Saturday, February 12, 2011

Best conversation of the day

Scene; On Friday, in the car with Daddy on the way to nursery school.

"Daddy I love pink."
"Is that so Isla?"
"Look at those big buildings Daddy!"
"They sure are big."
"I want to paint their roofs pink...I think I'll need a ladder."
"Yeah, I think you would Isla."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Why I wont be Posting much Today;

I will admit to a more then fleeting fascination with politics. Any level, pretty much any country. The concept that every day things in an individuals life can be impacted by something that is decided a few provinces (or even a few countries) away is endlessly fascinating to me.

I love democracy. That's no idealistic-pie-in-the-sky "Isn't our system the best" line. I mean that it blows my mind daily that my country and therefore a part of my identity can be molded by the decision I make in a ballot box. Even stranger is that, that same part of my identity and they way I experience life can be dictated what other individuals do in a ballot box.

Anytime a large body, such as a country, swerves in its direction because of a series of personal decisions made by individuals I always stop and think "Holy Crap, I get how it works but that doesn't make
sense." The change we are witnessing in Egypt is happening because of nothing less then thousands of every day people deciding that on that day they are closing up their shops/not going to class/leaving the kids with Grandma, going down to a square and deciding to say "no more."

I am trying to think what it would take for me to be in a position where right now I would shut down my computer, get the kids dressed, pack some snacks and diapers, meet my husband and go protest for 18 days. I am not sure I can grasp what it would take for me to do that. Because seriously I have laundry to do, food to buy, blog posts to write and gossip to share with my sister this afternoon, just like those Egyptians did.

So for today I wont be on Facebook much. Admittedly I will probably be all over Twitter like a dirty shirt filling my self with tweet of the people on the ground. I will be feeding off of the Egyptian peoples success and following their celebrations while I make lunch. I will be showing Isla some photos and videos from Egypt rather then watching PBSkids or Treehouse. I will be watching live feeds and pundits dissecting what all this means while I fold laundry. I will be busy thinking about how our country's democracy functions while I give the kids a bath. I will be explaining why those people are so proud, and why they have every right to be.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Second Best Conversation of the Day

Scene: In car on our way to pick Daddy up from work

"Mommy look! It's a hospital car!"
"Yeah it is Isla, we call it an ambulance."
"It going to hospital."
"Yep it is."
"Mommy I soooooo sick. My nose is broken."
"Hows your nose broken?"
"It hurts. Its got boogers."
"Yeah you do have a pretty bad cold."
"The booger water wont come out."
"Did you just say 'booger water'?"
"Yeah. My booger water can't come out... I need to go to the hospital."
"Isla, Mommy is putting this conversation on her blog."
**I wonder how much her therapy bills will cost me in 12 years**
"Mommy. I need to go to the hospital so my booger water comes out."
"Well, let's go tell your Dad. He's good at getting booger water to come out."

Best conversation of the day

Scene; In the car on the way to drop Isla off at nursery school, radio on.

"Daddy I wanna hear kitty cat music."
"Hmm ok, lets see if we can find any."
*fiddle-fiddle-fiddle with the radio
"How about this?"
*Daddy proceeds to sing "Meow meow meow meow" to this;

"Daddy, I like giraffes. They make a quiet sound. Can you do a giraffe sound?"
"Are you saying you want me to be quiet?"
*Isla looks out the window.
"I think thats your answer Regan."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why I love Bella Sara / Why I hate Bella Sara

Have you ever seen little girl crack? Here. Let me share it with you.

*warning if you have little girls in your house and expose them to this you deserve
what you get for not heading me when I say, proceed with extreme care.

This is why little girls love this game

1) Horses with flowing manes
2) Unicorns with flowing manes
3) Glitter
4) Fireworks
5) False economies
6) The colours pink and purple
7) Vague platitudes
8) playing dress up
9) Winged horses with flowing manes
10) Rainbows
11) Did I mention the flowing manes?

