Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Have your second kid first: Nap time!

I was completely neurotic about M's nap schedule. Seriously, a total lunatic. I was actually afraid that her brain development would be in peril if she napped poorly for a few days. She's brilliant now and capable of outsmarting me most of the time, so in hindsight perhaps I should have let her skip a nap or two. You know that person who tells you their baby was sleeping through the night at three months old and took 2+ hour naps so they could get stuff done around the house? And you have to work hard to restrain yourself from punching them or at least telling them to shut the fuck up?

Hi! That was me! Naturally, I attributed her fantastic sleep habits to my superior parenting. Naturally, I was wrong. All luck, no skill.

Little Cat Z? Well, he's just not the sleeper his sister was. He's six months old and he has slept through the night five times. Don't even get me started his nap "schedule" because I will laugh in your face. If I don't punch you first. More often than I care to admit his naps are passing out for a little while in the stroller or the Ergo as he's carted off to one of his sister's activities.

You know what? The kid is fine. He's alert and active and quite possibly the happiest baby I have ever seen. The smiles are blinding. If a nap is cut short because we have to pick M up from school or leave for ballet (or gymnastics or swimming or Tiny Tots at the museum) he just catches up at the next one. That stress, that worrying, that pulling out of the hair was for naught.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Product Review: Little Passports

When I was first contacted by a rep for Little Passports with an opportunity to review the product, I was excited! M has recently caught the travel bug and we're spending a lot of our time talking about all the places in the world we're going to go someday. That list is getting pretty long, and I thought Little Passports would be a great way to talk about different areas of the world.

Here is the product brief:

It’s time to pack your suitcase, because your family is invited on a world adventure – without leaving your backyard! I wanted to introduce you to Little Passports, an educational monthly subscription box, that invites kids to learn about culture, history, and more from Canada and around the world.

Recently named a Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA) winner, Little Passports fosters excitement about geography, history, and culture (including food) by following the world travels of characters Sam and Sofia on their GPS enabled scooter! Each month kids receive a special package from Sam and Sofia with hands on activities and recipes from the places they have visited.

With two editions, USA and World, kids will truly have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history in their own backyard and across the globe. In the World edition, Sam and Sofia visit one country a month and send kids a letter talking about their journey, a souvenir and hands-on activity sheets that help the child learn about that country. In the USA edition, Sam and Sofia visit two USA states a month.


The travel case arrived and I was mighty impressed. So was M. The first "destination" was Brazil. The travel case was full of materials including a mini passport and stamps, a map of the world to be updated with sticker pins (big hit with kids, M has a huge map on her wall with push pins marking the places she has already been), a picture of a native creature of Brazil, the background story and the Brazil adventure story, and a "boarding pass" to activate the online portion of the monthly package.

We had a good time for a little while with the stories and the passport and the stickers, but when it came time to check out the online portions, they were finicky. The soccer game instructions read "use your mouse to position and kick the ball" and moving the mouse positioned the ball, but nothing seemed to kick it. I fiddled with it for a few minutes and M, having completely lost interest, went to do something else. And then I pouted, because I really wanted us to enjoy this together. After all, I'm on maternity leave and keeping her quiet while Z naps is job #1 around here.

If there was an option for a physical package with a little more stuff every month OR an online subscription, I'd consider ordering Little Passports. Alas, that doesn't appear to be in the pricing options so we'll have to go back to Googling all the places in the world that M wants to visit.

Disclosure: I received a sample package from Little Passports for review purposes, but no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Have your second kid first: Decorating the nursery

Months before we brought M home, I had meticulously planned the nursery d├ęcor. It was a fun and funky jungle theme. Not too girly, because I'm nothing if not practical. I wanted to be able to reuse that stuff if we had a second child. The wall mirrors matched the lamp, which matched the window treatment, which matched the comforter, which matched the dust ruffle (yes really, a fucking dust ruffle), which matched the totally useless crib bumpers. Warm, cozy and inviting, it was the perfect spot for a little baby to sleep, and it was ready months in advance.

And then I found myself breastfeeding a nine pound baby approximately 36 times a night. The totally useless crib bumpers collected dust as she slept in the bassinet beside our bed to spare me the trip down the hall for those endless feedings. When we found out Z was on the way, we bought M a big girl bed set and moved her to what was the guest room because it was larger and had a play room attached. Big girls get play rooms, babies get tiny nurseries. It softened the blow.

The nursery was turned into the guest room because THIS time I knew that baby would spend the first few months in the bassinet in our room. We got around to turning it back into a baby's room this past weekend. Would you like to see the warm, cozy and inviting space my baby currently sleeps in?


Note the picture hanger with nothing on it. The hand crafted wall hanging I made for M moved to her room in the big switch. As it turns out, babies really don't give a shit about matchy-matchy dust ruffles and window treatments. Who knew?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

First of many firsts

M is starting school in three weeks. That's right, my firstborn, the one who introduced me to  motherhood, is entering the world of formal education.

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

To celebrate this momentous occasion we had a Mommy-Daughter shopping day last weekend. I let her pick her outfit for the first day of school. We went to several stores and she made it very clear what was and wasn't her taste. In the middle we did lunch. She charmed the hell out of everyone around us as she ordered for herself and acted very much like the big girl she is.

