29 December 2008
23 December 2008
Christmas Eve: lunch at GeekDad's grandparents with his family, then out to my sister's acreage for sledding and hot chocolate.
Christmas Day: breakfast and dinner at my sister's with our family
Boxing Day: at in-laws with in-laws and step in-laws and step-step-in-laws.
Day after Boxing Day: lunch at sister's with extended family on dad's side, and then to dad's house for supper.
Sunday: the day the world must stop, or else I will die of exhaustion. Seriously.
I have to say, though, that I have so much to be grateful for that serious complaining would be tempting the gods to smite me. We will be spending time with many family and friends, all of whom love us dearly, and all of whom I like. We all have jobs and homes to live in, which is a great deal more than many can say at this time. And we have lots of love, so it will truly be a Merry Christmas, despite the craziness.
And to those who are taking the time to read my blog, I hope you have these things too. And if not the jobs and homes, then at least the love, because it is truly the one thing we can't live without. In that spirit, please to enjoy the following video. Because it makes me laugh, and I hope it makes you laugh too.
Merry Christmas, peoples!
16 December 2008
10. An Ironman suit. Or Ironman himself. Or Robert Downey Jr. himself. Cause the movie rocked, and being able to fly and kick bad-guy ass seems like a good time.
9. My very own personal Edward. Because those ladies at MAMAPop went on and on about the Twilight series, and then I bought the first book, because I didn't want to buy them all in case I didn't like them (you can stop snickering now), and finished it in a day. If you haven't checked these books out yet, you should.
1. That everybody would get why blogging is cool. I'm actually not refering to myself here at all. As I was prepping for parenthood, I discovered the blogosphere, and my people, it is like I was blind and now I can see. There are amazing people out there, writing about everything you can imagine. And doing it really, really well. These are the people who've inspired me to start blogging. Check out my 'Bloggers I Would Vote For Section' to see the people I'm reading. And if you only have time to check out a couple, you can't miss Sweetney, MAMAPop, and most of all, Her Bad Mother. These are the cool kids, no doubt.
10 December 2008
So I was watching The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos last week, and I have to say, I heart George. George is my rockin', late night, news-boyfriend. For those of you in the dark, The Hour is a current-events show on CBC, hosted by the aforementioned George Stroumboulopoulos, a former MuchMusic VJ. If you are somewhat interested in news and current events, but don't necessarily have the time or inclination to watch a nightly news show, YOU SHOULD WATCH THE HOUR. The Hour is both funny and entertaining, and incredibly informative. George does interviews with an incredible variety of politicians, authors, artists, athletes and other newsmakers. Everyone from NATO spokesperson James Appathurai, to NHL player Sean Avery to Tom Cruise (yes, THAT Tom Cruise).
The interview with Cruise was a a really great example of George's work. You know how you see interviews with famous people, and hear them laugh, and joke, and tell stories, and think, 'I could be friends with that person'? I think what we actually mean is, that we'd like to be friends with them, because they tend to be funny, or interesting, or seem to share a point of view. Cruise, however, wasn't particularly funny, or interesting. He was just really normal. Normal as in not particularly eloquent or well spoken or funny, but all the same, passionate about his work and his family, and eager to share those things. George asked a number of interesting questions, about whether you can ever prepare a person for the kind of media frenzy that a star like Cruise incites, and whether Cruise's religious beliefs would be treated similarly if he were a Muslim or a Christian. And Cruise answered his questions, but not with the kind of canned, pre-prepared answers that you often hear from stars, especially of Cruise's caliber. Instead, he sounded like I do when I get asked a question by a reporter, and answer it in about 10 seconds and then continue to babble for another 30. I have to say, it was really refreshing to hear intelligent, well though out questions, and interested and interesting answers, not the usual show business shlock. If you're interested in watching the interview, here's the link.
