Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Release the Hounds

If I were a von Trapp singer my note would be "me". In fact, it would be my SONG. I like to sing-a, rootn-toot... we are off to the interior of the province, where there is evil snow, on Thursday to attend the funeral. Not mine thankfully, but with my theme song, it's only a matter of time.

In any event, this trip will entail flying with e for the first time. I don't want her to see her father cry, white-knuckled, as we accelerate down the runway, but I guess it's time for her to learn that, in addition to being somewhat obnoxious, I am a total pussy. Thankfully it is a commuter-type flight so she will see it twice in an hour and then, I hope, forget. I can tell you, the passengers with whom I travel will not enjoy it as I wail and kick the seat in front of me for the whole flight, and shout "NO!" when asked if I want to rent a pillow or to enjoy the complimentary 1/2 ounce bag of fish crackers. It won't be the first time I embarrass the kid and it won't be the last. Oh no, not the last.

This trip will also be significant in that e will be introduced to actual real-live members of the equine family, which is something I wanted to postpone until she was, say, 21. Alas, it is not to be. We will stay at my mother's backwoods hideaway where, among mater's menagerie, reside two ponies. Ponies. Stretchy beige pants, knee boots, velvet helmets- normally, this evokes warm happy feelings in this writer, but not so when horses, or rather, horse people are involved. I have been to hell and it is equestrian (with apologies to Andrea of Japan, who is built of sterner stuff than am I). What do the four figures of the apocalypse ride - horses! Not ponies, granted, but when they were the Horse Children of the Apocalypse, they rode ponies and bankrupted their dads. I remember well the debates in my household as sis went from renting to training to owning to braiding the... ponies, the horses, the sea-horses, whatever. I will never, can never, earn enough to support my child if she develops a horse jones... the fear is growing, like she's some kind of hunter-jumper already, even though she is only 17 months old. I am, appropriately, catastrophizing.

Lest you conclude I am completely irrational on this subject, which is close to the truth, I will relate a quote from my mother on the occasion of being told mo-wo was expecting for the first time: Do you want me to breed the pony?


Monday, January 30, 2006

Hallelujah, A Poo Post

Mo-wo just said: we need a post. You have 2 in draft. I do not wish to type a blog. I want to sleep, or watch blood sports on tv, or eat a container of ice cream whose hippy dippy name is reminiscent of a 'guitar god' whose heart-attack death-while-at-rehab is on my mind as the pain in my left arm increases as the spoon nears the bottom of the container... can. only type. with one hand.

I have heard of those parents who can handle anything their babies throw at them from sharp knives to midnight three alarm cacafuego. I am not one of those parents, blessed as I am with a healthy baby with better sleep habits than me, whose endurance has truly been tested. My luck is still holding out.

These last five-odd days have been a bit of a change as e has had her first gastro-something or other. If bilious sheets weren't blowing out her cakehole the very structure of her diapers was being tested in a manner not seen since she was taking her brand new colon for a drive and said structure was found to be wanting. The main differences between now and then being a) volume and b) the olfactory impact. Most of you already knew this, but I didn't. I mean, I knew, I just wasn't thinking about it. I haven't been puked on this much since I stopped puking on myself. I have never before seen fecal matter comprised of what must have been mashed newspaper, avocado, and snot. Maybe a vegan smoothie, I don't know.

In any event, e kept her spirits up throughout, for which I am grateful, even while she was getting teenage model thin, and did her best to endure her worried parents. She has now returned to her old ways of eating food-type things and expelling the waste in solid form. I have seldom been so glad to see a stool as I was today. I am still glowing. I may save this product for some kind of Eric Estrada memorial to breeding. The photos are at the lab. I am no poolologist, or doctor or whatnot, in fact I am pretty sure I had a point to make about gratitude, about e's recuperation, maybe even a message , yeah, an inspirational message. But I got carried away looking for images of pachyderm excrement online and any point was lost. My apologies.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Critical raising

I think I have made it somewhat clear that I will shortly be missing my job. With number two due in summer I will be out of work soon. First time, I was so excited about being a Mama and I was also really worn out from the 3 years I had put in getting established at this job; maternity leave seemed like a nice break. I leave this time more hesitantly, part of my profound migration to the sentimental side of existence since entering the parenting game, I guess. Wondering if I'll be back at all and likely idealising ever day I put in between now and sign-off. But, if there is any rational cause to my reluctance to depart it presented itself to me this week.

