Friday, December 29, 2006

Random Friday Ramblings

So Sugar Daddy has been working for the past couple of days in Guelph, while Swee'pea and I have remained with the grandparents. I have to say, I really miss Sugar Daddy. And not just because of the spare pair of baby wranglers (Grandma and Grandpa don't do baby wrangling). Being away from him has reminded me that I just really like having him around, to talk to, to be teased by, to hug. This is a good thing for me to remember.

Today was supposed to be a real-life Flashback Friday. I have plans to meet some old high school friends for dinner tonight, one of whom I haven't seen in nearly ten years, apart from two random sightings on the street. It has probably been longer since the four of us were in the same room together, probably since the death of one of their mothers in 1997. I say supposed to be, because Swee'pea and I developed colds overnight. He was very grumpy yesterday and last night, and I thought he was working on another tooth, but in the night both of our noses started and I think we're both feeling a bit under the weather today. So I'll have to wait and see how we're feeling tonight, before I decide whether to go. Sugar Daddy is due to come back tonight too, which I'm really looking forward to. At the very least, I need his baby wranglers. The last two nights have been rough, with at least 5 wakings a night, and the days have involved endless wrestling matches to get clothes and diapers on and off, and to get Swee'pea to nap.

I have had the opportunity to do a bit of reading though. My sister gave me a copy of Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures for my birthday, which I was a bit disappointed by at first because I'm not really into literature or award-winning books these days. But I started it, thinking it might be like Grey's Anatomy, and was immediately drawn in. Then I realized that it was a collection of short stories, which I also found disappointing because for some reason, I am really not into short stories. But then I discovered that they're about the same characters who I already care about and don't want to leave yet, so I'm happy again. I like that it seems to have the time frame of a novel, but is more a series of vignettes then a constant narrative. For that reason, it reminds me a bit of Hemingway's In Our Time, which I read back in university and loved. Three vignettes in, I have to say I'm disgusted that the author, Vincent Lam, is both an MD and an exceptional writer. These stories are REALLY well-written. Some people get all the talents.

Speaking of talent (ha ha), I have discovered some boxes of my old papers, letters, and assignments, which may provide some blog fodder when I get a chance to go through them. I found my old grade twelve English journal that we were required to do, and some deeply embarrassing letters I wrote to various celebrities. I didn't have a diary, really, when I was growing up but I wrote letters to people I had crushes on and didn't send them. I discovered a letter I wrote to Kish, a not-even-one-hit-wonder from 1991. I listened to his song a few days after writing 13 songs I loved when I was 13, and it's not even catchy like Maestro Fresh Wes and Young MC. It's really not worth listening to. Anyways, I couldn't even finish reading the letter I wrote to him, it was so embarrassing.

So that's all the news that's fit to blog. Swee'pea is still asleep so I'm off to read more Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

December 25, 2006

Dear Ezra,
This is your very first Christmas. Of course, you were here last year and we were all very excited about meeting you soon after the holiday. Last year, your dad gave you a little gift, with a label that said, "Dear Baby, Love Daddy. See you Soon!" That gift is an example of just how much we have learned since you came into our lives. For one thing, I have discovered that pregnancy is pretty much the easiest time of parenthood, which I didn't really appreciate at the time. Of course, pregnancy hid you behind stretching skin and a popping belly button. It is so much more wondrous to see you in full colour and three dimensions, without the aid of an ultrasound machine, to watch you grow and learn and watch. It is so much more fun when you squeeze your little arms around my neck, or cling to my sweater like a little monkey when I carry you on my hip than it was to feel you kick my ribs (which, since I had no idea of the pleasure of snuggling you, was still very exciting back then).

Last year, your dad gave you a little rust-coloured turtleneck onesie, which, coupled with the label, melted my heart and made me cry. The funny thing is that you have never ever worn that turtleneck. By the time you were of an age when we could bear to put anything over your head, especially any collar as tight as a turtleneck, it was summer, much too hot to wear a turtleneck and it was too small anyways, because you grew so fast.

This year, we have given you nothing (yet). In the weeks leading up to Christmas I felt very bah-humbug and concerned with other details (like trying to get passports for our trip in three weeks, and finding good daycare). I was questioning the value of Christmas, of giving endless material gifts to children already so affluent. It seemed like all a big marketing scheme, and I didn't want to succumb.

But last night, I found the old copy of The Night Before Christmas that I used to read every Christmas Eve, once I learned how. I felt like an important member of the family fulfilling that duty, and remembering that has brought some magic back for me. Also, watching your cousin Zoe enjoy not just the gifts, but the rituals and traditions that her family is developing. Now I feel bad that we haven't gotten anything for you, or even for each other. Luckily, I don't think you care right now. And it has made me realize that I do want to make next Christmas magical for you and every Christmas after that for as long as I can. Next year, we will begin our own traditions as a family.

Luckily, your other family members, your Grandma and Grandpa, and aunts and uncles have stepped in where we have failed. This morning you had a grand old time reaching into gift bags and ripping out tissue paper. In some ways you seem to be the perfect age for your first Christmas, because you love pulling things out of bags, playing peekaboo with just about anything, and opening and closing doors. You've gotten some wonderful new toys to play with. Except for the tractor with farm animals that makes farm animal noises and sings Old McDonald's Farm. Or at least, it was supposed to make noises and sing songs. I noticed that there was some oil or something on the toy, so I decided to wash it before giving it to you to play. I forgot that there was electronic stuff in it, and I submerged it and gave it a good soaking in hot soapy water. It was only when I pulled it out that I remembered. Grandpa tried to blow-dry the battery area but presumably there are other switches and wires running the length of it, which need to dry out. Hopefully it will work eventually, but in the meantime the family is having a great time making fun of me. No doubt this will become part of our family Christmas mythology, and will be one of those tales we remember every year, like the one about Grandpa cracking a rib trying to jump on a bucket of ice but refusing to go to the hospital because he was too embarrassed to explain how he did it, or the one when your daddy blocked the toilet his first Christmas here, or the time Grandma discovered Thanksgiving's turkey carcass in the oven.

I am glad you have joined our somewhat wacky family; the family that made your aunt and uncle take bets on their long drive up here on how long it would be before Grandpa would start talking about the wonders of plastic, or someone would make a fart joke, or I would start the little belly dancing moves that often punctuate my standing conversations. Apparently I did it the first night we were here, without even realizing it. Next year I'm sure they'll take bets on how long before I ruin one of your gifts.

I have made it clear to myself, over and over again, that I will never be a perfect parent. All I can do is my best, and hope that it is enough. I try to blame today's idiocy on the fact that when I woke up I discovered my glasses had been crushed by Santa after we went to bed. Your dad taped the arms back on but they are delicate and I spent about half an hour in a totally blurry world while he fixed them. It wasn't a great start to the day.

Anyways, you have moved on from your new toys to the cereal boxes in the cupboard, and you love having your family about. And the tractor toy will still be cool even if it never makes a sound again.

* * *

It is two days later. Most of your family have gone home and Grandma and Grandpa's house is finally quiet while you nap. My 30th birthday came and went, marked by a delicious carrot cake and blowing out the candles with a wish. You enjoyed watching your cousins play, in between
opening and closing all the doors and cupboards around this big old house. I have gotten new frames for my glasses, and these ones don't dangle by a thread of duct tape from my face while I change your diaper, which is a major plus. The only thing is they're pink and sparkly; they were the only pair at the optometrist's that would fit my old lenses, so I'm feeling pretty Barbie. Too bad your cousin Zoe's not around to appreciate them.

In the quiet few days before your Dad comes back to take us home, I'm hoping to visit some old high school friends and get you back on a schedule that has you waking up before 10 am and going to sleep before midnight. It has been a good first Christmas, I think.

Love Mum

Pictures will come when we get back to Guelph.

Friday, December 22, 2006

First Christmas Gift

Banana and her family gave Swee'pea his first Christmas gift ever the other night. It was a hit. It's a drum that plays music and lights up when he smacks it. Yesterday we discovered that it also rolls around on its side. Big hit!

First Christmas Gift
Swee'pea practicing for his daycare drumming circle.

Second Christmas Gift

This toque was his second Christmas gift, also from Banana and family, which was really more for me.

Thanks, Banana!

