Monday, December 27, 2010

On our tv free home

I live in a beautiful home. It's a fact. I am an incredibly lucky woman. I walk around, running my fingers along mahogany, antique fixtures. But, if you were to walk around my home, you may notice there is something missing. There is no tv, and we like it that way.

We didn't always go without tv. When I was pregnant, we had full cable, a flat screen monstrosity, right in the middle of our living room. We bowed to our glowing god, morning, evening and night. However, i started to notice that it made us stop talking to each other. In fact, we weren't even looking at each other much anymore. I felt like it had become a default to just plop down in front of the tv. Finally, when mike was tired of staring at it, and i was tired of watching him stare at it, we got rid of our tv.

It makes me really happy to think that we will raise our little boy in a tv free home. Studies have shown time and time again that television exposure reduces attention spans, and increases umpulsive behavior in children. In my Natural Life magazine (which I love) it said that the average girl will see eighty thousand ads on tv before she reaches kindergarden. So, not only do i have concerns about the negative effects tv has on Ender's growing brain, the content is bizarre to me as well. I find it disturbing that children as young as two are trained in brand recognition and conspicuous consumption (mommy those shoes look cheap!). The idea of spending your way to happiness is one that i have been grappling with most of my adult life and i am going to try my best not to pass on to my children. Television makes that goal difficult, if not impossible.

I remember telling my dentist, who had two young children, that we had gotten rid of tv in our home. "it's going to be hard," he said "television is the best babysitter we ever had." Maybe so. I know that sometimes I would really appreciate a little screen time, a little quiet time. But with even the american pediatric association recommending no tv for children under two, i feel onfident in my choice. We still watch the tv shows we like, but we do it online, and it lacks the constant oppressive flow of television, one show after the next. We watch what we want, and stop. Our consumption has gone down from approximately 25 hours a week to 5.

I am glad that we are a tv free home, and i hope we stay that way.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I've been thinking a lot lately about who I am. Maybe it's because I'm living in a place that I lived in when I was a kid, and for me, that's unusual. I remember being little kid me, seeing the same sights I see today. Being a child is in a way having no identity, or having all identities possible. You are malleable as putty, your personality changing daily.

I'm not sure why, but lately I have been paranoid that I am not my own person. I've been accused of this in the past, and shrugged it off. Some people say I am too much like the people who surround me. While I have always accepted this as true, it somehow suddenly seems inadequate. Now, here, I am reassessing who I am.

I know I am a Leo, a lion, a fire sign, passionate. I burn hot and cool slowly. I yell when I'm happy, mad, and impatient. I always know what I want, but am not always sure how to get it. I have spent many years seeking out experience as some kind of badge of honour that states: "Been There, Done That." It is a quest to be an Interesting Person. I have gone on a Vipassina retreat, and not spoken a single word in ten days. I have been a student of religion, and a student of academia. I have let myself fail. I have enjoyed the persuasion that my looks have had over others. I have modified my appearance, again and again, not out of any self-hatred, but again, a burning desire to express the multitudes of selves that I have. I love food, the lifeblood of experience. I eat and I think of the tongues that have experienced the same flavour. Food for me is emotion. I love clothing; caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. It can simultaneously hide and reveal our best and our worst. I am afraid of repeating mistakes that I have seen. I am afraid of being misunderstood. I am afraid of being alone. I am afraid of wasting any moment with boredom or lack of action.

I think in this quest to become interesting, I have learned that once you truly have become such, you don't feel any different. I think I've done my fair share of experiencing the world for my age, and yet there is a grace in the fact that most people I meet don't know anything about it. It's not about saying "This one time in Italy...", it's about letting my experiences enrich the way I view the world. What began as an arguably superficial pursuit has improved my ability to consume and digest my environment.

Perhaps, in my impatience to find my identity, I've found that it is an overrated concept. I am a collection of (at times, bizarre) experiences, and that is undeniably unique to me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Breastfeeding and its effect on the division of labour - and also school

When I was pregnant, my husband worked in construction with a bunch of brawny he-man types. One of his coworkers gave him this piece of advice: "Make her breastfeed! That way you won't be getting up in the middle of the night with a bottle of formula." Obviously, things turned out that way. Throughout Ender's childhood, I got up in the middle of the night for feedings (until we began cosleeping and I slept through them too) and Mike took on the responsiblity of being awake during the day. Often I had fantasies of what it would have turned out like. Studies have proven that formula fed babies sleep better at night, and for a lot of mommies, the lack of stress over breastfeeding enough, and properly, is a significant improvement. At one and a half years old, Ender still only sleeps in two to three hour increments. That is, until I come to bed, when he sleeps perfectly fine.

Not that I'm complaining. It should also be noted that at this age he has had approximately three colds, zero ear infections, etc. Knock wood. He has been a very, very healthy baby boy.

Now, he is old enough that breastfeeding to sleep doesn't work. He falls asleep mostly through motion, though sometimes will nod off on his own. As a result, tonight, Mike is going to put the baby to sleep. For the first time. Ever. He is scared. I am scared. Ender is oblivious, but I can imagine he won't be impressed. Debate continues in our household on whether it is time he has his own bed. It is set up in his room, perfect and unused. I think of our ambivalence as representative of the world, one that recognizes the importance of breastfeeding, but has a hard time making cultural space for it.

------------------- other news

I am in my second month of costume studies and abso-lute-ly loooooving it. Every second is sheer amazing awesomeness. I have some younger girls in my classes and I appreciate that they have the bravery to follow what they want to do immediately after highschool. Still, the have the same assumption that I did, back in the olden days that upon graduation a job would follow -- they don't necessarily see the fact that networking has to occur within school, that volunteering during your education is the best way to ensure future employment in your chosen field. These were hard won lessons for me. I'd pass them on, if anyone was listening, but I guess you have to be older than 26 for that.

I think my favourite thing about costume studies is learning to sew properly. I mean, I have been the exception from most people I know in that I know how to sew. But I never really knew how to sew professionally, and never really took the care to learn all the little tricks that make things well finished. As I pick up my needle (with my teacher enforcing an always-wear-a-thimble rule) I make sure every stitch is even. When I pin, I pin twice to make sure the fabric doesn't shift by one thread. When I sew on the machine, I begin a half inch forward, backstitch, and then continue on so that I only have two layer of threads, instead of three to reduce bulk. This kind of inane attention to detail usually wouldn't be my style.

Except that I love it. Dearly.

I am surrounded by people to whom I can gush about farthingales, and not only have them know what I am talking about, but gush back. I can talk about historical accuracy, and no one rolls their eyes. Five hundred dollar books on the history of costume are owned by my colleagues. *gush gush*

I guess I don't really have much else to say.

Mike is putting the baby to bed now. Anxiety reigns. I need to do my homework!

Friday, October 8, 2010

On Loss

I wanted this next post to be a positive one, but life doesn't always work out that way. Recently, I was saddened to find out that an old friend had lost a baby through miscarriage. As it may shock my readers to know, I too have experienced this loss. I think it is common to a lot of women, though not frequently and openly discussed.

The baby that my husband and I lost was not far along. I started miscarrying at work and called my husband immediately, we went to the doctor's office, who sent me to the hospital. I knew there wasn't anything that could be done. I sat in the hospital, regretful and slightly shocked. The emergency doctor informed me that my pregnancy had terminated healthfully and that I shouldn't be upset because it was early along and therefore 'not really a baby at all.'

It was quite possibly the worst thing he could have said.

While I do maintain a pro-choice attitude about abortion, and recognize the usefulness for the letter of the law to describe a fetus as a bunch of cells for a certain period in the pregnancy, this is not necessarily the case from the perspective of the woman carrying the child. It may not always be useful to dehumanize the person that she has carried inside of her. I grieved this little person that I would never get to meet. My body ached. My heart hurt.

After I stopped being sad, I started feeling ashamed.

We hadn't told many people, not our family members, and only a few friends who raised their eyebrows when I refused a drink at the bar. I felt ashamed that they knew. I was ashamed that I had stopped in front of a few baby stores, lingering just a little longer at the window. I felt stupid for being so confident and assuming that everything was going to work out.

I realised, after my friend's loss brought all these memories back, I still feel ashamed. I'm not a person who wears their weakness on their sleeve, and this thing that had happened to me made me feel unable to discuss it with anyone. I feel so ashamed that it still brings tears to my eyes. Pregnancy is a huge leap of faith. You have to trust your body, you have to let go of control and let yourself love something that is not fully formed. My second pregnancy was full of fear, wonderment, and finally, relief.

I hope one day I can stop feeling ashamed, and just let myself feel sad. I hope I'll be able to talk about it openly without a catch in my throat and embarassment in my voice. In the meanwhile, I will just feel lucky for the beautiful things that have come into my life, and live for those.

Monday, September 6, 2010


So as is to be expected when my family moves to a place, something catastrophic happens. In this case, it was a hurricane.

Hurricane Earl was a long nosed, shriveled little bureaucrat of a hurricane. He yelled from his car, but never on the sidewalk. He wrote long winded letters to the editor that he never sent. He wasn't very impressive.

The wind and rain began in the morning, a few hours before we all woke up. We had stocked up fully on batteries and canned food and a large 20L of water. Partly because of our survivalist tendencies, and partly because Nova Scotia Power has a terrible reputation of taking a very long time to get the power back on. In preparation, Mike had fixed the evestroughs, downspouts and put engine weld on an old cracked spout that took our rainwater down into the sewers.

The rain was really only spitting, but the wind was getting stronger and stronger. We listened to the radio, as the speed of it raised incrementally. I put the baby to bed, feeling the bed shake along with the house, watching the trees bend over sideways. The power went out, and my child, my rock, my bastion in the storm, slept through the hurricane.