I am so damn proud of that kid. She's becoming a mature, self-possessed person of her own. I'd like to take credit, but then I'd have to take blame for a less desirable outcome. And let's face it, it's more luck than skill in those early years. Thank God I hit the snooze bar on baby life with her brother. I'm not ready for it to be over!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Have your second kid first

I heard the expression "you should have your second kid first" a few times before I had a second kid and thought it was silly. I did it right the first time, dammit! But I know what they meant. We're a month into life with two kids. I'm tired but still pretty euphoric, and thanks for asking. I declined narcotic painkillers post c-section so I know it's not the drugs talking. It's just... easier the second time around. Oh, I still wake up and confirm that he's breathing about 20 times a night and fret if he doesn't gain a shitload of weight between checks, but I'm much less of a basket case this time.

For example, with M, I would often go days on end without showering. Because I couldn't leave my precious baaaaaybeeee for 10 minutes. Apparently I thought the world would be a better place if I stunk it up. Is The Husband a dick for leaving me wallowing in my own filth? Nope. He is a loving, hands-on father who relishes baby care. He gets right in there as soon as he gets home for work, and did with M too. It was all me being a total lunatic. THIS time I know the only thing I do that he can't is breastfeed, so if Z has a full belly there is no earthly reason for me not to take care of personal hygiene.

Hilariously I did not realize I was being a lunatic last time. Hormones. Crazy.

Kid goes a day without pooping? Wear a poncho when he goes tomorrow. Is he sleeping too long? He has regained his birth weight so let a sleeping baby lie. OMG he has a diaper rash! So... let him have some naked time until it clears up. Yup. You really should have your second kid first.

Friday, July 12, 2013

SEVEN!

Seven years ago today I went to dinner and the Fringe Festival on a first date with a man. I was nursing an injury after being hit by a car riding my bike and it hurt to think about leaning over for a kiss at the end of the night, so I blew him one instead. He took it to mean I wasn't interested. 

Seven years and two kids later, I think it's safe to say he was wrong. Happy First Date Anniversary, pookie. I love you more each day.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Little Cat Z

Our lovely little man, Little Cat Z, joined the family on June 18 at 11:35 am. My water broke at home but contractions didn't start. As luck would have it, my OB was on call. We chatted about it, decided I didn't want an ordeal like my last birth experience, and headed off to the OR for a repeat c-section. We're working on getting him back to his fighting weight of 7lb, 13oz and both of us are recovering well. My family is complete and we just couldn't be happier.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wayback Playback: The Last 10 Days

I'm huge and lumbering and nesting in a really big way, but seeing the same old post up for weeks on end is making me sad. To fix that, I'm digging through the archives of a now-abandoned journal for some of my old faves. This is the story of the whirlwind leading up to our Vegas nuptials originally published on October 9, 2007. 


The Boy and I had been talking about getting married in Vegas for a while, but not seriously. Or at least *I* wasn't serious. But as time went on, it became clear that he found the idea very intriguing. Eventually, I relented and said "IF you really want to get married in Vegas, I will do it. BUT only on the condition that the whole thing is as tacky as possible. Yes, that's right. I want to be married by Elvis."

As you know, he proposed on September 29th. He told me he did want to get married in Vegas, and asked me to marry him. Obviously I said yes. It was sweet, it was low-key, and it was very us. The next day, I hopped in the car and went off to the bridal shop. I was looking for a veil, and maybe a dress if I could find one that a) fit, b) was available off the rack, and c) wasn't some nasty, silly, hideous, poofy cake dress. Lo and behold, I found one that was perfect and only needed hemming. Only 5% of brides fit a dress size exactly, and I was one of them. I had always wanted a mantilla, and there it was. A fingertip length mantilla, with a pattern that matched the dress perfectly.

Next, I had to find a seamstress to hem the dress. The first one the dress shop recommended lived about 45 minutes away. Doable, but extremely problematic, given that I was leaving for Vegas in 5 days. The next suggestion was a woman who lives literally 4 blocks away, who did work from home on the side, and who was willing and able to take on the alterations. Seriously, some brides spend almost a year finding a dress, having it sized, and finding a veil that matches the dress that she loves. It took me 45 minutes.

THEN, I had to find a ring for the groom. Since he knew he was springing this on me, he bought a wedding band that interlocked with my engagement ring. We got his size figured out, and we found the perfect band online. BUT, only a limited number of sizes were kept in stock, so it'd be miraculous if the ring he wanted, in his (uncommon) size, was available for overnight shipping. Apparently miracles happen. Now we had to find an Elvis to perform the ceremony... God Bless The Internet! Elvis - TCB in a FLASH!

In 24 hours, I got engaged, found a wedding dress, had my final fitting for the hem, found a chapel that was available, found the groom's ring, AND booked an Elvis. When the stars align like that, you gotta' know it's right. The only thing left to do is take a deep breath and say I do. Thankyouveramusch, I did!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Top 5 reasons to hate the Apple Store

I started to place an order for my mom's birthday present weeks ago, way back when shipping was free and there was plenty of time for it to get here. And then I forgot all about it. When I noticed it was still in the shopping cart last night, and when I was done with a long stream of obscenities, I tried to complete the order and learned that to even have a chance at it arriving in time I'd have to pay nearly 50% of the price of the item for shipping. And on time delivery wasn't guaranteed. Cue more swearing.