Flashback Friday: Love and Daniel Lanois

I wasn't planning to do a Flashback Friday post today, but this morning I wanted some music I hadn't listened to in a while so I downloaded some Lou Reed and Daniel Lanois. Swee'pea is napping in our bed (again! I'm getting spoiled), and I am reeling with flashbacks. Mostly from second year university, when I shared a 2-bedroom basement apartment with a friend from high school. She was brilliant, a fantastic writer, painfully shy at times, and had been through a lot. She still struggled with anorexia during times of stress. We both liked to drink. I think we were a good match, me with my boisterous big red mane of hair and mostly matching personality, and her with her dark blonde more subdued hair and personality.

Right now, I am listening to songs from Daniel Lanois's Acadie for the first time since that year. It has totally transported me back to one particular night, when I was, er, awake most of the night with the cd on repeat. We had a full apartment that weekend, with four or five extra houseguests in the living room, and I was falling in love with the friend of a friend. Everyone else in the tiny apartment was also subjected to the cd on repeat, and I don't think they ever let me listen to it again. The cd got mysteriously lost.

Although I was enjoying the headiness of mutual attraction, I was the only one falling in love, and I spent the next six months mooning about, trying to impress him, or being deeply sad. This music has seriously made my chest ache remembering the pain and angst of unrequited love.

It was in this apartment that I learned about woman lovers and womanizers. They're both equally promiscuous. But the womanizer approaches seduction with a hint of deception; there is a sense of victory and triumph, like a warrior, when they are successful. They can be good in bed, but it's with a cold skill. Luckily I didn't attract this kind of man very much.

Conversely, the woman lover finds something attractive about pretty much every woman they meet. They are genuine and warm and enthusiastic, but also not very loyal. They are great fun, and make you feel special, because they genuinely see the special-ness of every woman. But encounters with woman lovers are heartbreaking if you forget that you are with a woman lover. Neither type makes for good marriage material, I think.

Earlier this morning I was listening to Lou Reed, and I was transported to a perfect day the fall before that late winter encounter. My roommate, her boyfriend, and I started a Saturday morning at the Farmer's Market and bought a couple of bulbs of organic garlic. We couldn't decide on anything else so we went to a dark little pub-type operation in the sad, failing, dim downtown mall. They served beer at 11 am. So we drank a pitcher or two, then went to the beer store. We spent the afternoon in the backyard of our apartment, drinking beer, enjoying the warm sun, listening to the Trainspotting soundtrack and singing along loudly with "Perfect Day," likely pissing off our upstairs neighbours to no end. They were two quiet serious women who studied (unlike me, although my roommate was more balanced) and spent their Saturday nights sewing. They asked us not to play music after 10 pm, which we thought was grossly unfair, so we'd play church bells at high volume at four in the morning. Man, we were shits.

Anyways, that afternoon, we did something I have never done before or since. We got high on garlic. If you eat a clove (which we cut with a small piece of cheddar), it makes you high, but only for a minute or two, then you want more before you come down. Or at least, it made us high that day. So we disposed of two bulbs between the three of us. By 9, a fourth person had joined us and we were out of beer. So we decided to go to the bar on campus, and we decided to ride two bikes between the four of us so we'd get there faster. This was a mistake. I ended up sprawled in the middle of the quiet street a few meters from our driveway. That's when we decided to walk.

When we got to the bar, amazingly, no one could smell the garlic on us. But I didn't last long. I got kicked out for being too drunk, and woke up on a couch outside a friend's dorm room the next morning with a massive and excruciating, purple and swollen elbow from my bike accident the night before. It hurt for months and I still have a scar.

But it is mostly the sun and warm friendship and music I remember from that perfect day.

Writing this silly post about my former crazy self reminds me of Faulkner Fox's Dispatches from a Not-So-Perfect Life, where she writes about a fun evening getting to know a couple of other parents.
"I was truly happy that evening, and yet I also felt sad that the stories making our faces brighten were all solidly rooted in the past. Of course sharing stories about your past is a primary way of getting to know people beyond the surface -- in our cases, beyond the harried day-to-day hustle of life with young kids. I was glad and eager for our backward-glancing talk for that reason. On the other hand, weren't our current lives funny and interesting? Didn't we do anything adventurous or carefree now?

Apparently not. We were laughing at our foolish, younger selves, but it was also clear that we mourned the loss of their footloose ways. Still, I felt certain that none of us would trade what we had now for what we had then. Even if more were possible, verbally reminiscing about the past was as far as any of us wanted to go."

Somehow this also fits into the post I read last night (very late to the party) by Andi Buchanan. But I'm not smart enough to figure out how exactly.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Our Wedding

(Gah!! I have struggled for hours to get the photos in here. So enjoy.)

I won't tell the engagement story yet, I'm still not ready. But I will say that Sugar Daddy proposed on my birthday three years ago. I knew I wanted a summer wedding and thought it would be great to do it on or near the anniversary of our first date. So the date was easily set. I also knew that I wanted it to be at my parents' farm, so that winter, we traipsed out behind the barn and picked a spot that was relatively flat and clear of trees. My mom was horrified with our choice because guests would have to walk past the manure pile but I was adamant. My dad assured her that he would move the manure pile before the wedding, and he was good on his word. He also spent the spring and summer mowing a clearing in the tall grasses and wildflowers, so that on the day, there was a big green lawn surrounded by a wall of tall grasses, milkweed seed pods that looked like clouds puffing out of little canoes, and goldenrods and New England asters in bloom. For a native plant geek like me, it was perfect.

wild yet formal

Sugar Daddy built an arch out of branches he and my dad cleared away, and we decorated it with wildflowers.


I spent quite a few hours searching for the dress with Banana, and I was surprised to discover that I didn't want something simple. The one I chose was absolutely perfect: strapless, ivory organza type fabric, bronze beading the same colour as my belly dance costume all over the bodice and running down the full skirt, not much of a train.


I was surprised by a few things about my thoughts and plans for the wedding. I wanted some formality. I wanted tuxes for the groom and groomsmen, and matching bridesmaid dresses. I had always assumed that I would be married in a civil ceremony because I didn't go to church, but I realized that we were getting married for spiritual reasons not legal reasons, and I wanted our union to be blessed by someone in a position to bless us. I also wanted this to be OUR day, not MY day.

Last night at the daycare, the woman mentioned that it was the first time a dad was at an interview with her. She usually only deals with the mums. And I was surprised. It really didn't occur to me that Sugar Daddy wouldn't be involved in the decision. It was the same with our wedding. I did a lot without him like the dresses, but mostly we did it all together. We spent a lot of time in the spring developing our ceremony with the minister of the United Church in my parents' town. Sugar Daddy found some scripture to make the minister happy that didn't offend me, and on the day, months after these decisions, I was surprised with how beautiful the words and the ritual were.

This marriage

May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade
like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage.
Kulliyat-i-Shams, 2667

Song of Solomon 2:10-13; 8:6-7

My beloved speaks and says to me:
"Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
it would be utterly scorned.

We chose the traditional vows, because we liked the act of repeating promises that many have said before us. We chose plain, white gold wedding bands and included these words in our ceremony:
Rings are an ancient symbol, blessed and simple. Round like the sun, like the eye, like arms that embrace. Circles, for love that is given and comes back round again and again.

May these symbols remind you that your love, like the sun, illuminates; that your love, like the eye, must see clearly; and that your love, like arms that embrace, is a grace upon this world.
rings ancient symbol

Sadly, I jammed the ring on Sugar Daddy's right hand instead of his left, and he didn't realize my mistake either, until we realized that the ring just. was. not. going. over. his. knuckle. We laughed after I smacked him. And our guests did too.

We also included a wine ceremony, where we each poured from a different glass into a third glass, and we each drank, because we liked the idea of a ritual that represents the joining of ourselves and our families, we liked the metaphor of the cup, and we liked the idea of eating or drinking in celebration.
As the wine and water unite in this glass, may your different characters and qualities combine to provide harmony, happiness and prosperity for your family. May the cup of your lives be sweet and full. Drink now to each other to celebrate the beginning of your life together, full of blessings.
We ended the ceremony with the Blessing of the Apaches.
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years, May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth.
I love that our ceremony included words that were both personally significant and embracing a wider community, because this is why we got married. To publicly announce and celebrate our personal love, and to formally bring our lives together.

The reception was fantastic with only about 50ish people, so it was small enough to see each guest, but big enough to have a great feast and party. We had an Indian buffet, and Chinese double happiness decorations bejewelled the walls of the old Town Hall, where the assassination scene from the Dead Zone was filmed (the town's only real claim to fame). Ishra came with the two best dancers from her troupe and we and our guests enjoyed half an hour of fantastic belly dancing. Many people jokingly complimented Sugar Daddy on combining the stag night with the wedding reception.