It waxed, and then finally waned. I went outside and sat on the park bench outside of our house. Our neighbour played his saxaphone, the strains of which floated into the eerie greenish sky, not quite mournful, but sad nonetheless, and I surveyed the damage. Trees had lost large clumps of leaves which nestled themselves against cars, some leaves were stuck flat against the side of our house. I heard the damage was worse elsewhere.

Ender fussed because he wasn't allowed outside, and I placated him with horrible preprepared toddler meals that reminded me of kitty chow. We cracked open a can of meatballs and gravy for ourselves, and ate while it was still light. After the babe fell asleep, we read by the light of our flashlights until we fell asleep from the deathly silence of a city without electricity.

After it all, I feel Nova Scotian again. And my family has been baptized by a hurricane.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

100th post

And after the expected hiatus, I'm back. And at the 100th blog post, to boot.

After a lag in posting I'm bound to leave something out, but I'll try my best:

Through most of July and August, my husband and I were packing, stressing, packing some more. We saw more of our friends than we had the entire year past. Everyone refused to say good-bye. There was a common element of denial where they all gave a crooked smile and said they'd come visit us before we left. While these didn't (and couldn't have) come to fruition, it was still nice to know people will miss us. Ender became rapidly more able to walk around this time, parading like a small tyrant unpacking boxes and causing general adorable misery. The movers came. The movers left. Our fish tank cracked. The fish were moved to a beer cooler, and seemed happy enough about it. We waved our things goodbye and made final preparations.

Ender and I took the plane together a few days later, which was a generally pleasant experience. It was his fifth plane trip, so by now he's an old pro. He waved bye-bye to each person leaving the plane, in turn. He crawled the walls of the bus shuttle as we made our way to the hotel. Upon check-in, I stripped him down to his diaper, where he giggled and rolled around on pristine linens. We napped. We had room service.

My dad and Mike travelled by car, taking various things we didn't want to wait to arrive with the movers. They arrived in the morning and slept in my fairly gracious suite, after 24 hours of straight driving.

The house closed without issue, and we entered it with awe. It is a gorgeous home. The pine plank floors have a gorgeous patina of age, the crown mouldings are simple but add formality to the master suite and parlour. The back yard is made up of overgrown trellises of English ivy and Virginia creeper. The old owners left us a Victorian style park bench in the back, and we sit on it, enclosed in a kind of dewy silence. Our neighbours introduced themselves, each in turn. All leave their doors open at all times of day and shout hellos over the fence.

While we've been much caught up in the general messiness of setting up a house, we've still had time for the simple pleasures of true home ownership. Ender splashes in his pool, learning to spray us with the hose and then laugh maniacally. He rips off the heads of flowers, and I don't scold him. Those flowers are there to be dessicated at his will! They belong to him! It is truly a glorious thing, to have space. Space to breathe and grow and love. It was immediately and irrevocably home.

Now to start school.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The mathematics of possibility

So as much as I love being a mother, there are things about it that bug me. Mostly, I hate the incompatability of having a large brood of children and having a career. I'm not quite sure how it works, with my style of parenting. I suspect it is nearly impossible.

I mean, I'm an only child so I don't really know how big families function. I like to picture it going on, I like to imagine how it would work, and then I come to a full stop. When, exactly, am I working? Where is the money coming from? What job do I have that happily lets me go on successive maternity leaves without finding some excuse to fire me? Of course, I have stalked enough fundamentalist Christian blogs to know the answer to these questions.

First of all, the woman works from home. It is a necessity by virtue of nature of pregnancy. The work force, even some Forbes' top ten employer, is not a great place to be pregnant. Ask any woman who is still at work in her third trimester. It sucks. Secondly, the money comes from a gainfully employed man and maintained by an obsessively frugal wife. Let's face it folks, my husband has an amazing work ethic, but he is an artist. This is historically not gainful. I also am only *okay* at being frugal. If you've been following my blog long enough you'd know that frugality was a lot easier when my kid couldn't crawl. Now that he can do that, and walk, it's almost impossible to bake bread, let alone anything more involved. Every day is a battle to prevent some disgusting food from rotting under the couch.  So I guess there is the seemingly impossible picture of what it would be like to have more kids in our household: my husband would have to stop following his dreams, I would have to get a lot better at the internet and sell costumes online, and I would have to become adept at juggling babies and compromising my beliefs regarding their care and my attentiveness. My dreams for my family seem impossible as our numbers increase.

I think this is why bohemians usually only have 2 kids. We are inherently selfish.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Yes, I need to be needed

For all the talk of infant sleep, of getting and keeping your child in a restful slumber, I have to admit that I feel kind of weird when my kid falls asleep on his own and stays that way. My maternal instinct starts to go off. Is something wrong? Why is he sleeping so far from me? So when he turns, and tosses a few times, and opens his eyes in that sudden and surprised way, I feel a little surge of relief. All is well.

I guess I'm strange because I can really take or leave my kid sleeping like some kind of comatose valium addict. The rhetoric of sleep in North America is completely different than the rest of the world. We sleep less, we work more, and we expect our children to nod off alone and stay that way. The reality is that kids aren't meant to sleep that way. As very young babies, frequent arousals are due to a need for nutrition, comfort, and attachment. It is also associated with reduced chances of SIDS. As babies age, their circadian rythms also mature, but are still not the same as adults. And why would they be? Their brains, expanding and processing as they are, require sleep in different ways than ours do. Not only restorative, sleep is also a time of increased mental activity and growth. Children wake up frequently at night because they cycle through deep and light sleep phases more quickly than adults, not because their sleep is dysfunctional. Even children whose parents believe they sleep through wake at night, they just go back to sleep without parental reassurance.

Of course, there are times when I wish Ender would be guaranteedly fine on his own. When company is over, or when Mike and I have plans to watch a movie just me and him. The baby wakes and I let out a long and audible sigh. There will be no movie. Just cuddling a baby back to sleep.  Mostly, though, aside from being frustrated, I notice progress in Ender's sleep patterns. He sleeps more heavily, and pushes away from me at night, not wishing to be in constant contact. Eventually we will put him on a little mattress of his own next to our bed, and when he is old enough, move him to his own room.

Until then, I'm enjoying being needed. As infrequent as that may be these days, I treasure the way his chubby hands twine in my hair and he lets out a little sigh, so different than my own, of true contentment.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Whenever you get something you want, reality kicks in shortly afterwards. It doesn't matter what it is, or how bad you wanted it, or what you thought it would be like. It doesn't matter if what you wanted was supposed to make your life easier, or if you thought you had figured out all of the drawbacks. Still, knowing this can lead to extra trepidation. It can mean that you prefer to stay still rather move forward, because you prefer the devil you know.

Because I am a feckless, irresponsible person raised on too much Narnia and not enough news at 6, I prefer the devil I don't know. I also retain a certain amount of unrealistic optimism and a want-want-want attitude. I would say I get about 80-90% of what I want. I am unassailable, a demonic force to be reckoned with when I decide I want something. It's strength is only tempered by its duration. Frequently, the force of my want does not live enough to reach fruition, and all returns to normalcy. On to the next.

I am, of course speaking of our gorgeous Victorian home, which will be ours tomorrow should we sign the papers. Let me not lead you astray, dear reader, for we will indeed sign them. But of course, there is no perfect story here. The house needs some work, and I, with my ironheaded directionality, have begun to plan and plan. I guess I'm just overwhelmed with the greatness of responsiblity, and the fact that these things that must be done, must be done in their own time, and not in mine.

Then, as I contemplate it further, the house becomes a metaphor for my entrance into costume studies. What if, like this shining beautiful house, I will enter into my program and realise that there is so much to learn that I will be entirely inequipped to begin? What if my intelligence is not suited for this particular task that I wish to accomplish? I'm not quite sure what the costume studies equivalent to needing to paint 1300 square feet of exterior wall is, but I'm sure it would lead to one or two pricked and bruised fingers and quite a few tears.

But I know I can do it. I will do it well too. I will be at the top of my class if it kills me. And we will paint that godforsaken wall.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

where the home is, the heart resides...

Since my last blog post, I dragged my reluctant husband and happy go lucky child along with me to Halifax to find a house to live in while we complete school. My oh my, how much further our money goes in real estate on the east coast! It was such a different experience. Whereas in Toronto our experience of house hunting was frustrating -- most of the detached homes we could afford were falling apart -- the house hunt in Halifax was characterized by a multitude of choices, each as tantalizing as the last. We settled on a beautiful old 1880s home in the heart of downtown.

I am in love. While we looked at a lot of places, some which were bigger, or newer, and fitting the suburban dream to a T, it just wasn't us. This home, with its original hardwoods and beautiful huge windows, it's adorable backyard with a handpump, is quintessentially us. I think it characterizes our move out East well. We have given up trying to be what we're not. We have accepted the good things (having each other, a beautiful child, artistic inclination) and the bad (flippancy, inability to integrate into the Canadian dream, artistic inclination) and we're working with what we've got.

I'm already picturing the giant victorian cascade curtains that I'll sew for the windows.

Ender is learning, slowly, how to walk. He takes little tentative steps, his arms thrown into the air for balance, with a look of perpetual surprise as he feels his body moving forward in a controlled fall, his legs stopping him each time. He smiles at me with a greater joy now at each thing he discovers, peeking his head around a chair to see his daddy, pulling off his left shoe and shoving it in his mouth. So too have his negative feelings begun to reach a greater depth, as he flails his arms in frustration when a chosen toy is decided to be too sharp for play, and taken away. Or, when his mouth aches as tiny teeth break the surface like pearly bubbles.

