Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Announcing the MFM Online Book Club!

OK readers, I have been pondering this for awhile and the lovely folks at Random House have made it possible. Thanks ragdoll! (If other publishers want to sponsor us, please feel free to contact me.)

I need incentive to finish novels. So I thought I'd start a book club. And instead of being forced to entertain strangers in your home only to find they haven't read the book, we'll just meet here, once a month to discuss. Completely optional of course. I will select a book (and also take suggestions) and then you have a timeline in which to read the novel by. Then we meet here on said week and discuss.

To make it interesting, the books will all either be written by mothers or be about motherhood for now. I am also thinking it should go one serious novel followed by a fun one. As we move through titles we may decide that this format no longer works for us and, as this is a democracy, if someone feels that they really really want us all to read a certain title that doesn't fit these perameters, then you can twist my rubber arm I'm sure.

So to kick off the MFM Online Book Club, I propose we start with The Girls by Toronto author Lori Lansens. The novel follows a pair of conjoined twin sisters and she apparently got the idea for it after breastfeeding two children. (Boy, can I ever relate to that!?!)

To really make this more exciting (could it be more exciting?), I have TWO copies of the book to give away as prizes. The only catch is you must read it and comment on it here. Oh, and you must be the first two people to email me the answer to the skill-testing question: When is Nate's birthday?

Anyone can join at any time. The book should be read by November 30th when we will begin our online discussion here at Martinis for Milk. Happy reading!

Monday, October 24, 2005

French Fiasco

So I don't normally read the Globe and Mail, mostly because they employ Haughty MacLaren and think that any of us care what her priveledged I-get-to-go-to-London-and-everything-is-better-there ass thinks. Same goes for the Post with Heckler Eckler, who I could possibly like -- I am halfway through her book Knocked Up and we do have similarities -- if she could just realize for a damn minute that most of us moms didn't get knocked up in a $900 dress (though many of us were also drunk, sweetie) nor did we get to fly to Calgary to have an elective C-section because we were too posh to push. Canada's answers to Carrie Bradshaw have been rather disappointing.

But I digress. While in St John's, I noticed the Globe because it was free in the lobby of my hotel. And it had this man's giant head on the front. Poor Neil French had to step down from his richy rich job because when asked why more women aren't creative directors in the ad world, he said this:

"You can't be a great creative director and have a baby and keep spending time off every time your kids are ill. You can't do the job. Somebody has to do it and the guy has to do it the same way that I've had to spend months and months flying around the world and not seeing my kid. You think that's not a sacrifice? Of course it's a sacrifice. I hate it. But that's the job and that's what I do in order to keep my family fed."

At first I was disgusted. What kind of sexist bullshit is that? But the more I think about it, it's freakin' true. Life is about choices. You can't do it all and think that there will be no fallout. That doesn't make the system right though.

The man is a sexist ass. There's no arguing that. One only has to look at his resume and remember a lifetime of misoginistic Canadian beer ads to figure that out. But when it comes to the corporate world, that's how the game is played. I am only just beginning to understand that those who succeed give their life to the job. A former boss of mine would work weekends and send emails at midnight on a holiday Monday and I would be puzzled. Who the heck does that, I would ask myself. I thought there was something wrong with her. But no. I must've been napping at my desk in a pregnant fog when the workforce landscape changed completely and this amount of hours on the job became the norm. But it is expected now. And someone working those hours isn't weird to the head of your department, she's dedicated.

It makes me scratch my head. We've done this to each other. We've made our society "live to work" instead of "work to live." It's no longer about getting paid so that you can afford to enjoy life. It's about giving up your life so you can keep working. And how are mothers expected to fit into this new picture? Well, if Mr. French's comments say anything at all, moms just don't fit into the picture. In fact anyone who doesn't sleep, breathe, and shit "work" doesn't fit into Western corporate culture. And since most moms are doing less sleeping and breathing than most people, we definitely don't have a chance. (We do have the market on all things shit-related, however.)

Unless of course, your children are just an accessory, like my Boolenciaga. Something to talk about over your Venti 7:30 am meeting. Then you just let the nanny deal with the doctor when the kiddies are sick and you don't have to miss so much as a power lunch. Hell, you don't even have to take their calls! Most moms are appalled at this notion, but trust me, in corporateland this mom exists and she's probably your boss or your boss' boss. Because she can put in the time. And because she can pretend to care about the "Where's Tatty Ratty?" call while deciding who gets laid off next.

There's also something to be said about sacrifice. Mr. French claims he put in so much time to keep his family fed. Family fed what? Caviar? Ask the kids if they had the choice between going to UCC or having you at a soccer game, I wonder which they'd pick. But they probably hate him now and are only nice to him so they get in the will. My mother didn't go out to dinners, she didn't buy designer gear or lattes, she didn't travel to Paris with her friends, but she WAS home for every lunchtime, every after-school snack, every math problem, boy problem, school recital, field trip, shopping trip. She didn't define herself by things, but by moments and memories. God I love her. At the end of the day, which lifestyle is more worth it? I think what the modern mother is searching for is a middle ground. But does it exist?

I've got 3 months left on mat leave and this latest scandal doesn't make heading back to The Corporation any easier. Like most, I need the paycheck, but at what cost? If we give our mothers so little value, then what hope do we have for the future? I admit, I won't be staying until 9 pm like I did in my hey-day, but I'm still looking to get out of the house and have some adult time a few days a week. I'd like to put some good creative energy into whatever it is I am doing during those hours. So confused about this topic.