We took some dancing lessons from a friend before the big day, and danced a swing dance to Finley Quaye's Your Love Gets Sweeter. Unfortunately, my dress was a bit too long so I ended up stepping all over it and our dance didn't go so smoothly but we had fun, and that song was pretty sweet as a first song for a wedding. And learning to let Sugar Daddy lead was a pretty valuable (and difficult) pre-marital lesson for me.


After that our exhaustion caught up with us and we didn't last much longer. I remember a few days and weeks before the wedding we were feeling stressed out with all the planning crap. We decided we should have just eloped and not bothered with all these silly details. But the day was magical, and all the details contributed to the magic. And I think we both had the right attitude on the day, that we'd done all we could and whatever happened happened (I think it was the same attitude we had about labour and birth actually).

I remember just after the ceremony and the photos, we had a moment alone together, and even before the fun and feasting of the reception, we realized that it was all worth it.


all photos by Bob Housser

Just in time for Christmas

Yippee!! I've found my hippie daycare.

We went to her place last night. Some people have told me that I'll just know when I've found the right person, so when we stepped into her house and sat down, I waited for the feeling. It didn't come. Crap, I don't 'just know.' But as the visit went on, I felt more and more comfortable. And I remembered that people have said the same thing about their wedding dresses, their life partners, and other big decisions. And in both of those other examples it took me a long time to 'just know.' And in the end, I didn't really 'just know,' but I felt comfortable taking the risk. And in retrospect, I chose right. So it is with the daycare.

She's great. They have a picture of Jerry Garcia on their living room wall, lots of drums and guitars, and she seems totally sweet and patient. She even said, "You can do a lot with love." My only reservation is that they have a big dog, but she seems also very sweet and after a brief sniff hello she generally keeps herself to herself. We said we needed to discuss it before we made a decision, but we got in the car and discovered we didn't have much to discuss at all. She takes lots of walks with the kids, will grow a vegetable garden, and tv won't form a part of their daily routine. She's also only a 5-10 minute walk from our house, which is a total bonus.

So this morning I find myself with Swee'pea asleep in our bed, and nothing that I have to do today. What a treat. I don't even have the car so I can't do much on the should list. Sugar Daddy's passport crap is out of our hands, though his South African citizenship is still up in the air. If we don't get it in time, he'll just have to renounce his dual citizenship, which he really doesn't want to do but may prove much easier. His Canadian passport is in the works and will be ready a few days after Swee'pea's and mine.

Perhaps now I can turn my mind to the holidays. It seems that Sugar Daddy and I won't be exchanging gifts this year, because we've had so much going on these last few weeks and we're pretty strapped. We haven't even gotten anything for Swee'pea, not that I think he'll mind. But I feel like we should mark the occasion of his first Christmas outside the womb somehow. I actually haven't done ANY Christmas shopping. Luckily, that won't be an issue for my family. Except the nieces and nephew, but I think we'll just get them gift certificates. Usually we take a lot of time choosing something for each of them, but this year it would be rushed and half-assed, so I think I'd feel better about letting them each just choose their own book.

Saturday we will go to my parents' place and Swee'pea and I will stay there all week, while Sugar Daddy returns to work for the last three days of the week. I'm really looking forward to the break, and to seeing my family, and a couple of my high school friends hopefully. My birthday is also on Boxing Day and I will be 30. Yikes. I haven't really stopped to think about reaching that milestone but I think I feel pretty good about it. I've felt old for years so saying goodbye to my twenties won't be too bad. I haven't really felt twenty-ish since I was 23 or so. That's when the hangovers started catching up on me and were generally not worth the good times they were so bad. That's when I stopped being able to pull all-nighters, and when my body started making it known that I couldn't keep up the pace of the last few years.

So yeah, I think I'm ready to be 30. I'll feel more my age.

I've been wanting to post about our wedding for ages, ever since jen and Mad started all the wedding talk. And I think it kinda fits today. It was our first real joint project, and I think we did it pretty well. So... coming up next: our wedding.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Strange Encounter

This afternoon Swee'pea and I went to a holiday celebration with my coworkers at a local Mexican restaurant. I had some yummy nachos and Swee'pea got the opportunity to flirt with some beautiful women he hadn't seen in a while.

We walked home around 4:30, and the coming darkness was obvious. I realized that we have nearly reached the winter solstice, which is always a bit of a relief to me. But I have weathered the shorter days this year much better than in the past being on mat leave and all. I haven't really appreciated it properly in years, but solstices are magical days. In the summer, I remember as a kid the giddiness of playing outside on the longest day of the year, trying to persuade my parents to let me stay out until dark. In later years, my dad loved to ruin it for me, pointing out that the days are only going to get shorter now. Sometimes I feel a bit cheated, that the days are getting shorter and summer's only just begun. Still, the days until mid-August are pretty good.

In the winter, the solstice is a day of hope for me. That although winter is just beginning officially, each day is longer than the one before and brings us closer to spring.

I noticed a man approaching me, and he made eye contact. As he passed he said hello or how are you or something and I replied appropriately. I wondered if I knew him but he didn't look at all familiar. He was a good twenty feet behind me when he called, "Excuse me." I turned, figuring he was going to ask for change. But he didn't.

"Is that a boy or a girl?" (Ha ha, Swee'pea was wearing his metrosexual leopard outfit.)

I was still wary. "A boy."

He reached into his pocket. "Well, here's $30. Why don't you get him something nice for Christmas, and every time he wears it you tell him how handsome he is."

I laughed. "That's ok. You don't need to do that." He encouraged me to take it but I wasn't sure about his motives, and I think he could see that I was a bit weirded out. He said ok, put it back in his pocket and walked on.

I am still wondering about his motives.

PS I've had some interesting searches today:

snorting tylenol 3s and
how to smoke tylenol 3s (who knew? I'm such an old fogie...)

orange you glad it's christmas poem

husband likes my muffin top (Yay, husband)

muffin top photos (sorry, none here)

riding sugar daddy (sorry, not that kind of blog)

Oh yeah, and I don't have a record of it anymore but I think yesterday someone came looking for, "my sugar daddy wants me to move with him" or some such thing.

Memories of Summer

Or More Daycare Angst

So I'm all screwed up about Swee'pea's sleep again, thanks to the comments of a daycare provider we met with last night. She told us that any daycare provider would make Swee'pea cry it out because there's no alternative, and it would be kinder for us to do it to him before he starts daycare. She also said that the longer maternity leave is harder on babies than the six-month leave was and he'll be upset and miss me. I really did not need to hear that. Or to hear her questions about how we relate to Swee'pea suggesting that we're spoiling him. It's funny because when we left, we both agreed that she wasn't a total write-off. She has a nice smile, I liked the way she interacted with Swee'pea, her setup wasn't bad. But I woke up at 4:30 am and couldn't get back to sleep. I think because I was scared about what she said. I really thought that me going to work would be harder on me than it would be on Swee'pea. I thought as long as we were good about managing the transition, he would take it all in stride. And I thought his daycare provider would figure out something that would work for his naps and he would go along with it because he wouldn't have the same expectations he has for how his dad and I deal with him. Now I am not so sure.

All that said, Swee'pea is, at this very moment, sleeping in his crib for the first time since early August. It's been maybe 10 minutes? So that's something.

Ha! Well he slept for about a total of 10 minutes in the crib. Then he woke up and wouldn't go back to sleep.

I mustn't spend the last few weeks of my mat leave fretting about sleep issues. I did enough of that in the summer. I think maybe I have written off last night's daycare.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Saturday Morning at the Spa

I seem to be struggling with some blogger's block. I only want to write about the logistical crap I remain focused on. Today's it's daycare and the terrible things they feed the poor kids, and how they watch a movie every afternoon and crap like that. But... I think I may have found my hippie daycare provider. We still have to see her house and meet in person and everything, but talking on the phone was great. Their house/family is lacto-ovo vegetarian but she will feed your child meat if you supply it. We don't eat meat at home, so that won't be an issue. And she nursed her daughter until she was 3 1/2 and co-slept, so she understands where we're coming from and won't make Swee'pea cry it out for naps. Fingers crossed...

