Wednesday, February 28, 2007

His Bad Mother

My son has mastered the hateful diaper-change squirm in the last couple weeks. To date I had failed to locate the proper household item with which to placate him. Unlike his sister he showed little interest in such contraband items as Penaten tubes, or nail polish bottles. Even spikey hair accessories and manicure tools failed to delight.

My children -- apparently -- think 'real toys' are for chumps.

But I have now nailed it. I found the item to focus his attention enough to provide that window of peace to make ass wiping tolerable again.. and it is a bad choice. Yep it is a big bottle just like this...

I guess I am trying to get in the running for, with all due respect, his bad mother. But it is perfect the red cap, the ribbed edged of itchy gums, the maraca quality shake-shake-shake of it all? Alas.


Monday, February 26, 2007


The aboriginal peoples of this locale, the Pacific Northwest let's call it .. practice a social rite called potlatch. I am of the opinion that some aspects of blogging are resonant of this practice. In potlatch hosts would fete guests to the penultimate degree of generosity. Presenting food in massive feast dishes, carrying on the party for days, giving away all kinds of wealth to attendees some say even going so far as to dismantling the feast houses and giving away the houseboards.

The only consolation for a generous host? Will the next party-giver give more/less?

At Christmas time I sent a message out to a lot of friends by email. I recieved a number of responses. Most of those responses came from the blogger friends. Most of my IRL friends just 'let it go'. I believe this has less to do with anything about my IRL friends but more to do with something about blogging. It has that soul of reciprocity like potlatch.

It is not always perfectly benign but I like it anyway.

To all my friends in the bloggerhood I am sorry I have not been generous of late. My visits have been fleeting and my comments sparse. I don't know if it is the illness (which continues into its third week), or the sale or the move or the teething or the preschool selection or my never-ending desire to find enough time to reconnect with a degree of leisure such that I might shave my armpit hair again but I am running on empty. I am running behind, anyway. Sorry. I think I'll turn the corner soon and hope to give a little more; get back in the spirit of the potlatch. Til then forgive me if I paste the following into your comments:

Just stopped in, great post as ever. No grey matter available to offer more by way of comment. -- mo-wo

On a -- further -- related note we are still recovering from a first birthday party on the weekend with the most spectacular loot bags I have ever seen. 1st birthday ???!! Isn't that the serve cheesecake and adults drink birthday? More to come...

ps.. for good info on potlatch I recommend this link.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Love Is Many Things

And, according to the lyrics (translated) of a most well-written song, in this most tasteful and restrained Jackie Chan vehicle, "Love is a conveyor belt of warmth." So true, man. So true.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Object Permanence

I have decided that it is true what they say. You do hold back your second child's development. Take for example my current relationship with object permanence. When my daughter was small I remember the look of abject terror as I disappeared behind a colander. (You know I took the suggestion of some book to do that.) I diligently tested her to nail the concept of object permanence as I was programmed to do.

My son will never go through that.

In his case I simply don't want him to help him learn the lesson. I have deemed object permanence is, in fact, my enemy. Another book tells me that he might "object if a toy is taken away", at his age. MIGHT??? He has definitely achieved this dubious cognitive achievment. Yes, he has mastered complaining. And, just in time for him to forge desires for all things no-no like the remote control, the phone(s), sister's picture books, papa's pocket change, etc. etc. I see my chance for object disappearance fleeting but still present. I have that superpower to make it all go away and I enjoy it this time. I'll drag it out, thank you.

For just like everything this phase is fleeting. On to my next issue... Where exactly do I stand on crawling? Important or no?

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tyranny of Rest

Another day. Another hard fought battle with the sandman.

Today, admittedly was not the worst. Little boy had a spectacular nap, now that I have finally figured out "naptime" is 11 am. But little girl came home from my in-laws in that semi-sleepwalker state that makes her really hard to put to bed. And grandpeople2 were here at the time.. so naptime with her took a freakin' hour to accomplish.

"We really wore her out!" they always declare. I smile a weak smile. "Yeah thanks."

Overtired is my favorite. Though there are the others. The poop break fake-out. The belch plugged infant. The shifting sleep schedules of sibling rivalry. Oh, please don't learn to say Mama right now! Your sister is trying to go down for her nap.