OK, so it was clearly my own fault for spacing out. The Husband reminded me that I could buy it or something similar at the Apple Store. I reminded him that I *hate* shopping at the Apple Store. I'd rather have my toenails pulled out with pliers than shop there. I tried the Apple Online Store instead, thinking if it was in stock I could pay the penance of slightly higher shipping rather than the exorbitant fees of the first retailer I tried and all would be right with the world. Have you used the search function in the Apple Online Store lately? It sucks. Which forced me to make a trip to the store. You know, the one I hate. And here's why...

Top 5 reasons to hate the Apple Store
  1. The lousy design of the online shopping experience forces you to go there to risk the dreaded upsell and generally be annoyed. You'd think a company like APPLE would have the e-commerce experience nailed. But not so much.
  2. It's a fucking hipster community center. At any time of day the place is filled with dudes in goofy hats with stupid facial hair dicking around on Apple products you know they probably already have at home. Don't these people have jobs? Why is the place so bloody crowded in the middle of the goddamn afternoon? Oh, that's right. It's because you can attempt to check out any time you'd like, but it's damn near impossible so you can never leave.
  3. They have dispensed with the hopelessly uncool cash registers so there is no place to form a line. With no line, there is no order. Nobody knows who is next, and you have to wade through a sea of douchebags asking questions about hardware they don't understand the answers to anyway when all you want to do is pay for your merchandise and go. It took me less than a minute to find what I wanted, and then another TEN MINUTES to find someone in a blue shirt to take my damn money.
  4. The iPhone checkout thing is a pain in the ass. I was using what was left on a gift card before it expired and putting the rest on debit. To use the gift card, I had to know *exactly* how much was left on it. Luckily it was written on the back of the card, because their fancy little iPhone app can't check that fairly important bit of information. Turns out that phone is not so smart after all. HA!
  5. When the hipster douchebags get tired of hanging out at the Apple Store all day for free, they apply to work there. So you end up having your order checked out by someone with stupid facial hair and hat head who says "Like" a lot and wants to give you a hug. It should come as a surprise to no one to learn that I am NOT a hugger.
In my line of sight right now there is the gift for my Mom, an iPod, an iPad, an iPhone and a MacBook. And that's not all of our Apple devices. After my most recent Apple Store experience, I'm not quite sure how any of them ended up here. Have you been to an Apple Store lately? Did the experience leave you as exasperated as I am? I'm planning to add this link to my customer feedback form, so feel free to unload in the comments.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Things I forgot about pregnancy #9

I was minding my own business sitting on the couch one night before bed when IT began. It starts with a gentle warmth in the chest and before you know it, BOOM! Molten fucking lava starts making its way up the esophagus. They call it heartburn, and boy does it ever! At times I feel as though it has made it all the way up to my ears.

I had a few brief episodes with M but it wasn't that bad and I know I'm not romanticizing because The Husband confirms that I bitched about it way, way less with her. I do all the things "they" say to avoid it. My diet is blander than a toddler's, I don't eat anything after 7:00, I (try to) sleep propped up, and still every night about 10:00 the home fires start burning. I'm popping Gaviscon like there's no tomorrow. I should buy some stock in the shit. If the old wives tale about heartburn and hairy babies is true, I'm growing orangutan.

How many weeks to go? Too many, but thanks for asking!

Friday, May 17, 2013

I'M FREE

I just worked my last day before Mat Leave. I'm not set to return until June 9, 2014. I'll spend the next two weeks living a life of leisure before buckling down and doing the final touches to get ready for this baby. It's weird, this feeling of not thinking about what needs to be done at work. To instead focus on all the things that need to be done for my growing family.

But first! I'm taking some vacation. For the next two weeks I'm a lady who lunches. I'm going shopping. I'm having massages and pedicures. I'm on the payroll at work for a little while longer and it's my last chance to relax for... ever, really. I'm going to have two small children underfoot. Not quite sure the reality of that has completely sunken in... I'm looking forward to the rest, but I'm looking forward to meeting this wriggly little guy even more. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tips for surviving your partner’s business travel

Are there words more dreaded than “required business travel” when your partner starts a new job? We have a good division of labour in our household so his absence during these trips is strongly felt. The highlight of his last trip was making my daughter cry as I yelled at her to “Just get in the @*&$^ car!” I’ll pick up my Mother of the Year award later, thanks. In my defense pregnancy fatigue does not increase patience. Still, that’s not her fault. I made a promise it would be different for his next trip. Here are steps I have taken to make things easier on all of us:

Planning, planning, planning!
The meal plan features simple, one-pot affairs. Everybody’s laundry was done over the weekend because who wants to discover a wet, musty bathing suit when it’s time to leave for swimming class? The gas tank is full and I have enough cash for the week. Sure, surprises still happen (Hooray! A birthday party… this weekend!) but it’s easier to roll with the punches when there are fewer of them. 