There must still be a place for those of us who want to do work, good work, but don't want to stay all night getting it done. It's not heart surgery after all. More pressing for the heart is that I will only spend 3 waking hours a day with Nate should I go back to the 9-5. Wake up at 7, somehow get ready for work while playing with him and loving him up, leave at 8 or 8:30, back by 6 pm, no time to unwind, just eat something, feed him something, bathe him and he's asleep by 8. Look forward to the weekend. How do people do it? And the message we're sending is, "So glad you could put in 8 hours while thinking about your kid all day. Just don't ever expect to make 6 figures, OK?"

This article in the Post tries to put the whole mess into perspective. "For better or worse (and we argue that it is for the better), women tend to have the perspective to recognize the enduring importance of family and community. Men, by contrast, have a greater tendency to become single-mindedly focused on advancing themselves in corporate hierarchies. In most organizations, therefore, men tend to work longer hours, and make more sacrifices, for their employers."

"...Of course, there are women out there living just this sort of unappealing life. In the corporate world, legends abound of supermom execs FedExing home bottles of breast milk to newborn babies from distant hotels, or videoconferencing in on the home computer to wish their toddlers goodnight. But many such women understandably become emotionally burnt out -- which explains why, at the highest ranks of the corporate world, a disproportionate number of women are childless. The idea that the dearth of female executives is the result of some sort of sexist "glass ceiling" is mostly a myth: The gender imbalance in the corner office is caused primarily by self-selection, not discrimination."

2 months 29 days and counting...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

New Found Land

My trip in pictures. I blinked and it was over. And it wasn't so bad. Sometimes I felt like I was missing a limb. Most of the time I spent realizing that the flight attendants are right: you really do have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before attending to the child next to you. And boy, what a breath of fresh, salt-water infused O2 it was.

Ah, St. John's Harbour. Can you imagine anything nicer? This is taken from Signal Hill. You gotta go up Signal Hill when you go to St. J's. It THE thing to do. Heh. The little stone house below is the Queen's Battery. That's where they stored ammo and protected the harbour. I packed too much (my luggage was an embarassing 35 lbs!) and drank too little (3 glasses of wine and a rum and coke - over 2 nights!), but had a magnificent time in the birthplace of North America (try and fight me on that all you want, but I'm married to a Viking).

Cape Spear (kept wanting to call it Cape Fear) is the easternmost point in Canada. This of course has me obsessed with going to the westernmost point now. This country is, unfortunately, really fucking huge!

When I got off the plane, I was greeted by a lovely woman named Marlene (never met a Marlene I didn't like), who was holding a sign with my name on it. How cool is that? And right under my name was the name of another Toronto filmmaker, Michelle Francis. As we were waiting for our bags, she announced that she had a one year-old at home and it was her first time being away from him. I announced that I was in the same boat and I had freakin forgotten my breast pump. (I know, I know) She looked at my with her beautiful blue eyes and said, "You could borrow mine." Serendipity at its finest my friends. We had them switch our rooms so we were together and we basically had this whole townhouse to ourselves. It was like being in Paris Hilton's dorm or something. We would take turns using the pump and calling home to check on the babies, and then head out for adventure.

The first night we went to see our own films. We had to get up and introduce our films, which I totally fucked up because I was so nervous. My sister-in-law's in-laws came to the screening and it was nice to have some familial support there even if we're not actually related. People laughed at the appropriate spots and I felt good while watching it again. Michelle's film, Undo is about abortion and was really quite good.

Afterwards, the film fest people took us all for drinks. We tried to chat with the other directresses but we got the "I'm too cool for you vibe" from a few of them, particularly THIS one. I think it was because...

a) we were moms. They clearly don't know that moms are the new black.
b) they thought my Boolenciaga bag was real (pictured in photo). Tante bought a AAA fake on eBay and just couldn't live with herself once she finally figured out it was fake. You have to be the CIA to know it's fake. If I walked into Holt's they'd try to sell my broke ass another $1600 bag. It's leather and hot and I ain't Sienna Miller, so I was willing to fork out the buck fifty she paid for it.
c) I was next to Jan for every stage of making this film... except when he wrote the credits (he only credited me with coming up with the story with him. Uh, hello? That's love for ya.) I guess they were wondering how we got into a Women's Film Fest if it looked like hubby did all the work.

Then a really drunk Newfie came up to us and said, "Wow, you girls all have really great tits!!" I looked him flat in the eye and replied cooly, "Thanks. Our sons really think so." And we left the bar. Michelle and I mostly skipped the schmoozy stuff -- mostly because neither of us read the WELCOME pamphlet until I was leaving -- and just hung out together. I hope that we'll stay friends because it was great meeting her and she really saved my ass.
I became obsessed with taking the perfect photo of this lighthouse. It is on the opposite side of "The Narrows", the local name for the tight opening between the Atlantic ocean and the harbour. It was just so remote, so isolated, like a metaphor for my emotional state of late.

This is where Marconi sent the first signal from. Marconi rocks! He's the reason you are even seeing this image.
Quidi Vidi Lake (pronounced Kiddie Viddie or Kwiyda Viyda depending on where in Newf you come from) is a surrounded by large hills and a small community with a restaurant, a brewery and an antique shop where I got three chunky necklaces du jour for $20 - total!

So the in-laws of my in-laws picked us up Thursday and drove us around the greater St. John's area. Carol, pictured in the photo, is a lovely woman who has a LOT to say. Here we are at Cape Spear. It's like the ocean is beckoning you to take a closer look so it can sweep you away. Tons of people have drowned here doing just that. But I could think of worse ways to bite the bucket.

Lakefront land in Newf costs about $12K an acre (maybe less in some parts). It is tempting to entertain the thought of buying a pref-fab scandinavian home to plop on top of the cheap land and live there for the summer months. The winter is too awful pour moi. 6 metres of snow is a tad too much in one sitting thank you, though icebergs in that harbour may sway my mind somewhat.

