Saturday, June 28, 2008

Weekend Reading

No, I'm not blogging from the cottage. Full disclosure: I wrote this Thursday night so that you wouldn't have to look at the same bad post all weekend. Maybe you can go and read the funny and strange things that other people are doing? It's far more exciting than me being stuck in a smelly rented cottage get berated by the Wii. (Oh why does you body have to swell to actual proportions when you weigh yourself? It's just cruel!)

OK, don't laugh, but I only JUST started reading Amalah and Finslippy. The popular girls intimidate me. Plus I don't want to steal their mojo. But now I'm hooked. So consider this the opposite of Kristin's Underrated Monday. You will not regret visiting these links. You WILL laugh (even though it's likely raining on your Saturday.)

Finslippy/Alice is also being berated by the Wii.

Amalah is having fun with deodorant.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Swimsuit Anxiety

We're heading to a cottage for Canada Day weekend. My former bikini-loving self gave in and bought a one-piece at Joe Fresh. Then I bought a terry cover-up to spare everyone from the horror that is my mid-section. (What will I do if fitted shirts come back in?)

Clearly this anxiety about my body is making me a bit deranged. This morning I could swear I overheard Nate saying, "You're SuperWide! With the power to EAT!"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Books don't die

We had two Loogoo-free nights this week. Of course I cried and felt horribly guilty about it. Of course I had a huge fight with Jan because I don't think this situation is working and he thinks it is. He pointed out to me that we are not fucking her up in any way, that time spent with grandparents is cherished and she will not feel less loved because she had regular sleepovers there at a young age.

He also pointed out that when she does go away, we catch up on much needed sleep. And after two nights of 7 straight hours, I started to see his point. Maybe this is not so bad after all and I just need to shut the fuck up.

The main reason for my guilt might be that when we have our weeknights alone with Nate, I see how easy this could have been had we not had Lucy. Which is a ridiculous thought process, since obviously she has had such a positive influence on me and the family as a whole. But workload-wise, just having a three-year-old to deal with would have been a breeze.

Nate misses his sister dearly, but appreciates time without her too. "Hey, how come you're both here?" he asked the other night when we both picked him up from school. It hadn't even occurred to me that this never happens anymore. Our entire time is spent dividing and conquering.

Last night at dinner, he interrupted the adult sidebar going on and said solemnly, "Um, t'day, evewyone at school was saying that der moms and dad were dying."

Me: "Everyone said that? Who started it? It's always one kid and then everyone joins in."

Nate: "Our new fwend did."

Me: "Who? Olivia?"

Nate: (nods head) "Olivia. At the Kindewgawten table, um, she said that her mom and dad were dying."

Me: (Oh fuck, he's going to make me talk about the D-word isn't he?) "That's probably not true. She got it wrong."

Nate: "It's not twoo wight? Moms and Dads don't die. Pawents don't die. Because I don't want you guys t'die. Are you guys gonna die?"

Me: (some sort of half snort, half stifled laugh, followed by the thought that this is not the right reaction. Followed by the thought that my son's innocence was ruined by the realization that his parents will die.)

Jan: We're not dying Nate. We've got a long life ahead of us."

Me: (Panic! Panic! Must I face my fear of death now by having this conversation? Isn't he too young? Do I lie? Oh shit! Oh shit!) "Nate you don't need to worry about this. We're not going anywhere. We have to get old like Grandma and Pop-Pop before that's even a possibility." (Phew. Half-truth is OK.)

Nate: "But they said all der moms and dads were dying. Are you gonna die?"

Me: (OK, I can't lie about this.) "Someday. Yes, someday we are going to die. But that's a long long time away. You don't need to worry."

Nate: (fully in denial) "You're not gonna die." (Oh, I wish I could do the awesome inflections for you, because it really made it extra cute.)

Me: (going for full disclosure at this point.) "Nate everybody dies. It's just part of life. Even Scout's going to die someday."

Scout: (pissed off look on her face.) Mreoow!

Nate: (looking around the room for potential counterpoint so he can prove me wrong.) "But books don't die."

Jan: (picks up phase one of his impending mid-life-crisis -- er, his guitar -- and starts to strum.) "Books don't die... tables don't die... strum strum bad chord where's the G... but people die."

And that's how my husband saved the day yet again, by being my total opposite. Where I needed to be honest and try to explain things matter-of-factly, Jan realized that it was all way over Nate's head. So he dealt with Nate's anxiety by making it silly and laughable. It totally worked. No mention of it today.