Both good and bad, I love it all, as it evidences his emotional growth. All I can do is press his arms to his side when he tries to hit me, and give him a sad face. "Please don't hit me." I say. He returns the pout, struggles off of my lap, and is off to the next thing. All is forgiven.

I pray to the fates and the chaos of the universe that somehow in all of this insanity I can continue to appreciate both sides of the coin as part of his learning to become himself. Grant me the knowledge to teach him right from wrong, so that he can eventually realise that there's no such thing. Grant me the vulnerability to cry when he hurts me, so he can learn that conscience is the best compass through a sometimes senseless world.

Fostering a life sometimes seems like too big of a responsibility. As though someone told me I was in charge of telling the frost how to melt.


Friday, June 25, 2010


Oh my, it seems my infrequent blog posts means I've lost some of my readership! Ah well. I never meant for the thing to become as popular as it did. I guess at one point I ran out of stuff that was stored up in my mind, and had to rely on things that were happening in my life. And sometimes things just don't. Happen, that is.

But something has happened. We sold the house conditionally. I have to say, without giving out too many details of the whole experience, that it has given me pause for future home purchases. The realtor's job on the other side is just to make your house sound like a complete piece of shit so that you agree with them that it is worth nothing. Less than nothing. That they are doing you a favour by buying. Slimy slimy. Doesn't help that Toronto is a shark's game. Anyway, all told we made a profit. Not bad for only one year of living there, really.

Ok, this is a short entry because I'm tired. More soon though, I promise!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Back to food again...

Ah, Nova Scotia. I can practically hear the crashing waves in the distance, the squawking seagulls and smell the briny air. A place where you can wait in a drug store line for ten minutes and no one gets mad. Real estate is reasonable, and people are friendly.


Ingredients are sorely lacking. And while immigration has started to flesh out the restaurant choices in Halifax, the grocery store items are limited, at best. So I've begun an enterprise to cook all the weirdness out of my system before we go. At the moment, I'm in a Japanese phase, and have stocked the fridge with two kinds of seaweed, daigon radish, lotus root, kimchi (Korean, but delicious), wasabe mayo and miso paste.

Bye bye, dr. Atkins.

The Atkins diet worked great, by the way. It taught me a lot about the way I eat, and I lost 20 (!) pounds in total over a month. Now, I am challenging myself to make healthy choices within a reasonable range of foods. Permanent changes? Less sugar and refined flour in general. I never realised how much I relied on starch to replace veggies, and my love of baking didn't help! I also learned that fruit doesn't unequivocally equal healthy. It has tonnes of sugar in it, and should be eaten in moderation. Gone are the days of gorging on a bag of oranges.

Speaking of healthy eating, my reluctant little eater is making huge steps. He'll shove things in his mouth now and give a look of joy at the strangest foods. Tonight's menu was bitter melon, which is an aquired taste, but he ate it with relish, looking for more. He also ate a whole strawberry, quite politely, while watching the end of a movie with my brother and sister in-law. I love my son. He is fantastic.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

On real estate

Sometimes, I'm glad that I am me. Recently, while perusing this endless library that is cyberspace, I discovered something wonderful. Instructions on how to make your own dressform out of duct tape! Pretty much all it involves is putting on an old t-shirt, covering yourself in duct tape, cutting yourself out, stuffing it with batting and putting it on a stick held up by an x-mas tree holder. I always knew that thing would come in handy. A dressform on average runs around 400 dollars, and isn't likely going to be a very close approximation to your body type. Especially if you're a six foot one vixen like myself (hardy har) who can hardly find any clothes that fit properly (my natural waist is about two inches lower than everyone else's), let alone a mannequin that represents me.

So I've bought all the supplies I need, two rolls of duct tape, a giant bag of polyfibre fill. I'll post pictures when I'm done, hopefully. I say hopefully because I've been unreasonably exhausted lately. I'm staying at my in-laws house with husband and child, whilst they vacation for the month and we try and sell our house. Big houses mean more stairs. More walking. More cleaning. More pinchy cupboards and death-traps of magazines stacked taller than my standing child. Like I said, exhausting. I take back anything I ever said about wanting a house of more than 1500 sqft. I wouldn't be able to handle it.

Our home has now been on the market for approximately a week. We've had eleven showings, which as far as I can tell is good. The realtor warned us it was a slow time of year to sell, and that the last home he sold this time of year in our neighbourhood he was lucky to get four showings a week. So eleven is pretty good. I think we chose a good realtor this time. No offers yet, but we're hoping for some next week. We're pretty much raring and ready to go, so unless the offer is unreasonably low, we're going to take it. We are ok with not making a lot of money. After all, we only lived there for a year! Our maximum time on the market is a month. If it doesn't sell before that we're going to rent it out and keep it as an investment property. This, in the long run, is a lot more work and therefore not the best option, but it is a real possiblity.

Mike has chosen his courses for art school, as have I. We're starting to let ourselves get cautiously excited. The process of cleaning out our home for showings means we're a couple of weeks ahead in the whole packing/moving thing. We've hired movers, which is a huge relief. We still need to find a place to live, which will be decided in July with a trip out to Nova Scotia after the house does or doesn't sell. Lets say does, as it sounds more positive.

Hmmm. I think that's all for now. I'm going to put my baby to bed and have some more wine.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Tyrant

I've heard about it before, but never experienced it in real life. Suburbanites with the most sturdy belief you've ever seen that there is ONE right way of doing things, ONE right way of raising a child. If I had heard the circumstances from a third party, I would have just told them to ignore it, or to cut the unsupportive persons out of their lives. I would have been wrong. Nothing is that simple.

I know that this viciousness comes from a place of hurt and regret. It was a confluence of an old world view, and my decision from the outset that those who didn't respect my choices as a parent would not get to babysit. How could I let them, in good faith, when I knew that everything that was important to me would be dismissed as foolish? And so, from there, it grew into an uglier thing. Despite the hundreds of thousands of people who are parenting the same as me, those who have told me I'm doing a good job and the best I can, it still stings. Despite the way they treat their children, and the many ways I disagree with it, it still makes me momentarily lose faith that my choices have been the right ones.

I've heard of people like these. The ones who conditionally support their children in their endeavours, giving some love, but not all. It is alien to me. Affection is as necessary to me as air. I breathe this same life, this same love, into my son. I am not sure how that could ever be wrong.

All I can do is try and follow my own advice: brush it off, move on. I know I will get the last laugh, as I see my son blossoming under our unconditional love and attachment. I know I am not "raising a tyrant" just because he wilts beneath the force of their need to be needed. This waivering faith must be bolstered by the knowledge that I am mother, I am goddess. There is no way that I can be totally downtrodden. I can only weep for the pettiness that others hold against me, and continue on.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Car Ride From Hell

We've just returned from London, where we spent the day with Mike's extended family on his father's side. It was very nice. There was a bbq, and a lovely shady yard, and Ender cooed and gurgled his way around the circle making everyone fall in love with him. He was a bit fussy from a skipped nap, but got his second wind, and took a little dip in the inflatable pool (which, for a little person is a regular pool) and was very well behaved. I love this side of Mike's family. I can talk about cosleeping and nursing, and everyone nods, agrees with me, and understands. It's so refreshing to not be judged. Sometimes I feel just tied up in knots from the tension between the kind of mother I am, and the kind of mother people expect me to be.

The car ride home, however, was absolute hell. The air conditioning in the volvo is irreperably broken and the heat wave that has hit ontario means constant weather in the mid-thirties. I had a spritzer bottle in the car which could only do so much. Ender's car seat is now front facing, but I am convinced Mike has installed it wrong, and Ender's head flops directly forward so that he can't sleep more than fifteen minutes at a time in it. I can prop his chin up with pillows, but it was far too hot for that. So, at the beginning of our trip, we pulled over to a McDonalds and decided to flip the carseat to rear facing (which is naturally more reclined). However, we forgot that we usually use a rolled up towel beneath it to recline it properly, and by then it had already been wrestled to rear facing. Ender HATES the carseat this way, because he can't see us, but it had seemed like an ok compromise if it was more comfortable for sleeping. Which it wasn't. Long story long, Mike and I screamed at eachother, I reinflamed the tendonitis in my wrist, and Ender screamed the whole way home. At the moment he still is not going to sleep and it's almost 9:30. Ugh.

I am starting to get really frustrated. I have enough freedom now that I can do some things with my little man, but I'm also starting to realise that a. I am mostly on my own. Being a mom means a lot of lonely time when you watch everyone else bounce freely about like little baloons and you are stuck to a seat. Even when your man takes the baby, it's a 'break', it's never for long enough and within fifteen minutes the baby is back in your lap again. Where you want him, but still it's exhausting. It makes you green with jealousy, and your husband is then confoundedly confused about why you're so mad that he went to the bathroom without telling you. And secondly, b. I realise that there are things that I simply won't be able to do for many, many years. Realistically, I wouldn't have done them anyway, but in typical fashion, I mourn them anyway. On the ride from hell, I stared out at the lakeshore, where the cool water looked so inviting, and saw several sailboats dotting the horizon. It will probably be 10 years before I ever have time to learn to sail. If ever. Do I want to learn? Not really, but knowing that I can't do a thing for 10 years makes it seem like something that is worth doing!

That is all, dear readers. Next time I write, I will have had a shower, a sleep, and a much happier baby. I also hope I haven't long-term-edly re-injured my wrist. Ow.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I had it in my mind to talk about bullies in this post. I was going to say that while we think of bullying as happening in the schoolyard, it transcends all that into our adulthood. It takes on more hidden, and more vicious forms. Then, through a status update of a girl I went to highschool with, I found out that a boy I knew in highschool was beaten to death over the weekend. It made my topic seem trivial.

