Tuesday, 29 September 2009

In my last life I was starving

After settling Deaglan down for the night, I came downstairs and while crawling around the living room floor picking up toys strewn everywhere, I glanced into the kitchen at this scene. Shaune busy chopping and sauteeing, laptop open to his cooking blog, recreating an invention he came up with just a few weeks ago.

Cilantro, citrus and spicy peanut sauce worked their way into my welcoming olfactory and were met with a rumble from my tummy below.

You're most likely rolling your eyes and wondering what the hell I ever did to deserve being married to this culinary wizard. I can only shrug with a sheepish grin. I don't know either but I ain't complaining.

We don't eat like this every evening though. A few nights a week Shaune works late and it's my job to prepare dinner. On these nights it's a simpler fare. We usually have some curries, pasta sauces and most likely a hearty chili, homecooked ahead of time and then portioned and frozen for my nights 'cooking'. From there, all I have to do is throw together a salad or make rice or pasta and voila.

When I picked Deaglan up from daycare today, his teacher Ms. Angie recounted snack time earlier that afternoon. It was vanilla yogurt mixed with cut up canned peaches. Did he eat it? I asked excitedly. Yes, after he spit out every last piece of peach.

Again I implore the universe, how did two such enthusiastic eaters create such a finicky difficult-to-nourish little punk???

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Breaking taboos

I know it's sort of an unwritten taboo to talk about pregnancy until the end of the first trimester but tired of following silly rules, I've decided to share my thoughts with you. I'm trying to get pregnant and it's not as easy this time around.

A thousand anxieties and fears run through my mind everyday. First of all I want to talk about the fact that in my mind's eye we are a family of four. And the knowing of that creates a feeling of limbo that I could never have imagined back in my somewhat carefree single days. I'm cognizant of all the things I should be thinking - I'm so blessed to have Shaune and Deaglan, a comfortable house to live in, a decent job, supportive family and friends. And of course I am grateful for all of it.

But there is this part of me, which until recently lay dormant, and at first whispered softly - you need to have one more baby NOW and is slowly becoming louder and more demanding. Our plan had been to wait until the end of the summer to start trying. This way Deaglan would be older, we would feel satisfied knowing he had us all to himself for an appropriate length of time - all of those kinds of considerations that run through parents' minds.

However, the minute we began trying, that other part of me began to take over. By the end of each cycle, it would convince me that I was pregnant. I looked for feelings of nausea, was sure that wanting mayonnaise and fries was a 'craving', felt the cramps that often come in the first few weeks of conception indicating that the fertilized egg was attaching to the uterine wall. But then much to my great disappointment, evidence to the contrary would show up and prove me wrong every time.

This has been a difficult way to live.

Combined with this anxiety is the fear of being pregnant and having a toddler to take care of. I had nausea around the clock for the first four months with Deaglan. Doing the absolute necessities like going to work and showing up for my midwife appointments left me spent and exhausted. My back pain was unbearable at times and for the last few months I had to sleep on the couch downstairs. I think about all of this and worry about Deaglan. We have so much one-on-one time together. I pick him up all the time just because I want to nuzzle his neck or give him a kiss. And we have our routines.

I've spoken to lots of friends who have a second and third and even fourth child and they all tell me the same types of things. It will all work out. The relationship between he and I won't change, it may need to be reorganized and tweaked a bit.

And then there is also a part of me that wants to kick my own butt and say enjoy today, don't worry so much, things will all work out the way they are supposed to. But sadly this has never been my way.

So these days I'm trying not to analyze every small tingle or tiny cramp I feel. I'm telling myself that whenever it happens will be the right time and just because I'm 38.5 doesn't mean I don't still have enough time. I'm telling myself to live in the moment, enjoy my time with Deaglan while he's still an only child. I'm telling myself all of these things and almost believing them.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Droning mommy blogger

I've noticed that some of my favourite bloggers are either thinking about or have already decided to throw in the towel. I'll miss reading them. I understand though. It's not always easy to fit it in when life is also happening. Some weeks I have nothing to say. I've learned it's better not to say anything at those times.

I like writing. It seems to keep me grateful. I'm enjoying writing about my son. I hope he reads this stuff someday and gets a kick out of it.

I've also been thinking about something a friend of mine said the other day. She confided that sometimes she just doesn't want to play with her kids. It bores her. She asked me if I ever felt that way. Heck ya! I told her.