Though if it wasn't the end of the school year, I'd have half a mind to ask his preschool teachers why they didn't deal with this at all. (I'd also ask them why they think Cheesies and half a donut constitute a snack. Do they have any idea how I have to peel Nate off the ceiling when he eats like that?)

So what about you? How do/did you deal with the inevitable death talk?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Under and X Rated

Hi to all who are here via Kristin. (And thanks to all my peeps who spammed her blog post with comments like "Love the Scarb!" How much do I love my readers?!! I really don't tell you enough.) I hope I live up to her high praise. She actually meant for you to read this post.

I've been blogging here for over 4 years, so maybe it's time I did another little round up on your friendly neighbourhood Scarbie Doll.

1. My real name is Nadine. I once thought this blog was anonymous. Then I got comfortable, posting pictures, sending the URL out to friends. Then I got fired. Not quite Dooced, but my boss had my blog printed out on her desk. (I had removed all references to her on my blog beforehand, but it didn't really matter. Kinda wish I'd left them in now.) They didn't have a blog policy, but they had an email policy and I had called her some very profane things in emails. (Yes, I know, not very professional.) All this to say that there is no such thing as an anonymous blog, so in the interest of full disclosure you can call me Nadine.

2. You can also call me Scarb or Scarbie if you like. I picked up the nickname Scarbie Doll nine years ago on a film shoot. I had mentioned that I was raised in Scarborough and it was something I was proud of. "Oh we had a name for you girls," said my colleague, "Scarbie Dolls." I thought it was the most fabulous moniker I'd ever heard.

Scarborough has a bad rep in Canada. It's a big suburb of Toronto and some pockets of it are high crime due to incredible poverty (though still nothing in comparison to what I've seen in the U.S.) but I think it's unfair that the entire borough gets painted with the "gang violence" brush. It was the greatest urban place to grow up. It taught me to love and accept other cultures, how to live next to people who don't speak the same language, and ignited my great love of foreign foods.

In Scarborough you could be friends with Rizza Quiaoit (Filipino), Cheri Noronha (Indian), and Marsha Marshall (Jamaican) and not even think twice. It is this reason that my husband and I chose to live in a part of Toronto that offers great diversity. It's important to us that our children grow up in a world that sees people not colours.

I sometimes write about Scarborough HERE.

3. My parents are Armenian. Some of you are scratching your heads right now thinking, "Did she just make up a race?" No, it's legit. Though speaking the language is about as valuable to life in the West as speaking Vulcan. My husband, Jan (I often refer to him as the Dog) is of Norwegian and English decent. (We also believe he's part canine, but neither side of the family is willing to fess up to Great Grandpa's bestiality fetish.)

My mother says hilarious things. Many of them can be found HERE.

4. We are parents to Nate (3.5) and Lucine aka Lucy aka Loogoo (10 months). Nate was a drunken "oops!" and Lucy was a premeditated, well researched intention. Our children may just be funnier than we are. We are in big trouble.

5. I have been writing elaborate stories since I first held a pencil. I need to be employed in a field that deals with words because a) I have WAAAAAAY too much to say and need to spread it out so my husband doesn't leave me, and b) I am not very good at anything else. Maybe kissing. And making pasta salad.

6. I am the editor of a fabulous -- soon to be fabulouser -- (Rule #1 at MFM: It's a word if I say it is) website called www.Sweetmama.ca. If you live in Canada, go sign up for our newsletter and get steaming hot mama and baby shopping ideas in your inbox each week.

7. There is nothing that I really find taboo, much to the dismay of aforementioned husband (and someday two bitter, therapy-needing children). I write candidly about sex and arguments because so few people do online. I started this blog so that others could feel normal when weird things happened to them. If it happened to me and I was able to laugh about it, then it wouldn't be so bad for you. So most of the dirty graphic stuff is grouped HERE and most of the throttle your husband moments are grouped HERE. I haven't finished going through my archives and categorizing stuff, but some of the stuff no one tells you type posts are in HERE.

I don't know how long I'll be able to talk about my children online without causing them to be bullied in the future, but for right now Mommy decides. And Mommy needs to talk. Mommy also needs to remember stuff and if it wasn't for the lovely people who leave comments and email, I'd be really crap at writing all these moments down.

