough, the kind of plant that can make it in spite of neglect. I bet there's some people like that, too. It's equally possible it won't make it through the winter and I'll find myself buying a new raspberry bush next year. Which is fine, when we're talking about a plant. I think you'll all be relieved to know I take a far less laissez-faire approach to raising my child.

Can you make a kid born lacking intelligence a genius with the right parenting? No, but you can make things easier for them academically with lots of love and support. Can you make a child dealt an unfortunate hand in the looks department prettier? No, but you can make them feel beautiful on the inside, and that will show on the outside to the right people. You can't make a basketball star out of a really short kid or a quarterback out of one that can't throw, but you can make a person that tries really hard. Like plants, you can't change the stuff people are made of, but you can still give them the right conditions to grow.

This post is part of GBE2 - Week #25 word prompt: Nature vs. Nurture. Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wayback Playback: Why I hate contemporary art

My surgery is a done deal. While I recover, I'm digging through the archives of a now-abandoned journal for some of my old faves. This was originally posted on April 24, 2008 after a trip to New York City. It was our last hurrah as couple with no kids. I'm sorry I wasted some of it on contemporary art.

I'll admit it, I am not exactly an art connoisseur. I like pictures of things that I can recognize. I don't mind if it's a little "out of focus" looking, like Monet. Heck, I can even take the loose interpretations of Van Gogh. Take this Monet for example. It's so well known it borders on cliched but I love the whole series anyway, so THERE! :P

There is a texture to it, created by brushstrokes and layers of colours that is abstract and precise at the same time, coming together to form something that is magnificent to behold:

And then... there is Contemporary Art, like Picasso:

If it weren't for the tits, I'd have no idea this represented a person. In fact, I'm still not completely convinced.

How about Jackson Pollock?

Some guy named Fred who paints houses for a living has a drop cloth that looks just like this in the back of his pickup truck.

And then, there is the truly offensive. The swill that sycophantic twats in galleries all over the world swoon over, while the rest of us wonder what the fuck this world is coming to. Like this one, with a tag that reads "In the last 10 years of his life, Reinhardt focused solely on square black paintings." Now you're wondering if there is seriously a square, black painting hanging in a gallery somewhere, right?

Yes, there is. At MOMA, in fact. If this is high art, I'm Wonder Woman. It made me want to say Fuck. Right. Off. to the half-wit at the museum who stood in front of this thing and said out loud "It just speaks to me on so many levels." No it doesn't. Go look at a sheet of black construction paper and see if it says the same thing, you moron. This is not moving, it's doesn't "speak to anyone," other than as a profound insult to the intelligence of gallery visitors every day.

Because of the proliferation of shit like the black painting above, and the installation that that was a fountain and a strobe light masquerading as art, I give contemporary art two thumbs down. Or one finger up. Whatever.

Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wayback Playback: Screw it! I'll just pay for the lipo

My surgery is later today. While I deal with some prep work, I'm digging through the archives of a now-abandoned journal for some of my old faves. This was originally posted on March 25, 2007. Apparently some things, like my potty-mouth and challenges with exercise, never change.

I like boxing. It's a great workout, and let's face it, from time to time we ALL want to beat the crap out of someone something. Sadly, my home is only slightly bigger than a shoe box, so my dreams of having my very own heavy bag to beat the living snot out of after a hard day at The Bank could not be realized. Not wanting to see her daughter go without something so obviously beneficial to her mental health, my mom bought me a Bally Boxer for Christmas. And then forgot all about it until my birthday eight weeks later. At least we know I'm not adopted.

The Bally Boxer is like one of those giant "Punch the Clown" things you had at birthday parties when you were a kid. OK, maybe YOU didn't have them at YOUR birthday parties, but it's not MY fault you led a sheltered life. You filled the base with water, and the kids took turns knocking ol' Chuckles down until he could get up no more. Training for sociopaths? Perhaps. Anyway, here is what the grown up version looks like:

See, water in the base, air in the top, and Bob's your uncle. EXCEPT! If you're ever planning to buy one of these things, you should know there is a flaw in the design. The base is filled with water because that's what weighs it down. Weighs it down = makes it heavy, for those who need things spelled out, as I apparently do. When you fill things with water, inevitably some will not make it into the container. And wet things get slippery, (Ah, STFU! What are you, twelve?) and wet things that are slippery - and ARE HEAVY! - are hard to handle. You might accidentally drop the flimsy plastic piece of shit (formerly known as the Bally Boxer) on the hard surface that is your kitchen floor. And do you know what happens next?