As it turns out, I actually dragged my ass to a very excellent evening program at our city's public library to celebrate Family Literacy Week. I am not, as a rule, a Family Literacy Week booster, but I do, at least, try to show up for one or another event every year, this was my '06 pick. Although literacy is not really a hot thing to be 'against' in the last 10 years or so an enormous -- don't hate us we are not-for-profit -- industry of literacy has evolved -- and I don't much like it. It is centered on two things that I can get enough of: 1.) Researchers; and, 2.) Politicians. As a professional helping-people-read person, I am a hard-core and sometimes cynical praticitioner. I go to things like Raising the Critically Thinking Child: School Library as Catalyst with an eyebrow fixedly raised.

The program was a public panel discussion. The panel was made up of two academics and one librarian. SEE we are always outnumbered by them. Speaker #1, Joel Bakan, oh he of must-see-movie, rebel-sell The Corporation. Speaker #2, Dr. Roland, Professor of Education and Critical Thinker! Speaker #3, my colleague, the charmer Patricia the librarian. The content was good from everyone. But, inevitably the academics began bickering early on due to one rather ill-chosen citation, nice goin' Dr. Ro. By question time the crowd was immersed in the potential intellectual fistfight they could cultivate by agreeing with one or the other Phud. At this juncture being the decent literacy-loving sorts they are they tried to control the sort of unruly colosseum type crowd a Wednesday night at Central branch can attract. And, how did they do it? By retreating from their respective positions into how the work of the book lady ACTUALLY does support and develop criticically thinking kids. How a library is the antithesis of corporate domination, a catalyst of community. What with it being at odds with ownership really and being focused on making the widest possible range of resources available to everyone for free, n' everything. I sat pretty tall and proud.

I think my favorite part was where they both tried to reference a really good book they could scarcely recall details of... "Er, I don't remember the title of Shari Graydon's book but..." All the libs in the room call out the title in a sec. For a lot of folks helping kids -- or anyone -- learn gets sort of well, academic. In the business where I landed after 10 years in the wilderness we are just doin' it. I mean of course I get quite caught up in the glamour of thank-you notes from a grade 4 class once in a while, I mean who wouldn't love 30 illustrations of themselves with a great OZ like head and signed the Class of Needy Elementary #97. but I like to keep it real. I certainly enjoyed the panel, scared the beejeezus outta me really, are p-man and I prepared to raise a critically thinking child? Doubtful. But that's for another post, eh.

Aside from what there was to see I also left with a very selfish development of how I am feeling these days. Sure there is a lot to be said for having kids when you are, ahem, older, but it has its drawbacks, too. Obviously, #1 I am a thoroughly exhausted fogey. But then there is #2 That, I am pretty confused about what the heck is happening to a career I have nurtured and built. I really like my job and though my family gives me more than all that in vastly different and then at other times similar ways.... One year is a long time away and I guess I'm not too silly to admit I will miss my job. Its a dilemma, as my fellow blogger Heather suggests. Hmmmm.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Recommended title : 10 minutes to bedtime / Peggy Rathmann

10 minutes till bedtime.
by Peggy Rathmann
Putnam, Scholastic, or Puffin, 1999, c1998.

A boy's hamster leads an increasingly large group of hamsters on a tour of the boy's house, while his father counts down the minutes to bedtime.

This title may sound familiar. If you read daddytypes you might have already been over a review from the contest there in Summer 2005. While we do not entertain hamsters in our home, if we did, this book offers a fine how-to guide. As an added benefit, it has proved to be a fun part of our bedtime ritual with e. It's as if that was part of the author's plan! This book is easy to handle, simply and pleasantly illustrated, and you hardly have time to ask "where's mom?" before it's bedtime.

Bedtime -- Fiction
Hamsters -- Fiction

Peggy Rathmann provides extra supporting content for the book at her hamster tours website.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

O Fishy Fish

As much as I would like to engage with folks in a fun-filled debate about the propriety of keeping wild creatures, who are accustomed to roaming several hundreds of miles in the course of a week, or migrating over continents just to find a less cold place to have a reproductive poke (or what have you, if you like to, you know, do it via a medium like, say, gravel... I am not permitted to judge you. This is Canada [for the time being]), in a cage , tank, or other enclosure , let us put aside such rhetorical endeavors for the moment while I relate the following tale which, minus digressions, is quite without a point other than your standard "dad spends day with daughter-dad madly in love-brain to mush-daughter fascinating" tripe which I keep saying I will avoid typing about but to which I am ineluctably drawn, like moth to flame, due to the quotational phenomenon I just attempted to describe. I am the soft-headed fool parent I disdained prior to mine and mo-wo's epic journey up the Adams River where we squirted our reproductive goo onto the gravel, and then died, hoping the river wouldn't be paved over by the time our fry hatched (which is indubitably the salmon's last thought, oh yeah, you can see it in their eyes) or something to that effect.