To avoid further boredom on subjects like this, I give you my Saturday morning laugh on the way to the Farmer's Market:

Saturday Morning at the Spa

Saturday Morning at the Spa

First, the license plate made me cringe. Then I laughed at the fact that it was outside the European Aesthetics Spa. This morning, looking at the photo, I giggle at the sign's "Parking at Rear" right under the lady's rear.

It occurs to me that the license is a bit ambiguous. Does it mean there are 4 Hot Chicks in it? Or is the number meant to stand in for "for" and the driver is looking For Hot Chicks?

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Flaky One

I would just like to take a moment to point out that it was Beck who mentioned the whole flaky one/responsible one in each relationship (I am assuming, of course, that I am the responsible one in my relationship). So here is the kicker. Sugar Daddy discovered his citizenship card this afternoon. In his wallet. Tucked into a "hidden" pocket that he forgot existed when he looked through his wallet the other morning. The funny thing is that I almost said, "Let me look through your wallet," when we first discovered it missing. But I squashed that thought because of course he was being thorough in his search.

But I will stop dwelling on how my explosion and most of my stress of the last few days was totally unnecessary and just enjoy the relief that Sugar Daddy will at least have a valid Canadian passport for our trip.

On the Plus Side

I think I am getting to grips and getting over myself a bit. I had a sneaking suspicion, which I voiced to Sugar Daddy when we went to bed with a very awake Swee'pea last night, that I was being a pathetic whiner about all the crap of this week and a baby who doesn't sleep much. And reading Mad's post this morning really hammered that point home. As I said over at her place, I think this is the first post I've read that has made tears roll down my cheeks and land on Swee'pea's hand wrapped around my finger while he sleeps. Some have brought a shininess to my eyes, but the tears haven't actually rolled out. It's probably partly the stress of the last few days, and the Bob Marley I'm listening to, but that is a great post.

On the plus side, despite the fact that the Office of Home Affairs destroyed Sugar Daddy's passport this past August, it sounds like he may be able to get a temporary one in time for our trip, so we may not need to cancel. It requires a trip to Toronto and fingerprints at the cop shop, but it is within the range of possibility. So that's good.

Sometimes I feel so restricted by Swee'pea's need to wrap his fingers around an adult finger while he falls asleep. Trying to extricate myself from his grip can feel like trying to get away from an octopus; just when you think your free another tentacle imprisons you. But this morning, Mad's post reminded me of the beauty and magic of his grip. Mad's post made my head stop spinning with a million stupid details, to enjoy the weight of healthy Swee'pea in the sling and the sight of his resting eyelashes on his cheek. It looks something like this, minus the toque:

Asleep in Red

And I did make some photos I'm happy with yesterday.

Glasses with Bartender's Scarf

The sun is shining, the weather is sweet.

Thanks for the reminder, Mad.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

As Good as It Gets

So apparently, Tuesday night, after the tv crapped out and I couldn't watch House, was as good as it gets this week.

I am the multi-tasking worrier in our family. I am the organizer. Part of this is by choice, because I like certain things done a certain way, or because I care about certain details and Sugar Daddy doesn't, and part of this is by necessity. I may be a lazy procrastinator but I am also a planner. And when I plan something, I become a bit like a locomotive at full tilt, unable to brake or change tracks. Yesterday morning, Sugar Daddy dropped a little something on the tracks and I derailed. Totally. The bit that got stuck in my well-oiled passport plans was the fact that some indeterminate time ago, he decided to take his citizenship card out of his wallet so it wouldn't fall out and put it in "a safe place," which he can't remember or find. This is his only proof of citizenship, which he needs to renew his Canadian passport.

Sometimes the burden of making plans and organizing details and worrying about them is too much for me to bear. Sometimes I feel like the wizard behind the curtain, and Sugar Daddy has no idea of all that goes on behind it to keep things running (as pathetically as they are running, that is). I know I should pull back the curtain and let him pull some strings, as much as he should occasionally take a peek. Yesterday, the wizard sparked, popped and fizzled into a smoking heap. It wasn't just the fact that he couldn't find his card. It was the way he blithely suggested that he'll find it tonight (last night -- he didn't), despite having spent an hour looking in all the possible places we could think of yesterday morning, and I could just go to Kitchener tomorrow (today -- I did just for me and Swee'pea). I lost it. Rage rose up and erupted as I yelled (screamed?) I have too much on my plate! I cannot cope with all this! I am doing too much!! My rage scared Sugar Daddy and he went to work then, leaving me even less able to cope, my mind an empty wasteland of smooth black igneous rock surrounding a now-quiet volcano. Somehow Swee'pea and I got through the day, and Sugar Daddy has agreed to do more errand running.

We are still left with the problem of Sugar Daddy needing two passports and having none, which is still causing me considerable anxiety and stress trying to get in touch with the embassy and not getting any return phone calls. We travel in a month. I have gone so far as to ask the travel agent what happens if we cancel and have found out that we lose a significant portion but not all of our airfare, which is something.

The main problem, to my mind, is the South African passport. He needs that to get into and out of South Africa. His Canadian passport is still valid until April, and he'd only be questioned (potentially) when we're back on Canadian soil.

I mentioned the start of the South African passport saga in this email. Apparently he was issued a temporary passport so he could leave the country, and the Office of Home Affairs was supposed to phone his dad in Cape Town when the permanent one was ready. That was two years ago, and apparently his dad still hasn't received a phone call. We'll find out tomorrow what the status is, but I doubt they would hold onto someone's passport for two years, even if they forgot to call about it. Yes, now I would agree with the prevailing notion that South African bureaucracy is appallingly, notoriously bad. Especially after the hour and a half, not-bad experience at the Canadian passport office this morning. Now I am grateful for their calm assurance that two of our passports will be ready for pickup Jan 2, a more reliable option than waiting for Canada Post to get them to us over the holiday season.

The worst part of the outing was a strange woman in the line who started trying to tickle Swee'pea's foot before even making eye contact with him or me. It was weird. Then she was a bit affronted that she didn't get a reaction. But it really wasn't that bad.

When we got home I didn't stop for a moment. After lunch, and calling the SA embassy again, I decided to go for a walk, and let Swee'pea nap while I picked up a few items downtown and snapped some pics. But Swee'pea only napped for half an hour, so he spent the next several hours in a squirmy, grumpy, overtired mess. Finally, at 7:30, he is asleep in our bed.

Sadly, as much as I need to take a breath and remove my shoulders from my ears, I am all haywire, in a multitasking tizzy. I just can't seem to stop. I couldn't just give Swee'pea dinner, I had to make two more batches of veggie baby food for him while feeding him. I couldn't just pour myself a cup of tea, I had to drink water from a glass while I poured from the kettle.

Fingers crossed for being able to get through Survivor and Grey's Anatomy without the tv crapping out or Swee'pea waking up. If ever I have needed quiet time and space to unwind, with a bit of hot water splashed in for cleanliness, it is now.

Alas, no. He woke up just as Survivor was about to start, so I nursed him back to sleep and laid down with him for 15 minutes. Got back downstairs and sat, exhausted and even more demoralized, for a minute and a half before he cried again. Sugar Daddy is with him now. Now I remember why we have let him sleep in our laps or in the sling for so long. It sucks running up and down the stairs and lying in the dark thinking about what you'd rather be doing.

I hate to think what tomorrow will bring.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Good Old-Fashioned Bitch

I try really hard to fight against my judgmental tendencies, especially on other parents. (Bubandpie's comment that my efforts are somewhat successful really made me feel good... and thanks to all the other lovely comments I managed to hook when I went fishing the other day.) But tonight, I just have to give in and have an old-fashioned bitch. Today was hard (not that it's 8:10 pm before I get a chance to blog), although the last few hours have gotten better so first I'm going to list, in boring detail, all the reasons it was hard and how it's gotten better. Feel free to skip ahead to the bitch portion, or just go on to another blog altogether (come back though on another day please)... I'll get more interesting soon.

So, first off, Swee'pea only slept for 20 minutes this morning and spent the other several grumpily refusing to sleep any more, despite the fact that his grumping told me he desperately needed more. Eventually I gave up and got us both fed, and went off to the cookie exchange of my mums' group. I brought store-bought cookies because our oven is broken, we don't want to pay anything into getting it fixed because it's like seriously 40 years old, and we can't afford a new one until after our trip and I go back to work. The hostess (the one with all the boy/girl feminine/masculine comments last week) made me feel like a bit of a knob for doing this, but I thought it was better to contribute my favourite oatmeal chocolate chip moist store-bought Farmer's Market cookies.