After a great deal of swearing, standing ankle deep in ice cold water in your kitchen, you might get one hell of a workout laughing until your sides hurt as you mop up the giant fucking mess made by the giant fucking hole in your flimsy plastic piece of shit (formerly known as the Bally Boxer). And with that, I have had enough exercise for today. I also think it's late enough in the day to start drinking.

Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The big day

Tomorrow is the day of my (not that) long-awaited surgery. I'm working from home in the morning before my date with The Vagina Artist in the afternoon. Bow-chicka-bowow! Oh, wait. The Husband is coming with me, so that's not nearly as sexy as it sounds. Even if the doctor is kind of hot. I mean, he'll be up to his elbows in my hoohah. There's just no bringing sexy back from there.

You'd think after a tumour removal during pregnancy and an C-section under a general I'd be kind of blase about a little polyp being taken out with a glorified vacuum and a really long straw. I'm not. I'm kind of dreading the whole thing. But what it boils down to is this: I want another baby. To have another baby, I need to undergo fertility treatments. They won't start the fertility treatments until I have the surgery. So off I go!

I'm dusting off some old faves from a now-defunct journal for your reading pleasure while I recover. Now I'm going to take an extra long time cuddling The Parasite at bedtime so I can remind myself why this is all worthwhile. G'night!

Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Deck the Halls

So I was walking around the grocery store today and had a hard time manoeuvring the cart in a lot of spots. That is because I couldn't get around all the fucking CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS. Dear Retailers, I am not ready for the holiday season. It is 14C and gloriously sunny today in the Great White North. I drove home with the windows down and the stereo volume up to get the Christmas carols out of my head. Speaking of Christmas carols, why the hell is "Jingle Bells" now firmly lodged in my brain?

How do YOU feel about Christmas invading the stores in early November?

Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lack of focus

I have a habit of picking things up and putting them down, never to be considered again. Case in point: See this sweater?

Isn't that a pretty, cheery colour? Don't you think it would look lovely on a little girl? Me too! Little girls that have Mommies who knit should have cute little sweaters. That's why I took a class to learn to knit a sweater for The Parasite. Last March. It has been sitting, half done in the state pictured above, on a table since the beginning of April. If I don't pick it up again soon she will outgrow it before she even gets a chance to wear it.

I look forward to Saturday all week. It's the best day of the week because I don't have to go to work tomorrow either! I can sleep in if I want to, and after a long week of dragging myself out of bed when the alarm goes off I'm very excited about a little snooze. So you can imagine my displeasure when I awoke this morning at 5:30 and couldn't go back to sleep. My toddler didn't get up until 7:00, so I can't blame her. I can just chalk it up to mediocre luck in the sleeping in department.

See! I did it again. I started telling a story about a sweater and then I got sidetracked by a whine about waking up too early. I lack focus in unstructured environments. However, I function VERY well in a project setting. Sure, I procrastinate and leave most things until I have exactly enough time to get them done just as they're due, but I get it done. What I need here is a deadline, and here it is: The Parasite will look adorable in that sweater at the annual family Christmas party hosted by The Husband's company. I'll take pictures!

Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Programming Note

I have a juicy one for "Ask the Host" in the works and I promise it will be posted... tomorrow. Right now I need to talk to you about something of the utmost importance. About subject that is very near and dear to my heart. Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to talk to you a little about...

WINE! I love wine, and it loves me. Second only to my love of wine is my love of good food. (Oh right, my husband and child fit in there... somewhere) When you put good wine and good food together, magical, wonderful things happen. Every sentence is more meaningful when it's punctuated by a bite or a sip of your fantastic fancy grape juice.

That's why Bewildered Bug and I have joined forces to put on an evening of wine and food with a bunch of fun people. Well, we hope a bunch of fun people come out. If they're not, there's no problem a little wine won't fix. So if you're in Toronto and you like food and wine and cool people, you should come out! I had my wedding reception at this restaurant. It is fantastic, but cozy. When we say space is limited, I am not kidding. If you're interested, please register today!