I am consistent at nothing save being inconsistent. As an example: I am, traditionally, opposed to keeping animals in captivity for our entertainment (our fat bastard cats being the exception), rodeos (d0n't get me started), and the military. However, I pay taxes which support our military, I love a juicy steak carved from the heaving corpse of some poor 4H cow, and I went to the aquarium with e last week using my aquarium membership card (which has its privileges, for example, I can use it to get into the aquarium, or to scrape frost from my windscreen). I swear there were mitigating circumstances involved with the purchase- it was cheaper than going just the once without a membership... it's because I am cheap.

This tale is lost in the telling. It is in the digressions that the tale is identified as lost. I am reluctant to describe any of this, but as I said when I began this voyage through the blogoverse, I cannot afford actual therapy.

This all to say, nervous shrugging of the shoulders dispensed with, e and I went to the local aquarium last week, on a whim, to celebrate the last daddy day care day until nuthatch is born. (From the piscine to the avian- when will this author make up his mind? Is he fish or fowl?) I attempted to contemplate the serious fish in captivity subject identified above, but the kid kept interrupting me. It was as if she was entertained by the 'sarks', turtles, beluga whales and other finned and feathered habitues of our local nature jail. The beauty of the event was e's complete lack of cynicism, a life unpolluted by peer group savagery, or the constraints of socialization which tell us not to eat raw onions or potatoes, to shit our pants, or to anthropomorphize the captive animals and write angry letters to the editor regarding their plight from the comfort of a 500 square foot condo. The child's mind is not yet captive to these various notions. It can still migrate freely.

Truth be told, I am remiss to suggest I had any thoughts about the captivity issue while we were there. I loved nearly every moment of the trip. I savoured the look of wonder on e's face as she saw some new thing (and it was all new). I laughed my ass off, inside, as she repeated the names of the various creatures I identified, her first turtles, otters, and whales. In spite of my dour and introspective nature I was elevated by this time with her- I forgot my worries about my job, my home, my insufferably long list of grown-up and made-up concerns- my baby and I breathed and lived together and had a great time.

P-man out.

Monday, January 23, 2006

There's None More Scots

Than The Scots Abroad, or so the song goes. Or, in terms of yearning for the old sod, there is the kilt, as defined by Bierce: n. A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland.

In furtherance of this sad yet true phenomenon, the writer purchased a kilt, in the family tartan (that of the Highland P's) for the purpose of making marital his relationship with mo-wo. In further furtherance of ye auld sadness, he destroyed a fifth of single malt in the parking lot of the Ukrainian Catholic church prior to the ceremony, and very nearly the ceremony, while 2.5 kilts to the wind. Ah, good times.

But enough of that digression, that little, yet exceptionally distasteful, picture of my soul. I am writing about that foodstuff which is more stuff than food, that being haggis. This ought require no extensive description in terms of contents but apparently requires an address in approximately 48 lines of inpenetrable Scots, courtesy of the long dead bard of Scotland, R. Burns. It starts like this:

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!

Good times, great rhymes- Come to Scotland. Bring your own food. I can recall the lowest low of touristy nonsense during our honeymoon in Scotland, it was our trip to the mystical Falls of Lora, highly touted in the guide book, or a pamphlet found in a pub on some liquid evening. The Falls of Lora sounded impressive, and to some extent they were, as I am left with this impression some 10 years hence. I can recall our determination to see this Natural Wonder, this thundering torrent, as we drove through the land of approximately 25% of my forebears, how our anticipation became frothy as it rose to its climax, the roadside signs drawing us ever nearere to the FALLS OF LORA. The sound of the blood rushing in our ears as we neared our destination, walking along the trail under a substantial and impressive turn of the century iron bridge, nearer, ever nearer, until we saw... fuck all. We heard: complete silence. The Falls of Lora do not fall. They rise. About 8 inches, if you get there at the right time of day, which we didn't. They are the product (geographically speaking) of some kind of tidal inversion and (touristically speaking) the same evil culture that created (and promulgated) the Bay City Rollers and Haggis. If not for the gnarly malts this is a nation that could be towed out to sea to fend for itself... wait a second, it has, notwithstanding the booze!

This past Saturday I was at the butcher's, basking in the cold smells of animal fragments, when the lady next to me asked the counter man to get her the haggis she had "reserved" the day before. I was brought back to fond childhood memories (of some other person) regarding Robbie Burns Day celebrations at our home, the trips down to Reid's on Granville for the most reliable haggis in town (until the English shut them down- now I shop at "Windsor" Packing. Windsor!), the sawdust on the floor, my mother's hand, the man in the white apron smiling as he hands her the haggis. I think "I will renew this tradition, watered down Scot that I am, in memory of my dead forebears." Of course, I cannot not recall actually eating, or if eating, enjoting the haggis. Nonetheless, in my stunned reverie, I purchased a wee puddin'.