Cruise is probably George's most high-profile guest to date, but I would be shocked if he didn't continue to snag big interviews like this one, because George is GREAT interviewer. Interviewing people is a skill, and interviewing people who get interviewed all the time is tough. These people hear the same questions all the time, and while they are pros and do their best, we often hear the same canned, preplanned answers to the same canned, preplanned questions. In addition, George doesn't play at trying to be neutral - he puts his own opinions out there, and skewers everybody pretty much equally. He doesn't shy away from asking the tough questions, but he also offers a different, original perspective. Guests on the show seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves, as does George, and its obvious that viewers are enjoying the results.
In short, you should totally check out The Hour. It's worth your time.
05 December 2008
I grew up in a religious family. My father was a minister with the an evangelical association, and my church associations as a teen were of the slightly radical variety. I fondly refer to it as the Church of Big Hair. As a child, we did NOT celebrate Santa. Santa was a nice symbol of Christmas, and was never portrayed as bad, he was just a secondary distraction to what Christmas was really about - the birth of Christ. We still did stockings and such, but gifts were always from Mom and Dad, never Santa. I'm not saying that Christmas wasn't magical for us, because it totally was, and still is, my favorite time of year. But Santa just wasn't a part of that.
GeekDad grew up in a household that didn't regularly attend any church, and Santa embodied all that Christmas was about - giving and receiving gifts, celebrating family, etc. Most of the presents came from Mom and various other family members, but the big gift always came from Santa. He used to listen to the radio as it tracked Santa's progress on Christmas Eve, and Christmas morning eagerly awaited, because SANTA HAD VISITED.
Now that we're a family, I'm reaching to figure out how to incorporate both of our traditions. While my faith has significantly changed in both form and function since my youth, its still an essential part of who I am, and something I very much want to pass on to my daughter. And I know GeekDad also wants to pass on the magic that Santa meant to him in his childhood. But how to do this??
One of my biggest reservations regarding the whole Santa thing is the business of finding out that Santa isn't real. While I obviously didn't experience this moment, I've heard enough stories from various friends to know that it can be really traumatic. It feels to me like I would be lying to my daughter, and I really have some reservations about this. Because as an adult I totally get the Santa-as-a-symbol thing, but there is just no explaining that to a kid who just found out that Santa isn't an actual living, breathing person.
In addition, my sister's children haven't been taught the whole Santa thing, and I know if we tell the Santa stories to BabyA, its going to make family Christmases that much more complicated. So.
I'm turning to you, interwebz. How do you deal with combining secular and religious traditions? Do you celebrate more than one faith? Any advice for a fledgling mom on Christmas, Baby Jesus, Santa, etc.?
02 December 2008
I have something to say to all these Facebook people who are all in an uproar, creating a gazillion 'Stop the Undemocractic Liberal-NDP-Bloc Quebecois coalition' groups. Um, people? More Canadians voted for the Liberals, Bloc, and NDP than voted for the Conservatives. So a coalition involving these three parties would actually represent more Canadians than the current Conservative government, making it MORE democratic, not less. Sorry to break it to you.
Also, Harper has failed to come up with a budget (he can call it an 'economic update', but its still a mini-budget at least) that all the parties can agree on, and therefore failed to lead. When you have a minority government, you basically HAVE to form some kind of coalition, because without it, you can't get anything passed. The entire last session of Parliament was a series of shifting coalitions voting on everything that got passed. In this case, Harper has introduced a bill that the other parties cannot agree with, and a non-confidence vote is a logical outcome of that. But here's the funny thing about non-confidence votes - they mean that the House, i.e. the representatives that ALL Canadians elected, no longer have confidence in the government. So, if the remaining representatives can agree to cooperate, they have every right to form a new government. That's how the system works under a minority government.
And I have to say, I'm enjoying this minority business. I like the fact that no one party can push their agenda through, and that all of the parties have to work a little harder on compromising. I think this state of affairs means that the beliefs of more Canadians are represented. Now, I really don't want another election. As a campaign manager, I'm still recovering from the last one, so I certainly don't want to go back to the polls. But a coalition government, I'm OK with that. If the Liberals, Bloc, and NDP can show of their cooperation skills, more power to them.