This list, I know may seem like one filled with gender stereotypes. Far be it from me to perpetuate such things. I do stand by the fact that a majority of girls harbor at least some spot in their hearts thats just ready for things in the above list to find a home. A little girls love of things pink, purple, glittery and that are surrounded by unicorns does not prevent her from loving dinosaurs and spiders and going through a goth phase. (Some argue that its only after really, truly immersing herself in glittery goodness can a teen girl really get her angst-y goth on.)
As a girl I had zero interest in glitter and shunned the colours pink and purple. I was more often embodying the antithesis of girly then embracing traditional femininity. But I did have a thing for horses. Especially when those horses came with flowing manes. I know deep in my bones that had this Bella Sara Phenomena been around when I was a girl I would have pretended to be too cool for them but then when given a pack by my well meaning parents became addicted on the first hit.

Why Parents Love Bella Sara
1) Its cheap. We recently got a box of 5 sets of five cards each. Total price of all 25 cards? $5.00 American.
2) Its adorable seeing your little girl so excited by something that completely appeals to them. I love seeing how Isla loves every bit about Bella Sara
3) Youtube has hours of videos of little girls displaying their collection of the horse cards. Thus providing huge tracks time where parents can check out and imagine what their children's lives would be like if they didn't have such crap parents.
4) The children get to learn all sorts of 'meaningful' drivel from the vague inspirational quotes such as; "Learn more about your family. You will feel closer to them."
"I will help you stay in a steady flow of abundance."
"Natures energy is all around you at any moment"
"Be the leader in your own life."
"Become the person you want to be. You will find joy along the way."
* note; these are actual quotes from the web site, I did not make these up.

Why Parents Hate Sara Bella
1) Did you not just read the crap quotes from above? Seriously my eyes are in danger of flipping out of their sockets, the quotes that pop up are so pedantic.
2) You will forever be hunting for decks of card that are more elusive then yes, Unicorns.
3) The music on the web site makes parents ear bleed.
4) You will have to wrench the computer away from your kid. Thats a fight that just can't end with both parties dignity and humor intact.

I guess at this point a discussion for me about the merits of Bella Sara is besides the point. Isla is addicted and has recently learned how to use the mouse on her own. Therefore I will forever more be negotiating computer time and forever looking in discount bins for shiny packages of little girl meth. At least, until she goes all goth and is only into overly self involved music, and the colour black.

Best conversation of the day

Scene; Watching a video with Isla

"Whats that man doing to the maps mommy?"
"I dunno hun. Using them to make some insane point."
"Mommy what's that man talking about?"
"I have absolutely no idea hunny, I don't think anyone does. What do you think he's talking about?"
"Your probably right Isla. He's talking about nothing."
"I wish he was talking about horsey's."
"I do too Isla, I do too."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Let's play Distract the Duck!!!

Heres a fun game that anyone can play. Distract-a-Duck! Well I guess its more you can play as long as you have an Internet connection, a love of flights of fancy and/or juvenile and sarcastic sense of humor.

We are struggling with sleep over here on all fronts. Isla is experiencing something similar to night terrors every night and Mr. Colin is still struggling with the idea that his mommy will only feed him *gasp* 4 times between 7 and 6 am. This means that the adults in this house are spending many an hour gazing off into the middle distance and fondly (if not a little begrudgingly) remembering what sleep felt like. It also means that I am spending quite a bit of time being way too exhausted to actually
do anything but not able to nap. Napping as a parent when the children are awake has never lead to anything good in my experience. At best, you awake with a sense of dread and foreboding, completely missing the gleeful feeling of stolen rest, and at worst it means waking up to a bombed out house with various government services, well meaning family members and nosy neighbors tut-tutting "Those poor children, to have such a lazy, neglectful mother..."

So I have become an artist of finding easy, passive things to do that can keep me awake. When I mean easy I mean, nothing more strenuous or thought provoking then emptying the dishwasher. Scratch that, emptying the dishwasher completely at this point would cause me to pass out, lets say emptying the top rack of said dishwasher. Just the glasses, no bending over and no reaching required.

So far this is my list of things I can do within those parameters. Please leave me a few ideas of more 'activities' that can help keep me from falling over but not sucking the life out of what remains.