Identify and eliminate potential points of FAIL!
Before I retire for the night I do EVERYTHING for the morning - including washing fruit and pouring cereal and breakfast drinks. It only saves a couple of minutes, but if the FaceTime call with Daddy fails I want those minutes to cuddle and dry tears instead of having to hustle, hustle, hustle.

Respect the routine
The Husband and I handle different parts of the bedtime routine (except when I'm pregnant, when he does the lion's share. Because he is awesome.) It’s tempting to skip steps when I’m on my own, but it’s not fair to expect a little kid to adapt to change in the who AND the what, so I complete all steps in the bedtime ritual. OK, maybe I skip a few words in the bedtime story... This practice will end when she learns to read. 

Know when to ditch the routine
I am a public transit evangelist who eschews the car for the daily commute because I respect the environment, dammit! Except while The Husband is out of town, when the planet can go to hell. Rather than berate myself for running late and then driving to daycare and work, I just budget for parking and carry on with my days. The relief is sweet when I hear about multiple subway delays. 

Revel in the one-on-one time
The baby will be here soon. I don’t have much time left to give my firstborn baby all of my attention. Thanks to advance planning, dinner prep is quick and the dishes can wait until after bedtime. We have time to cuddle on the couch and tell silly stories about My Little Pony.

So far, so good! Got any tips you'd care to add to the list?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Facing Reality

I belong to an online "Mommy Team" of women due in June. Earlier this week one of the members was put on hospital bed rest for the rest of her pregnancy to treat pre-eclampsia. That ended up being a shorter stay than she planned because they had to deliver her baby yesterday. Due two days before me, that's a 29-weeker making her grand debut. Technology has come a long way and that little girl has a 90-95% chance of survival. If there is a God I hope he's in her corner right now.

M was home sick with me on Thursday. I worked from home, including moving a meeting I was chairing to a conference call. With an almost four-year-old it wasn't all that hard to do. "M, Mommy has to make an important phone call for my work. I'm going to put on a 'My Little Pony' and get your snack. Can you be really, really quiet for a little while?" She nodded and smiled. She also let me get almost a full day's work done with occasional breaks for meals and snacks and the all-important application of nail polish. She's a delightful little girl and being her mom gets easier all the time. Or at least less hands-on.

I'm due at the end of June. Moms due at the beginning of the month are getting awfully close to full term. Those babies are going to start popping, and so will mine. Oh. Right. There is going to be another baby in the house really soon. I've finally gotten one kid to the point where she doesn't need me for everything and I'm heading right back to the helpless newborn phase. What the fuck was I thinking?!?! Excuse me while I hyperventilate for a minute.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Things I forgot about pregnancy #8

I have reached the summit of Mount Laundry. When the load in the dryer finishes, if I get around to folding it - and I should because it's all towels, a.k.a. the easiest stuff to fold - ALL of the laundry in my house will be washed, dried, folded and put away. The last time this happened, it was tweet-worthy. Why yes, that IS July 22, 2012. Yup, nine months ago. In my house reaching the top of Mount Laundry takes as long as growing a human being from raw materials. Told you my housekeeping skills are lacking!

As I exhausted myself hauling laundry baskets up and down the stairs yesterday, I remarked to The Husband it's distinctly possible the nesting instinct has kicked in. He laughed as he pointed out that in recent weeks our bedroom has been outfitted with a new furniture set, M has a blackout curtain from her playroom to the sleeping area, and with nearly 12 weeks to go (unless he's a little early, and I'm totally cool with a little early) there is not a single thing left to buy for the baby. Apparently it kicked in a while ago. He assures me this happened last time too, though I have no recollection of it.

In my defense, biology is only partly to blame. I am nothing if not a control freak. In uncertain circumstances I tend to keep a really firm hand on all of the things I *CAN* control because it takes some of the fear out of the things I can't.

UPDATE: Laundry? Done!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Things I forgot about pregnancy #7

I had a lot of anxiety in my first pregnancy. I think that's pretty normal, impending life changing event and all that good stuff. But I forgot how pervasive it is. Sometimes it's all consuming. It probably doesn't help that both of my pregnancies have had complications, but it's more than that. It's a deep, underlying terror that at any given moment disaster could strike.

When I'm not worried about terrible, awful things, it's the silly ones that plague my mind. Like, "What if I don't love this baby as much as I love M? How can I be a good mom to more than one child?" As if I'm the only person who has ever had more than one baby. I can usually deep breathe my way back to rationality fairly quickly, but you know I'd really rather not have the fear at all.

91 days and counting!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Things I forgot about pregnancy #6

It's cold and flu season! You know what that means during pregnancy? Being highly susceptible to every damn virus making the rounds. I was doing really well this time around avoiding it and thought I might actually make it out of the winter snot-free. And then right before our family mini-break I woke up to a massive sneezing fit. Sneezing fit when your abs are already stretched out by a growing human? Ow.

Dust churned up while digging out the suitcases? Wishful thinking! It was a cold. A mild one, sure, but turns out it was just the first of many. Once my defences were down from the first virus onslaught, I got hit one by one by every fucking bug that has been laying in wait since the beginning of the season. It was just like scene Star Trek - shields are fine, shields are holding, BOOM! Alarm bells everywhere! This is made extra fun by the inability to dope myself to the gills with Nyquil and crawl into bed.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Overcoming childhood fears

Every day a different child is appointed the helper at daycare. They help the teachers with transition times, announcing when there is five minutes left of free play, when they start circle time, etc. One of the perks of being the helper is bringing a toy from home for "Show & Share" time. M loves to bring toys to daycare but she's usually not allowed so she was always very excited to be the helper.