We are asking for a deposit to confirm interest. For the record, Bewildered Bug aren't making a nickel from this event, and we're paying our own way too.

Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The one where she talks about the A List

Popularity didn't become important to me until I saw The Breakfast Club. Or maybe it was Pretty in Pink. In grade school you played with who you played with in the school yard. The "friends" came and went to different parts of the jungle gym and the notion of a "best friend" was completely foreign.  I don't know when it happened, but suddenly some people's friendship was more valued than others.

Those kids became the "popular" kids and the rest of us (because it should come as a surprise to precisely nobody that I wasn't one of them) just made do with the friends we were playing with all along. Sometimes we no longer played with one of the people we used to play with, but kid friendships are just like that and we carried on with our day. And then we got a little older and we saw John Hughes movies and learned we were supposed to envy the popular kids. We were supposed to emulate them, to covet their friendship at the expense of the people who were already in our lives.

Seriously? I didn't envy the people in the fish bowl. I didn't much care about them one way or the other. I had a great group of friends, many of whom are still in my life today. I wonder what it will be like for my daughter growing up in a post-John Hughes world. Will she always know she's supposed to want to be one of the popular kids? I suppose she will. But will she focus on surrounding herself with people who love her and support her, no matter who their friends are? I certainly hope so! Because now that I'm out in the big, bad world, I have no idea who was popular in high school.

This post is part of GBE2 - Week #24 word prompt: Popularity. For more info,  click here. Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Dinosaur Profile

Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaBloPoMo: The Sequel

Alright, NaBloPoMo - I'm in! Again. I've got a few goodies that came in for Ask the Host, a couple of Things I Learned on the Internet to share and of course I'll have an update from my appointment with The Vagina Artist. This month's theme is Blogging for Blogging's sake. I think that might mean a whole lot of words without saying very much, so naturally I expect to win many, many prizes. *ahem*

I also will do my damndest to visit every, single one of the now 600+ blogs on the NaBloPoMo blogroll. While having and recovering from surgery. And working a whole bunch. And that whole, you know, raising a child thing. Looks like November is going to be a busy month. So what else is new?

Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Not all firsts are happy occasions

The Husband's grandmother passed away. She was 92 and lived a good, long life. It's sad, but not tragic. We went to his hometown for the funeral this week and took The Parasite with us. We agonized over what to tell her and how to handle questions about death and grief from a two year old. We underestimated her intelligence, as we often do.

We told her not be be afraid if people were sad and that Mommy and Daddy would be there the whole time, brought her to the funeral home and hoped for the best. We were going to try to keep her at the back of the room. That went well as she ran up to the (open) casket almost immediately. She sussed it out for herself with "Nonna is sleeping." Well, alrighty then. We didn't speak in hushed tones about her great-grandmother because, well, Eastern Europeans don't DO hushed tones. When she asked to talk to Nonna I told her she couldn't talk to her because Nonna died.

"Oh. Can I have a snack now, Mommy?"

My logic was pretty simple. I figured if I told her the truth from the beginning I wouldn't have to tell her later. I also wouldn't have to damage my credibility when she was old enough to realize I lied, on this or any other occasion. Except for Santa, but he's still useful so I'll burn that bridge later. I know that won't be the last of it, I'm going to answer the question again. And again. And again. I won't be terribly surprised if she hands me the phone six months from now and tells me she wants to talk to Nonna. And I'll tell her she can't because Nonna died. She won't always take it so easily. There will be some tears and probably a tantrum or twelve, but when she looks back over the years she'll know Mommy doesn't lie.

Right? Wrong? Fucked if I know. It's just my best guess. I don't DO sugar coating, it's just not my style. From now until the day she leaves the nest, I'm going to give it my best guess. I just hope it turns out alright in the end.

Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. Please vote for me. You can vote once a day until November 17th. Thank you in advance!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Circle of Moms: Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs

Wow! Life with a Parasite has been nominated as a contender for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs! How incredibly flattering. Thank you very much to whomever submitted the nomination. Please vote for me! You can vote once a day until November 17th when the polls close.

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Would you like fries with that?

I think most sales tactics are pretty transparent when you know what to look for, and none is so crystal clear as is... the dreaded upsell. You're already here, why NOT supersize those fries? Or get the purse that matches the shoes? Or upgrade to the "Sport" package? FYI: There is nothing "Sporty" about the "Sport" package on a family hatchback.