Sometimes when I get home from work I feel like my brain is fried. I only have enough energy to cuddle with Deaglan, make him dinner and watch a program. Getting down on the floor and playing with trains or dinosaurs just takes too much effort on those days. It doesn't make us bad parents. But it's easy to feel that way. I think parenting can be isolating if it's not discussed with other parents.

I read something that rubbed me the wrong way a few days ago. A popular blogger referred to herself as sounding like one of those 'droning mommy bloggers'. She said it as if most of the time she's not but the post she had written (where she was explaining how wonderful life was since her second child had joined their family) that day made her sound like one of those 'droning mommy bloggers'. I think it bugged me because it seemed derogatory. Who cares right? I'm a mommy and I'm a blogger and most of the time I do drone on about my kid.

That's all I have.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Too much calcium?

I have a hard time saying goodbye to each phase of this kid's life. I could have easily fallen to my knees and wept the first day I had to leave him at the daycare and don't even get me started on weaning him. So it shouldn't come as surprising that I've had my challenges when it comes to cutting his hair.

I love his hair long. But it is quickly proving to be impractical. It was only about two months ago that I took him down the street to the kids' hair salon. I know, I know, what kind of a mother pays for her toddler's hair cuts. Believe me, I went down that other road and it wasn't a success. I wrote about it here. So last week when a woman said your daughter is just lovely I thought maybe it was time to go a bit shorter.

I didn't know if I would like it short. I didn't want to lose any of his baby-ness. But then I looked at him after she was done.
And I fell madly in love with him all over again.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

The unnatural

I was thinking about work today on my way home. Not about my workload or the politics or my paycheck.

Just about the idea of going to a place for most of your waking time, away from your family, where you are expected to be on your best behaviour, be productive, dress half decent, sit in a chair for hours and hours, and get along with all the people around you.

I'm not knocking my job - it's where I am right now with the amount of education I was willing to pursue.

I saw a documentary on Google a while ago. It focused on what it was like to be an employee for the company. Admittedly it looked and sounded incredible. They offer things like free food, bringing your pet to work, financial planning classes, a gym, $12,000 a year education allowance and an awesome retirement savings plan.

I found this quote on Google about Google:

“The goal is to strip away everything that gets in our employees’ way. We provide a standard package of fringe benefits, but on top of that are first-class dining facilities, gyms, laundry rooms, massage rooms, haircuts, carwashes, dry cleaning, commuting buses – just about anything a hardworking employee might want. Let’s face it: programmers want to program, they don’t want to do their laundry. So we make it easy for them to do both.”
Eric Schmidt, CEO Google

It made me wonder what the ideal working conditions really are. When I first went back to work I was devastated to leave Deaglan. I felt sick all the time as if by being away from him, I was not fulfilling my life's purpose. I cringed thinking about how his needs were most likely going unmet all day at the daycare.

But slowly, week-by-week, I adapted. I found myself enjoying the freedom to finish a meal, go to the washroom by myself, have hours at a time where my clothes were snot-free. And then I got back into the swing of the business and it felt good to be productive in another way if you know what I mean.

Still, I wonder if it's natural. Being somewhere else for most of your waking hours. Sitting at a desk. Wearing an underwire bra and heels. Away from your family. Stifling emotions that easily peak in this place. Getting along.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Thou shalt not always need to tell the truth

I vow to you here and now that the next time and most likely every time after, a new or newish mom tells me her child is doing something worrisome like not sleeping or refusing to eat vegetables or slapping the daylights out of the other parent, I will smile reassuringly and tell her that it is absolutely normal and it will pass.

And in instances where an eager young parent tells me that her little monkey is walking far earlier than developmentally expected or speaking fluently when other children the same age are barely grunting mama, I will shake my head in wonder and amazement, and say sincerely something like - clearly you gave birth to a genius.

Because I will tell you this: We new parents WANT to hear this. We NEED the reassurance that our kid is normal or exceptional. When I tell you that my little sweetheart is smacking his daddy, and you furrow your brow, frown and worriedly ask Really??? you might just as well have said You know, scientific evidence strongly correlates hitting as a toddler with becoming an axe murderer as an adult.

Here's the thing. When someone like me is telling you something like that, I need you to stretch yourself outside of your own experience. Just because your little buttercup didn't go through a hitting phase doesn't mean that mine going through one is abnormal or rare.

And if you need to tell me that boys develop slower than girls can you please at least throw in something like but Deaglan seems to be the exception to this rule or sheesh, I can't believe he's already doing that!