There are miles of trail that run along this coast, from Signal Hill to this spot, and tons of benches to sit on and think. My kinda place.

Lighthouse at Cape Spear, one of the most known images associated with Newfoundland.

Must come back in late Spring for lobster season and whale watching! These are lobster traps in Petty Cove. We talked to some fishermen there. They were so cute. They told us about Orca, some big American feature that came in and paid them all out the whazoo -- probably every time they couldn't figure out the Newfie accent, the producers shelled out the bucks. True, sometimes I coulda used subtitles, but their smiles were all I needed to understand.

The view from the skies. In one, the clouds look like snow. In the other, you can see where the St. Lawrence seaway meets Lake Ontario. What an amazing trip. I was sure glad to get home and see my boys though. Thanks to all the warm, wonderful people I met in Newfoundland!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Just because you might miss him as much as me

Fun with molding mud.

Panic Setting In

OK, I'm starting to freak out. People go to Newfoundland every day right? There better be no turbulence or I think I will pass out. I'm normally a believer of "If your number's up, your number's up" but I've never had so much to lose before. I keep staring at Nate sleeping and tearing up. I'm being a total suck. Ack. How will I leave him tomorrow morn?

Oh man... I am still up packing for myself (easy), and also packing for Nate (very fucking hard)

Diapers, wipes, clothes for three days, food for three days, emergency numbers, thermometers, just-in-case drugs... I hope it's worth it.

Send me good vibes.

East Coast Y'all

Well der biy, I don't know how it happened, but I am going to St. John's, Newfoundland tomorrow. By. My. Self.

Holy crap! I got a call Friday from the Women's Film Festival, inviting me to come and represent our film, Perfectly Imperfect, at the fest. Airfare and hotel paid for (your lovely tax dollars at work friends. I LOVE this country!), which was the only way I could go really with the new house and baby and all. My mum-in-law agreed to watch Nate for three days while I'm off schmoozing and kissing the cod.

I wish someone could come with me and enjoy the lavish amenities at this luxury boutique hotel. I debated taking Nate with me, but the film screens at 9 pm and hey, I think I owe it to myself to do a wee bit of elbow rubbin' afterwards. I debated going with my mother-in-law, since I know she would give'r 90, but then who would watch Nate? It's great that it all happened so fast, because I really don't have time to let the guilt set in. Besides, it's only 2.5 days. Consider it a trial run for my 5 day Paris break next month.

Anyhoo, will be back with stories on the weekend. Have a great week all!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Costume Connundrum

I wish I hadn't seen THIS costume online. They don't ship to Canada (apparently hot dog costumes are banned in Canada or something, because not even anyone on eBay would ship this costume to Canada) and I am now obsessed with making it. Trust me, I'd rather buy it, but there is extreme pressure on the Dog's side of the fam to make costumes. His sister is a whiz at making costumes for Bex with little effort. Their best mother/daughter combo was a dalmation and Cruella Deville.

Sure, sure, I could just make him a pumpkin or Winnie the Pooh, but my child is far from chubby and I would have to stuff the costume to make it cute. He'd be better off going as a supermodel, he's so skinny. Just not Kate Moss dear.

A hot dog is long and lean like him, and we happen to be quite fond of them around here. I know once I show the Dog this outfit, he will insist that I make it for Nate and also make him the matching "fries" outfit. Ugh. I'd better drop this hot dog idea faster than H&M dropped Kate.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Must Love Dogs

As I refer to my husband as The Dog, I seem to be attracting a lot of dog-bloggers via the search engine on this site. They solicit me with the type of email that leads me to believe many of them aren't even reading my site and are just looking for a co-linking relationship. "Love your blog, check out my blog on dogs." Sorry, ahem, but I'm already spoken for. I just hope they don't think I am having sex with an actual pooch.

Anyway, here are some plugs to their sites, in case you happen to be into dogs. I think more than half of my regulars have dogs (Kristen, Marla, TO MAMA, Sugar, Blondie... to name a few). I am in no way affilliated with these sites, so if you click on them and get someone doing it doggy style instead of canine fashions, don't look at me.

My Pet Poo -- strange name, but looks like a portal for pet stuff.

Designer Doggie Wear -- stitches for your bitches.

All About Dogs -- another dog portal.

Dog Blog -- I think this guy's into dog rescue stuff. But he's named after a wrestler.

Now just to be clear, let me break down for y'all why I call my husband the Dog. I am not the only one. I did not start it. It's a leftover from college, like the cold sore I get every year around Christmas. The Dogger might genetically be 49% canine. Before I got preggers, a bunch of us went to see Godspeed You Black Emperor at Palais Royal. Toward the end of the show, the Dog went missing. My friend CookieBiscotti was worried. "Don't worry," I reassured her, "He's a dog. He's gone off to sniff some butts and some trees and take a leak in the open air. But he always comes back to his master."

My husband can sit in Trinity Bellwoods park (the actual dogpark in the movie Dogpark ) and watch dogs all day. He writes poems and stories about dogs. He gets misty at the site of a strawberry blonde cocker spaniel because they all forever remind him of his dead dog Tammy. He'll take long walks on a daily basis and often comes home with a stick or a rock from his journey. He'll eat anything and nothing that's hit the floor is too grody for him. He can catch frisbees and balls for hours, but is also quite content to lay with his head on your lap while you watch TV. So long as you pet him.

He is fiercely loyal, unabashedly affectionate, and slightly weary of strangers. My great defendor and favourite playmate, he's always got my back. He has a very long tongue.