I had a consult with the surgeon last week. I anticipated a little chat about what to expect before, during and after the procedure. Maybe a nice, hot cup of tea or cocoa or something. I was NOT, however, expecting another date with the ultrasound wand. Fantastic! Good thing I showered before the appointment. Anyway. I'm having the surgery done at a private clinic. I wondered what business model allowed a private clinic to be profitable in a country with public health care. Now I know, and I kinda wish I didn't. The doctor doing my surgery spends most of his days performing labiaplasty.

So there I was, with an unexpected wand in the hoohah, when the doctor who spends the majority of his days making other hoohahs look prettier noted everything "down there" looks perfectly normal. Ummmmm. Thank you? But did I *REALLY* need to know, as I'm there at half past the asscrack of dawn, with an unexpected wand in my hoohah, that you were also evaluating my upsell potential? GAH!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

So... Tell me about yourself...

The Giggling Truckers Wife gave me the Tell Me About Yourself award. Thanks, Kathy! As a recipient of this award, I'm to tell you seven things about me, so here goes:
  1. I majored in English Lit and History. I used to read voraciously but I just don't have the time that I did pre-kid. I still manage to make my commute more bearable by burying my face in a book. Or more accurately, a Kobo
  2. I never thought I'd embrace the eBook because I love the tactile experience of turning pages and the smell of old books. I can while away several hours in a good used bookstore. Yes I am kind of a nerd. However, it's a lot easier to manoeuvre a digital book on a crowded subway so I adapted. Darwin would be proud.
  3. I love to travel but I HATE flying. The people in airports make me grumpy, I feel like a criminal as I make my way through security and I don't think I want to know what a heart rate monitor would read at takeoff, landing and/or during turbulence. However, the destination matters more than the journey so I suck it up.
  4. I love music but have no musical ability. I tried and failed miserably at a number of instruments, mostly due to a lack of patience but the total absence of aptitude didn't help. A friend once told me that to appreciate music one simply must be able to play an instrument. I reminded her that one need not know how to cook to appreciate a good meal, and then I told her to fuck off.
  5. I swear a lot. In fact, it's toned down in my writing. If you were to hang out with me in person, you'd probably be surprised I eat with this mouth. One day I will teach my daughter how to use foul language correctly and effectively, but I'm pretty sure she has already picked up the basics.
  6. I'm a night owl but the 9-5, working parent life has forced me to change my ways. I miss the stillness and solitude of the dead of night, but I'd miss the feeling of being able to function during the day even more.
  7. I'm cheap about really weird things. I get very angry when I can't find toilet paper on sale but it's not like it's something I'm prepared to do without, so grudgingly I put the full price stuff in my shopping cart alongside the fancy New York strip steaks that are decidedly not on sale. In some alternate universe this makes perfect sense.
The rules of the award stipulate that I'm to name 15 bloggers to pass this award on to but I just don't think I can do that, mostly because I'm really quite lazy. Tell you what... I hereby nominate anybody who is reading this. Please tell me seven things about yourself and direct me to it in the comments. Thanks again, Giggling Truckers Wife!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ask the Host Q11: Cloth Newbie

Hi! I'm expecting my first baby in about 12 weeks. I'd really like to cloth diaper, but I feel completely overwhelmed. I know it will be more cost effective in the long run, but the up-front investment makes me cringe a bit. You have mentioned that you used cloth diapers and I'm wondering if you could help me out. What kind of diapers do you use?

I bought a few Fuzzi Bunz several months ago, but I would love to find an AIO or pocket diaper with snaps, that are one-size. Do fitted diapers like Good Mamas need a cover over for leaks? They are so cute, it seems a shame to cover them up! :) Also, the price ($35 each) made me swallow hard, but is the fact that they are one-size make it worth the expense? TBH, I would love to fill my stash with Fuzzi Bunz, but I feel like I will go broke buying so many diapers in each size. What's a clueless newbie to do?

First of all, congrats on your new addition! It's such an exciting time. Yes, I did cloth diaper The Parasite 99% of the time. I used disposables when we travelled because I am many things but a martyr is not one of them. I used cloth because I'm cheap, not because I'm green. And might I just say you don't sound like a cloth diaper newbie, you've got the lingo DOWN, Mama! Good job. It took me months to learn WTF those cloth diaperers in the forums were talking about.