I returned home with my bounty, and haggis, to mo-wo's cries of "You will not cook that in this house!". So now, the haggis sits silently, strangely, in the fridge. Will I steam it, will I take that risk? I don't know. I fear I will will throw out the haggis, since my stepmom just delivered to us about 5 gallons of "porcupines", some type of beef sphere-thing which more closely resembles what I imagine a partly digested tribble would look like, if passed through the alimentary canal of a boa constrictor, if tribbles were constituted to no small extent of carrot sticks.

In closing, I recall an ad campaign in support of oatmeal: If it's not Scottish- it's crap! Don't believe it.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Thank god that is over

After a number of nights crying myself to sleep (120 or so) it is over.

After 4 months of: I am the worst mother; Why didn't I get baby on a waitlist for the good daycares when p-man and I met in '90?; How could I not sign up for that Montesorri one earlier?; MIL2 is right I should work all day to pay for a nanny so she could visit at a more convenient time for her?; I am a bad bad parent!

I figure everyone must think I don't care at all, I am so disorganized. I mean it is bad enough that I go to work at all?

But she took the deposit yesterday....Yaaahooo it is over. I have a new childcare arrangement.

Despite my being 16 weeks pregnant Lovely Lily at Batman daycare (not their real name, unfortunately) will take us in. It is one block from my house. Hooray, p-man can do drop off to my pickup instead of my doin' both. I can get to work earlier and come home earlier! All the references report Lily is great; add to that there is the most splendid playroom with no TV and the price is good too. Unbelievable. We can keep a spot for e a couple times a week when I am home with Baby 2, now called the nuthatch.

I can breathe again.
I can sleep again.

My ass has been saved. Am I no longer a bad parent. Phew, how sweet it is to be semi-competent again.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Inter-blog Commentary : Cautionary Tales

Can you tell me when is a comment is no longer a comment? When can a comment get to be too much? I figure I run at a rate of around 50% borderline pushing the polite norms for comment length. As a means of overcoming this errant verbosity in the comment boxes of my admired blogs we here at mo-wo want to introduce the inter-blog commentary!

This means by we can get past the urge to rant and instead really, really, blather on about what we have read in the onternet in the relative privacy of our own blog, away from the prying eyes of hot-blog-society.

The plan is to continue our tradition of feeding on the blog community for ideas and even our very genrefication. Thanks blogod of tag-teams, seriously, thank-you. But we are weak and small and can't comment pithily enough on the originating blog so typical of us will just bloat our own blog. As p-man has noted we are most naturally critics and not creators. Add to this that the medium is so generous in terms of opportunities to sponge, raid and scoop ideas, and we're not short of ideas (except of our own, perhaps). Some analysis here from our resident psychic, er psychologist please? MIM, helllloooo!

This week's topic -- books for kids; a really long comment on Wood's post from Tuesday, was it?

Reading about the Junebug family book experience brought to mind, somewhat unrelatedly of course, a number of conversations I have had with parents about books and babies. The last live one, as in not at a blog, went on something about how anywhere under 3 a book is really 'just for the parents'. Well unfortunately yes... but not necessarily so. Kids can love books at really early ages. But as with too many things parenting we have a ton of socialized junk that limits them and us. That said I think all that in utero stuff is well, at least, ahem pretty far outside my literary parental practices. Consider this a version of no comment / oh please.

Outside of the no comment class there are plenty of comments I do have to make about babies and books. Being a book handling professional I get pretty serious about this sometimes. I do consider a part of my job to make clear to people that books are not, in fact, sacred. We do ourselves a disservice when we elevate the text to something so prized as to be unapproachable. Not all books are special and not all reading activities are respectful. I feel that among other responsibilities I have a duty as a librarian to give people permission to trash books, figuratively and literally. Trust me, just because a work is paginated and bound between two covers does not infuse it with some inalienable value. I constantly see people glaze over and romanticize books as a group, OH please! I have fought the wars with parents who truly think we should keep all those copies of The story of the Redman in our schools and that an issue of National Geographic magazine from 1909 is 'interesting' for children. In those cases I simply must say shut up. And by that I mean, shut up. Books have lives, they live them, and then they can go. In the case of "Battle for Planet EPLA", the fine self-published doodle-art book exhibited to me early in my current job, some books' lives are very very short, uhm practically non-existent. So what kind of lives do the books of babies have? Messy and frayed ones. Please let your children use and discover books.

Tips for baby book handling:

1. Remove all dustjackets: they beg shredding.
2. Start early with those creepy, freaky books with lots of pictures of babies. Like Baby Days. Miss Fancy is on copy two of this tome. She was looney for it from age 9 months to almost 11 months.
3. Take a book to dinner. I frown on p-man reading at the table but it is an ideal diversion at mealtime before baby masters self-feeding. Bath books rock for this like this one, for example.
4. Mix it up for format and see what your kid is into at the moment, large format picture books, 3inch square board books, the soft touch series from Priddy are really great for the dinner table, pretty washable.
5. Lift-the-flap books with mixed textures are usually listed as suitable for Age 2 - these guidelines are CRAP. We loved Matthew Van Fleet's book Tails somewhere around age 8 months. This is the first book she of which ingested any significant amount. Do you think this will adversely affect the educational value of this item as a counting book?