Did I know him well? Maybe not. He had the same spare period as me and my friend Jen. It was empty and boring and there was only about ten of us wandering the halls. We sat outside the closed cafeteria, smelling baking cookies and yammering on about whatever it is teen girls yammer about. We flirted with boys, as a product of our boredom. He was blonde, and tall (always an asset in my books) and smiled at me in the halls. Through some contrivance (mine, his?) we ended up going to a dance 'together'. This just meant we met up when the dance started and stood, awkwardly, in the same viscinity. He offered me rum that he had poured into a coke can. I refused. He shrugged. We danced, slowly rocking back and forth in the graceless slow dance of childhood. We kissed. Our braces gritted against each other and I winced. He was the second boy I ever kissed.

I didn't know him well. I'm still shocked and appalled that this long weekend he was beaten to death for 'looking at someone weird'. It's very unfair. I'll remember him well as part and parcel of my highschool years, for whatever small part he played in making me myself.

Rest in peace, Brad.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Today is Mike and I's second anniversary. What a wonderful man, who is letting me celebrate it the way I like: getting stuff done.

After much vacillation, we have pretty much decided (to try) to sell. Which means moving A LOT of our stuff out of the house for showings. Having a toddler around, destroying everything in sight means that it's not realistic to keep on living here while we show the place. It would be too much stress. Instead, we're staying at my mother-in-laws for a few weeks (hopefully less), hiring cleaners, and emptying out the place of any and all clutter. That way, it gets cleaned once and it'll stay that way. I know it will sell, the place has increased in value ridiculously since we bought it during the recession, and they average 12 days on the market, but still. The 'what if' is getting to me. I've kind of got it in my mind that we will buy a house in Halifax, since the apartment market is tres crappy. It's pretty much the same price as Toronto, due to it being a university town.

We recently took a trip down to the country to see my mom, which was long overdue. We relaxed in a hammock once the weather got nicer, slept, I didn't cook, and it was lovely. We also briefly stopped by the 1st birthday party of a friend of mine's son, who was running circles around Ender. It's so funny to see him around other kids. He's definitely an only child. He doesn't freak out when they take his toys, he just looks incredibly confused. His voice is so soft and mild in comparison. I think he's loud, but he's actually quite soft spoken. During the visit to my mom's, he did stand independently for a little while, which confirms my hypothesis that he can stand on his own, he's just scared. Most of the time he's just dragging his hand on the furniture as he cruises along, not actually leaning. Ah well, all these things will come in due time.

Sleep has improved quite a bit in our household also. Ender has begun accepting that he can't take ALL his naps on his mom, and is sleeping quite happily in our bed. Not right now, though. Because our house is absolute chaos as we prepare to move things out, he is curled up in a little ball of perfection on my lap.

Tonight I think my dad (babysitter extrordinare) will be watching Ender, and I Mike and I will be going out to dinner to celebrate the most auspicious occasion of our wedding. Probably a steak house, since that's all we're eating at the moment. I picture us twining our fingers together over candlelight. Uninterrupted touch is something that is highly underrated. I don't think we've hugged for more than two seconds in the presence of our little man.

Oh, and how is the diet going? I lost 15 pounds. In one week. Boo-yah.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fad Diet

I'm on Atkins. Before the barrage of e-mails, comments and phone calls warning me to be careful, hear the whole story.

A couple of days ago, an old chum from school gave me a message on facebook asking about getting into the modelling world. As its something that I have moderate experience in, I gave her some pointers to get herself started, as well as linked her to my old online portfolio. I looked at the pictures there and was amazed at the difference in my body. I was 30 lbs lighter and boy-o-boy did it show. I remember being at the shoot and being self concious about my rolls. Little did I know that I would look back on that, post-partum, with envy.

It was very motivating. On a whim, before bed, I grabbed a white eyeliner pen and wrote on the mirror: "I swear today that I will stop eating meat and carbs until I look awesome again." and signed my name. I was a vegetarian when I was skinny last. I started doing some research. Knowing that my main weakness is carbs and sugar, which make up the majority of my diet, I looked into low-carb options. Which brought me to Atkins. Scratch the no meat.

I should say that I am not a fad dieter. I don't buy the books and follow the recipes. I don't hire personal trainers, though I do take a stab at going to the gym every couple of months or so. This is my first 'plan' that I have followed. My usual 'plan' is to smoke a lot, drink a lot of coffee, and get drunk when I am grumpy from not eating. It works very well as a university student, mostly because it is both social and budget concious. However, it is entirely unfeasable as a mother, and not incredibly healthy. I suppose that's why I find when people say 'isn't that very unhealthy?' to me, about Atkins, I find it kind of ironic. I've never lost weight in a healthy way, but somehow, because it doesn't have a name that starts with a capital letter, people won't get all concerned. I'm sure if people called my old diet 'Nicolekins' and tried to market it, everyone would nickname it Death, and it would have a short-lived popularity amongst university-aged nihlists.

So Atkins is not unhealthy. No. It is a high protein diet in the first stages. There are many stages, which involve slowly re-introducing healthier carbohydrates into your system, as opposed to the cheap trash that you usually put in.

The bonuses? Fast weight loss, healthy eating, do-able maintenance, and never being hungry.

The downsides? The cost of meat (pricey) the tight-lipped looks of disapproval, and faintly smelling of ammonia while my body detoxes.

I haven't had a grain of sugar or a single simple carbohydrate in 3 days and I've lost 6lbs. I'm sure it's water weight, but it is very encouraging. My goal is to lose those 30lbs, and weigh what I did in that picture that turned me green with envy at my past self. I don't like the way I look now. I dodge out of pictures with my son. I avoid clothing shopping. This is not me, but some kind of weird fat suit I've been forced to wear and drape with unflattering fabrics. I have a litany of discomforts with my current shape.

Of course I would start a fad diet once it becomes unpopular. That's just my way.

24 more lbs to go....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Plan

My life has been somewhat boring lately. For dinner I had halal canned chicken lunchmeat, a hard boiled egg and a jar of artichoke hearts, chopped into little pieces and tossed together. It reminded me of some post-war recipe for a 'salad' you'd get out of a Good Housekeeping magazine. It was ok, if not bland and depressing. Afterwards, to top it all off, with apropriate lonesome compulsion, I ate several handfuls of belgian chocolate sprinkles straight from the box, making sure to lick the stray grains from the creases where my fingers meet my hand. mmm. Grainy chocolate goodness. Now I'm watching episodes of the space-western series Firefly, which I don't really like, but the costumes are steam-punky and enough to capture my imagination. And this, folks, is why I should never be left to my own devices.

Today I've begun weaning again, in earnest. At the moment Ender is breastfeeding before his two naps at 10:30am and 3:00pm and before bed at 7:30 and then through the night. Honestly, I'm perfectly happy to have him nurse as much as he wants through the night, but the daytime feedings are really starting to irk me. I remember watching mother goats (my main reference on lactation) kicking their young away when they were ready to wean. While I wouldn't go so far as kicking, I definitely have been unlatching him more often lately, hoping he'll stop. All those mushy maternal feelings about breastfeeding are fading, slowly.

I'm attempting to drop the morning feeding first. Today, we were faced with half an hour of crying, followed by half an hour of sleep, after which he woke up and began crying again. I gave him an egg yolk and he was fine. This was an unusually short nap, and I think he made up for it in his afternoon nap, which still includes breastfeeding. I'm going to keep up with this schedule for the next week or two, and if it starts to go more smoothly, I'm going to cut out the nursing at the 3:00 point also.

Frankly, I've been putting off making a plan for this whole thing for a while. Now, it has recently become convenient to put off other tasks of greater magnitude, so I am focusing on this. All things in their due time.

Also, I've gotten a specialists appointment for my CTS which is looking inevitibly surgery bound. I don't mind, but it probably won't happen until next summer, if I don't get my appointment bumped. It seems that surgery is the only thing that can fix it, according to my doctor. In the meanwhile, I can get cortisone shots. It's making the constant housework of having a toddler very difficult (not to mention lifting and carrying the little guy), so I'm looking forward to some kind of relief.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


One isn't thinking about things completely if one doesn't doubt their decisions every now and again. I'm trying to figure out the logistics of moving my family half way across the country, and I am filled with doubt. Mike will find out on the 25th whether or not he got into art school. If he was, I wouldn't wonder if I'm dragging my family on some kind of insane adventure. That I'm holding them hostage over my inability to sit still.

If I don't feel like life is progressing, I feel trapped and bored. This can be a good thing, however things can't always be progressing. Sometimes they need to stagnate to develop into what you want. Stagnation, waiting, can be a comfortable thing. Not that I know this for sure, since I've never waited for anything in my life. Mostly, I start to sense that things are very much the same that they were the year before, and that the year ahead will follow in the same suit, and I start planning. I start googling trips to Peru, and careers that fit my interests. I look at house prices in French Polynesia. I find worldwide climate change meetings and guerilla roving anarchist collectives. I investigate religions who reside in abandoned French monasteries. I dream. I rant at my husband. He smiles, and nods, and tells me he'll follow me anywhere. I am lucky.

Then, when we do decide to go on one of these adventures that I have planned, I panic. What will school be like, with such a young child? Should we sell the house, or rent it out? How much will I learn in this program, and how much should I know going in? My feckless belief in adolescence that I was capable of anything has been replaced by a certainty that everything is more complicated than it seems.