Most significantly I didn't get my morning fix of blogging. I spent the 20 minutes of naptime I got looking up daycare and trying to get in touch with the South African consulate about the serious matter of Sugar Daddy not having a valid SA passport when they require him to enter and leave the country using a SA passport (no return phone call yet).

Last night we checked out our first home daycare. She seemed really nice, francophone (a bonus), flexible, friendly, all nice things. The setup seemed not bad and Swee'pea seemed to like it. But the air was heavy with a cinnamon air freshener of some kind, which gave me a sore throat, and as we were coming up the stairs to leave I noticed a distinct whiff of cigarette smoke coming from another part of the house. Her husband. And her husband works at home all day. (My smoke-smelling superpowers are inherited from my mom, which was no fun when I was 16!)

Somehow that discovery tied my guts into a knot all last night, because I was reasonably pleased with her, and if her husband hadn't stupidly lit up while we were there, I could have been fooled. This really upsets me. The several phone calls I made this morning (between 5 and 10) were all to no avail. Everyone was full. It seems the shortage Mad Hatter mentioned a while back has spread to Guelph, which has reportedly had a baby boom this year.

The cookie exchange was not much fun. There were something like 8 babies and their mums crammed into a 10 x 10 foot space, all climbing on top of one another and at least one baby was crying at all times. When I first arrived, only the three women I really can't relate to were there, so I didn't enjoy the conversation much. They're not bad people, but they're pretty concerned with their appearance, they're obviously pretty conservative in their political (lack of) thinking (the problem being not so much conservatism as the lack of thinking or questioning), they shop at Walmart without the slightest hint of regret (I have a friend who shops there, but always says, "I'm not wealthy enough to protest shopping there," or something like that, which I can respect), and when their sons hit their head or fall and start crying they just say, "Oh, you're fine... buck up" kinds of things, and I suspect they would do differently if they had daughters. Just as I was starting to make my exit, Swee'pea started making his must-nurse snurfling noises and fell asleep on my lap in all that chaos so I was trapped there when I really wanted/needed to enjoy his naptime at home.

There were lots more boy/girl comments, and to top it all off, the boy-girl woman also started going on about losing the baby weight, and how she's still losing and breastfeeding really works, and blah blah boring blah. She even complimented my friend's weight loss, who despite her intense wishes and efforts and pumping for three months couldn't breastfeed her daughter. I'm pretty sure my friend thought this was a pretty retarded line of 'conversation.' That woman just irritates the shit out of me. Not only does she make offensive comments without the slightest awareness, but I get really competitive vibes off her. She always has to know how much Swee'pea weighs and looks a bit put-out that he weighed exactly the same amount as her son at their 9-month appointments. I really don't care about their sizes, except that it is pleasantly reassuring as an indication of wellness, but it's not the only indication of wellness, and I don't think it's any reflection on my mothering abilities. Babies are just whatever sizes they are.

Most annoying about this outing, for me, was how I mentally took our my frustration on her son. Like last week, I found myself making snotty observations in my head. I almost deleted last week's snotty comment, but then realized it was kind of integral the next thought, so I left it. I'm not going to share today's thoughts though, because there's no point and I really don't like them. But I think I won't go to many more of these things with everyone. I think I'll try to be a bit more selective and just try to associate with the ones I genuinely like, or at least don't have much difficulty tolerating. For the last few months, I've thought that I shouldn't be like this, but today I am giving myself permission. I don't have to like everyone. And life is too short, and I'm too busy to waste my time with people I don't like. I

Finally Swee'pea woke up and I got to leave (of course I did enjoy visited with the several women who I sincerely like and feel lucky to have met). After we'd been home for a while and Swee'pea got grumpy and tired-acting again, I decided to go buy some South African currency, which I'd planned to do before the cookie exchange and ran out of time (wish I'd known most of the people I wanted to see would be a bit late) hoping he'd fall asleep on the way home. That damn South African rand just keeps rising, so I figure we should buy a bit while the buying's good. Got to the exchange place, discovered they don't have travellers' cheques in rands, only US dollars, which you exchange in SA at whatever rate is going then (kind of pointless in this case), so I had to get a wad of cash (got about 5 1/2 rand to the dollar so it ends up being a big wad no matter how little you get). Then discovered they don't take visa either so I have to pay debit from bank accounts that really don't have anything in them. Ugh!

Got home and found out that Sugar Daddy had to work a bit late, despite my empty energy stores... Miraculously though, by the time he got home, somehow I was feeling better. A cup of tea, washing dishes and spinach while Swee'pea plays in his playpen next to me, then feeding him his dinner apparently has a restorative effect. Who knew?!?

AND, even better, when I called five more daycare providers, one of them has a space available, so we can talk further, and hope that no-one smokes in her house.

AND Swee'pea fell asleep at 7:30, just before dinner was ready, so Sugar Daddy and I got to enjoy a quiet dinner while Swee'pea slept in our bed, and a bit of wine. Swee'pea woke up screaming a few minutes ago and wouldn't be soothed, not even by the Great Boob. Finally he settled after Sugar Daddy brought him downstairs and walked him back and forth, and he is sleeping peacefully in SD's arms. And now I've blogged and bitched, and House is about to come on. So life is ok again.

PS On the subject of Walmart, I laughed out loud, multiple times, at Dutch's post. Really worth taking the time to read his post, in my opinion.

PPS. Now the tv has crapped out. This is the second episode of House I've missed in a row because of the fucking tv. And Swee'pea has started slapping the tv when he's awake, because of how often he sees us doing it. Arrgggh!

PPPS I forgot to mention that my work told today that I can come back three days a week, at least on a trial basis. We'll work the details out next week. So that's good. I will focus on that instead of the House I am missing.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sex and the City Dream

Apparently lurkers cannot be coaxed out into the light. Oh well. I should have known. Not even if I say please, really nicely? How about pretty please with sugar on top? You can still delurk and totally make my day, if you want. (And yes, this means you.)

* * *

The other night I had a crazy dream. Actually, I had several crazy dreams. I meant to blog about them yesterday but I forgot when I was at the computer. My favourite of the three crazy dreams involved me somehow becoming Carrie Bradshaw, in one of the episodes when she was dating the guy from Northern Exposure... John Corbett? I really liked him in Sex and the City and NEVER understood why Carried dumped him. He was so nice. Anyways back to my dream. I became Carrie Bradshaw, but I was still partly me, and could remember what was going to happen between them, so I decided to stop screwing with his head the way the 'real' Carrie was and to just be nice to him and enjoy him being nice to me.

Next, I dreamed that I was me again, and Sugar Daddy and Swee'pea and I went to some kind of eating contest. In fact I think it was all kinds of eating contests in one place... so there were the watermelon eaters and the hot dog eaters and... I can't think of any other foods that people eat in contests... Pie! You get the idea. Funnily enough, Swee'pea waved for the first time in my dream, and he waved at an old high school friend who I fell out with in university but have since corresponded tentatively with via email but haven't really seen much in person. More funnily enough, she used to be anorexic, so I found it surprising to see her at an eating contest. She was actually competing... but in the watermelon contest. Which actually isn't that much of a surprise, really.

Then I morphed into another dream, this one more disturbing. There was some kind of threat, some kind of chaos, and a million teenaged kids milling around. I saw one insert a human steak into some fabric to make it into a shield, and I remember it smelled weird... not bad exactly because it was fresh, but weird. I was trying to protect Swee'pea, and it was really scary, and then everything and everyone blew up except for me, Swee'pea (thank goodness!) and the person with the human steak shield. So I guess it worked.

When I woke up, I chose to focus on the Sex and the City dream, and not think too much about the last one.

* * *

I'm trying to get a bunch of stuff done re: passports, trip planning AND searching for daycare. Christmas is not even taking a back seat; I left it on the curb with the garbage. Though it did occur to me that I should probably give something to Sugar Daddy, to let him know how much I appreciate him and love having him as Swee'pea's father, and how much I enjoy getting annoyed with him from time to time. Maybe he'd like a blog post for Christmas? No doubt he has his eye on some kind of computer thingie or electronic device.