Please please please let your children use their books. Use any book really. We are currently super-socialized to react as if a child has put a pin through the pet's eye if a page gets torn. Or something like their own eye if a cover comes off. There is glue people. There is tape. There are bookstores with many many more copies of these books. Sheep are not dying in droves to print these items. Enjoy the books.

Thanks to Juniper's Mama Wood for inspiring this post. If I hear one more parent feel at all crappy for their reading relationship with an infant I will have to put my fist through something. Look out kitty. If you guys all do this now what are we ever going to do once the families hit our schools and we have all of our preconceived notions of reading WE need to impose. In my literacy hothouse right now we are simply buried in expensive opinion that takes pretty much ALL of the fun out of reading. Wait for it. Wait for it people the no fun books will come for now a book is no different from a cardboard box or a sock or a Mr. Turtle pool to your kids. Try to see it from their point of view for a while.

And as for fun reading... look for our reviewing in the coming weeks on rare out-of-print Belgian books, our favourite cautionary verses, the very best translated German fart book, the role of government documents in developing good potty habits, and much much more. With these topics we do hope to keep up with pro-Spandex Dutch and his upcoming review of the latest cause celebre in KiddieLit, Dame Victoria Beckham.

Did you know that Sweet Juniper is nominated for a BOB? Consider casting a vote for them in the best new blog category, and be sure to tick in for MIM whilst you scroll past Morphing into Mama -- Best Mommy Blog. For Dad's my vote goes to the ingenue crew of Dadcentric what say you? Vote here.

And for even more lucid advice for books than this sad post my new favourite is: book buds you can even vote for them too of the BOB site.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I'll Drink to That!

I have some human friends, or as they prefer it, "acquaintances" who have read a book entitled "A Million Pieces" which is, I see, rather prominent in the news and on tv lately. It would appear this work of non-fiction may be as much fiction as it is non-. My, um, associates argue this author ought be punished for doing a disservice to the community of those in, or on the verge of, recovery. They asked me: P-man (not my real name), what do you think? I say to them: Hmmm? while thinking in my inside voice: Must type about book!

Maybe I'm too cynical, too closed-minded, to accept that large for-profit corporations are willing to put their muscle and money behind simple tales about ordinary people, trying to find happiness in a largely strange and indifferent world, for the betterment of all. Yeah, that's it. It's me... because apparently the publisher, owned by some megacorporation (resistance is futile!) had the best interests of society in mind when it decided to publish and promote the "memoir" of one Mr. F---, whose tale of debauchery, descent, and (what's the wrong word here...) redemption would speak to the masses- those whose lives have been touched by alcohol or drug use, and those touching those who have been touched, often while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It turns out the "memoir" may contain some stuff the author kind of, I don't know how you say it, made up.

I intend to go on a bit here and I beg your indulgence. I have an appointment with the vet in July, after the birth of #2, and I must give a couple of shots before I am loaded with blanks. Now please excuse me while I fulminate.

Lest you have any doubts as to my disposition on this matter, I'd like to find the author in question, this Mr. F--, and kick him in the shmeebs. While I'm at it, I'd like to crazy-glue the pudenda of a certain CNN "news person" (How old is that fucking guy? I cringe as he vapidly lobs his puff-ball questions at his shit-heeled guests, all the while waiting to get plugged in to his Levitra drip so he can be wheeled into his love chamber, and bump his Methuselean knees against the mid thighs of his latest Hooters waitress bride? Do you watch this show? Did you enjoy the Menendez jailhouse call to his wife in studio? [Hey honey, make sure your folks are home Saturday between noon and 3, okay? NOON AND THREE. Thanks Larry.]) Oh, and the glue, I will glue Mr. Levitra's privates to those of a certain cultural industry of one whose name is that of a Marx brother in reverse, who shamelessly plugs books that her staff have doubtless read for her, and who shamelessly called in to the "news" show in question to offer support for her beleaguered pet author, who obviously was not getting enough support from his MOMMY, and needed the aforementioned cultural industry to speak into the phone one of her handlers dialed for her. (Of course, she and Mr. Levitra likely are on each others speed-dials, given how the "news" and "entertainment" are so thoroughly lodged in one another's various orifices as to suggest the image of Ourobouros on The Island.) I will apply the glue to these individuals so they may at last obtain from one another what they deliver to their audiences. I note Methuselah attempting to the explain the six degrees of clusterfuck between the company that owns him and the one publishing the "memoir" and the one producing the movie of the story- I mean- the "MEMOIR".