I am not the first, and I certainly won't be the last to note that all this sleep chasing is pretty tiring. Now in a few weeks my son (you know the 25lb 7 month old?) will finally have his own room and my battles will extend into the night. It is seriously a fear of mine. Seems so silly to be afraid of the childrens' sleep but I can't shield myself from this the most oft judged parenting challenge. The tyranny of it all. So many days I think it is the kids that wish I would not move about at the precise moment of dropping off; or that he get 3 minutes more suckle before droppage to the mattress or that we lay together, even. I think they are the ones driving me crazy. But no, they are not the tyrants at all. Instead it is the gaggle of know-it-alls live and in print that frighten me.

The kids could take it or leave it. Maybe I should too.


Monday, February 19, 2007

We're Hot Baby! Or so they say..

So the freakin' camera crew just left.. and I have had a sandwich.

In this life that's batting a thousand.

With sick kids this week (I am holding myself to the nasal drip) and the open house this Saturday... I mean why not say yes please come over on Monday to film my house for the real estate segment on the news tomorrow??? We said yes because -- as this blog will attest -- we are nothing if we are not relentless self promoters.

I guess I am buying into the hype at this point. (And, running on fumes.) Our realtor kindly posted our wee abode as 'hot new listing' and we are trying to fit the bill. I don't really know if we'll pull it off but we are madly painting all the molding I've been staring at the primer on for two years and planting the side yard, changing light bulbs and tacking in baseboards. Fuck we are even putting clutter away and taking the crap to the dump. What is this strange land?

I don't feel so much hot as bothered.. exhausted... thank god for friends and family. Without help we certainly wouldn't be hot. We'd likely be more like lukewarm water.

Did you know that is p-man's stage name? Luke Warmwater!


Sunday, February 18, 2007


It is increasingly difficult to remain peevish, or at least present as such, in the face of a: cute children, and b: actual problems in the actual world. It's a good thing I come from strong whiny stock - otherwise I'd quit, and then where would you be, internut? Yeah, I thought so.

Three things, all said, all annoying and in no particular order.

1. I listen to the CBC on the way to work. There's the morning guy who is a vacuous sounding radio person but, in person, is really quite pleasant. And tall. It is said you lose 6 inches on the radio. Home of the brave. This is talk radio. All talk. Chit Chat. Dialogue. Elephant talk.

Civic and provincial politics are, of course, a big deal for programmers who need to make a big deal about the methane in flea farts in an effort to fill air. I can usually tolerate the silliness of "aggressive" questioning and "thoughtful" replies from our "diligent" press and "concerned" elected officials (or, in some jurisdictions, "concerned" "elected" etc.). That said, if I have to endure another civic blowhard looking out for the "citizens of Vancouver" or some provincial blowjob identifying the subtle ways he is caring for citizens of this province I'll... I'll... nevermind. For the record, you assheads, neither this city nor this province can grant citizenship. (I think.)

2. Other talking heads, like closet engineers, floral engineers, underpants seam managers and the like will often stress the importance of organization. In order for your underpants folding weekend to go as planned you should pre-order your "Gonch Starch" right away. Don't wait! Pre-order it now! Or maybe you could, I don't know, fucking order it. You know, ORDER IT? Ahead of time? Maybe once your pre-order arrives, you can pre-purchase it. You will likely have an option to pre-pay. Pre-plan now!

3. I was at the local produce/medication/frozen waffle emporium earlier when I heard an announcement regarding "people who suffer from diabetes of all ages." I have heard of juvenile diabetes. What other age groups of diabetes are there? People of all ages need to know.

Saying a big hello to the citizens of British Columbia,


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Friday, February 16, 2007

Snore-War Core-Despondent

Mo-Wo reporting to you this week from Buy-House/Sell-House/Children-all-sick-Laundry-Everwhere-istan.

Allow me to say... F^#$*()^!!!!

I have heard about these things. And, so far I am only in scratchy mommy throat phase and p-man is well, if occassionally endangered by his 'what's the big deal?' numb-nuts-ed-ness. It could be worse but, THIS SUCKS. My baby is barking like the seal in this movie and Miss Fancy only recovering on the 5th day. When will this end? And, this is the week Viacom is challenging 60% of the Sesame Street content on YouTube? You know I don't use the video as a babysitter but I sure as hell use it as a nurse!

What's that noise...? No didn't really think that was a nap... catch you guys later! Coming baby.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Survival Parenting: About Playgrounds

I have been irked twice in the last month over playground-enemity. In what kind of fucked up society have playgrounds become sites for acute social tension? Public spaces and kids, they seem not to mix?