And Facebook people? You might not like the idea, but you've gotta come up with something better than 'undemocratic' to fight it, 'cause baby, this is what democracy's all about.
30 November 2008
And now, I need to remember my daughter, A-. The size she is now, as she sleeps on my chest, her head tucked into my neck. Her arms are draped down either side of my breasts, and her head is cocked back at that angle that can only be comfortable to a baby, whose bones still remember the weightlessness of the womb. I cannot see her face, only her ear, visible when I tuck my chin to my chest. Her weight, at once solid and slight, weighty and fragile. It is the knowledge that she changes from one moment to the next, as her chest rises and falls with each breath, that makes her seem so ephemeral. Her cheek, chin, hand, are so soft, as I run my fingers over them. I remember the feel of her mouth on my breast, the substance and sustanence I offer her each time she feeds. I bend my cheek to hers, kiss her face, breathe her sweet, familiar smell. The warm glow of the dim lights in our home and the cooler lights from the television combine in a familiar glow, particular to this room. My husband's arm and leg are pressed against mine, and my free hand and his reach for each other but do not clasp. They pass over each other lightly, tracing lines and calluses, bone and flesh, in that manner bred by intimacy. It is just we three here and now.
I am so afraid that I will forget this moment. It happens, I know, because our two grown cats, our first children, laze about this room with us, and I was their when they were born, and have watched them grow. My mind knows that they were once tiny balls of fuzzy hair and clouded eyes, and yet my heart cannot remember that they fit in the palm of my hand. I reach for that memory, knowing that it existed, and yet it eludes me.
I cannot let that happen with A-. And so I sit, after the moment has passed, and commit this memory to writing. To the solid black and white of words. I hope that this writing is more trustworthy than my slippery mind and heart, which can only see the present beauty. I need to remember this.
24 November 2008
So while these seemed to indicate that I had made the right decision about taking this next step in the child rearing process, part of me was still uneasy. Because I was BREAKING THE RULES. Feeding my child, only five months old, solid foods. This is because while I understand on a intellectual level that every child follows their own development schedule, on a gut level, I am a rule-follower. When I first had BabyA, my post-partum craziness manifested in a low-grade obsession with whether I was doing things right. I kept lists indicating the times I fed her, for how long, how many poops she was having and whether they were small, medium or large, etc. I'm not kidding. I can show you the lists, as they are in a small notebook, which, thankfully, has been put to other, less-OCD tasks now that my PPD crazies have subsided. I am the type of person who reads the instructions BEFORE assembling Ikea furniture, before programming the new electronic device, and before using the new tools. But I realized somewhere around the time BabyA was two months old that what the baby advice books, columns, websites, etc., gave were ONLY suggestions and timelines, and that as much as it went against my nature, this parenting thing was going to require winging it, at least to a certain degree.
So I started feeding BabyA,and then I read through the brochure given to me by the public health nurse about starting babies on solid foods. Backwards, I know, but like I said, I'm working hard at winging it. And the brochure says that I'll know BabyA is ready to start eating solids when she can sit up without too much assistance, shows interest in me eating, anticipates her food, and can swallow the food and not spit it all up. Check, check, check, check. This is all in the same brochure that says no way, no how should babies be eating solid foods before six months. So much for consistency. So it turns out, I'm actually doing ok with the winging it thing. Wow.
Now if only I could be as sanguine about the
21 November 2008
Anyway, all of this is a segue to an interesting post on the Sweet Juniper blog about why the automakers deserve a bailout. I'm not sure that I follow all of Jim's reasoning - especially the argument that this industry should get the money because they are more deserving than Wall Street. They may be more deserving in some ways, but one undeserved bailout doesn't justify another. I did, however, very much like Jim's point about the importance of an economy that actually makes something.