While I cannot say if Mr. F--- is lying in his "memoir" I proceed on the assumption that the "embellishments" to the truth he blithely referred to on tv are, in fact, fabulations of rather banal DUI-type idiocy. I have read the article impugning the author's credibility and I have heard some of his rebuttal which, I say by way of introduction, sounds like total crap. He is, while dissimulating through his ass, telling "the essential truth." Far be it from me to throw any stones at this phenomenally successful author whose success is derived not from writing such screen classics as Biosphere 2, or Porky's Revenge, but from a revealing tale regarding his addiction to alcohol and drugs, his frightening descent into outlaw behaviour, ill health, and imprisonment, and of course his recovery house experience, his exposure to a 12 step program, and his rejection of the program in favour of a program of his own design. FAR. BE. IT. I am, as I have stated before, a bitter, sad little man, who likes nothing more than to lurk in the penumbra of the glorious light of public affection shone upon the good and the righteous. (Dutch, you bastard.)

In fact, it is not that I am actually bothered by any of this, this patchwork of untruths packaged and marketed as truth, aimed at the sorry minds of alcoholics and addicts who are seeking some way out of their plight, desperate for something to pull them out from their miserable state (that is, other than AA). NOOOOO, certainly not.

If I could write a book, I think it would be a 'recovery' book- a book about my measly middle-class adolescent problems. I'll dress it up a bit, so that I shot the sheriff, or a man in Vegas, and went to jail where I was cornholed by a porn star, with whom I fell in love, and to whom I later taught conversational French, before he died tragically in a laundry accident; so I found god, or rejected god; I developed a sense of injustice so great I campaigned for the rights of laundry workers worldwide upon my release into society after many years of carceral lovin'; I fell in love with a nice girl/prostitute/sea cucumber, but when I was needed I wasn't there; I was organizing an iron-in at a laundry factory/drunk in a gutter/at another aquarium, and the love of my life died, because of suicide/evil pimp/sushi chef; I rejected god/found god, but dammit I kept on pressing with my campaign, I wouldn't fold under the pressure... and go on in my life, behind the fab PR campaign, appearing on TV shows, making a butt-load of cash (which, of course, was modified in jail to permit storage of lucre), living in one of my wholly-owned luxury homes, all the while sitting on the dirty little secret that my actual crime was more mundane: merely that of being a prick, a limp one at that, and that the actual sentence I would bear would be living with myself, I would do it. No wait, I would NOT do that.

By lying to people, and trying to excuse the behaviour by insisting "I'm telling the essential truth" when caught in the lie, Mr. F--- has established the "essential truth" of his story: he is an egomaniac, an incorrigible liar, a selfish lout, worthy of little more than your contempt.

Ahh, I feel better.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

P-Man Vasectomy Countdown

Ok so p-man has a 'work thing' and Mr Fancy-pants is going on almost two hours late. I am giving the P-Man Vasectomy Countdown 6 months at the outside.

Now where did I leave that vet's number?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Give a toot

As I cut loose with some annular bifricative earlier, my call, as it were, to baby e's response of "toot!", I reflect on my earlier visit to some high-fangled west-side baby store, named Sweet Nothings, or Sweet FA you can afford, or something like that.

We're in the store, mo-wo and I, looking for waterproof clothing for the baby e, and I am in the process of admiring some Finnish rubber baby outfit, which is pvc-free, I am looking, touching, smelling the outfit, trying to figure if this manufacturer has a parallel line of clothing for consenting adults (because, according to our supreme court, swinging clubs may operate without fear of legal reprisal, perhaps there is a market to be tapped, a rich vein of lucre, a hot torrent of bucks, a slick... never mind), when mo-wo thrusts into my face the latest greatest product that I haven't heard of yet it's the: Baby Fart Yoga DVD, with the word "Fart" pushed above the "Baby Yoga" with a little red arrow, and written in a cursive that is "wild" and "on the edge", obviously a font that tells the reader it's time to cut loose (no pun taken). My latex reverie was destroyed when the helpful sales droid explained, without solicitation, how this dvd experience "really helps" babies who have colic to find relief from their symptoms.

Now, I have not viewed the dvd, nor did I pay heed to the clever bits on the back of the box where the manufacturer lies to the reader about the benefits the contents of the box will confer on its purchaser, so please consider this to be my uninformed opinion on the product. How does one persuade a colicky infant to, firstly, wear yoga pants, and secondly, to view the dvd, oh, and thirdly, to memorize and practice the hatha tootna anal breathing stretches, in the midst of some gassy screamy misadventure? If you know the answer to this question, I guess this is the video product for you. You can give it 2 buns up. I will await the sequel, starring Frank Stallone.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Recommended title : Zen shorts / by Jon J. Muth

Zen shorts.
Muth, Jon J.
Scholastic, 2005.