8. I don't leave comments. (This might be why I stay in the underrated category.) Well, I do, but rarely. I'm just not into the never ending thank you note that is blog commenting. I will still go over and read you, I just won't sign your guestbook. I have two kids and a full time job. So I'm thinking of you, just not able to type it out that often.

That being said, I REALLY REALLY like it when you leave comments. (Yeah, that's quite the Catch 22 I've created for myself.) I read them all. Even if you tell me that I suck. But because I don't comment, I also have a "Don't feel you have to comment policy." I just put it out there, often irregularly, and hope that you drop in from time to time to see how I'm doing.

If you email me, I will always answer. (Ask the reader who emailed me to ask me to stop swearing so much. I even took her advice. The old Scarb would have said, "Even if you tell me to fuck off." Well, I wanted to write that, but I don't want to alienate readers.)

9. I really really love the word Fuck. I know, I'm a mom and a professional, so I should really watch my mouth. But I just love that word. I love how it feels in my mouth. I am trying to tone it down, but keep in mind that my real life voice has plenty o' expletives in it, so this isn't just some blog persona I put on.

It's not for everyone, but since this blog happens to be the clearinghouse for my brain, I'd like if we could meet halfway. I'll use less curse words if you don't ask me to stop swearing completely.

10. I am a walking contradiction. A recovered anorexic who is now food obsessed. (And about 10 pounds overweight.) A chilled out neurotic. A workaholic homebody. A procrastinating perfectionist.

My husband suggests I tell you that I don't use my pinkies when I type. (Well only to hold down the Shift key.) I'm not sure what that says about me or this blog, but he felt it pertinent, so I'll allow it. We also just realized that I have a bad habit of stating the obvious. (And according to Jan: one-upping and button pushing.) Oh, and I'm also shite at being brief. (Again stating the obvious.)

So come and stay for a while. Surf the archives. Hang out. We're really informal here at Casa Scarb. I promise to put up some juicy stuff soon to keep you coming back.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sliding Doors

Kristin has been writing about sliding doors lately and it's been something on my mind as well. The idea that a moment can change the course of your life, or that fate might ultimately lead you to what you deserve, good or bad.

I see her nearly daily. I wait for her as I cower behind the curtains, wishing for one-way glass so I wouldn't have to hide so awkwardly. She is the ghost that haunts me, the reminder of what could have been. She is the mother I hoped I would be if the hand I was dealt wasn't a flush.

The first time I saw her, I wept immediately. Petite and Asian, her type is common in my neighbourhood. They don't often wish to be noticed and somehow blend seamlessly with the cityscape. Had we not have had the birth story we did with Nate, I may not have noticed her either. She would have been just another passerby; people we live next to whom we smile at but never socialize with.

She caught my eye because her son, age 5 or 6 was pushing a stroller. At first glance, the only thing odd would have been that a boy was pushing a pink stroller. But I could tell his story from his gait. He stumbled awkwardly, cried out as if in pain or frustration, wanting to give up. But she, this strong mother, was not having any of it. She urged him on, encouraging him, pushing him further. You see her son has cerebral palsy.

*******

It was day three of our ordeal with Nate. Frustrated with not understanding what was going on, not knowing why he was having seizures through the anti-convulsants or what kind of future we would have with our brain damaged boy, I opened the file. I made a mental note of some of the diagnosis and called my sister.

"Google prenatal asphyxia," I asked her. The answer I heard back was garbled mush, equal to Charlie Brown's teacher talking. "Waa waa waa waa waa, can result in cerebral palsy."

"Well, we may not have a major league ball player, but we could have a Special Olympian," I turned to Jan, trying to keep things positive. Trying to convince myself that it wouldn't be so terrible.

The specialists were no help in easing my confusion and angst. "He will likely have mobility issues," they declared matter-of-factly. The MRI had shown massive damage to the left side of his brain. Still, they couldn't exactly say why. The right side of his body would be weak, they claimed anyway.

"But he wants to put his right hand in his mouth, and he's putting his right hand in his mouth," I would argue. "That doesn't necessarily mean anything," the OT would reply. I would be crestfallen, feeling knocked back a step. "How can anything be wrong with him?" I would ask defensively. "Just look at that Bermuda Triangle below his bottom lip. Have you ever seen anything so perfect? How can someone that perfect not be able to walk?"

