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....