When Stillwater the bear introduces himself to 3 children no one can expect what they have in store for them. Stillwater shares a different story with each child to teach them how they might look at their world differently.

Beautiful watercolour illustrations are very appealing to even the youngest of 'readers'.

Storytelling -- Fiction
ISBN:  0439339111

With mat leave #2 a few months away I am missing my job already? To that end, find here edition 1 of the mo-wo list of recommended titles for children. This is a perfect book for anyone with feelings and eyes. Simply one of the best recently published books for children and for families. For what you might do with this item should you purchase it check out some recent activties of gregdaddy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Good luck, you'll need it


Daddy says, "Shit".
Baby says, "Pfsit"

Needless to say we feel like real turds. Wish us luck on the cleaning up of acts. We will need it.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Parenting Bad Habit Confessional #1: Do we have a weaner?

Yes, its true. I am still a breastfeeder. (Feedee?)

What am I supposed to do...? We have been in really good shape with only two feedings, morn and bedtime since Miss Fancy was 11mos. old, and now I am stuck. I think I have it in my head that I need a stressless window of at least 10 days to even consider dropping a feeding with my -- as of tomorrow -- 16 mos. old! Yeah, like that is going to happen.

In conversation with a wise soul yesterday it became quite clear that my retaining these feedings are certainly in the case of the wake-up and possibly bedtime too... well they are 100% grounded in my laziness, or fatigue. You know I used to have a big idea that I need to buy my time with some boob-milk while I slaved over some wondrous organic whole grain, iron fortified, full fat, nutritionally balanced homemade breakfast wonder, but that is all over now. With me working full time and since our girl has mastered -- nay delights in -- a bowl of cereal and milk under the lead of all her daycare chums what is my excuse now? How much more à la minute a preparation can there be?? Corn squares n' milk.

The truth is I just can't roll out of bed too easily anymore and if a breastfeeding means I get 10 more minutes lie down I am not one to break the routine. I haven't even tried to skip, I am so sad.

And, there are the auxiliary issues.

I think I sometimes I have simply run out of material. Maybe I have developed some phobia of routine variance? Must be yet another aspect of catholic background -- well isn't that just special, as they say. In 16 months there have been a number ofexperiments with routine, many quite spectacular failures. Those routines -- read rituals -- that we have nailed down I will not let go of easily -- think Thomas More really. But it is pretty obvious the breastfeeding is sort of in overkill mode now. HELP!

But how to get out of the habit? Sort of seems not a bad idea to blog it in a parenting bad habit confessional. Yes, this sounds like a case for the Internet!

See also confessional post ver. 1:
Look, who is talking?. A just-in-time feature for the agonizing parent who tires of decision making processes for which they are solely culpable. We here at mo-wo look forward to the input of the extensive web-based parental wisdom as we put our parenting bad habits out there. Wow, I feel the twinges of absolution already... blog as confessional so quick and easy to use,too! This is a recording.

** Updated to add. This is how it turned out.


Friday, January 06, 2006

I Did Not Believe This Could Happen to Me

But it did.

I met this woman on a holiday abroad, as I sat in the back corner of a university pub, reading Proust and smoking a Gitane. We repaired to the back seat of my Renault Clio whereupon...and, uh, the fact is, I kind of swore I would never post a blog wherein I waxed on the subject of the kid and how neat, or how amazing, I think she is. In my view, it smacks of a gloat, and it drives me mad when I have to listen to people prate on about their child's amazing baby skills: defecating, eating, speaking, not speaking but SIGNING in EU approved symbols, laughing, walking, reading the Aeneid in the original language, &c. I guess I'd like to think I can remain some degree of dignity while being blown away by the geometric expansion of my child's abilities, her charm, her beauty. I would expect any parent to experience this sense of awe in the face of their child. But what the fuck. I got amazed today and I want to type about it.

Some sixteen months into parenting, and after a significant blurring of the line between non- and recreational sex, the first week of this new year has ended. I want for nothing, save a 3 bedroom house in South Van with a prospect over the Fraser Delta, and it need be in my rather measly price range. I want my hair back too, but that's it. Except my growing patch of back hair. I want rid of my back hair and those annoying thigh pimples. That's it.