And then one day I asked her to pick her toy for Show & Share the next day and she said no. I didn't think much of it and carried on with our evening routine. She said no the next time and the time after that too. The Husband was away for a few days this week so M and I had lots of one-on-one time. Over dinner last night I finally got around to asking her why she didn't want do Show & Share anymore. Turns out my gregarious, fun-loving, sociable little girl is *terrified* of public speaking. "Mommy, I freeze and I don't know what to say. I'm really bad at it."

Oh. My. God. My poor baby stopped bringing in toys because she is afraid, and I totally brushed it off. For weeks. Worse still, she truly believes there is something she is bad at! Now, I realize not participating in Show & Share at daycare isn't likely to alter the course of her life, but it's a lot easier to address these fears at 4 than at 14 or 40, when a small issue can turn into a big problem. So we made a plan to boost her confidence and get her back in the Show & Share game.

1.  Flutteryshy, 2. A Pegasus pony, 3. Caring for animals

First I told her there is nothing she is bad at, there are just things she needs to practice more than others. Then we picked the toy she wanted to Show & Share the most. Surprise! It was a My Little Pony. Then we came up with three things that she wanted to say about her:
1. What is your pony's name?
2. What kind of pony is she?
3. What is her special talent?

We went over it again and again pretending I was her daycare class until she was completely comfortable with what she was going to say. Then I told her she had to do it, because the best way to get over something you're afraid of is to do it and learn it wasn't so bad after all. Now, I want to raise a confident kid as much as the next person, but I won't be cruel about it. Yes, I was going to (attempt to) make her do it, but I wasn't going to make her go it alone. I wrote down the three questions and talked to her teacher at drop off. She agreed to ask the questions if M froze up at Show & Share time and even offered to let her sit on her lap for the presentation.

How did it go? My brave little monkey did it! I'm so proud of that little girl. I asked how she felt after it was done and she said she was never going to do it again. Clearly we have more pony practice in our future...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Remembering the way we were

Remember St. Patrick's Day when you were young and able to do foolish things without much fear of recrimination? That's OK, my recollections are fuzzy at best too. My friend and I reminisced about how we used to spend this holiday many moons ago as we were doing what we do now instead. Then I got a little older, a stranger vomited on my shoes at a bar (true story) and I came to view St. Patrick's Day with the same disgust I hold for New Year's Eve. Piffle! Who wants to be out with the masses for amateur hour at the bar?

This friend and I have known each other since kindergarten. Instead of keeping a shine on the bar with the sleeves of our coats and jigging until we fall over, we took our gaggle of girls to Disney on Ice's Rockin' Ever After. Good time for us? Well, it was something. Good time for the girls? They're probably still smiling in their sleep. Many years from now, they'll probably spend St. Patrick's Day the way we did in days gone by, dancing and laughing until side-stepping the vomit becomes too much. I hope we're helping them build the kind of dear friendships that will take them through the all the ages and stages of their lives.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Things I forgot about pregnancy #5

Most of the things I forgot about pregnancy are... Let's just say they're less than fabulous. OK, I pee when I sneeze. That's somewhere between "not fabulous" and "kind of awful." Obviously after everything we went through to have this baby I'm thrilled to have a pregnancy to bitch about. Lots of things about it are really gross and uncomfortable. I could throw myself a pity party damn near every day. But there are some things about pregnancy that are fabulous, and I forgot about those too.

For instance... Can we please take a moment to talk about the fabulous mane that is my hair? It is full. It is bouncy. It is shiny. It takes very little effort to make it look fantastic in the morning. It is grows really fast so by the time I have this baby, my pictures of us together will feature long, flowing hair! Sure, the rest of me will look like shit, but dammit! I will have amazing locks!

Sure, it means the hair everywhere else is growing at a really fast rate and I won't be able to manoeuvre around the giant belly for much longer to keep it in check, but I'm not going to talk about that today. Today I'm going to AC-CEN-TU-ATE THE POS-I-TIVE! Most notably my awesome head of hair. I'd take a picture, but then you'd see that the rest of me really does look like shit and that's not very positive, is it? You'll just have to take my word for it. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The one where she talks about joining the cult

You hold off for a really long time. You don't want to admit that with a growing family some things just end up making sense, no matter how hard you fight it. "That place is not a place for cool, hip people like me! That place is for soccer moms and tinfoil hat wearers who need to keep a lifetime supply of toilet paper and canned meat on hand for the zombie apocalypse. Urban people like me shop a couple of times a week at street markets on the way home. We eschew the car and take reusable bags along with us. Because not only are we cool and hip, we are totally saving the environment!"

And then one day you realize you simply do not have time to keep up the trips to the little corner market, quaint though it may be. You've got to get your kid to swimming and, tired as you are while growing another kid, getting a decent meal into her before that class is hard enough. It sure would be easier to have more things on hand. Ah, the worm has turned. The next thing you know, representatives are at your office bringing new inductees to the cult selling memberships. With the workplace visit discount and the free movie passes, it pretty much pays for itself. Now you've gone and done it! You've joined the cult Costco.