I decided I was going to try and ignore them. I wrote down my goals in a tiny notebook and each day I had our friends and family put their thoughts, energies and prayers towards one goal. I guess you could call this The Secret, but it was all I could do to keep from going crazy. My little boy was spending the beginnings of his life in a glass box.

My goals grew bigger with each passing day. From "Today I'd like his kidneys to function" to "Please make him stop seizing" to "Let the drugs wear off enough to make him awake for breastfeeding" I was relentless, parcelling my wishes into bite-size pieces. I knew in my heart of hearts that if I could just nurse him, I could somehow heal him and make him better. I don't know if that's true or not. There are certainly many moms who have stood by sick kids and fed them formula. But I was so helpless. It was the only thing that I felt was in my power, the only thing I could physically do for this little being who had been safe in my tummy only a week before.

Each morning the group -- doctors, residents, OTs -- entered the NICU to do their rounds. Each morning I was excused out of respect to the parents of preemies. But towards the end of the first week, I was in the NICU quite frequently, trying to heal the brain of my boy with my breastmilk. They eventually let me stay for the rounds.

"We have good news," they exclaimed. "The MRI shows signs of brain damage in very specific parts of his brain. It's as though a clot got lodged as it moved through. So we're fairly certain that he had a stroke!" The resident was smiling at me like we'd won the lottery. I didn't see how a newborn having a stroke could ever be a good thing, but I nodded and smiled warily.

He seemed to pick up on this. "Prenatal asphyxia causes the entire brain to be damaged. The prognosis is much worse. But a stroke only damages certain parts of the brain. And because their brains are essentially not programmed yet, the chances of a normal life are greater."

I'll take Stroke for $1000 Alex. But the prognosis didn't change much. "Due to the size of the stroke on his left side, he will likely have issues with mobility and we'll need to keep monitoring him." By the time the neurologists came to explain to me that they still didn't know why this had happened, I was done. I looked the cutey brain doctor in his handsome eyes and said, "At this point, I don't really give a shit WHY this happened." I was over the "why" and onto the "how." How could we leave this place? How could we make our son better?

The drugs that had kept my son asleep for most of his first week had worn off. The tubes had been pulled out. He was breathing on his own, feeding on his own and somehow, on the 9th day, we were sent home.

*******

"God heard our prayers. He smiled on us," my mother would say each time Nate passed a milestone. This would make me furious -- still makes me livid. I look at the mother across the street and I think, "Did I pray harder than her? Did she not cry and beg and sell her soul on the off chance that her son could be OK?" I find that hard to believe. Anyone who has been given the honour of parenting a child would choose their own legs to stop walking if it meant their son or daughter could take the steps to their future.

I watch her now, strapping her child's foot in some jerry-rigged contraption to keep his feet on the pedals. She is forcing him to ride a bike. Forcing him to use what he has, to fight the parts of his brain that are dead, throttling him forward towards some sense of normalcy.

She is my hero. I stare and stare and stare, wishing the tears away. Grateful that my son somehow recovered. Releasing the stale air from all the times I couldn't breathe in the meetings at the follow-up clinic. They watched him so closely, shook their heads in disbelief as he defied his odds. "How he can do that after the stroke he had...it's unbelievable," they would marvel.

My hero notices my gaze. She smiles. I wave. She waves back. She looks at my son running full force towards our house. She doesn't know that we were almost sisters.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Loogoo's Booboo

So the girl is broked. Fractured to be exact. I didn't actually get to see the xray, so I can't say how badly.

My husband, being my total opposite, had tried to downplay her injury and tamper my worry over her incessant crying by taking the kids out to Riverdale Farm. On my repeated calls to his cell phone, I was told that she was smiling and eating well and napping well. (And waking up from said naps.) But I couldn't shake this niggling feeling.

When he brought her home, she began to cry hysterically as soon as he removed her from the stroller. I don't know if you know my girl -- I don't really write about her that much -- but she does not cry. (Well, except whenever I leave the room lately, but I kinda wish more people would have that reaction to my exits.) So, upon the recommendation of my go-to mom, the equally hysterical (meaning both funny and crazy) Kate, I laid her down and gave her the "pinch test." I pinched her toes, her fingers, her tummy, etc. But it was when I lifted her right arm that she started to cry out in pain. Big globby hot tears and a look that said, "I can't believe you let me fall bitch!"

Oh the betrayal and the guilt. We called the doc's office back and bitchy nurse told us that our doc was away and we'd need to go see the sub. We were on our way when we realized that Sick Kids was right in front of our faces. We decided to skip a waiting room and go straight to the source. We'd had good experiences with wait times there in the past. This was surely the quicker option.