But there's no going back, and there's no regrets. Only doubt.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I have a bad relationship with money. Like a Sid-and-Nancy-bad relationship with money. Like one of those relationships where you open the wrong closet and find that money has spent itself on a bunch of things you thought you needed but you probably could have survived without. Money is a jerk. It bullied me in elementary school and seduced me in high school. It abandoned me in university. Money has ruled my emotions, making me love and hate and feel confused.

Money is not my friend, but it is my lover.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Parties and Acceptances, oh my!

So much has happened in the last week I cannot even manage any semblance of literary form.

Firstly: I got into school! Ack! Sooooo unbelievably excited/elated/shocked. When I found out, Ender was napping next to me and I had to quietly squeal (which sounded more like a tire losing air) and wait for him to wake up before I could call everyone. I texted Mike immediately and sent off a few e-mails.

Now, the logistical hell of moving a family of three half way across the country must begin. Not really looking forward to that, but it will be all worth it in the end. Today is a muggy, murky day, warm and always tempting rain, and it reminds me of Halifax. It reminds me of where we are going, and a place that I love that I get to show my son. There is a feeling of completeness about it.

Secondly: Ender had his 1st birthday party! Tomorrow will be his actual birthday, but yesterday was his party. Friends and family all showed up, were wonderful, bestowed gifts, brought food, drank and laughed. It was wonderful. I was worried about managing to fit so many people in our tiny condo, but we had approximately twenty people in and around the house, and it never felt overly crowded to me. I spent a lot of time planning that party, I made a cake that looked like a bullfrog out of fondant and a dense cake recipe I created myself (with a dash of that Guyanese pear essence that I will probably own for the rest of my life because it is so large and there are only so many things that can taste like pears) and learned some hard won lessons.

Fondant is a tricky thing to deal with. We went to the cake decorating store because I was tight on time and didn't want to make it myself (a disappointment to some of my readers, I know) and also purchased some heavy-duty food colouring, edible pearlescent stuff, a cake tray and a huge tub of buttercream icing. After I kneaded the colouring in, as Mike yelled at me not to hurt myself (which I did, but I staved off with a shot of scotch) I rolled it out on the counter which had been greased with shortening. I should mention I was also baking some sweet potatoes in the oven, and the kitchen was very hot. Too hot. So hot that my fondant was turning into a mucky mess. I was too excited, though. It is the main flaw of my baking and cooking abilities. So I rolled out the fondant and plopped it on the cake. The weight of the thing ripped it right down the centre. The fondant should have been a. rolled thicker, b. chilled in the fridge a few moments, and c. handled by someone who didn't have a shot of scotch in their system. Wine gives one the easy sensibility of checking things when they need to be checked, but not over handling food. It is matched to cooking. All baking should be done with puritanical sobriety. Scotch, while an effective pain killer, is best drank during debates, intellectual discussion, and contract brokerage. Just my humble opinion.

But the cake looked great. I patched up the hole in the middle, and in general got the effect I was after. Ender later took a full quarter of the cake and moodged it in his little fingers, looking quite pleased with himself. I couldn't ask for anything more.

The party was a grand success, there was plenty of food, and my favourite sociological effect occured: people who I was worried wouldn't mesh knew enough on their own not to talk to eachother. People who are planning weddings with large number of family members often worry about this. Uncle Bob being an alcoholic and Auntie Yolanda being a temperance lady, how will they ever get along? However, one is not giving their family members enough credit. They want to talk to eachother even less than you want them to. Life just has a way of working that out on its own, without your intervention.

Ender was a bit clingy, but he's been going through some separation anxiety lately. It waxes and wanes, enough for me to not worry about it. He generally was awesome. He played with his toys, and smirked flirtaceously at the ladies. I'm not sure what I did to deserve such an awesome little guy, but I sure am glad I've gotten to spend a whole year with him. I can't wait to see what the next years will bring.

Well I tapped this off in about three minutes, so hopefully it is internally coherent, in the very least....

Sunday, April 25, 2010

psycho-babble mumbo-jumbo

I am sewing today. Or, rather, I am trying to sew. My wrists are making it difficult. I read on the wikipedia article about CTS that frequent breaks are helpful, as opposed to going as long and as hard as you can, and then stopping. So I'm stopping every five minutes or so, resting five minutes and starting again. It's kind of contrary to the way I'm used to doing things, but it seems to be helping. Cutting is the worst, since where my thumb connects to my wrist is where it hurts the most.

The thing I'm sewing is one of those 'vintage Vogue' patterns, and it's a basic 1950s house dress. I bought this ridiculous retro fourth of july style fabric, which I fell in love with in the store and now looks nightmarish in fifteen different pieces, but I'm staying the course. If I don't finish it, it doesn't say a lot about my sewing skills or my stick-to-it-iveness. I'm also unclear on sizing, I'm about a 12 or 14 in regular dress sizes, but it seems like sewing sizes run a little bigger, so I'm doing it in an 18. I figure it's easier to take something in where it needs it, rather than letting it out. Also, I don't have a seam ripper. Quite the oversight. Screwing up is not an option.

I'd say I'm about half way there, and I'm following the instructions, even the stupid ones I don't agree with.

Sewing a 1950s style house dress leads to all sorts of ongoing jokes between Mike and myself about 1950s ideals and beliefs. We banter back and forth with the required jokes about Valium prescriptions, father knows best, and so on. Mike pretends to read Dianetics and I primly say that I don't go in for that 'psycho-babble mumbo jumbo'. Ender tries to eat pins. We stop him. He tries to grab the iron. We stop him.  He cries. We laugh. He laughs. So on.

I've also put together an herb garden on my dining table. It's just a small one, but I've always wanted to have one. Something about those herbs in their oblong terracotta pot instantly gives my living area a touch of provence, a little je ne sais quoi. I can't wait until they are successfully rooted enough to pinch off a leaf here or there, and improve my summer cooking with some freshness of flavour.

Speaking of which, I made veal parmisean tonight. It was fabulous. Ender is still surviving off of breastmilk and the three green beans I managed to stuff in his mouth. This too, shall pass. In the meanwhile, he's missing out on some good eats.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Improvement Accomplished

*gasps for air*

I'm back. For good this time. Yes, I thought in the last two weeks I would never blog again because life is just TOO busy and TOO stressful to take time to write. I also promised myself I wouldn't write again until things got better. Of course, because everything is temporary things did improve.

1 unexplained baby fever, 2 carpal tunnel wrists and a broken toe later, I'm back in the groove. And better than ever because I survived, damnit! For the first time in a long time, I let myself give up. It's not something I'm proud of, but I did. I got really frustrated about having no 'me' time, and that my baby was ruling my life, and that dal still hadn't gotten back to me, and that Mike didn't get into art school, and that my body wasn't listening to me at all and deciding to hurt whenever I tried to get things done.

Oh yeah. Mike didn't get into art school...well, kind of. The denial letter he got was conditional. He is now being given the opportunity to revise his portfolio under the supervision of a prof from the school because he has 'potential'. I personally think his so-called potential is fully-flowered genius, but I'm not on the admissions committee, so what I think is fairly irrelevant. The issue is that Mike doesn't do realism, both of us thought realism was boring to include in a portfolio (because it is) and so it wasn't there. The admissions committee took this as inability. However, it's very hopeful that they gave him a further opportunity to prove himself.

I, on the other hand, have called my school three times last week, to be told three different times that I would finally know their decision on my fate. The current story is that I should know by noon, Monday. I am, if you haven't noticed, dear reader, a fairly impatient person. I'm sure it takes years off my life, but I don't know any other way to function. I just think people like me should be put to the front of the line in general, as it saves hassles for everyone involved.

Anyway, my toe is healing, the baby's fever is gone and hopefully a tooth is going to pop through soon and end this intermittent bawling. He seems quite happy and then suddenly he'll melt down. My carpal tunnel syndrome is still bad. My ace bandage has become my constant companion, and I know I need to go to the doctor but I'm really finding it hard to fit that in my schedule. Wait times in Toronto are insane. I'm probably looking at four hours wait time at least. Yuck. With Ender's birthday party in the planning stages, and my life getting back on track after a long hiatus, I just can't seem to figure out when that four hours would fit.

Ah! Mike has returned home with a much deserved bottle of wine. Until next time, which will be soon. I promise.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I wish I liked the show, The Tudors better. I mean, it's a series for godssake. A period drama that has an unending parade of glorious Tudor-era gowns and doublets. Right up my alley, you'd think. For some reason though, no one can do a period series like the BBC. There is something unabashed and honest about their retelling of history, with just the right dash of wry wit. For instance, if the BBC were to do a series on King Henry VIII, they would replace the rugged, handsome actor that played him in his youth with someone fat and unappealing. Because King Henry was fat an unappealing when he advanced in years. To avoid this fact is frustrating for anyone who knows the slightest bit about Tudor history. But the British, they would not be afraid to have someone ugly on camera. They wouldn't lose their viewership for it, either.

The last few days have been incredibly rough. I keep describing it as The Worst Week Ever. I mean, I'm sure there have been worse weeks. But this week just seems to keep getting worse. First my wrists sieze up to the point where I have to bolster them with ace bandages and braces, which sets me on all these thoughts about an inability to work, to sew, to pursue my dreams. Then, Ender seems to have caught a bug, or was teething, or something. Either way, it made him very uncomfortable and feverish. It made everything go back to the way it was when he was two weeks old. Constant crying. No one allowed to hold him except for me. No solid foods. Breastfeeding every two hours. Meltdowns in the bathtub. My poor little fellow was suffering something fierce. No sleep was had. No spare moments. I'm not actually sure when the last time was I brushed my teeth, but I'm pretty sure its been a while. Anyway, enough wallowing in details. It was one of the more challenging experiences of parenthood. The fever seems to have broke, and now I feel as though I've only now just caught my breath, and sink blissfully into my sofa, back to my blog, back to normalcy.