There are, of course, negatives that come with the Dog. When he's ready to go outside, he's out the door before I can even grab the leash -- I mean my purse. The outdoor are always calling him, and with me having the personality of a cat, our needs often conflict. I'd much rather stay curled up someplace warm, whereas his man-fur protects him from the harsh elements and makes him all season adaptable.

He is often absent-minded, as the sudden thought or sight of a tree will make him forget what errand he had set out to do. When he needs to wander, no one can stop him. He can be unbelievably stubborn.

We have been through many ups and downs over the years, as most couples have. Some things forgiveable, some barely acceptable, but through it all we have loved each other with an intensity that could power an office building and heat a house. I love you Doggie.

Scarbie's Law

I'm sure there's more of these to come, but these 5 are off the top of my head.

1. If you just bought a cute top from Zara, newly-independent self-feeders will have an inexplicable desire to put their banana-mushed hands all over you. If you've just washed your new top, then add a Pablum-covered mouth to your shoulder.

2. When your floors are finally spotless -- shiny even -- you will inevitably step on four stray Cheerios you didn't see... and maybe a random piece of butternut squash or steamed carrot.

3. If you have to be somewhere at 4pm, tell yourself (and your baby) you have to be there at noon.

4. Should you try to put on clean underwear or a pair of pants that don't have food on them, or should you need to use the toilet, your baby will suddenly find the one stray razor blade/shard of glass/piece of uranium/$30 lipstick in your house and chaos will ensue.

5. When you and your partner have decided to light some candles and finally get it on, your baby will sense that you are having fun and wake up screaming and inconsollable.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Peddies from Heaven

So apparently, there is a God and she happens to be the two women who opened Buff Nails in the T-dot.

Every Tuesday from 10 am to noon they have a Manicures for Mommies session, with supervised play area for your children! Their prices are reasonable ($45 for mani and pedi) and it looks like there's none of that "you might get Hepatitis and we're going to laugh at you in Vietnamese, but we're only $35" vibe you get at my usual nail bars.

Their slogan -- No appointments, No acrylics, No attitude -- really appeals to me. Anyone into checking it out?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

FEVER in the morning, fever all through the night

So Nate has been acting peculiar the past two days. He completely slept through the night two nights in a row and took both a two hour morning and two hour afternoon nap, yesterday AND today. That's not my kid. My kid parties. All. The. Time.

Now it's no secret that I am a neurotic freak. So when I woke up this morning to flushed red cheeks, my instinct was to bust out the thermometer and the Tylenol. "You're being paranoid," said my husband's voice inside my head. "Don't rely on medicines so much," said my mother's voice inside my head.

So I did nothing. I tried to feed him with no success. I wasted a banana, an apple and a pear (all organic=expensive) as well as a bowl of cereal and a bottle of formula trying to get him interested in eating. Maybe he wants to feed himself, I thought. Nope. Maybe he doesn't like these choices, I mused. Nope, nope, nope. Frustrated and in tears, I called the Dog on the cell.

"Um, I don't know what to do. I can't do anything right. I play classical music, I sing to him, I try distraction, I let him get his mush on the cordless phone... nothing is working. All he is doing is whining and reaching for the boob!"

"Try not to freak out," was the response. You can watch TV on your phone now, but there is no option to strangle your husband on a mobile device.

"Yeah whatever, if you hear about us on the news, don't be surprised." OK, so sometimes I'm melodramatic for attention. People who live in thermal glass houses shouldn't be tossing around pebbles from their zen meditation desktop sandboxes.

The Dog is used to this behaviour and pretends he has to edit something that goes on air in 5 minutes. Click.

I take Nate up to his room and decide to give in and boob him in the rocking chair. His head is on fire. I reach over, without disturbing his feeding, and grab the thermometer out of the basket with that kind of stuff in it. He giggles as I shove it in his armpit. 36.5. Normal. Phew. Oh wait. It's climbing up. 37.0. Still normal. it going to stop there...38.3...4...5...6. Beep beep beep. Fuck.

Squeeze vast amounts of Tylenol down his throat (OK only about a ml, but that doesn't sound as dramatic does it?), call my mother-in-law, my mother and the doctor in about 5 minutes time. Is he going to have another seizure? No? That's all I'm supposed to do? I call the Dog and cry some more, he indulges for a bit and then makes his excuses. I call my mom again, who has surfed every baby website in the 5 minutes since I've talked to her. I can give a bath? OK. Tub is on, clothes off, cool water on the head, rubber ducky and... wait... we have a smile... a giggle and oh, I think he's OK folks.

He wears a wet towel on his head all aft with no complaints. He nursed like mad all afternoon, but he seems his normal self again. He even managed to eat some food before thrusting it to the floor like an ape. But I am knackered. (Another good brit-phrase, eh Double Momma?) The Dog is home just in time to see our little pup all jolly, as if nothing happened. I want to crawl under a rock. I'm just waiting for the men with white jackets to come and take me to my padded room so I can get some rest.

Guilt Trip

OK, so I've done something I am starting to feel awful about. I booked a mini-break to Paris for my sister's 30th b-day in November -- just a month away.

Nate is protesting the bottle so fiercely (he won't even take the two daily bottles of formula that the doctor prescribed) that I did some research online. At the majority of moms and lactation experts say that cutting breastfeeding cold turkey is awful and traumatic. They also say that if the baby isn't ready, you just have to wait it out. Also, the American Pediatric Society recommends breastfeeding until the child is a year, and the friggin WHO recommend breastfeeding until the child is TWO!

Holy fucking shit! Am I about to cause some major distress to my little one? Is he going to hate all women because of this, end up a serial killer, or worse -- a Conservative!?! I am such a selfish asshole sometimes. Ugh.

He has stayed with the Grandmas in the past for a few days at a time, but I have always showed up within 24 hours for a quick feed and a cuddle. This will be a bomb going off for little Nate. What was I thinking?

