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!