So, I am in the basement, with mo-wo and e, we have enjoyed our dinners, the foul stench of the litter boxes and of rogue feline urination is somewhat reserved, like a hint of berries in a fine Merlot, I am feeling content in a manner I prefer to avoid. Baby e makes her way toward the drum kit, which has left the house only twice for gigs since her birth, and is lonely because no-one's been kicking its shit out with any regularity (hmm) for some time, so mo-wo, whose abdominal region is rather tellingly spheroidal, asks me to chase after the girl and manage the kit with her. I decline as I have decided to practice the two or three chords I remember on the 12 string Yamaha given to me as a gift by our fearless leader and bass player just in case he calls me up to see if I have been practicing and I would hate to lie and say I had, or to take the direct approach and request that he fuck off and mind his own business, I'm not some rock-god from Winnipeg, I am a short, cynical man, from a warm, moist locale, predisposed geographically, climatologically, and culturally to bong hits and mountain bikes and not to rye, mullets, and major chords, get off my back already, I'm busy, Rockford Files is on, and Angel's in trouble.

So I peck away on the oversized, out-of-tune 1980's model axe, which in my hands is the nerf equivalent of an axe, creating atonal, strangled noises, the sonic equivalent a dry shave with a dull razor, as my beloved spouse maneuvers her way behind the kit, with e up ahead, gives e her sticks (#7 Marimba) and, to my surprise, places her onto the throne without sitting behind her (of course, due to mo-wo's expansionist midsection, it would be physically impossible for them to share) and I watch, stunned, as e tests in sequence the floor tom, the x-hat, the tom, the snare, the hi-hat, the snare, the ride, the crash, and so on (it occurs to me, why mention each piece of the kit, it doesn't matter, the point is to illustrate there appeared to be a method, a sequence, to the approach taken in playing the instrument, and now, given I only held off on noting three further pieces of equipment, with e testing but two of them, this digression, this self-conscious throat-clearing, is now considerably longer than the original description would have been) before playing a beat, several bars, and throwing in a couple of fills, before re-checking each piece of equipment, while staying on the throne unaided (I watched as she clenched her thighs against the cushioned seat as she reached for the far away parts, as if astride a horse, which will NEVER HAPPEN MOM. SELL THE PONY! We won't visit...). In any event, there we were in the basement, amazed by the kid, who takes it all in stride. I feel fortunate. I am fortunate. I query if I must now refer to e with the prefix "Sheila".

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Look, who is talking?

It is one thing to speak about yourself in the third person. But what about doing the disembodied third person talking for your child?

I have had it crop up in family disputes, awkward semi-social events and quite often in those liminal** moments one might have with a stranger. For example, I recently confessed to a certain agression towards Starbucks baristas. I have on more than one occassion taken a shot at a barista via the baby. Take the case of child greetings. When Miss Fancy first started really chatting up strangers it was stupid-cute (tm, to bitemycookie). If she did say hi to the baristas at the 'coffee store' and they did NOT respond I would mostly likely pull one of the following out of my 'too much at home, late maternity leave, and yes-I-am-undercaffinated' mommy bag.

1. I don't think the busy lady heard you baby girl
Or worse:
2. Oooh honey. I don't think you are gonna get a hi today.
Ultimately, if I don't ever plan on returning to this location I might go as far as:
3. Grumpy baristas just don't want to say hi to cute little babies, sweetheart.

So two issues here -- How wide spread is the contempt or affection within the blogging community for baristas I wonder? -- not really.. I have my own baggage behind my embarrassing disdain for this profession. I think the conflict is grounded in my bygone barista pride birthed in the early 90's when people still had a choice between java joints and bagelrys. Hell, we didn't even have the term bagelry back when our society was first developing the genre of speedy YET fresh looking; devoid of nutrients YET not greasy restaurant we would rather call a cafe. Anyway trust me it was all so much better when I worked for an independent coffee store and was so busy inventing great things like expresso soup the day the milkshake machine broke...


Now back on the subject ... do tell me people -- where does the Look who's talking narrative lead?

I am particularly distressed by its usage between me and those rather dearer than baristas. You know say when my mom is babysitting and she is pushing my safety envelope by letting the baby play with our recycling.. which I tend to classify as -- you know -- garbage. Not an unheard of event that I might start to provide my critique VIA the CHILD. I figure this might have one of two outcomes. 1. Me and those other dear others will manage to work more things out than we might have done otherwise BECAUSE we have the wee human child to use as a conduit (er puppet). Good for us, bad for her. Or, 2, Aforementioned small human will continue to be be smart in spite of all of us will bide her time working on skills of walking, self-feeding, pooping in the open air, etc., and then one day she will start telling us what to do -- which is likely better for all of us.

What say you? Does anyone else do this? Or, is this a parenting no-no like I keep feeling must be the case?

** I mean I think Starbucks means itself to be a pleasant liminal experience.. where we are all transcending our class and even the very defintion of casual. But maybe we should ask their marketing department. Steamed formula with a shot, please.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Simple Rules for Children Revisited

Rule No. 2: Sample not from the contents of the litter box.