The first trip is overwhelming. Peanut butter and jam sold by the bucket tend to have that effect. Once you get the hang of it your days of keeping things simple and small are over. Your tinfoil roll is roughly the size of a microwave, you will never run out of fruit cups or goldfish again. And the meat section... You finally understand why you bought that freezer lo many years ago. It's like you had a premonition that you were going to end up here some day. Suddenly your lonely basement freezer is filled to the brim with a month's worth of delectable meats you bought in bulk and individually vacuum sealed with the fancy new gadget that you bought at... That's right! Costco.

Perhaps it's a good thing your tinfoil roll is huge, because you'll need it to make your hat once you head over to the toilet paper aisle.


This post is written as part of GBE2 - Week #95 word prompt: In the freezer. For more info about GBE2, click here.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

My day in point form

  • My kid had a rough night. She was up three times between midnight and 5 AM. I don't know why.
  • Of course she was, because I was sleeping comfortably for the first time in weeks.
  • We are both tired and grumpy.
  • On a probably related note, fuck Daylight Savings Time. Fuck it right in the ear! 
  • I officially hate IKEA, but every time I try to get away from shopping there I am reminded they have stuff that's "good enough" at a quarter the price of stuff I really like elsewhere. I just can't bring myself to shop elsewhere for stuff that doesn't need to be durable.
  • It's the first nice, sunny weekend we've had in many, many months. I really wanted to spend more if it outside, but it's not quite warm enough to set up a lounge chair in the backyard. 
  • I need to buy one of those outdoor heater things. 
  • Oh who am I kidding? I'm too cheap to buy furniture at places other than IKEA. I'm not spending hundreds of dollars on a super-sized kerosene lamp.
  • I don't think my kid is the only one who is going straight to bed after dinner.
  • I'm excited about that. She's not.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Things I forgot about pregnancy #4

I didn't have any panicked trips to the Labour & Delivery triage during my last pregnancy so I don't feel too bad about the one I had recently. Since blood is an irritant to the uterus, one of the risks of a subchorionic hemorrhage is premature rupture of membranes. When I felt trickles all day I thought it was just one of those weird things about pregnancy. Until it turned pink. Then I freaked the fuck out. It was the Friday before a long weekend and I was at work, a mere block from the hospital. My OB's office had already closed for the weekend.

I could take a wait and see approach and call my doctor on Tuesday, or I could go get checked out. Hi ho, hi ho - it's off to L&D I go! Everything was fine. The spotting was just the stupid clot acting up. I should be used to that by now. And the little trickles I was feeling? Oh, that's just stress incontinence.

Yeah, you read that right. I did not have this problem the first time around, I maintained complete control over my bodily functions until the better end. I wasn't sure it was an accurate diagnosis until I sneezed while I was already seated upon the throne. Fuck. My. Life. Dudes, I peed a little when I sneezed. I thought I was slowly turning into my grandmother when I heated up my tea in the microwave, but this? This clinches it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Breathe into your back body

When I was pregnant with M I started prenatal yoga at 12 weeks. There's a long list of supposed benefits of these classes, but really I just do yoga because it feels good. This time around, I was on bed rest for most of the first trimester with bleeding from the SCH. I wasn't cleared for a long shower, let alone a lot of time in downward dog. After my anatomy scan showed the clot had been stable for over a month I was cleared for "gentle" exercise and prenatal yoga fit that bill.

I started classes at 20 weeks. Holy shit, a few weeks flat on one's back does some really bad things for flexibility! And strength! And balance! And starting when there's already a bump to work around adds a totally different element to the workout. I spent months getting into better shape before I got pregnant. It took weeks to completely undo all my efforts. I spend most of the class grunting unsexily as I attempt to get into something that vaguely resembles the correct position. There is usually some joint cracking to add more sound effects to the fun. It still feels good to be there, but I'm super happy there are no mirrors in the room.

Now that I know that months of hard work are undone in a few weeks of sloth, I feel confident about my decision to not even bother trying when this kid is out. If anyone is looking for me a few weeks postpartum, I'll be the one on the couch with the glass of wine the size of my ass. Feel free to join me!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Things I forgot about pregnancy #3

There is a thing in the middle of my back. A persistently itchy, very annoying thing. Right in that spot that can't be reached no matter the degree of contortion. It's also right at the top of the waistband of my goddamn maternity pants. That's the official name for those pants, by the way. A quick glance in glance in the mirror after more contortions lets me know it's a skin tag. Awesome! My neck is covered in them around the necklace I wear too, and let's not get me started on my under bra collection.

They're harmless and can be easily removed... after delivery. Until then I just have to live with it. And keep reaching objects to help with scratching at hand at all times. Oh, I've also got a couple of shiny new moles in interesting places. These are piling on to the ones I acquired in my last pregnancy. I'm starting to look like a toad. Yeah, yeah. Thank you, helpful website. Normal this, common that. WILL THESE PLAGUES OF THE SKIN NEVER END?