Suggestions friends? I need help!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Tale of Two Titties

I wish I could do one of those Vanity Fair timelines to illustrate the story I am about to tell you. But some sort of point form list will have to suffice.

* I hit puberty at around age 11. I sprouted nipples and that was about it.

* I was eager to show off my 6th grade nips and started focusing on my posture to ensure everyone could see them. I got into my first and only fist fight as a result, when Alice Istanbul accused me off sticking them out for everyone to see. Looking back on it, that's exactly what I was doing. I guess I got a little defensive about it and disagreed with her until we were kicking and scratching each other. (Thankfully we both got over it and still keep in touch to this day)

* My mother (a 36 D back then and a 38 F currently) thought it would be best to hide my new developments from the world and bought me a training bra. I insisted I get the one with the pink bow, because that's the one Samantha Micelli got on Who's the Boss and I remember it being a big deal, the bow.

* The training bra was nothing short of constricting and I am convinced it stunted my growth.

* I never got past a 34 A, which predetermined my high school trajectory.

* At 12 I read Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me Margaret and did the "We must. We must. We must increase our bust" exercises. Just ended up with really strong pecs.

* When I was 14, we went to Turkey for a month to visit relatives. My aunt felt me up (no joke -- straight outta Sixteen Candles ), laughed and kept calling them mandarin oranges.

* I was 16 the first time a boy touched my boobies. It was after we saw Ghost at Bayview Village. I was like, "This is alright!" Thus began a short but painful phase of thinking that boys who touched my nippies really liked me for me.

* At 17 I discovered Wonderbra front clasp (I think the model was 1330 or something. Queen Nomad - do you remember?). Life was looking up. So was my semi-cleavage.

* At 19 the doctor found a lump in my breast. I freaked out. I always thought it was God Giveth and God Taketh Away. How could he take away something that he never gave me?

* The ultrasound technician told me I had a nice tan when I took my top off. The mammography device-grip flattened my poor Lefty into a flat half-lemon. It was all too much.

* It turned out I have cystic breasts with cysts that come and go and hurt so bad it wakes me up in the night if I have a Venti Caramel Macchiato.

* At 20, I discovered in Cosmopolitan that some models duct-taped their breasts together for increased cleavage. I began to ritualistically bind my breasts together for going out clubbing. I lived at home and therefore wasn't going home with anyone, so this method was enough to get me some numbers and an occasional dancefloor makeout. Here I am in my hoochier days, so insecure, so desperate for attention, so much PVC and Pam Anderson heels from Orfus Road outlets.

* At 24, I met the Dog, who in true canine fashion, preferred sniffing bums and crotches to anything in the chest area. I decided we were soulmates.

* At the wedding of the Dog's best friend, I wore a slightly revealing dress that moved around a tad too much after a few Vodka Sodas, inspiring this post. Ah hell, I don't care if you see it too. The whole world has seen it. Here is my contender for Elaine Bennis-esque Christmas card:

* At 29, I found out I was pregnant. My breasts began to swell at an alarming, but quite enjoyable rate. By 5 months preggers I was a 36 C. After years of flat-chest jokes on birthday cards, I rejoiced.

* At 30.5 I gave birth to the love of my life, Nathaniel. I freaked out because he was in the NICU and I had to look at digital photos of him while pumping with a machine to get my milk to come in. Nothing was coming out.

* He was born Sunday and it was Thursday before my milk came in. And when it did... boy oh boy. It was like I had implants. Rock hard implants. Much like 3-inch stilettos, huge breasts would come at a cost too. No pain no gain.

* My husband's best friend came to visit us in the hospital as I was nursing Nate. His eyes popped out of his head. I acknowledged the slightly uncomfortable moment by saying, "I KNOW! They're enormous, aren't they?"

* I learned to ignore the fact that my father or father-in-law were in the room. Then I began to ignore the fact that anyone was in the room. I whipped it out in restaurants, in bookstores, in bars and in *GASP* Yorkville!

* I tried not to feel weird when family members would kiss Nate while he was attached to "the girls".

* My son could not keep up with my milk production. It would spill out the sides of his wee mouth and make him choke and spatter.

* I got used to stinky, sour-milk bras and putting on shirts that were "clean enough."

* If I made out with my man, the milk would spill all over his chest and our sheets. I forgot to wear a bra one night to sleep and we both woke up SOAKED!

* I soon discovered that I could shoot the back wall of the shower. I wondered why no one ever invented an Olympic category for Distance Milk-Squirting.

* Went to Secrets from your Sister to get properly outfitted with a nursing bra (I had outgrown all the original ones I bought). After much feeling up by the staff and $80 later, I went home with a 36 D! My molehills had become mountains!

* I did not recognize my body and felt very uncomfortable in clothes. The boy-style tees I am known for suddenly looked terrible and in a fit of post-partum insanity, I threw most of them out. Maybe huge boobs aren't all they're cut out to be...

* Around the time Nate began to eat solids, my milk production began to slow down drastically and I went back to some 36 B bras I had purchased as I was climbing up the racks. I stopped needing the horrific bra pads that make every shirt look lumpy. I could sleep topless in the extreme Toronto heat -- the girls were free at last! I started to feel good about my body again, though I still don't recognize the girls. They need some botox or something. My apples are now pears.

* After 6 months of solid breastfeeding, I started letting the Grandmas feed him a bottle of formula or two while baby-sitting.