Because unless I come to you and say something like Deaglan just sprouted horns and a tail and is insisting on carrying this pitchfork around I really only want you to tell me that he's normal and this phase will pass.

Sunday, 13 September 2009


Today was a pretty good day.

Deaglan woke up at 5:20 am and wouldn't snooze a little longer after I brought him into our bed. So we started the day even though I could have slept for several more hours. But then Shaune came down at 7 and told me to go back to bed which I happily did until just after 9.

At Tim Horton's I stayed peaceful even though I sat in the drive thru line for almost 15 minutes. I thought about speaking up and asking what the hold up was but when I got to the window, I saw the young woman's face and realized she must have had a good reason.

We enjoyed coffee outside in the warmish morning sunshine while Deaglan was on the swing chattering away, watching the cars pass by.

At the store, we found the exact piece of art we had been imagining for the kitchen and were able to negotiate a lower price. We got home, and after Shaune sized, measured and hung the piece, we realized that it would look better in the living room. It took a few hours of me prodding him for him to agree to switch the prints (it required a lot of measuring, drilling and trying to hide the drill marks previously made) in the living room with this new piece in the kitchen. Now all is right.

Yesterday I found an old treasure chest for $8.00 at a garage sale. I'd been looking for something to use as a toybox for Deaglan's new room. Today we scraped away the old lining of the wooden chest, washed it down and painted it a light blue. It was fun. The sun's temperature was just right and there was the most comforting breeze all afternoon. Shaune let Deaglan play in the hose. He loved it. He kept squealing. Just because he was happy.

I put Deaglan to bed in his new room. So far it's been an easy transition. I'm now sitting with the laptop on my lap of all places, a glass of shiraz on the sidetable to my left with the smell of a Thai pasta on its way. Shaune's cooking and photographing. He's built a camera box so that he can take good pictures at night, of the food he cooks for his blog.

I don't think life could get any better. It's been a pretty good day.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Bargain big boy room

I'm not sure if I would really ever want to win the lottery. I mean sure it would be nice to suddenly have a lot of money but when I think about the responsibility of it and how it would change my life, I wonder if it would be worth it.

For as long as I can remember, I have always gotten excited over finding bargains. One of my favourite things to do on a Saturday morning is to go garage sale-ing. Actually, it's something Shaune and I love doing together. I'm one of those people who when you tell me you like something I'm wearing - I can't help but blurt out it was ten bucks!

Maybe that doesn't make me very chic or sophisticated but I really don't care. My love for a great deal trumps my need to appear cool. So that's why I wanted to share this post with you. Shaune and I recently finished renovating our guest bedroom into Deaglan's 'big boy' room and it is filled with DIY (that's do it yourself for people like Jennifer who had never heard of that acronym before) projects and Kijiji finds.

This postcard was a gift from one of Aunt Chrissy's (Shaune's youngest sister) friends who is from Ireland. The common spelling of Deaglan's name is Declan, but I love that it also has the gaelic spelling. We encased this in a dollar store frame and drilled it into his door.

On this wall I printed out eight 8x10 black and white prints of some of my most recent favourite pictures. These frames are white and were each $1.50. They look really good against the grey walls.

I found this race car bed on kijiji (a community website sort of like Craig's list) for $40. I bought the comforter, matching lamp, light switch plate, bolster and pillow sham for under $50. at Liquidation world. Deaglan loves this bed and it is low enough that we don't worry about him falling out.
On the wall opposite to the one with the 8x10's we put up three finger painting masterpieces done by our little artist. The canvases were $2.00 each and I already had the finger paints.

The dollar store also had these 5x7 mini canvases on which I traced stencilled letters (I printed out extra large letters from the computer and traced them onto the canvases and coloured them in with a blue marker). Shaune had a piece of wood that we painted (with paint left over from the wall colour) and then hammered each letter onto. Total the project cost us $3.00. On the left is a tire wall clock from Walmart and opposite is a little mirror. (I'm not crazy about the mirror and am keeping an eye out for something more interesting.)

I found the dresser, matching night table (which we put near the foot of the bed) and the book shelf on kijiji for $70.00 total. All three pieces are in excellent condition.
Deaglan just loves this room. At least once a day he tells us that he wants to go up to his new room and play. Tonight is the first full night that he will sleep in there. I hope it's a peaceful night. So far so good.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


I saw a dead bird on the sidewalk this morning. Possibly it was a mourning warbler. It was smallish, olive green and beautiful, peacefully on it's side without a visible scratch in sight, as if tired, it lay down on the pavement for a quiet rest.