Except it wasn't. When they told me we were being sent to the Urgent Care area, I got so excited. It sounds so immediate. Like, ooh! They're waiting for US at Urgent Care. It must be serious! This will be quick because we're really important. Except everyone in there has the same grim-yet-hopeful face.

The hospital is an interesting place. Everyone has grave expressions. They don't want to make eye contact with you and ask you "What are you in here for?" Well, they do, but they want to believe that their situation is better, or sometimes worse, than yours.

Case in point: Nate was doing his famous dancing in the Urgent Care waiting area and suddenly announced, "I hafta go PEEEEEEE!" I told him that Daddy would take him and as I was saying this Nate announced, "I'm peeing." Sure enough there was a puddle on the floor. Jan grabbed Nate and ran to the nearest bathroom, drying his shorts under the dryer. But when Nate came back he promptly walked into the puddle, streaking his pee across the entire floor. No one laughed that sympathetic parent laugh. See, no one in a hospital wants to acknowledge the least bit of sameness, on the off chance that you might beat them in the 6 year line to see the doctor.

When we finally saw a doctor 4 hours later we asked if this level of busyness was usual. "No," she smirked, "Just Mondays." Ha! Isn't this interesting? The number of accidents goes up significantly on Mondays because...? People are hungover? More relaxed? Having a bad case of the Mondays? (I'm sure Marla will leave you the proper statistics in my comments box.)

We were sent for an x-ray and made friends with another mom in the waiting lounge. "Oh, it's probably her collarbone. My youngest had that when he was just a bit bigger than her. Fell off a chair," she said non-plussed. "They'll give you a sling, but good luck with that. Two nights of no sleep, but then it's not so bad." Turns out she had three kids. She was not new to the fact of breaks and stitches and all the things I haven't yet had to deal with. (I may be the master of massive strokes and every virus this city has to offer, but Nate is such a cautious scaredy kid that this experience was new to me.)

Whether I like it or not, I'm a judger. When I first saw x-ray mom, I noticed her bag. I liked it. But then her outfit caught me off guard. Her boobs were hanging out of her leopard print dress and she had a rather large tattoo on one boob. Normally I would have written her off as a hoochie, but she rapidly won me over with her demeanor and friendly nature. (Her son was adorable too.)

She warned me that the x-ray tends to hurt them, because of the injury and the way they have to place them to get the shot. So when the technician came out and informed us that only one parent could go in, I chose Jan. I could hear Lucy's crying down the hall and it absolutely broke my heart. I would have been a mess in that room.

Back to the Urgent Care area. "Yep, we have a fracture," the doctor informed us and then shuffled off to get some gauze to fashion a sling with. "We'll try the sling," she said, with a look that let us know there wasn't a baby in town that would keep it on. X-Ray Mom gave us a wink from the sidelines.

"Sheesh," I told her, "Next time I'm saving 5 hours and calling you."

Lucy has been a star, really. She's Bam Bam and Joan Jett rolled up into a chubbo baby package. If the pain wakes her up, she decides she's going to party like it's 1999. She winces when she leans on her arm, but it doesn't stop her from trying to Hulk everything in sight. We have to pick her up carefully and keep Nate off of her, which has probably been the most challenging aspect. Oh and the absolutely no sleep last night. A solid tummy sleeper, this girl's not getting much peace when forced to sleep flat on her back. Thankfully she still squeezes into the infant carrier car seat, so we can buckle her in and keep her close to us. (It's the only way she'll sleep.)

Occasionally we forget and grab her too roughly, inciting a fury of tears. That's the difference when your first child is glass and your second is rubber: it's difficult to get used to treating her as fragile when she seems so tough.

And the photo in the post before, well, that was X-Ray Mom's suggestion. She was right. Loogoo was tearing that thing off of herself with brute force the moment she woke up the next day.

Thanks for all your encouraging comments and emails. I was able to laugh about it the next day thanks to all of you. Perhaps I will share a funny video that I took while Loogoo partied at midnight last night as a show of gratitude. (Right after I fall asleep on my laptop for a minute...Zzzzzzzzzzz.)

Monday, June 16, 2008

How much of an a-hole do I feel like?

I can't even talk about it. It's just her clavicle -- not that big a deal -- but I'm really not liking myself right now.