Not that you asked for care instructions, but Dr. Maureen wrote an excellent cloth diapering manifesto lo many years ago. Some may point out, correctly, that the link is over four years old. And to them I say humans have been around for thousands of years, and the asses of our babies have been covered in SOMETHING for most of those years, so they can STFU.

Anyway. Yes, fitted diapers do require a cover even though they're very cute. I didn't use fitteds or prefolds because like you I was a little overwhelmed and cloth diapers were already a tough sell. However, I was assured by friends who used them it was pretty darn easy once you got the hang of it. Before you go out and buy a GIANT stash of any kind of diaper, you might want to wait until your baby arrives. By all means, have few on hand to get you started, but prepare for the unexpected. For example, The Parasite is freakishly tall even though The Husband is slightly taller than average and I'm practically a pygmy. We were just lucky that the diapers we went with could accommodate a baby with a really long rise because I had a whole stash of them.

I found pocket diapers a nice compromise between the very expensive all-in-ones and the cheap as chips prefolds. FWIW, I used the same Bum Genius diapers from the time The Parasite was six weeks old until she potty trained. When dealing with the sheer volume toddler pee the pockets really came into their own. I had to use extra-absorbent stuffing layers for overnight until she night trained a couple of months ago and that was easy to do with pockets. Though I do imagine there's similar options for prefolds and there are overnight options for fitteds as far as I know. So hm, right back where we started. I'm not being very helpful here, am I?

If you do go with the Fuzzi Buns that aren't one size, yes it may be more expensive than going with a one size diaper. However, you have a better chance of getting the exact right fit for your little one. Also, there's no guarantee that your one size diapers will hold up for the whole time your baby is in diapers. I had to have the elastics replaced on a bunch of my BGs at the 18 month mark because they were loose and gappy. If I use them for another kid, I'll probably have to replace it on the rest of them. Don't forget about buying used. If you're squicked by that you may want to reconsider cloth diapering. Wash them before you use them with a little bleach and you're good to go.

You still have a few months left. If you start socking away money for your diaper stash right now, it won't be such a big hit to your pocket book when the baby arrives. Good luck with your new tiny person! Remember, whatever cloth option you go with, it's sure to be a hell of a lot cheaper than disposables, and that includes allowances for hydro, water AND your time spent washing and prepping them. 

This post is part of a weekly series, Ask the Host, allowing you to ask any question you want as long as you're prepared for a brutally honest answer. Got a question? Send me an email with "I have a question" in the subject line.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This one is gonna hurt like hell

Right. So. A couple of months ago, I decided I was going to make time for exercise. And then I kind of didn't, or at least not in a meaningful, consistent way. I bought a jogging stroller (used) so I could walk to pick up The Parasite at daycare a few times a week, and I do sometimes but I have been really busy at work and often don't manage to get home in time to do pick up on foot. I figured I was pretty much destined to a life of blubber.

What's that, you say? Cut back on the wine? Pffft, that's just crazy talk! Instead, after months of searching... OK and a single inbound email, I finally found an exercise class that starts after The Parasite goes to bed. See, she only gets me from 5:00 - 8:00 during the week, and I think she's entitled to every one of those hours unless it's completely unavoidable. I know taking care of myself is important, but she's only going to be really little for a very short time. There will be more me time when she's older and won't have a fucking thing to do with me.

Anyway, the class. It's a circuit training class, and a pretty strenuous one involving weights and pulleys and a truly astounding number of squats. I am sore now, and I'm going to be even sorer (evidently that IS a word) tomorrow. Just in time for me to spend the bulk of my morning talking to a stranger about my lady bits. Because I might as well add physical discomfort to a generally awkward situation.

Wordless Wednesday: Slave to technology

Monday, October 17, 2011

Welcome aboard the Mothership!

I wrote this for my friend's baby shower card and then I decided I might want to refer back to it some day, so here it is. Yes, sometimes I do sappy. Don't look so surprised!

It's the hardest job you'll ever have. The hours are long and the pay is shit. And speaking of shit, you'll spend a lot of time up to your elbows in it. Some days you'll ask yourself "What the hell have I done?"

And the answer is:
You have done something amazing.