PS I think Swee'pea pointed for the first time today at the doctor's waiting room, waiting to get our passports guarantored (or whatever you call it). Well I know he pointed, I just don't know if it's 'real' pointing; I don't know what his intention or communication was with the pointing. Maybe just a hey, that's funny looking (at the top of a coat rack thingie), and hey, that's neat (at the painting)? Or maybe a what the hell is that thing? Whatever, it was cool. I'll mark it in his calendar. Along with his fourth tooth poking through the gum yesterday.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


This is my 199th post, which I mostly find embarrassing. What a public and visible addiction I have. And being an addicted mom especially is really not acceptable.

However, I think some good things have come of this addiction. For one thing, I think my writing has definitely improved, especially since my 100th post. For another, I am much much happier than I was back in steamy, sweaty, exhausted July. When Swee'pea naps in the sling, that is my time to read and write, and I don't feel a bit guilty about it, or about not doing anything to stem the chaos around me.

I have just finished reading Dispatches from a Not-So-Perfect Life, and it's funny because she talks about how selfless attachment parenting is, and how much it takes out of mothers. But I have found the opposite. Giving up on getting Swee'pea to sleep in the crib has been positively liberating. Giving in to our desire to hold him, and to his to be held is so much easier than constantly trying to put him and distance ourselves. I certainly don't advocate this style of parenting for anyone. I don't really advocate any style of parenting except survival, and giving yourself permission not to worry about the future. That's when I find I get the most fucked up, when I worry about how our decisions now may affect our future, Swee'pea's future. And I give myself permission to let those worries go, because you can never really know for sure if you're making the right decisions. Even if your kids grow up to be great, fantastic adults, you can't put it all on your parenting decisions.

I'm surprised that Faulkner Fox isn't a blogger. Maybe she is, but if so she blogs anonymously as far as I can tell. So now I'm gonna wonder every time I read someone's blog, is this Faulkner Fox in disguise? I think blogging achieves a lot of the things that she was aiming for in writing her book, and the things she was seeking in relationships with other mothers. For me, blogging helps me "feel less alone, less crazy and possibly less guilty." I get some of this from real life mother friends too, but only when I make a point of being brutally honest. Most of the time, I have to be the one to confess before others will.

Fox's book seems to be to be like one big, cohesive blog. She talks about the scores she kept to mark the unequal division of labour in her home during the early baby years, despite the fact that both she and her husband believed 100 percent in the idea of a joint project. She writes, "I'm not charting anymore, but I believe I still put in slightly more hours at home. I definitely get more accomplished in my hours because I can multitask better. What a horrid skill to possess." (Hear hear on the horror of being a good multitasker.) She writes about responding to her neighbour's question, "How is it being home, enjoying a nice break from work?" with "This is the hardest thing I've ever done, [...] and my last job, director of a pro-choice organization, involved death threats."

Anyways, back to me and my blog. I do sometimes feel guilty about how much I blog, especially because lately I've started wondering if the eletromagnetic rays the computer emits to sleeping Swee'pea in the sling could hurt. But I do believe that if I'm going to be a good mother, an engaged mother, I need this time to think, to rant, to reflect and to read. And Swee'pea has made it pretty clear that he likes to be held while he sleeps, so it's win-win as far as I'm concerned.

So, in honour of my 199th post, I'm going to point you to some of my favourite posts. In return, I would like to ask my readers, why do you come back here? Why do you like my blog? Or maybe you don't like it, and you come back to be annoyed and irritated by my rants? Anyways, I'd love to hear from you... and this means lurkers too, please. Who are you?

Sure, it may be ego-boosting, but if you can't ask for a little feedback on your 199th post, when can you?

Some of my favourite posts:

My emails from South Africa in 2005. This was an amazing trip and I'm so glad I took the time to write as I experienced it. You can start with the first one here, if you like, and move through the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh installments. I wrote about our very last day there recently.

I also kind of like this post about the grocery store... I've written a few times about the grocery store since then, but this one kind of made me laugh when it happened. I think it came off grumpier than I really felt, but oh well.

I also really like this post. I like that I didn't sit down to write about the subject... it just happened. And it's something I'm really passionate about, although I don't write about it as much as I'd like to or feel I should.

And I really like my grammar grump stuff. Before I went on mat leave, I worked with a few other people to develop a corporate style guide. I really loved the discussions and disagreements we sticklers had on questions of usage and style, and that may be about the only thing I really miss about work. Besides the people I mean.

So there, that should keep you busy while you think about why you like or dislike my blog. Oh -- and in the meantime I also have some random bits for you.

* * *

Yesterday morning on our way to the Farmer's Market, we walked by the Armoury, where some kind of military exercise (I hope!) was going on. It was very surreal and actually kind of scary to see men in military fatigues yelling, swearing, running around, and most significantly, pointing a gun in our direction from a few hundred metres away. We just had to hope they weren't actually loaded. I heard them yelling at various times, "Get in the fucking rear!!!" and "No ID here," and a lot of other incomprehensible bellows. As I got a bit acclimatized to the scene, I started to wonder if these guys felt a bit silly as everyone stared at them playing their war game on the way to buy produce and local crafts. It made me wonder what plans the Canadian military has for its troops, and made me feel sad.

* * *

This morning I turned the shower on and it sprayed over top of the curtain, positioned in the wrong direction. I turned it off and and repositioned it, and noticed that it has a tickle mode. Which made me giggle. Then I realized it said actually said trickle, which seems even more absurd. Who wants just a trickle in the shower?!?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Flashback Friday: In Sickness and In Health

Each week the Flashback Friday: Feminist Edition will feature a story that has something to do with being or becoming a woman or feminist. This series will continue until I run out of stories. I love having guest bloggers. If you have a story you want to tell and you want to be a guest blogger here, please email me; or feel free to link to your own story in the comments.

Just over a year ago, in late September when I was 5ish months pregnant (I could never really translate weeks into months), Sugar Daddy got hit by a car while riding his bike to work. Luckily, despite his lack of a helmet (never again!), he emerged from the crash unscathed. Until he kicked the car in a rage.

I can understand this rage. I once got hit by a car while I was walking. He was turning right on a red, looking down the street at the traffic coming up to the light, and I was crossing with the walk signal. He was inching forward but I kept walking, figuring he was gonna stop. I remember being confused that he wasn't stopping, and next thing I know I was on top of his hood. He finally stopped, and I got off the hood and started screaming obscenities at him. It felt like he had deliberately tried to hurt me, like it was personal.

"You fucking asshole!!!" I screamed.

"I'm so sorry... I didn't see you," he apologized.

"I should hope fucking not you didn't see me!!!" I kept screaming.

"Can I drive you to the hospital or something?" he asked.

"No! You fucking well can't!"

And I walked away. As I walked I started to sob and sob and only just stopped when I got to my destination. But I broke down again as soon as I saw another person and sobbed for another 15 minutes before I could calm down enough to get on with my day. And I was fine. My knee was a bit bruised but I was fine.

So I can understand Sugar Daddy's rage that day. And apparently he kicked the car very hard.

I didn't find out about the accident until the end of the day (I don't know why he didn't phone me), when I called him to see how his day was going and when he'd be home. He mention casually that he'd been hit by a car that morning, but he was fine. His toe hurt a bit though. I told him he wasn't riding home, so I picked him up in the car.

His toe got more and more sore that night so the next day we went to the doctor. He got x-rays and his big toe was broken in three places. But they can't do anything for broken big toes so they just gave him some tylenol-1s. Over the next day or so his toe just kept getting more and more swollen and more and more painful. Eventually Sugar Daddy couldn't sleep, couldn't sit in a chair or on the couch, couldn't crawl, couldn't walk, couldn't stand... couldn't really do anything but lie on the floor and moan like a wild animal.

We made several trips to emerge and our family doctor and every doctor had a different answer. It's gout. It's not gout. It's an infection, here are some antibiotics (that's when he developed a rash and started puking) and some Tylenol-4s (I didn't even know those existed!). But the Tylenol-4s didn't do anything except make him forget how many he'd taken so I had to confiscate the bottle and count the pills left.

I'd gone to work after that last trip to the doctor, thinking he'd be ok once he got the stronger pain meds. But he phoned me to say he'd thrown up and felt awful and the Tylenol-4s weren't working. I'd had Tylenol-3s before, which were awesome as far as I was concerned and couldn't understand how they weren't working. He mentioned that he'd taken a bunch and they still weren't working.

I panicked at this, worried about an overdose, and came home right away. But when I got home and saw him lying on the living room floor, moaning and sweating, and slightly fuzzy-headed from the pain meds, I freaked out. I ran upstairs to our bedroom, shut the door, and phoned my mom.