How to make working from home work

Hi, I work from home. You might think this is mighty convenient. And some days you are right.

Some days I can take a quick break to throw a load of laundry in. I can also take a quick break to throw the chicken in the oven. These little perks help a lot in the quest to make home life run as smoothly as possible.

But there are two common misconceptions about working from home. The first is that it is somehow easier than going to an office. While there is the bonus of starting at 9 am once the breakfast dishes are cleared (and being able to work in your jammies), the reality is that the lines of when to stop working become instantly blurred.

If you take that break to do laundry, pick up your kids, etc., you have to make up the time. So you end up on the computer once everyone has gone to bed. Except the dishes have to be washed, so sometimes you don't get back on the computer until 9:30 or 10 pm -- the time you should really be getting ready for bed if you're going to get enough sleep.

You likely have a Blackberry, which means you are sorta checking your emails all weekend. Because there they are, in your hand, saying "Hi! There's a little asterix here beside the mail icon and you know you want to check me right now."

The bigger misconception is that you are somehow able to stay home with your kids because you work from home. That's all fine and dandy, if you're not too concerned with the WORK part. Your kids need care, full time care. And with a 9-month old, that care is ridiculously hard to find, or impossibly expensive.

I am lucky. I have parents who are retired and who love my daughter enough to want to see her. EVERY DAY. But they live far -- a good hour's commute in rush hour. Add the skyrocketing cost of gas to the equation and the only way it sort of works is to have Lucy stay with them overnight 2-3 nights a week.

So this doesn't really work for obvious reasons. I miss her. We all miss her. Our family feels strange without her here. I'm also still nursing a few times a day (and supplementing with formula) but I'm not producing enough milk to pump for some reason. So for three days she goes without breastmilk and somehow I am able to pick up where we left off when she returns. Good, right? Except all this on and off is making my hormones wacky.

Then there are the days when Jan is home and can take the kids. This morning for example. I needed to work from home to get some quiet and concentration-requiring writing and editing done. Except I don't really have an office with a door (neither at home, nor at the office) so everyone is around while I'm at my desk.

This morning was a total clusterfuck. Jan got up with Lucy at 6:30. I got up at 8 with Nate, hung out with the fam for a bit while I downed some coffee, put Lucy down for her nap at 8:30 and got to work. Then Jan decided to take a shower, except Lucy had woken up from her nap. So I had to put down my laptop and go get her. Then he asked me to help out while he got everything together for their day out at the farm. I fed Lucy breakfast (we had neglected to do so at the "scheduled" time of 8 am -- hence the short nap) and gave Nate his morning snack.

"If you help me to get them out the door, we'll be out of your hair faster," Jan called out. This was one of those times where we needed to have a two-minute face-to-face conversation to make sure we were working together. It didn't happen. So after her breakfast, I put some Cheerios in front of her to keep her occupied and I started to check my emails while I sat with them. I was supposed to be WORKING after all!

"You're not helping me!" he called out angrily. "Can you just get them sunscreened up?" He was frantically trying to get their snacks together, but taking way too long in my opinion. (Don't forget that he was hungover from Father's Day.) So I carted Lucy upstairs to get her dressed and sunscreened. Nate came upstairs to use the toilet and then hopped up onto the bed where Lucy was sitting. I thought I'd quickly get his sunscreen on too and then they'd finally be done and out the door. The clock was now approaching 11 am.

I was about to do Nate's cheeks when Lucy did three rotations and ended up on the floor on the side of her head. (I can barely type that without wanting to vomit.) Normally, I would comfort my child while he or she cried for the requisite 5-10 minutes and then I'd go and cry for an hour. Except Lucy did not stop crying. Nothing I could do would calm her down. She cried for 30 minutes until Jan finally got her out of the house for a walk.

In that 30 minutes I:

* Yelled at Jan to call the doctor. He got the bitch nurse who has seen it all and dismisses your concerns, preventing you from coming in to put your mind at ease.

* Yelled at Jan because if I were at the office he would have had to do everything himself and why can't he respect my working from home needs.

* Cried my eyes out, hated myself and my choices.

* Cried so much my son pulled out every trick in his back pocket to cheer me up. When he could not get a laugh or a smile out of me, he followed me up the stairs to hug and kiss me and tell me he loved me. What a great kid.

* Worried that my daughter is now deaf or stupid because I didn't take the necessary precautions to keep her safe.