My palms are normal in colour, my face is as-yet unscathed, and my belly button is still very firmly an innie. All good news! But I'm not going to start counting chickens just yet.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Things I forgot about pregnancy #2

Hello there insomnia! How have you been, old friend? I forgot about our standing 4:00 am date, starting from about the halfway point of pregnancy until the bitter end. I must say, in spite of all the time we've spent together I'm not that happy to see you. I try tossing and turning for at least an hour, I move to the guest room to avoid you. And to let The Husband keep sleeping. Because that doesn't make me bitter at all.

But wherever I go, there you are. Just like whatever the fuck Brad Pitt is on about in that creepy Chanel commercial.

The helpful sites remind me that it's perfectly normal to encounter you in pregnancy. All of the irritating things about pregnancy are normal. They offer suggestions like nature sounds and warm milk as a remedy. Whoever writes that shit is clearly unaware that warm milk is revolting and nature sounds when one is trying to sleep are incredibly annoying. If I wanted to commune with the great outdoors I'd go camping. Except that my idea of camping is a hotel with less than four stars.

Anyway... Insomnia, it sucks to see you again. I'm tired beyond belief and the little person who doesn't kick me repeatedly from the inside will be up soon, clamouring for food. And I can't even douse myself in caffeine to counteract your effects. You know what, insomnia? I've known you forever, and I still think you're a bitch.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Good American - A BlogHer Book Club Review #Spon

The story of Frederick and Jette Meisenheimer and their offspring is one of love and perseverance. Many of us have heard similar stories from our ancestors who made the long crossing of the Atlantic in search of a new life. All of them came together doing the best they could with what they had. Some, like Frederick, grew a love for their adopted homeland. Being a good American and fitting in became his life's ambition. Others, like Jette, never really felt at peace in their strange surroundings. Hers was a fish out of water tale. And yet both of them made their way in a strange land, clinging to hope and to each other, along with the music that drew them together.

I thoroughly enjoyed "A Good American", a tale that used the developing history of a fledgling nation as a backdrop. I loved the characters, connecting deeply with all of them. Except maybe Stefan. I didn't really know where that was going until the end, and then I felt like his storyline was kind of an afterthought. I noticed a lot of the reviews on the back cover referred to "A Good American" as funny. I didn't get that. I loved the story, was moved by the struggles and was even misty eyed in public (I do my reading on the subway) in a few spots. But I would not characterize it as "funny." That said, I would still recommend it as an entertaining read for anyone, but especially for fans of period pieces.

Want to know more? We're having lively, thought-provoking discussions on "A Good American" over at the BlogHer Book Club. Join the conversation today!

This is a compensated review as part of the BlogHer Book Club. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The one where she talks about adding another year

Last year I spent my birthday in an airport. This year I started it off in a long, long line to renew my drivers' license. "Happy Birthday! That'll be $75 please." You know, I really have to do a better job of planning this shit.

We were supposed be on a fabulous vacation to commemorate the 10th anniversary of my 28th birthday, but this pregnancy has had enough drama so I thought it prudent to stay a little closer to home. Hooray! Local waterpark! Don't knock it, my kid's unbridled joy in the water is just an awesome sight to behold. We were supposed to leave Monday but The Husband had a scheduling SNAFU. I pouted for a bit and then decided since I already booked the whole week off I would celebrate my birthday with gusto! Insert something about lemons and lemonade here.

First I was presented with a gift and a card signed by The Husband and M, who has mastered all of the letters in her name. Because she is brilliant. Then I went to see my good friends at Service Ontario. OK, that's just a necessary evil, but my next stop gets us right back to gusto as I treated myself to a lengthy prenatal massage and savoured the free lunch the spa offers on one's birthday. By myself, with nothing but a magazine for company. Time to myself in absolute quiet! I followed that up with a mani/pedi and a free birthday latte from Starbucks. Best. Birthday. Ever.

Alright, so my idea of a celebration with gusto differs somewhat from what would have come to mind 10 or 20 years ago, but it was a damn fine day. And now, I will take to my bed and allow the post-massage glow to lull me off to sleep.

This post is written as part of GBE2 - Week #92 word prompt: Gusto. For more info about GBE2, click here.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Things I forgot about pregnancy #1

I know weird side effects come with the territory, and the joy of these little people once they're out makes it all worthwhile. But damn, there are some weird things about pregnancy. And you get this really weird amnesia about it when you decide to do it again. Probably because the human race would die out if women could remember all the things that make pregnancy so ludicrously uncomfortable.

For example, round ligament pain. I bitched about it during my last pregnancy. More than once.

Somehow this memory vanished in four years. I can remember the phone number of my best friend in elementary school who moved away at the end of grade 4, so I know there's nothing wrong with my memory. Yet there I was, sitting on the couch minding my own business when I got up to pee. Again. The sharp, stabbing in my lower abdomen pain upon standing was damn near blinding. I was paralyzed with fear for a few seconds, pretty sure something had gone terribly, terribly wrong. Then *poof* it was gone. What the fuck was that? Oh, that's right. Breathtaking pain is just "a normal part of pregnancy as your body goes through many different changes."

Well that's just great.