* When Nate started biting me during and after teething, I began trying to give him a bit more formula each day. He still resists with all his might. He shoves the bottle or cup away angrily and latches on to my breast over my clothes in protest. It's his own fault, the cutey. The teeth are the reason I am quitting. He bites me daily now. Sometimes he leaves teeth marks. Sometimes the pain makes me cry. I think even the breastfeeding nazis can forgive me this. I did my best for the past 9.5 months. I normally like to leave the party on a high note, but it seems this time I stayed till the ugly lights came on. Time to go.

* I am convinced that I will wean (at least the day feedings) over the next month. My son is convinced otherwise. Sorry sweetie, Mommy just wants her damn breasts back to herself.

To Be Continued...

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for many things, but moments like this one are what truly makes me feel smiley. Nate and Scout negotiating over the cat food. Poor kitty. It's not bad enough that Nate gets all the attention, but he tries to take her food too!

Anyway, we had a nice holiday. Nate took his bowl of turkey and sweet potato and flung it to the ground in an angry fit (I guess he'd had enough?) Oh well. He learn to love Turkey Day soon enough.

Shipped him off to my folks yesterday. Spent the morning watching Disc 4 of Desperate Housewives in my bathrobe and the afternoon getting some much-needed cooking and cleaning done. Nice to have the whole house to yourself.

That's all for now -- Nate's pulling CDs out of the CD shelf so gotta go. A long funny post to come later.

Friday, October 07, 2005

One for the weekend

Here's my dreamboat, takin' a strenous poop in his highchair. Make sure to have your All Bran Bars this weekend folks!

Thanksgivin'er Movie Reviews

OK, I gotta give a big shout out to my sis (who always complains that I don't mention her enough in this blog). The wee puppy has been sick for 10 days now, and I really needed to get out of the house a few nights and stop wiping noses. Tante came over to babysit twice in the past week and thus, the Dog and I managed to see not one, but TWO, count 'em, TWO movies! IN THE THEATRE! I'm feeling rather spoiled. Anyways, here are my recommendations for this Thanksgivin'er weekend: one for everyone and one for big people only.

If you have kids that are old enough to see and understand this movie, or if you are someone who is smart enough to know that animated films are not just for kids, go and see this "24-carrot adventure". As one acquaintance put it in an email, "This movie rocks so hard!"

If you saw Chicken Run and loved it, this is even better. Claymation is so much cooler than all this new school computer-generated stuff. When you watch this and realize they shot it one frame at a time... wow... the level of detail, the tiny intricacies... These people are sub-human geniuses.

Wallace is a slightly crazy, bumbling inventor and Gromit is his super intelligent dog, who is trapped in a world of seeing and understanding everything, but being able to say nothing (poor doggy). The annual vegetable contest is on and the townspeople are counting on Wallace and Gromit to preserve their crops from rabbits and the like. But when a strange beast appears, eating the prized giant veggies and destroying Wallace's rabbit-proof inventions, it seems like the annual festivity might get cancelled. And so will Wallace and Gromit's contracts.

With the hilarious scenes, a great story and perhaps the catchiest score ever, you will find yourself whistling the theme and smiling for days after you see this movie. This mommy gives it 5 pacifiers out of 5.

I have to admit, I am not a huge David Cronenberg fan. I respect his work and think he is a pretty cool guy (I met him once while working on Jason X. I even worked with his daughter Cassandra once.), his work suffers from the "I am Canadian, therefore my film must be bizarre" syndrome (what's up with that?). Guys turn into flies, people get off during car crashes, video games can be played via your innards -- it's all a bit much if your not a huge sci-fi or film geek.

But A History of Violence has none of that. Cronenberg's most mainstream film to date speaks to our own history of violence: how we are numb to brutality and gore after seeing so much of it, how we accept some forms of violence while renouncing others, and how we may inherit violent tendencies we did not know we had. I don't want to give away anything of the plot, so if you haven't read anything about the film, DON'T. Just take my word and go see it. You'll like it more if you don't know the secrets.

The number one reason to see this film is Viggo Mortensen. I have been in love with this man since he played the hot American after Nicole Kidman's character in Portrait of a Lady . The more I read about him, the more I heart him. Yeah sure, he was hot in Lord of the Rings, with his greasy, battle-for-middle earth hair and his knowing Elvish -- truly every woman's knight in shining armour. But have you seen him as the blouse salesman in A Walk on the Moon with Diane Lane? So much hotter.

In real life, he paints, takes photos, plays jazz and writes poetry. He's 1/2 Scandinavian, 1/2 Manhattan New Yorker (what a combo!) He rides horses. Oh my. I will stop gushing now.

Anyway, his performance in A History of Violence is nothing short of perfect. The story has some great twists and definitely gets you talking afterwards. But it's the character study of this man, Tom Stall, that is Cronenberg's finest achievement. The two of these artists bringing this character to life... well it's nothing short of fabulous. Some of the looks in Viggo's eyes, his body language...his naked bum... no seriously though, he is -- to steal a phrase from Sean Penn -- "one of our finest actors."

Great supporting performances by Maria Bello, Ed Harris (no surprise there) and an interesting role for William Hurt, who will have your jaw dropped open -- he's cast that much against type, but so amazing!

There are two graphic sex scenes that are a tad uncomfortable to watch, but looking back on them they provided some the most honest and real moments in the film. Of course the gore is gorier in the film of a man who has worked with special/visual fx people for decades, so that may be hard to take for some. And some of the actors in the smaller roles were just plain cheesy or recognizable from crappy Canadian commercials, so it was hard to get past that. But I definitely like it more, the more I think about it and the message becomes clearer to me.

Go see this with some people you like talking to and plan to have dinner or drinks afterwards in order to discuss. Leave the kiddies at home (even the teens). Mommy gives this one 4.5 pacifiers out of 5. A great date, or double date flick.

Happy Thanksgivin'er folks! Talk to y'all after my Tryptophan coma wears off.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

It's over...