"They say a sustainable model for future economies will trend away from globalization and be based more on localization... perhaps this could be an opportunity to start transforming manufacturing in the United States to a sustainable model that strengthens our economy and provides jobs here rather than just strengthening the portfolios of a privileged few at the expense of so many. But calling for the death of this American industry is callous and shortsighted, and I would add that slowly turning into a nation where no one knows how to make anything but hamburgers and silkscreened t-shirts can't be good for national security."
This is an excellent point. One of the things which made the United States, and the rest of the first world, for that matter, economic powerhouses, is that they paid their workers a high enough wage that they could purchase what they produced (i.e. if you work in a clothing manufacturing plant, you should be able to purchase the clothing you produce). The whole outsourcing to the developing world and paying people so little they can't afford a crappy t-shirt never made sense to me. Wouldn't it make more sense to pay your producers enough that they can buy your stuff, thereby exponentially expanding your market? I'm not an economist, but this seems pretty basic to me, as does Jim's argument that we should be producing stuff for and buying stuff from the people who live close to us, at least on a national level. It means paying more for some of these things, but it may also mean we are supporting each other, and an economy that can support itself.
I have to say, I hope Jim is right when he says that this is an opportunity for change for the better, if both the American government and ours are smart enough to take advantage of it. Because change is going to happen, whether we want it or not, and this is our chance to make the most of it.
14 November 2008
I start with unloading the dishwasher, and then head upstairs to collect dishes and get distracted by the dirty laundry, and then the recycling which I need to sort catches my eye, and then GeekDad is home, and I have yet to unload the dishwasher. It's like surfing the internet, where you start out with a particular topic or page or what have you, and suddenly hours have passed and you are watching Rick Astley videos and cracking up over grammatically challenged cats.
I never used to be this easily distracted, but since the birth of BabyA, I feel as though my sense of focus is on indefinate leave. I desperately hope think, or hope, that this is just a function of motherhood, and the fact that since having BabyA, I don't think I've spent more than 15 or 20 minutes doing any single task except feeding. Even playing with BabyA involves frequent changes of activity - 15 minutes of lap excercises, 10 minutes of reading a book, 15 minutes of tummy time, 5 minutes on the change table, etc., etc. On the rare occasion I am doing something for a slightly longer period of time, it's usualy with divided attention, as in holding BabyA and eating lunch, or playing with her while I try to catch a few minutes of the morning news.
I miss having focus. I miss being able to start a task and finish that same task without being dragged off to something else. I know that its part and parcel of being a parent, and I wouldn't change my life for anything, but damn it, this distracted brain of mine is going to be the death of me, I swear.
12 November 2008
So, because one of the purposes of this blog is to catalogue BabyA's childhood, I am dutifully reporting that she rolled from her stomach to her back today. She's been regularly rolling from back to tummy for a few weeks already, whereupon she acts like a high centred turtle and thrashes about with her arms and legs until she gets tired and starts making those frustrated 'meh, meh' sounds, but this is the first time she's continued the rolling to make a complete roll. And I have to say, this shit scares me a bit, because I'm fully aware that the rolling and the thrashing are precursors to the crawling and the walking, and I'm am not prepared for Mobile Baby, for godsakes!! I commissioned my brother, the engineer, to think about how the hell we're going to rig up a baby gate for the main floor of our four-level split, cause two sets of stairs +
mobile baby = panicked mama. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated, interwebs!
In other baby-related news, GeekDad and I have finished decorating BabyA's room. About 5 months late, but you know, the whole working until 2 weeks before due date, and then C-section that won't heal quite right, and post-partum anxiety crazies... well, I'm lucky its finished now. Anyway, I'm totally jazzed about her room, and fully acknowledge the fact that apparently we've decided BabyA will be an astronomy geek. Hey, I wasn't going to go decorating my kid's room with My Little Pony or Dora or some such shit. Not a fan of the over-merchandised kiddie crap over here. So we went with a Sky and Space type theme. Notice the moon light on the wall - it cycles through the moon phases, from crescent to full and back again. Also, GeekDad and I put actual constellations in the star patterns. They aren't placed right or anything, but they are there.