I've forgotten all about the pain of labour too, but I'm pretty sure some helpful site will remind me that it's just a normal part of pregnancy as my body goes through the process of expelling an 8+lb parasite from the confines of its host.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Play the name game with Nametrix

When I was young and had no intention of having children, I decided that in the unlikely event I did have a daughter, her name was going to be Victoria. I made all of my friends swear they wouldn't use my name. Ummmm, M is not named Victoria. When the time came and I was trying it out talking to the wriggly little baby in my belly, I just wasn't feeling it. I had open abdominal surgery during pregnancy and needed her to be strong to get both of us through the ordeal, so I named her after the most ferocious woman I knew - my grandmother. It just... fits. Luckily a quick analysis of her name shows she's likely to be employed in the arts and a liberal. She'll fit in here just fine.

HOW did I analyze her name? With Nametrix, an app that has analyzed the names of millions of real people and their professions to tell you what people with that name do for a living and how they vote, statistically speaking. Naming your kid is hard. Their name on a resume or online dating profile could be grounds for immediate dismissal one day. Finding out too late the name you picked has girls working the pole in disproportionate numbers is just not cool. OK, so you probably shouldn't base an important decision like your child's name on some fun facts from an app, but it's still a cool way to pass some time.

The Husband will be pleased to learn that the leading contender for P2's name is shared by a good number of computer scientists, engineers and mathematicians. Who are also liberal. It's like we'll each have a kid of our own!

This is not sponsored content. I received no compensation for this post, I just think Nametrix is cool.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A little prick from the inside

I really like being the mom of a little girl. She cracks me up daily with the things she says, the clothes are adorable, and doing her hair is like creative license to play with dolls well into my adulthood. It's awesome! I have been waiting on tenterhooks since the minute the second line appeared on the pee stick to find out if I had more little girl awesomeness to look forward to. It's been my ray of sunshine through some really dark days.

This pregnancy has been troubling since the beginning. It started off as twins but we lost one of them at eight weeks. There has been pain, bleeding and uncertainty the whole time. After losing a baby earlier this year, any symptoms similar to those I had during the miscarriage strike a cold fear in my heart that I cannot begin to describe. And we're not even all the way out of the woods yet. There is a lingering but stable Subchorionic Hemorrhage that puts us at a slightly elevated risk of preterm delivery and a few other complications. It... hasn't been fun few months. 

Today, however, is a day for happiness and optimism. We learned that in spite of everything going on in the surrounding area, this little baby is doing just fine. Everything is measuring on track, all the major systems are functioning as they should, it looks just perfect in there. This kid has had plenty of opportunity to take leave of this world because it was just too hard to hang on. But no! This kid is one tough little cookie. Just like HIS mama. He probably won't mind if I play with his hair for a little while, right?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Furniture Art

Hm. Life with a Parasite began when I was pregnant. Now that I'm pregnant again, I guess the definition of Parasite the Elder must change since her sibling is currently sucking a lot more out of me than she is. How about I just call her M? Great! Glad that's settled.

M is quite the burgeoning little artist. Well meaning relatives attempt to foster this talent with gifts of art supplies, which often includes markers. Gee, thanks! Try though I may, this kid's art will not be confined to spaces that make me happy like, you know, paper on the dining room table or the goddamn easel in her room designed for this express purpose. My dining room chairs and the chair I use in the living room are made from light-coloured fabric. To a three year old, this is a blank canvas that cannot be ignored. If you think this means the brand new markers she got for Christmas are being used to "decorate" my light-coloured furniture with gusto, your thinking is absolutely correct.

You might think this would make me angry. Nope, not at all. I think if you're going to get all bent out of shape over a little marker on the chairs, you should probably reconsider the decision to have kids. Having said that, I still feel compelled to clean it up. The markers used today came from a little portable white board set, complete with dry erase markers and their eraser. When I asked M how we were going to get the marker off my chair she said, very matter-of-factly, "I'll just use the eraser." Well if I had been mad, it would have evaporated then and there. This kid. She cracks me up.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Willpower Instinct - A BlogHer Book Club Review #Spon

We all know we're not supposed to grocery shop when we're hungry, but do you know why? Ever looked down at the snack you were munching on while you were engrossed in some TV show and been mystified by an empty bag? The Willpower Instinct from Dr. Kelly McGonigal delves into the science of willpower and takes the reader through the process of strengthening their willpower muscles (it makes more sense when you read it) with real-life examples from her popular Continuing Ed class at Stanford.

It's a quick read with 10 chapters and 10 simple exercises to end what has been, for some, a lifelong struggle. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? It's not! But you have to have the willpower (HA!) to do it. Me? I'm pretty analytical. Tell me I should meditate every day because it will realign my Qi and I just might laugh out loud. Tell me it's impossible to clear your mind but meditating every day for five minutes, even if I spend the whole five minutes redirecting myself to breathing, will help me improve my focus all day and make me less apt to lose my cool with my kid, and explain the science behind it? Well now we're on to something.

I don't think anyone could adhere to all of the lessons at the end of each chapter, and that's OK. We all have different willpower challenges different personalities so it stands to reason that different things will work for us. The trick is try them all to find what works for you. I highly recommend the book and the experience!


Join the BlogHer Book Club conversation on "The Willpower Instinct" for lively, thought-provoking discussions every week!

This is a compensated review as part of the BlogHer Book Club. All opinions expressed are my own.