1) go through crayon boxes and picking out the broken ones.
2) dust only the things at waist height.
3) raise the blinds up and down
4) help Isla sort her stickers.
3) change my paper towel roll
4) search the Internet for funny Superbowl ads (thus my last post)
5) wipe down the remote controls
6) convince Isla to count every one of her horse figurines (there are twelve-ity seven if your interested)
7) takes the dogs collars off
8) watch listlessly as Isla uses her entire upper body as a stamp on her easel and then use it as a learning opportunity as to how sometimes our hands and faces turn and stay blue when we cover them in stamp ink.
8) survey the devastation that is the living room and make a mental list (promptly forgotten because duh, sleep deprivation) of all the lacking storage containers.
9) write long winded, poorly edited blog posts, although the poor editing sadly can't be blamed on sleep deprivation.

Things that Make Me Smile

I can not stop watching this video. In honor of whoever the heck won the Superbowl yesterday and TPS reports in offices all over the world I present to you this piece of high art...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Contemplating Mortality through Motherhood

I know the exact moment I began to fear death. (Wow ain't that an opening sentence?) It was the exact second I felt Isla move in my belly for the first time. At that moment my understanding of what it would mean to leave this life changed fundamentally. Its was the beginning of motherhood that really taught me how massively important (a brutal understatement if there ever was one) life is.

At a relatively young age I had to confront mortality in a visceral, personal and devastating way when a close and beloved family member left us before what everyone thought was his time. Everyone in my family learned that our lives are not lived or lost in a bubble. When we are taken away our loss is devastating, the grief long lasting and the absence ever present. But even that understanding did not fully prepare me for the feeling that no matter what I had to hold onto this earth for as long as possible.

Before I had my own I heard the saying “Children give reason and purpose to life” and I would roll my eyes. I always thought that that was a heck of a lot of pressure to put on a kid. I would like to think that parents purpose in life isn't to make themselves so co-dependent with their children that if the kids some how mess up then all is not lost. But I think I was fundamentally missing the point of that statement. What it means is that there is nothing more important to live for.

I remember my mom telling me stories about the first weeks when she brought me home from the hospital. How, in the midst of folding laundry she would play the what if 'game'. What would she do if masked bandits forced their way into the house? How would she save me? What would she do if there was a fire? How would she get me out? The first time she told me about this I chalked it up to mild postpartum depression. And yet, no sooner was Isla in my arms was I thinking and preparing how to protect, guard and put myself between her and what ever potential threat I could think of. Now I do attribute some of that hyper awareness to hormones after birth. After all, it would make sense that thousands of years ago our monkey ancestors would need that boost of protectiveness to keep their off spring from the neighbourhood saber tooth tigers lunch table.

Beyond a rush of hormones I think simply going through the birth experience opens a person up to the fact that some times crap happens you wish wouldn't. Almost every woman I have spoken to about their birth experience has said that at one point they thought the pain was going to kill them. It might have been a split second before the reading, preparing, coaching, meditation, breathing techniques (or heavy narcotics) kicked in, But each one of us hit a point when we really thought we could not go on. I think facing that opens you more to 'the other side' if you let it.

Some moms I have spoken to about this have had those labour experiences you never want to hear. The stories you skim over in your “How to deliver a Baby” guide book, if the authors are brave enough to put them in. For those moms the trauma of facing a lethal tiger in the birth room leaves an indelible mark. It is not something that can be forgotten or that can be 'gotten over'. Facing their own, and some times their baby's mortality just as a new life is supposed to be beginning is not something anyone ever expects. That's a look into the other side that has profound effects on the way a person looks at raising a child or even more grandly, the way you look at life as a whole. Thankfully, thus far, I haven't personally had that experience. But I do feel that the moms who have do look at things in a different way. Not necessarily more profound but such a thing isn't gone through without it bringing change to a person.

But even your average labouring mom has a peek into the other side. To me it seems that in those last few hours of carrying that baby in our bodies mothers are walking the fine edge between 'here' and 'there', where ever 'there' is.

As a part of my own preparation to give birth to Colin I began reading “Birthing From Within”. I must tell you it was not exactly my cup of tea. It was a little too granola-y for me, a little too spiritual, a little too creative, just a little too much. Yet I read the whole thing because as a person who is employed to talk to Moms about to give birth, have just given birth or have long since given birth and are now focused on raising kids I like to read the parenting/birthing books that people are talking about. (My next read is Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother FYI)

Anyway at one point in Birthing From Within the author calls the state you enter into at the height of labour, when things are their hardest and when you are under the complete control of your body (the end of active labour into transition and the pushing stage to some extent) Labour Land. They explain it as a sort of head space you go into to block out the external world and you fully become all about whats happening internally. They liken it to meditation in fact.