I walked on down the street and quickly forgot about this sweet creature upon entering the Ministry of Health building. At only 9:30 am it was already filled to capacity with people young and old lined up, first to explain to the receptionist the reason for their visit and then to get handed a number and told to sit down in the enormous waiting room until it was called. My heart sank.

I would have kept my own last name if I'd known of the hours and hours of bureaucratic garbage I had to wade through to change it to my married name.

First there was the Ministry of Transportation and trying to change my driver's license. I wrote about it here. It was such a harrowing experience that I practically gave up. I half decided it would be okay to be known as my maiden self by the federal government and my married self by the provincial government. But then the American government forced me to get up off of my apathetic behind because now I would need a passport to go and check out the deals at Target. And I was pretty sure the passport people would insist that I decide who I was before issuing me one.

So there I was at the Ministry of Health, number 42 in hand, feeling kind of optimistic because things were moving along nicely. Then it dawned on me. I would have to change the name on my Canadian citizenship card too. I walked back to the office dreading the thought of what this could entail. And about 16 clicks, three toll free calls and 26 minutes on hold later, I was finally clear. I would need two citizenship photos (different from passport photos), certified copies of legal name change documents which meant I would have to find and pay a notary public or a member of parliament, or a commissioner of oaths to photocopy and sign the legal documents I already owned (they told me they wouldn't accept the originals), plus include a non-refundable $75.00 fee.

If this isn't reason enough to stay married to Shaune, I don't know what is.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Creepy things

When I came to Canada I brought with me only the clothes I was wearing and lice. I wish I had brought something of my mother. A picture perhaps or piece of her worn out old sari. The memory of her face has all but faded and what is left is a warm feeling and still this yearning to put my arms around her neck.

But I did inherit something from her which lives on in me and to some extent in my sister. It is a fear of an insect which I cannot name here. So I will refer to it here as X. Those of you who know me, know well that I shudder at the mere sight of the word written on a page.

It is a fear that most people dismiss as silly or foolish. Oh come on they say Xs are harmless. And yet these very people run for the hills at the first sight of a tiny spider or the mere mention of snakes.
In Bangladesh, Xs can be poisonous and large and even uglier than the Xs seen here in North America.

When I was just Deaglan's age, I remember my very first sighting. I know what you are thinking Impossible! You were too young to have such a recollection. But I do remember. My mother was getting frustrated with me because I refused to eat (oh the apple doesn't fall far does it?). She told me that if I didn't eat, an X would crawl on me. She must have seen it coming because that is exactly what happened.

Fast forward a few years and we were visiting my mother's family one village over. She joined her brothers in the pond nearby for a cool swim. Moments later, she ran out of the water, screaming a scream that will stay with me forever. She was covered with leeches. Her brothers had to hold her down and use a small stick to break the leeches' suckers away from the skin carefully.

These two memories are my only explanation for why I am phobically afraid of X. I wish I wasn't. I love the outdoors but there are places I won't go, things I won't do. Recently I saw one while out with Deaglan. I didn't react. My body however did. Immediately I began to shiver and sweat. My stomach lurched and my skin broke out into goosebumps. I began brushing away imaginary Xs crawling all over my body.

I redirected Deaglan's attention. I don't want to pass this fear onto him, just as I don't want to pass on my grudges, my issues, my anxieties, or my bad habits. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to stop the cycle? To give him a clean slate?

This fear has sewn itself into the fabric of my life so that when I have an upcoming stressful situation, I dream about Xs. When I am afraid, my mind flashes images of Xs. When we were still in the orphanage, the other kids having discovered this fear of ours would chase us around the grounds holding Xs they had found for just this occassion.

I have great empathy for people suffering from crippling disorders such as OCD or agoraphobia. On some levels my anxiety as a reaction to seeing Xs is crippling. People often don't understand. They roll their eyes and cluck their tongues. Imagine! A grown woman taking cover because of a harmless little insect!

I guess we all have our inheritances!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

I've been remiss

I've been slacking friends. Not posting as much as I'd like to and definitely not connecting with those of you who were kind enough to mention me in your posts. Mandy is a new blogging friend I discovered who has a great sense of humour. In particular she did a post which cracked me up recently. She wrote a short letter to each day of the week...calling Monday a sneaky bitch and practically making love to Friday...check it out please! She passed on four (!!!) awards to me. Thanks Mandy, I'm speechless. I would like to give the superior scribbler award to Vivienne who should really have her own daytime talk show - she could kick Martha's butt in a second. Check out her six post series on camping! I just loved it even though I don't love camping.