I pray that tomorrow will be an improvement, for all of us.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Lessons of Birth

I can't help but feel this blog has died. I've been suffering from fairly severe wrist pain. From carpal tunnel or repetetive strain injury, I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure it's CTS. My wrists were especially painful when I was working at the law firm, which resulted in me using an ergonomic keyboard, two wrist braces and a special chair. All of which simply kept my wrists from hurting while I was at work. When I was at home, I was in agony. I can't lift a pot or a baby without flinching. It really sucks. It also makes typing less than ideal and not recommended, either. I've been laying off, dear reader, in the interests of my health. So I hope you forgive me.

It also means, while I can't type, all sorts of ideas for blog posts have been percolating through my mind.

One of which being, the lessons of birth. As Ender's first birthday approaches, I am nostalgically looking back at the journey Ender, Mike and I have all taken together. It has been rough, wonderful, and undoubtedly life changing. While it could be argued that it all began in pregnancy, the crisis/miracle of birth is where I personally trace the beginning of my life as I now know it.

I doubt that anyone can really reach a conscious state similar to the mind of a labouring woman without the assistance of psychotropic drugs. You are all at once focused, and not of this world. You don't care about your nudity, or the needs of those around you. You need to be alone, but with the hands of the ones around you.

While I was labouring, I didn't let Mike leave my side for more than a few moments. It was so important to me to have him there, looking at me in a way that told me he trusted me with this massive responsibility of bringing our child into the world safely and effectively. I had spent my whole pregnancy informing myself about the politics and language of birth. Its medicalization, its naturalization. I had a clear image in my mind of how I wanted it played out. I wanted a home birth, I wanted my husband, my mother, my midwife and my baby there. That was all. I wanted to lay, exhausted on my own bed after successfully accomplishing what I viewed as the most natural task of all.

As I laboured, it became very clear that the baby was not moving. He was wedged in my spine and causing severe amounts of back pain. My midwife told me to let it all go. I began to sob. I told her that I was sorry. She asked me why I was sorry, and I told her it was because I wanted to do it right. Now I was doing it wrong.

This was straight out of my subconcious. I don't think anything could more succinctly describe the way I feel about life. I want to do it right. I want to rebel right, and conform right. I want to be the right measure of maternal and agressive and beautiful and political. I'm not sure where all of this pressure to do things right came from, but it has dominated me for many years. So, at that moment, when doing things right was not an option, when my subjective view of right was being dictated by my body, and not myself, I had to be set straight.

There is no right way to do this, my midwife said. There is doing it, and that is the right way.

I'm not sure if she realised that that, in itself is significant. There is no right way except getting it done. Living out your life is the right way to do it. So simple. Perfectly nihlistic. Perfectly Nicole.

That's the lesson of my birth, which helps me go forward with my life, and with my motherhood.

Monday, April 12, 2010

scared straight

Well my sofa arrived, and it's even more glorious than the photograph portrayed. I've rented 8 samples of fabric from Designer Fabrics, and have been agonizing over them all day. I have no idea which one is right. The colour that I'm looking for was available, but in a yucky cheap looking microfibre. Microfibre has its place, but not on my shabby-chic victorian revival sofa. It calls for velvet. The sage velvet that I like is 61 dollars a yard. I need about 10 yards, making it prohibitively expensive.

Back to food. I've been posting less about food because a. I've had less time than usual to do all of my cooking, b. the baby is much more mobile and because he can crawl around the house it scares me to leave him alone for even a second, and c. we are very very broke from our trip to Ottawa, which seems to have cascaded us into a series of irresponsible spending behaviours. But I think our bank account balance is enough to scare us straight back into our lentil eating, powdered milk drinking ways.

There are a few new things on my list that I'd like to try. One of them is kimchi. Kimchi is the Korean equivalent of sauerkraut. It is cabbage with chili, green onions, garlic, ginger and a little bit of fish sauce, left to ferment for a few days. It is glorious. For some reason I've been craving Korean food constantly lately. It is possibly some of the best food in the world, and if you've never had Korean food, I suggest you go out and try some tonight. It's fresh, delicious, and usually involves barbeque. I also am going to try and make my own japanese pancakes, which I've had the luck of trying freshly made at a certain Japanese pancake joint I found.  It's like a large vegetable fritter/omelette with cabbage.

Notice that these both largely involve cabbage. Cabbage is cheap. Cabbage is nutritious. We eat a lot of it.

I'm still coming to terms with Ender's new mobility. It's so weird, as I'm used to him being this static little person who I plopped down and was there when I came back. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for him. I know he was getting frustrated at his own inability to move himself. It's fantastic to see him scoot over to all the things he has been staring at for so long.


It's a lot more work. I mean, it is more work than ever before. I thought it would get incrementally easier as he grew older. Not so much. Now I'm trying to cram shoes on Ender's feet as he crawls towards a piece of carpet lint with a hungry look in his eye. His poops are real poops. His food is real food. It's weird. He's growing up so fast, and I have a feeling that before I know it he's not going to be a baby anymore. Like all moms, I'm not ready for that. I'd like him to hold onto that milky sweet baby smell just a little bit longer.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Well, I'm not sure if I've been mentioning this lately in my blog, but I've been in the market for a new couch. I use the word 'new' very lightly, as there's no way we can afford an actually new couch straight from the factory smelling of foam rubber. New to us. I've been trolling the craigslist and kijiji ads for months. I never cease to be amazed by what people will ask for, for an absolute piece of ugly crap. There was one ad where a guy was trying to sell two ends of a sectional for a hundred bucks. It didn't meet up. It was made of that hideous, uncomfortable velvet poly stuff, and was covered in stains. Buddy, I wouldn't pick that out of the trash, let alone pay you a hundred dollars for it.

Our current couch is falling apart. It was my dad's, and both he, I, and several boyfriends have been hard on it. There is the one arm, where the chenille melted when I rested a hot pan on it, back when my kitchen was my living room. There are cigarette holes, from when we used to smoke inside. There are stains, from when I didn't have a dining room and we always ate on the sofa. Worst of all is a large tear that has exposed all the fiber fill, which Ender pulls out in clumps and tries to eat. I don't blame him. It looks yummy, but the texture leaves something to be desired.

But we found a sofa! I finally had honed in what I was looking for. It is in the French provencal style, kind of antiquey looking but probably from the 70s. It's covered in Ivory damask, but we are reupholstering. I haven't yet gone to the fabric store, but I have a firm idea of what I want.

Currently, my house is entirely decorated in burgundy velvet with gold accents and dark wood. Very bordello/shabby chic. Normally I would've said more burgundy velvet for the sofa, but that was before I found this hotel:

The Gramercy Park Hotel looks as though it was decorated by my dreams. It also has the unique idea to pair burgundy with the very unlikely electric blue. But as you can see it looks fabulous. If I can't find the right colour of blue I may go with sage, but blue is ideal.

Um. Yeah. I'm pretty excited.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why I Want What I Want

I've been working lately, and very very busy. You don't realise when you're a stay-at-home mom all the things you have the luxury of doing. I mean, I felt busy before, but now I am positively frantic. In the mornings, I steam Ender's baby food, in the afternoon I puree it, and when he's gone to bed I freeze it in ice cube trays. He has been a picky eater lately, so I'm trying to hone things in to his preference while at the same time expanding his flavours. Mostly he likes sweet things: pears, peaches, beets and squash. I can't blame him, since those are my favourites too! Whenever it's all savoury, say, lentils and broccoli, he'll have none of it. So I have to sneak in weird combinations: lentils and pears, peaches and chickpeas. Sometimes it works, sometimes I'm left with three sandwich baggies of frozen food that Ender refuses to eat. I shall not waste your time, dear reader, with the story of the confluence of my feeding Ender okra and trying to teach him to eat with his hands...let's just say thank god my baby still fits in the kitchen sink for such emergencies.

Now, with time ahead that I'm not working, I'm looking forward to getting back to basics. Piles of baby clothing that no longer fit my rapidly expanding son will be sorted in 'give away' and 'if we every have another kid' piles. Currently fitting clothes will be moved from their current residence on the pink chair, back into dresser drawers where they belong. Ender's room will stop being an oversized closet, and start being a room again. This is my resolution.

I guess as I am waiting for my decision from Dalhousie is as good a time as any to explain the program that I am applying for, and why I'm applying for it. I've applied to costume studies in the theatre department of dalhousie. My mother did theatre studies at Dal, but with a different specialization, in props. Props is in essence the things that the actor uses on stage. The furniture they sit on, the mirrors they scream into, the tree they sit under contemplatively. It is not set creation or design, which is a common misunderstanding. My mom worked in several prop shops when I was growing up, one of which is the one that I am currently working at. While it's not exactly what I want to do, it's close enough for now, and gives me some real experience in the theatre industry. Of late, I've even had a chance to work on some costumey stuff, which is excellent.

The program that I've applied for is for costuming. It has a historical focus, and teaches design as well as construction. I'm mostly interested in design. I want to do period dramas for the BBC or even sci-fi stuff for hollywood. That said, one needs to crawl their way slowly up this ladder. I will probably start as a seamstress for a large wardrobe house. The thing that I like is that there is a ladder to climb, which is not like my job as a legal assistant, in which I was treading water, counting the seconds towards my inevitible demise. Most, if not all wardrobe designers started as seamstresses.