OK, it's only almost midnight, so perhaps it's too soon to say this...

I think it's over with me and the good Dr. Weissbluth.

Yeah, all his stuff on establishing bedtime routines and distinguishing day from night was good. But we had too good a day today to even think about Dr. W for a while.

The day started with the Dog taking the Pup and feeding him breakfast while I got a few extra winks. I think he felt bad when Nate bit me twice at 5 am, inducing tears and a cry of, "I can't do this anymore." This morning though, it was apparent that teeth # 5 & 6 are coming in up top, so maybe I'll cut the babe some slack. Big maybe.

I got showered, actually blow-dried my hair into a style, put make-up on (including liquid eyeliner!) and managed to find enough clean clothes to put together something that resembled the fall fashions. Nate had a Dr's appt at 11 and we actually made it on time AND found free parking. It did take a whole hour before the doctor saw us, but the waiting room was like a daycare of newborns and 18-month-olds, so it was fun to watch Nate actually interracting with other babies. We weighed him and he put on a pound since the neonatal check-up we had a month ago (where he had gained no weight - scary).

So he's now a skinny 17 lbs 4 oz and 27.5 inches. That's on the small side for a 9 month-old -- like in the 5th percentile, so 95% of babies his age weigh more than him. So the doc suggested two formula feedings a day to fatten him up. I'm all for that after the bitings. We made it out of there by 12:15 pm and it was off to my waxing appointment!

Yes boys and girls, the season is over, yet I decided to de-sasquatch my long-neglected bikini area anyway. Even though the Dog doesn't mind when you can't see my forest for the trees. Or is it trees for the forest? Nevermind. So Blondie kindly met me at the spa on her lunch to watch Nate while I caught up with our lovely Romanian wax lady. Isn't that the best kind of friend someone could hope for? And I have many of them who would all have said yes to this request, for which I am truly blessed. It does help when you have a really cute baby to bait said friends in, however.

Then Blondie and I walked to Holt Renfrew to meet V and baby Matteo. We tried on $500 sunglasses and $600 Kate Spade purses for fun, gushed over cute babies and how much they've grown and then Blondie went back to her desk while V and I got lunch. Nate was an angel and ate a whole jar of Earth's Best Turkey Casserole (this was a winner!). I mostly make my own baby food from home, but when you're out you gotta go jar for convenience. He liked it so much that we took a trip to Whole Foods so I could get some more.

He napped in the stroller and drank formula as prescribed and Mommy didn't have to whip it out in public. I usually don't give damn and have gone blind to awkward stares and glances, because breastfeeding is so convenient, but it's nice not to have dried milk on your shirt too.

We met Tante at 'Bucks (she's spending the next few days here) and drove home together. I made my wild mushroom risotto while she bathed and dressed him (the Dog is working the night shift) and we drank wine and watched Amazing Race. My parents even dropped by for an hour to see their prince. And Nate giggled and flirted all day and fell asleep at roughly the same bloody time he always does.

So I feel great and my son was happy as a result. I should really start taking my own advice. When Mommy is happy, everyone is happy. So Dr. W, it's not you, it's me. I think we've grown apart. We're not on the same page anymore. I just need more time for me.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Scheduling Conflict

I have always been chronologically challenged. I have NO IDEA how to be on time. Now that we have thrown a baby into the mix, I am more flustered than ever.

I have no idea how you schedule feedings, naps and playtime, and STILL manage to go out for a walk take a shower buy groceries do your laundry scoop cat litter check your email surf blogs make sure there is no Ecstasy on the floor for your 9-month-old to discover with his new-found pincer grip. See how these things all run into each other after a while?

I admit, I have a very short attention span. So once I get started on something and my attention gets called away, whether by baby or stroke of inspiration, the chances of me finishing what I started are slim to none. The internet only aggrevates this problem. I did this quiz after seeing a commercial on TV. I found out I have symptoms that "may be consistent with Adult ADD." As a result, what I didn't find out is who got kicked off Top Model.

Right now, I have to pee, clean the kitchen after cooking intermittently all night, put the wet laundry in the dryer (from this afternoon people!), fold the dry laundry, work on some freelancing ideas, write a letter to my best friend, blog and go to bed. Why am I doing all this stuff? Why are there not more hours in a day?

The Dog keeps asking me why I don't go out more when it's just me and Nate. Honestly, the thought alone overwhelms me. If I am going out with Nate I feel like I need at least 24 hours to mentally prepare for what I must do. It's no longer about just wrangling myself and the wee baby. Now I have to consider feeding times and napping times and pack accordingly. He is not the portable little angel he once was.

Also, I can't just put him down somewhere until I get organized. He requires constant supervision. I am constantly putting out fires. Peligro people! Peligro! Most of my day is spent trying to avoid concussions and choking. And now that he's had a taste of freedom, he refuses to be placed in a holding cell (playpen or crib) while awake. He has a voice and he knows how to use it. He actually bangs plastic objects against the rails angrily until he's let out!

Recently our perfect sleeper has been waking up once or thrice a night. It may be due to teething or hunger, but I've got it in my neurotic head that it'sbecause I don't have himon a proper schedule. Dr. Weissbluth suggests getting the baby up around 7 am and to bed by 7 pm. I have been trying to do this. Correction. I have been WANTING to do this. Reality: I am so tired from getting up in the night that I have been cheating and bringing Nate into our bed when he wakes up at 7, side-feeding him until we both fall back asleep. So the Dr. W endorsed 9 am nap isn't happening. Mostly because 9 am is when we get out of bed via my deceptive methods.