I can say without a doubt I have visited labour land and its one whacked out place. The only way I can explain what that was like was I felt as though I was diving into the pain. It wasn't a wave washing over me as contractions are often compared to, I was deep in that wave just focusing on swimming with the current. Quite honestly Santa Clause, Colin Firth and Jane Austen could have showed up in my room and I wouldn't have given two shits. In those moments I felt like I was touching the other side. If I go really wavy-gravy it was like I had to go to the other side to bring my baby back from 'there'. Because the minute I pushed that new person out, looked in their eyes, there was no doubt that they just came from the place we all end up.

When my new babes looked in my eyes for the first time, I swear to you they both said the same thing to me;

“The big guy says “hi” and wants you to know that THIS is what love feels like, and he knows you will keep screwing up but forgives you for it, and don't worry, The Grandparents and Alex are doing fine. Now. Wheres the food?”

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dear Colin

Dear Colin

Its been almost five months since you joined this crazy party. I know, five months and not one blog post about you. To be honest my Biggy Boy I did type out the long drawn out tale of your birth but thought better of posting it on here. Let's be honest; no 20 something wants to read about their mothers cervix, and as the media keeps telling me, whats put on line is on line forever.

We are in the midst of trying to teach you that sleep is something that you can do on your own. It. Is. Killing. Me. Its been three days since you slept in the big bed with me. I felt every single minute of those three nights. The first night you spent in your crib it was a physical ache. I missed, so much, those moments that can only really happen when you sleep next to another person.

I could tell how your night was by how you would spend the last few moment before you opened your blue eyes. If you had a good, restful sleep filled with cuddles and deep peaceful dreams (of what?) you would spend the last moments chuckling. Chuckling at what or who, I only wish I knew. It's a deep chuckle, one that bubbles up from your toes and rolls through your legs, through your tummy and up your throat and then out it comes, between your clasped hands that you always hold in front of you. It seems you are so pleased with the dream world you just cant contain that chuckle for one more second. If when you open your eyes and look straight into mine, or even if you just wake up looking at the light on the ceiling, you greet either of us with this smile that tells me you just can not wait to see what incredible things (Will the cat will walk by? Maybe Isla will dance for you? Will today be a bath day?) are going to happen today. You exemplify how everyone wishes they could wake up in the morning.

I will miss just quietly looking at you while you are in the deepest part of your sleep, when (almost) nothing and no one can wake you up. Your arms beside your head like some sort of infant referee signaling “Goal!!!” While you sleep, tucked into me or spread across the bed, but always oh so warm, your skin takes on this perfect colour and texture. Peaches and cream. Slightly darker under your eyes. Lips just that bit pinker then your cheeks, pushing and pulling against each other. Maybe your dreaming of eating? Maybe dreaming of when you finally, finally can talk to your big sister?

In those quiet moments when you are unaware of your Mothers almost unnerving concentration on you, are the moments when I am filled with absolute wonder and a love so all encompassing that classifying it as merely love seems an to insult the state. I am perpetually awed by the fact that I find every single part of you so engrossing. I am serious. I can be perfectly content staring at you for embarrassing lengths of time.

Before children I used to fancy myself somewhat intellectually inclined aesthete. I liked to think deep thoughts, contemplate the state of the world, discuss art, truth, the nature of beauty and love. But now I find that feeling of engagement by merely watching you sleep or your sister playing imagine. There is not one lecturer, text book, museum, art gallery that has made me see the external world or my own private, internal world more honestly, with more compassion or more insight.

I was saying to your Dad tonight that is blows me away how each baby is perfectly designed so every single part of them is appealing to their parents. From your pinky toe to your left eyebrow, each part of you is formed specifically for me to find endearing. Nature, genetics and evolution are frightening forces to reckon with.

Well my Biggy Boy. I can hear you crying again in your crib. How it rips at my heart. But maybe years from now you will read this and forgive me the therapy you had to go through because I decided to let you cry it out. Or, more likely, you'll just read this and roll your eyes (looking much like your Father I imagine) and think what sentimental, overwrought pandering. At which point I will smile and think, wait until you make me a Grandma before you judge this overwrought sentimental Momma.

I love you to the moon and back again.