So why do I want to do it? How do I explain it, without sounding overly dramatic....most of my life all I've focused on is what people wear. Does that sound superficial? It's not meant to be. I've always noticed it in such a scientific way, in the sense that clothing is a signifier. It can express so much about a person's standpoint, character and mood. It can also throw things off in its contradiction. This was always my favourite; the honours student with dreadlocks and a lip ring, Marilyn Manson talking eloquently about American politics in a top hat and blind man contact lenses, or Bettie Page, the fetish pinup girl in a bullet bra with a squeaky clean 'jesus loves me' smile. These contradictions were some of my first 'aha!' moments, in which I realised that subversive clothing could exist to not only throw off people's perceptions (were they close minded enough to leave it at that) or have people question their existing ones. If Marilyn Manson can look the way he does, and still be an intelligent and socially concious person, doesn't that make us question things like the wearing of a suit and tie in the business world? Not that I'm against this, but I think that it's much more fitting if done with an awareness of its anachronism and irony. The suit is a signifier of an all boys club in the business world that is dead and gone. Your grandfather would have you believe that it will give you a leg up at a job interview, and maybe it would, but I think this speaks more to the outmoded belief in clothing as signifier of current HR departments. If we can accept a world in which Marilyn Manson is an intellectual and a fetish model is a jesus freak, seeing the business suit as a sign of employability is simply naive. Anyone can dress up to act out a part, if needed. It takes balls to dress up like a freak and convince people you're normal.

Further to this, I like the duplicity of meaning that clothing can have. I love the idea that a corset can act as a stand in for the nude body. That during the Victorian era, the corset itself was a sexier thing than the nude female form. It also simultaneously expressed the chaste and upstanding matron and the she-devil whore. A proper lady wore a corset to maintain her modesty. A loose woman wore a corset to accentuate her assets. The difference, if extant, is deliciously subtle. 

I think I'm going to stop rambling now.

I just wish I had my letter from Dal...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Lesson of the Dinner Party Dessert

This evening, we were out to dinner at a couple friends house for easter. They made a lovely ham and full course meal. I offered to bring a dessert. Probably not the best idea. While I am perfectly capable of hosting my own dinner party, offering to bring only one course has its issues. For one, you want it to be show stopping, since it's the only thing you're providing. Two, it should be relatively easy to prepare, because you doubtlessly have underestimated the amount of time you have to make it before going out the door. Three, you should follow a recipe. It's not the time to wing it.

Well, I betrayed all three of those rules. I had decided to make a pear cheesecake. This relatively simple plan was immediately derailed by the fact that there were no grocery stores open in the vicinity. Mike had independent plans to barbeque some leftover meats from yesterday, so he didn't want to go too far afield. I was stuck with the meagre offerings of our local Hasty Market. With (spreadable) cream cheese, gelatin, condensed (unsweetened) milk, pear flavouring, and a (chocolate) graham cracker crust, I tried to make magic. It didn't happen. For some reason the whole time I was paralysed with fear that the spreadable cream cheese would have the wrong consistency for a proper cheesecake, which lead me to add not one, but four packages of knox gelatin to the mix. The result was a very strange, very dense, indescribeable gelatin cheese cake. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good, either.

At the last minute, I made Mike go out for his third trip to the Hasty Market to buy filo dough and canned peaches and made a last minute ricotta peach struesel. Which was not show stopping. It was eclipsed by the wierd cake that I also brought, that everyone spent the whole time politely eating, trying to describe what it reminded them of. I downed three glasses of white wine in an attempt to drown out the embarassment. It was returned to me along with the cake pan on my way out. Always a bad sign. Mike, on the other hand, ate it with relish. He was and is very glad it returned home with us.

This is all to say that despite the miracles I make in the kitchen, tell me it's my only chance to impress, and I will guaranteedly fail.

Thankfully, my child is very cute and distracting. Even when I've convinced myself that both Mike and I are the most socially awkward and unpleasant people in the world, our sunny, chubby baby redeems us as dinner company. He has begun pulling up on everything, scooching his little butt across the rug to get to his mommy or daddy, and babbling constantly. His words so far are 'mama' 'dada' and 'ubb' which we're pretty sure means 'up' since he always says it with his arms flailing in the air, sitting at our feet.

As usual, I am amazed.

I would like to take him to the doctor soon, though. I am worried at how lean he is in the torso. While I could chalk it up to mother's guilt, I'm worried that he's not eating enough, and he's still holding fast at the weight he was at nine months. This scares me. I would hate for his development to be halted because I was supposed to be supplementing with formula, or force feeding him, or something. He is so reticent to eat, that it shakes my seemingly unshakable belief that mother knows best, and babies lead themselves to healthful habits without intervention from medical authorities.

Well that is all for now, dear reader. More soon.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


According to the Dalhousie website, a decision has been made on my application to the costume studies program in the theatre department. Whether the decision is yes or no, only time will tell. It's so nerve wracking to wait. Each possibility has its ups and downs. I'm not especially looking forward to packing up my house, renting it out, finding somewhere new to live, figuring out the logistics of childcare in Halifax once we get there. I am looking forward to the idea that it is possible to do something for a living that I enjoy.

I was thinking today about when I decided to move to Toronto. I had always said I never would do it. Toronto was too brash, greedy, loud, large and lacking in culture. It seemed like the brutish, overweight cousin of the genteel, chainsmoking Montreal I had gotten used to. In Toronto there was no cafe on every corner, the bars weren't open until 3 in the morning. Everyone in Toronto had house parties, because rent was so expensive no one could afford to go out to drink. In Toronto, you couldn't smoke inside. However, as I tried to decide what to do when my graduate studies came to a close, I knew I had to leave my sweet city of Montreal for greener pastures. I couldn't get a job outside of my university, because I wasn't fluently french speaking. Une bière s'il vous plaît was not sufficient and pretty much the full extent of my linguistic abilities. As I mulled it over in my mind, I began to say goodbye to my favourite spots, some of which I still have yet to see again. Parc Mont Royale in the summer, cafe presse in the winter. The fountain at Place des Armes that I fecklessly jumped into when I was seventeen, only to be rebuked moments later by a security guard who boredly pointed at the signs. Where could I go that could possibly match the city I had declared my love to, for so long? I remember discussing it with my mom's partner when I told him I didn't know where I wanted to live.

"You know, Nic, your mom cries a lot." He said it matter-of-factly, leaning in and gripping his steering wheel more tightly.

"Like, generally?" I laughed uncomfortably.

"She would just like you to live closer. She talks about it. Montreal is so far away."

"But we fight every time I visit. If she wanted me to move closer then she'd be nicer."

"I think you both are guilty of that -- of not being nice."

My silence was complicit. Undeniably, both of us were incredibly petty in those years. A nasty feedback loop of one expecting sniping comments from the other, then preemptively striking. It was difficult to tell if either of us were mad at eachother, or just constantly defending percieved attacks.

"I could never live in Toronto though, it's awful there."

He shrugged, clearly feeling as though he had said his piece.

After that conversation, no matter how many reasons piled upon reasons why it was a good idea for me to move to Toronto, and yes there were many, it all came back to that conversation. Despite how much I rebelled, and continue to do so, I don't ever want to make my mom cry. Maybe some tears are inevitible, but I definitely don't want it to be a lot.

In retrospect, it was a good decision. Not only because Toronto was where I met my husband and gave birth to my child, but because it is the first marker for me of adulthood. It was the first selfless choice I made as an adult, and it gives me hope that at one point, after giving and giving and giving, your children give a little back. It's not what they give, but the fact they've learned to give at all.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

hand to mouth

As much as I love to eat, it would seem that this is not a genetic trait. My 11 month old son hates to eat. Hates hates hates it. While he will, with various tricks, consume his purees, anything else is a complete exercise in futility. He will bring nothing hand to mouth. I have sat with him all day long, due to worry, trying to feed him everything and anything in little chunks. Finger foods, they say, should be easily and happily consumed by nine months. It is in his hair, on his clothes, in his little fat wrist folds, everywhere but in his mouth.

I could weep from frustration.

I watch him play, and I realised he rarely brings anything to his mouth. When he was a drooling machine, around six months, everything went in the mouth. Now it's my cell phone, once or twice a day that he chews on, and that's all. I've tried to get him to eat little chunks of pear, peach, avocado, cookies, digestive crackers, cake, pieces of bread, nada. And it would seem, after this day of mommy trying her best to get baby to feed himself, Ender has noticed that there is a battle taking place. Now he is refusing food from the spoon too. Great.

I am hoping it is just one of those days. It has been a crappy day, generally, and I think Ender is noticing my growing hysteria. I know I should wait, patiently. Instead, I google what could possibly be wrong. I read about six year olds eating purees. About occupational therapy and malnutrition and weight loss. I freak out.

People who have had kids who haven't had this problem are unsuprisingly unsympathetic. They suggest different foods, insinuate that I'm feeding him too much milk, as though what I'm doing is the problem. My mother keeps talking about how nice it is when they just eat off your plate in restaurants, rather than having to deal with a messy purees at home. I read recommended intake of food for eleven month olds and balk. In one day? I think. Those kids must look like sumo wrestlers. The amount of puree being consumed is becoming untenable. My tiny baby food maker overflows. The floor is scattered with uneaten crackers and pear chunks. 

Today is not my day. I will deal with all of it tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pictures of food

I realised recently that I take a lot of pictures of the food I cook, but rarely post them. Food photography is way harder than it looks, so don't judge me too harshly. I really have no idea what I'm doing.

So here we go...