The first smile will take hold of your heart forever. The first laugh will give it a squeeze. The first time you hear "I love you, Mommy!" you'll want to hit pause and stay in that moment forever. You can't, but that's OK because it's just one of many moments that will take your breath away.

Welcome aboard this crazy train, my friend. You're in for the ride of your life!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ask the Host Q10: Family Travel

We wanted to go away for a 2-3 day trip with our 3 year old daughter this winter. I looked into a few places and everything seems so expensive... am I looking in the wrong places? We live in NYC and I thought maybe Disney, but it would cost at least $1500 for 3 days!

So, personal question - if you are going away with your family, how much will/did the whole trip cost? Also, any suggestions on a quick trip idea that won't use up too much money?

Disney... Yeah, they're really expensive. You know what? I think it's worth every penny. Ever been somewhere looking around for a potty or a place to get a (relatively) nutritious snack for your kid? Not at Disney you won't, because as soon as you turn your head and finish your thought, whatever you're looking for magically appears. (*NOTE* This is not a paid Disney promo, they really are that damn good.) If you can make the math happen I highly recommend a trip with them. It really is a stress-free, if highly sanitized, adventure.

I know everybody says they love to travel, but I really, REALLY love to travel. I'm only happy when I'm planning my next trip. I took a break in The Parasite's first year because I was on Mat Leave and the cash didn't flow in quite the same way as it did when we were DINKS. Since I went back to work and we got back on the travelling horse we have gone away a couple of times a year.

Now that you're looking at full fare to fly with your little one road trips are obviously the cheapest option. We did a 10 hour trip this summer with The Parasite and, while it went better than we expected and we had a lot of fun, it was decidedly not relaxing. Your experience will depend a lot on what you expect from your vacation. Look, things are rough all over. We all make choices based on what we want from our lives. In our family, travel is a priority. I take transit instead of owning another car and I bring my lunch every day. I drive to a grocery store further away because it's cheaper AND they offer airline points. I do this so twice a year I can get the hell out of her for a week or so.

Atlantis Aquarium - Nassau Bahamas, January 2011
At the beginning of this year we went on a Disney cruise and all three of us had a great time. They really do it right. I came back feeling renewed and refreshed, and it wasn't just my trip to the spa on the Disney private island that did it. Our next vacation will be another cruise in the dead of winter, with another cruise line that boasts privacy for families and an amazing children's program. Paying to have The Parasite's needs catered to suits our life right now. We're also going to some pretty exotic ports of call which satisfies my wander lust.

How many dollars do we spend on family vacations? Probably too many dollars by many people's standards. How many of those dollars do I regret spending? Not a single one. Figure out what you want to do and how much you want to spend. If you find a big gap between what you want and what you can afford, you can delay your trip to bank more cash, or you can change your destination.

This post is part of a weekly series, Ask the Host, allowing you to ask any question you want as long as you're prepared for a brutally honest answer. Got a question? Send me an email with "I have a question" in the subject line.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The one where she's desperately seeking clarity

I cough yet again
Throat burns but I cannot stop
Clarity now. Please?

This post is part of GBE2 - Week #21 word prompt: Clarity. For more info,  click here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A royal audience

I have been granted an audience with the Queen! Oh wait, sorry, that's a consult with the surgeon I've been waiting to hear back from for WEEKS. On the 20th I'll have the opportunity to talk way more about my girly bits than I'd like to, then we'll look at a calendar to determine the best timing for the procedure. I'll hold my breath in anticipation while his VERY EFFICIENT booking staff deigns to grant me an appointment for the surgery.

With any luck, I might have step one taken care of before the end of this calendar year! My feigned enthusiasm belies the frustration I feel with this whole process. I'd whine more, but I'm really quite tired. I can't imagine how annoying this would be if I wasn't paying to jump the queue at a private clinic. Forgive me, Tommy Douglas, for I have sinned.

The kid who was "fine" is doing her damndest to cough up a lung and she was kind enough to pass the virus on to me. I can now tell you from personal experience that poor little girl felt like death warmed over for a few days. But we're both on the mend and soon enough we'll resume our plans for world domination.

Thanks for stopping by. Please remember my Quest for 60! After all, self-serving goals are still goals!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Live tweeting sweeps the nation!