And because I've given some of the other awards out in the past, I want to focus on this one that Vivienne gave me. I think it's such an important one for this blogging community. It is the super comments award. So many of you deserve this for always reading what I have to say even if your kids are older than mine, even if you don't agree with what I'm saying, even when you probably want to kick me in the shin for always going on and on and on and on about how cute I think my kid is.
Thank you to all of you for coming back. Vivienne you are one of those people and so are you Kelly, and Gerri, and Jenn, and Wendy, and Heather and Rikkij (Oh I know you don't like awards but I have to mention you:) and funnyrunner and Elizabeth Bradley and many others. Thanks for leaving your comments. I read every single one and feel lifted that you are out there and listening.

And thank you to funnyrunner for the best blog award. You crack me up too and I hope you keep sharing your quirky and fun perspective on life.

I also wanted to say thanks so much to David McMahon for including me in the post of the day a few weeks ago.

And finally, I wanted to let Kelly and Heather know that I'm sorry I haven't posted either of the memes they tagged me on. L-A-Z-Y slacker. That's my only excuse. I'm saving both of those tags for a rainy day when I don't have anything to rant about or am tired of talking about my kid (okay that may be a cold day in...).
Thanks to all of you for keeping me in the loop of your lives and for reading what's going on in mine!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Hands are for hugging

Deaglan has been hitting. Mostly Shaune and Crash. We know it's an age appropriate phase but it's still worrisome.

I've read that it has mostly to do with the lack of skill in verbalizing his needs. Once he is able to tell us clearly what he wants or needs, the hitting should stop. That's a lot of hitting between now and then.

We've been responding in all the "right" ways. We say things like Deaglan, hands are for hugging, or Hitting hurts, please can I have a hug or a kiss instead? Smack! NNNNOOOOOO!!!!

We do things like give him positive attention in these situations. So if he starts to hit Shaune, then Shaune gets down on the floor with him and tries to get Deaglan involved in some activity like building blocks or race cars.

The other day just as I was entering the playground at the daycare, I see Deaglan raise his hand and smack his fellow toddler Caelynn. The educators see me coming so they wait for me to respond. I get down, level with Caelynn and gently grab her shoulder and say that must have really hurt Caelynn, you don't like it when Deaglan hits you, do you?

This gets the desired effect. Deaglan starts to cry and reaches out for me. I pull him to me and like a record say Deaglan hands are for hugging, hitting hurts and give him a hug.

It's a fine line you gotta walk - this parenting gig.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009


I couldn’t shake my bad mood today. I could blame it on the person at work who insisted on getting under my skin. I could claim that until that first encounter with her I was feeling alright. But that’s not completely true.

I woke up dreading the day ahead. No real reason. Just didn’t want to face it, would rather have stayed under the covers or at least under my own roof.

I drove toward the daycare without enjoying the ride. Instead I imagined different encounters I would have later that morning or afternoon. Imaginary conversations preoccupied me – angry conversations I couldn’t fight.

At the daycare, I noticed that Deaglan’s jacket was in another child’s cubby. I grabbed it and brought it to the toddler room where I put Deaglan down and asked with a slight hint of accusation – if it was possible that Deaglan’s jacket could be in Roger’s cubby. The young educator looked up a little surprised to hear this in my voice – usually I am pleasant and light. Yes, she laughed nervously, we couldn’t remember who the jacket belonged to and took a guess. Ashamed, I caught myself and apologized for not having labelled it and asked if I could borrow a sharpie to do it now. Bidding her a good day I walked to the car berating myself for letting my hateful disposition guide my actions.

Even coffee failed me. Several incidents left me feeling either angry or misunderstood. Anger rose so easily. I felt small and invisible. Underappreciated and oh so irritated with all of it.

Some days if I’ve had enough sleep, and feel good in my clothes, and am indifferent about how much I weigh, and know Deaglan is healthy and safe and Shaune is having a good day at work and the sun is shining but it’s not too hot - on these days I can shake off a negligent comment or refrain from wanting to cry because my efforts were overlooked.

But not today. Today I could not change my mind. Today I was not grateful. I could not see the silver lining or be convinced that the glass was half full. Today, I did not want to get along. I did not want to avoid gossip. I did not feel generous or charitable. Today I could not convince myself that she deserved my sympathy. I could not imagine her as an innocent young child. Today I am glad that I found enough professionalism to keep quiet. Because today was not a good day.