I felt trapped and panicky. I didn't know that wild animal in the living room and I wanted to run away. I felt like that horse in International Velvet that freaks out on the plane and has to get shot, except there was no one to put me out of my misery. I thought about our marriage vows and how it'd only been a year and here I was already wanting out. But surely there must be some kind of clause if your spouse becomes a wild animal who can't even keep track of how many pills he'd taken. I thought about the evening and night stretching endlessly ahead and wondered how I would get through it, sharing our too-small house with this feral creature. I didn't think there was any way I could get through it by myself.

Somehow, my mom calmed me down, and started making phone calls to telehealth and pharmacies to find out if Sugar Daddy was at risk of dying from that many pills. Somehow we got through the night, I went to bed and left him with strict instructions and a budget of pills, hiding the bottle in the bedside table. I don't think SD slept. I don't think he slept really at all for several days, which didn't do anything for the wild animal effect.

The next day, my mom came down and the three of us went to the family doctor. (Warning: Graphic photo coming up). This is what his foot and toe looked like by then. The swelling went all the way up to his ankle.

Finally the family doctor decided she didn't like the look of his foot (no shit Sherlock!) and referred him to an orthopedic surgeon. When he saw the surgeon, he just said, "Oh, we'll just take the toenail off and that should relieve the swelling. So he did, which SD said was an excruciating procedure but the relief was almost immediate.

And then SD turned back into his regular self, the man I married. Wounded, on crutches, and in need of help, but the man I'd known and loved for six years. Now he could stand upright with the help of his crutches, and sit in a chair, and sleep, even in our bed. I feel bad about the panic I felt, because as awful as it was for me to watch him morph into a wild animal I was afraid to go near, it was much much worse for him. Sometimes we joked afterwards that maybe that's what labour would be like, but with the shoe on the other foot (no pun intended).

And I think maybe I was also a bit like a wild animal when I was in labour. I remember moaning a lot, and it helped somehow. And I remember not really paying attention to much going on around me, except to be annoyed if people started talking during a contraction. And then being more annoyed when I told them I was having a contraction, to have them say, "What? What are you saying?" My mom said I was mumbling. Before the birth, I decided that I would just need to remind myself that every contraction brought my closer to the baby. But in the moment, I'm ashamed to say I stopped really caring about the baby. It could have been a defensive measure because he was in distress from the very beginning and I didn't know if we'd ever get to actually meet him, so maybe I was just trying to distance myself. Or maybe not.

Both those experiences taught me a lot about myself, and how I'm really not particularly self-sufficient. I need people around me, and even at nearly 30, I still call my mom when I'm scared, or in pain.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

As if you didn't know enough about me me already...

Penelope's tagged me for a meme. And I'm having a really hard time coming up with things you don't already know about me. I share an awful lot on this blog. But at least I have penelope's meme for inspiration, so here goes.

5 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me:

1) The last time I ate at McDonald's was Aug. 20, 1999, the night before my first date with Sugar Daddy. Some friends and I were heading to a party south of Guelph and I met them at McDonald's before leaving town. As I walked up to the door, I noticed a very old woman slowly shuffling up. As she stepped up onto the walkway, I noticed a little poop plop down onto the pavement between her legs. The smell was overpowering and made me gag. But I held the door open for her and she shuffled as fast as I imagine she could to the washroom, I was more horrified that a body could betray you like this, making your bowels run faster than your feet and legs. (I have a phobia of getting sick in public.) When I met up with my friends, already in the parking lot, they mentioned that that woman had struggled out of a car that had driven away, just leaving her, which horrified me even more. Ever since, I always get nauseous whenever I see McDonald's.

2) I got fooled the first time the Sneaky Gas People came to my door (not the company's real name but I can't remember it even though they've been to my door a thousand times in the last 3 years). Luckily I canceled it when SD clued me in, but ever since then whenever they come to the door, I say, "I know who you are... you're the Sneaky Gas People. No thanks." And I shut the door despite their virtual foot in the way. They came again just now, and nearly banged the door down. When I opened it, I whispered, "No thanks, my son's sleeping," code for "Don't bang the shit out of my door you asshole, don't you know there's a baby sleeping in here?!?"

3) I'm a civil servant when I'm not on mat leave. And I hate it when people get all uppity and say, "You know I'm paying your salary." Do they forget that we pay taxes too???

4) I have been through a fairly long strike. Strikes suck. They're divisive and nasty and nobody wins. Except that we balanced the tories' budget that year. So I guess they won. Except they didn't in the next election.

5) When I was 11, my family visited my sister in Australia and I got invited into a strip club in Kings Cross, the 'red light' district of Sydney, Australia. My brother (who was 19) and I were walking a little bit behind the rest of my family during the day, and these two tuxedoed men stood outside a door that just had stairs going up from it. They invited my brother first and when he said no thanks, one of them said, "You can bring the little lady in too." I was scandalized when my brother explained that it was a strip club, but I also felt kind of grown up to be invited.

5 Things You Probably Don't know About Swee'pea:

1) He loves plain yoghurt. I find it too sourish or something but he clearly got his tastebuds from Sugar Daddy.

2) He loves old cheddar, even the stuff that's too old for my tastebuds.

3) His right ear is bigger than his left. Always has been. When he was first born I thought it was because he pulled on it in utero but I haven't seen him pulling on it in recent months and it's still bigger.

Oh, this is even harder than it was for me, because I just wrote all about him and his little quirks.

4) This used to be his favourite position (or at least he did it A LOT):

But now it's fast becoming this:

scrunchy face

(It's just coincidence that these are the photos of each position and he's naked in both.)

5) He got his passport photo taken today and it only took two shots to get it right. Those passport folks are mighty partickaler about these photos, so it was quite a feat. We went today because it was a somewhat good hair day for me.

Now, who to tag... I won't tag Jen or Mad, because they're busy preparing for their big celebration. So I'll tag Beck and her youngest from Frog and Toad are Friends, and Marla and Josephine, if they've got a moment.

Letter to Swee'pea: 10 months old

Dear Swee'pea:

You are ten months old today. I'm starting to get confused by the passage of time. The weeks and days mostly pass in a blur of feedings (both breast and solids), naps, and changes (both diapers and clothing). At the same time though, it feels like a lifetime since you were that tiny little newborn with the long skinny fingers and toes and wobbly head.

A few weeks ago, when we were out for a walk in the park, we passed a couple of newborns. And I found myself wondering as I looked at them, how do their parents not break them? How do they manage to handle those fragile new beings? We recently went through our old photos to choose some for a calendar and both your daddy and I went all soft and gooey seeing your newborn self. Strangely, it was never that scary handling you; well, except for baths. Before we figured out to forget the blue plastic baby-sized tub and just bring you into the big clawfoot tub with one of us holding you close and secure, you screamed with such passion it ripped our hearts out at bathtime. We still have no photos of you in the bath, even though you seem to quite enjoy baths now. The old trauma has still left an impression on us.

Anyways, the point of all this is that you are a strong and sturdy little person now, and we no longer worry about hurting you if we put a shirt over your head. You pull yourself to standing on anything and everything, and cruise around with no wobbles or stumbles. If you lose your balance you know how to slow your fall and avoid getting hurt. You have even figured out how to climb the stairs. Even though it's only one or two at a time, it's still pretty scary for us and we hover anxiously.

Since I last wrote, you have been developing your more social skills. Last week when I was checking out Maestro Fresh Wes and Vanilla Ice videos on youtube, I noticed you started dancing when the music came on. And when you see your daddy or me dancing to music, you like to join in. You have also learned to clap, not only when you have a yummy bite of food, but when you see others clapping, like when I played euchre last week and won. It was nice to have you there, cheering me on so well. High fives are something else you learned while I played in the United Way euchre tournament at my work. We are still waiting for you to wave bye bye or hello.

Since you have discovered the usefulness of your index finger, thanks to your love of cheerios, you love sticking it into our noses and mouths. Last night, when Daddy came home from work, you discovered the little hairs above the collar of his shirt, and tried to pull them out. It made you smile so much, he let you do it until his skin was red.

Pulling Daddy's neck hairs

Last night in bed, you put your finger in my mouth and tapped my teeth for the first time. Then you put it in your mouth and tapped your own little teeth. It's pretty cool how you're discovering your body, and how it resembles ours.