Dr. W also says that naps in strollers don't count, so you shouldn't run errands before the early afternoon nap is over. He says that poor night sleepers are caused by parents who won't change their lifestyle to accomodate a morning and afternoon nap at home. (note** before 9 months, most babies have 3 naps a day. Eventually the late afternoon nap disappears. In toddlers, the morning nap eventually gets axed too, giving Mommy a mere one break a day!) I want to be a good parent, but I am starting to think that if I want to have some sanity and a life, I should really break up with Dr. W.

Here is a rough ideal schedule for Nate's age range. Now if I could only adhere to it.

7 am: Wake up. Diaper change.
8 am: Breakfast = fruit/cereal/dairy. Boob or bottle.
9 am: An hour to hour and a half nap.
11 am: More boob or bottle.
12-2 pm: Nap #2 (If he miraculously falls asleep in this window, you can have lunch and watch Days )
Whenever he wakes up: Diaper change. Fix his lunch. Then you can go out and do your errands. (What they don't tell you: If you do your outside errands you will have to order takeout because there is no time to do errands and cook. Your husband is cheap and grumbles about takeout until you cry and tell him you can't do everything)
Late afternoon: Boob or bottle (shall I whip it out in the Loblaws checkout?)
4-5 pm: A spackling of dinner
5-6 pm: Bedtime ritual including bath
6-7 pm: Boob or bottle until he falls asleep.

In my dreamworld this happens and then I watch Corrie while the Dog fixes dinner. In my reality, the Dog takes Nate out Sunday mornings so I can watch the superlong omnibus and catch up on all I missed during the week. Then he comes home and looks at me with mild disgust that I have been in front of the telly for nearly 5 hours. Yes, it's not the best use of my free time I admit, but it helps me escape from all the things I have to do.

Anyway, nearly accomplished the goal today, including a 30-minute walk outside. But it doesn't count because a) The Dog was around to help get me organized, and b) Nate woke up screaming right as the Corrie theme began to play.

Ah well. Tomorrow is busy with Dr's and waxing appointments as well as meeting friends for shopping. Our dance card is full. I will compare the effects of a busy day vs. the effects of a perfectly scheduled day on sleep and get back to you guys. If there ends up being little or no difference I will stop feeling guilty and go with the flow.

What sayeth you on this matter fellow Netizens?


I shoulda stayed in bed last week. Well... I guess I sorta did. I am on a big jinx streak or something.

On Sunday, I had my in-laws over for my father-in-law's birthday. As I was waiting for the fab Ace Bakery frozen buns to bake up in the oven, the kitchen suddenly filled with smoke and an awful akryd smell that made my guests' eyes water and made Nate wake up from his nap. What the hell was going on?

There was no fire in the oven that we could see. Suddenly, I gasped -- not from lack of air, but because I remembered putting tea towels in the drawer under the oven. Who doesn't store stuff under the oven? I was quickly informed that the drawer under a gas stove/oven is actually the broiler. Ooopsy. We had to wait a half hour before anyone could come inside to eat because the fumes were so bad.

I was already in a bad mood that day because my period was a day late and I have been extremely regular since I went off the pill. I was super paranoid because my mother got pregnant with my sister when I was 8 months old and I guess I feared history would repeat itself. (I did get it -- 3 days late by the way. But phew!)

On Monday, Nate was a total monster. He wouldn't eat. So much crying, shrieking and tantrums... on both our parts. Our little Squareface was rebaptized. Tante called in the midst of the chaos. "What are you doing?"

"I'm trying to feed Fuckface."

I called the Dog and told him if he wasn't home in 20 minutes, I was going to take up heroin. I settled on downing the remnants of Nate's Pheno Barbitol instead. "Mommy needs a sedative dah-ling," I said in my most Edina-like voice. Luckily, the Dog made it home before the thick purple stuff made it down my gullet.

I then unleashed my bitchy frustration on him, which resulted in him breaking the gorgeous powder yellow Polder step can in Nate's room instead of calling me on my demonic behaviour. I have still not forgiven him for this. Why don't men understand that buying something from Winners is like buying a one-of-a-kind gem? These things are not replaceable!

Tuesday, Nate and I were supposed to meet up with Marla and Josie from Hello Josephine for their weekly walk to Riverdale farm. Nate was being crusty and coughy at breakfast, which I interpretted to be Fuckface Day 2. But by noon he was a sniffling, coughing mess and running a bit warm. I called Marla for a raincheck and gave Nate some Tylenol. By 2:30 the Dog was home with a migraine.

The problem with sick babies is that they are deceivingly small and cute. Most people take one look at the adorable snot stream running down his face and think, "How can cute little you get me sick?" The truth is, this wee fellow is a veritable petrie dish. And he doesn't know to cover his mouth when he coughs, nor to wash his hands frequently throughout the day. (OK, that part may be my fault) And so we all started dropping faster than Tara Reid's top on the red carpet.

Ragdoll and Blondie came over Tuesday night and Ragdoll got the bug after kissing Nate on the mouth and getting more than just a kiss. My dad came by to help me out briefly Wednesday and he also got the bug.I am still blowing my damn nose! And so on, and so on.

We also discovered that due to crappy wiring, our damn furnace wasn't working, so I had to get that fixed this week after a few cold nights. Perhaps that's when Nate became susceptible to this cold? Who knows.

I also discovered on Saturday that the cat had contracted fleas. Great. A quick trip to the vet (who happened to have two women picketing outside about how the vet killed their cat and dog) and some drops later, all the lovely fleas dropped onto my sheets while she slept at the foot of the bed. Am knee deep in bleach and laundry today as a result.

Anyway, that's what I have been up to in the past week. I have been thinking about a lot of subjects I would like to share with you. When my jinx streak is over, I will be back to my old funny self I hope. Wish me luck.