* Debated running away.

* Decided I need to either move to a house with a proper office, or ask my boss to give me an office with a door when our company moves later this year. Preferably both.

Why is my life so amazing one moment and so utterly insane the next? How am I ever going to make this work in a way that suits everyone? Is that even possible? Come on people, there's got to be a way that a woman can work comfortably and raise a family. What's the answer? Got any tips for working from home that you can share? I need some help, some suggestions Internet. And please, be gentle on me. I've already given myself the mental beating of a lifetime.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The new Father's Day

Father's Day gives me anxiety. I have no clue what to do for Father's Day. It's not like traditionally Dads have needed a day of pampering and relaxing for all the time they put in during the year. But this is 2008 and my man does the lion's share around here.

The modern father deserves the opportunity to reinvent Father's Day. Because the modern dad does so much more than bring home paychecks and take out the trash. He doesn't necessarily need a necktie or a BBQ or a lawnmower or a big screen TV or whatever other clichéd gift idea advertisers would like us to believe a Dad would want. And suddenly I became really obsessed with the idea of giving J a day he would want.

This willingness to please gave me more anxiety. Add to that the fact that J seemed to be keeping score... "Oh what did we do on Mother's Day? We took you out to brunch. And Nate and I got you those flowers."

"Oh yeah, those flowers," I muttered under my breath, "The ones you got me two days after Mother's Day. They were lovely." Apparently, they counted. Scratch "tent" off my list of ideas.

I decided to stop freaking out and go to the source. I asked J what he wanted to do for Father's Day, he announced that he would like to have a BBQ with his favourite daddy friends.

"Oh, a Daddy-Q," I suggested. "That can be arranged."

With my husband's two manloves being in new baby survival mode, the invitation to dinner was more than welcome. My husband got his two favourite Bs (no, not my boobs sadly): Buds and Beers. (Yup, still a cliché, but not the kind you see in the Friday flyers.)

My husband has always been about buddies and brewskis. The first time we were at a house party together, I tried to get him in a closet and he looked confused. "Why would I want to go in the closet?"

"Oh..." I quickly realized, "You've never really been the type whose main goal was 'the closet' have you? You were always just partying with the guys."

"It is called a PARTY, Nadine." Um, yeah.

So tonight I let him get drunk with his favourite men, while our children played and Loogoo tried to eat the other babies. There was food and a good dose of me mocking his lack of sexual desire, followed by much laughing by all (including the J Dog).

After the kids were asleep and the guests left, we surfed the UK Adidas site, giggled about shoes, how we both hate shelltoes and how much we love Strombo except that he wears shelltoes. Then we kissed and he thanked me for giving him the day he wanted. Then just when I thought he might put out... he asked to go out for a walk. (Why do I bother wearing nice underwear?)

He's back now and watching basketball and pleased with life like he's Donald Trump. He deserves it. He's rich in his own right. He's blessed with a great life, even though the kitchen ceiling is leaking to the point that we need to put pots on the floor. Even though he hates professional sports, he has a job every red-blooded Canadian man would give his left nut for. Even though he bitches about being tired, he has two children who are gorgeous, funny as all hell, full of love and hugs and smiles. (I'm not even going to get into the hot wife thing.)

I think that today he took stock of all that. He seemed to be bursting with joy and self-contentment. He got more than a Hallmark holiday. He got the day he ultimately desired.

Hope the fathers in your lives had an amazing day too.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lessons Learned: At the ball game

While trying to follow the WHO recommendations and breastfeed your child until they are a year (at least) there are certain considerations not taken into account. Namely those protruding shards of glass known as teeth.

In the past, I've likened this experience of nursing a teether to sticking your hand into a strange dog's mouth: you could get licks, or you could lose an extremity.

So your lesson this week is this:

If you try [read: are dumb enough] to nurse your baby in a giant stadium, while highly-salaried men hit balls for the enjoyment of thousands, you WILL be bitten when a home run is hit.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

So I get this email from daycare...

... that goes out to all the parents. It reads:

Hi Parents,
A set of keys with a darth vader key ring have been found in our preschool room. If these belong to anyone please inquire with any of the teachers.
Thank you,

Preschool Supervisor

To which I am forced to reply:

embarrassed cough*


Um, those would be ours. Well, they don't open anything but a car door that's now at the junkyard, but Nate is obsessed with them. Thanks, have a great weekend!