And here's the fab-o-luss solar system mobile:
I love this room - I just hope BabyA is just as pleased, once she's old enough to have an opinion.
Coming soon, BabyA's birth story...
11 November 2008
What I've been thinking about today is, do I support veterens and current military personnel, without supporting the actions they are taking, i.e. the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? The war in Iraq seemed terribly ill-advised from the beginning, and poorly executed in the interim, and I'm glad that president-elect Obama has committed to ending it.
I'm more ambivalent about Afghanistan. As a country, Afghanistan has been a mess for a long time, and hasn't been helped by the interference of the Soviet Union, the United States, or any number of other countries. But I have really been hoping that the NATO troops that are stationed there now are doing some good, bringing some stability and peace to people who haven't seen either of those things for at least thirty years. Reports seem to indicate that things are going downhill and this makes me so sad. But I don't know that the answer is just to pull our troops out. It seems to me that if we have committed to really making things better, we need to be committed for the long haul. Leaving when things get difficult feels, well, irresponsible. I understand that there are larger issues involved. Are we there because Afghanis truly want us, or just because of all the 9/11 fallout? Are we pursuing vengence for 9/11 or promoting security and development in Afganistan? I just don't know. But simply leaving just feels wrong, like we are abandoning a committment we've made to a people who've had more promises broken than any people should. Anyway, all this ambivalence makes me wonder if I should be "celebrating" Remembrance Day. Can I celebrate the committment of troops past, without celebrating those who are currently serving? Or do I support the committment of current troops, without agreeing with their mission? I don't really know.
So instead, I mark the day by spending it with my family, and taking a moment to appreciate the freedom to drive to my in-laws without worrying about getting blown up, and the people like my grandfather who made that possible. Because that is something I can get behind, regardless of my feelings about current conflicts.
09 November 2008
Isn’t this just like inviting the creeps to view a little girl sexually?? I know this veers dangerously close to the argument that how a woman dresses can justify raping or otherwise assaulting her, which is just bullshit. But dressing a six-year-old like a sexually mature woman just seems like asking for trouble on so many levels. At the very least, I’m afraid that it forces a certain level of sexual maturity on our daughters that they are completely unequipped to handle.
This kind of thing freaks me the hell out. My own daughter, BabyA is only four months old, so this isn’t something we’ve had to deal with yet. But this kind of thing has me shaking in my boots. I want my daughter to have a chance to be a little girl, to play without worrying about the image she is projecting, to keep some innocence, at least for a little while. I already have a six-year-old niece, who manages to emulate the Bratz dolls in all their hip-thrusting, chin-jutting glory, complete with attitude, and every time I see it, it makes me a little sad. Where is the little girl?
When I was pregnant, I commented to a friend that I thought in some ways it would be much harder to raise a daughter than a son, because there are so many more minefield to try to steer girls through. My friend said that boys have their own set of difficulties to deal with, with the physicality and bullying and stereotypes of masculinity, etc. However, it seems to me that our society isn’t so eager to sexualize boys at such a ridiculously young age. I am wrong about this?? Give a newbie mom a bit of advice – how do you help your daughters deal with this shit??
07 November 2008
These people have shown me that blogging is about connecting with other people, sharing your vulnerabilities, your joys and sorrows. Most importantly, they made me GREEN WITH ENVY – because they are the really cool kids, not just the popular ones. So, I’m joining the blogosphere – to keep a record of my journey into motherhood, to share my crazies and happy thoughts, and to connect with the people out there, maybe I can encourage someone the way the mommyblogging community has encouraged me.
Ok, enough with the mushies, blogward ho!