Ever been watching your twitter timeline during a big conference or concert and wondered why all these tweets are appearing about an event you're not attending? Admit it, at some point you thought to yourself "If I gave a shit about <inserteventnamehere>, I would have gone!" Or maybe you did want to go, but couldn't and then you were all bitter because the live tweets were just rubbing it in. I feel your pain, but that will in no way affect my decision to inflict yet another live tweeting of a mundane event on your poor, unsuspecting timeline.

Today, I'm going to add to your irritation by live tweeting the preparation of my Thanksgiving dinner. No really, I am. For American friends who might not already know, it's Thanksgiving weekend here in the Great White North. Because if we waited until November to harvest we wouldn't have a whole lot to be thankful for... A little later in the day there's good odds alcohol will be involved. Hilarity may or may not ensue, especially if dinner is delayed. So follow me on Twitter today for food porn and terrible, hipster-esque photos. Doesn't it sound like FUN?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I'll have 60, please!

See that Google Friend Connect tool over there on your right? How many followers do you see? Is that number 60? Then I want YOU to meander on over there and add yourself to the list. Pretty please? I will follow back anyone who adds me because I'm sure you're pretty awesome too. Of course you are, because you're now following my blog and only the awesomest of people do that.

Why do I care about having a specific number of Google friends? Look, I'm very goal-oriented. It's a sickness, I know. But I have learned to live with it, and you should too! C'mon, be a sport. Help me reach my goal.


ps, Followers on Networked Blogs are just as awesome as those through GFC!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Score one for Mother's Intuition!

The Parasite has a little cough. In fact if you ask her, she'll tell you "I have a little cough," which is pretty darn cute. Nonetheless, it has been kicking around for a couple of weeks and in the last couple of days it seems to have gotten worse. To me, anyway... The Husband told me I was crazy, which may very well be true, but still... I just didn't like the sound of that cough.

We went for dinner on Friday night to celebrate our anniversary, but the big day was actually yesterday. We left her at home with Grammie to go see Cirque du Soleil last night - Aside: It was phenomenal! When we got home I really, really didn't like the sound of that cough. I decided this morning it was time to take her to see the doctor. The Husband said I was being silly, that she's fine. Uh-huh. Naturally I called the doctor anyway, because when I'm really worried I'd rather feel silly for taking her in than feel negligent for not.

So tell me... Does a kid who is "fine" end up on a corticosteroid inhaler for bronchitis? Dammit, I hate being right about a sick baby!

Monday, October 3, 2011

That's not a joke. Jokes are funny!

Dear TV Producers,

You have brought something into my home that I can no longer tolerate. It is disruptive and condescending at the same time. I am talking, of course, about the laugh track.

I understand the laugh track has been used throughout TV history to confound the viewers at home in the absence of a live audience. Do shows other than late night comedies even have studio audiences anymore? Anyway, if a show is too new to have a live audience or too shitty to elicit a giggle from one it does have, the tinny sound of the laugh track does nothing to speed up the popularity the former or to improve the quality of the latter.

In your average TV sitcom, there is one or MAYBE two lines that are worthy of a mild chuckle out loud in my living room. There is no need to punctuate every sentence with a little titter from the laugh track. I have spent the last 30-something years deciding for my very own self what I find amusing. Your counsel in these matters is both unnecessary and unwelcome. Fake laughter at unfunny jokes calls attention to just how unfunny they are. Please stop it!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

A stranger in a familiar land

Sometimes I like to be a tourist in my own city. The Husband and I will celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary on Wednesday at the Cirque de Soleil show in town. Usually we have a lovely dinner but that's a weeknight so we only have time to grab something quick. Never a pair to pass up an opportunity to share a good meal, we had our dinner out on Friday night instead.

View from The 360: Sept 30, 2011
On our first anniversary we went to The 360, the revolving restaurant at the CN Tower. I have lived in Toronto my whole life and had never been. However, on our first anniversary I was 12 weeks pregnant. Going to a restaurant with a spectacular wine list while knocked up? Cruel and unusual punishment. On Friday I got my do-over. Wine and cocktails and beer, oh my! Oh, and there was some food too.

Before we left my mom taught The Parasite how to say "Happy Anniversary" (or something close to it) and it was cute as hell. But do you know how she REALLY said Happy Anniversary? By getting up at 5:30 instead of her usual 7:00 on Saturday morning. Happy Nadabursary indeed!