A Preschoolers Red-faced Mother

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Opposite of a Foot Fetish

I put on a gorgeous pair of stilettos today. We had a party after work to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the launch of the company I now work for. It seemed like a good opportunity to dust off some pretty shoes.

My husband rounded the corner to check me out as I put my shoes on and readied myself to leave. He looked at my dress approvingly. Then he looked at my feet and frowned.

"Do those shoes fit you?"

"Yes," I replied mildly irritated. "Why, does it look like they don't?"

"Well, a bit of your toes are showing," he responded, pointing to the cracks of my toes peeping out.

"Oh, um, yeah, that's called toe cleavage. It's supposed to be there. Some people are into that sort of thing. Don't you find it cute?"

"Hmm, they're OK," he grumbles, not wanting to rain on my toe cleave parade. "It's just..."

"Oh yes right, you hate feet. You'd prefer shoes where the whole foot was covered. Well tough. Toe cleavage is cool."

"If you say so."

What does he know? If it were up to him we'd all be wearing practical pumps.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Bloggy Nerd Stuff to the Max

You know, there's bloggy nerd stuff (memes, BlogHer conference, talking about blogging on your blog) and then there's SUPER bloggy nerd stuff (linking to articles about blogging). Excuse me a moment while I do the latter.

THIS Wired article (Yes, I just took nerd to a very high level) made me laugh. Plus the blogger/author appears to be Scandinavian. (Forget the name -- it's that Lord of the Rings/death metal-loving profile pick that seals it.)

You don't even know nerdy cool until you've been with a Nordic man. Only a Scandinave can get fall-down drunk and pepper a deep conversation with references to Scorcese, forest gnomes and that night they tried heroin for kicks.

(Note to self: write post in future about your experiences in Scandinavia. Title it Fun with Fjords.)

rat

Yesterday, while (Oh why do I even bother calling him the Dog anymore? It's such a college nickname that he seems to have outgrown somewhat.) Jan (sounds like yawn) was making dinner, I was reading Nate awesome (and I mean they are REALLY good if your kid is truck-obsessed and learning to read) new truck books that someone from Simon and Schuster had sent me for work.

My boy was in heaven. We popped out signs from the board book and then puzzled them back into place as I read the story. At one point the text read like so:

Kat scrapes.
Pete scoops.
Dan carries.
Jack smooths.

As I read I pointed to the corresponding truck. But when I got to Jack, I hesitated.

"Hmm, not too sure which one Jack is." (Note to readers: he's like the main character and I am an idiot.)

Nate looked up at me with big scornful eyes. I could tell he was not impressed. He ran straight into the kitchen.

"Daddy. Mommy doesn't know which one Jack is."

My husband snickered at the treachery. "That's because no matter what she says, sometimes Mommy doesn't really know stuff."

Then that smug bastard (the one I sleep next to each night) walked over to me and pointed to the colour-coordinated names of the trucks. "See Kat is the yellow one. And Pete, well he'd be the orange one... and that would make Jack..."

He narrowly escaped my claw-grab. As for the little boy who ratted out his Mom? Well he'll get his in about 10-15 years when I bust out the secret stash of photos I'm saving to show his dates.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

An Ode to Nice Guys -- For Kristin

From my diary, the old fashioned kind with paper and ink and a crap lock that your mother could jimmy open with a bobby pin.

March 26, 1998 [forgive the 23-year-old me for my clichéd early attempts at prose]

I can't stop thinking about you. I can't stop thinking about you. I can't stop.

You've somehow woven your way into my vascular system. I feel you flowing through my veins. Every beat of the heart pushes you away in order to bring you back inside. Except this time you're dispersed, spreading deeper within me, taking over more territory. My hand didn't love you last week, but Monday my pinky fell and today my arm raised a white flag. I wake up with a sanguine taste in my mouth and it's not gingivitis.

You are so different from my historical figures. Not just appearance-wise, but inside. You are that horrible word which makes young girls cower with fear and causes grown women's ears to bleed. "Nice." And I'm so incredibly turned on by that word. But then again, I'm not like other girls. The thought of you being "nice" to me makes my heart race. The thought of your big "nice" shoulders protecting me, holding me, makes me feel like the woman I've been burying in sarcasm for years.

It's so sudden. I was not prepared. I was blindsided. You who made me laugh. You who barely spoke. You. You.

Now it's too late, because I can't stop thinking about you. I can't stop thinking about you. I can't stop.