Diaper changes are still a rodeo event. I am beginning to learn to wipe your bum as you flip and crawl away. And to put a new diaper on while your crawl away or stand at the couch playing with cushions. There has to be a better way though. I see other parents manhandling their children with ease changing their diapers on their lap. But I haven't figured out this technique, so we continue to wrestle and flip, wrestle and flip. At least clothing changes are slightly easier, now that you hold your legs out straight when I put your pants and/or socks on.

You now mostly crawl on your hands and knees, having discovered it's much faster than the old GI Joe crawl. Indeed, you seem to have found a new gear entirely, one that makes you wag your bum back and forth like an overexcited puppy, your legs swinging back and forth behind. When you first started doing more of the hands and knees crawl, you raised your hands way up between each "stride," like a goose-stepping soldier (well sort of anyways). It was pretty cute. But now your gait has become more efficient and you don't lift your hands as high.


Sometimes I try to steal a few moments at the computer here and there, to read a few paragraphs of a blog or google something related to my search for daycare or our upcoming trip to South Africa. I used to keep an ear out for the telltale THWACK, ssswissshhhh, THWACK, ssswissshhhh, THWACK of the wounded soldier labouring across the room. But now when I hear the slap slap slap slap slap slap of your hands on the floor with a low rumble of thundering knees beneath it, I know I have to move quickly. Your favourite places to speed to are the vents in our living room, which you like to bang with your open palm, the stairs, the bookshelf, where you pull out either the big hardcover dictionary or our wedding album*, and as of last night, the computer, which you have learned how to turn off, despite Daddy's cardboard taped over the power button. Nevertheless, you remain eternally faithful to your first true love, the remote. If it is within sight and reach, you always go to it with a fiercely tight grip and big slobbery kisses.

painterly moment by the couch with clutter

My favourite thing about watching your bum waggle its way away from me to your various loves, is when you decide to turn around and come to me for a cuddle. If I'm sitting on the couch, you will pull yourself up to hug my knees, and wait to be pulled into a fuller hug. If I'm standing, your will pull yourself up by my pants and bury your face just above my knees. This morning, I was sitting on the floor next to you while you played with a new toy from the toy library. I said, "C'mon over here and let's have a cuddle," while gesturing with my hands. You looked at me and I repeated myself. You smiled and came over and gave me a big hug, then curled up in my lap to play with your toy for a few minutes. I love that you seem to enjoy our hugs and cuddles as much as I do.

Rainy Day III

The last ten months have been scary and enlightening, and full of wonder. Every time you point with your pudgy little finger, I can't quite believe that that finger is the same one that once tapped the inside of my womb, that your lovely little heels are the same ones that pressed against my ribcage from the inside. Last weekend at the library, we saw an acquaintance from work whose wife is pregnant, due next month. They said something about needing to get tips from us. My first response was horror. We don't know anything; we don't have any tips to offer. But it occurs to me that we have learned a lot over these last ten months, and maybe we could offer a few tips. The passage of time yields as much in our development as parents as it does in your growth. I imagine this is a process that will continue forever, each of us affecting the other. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Love Always,

PS Please have fun on the plane when we go to visit your grandpa and great-grandma, and please try not to cry too much.

* Literally, as I typed that (yes, I sometimes write on my blog while you play nearby), you pulled out a new book, one that pleased me no end, and I couldn't resist the photo op.

Baby Bibliophile - Elements of Style Edition III

It ended brutally though.

Baby Bibliophile - Elements of Style Edition V

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas in a Handbasket

I am shocked and horrified that it is December already. I think it really hit me the couple of times I've seen references to advent calendars in the last few days. I don't know the religious significance of this advent thing, but I remember the advent calendars I had each year as a kid and the pleasure of opening a little window to get a chocolate. My advent calendars always had chocolate in them, and I don't think I ever actually managed the self-control to only open one each day.

Mostly I'm feeling pretty bah humbug. It started with the Santa Claus parade. But then I figured well we don't have to do that with Swee'pea. Until I saw a friend as we accidentally walked past the parade and she said, "Oh enjoy your freedom to just go to the library now. In a few years you'll be stuck in our position freezing your feet off wondering where the fuck is Santa?" Like we won't have a choice because Swee'pea must see the parade.

Last weekend we saw another friend and her family on their way to see the lighting of the lights downtown and to get her kids' pictures taken with Santa. Just that day I think I'd said to Sugar Daddy that perhaps we should make sure to get Swee'pea's photo taken with Santa because most kids I know get scared of the strange bearded man in the red suit for a few years after their first year. But we hadn't known about the lighting of the lights thing and Santa.

The other night there was a story on the news about all the letters kids are sending to Santa with their wish lists. And how kids have to have them in the mail by Dec. 18 or Santa won't get them in time. And it kinda disgusted me, thinking about all these kids listing item after item that they want for Christmas. One item is fine, but a long list is just kinda gross (well it's gross if all their wishes are for things).

It made me wonder, where is the law that says you must get your child's photo taken with Santa? Maybe I just want to postpone all this Santa crap until he gets it from school and we can't avoid it. I still don't know whether we'll get Swee'pea's photo taken with Santa. Sugar Daddy called me Ebeneezer last night when I voiced some of my concerns and scrooginess. Maybe I'm just taking it all way too seriously. And really, we're probably the rubberest most malleable parents alive and will likely totally spoil Swee'pea and give him whatever his little heart desires.

I am utterly unprepared for the holiday season. We will likely get some toys for Swee'pea for Christmas, but I think we'll probably get small ones that we can save for the upcoming plane ride to entertain him. Ack! Our trip is less than six weeks away, another reason I really haven't been doing much for Christmas.

Don't get me wrong, there are parts of this season that I love. I love getting together with my family and eating a big feast. My brother and sister are amazing people and I enjoy catching up with them and their kids. Thanks to my brother and his wife, Christmas has become even more enjoyable over the last several years with a new tradition that doesn't involve running around malls and shops at the last minute pulling your hair out trying to think of the perfect gift for the adults in the family. It started out that we'd draw names from a hat, and just give a gift to that one person with a budget of $50. But last year we did something even more radical. We each gave our $50 to the Foster Parents Plan (an organization my parents have been involved with since I was a kid) and picked out what we'd like to give a village or a family in need. I really like this tradition. But mostly for selfish reasons. 1) It feels good to do something for someone who really needs some help. 2) It keeps us from getting yet more stuff to fill our house because we take care of that just fine. 3) It keeps marathon shopping trips in the frenzied holiday shopping world to a minimum.

Sugar Daddy and I don't give to charities nearly as much as we intend to or would like to because we're lazy procrastinators; that's just about the stupidest, worst reason I can think of for not giving more. I never get around to giving very much to the food banks despite the fact that someone in our family regularly makes use of this sadly much-needed service.

Last June a woman gave a presentation at my mother-in-law's church about the organization she's started called Help Lesotho (pronounced Lesutu). Lesotho is the tiny mountainous country entirely surrounded by South Africa and it has the third highest AIDS infection rate in the world. Because it's in the mountains, winters are bitterly cold and most of the people who live there are terribly impoverished. Ever since we went to the presentation we've been meaning to sponsor a child in Lesotho. But we still haven't gotten around to it. We're planning to make a donation this Christmas, as well as the donation with my family to Foster Parents Plan. Now we'll just wait and see if we actually make it happen.

On a similar vein, I really like the idea Jen shared about making your child divide his or her allowance between three jars: spend, save and share. I think this is something I really want to do with Swee'pea and maybe if we do, I can feel less bad about the commercialism we'll inevitably indulge in him.

Mad Hatter has asked us to write about what we do for social justice. I'm not very clear on the definition of social justice, despite Jen's suggestion that it means "working towards the realization of a world where all members of a society, regardless of background, have basic human rights and an equal opportunity to access the benefits of their society."

Or maybe I'm clear on it but the truth is I do very little. I have lots of causes I rant about from time to time, like gardening with plants native to your own area to reduce water usage and enhance biodiversity, and wanting to knock on the windows of idling vehicles and tell people to turn their fucking car off, and gender stuff. But none of that is really working towards ensuring basic human rights and equal opportunity.

It's just occurred to me that perhaps some of Christmas activities count a little bit? We also try to only shop downtown at our local independent toy store, and not support nasty corporate monsters like Walmart. We also use a local independent internet provider. So maybe I can join in the fun?

Despite are past laziness paving the road to hell, those posts have got me thinking and eager to make good on some of our intentions. And I'm really looking forward to learning more about what others are doing for social justice.