This is Irish colcannon. It's like potato salad, but with more cabbage and served warm. I later used it to stuff my pierogi. I made up a crapload of this a while back when I was worried about money (needlessly, it turned out) and we ate it for a whole week. I think it made me feel closer to my Irish ancestors I only recently found out about. It also had pork bits in there that I had slow cooked with pepsi one night on a whim. The pepsi made it kind of...spicy. I don't think I'll do it again, though.

Coconut oil biscuits and tomato gravy. The tomato gravy just tasted like the best tomato soup you've ever had. This is from when I was experimenting with any fats that were cheaper than butter. Coconut oil is now a mainstay in our household. We use it for cooking, for hair conditioning, and I make up batches of biscuit mix and keep it in coffee tins whenever the desire strikes us.

My Julia Child chocolate souffle. Perfect. Delicious. Way easier than I thought it would be. It's basically just a roux/bechamel with yolk and whipped whites.

Homemade Montreal-style bagels. It was a big job, and I needed my husband's assistance, but it was totally worth it. As we kept on shouting, as we ate the entire dozen in the next two days, "It's so bagel-y!"

Comfort food. Chickpea dumplings in a yogurt-curry sauce. I can't take full credit for the sauce. I buy simmering sauces and then majorly stretch them out by adding yogurt, honey, plain tomato sauce, gram masala, cardamom, onions, garlic and ginger. The dumplings are way easy, just besan (chickpea) flour, water, and whatever seasonings you like. Roll into sausages and boil until they float. Cut into bits and simmer in some oil until brown. Pop in curry sauce.

I hope you enjoyed this food interlude. I recently cleaned and reorganized my cupboards, so hopefully there will be some more interesting things coming soon. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Last name, first name, date of birth?

Well it was a productive, if not incredibly busy, weekend. I made a chocolate souffle (pictures to follow, my camera is out of reach at the moment) which turned out perfectly. Mike and I decided to make Montreal style bagels on a whim, and it was way too much fun. Boiling breads and baked goods has become my new obsession. It's just so gratifying as you drop those blobs of dough in the water and watch them puff and rise to the top of the pot. Dumplings were never de rigeur in our household, but I've learned to love them. I think boiling wheat/besan/anything products is highly underrated. It's not just for pasta, people!

I'm thinking a lot about school lately. I hope both Mike and I get in, and are given the opportunity by these random arbiters of destiny to fulfill our dreams. How odd is it that some bureaucrat gets to decide this? And it is all based on a couple pieces of paper, in my case. A short letter pleading my worthiness, and a computer printoff filled with numbers that signify, in turn, my intelligence and stick-to-it-iveness. I've always had a bit of an obsession with school applications. In my senior year I applied to thirteen different universities. My parents, clearly not keeping track, kept doling out the application fees.

"How many is that now?" My mother asked offhandedly. I think I mumbled something vague about open opportunities with a dash of world as my oyster rhetoric that I love so much.

In the end, I got into one university, which was perfect because it was the one that I wanted to get into and it saved me the trouble of having to decide. I should say from the outset that my lack of options wasn't from poor grades, but rather, overambitiousness. I had graduated a year early, but my graduation was only going to come through in August. I hurriedly completed the last of my coursework in the chunnel, reading the Great Gatsby beneath the Tour Effiel. I found the contrast of European historicity and feigned American classism most ironic. Most universities weren't willing to give me a conditional acceptance except my alma mater, which did. As time went on, I would continue to love the bendiness of their administration, the flexibility of their manifestos. There was always someone sympathetic that you could wheedle if your tuition was late, or you really really needed to get into that class that was full.

I think those thirteen applications were the harbingers of the future. I learned to fill in my name, last then first, in caps in those tiny blocks. Birthdate, SIN, address, phone number, signature. It's a formula that is the catalyst for all of the hallmarks of life: school applications, marriage certificates, mortgage papers and your child's birth registration. Little did I know, as I pressed out those facts about myself to thirteen different schools through whitened knuckles and ball point pen, that it would eventually determine my entire future. Even if I did only get in to one of them.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Babyhawk Review

Alright, so my babyhawk baby carrier arrived. I'd say 'finally' arrived, but this one was ordered from a different website, and the other one refunded my money. This website actually had incredibly fast shipping. After excitedly ripping it from its packaging, I knew that the claim that the regular sized straps fit up to XXL size men and size 22 women wasn't going to be true. The ties that are advertised are ones that wrap around the body sometimes three times. I'm not a small lady, but I'm never larger than a size 14, and I've had to modify the wrapping that is recommended on the package. In retrospect, I would have ordered the longer straps option. My husband, who is a size medium, large at most, had the same problem. The fabric was of good quality and I was really happy with the day of the dead themed pattern that I chose.

I tried out three positions for my almost 11-month old son. The first was the back carry, since it was the one I was most excited about. The baby bjorn, as much as I loved it, did not have this option. After some tweaking, I finally got Ender in the right spot for a back carry. As I mentioned before, I couldn't do the cross tie because the straps were too short, so I tied it in the way that makes the straps like a back pack. Ender seemed very pleased, and it was fairly comfortable. My shoulders started to ache pretty soon into our walk, though, and I suspect the cross tie would have alleviated that issue. Then Mike tried the back carry, which he found much easier than the front carry which always hurt his back when we used the bjorn.

When I tried the hip carry and the front carry with the babyhawk, I was the most happy. The strap across the bottom provided some lower back support, making my baby feel weightless. The head rest was at just the right place, which is saying something for my very tall baby boy. Overall, I'd give the babyhawk five stars.

I think it's a real shame that such a great product is being hampered by such poor customer service and bad marketing. The fact that the babyhawk is not available in the myriad of trendy baby stores here in Toronto is inexplicable. The market is ready for it. I saw several bugaboo moms (read: more disposable income than brains) drooling over my carrier, and I grocery shopped with ease in it later in the day. It is made for the urban mom. Strollers are nice as the exception rather than the rule. If you want to grocery shop, run errands, take your child to the doctor, visit with friends, ride the bus, strollers are a big bulky hassle. Baby slings are great if your baby will tolerate it, but mai teis are great for kids up to forty pounds. That means no more dragging your toddler around the mall who refuses to sit in his or her stroller, and can't keep up.

Now, after a day of almost nineteen degree weather, my baby is napping and I'm treating myself to homemade chocolate pudding and strawberries. This chocolate pudding is actually a modification of my favourite drink, cioccolata calda, and can be served as a pudding or as a beverage. It's very easy to make. If your baby is napping, forget the dishes for a minute. Go ahead and treat yourself to something nice:
1 oz semi-sweet baker's chocolate
1 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons cornstarch

In a deep mug or bowl, put in your chocolate and milk. Nuke for three one minute intervals, whisking with a fork every time. When the chocolate and milk have somewhat blended after three minutes (your chocolate will look grainy in the milk) whisk in your cornstarch. Nuke at two more one minute blitzes. It will bubble and expand as it thickens. Let it cool for a few minutes, and enjoy!
It's rich without being sickeningly sweet, or overly creamy. It's probably diet friendly, though I'm not sure about that. You can also do it stovetop, if you have more patience than me.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Weaning and OAMC

OAMC - have you heard of it? It stands for Once a Month Cooking, and I think it sounds like a fantastic idea. You spend one full day cooking your butt off, shove it all in the freezer and then enjoy your loads of free time. Plus your meals are more likely to be balanced with this little bit of forethought. I think I'm going to do it. Hopefully I can get Mike on board, since it'll mean blowing our whole food budget in one day.

The weaning of my son is going well. My goal was to breastfeed for one full year, and I think I may go past that. Still, without really trying more and more feedings are being dropped every day. I was worried because Ender is a very boob-dependant baby. When he was brand new he just spent hours and hours eating, which was very frustrating for busy-body me. He has yet to bring food to his own mouth and eat it, which is strange, but he does eat his solids now with great enthusiasm. Since he turns one year old in a little more than a month, I think complete weaning is a little overly optimistic, but daytime weaning is a definite possibility. Tonight he fell asleep on me without feeding. Amazing how quickly they decide to take these steps without even asking our permission! At this point, one week shy of eleven months old, he is feeding twice to three times a day. Once before each nap (which is one or two a day) and then once before/during bed. I can't wait to get my boobs back! This may sound weird to anyone who hasn't breastfed before, but the idea of having one's body to oneself is incredibly exciting.

Today I got some chores done, visited my dad very briefly to drop off some stuff, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. The whole family walked around the city, did some marketing and had lunch at a little polish cafe. I had goulash and dumplings, which I insist on reproducing at some point. Since the boys were sick, the 'to do' recipes have been piling up. So far on it are: hungarian goulash and dumplings, moroccan beef, lentil salad, chocolate souffle, and zucchini bread. Yummy. At the moment I'm making a very questionable crock-pot concoction which will most likely have bad results. Chicken, terragon, chinese eggplant and okra. Hmm. I think it will just be a tasteless mucky mess, but we'll see. It's the day before grocery day, and I had to clean out the fridge.

Due to the car breaking, we had to postpone travel plans to visit Ottawa. My friend had his baby mid-January and I wanted to go see her. I hope he's not having a too-hard time of it. She's two months old now. I had to go back and look at pictures of Ender to remember what two months looked like, and to bring back the memory of what he could and couldn't do, and what my own limitations were. It was a very different, and a very difficult, time. I found around two months that I was very hard on myself, expecting that by that time I should be 'good' at being a mom. The truth is, it's not about being good at it or not. A two month old baby is a lot of work. Full stop. And adjusting to being a mom takes a long time. I'd say I hadn't fully sublimated it until six or seven months in.

Until next time...