Part of me wants to take the easy out and say it's an American problem. I want to link it to the pervasive, abuse of play by the mother corps of Disney, Hasbro and the rest. It makes sense that there is some American lot in childhood, to have playgrounds of terse interchanges among of children? Nope, Nonlinear girl, Canada doesn't have any corner on sweet social harmony. Not even the West Coast.

I have seen it here. I have seen it at the destination playgrounds. The uber park where sand gets trucked in thrice weekly and the jungle gyms are four-fold. Where the kids can hang in the sky on a wire and scream in delight as the nannies singe the trees with their cell phones. I stopped going to these parks in favour of ours a long time ago.

Our park is a rather sad sight some might say. It is surrounded by scrubby grass well peed on by a posse of neighbours' pooches. The benches are splintery and often covered with some lichen-like substance. The Parisien blue pig that rocks at the edge of the sand pit is truly a peril, with its spring nearly gone. The cedar structure that links the overly dangerous slide to the monkey bars to the bubble panels and the rings is untreated and likely corrupting the years-old sand. Some might want to improve it. I can see why.

But I do not want to improve it. I fear that it might bring more people in and that would be bad news for me. At the height of the summer we bring in folks from quite a few blocks away as we have the tall trees and shade and babes can be prime real estate when the temperatures ever turn toasty. I did not like it much. I like the park to be our property. Those of us in the nearby four blocks or so. It is that realm that is our society. A mangeable community of old people, young people and all the rest. An Austen-like rabble. And thus, it is not always rapture. I would be a liar to make it sound like I revel in every moment of this society. That I adore every turd dropping shepard and Mom n' Tot pairing within a mile of this place. I don't .

What I adore is that I can see this community so clearly. That my daughter and son are nascent citizens living in a discrete community that we are members of for little cost. (Ah, if you knew this real estate costs around here you would understand that last statement is laughable, but still.) While many playgrounds seem to inspire the clashes of parents and their choices ours is the antithesis. Rickety as it is. Rickety as we are in our parenting 'round here.... This is a paradise of rare quality?

I revel in the laisse-faire enclave here. Families filling the public space for play and certainly not to be seen. We walk here to expand our backyards into our city and vice versa. It is invigorating and relaxing. And, if my kid is a twit there I wouldn't balk at the scolding of her by any inhabitant of the park -- this is a two way street. We are the proverbial village I suppose. Alas, the cliche. A ragtag fugitive fleet of moms and dads, brothers and sisters testing the waters of families and friendships in the immediate. Self-serving and symbiotic. I'll close ranks around this tacky little patch of snotty sand and timber.

I sincerely believe I would be a lesser parent without our playground. It has tested me. We go there not just to play but also to be in public. I believe that is important for humans. There we may not all like one another all the time but the kids play. It is an important first lesson in simply society. As usual, my policy is survival parenting. And, I'll never, ever, go to the 'in' thing. Steer clear of the latest mommy group. Eschew the hot playgrounds and programs. Most certainly in those destinations reside the dragons of parenting I cannot conquer. I'll prefer the community based sites for us and hopefully our pleasures will promote and sustain the kinder gentler sort of public spaces out there for children.

Related Reading I must admit I have not finished reading this. It is a bit dry but I am commited to the ideas it represents.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mr. Freeze

Not to flog a dead horse, erm, but I am still coming to grips with certain future events. No, that's not right.

At the risk of punching the munchkin, oh, I mean pulling punches... I'm sorry. I won't beat around the bush (obviously). I am trying to shoot from the hip. Oh cripes... I mean, cough up the goods... ack, make an effort to relate my perspective on a... sticky subject without resorting to bowdlerism, euphemic babble, or male code.

Hmm. I just scheduled an appointment with a local fertility clinic/frozen sperm storage facility to enter into a (presumably) curtained booth likely on a main road somewhere, either in a glass house, or equipped with cameras beaming directly to some "niche" satellite station, so I may jerk off into a cup. I will head over there in less than two weeks. Of course, I did not call the office and announce "Hello, I am P-man. When may I attend your office and jerk off into a cup? Ha. Hahaha. When can I... come by?? Hahahaha... heehee." Of course not. First, that would be undignified and there is nothing, nothing at all, embarrassing of undignified about any of this. Second, far be it from me to discuss the itchy subject of vasectomies with strangers. That would betray a lack of dignity. No. I got a referral from my physician who likely wrote:

Dear Dr. Q,

Please see my patient P-man. He needs to attend your office and cough up the goods. Hahaha.

How are the kids?


Dr. X

Thus sparing me the indignity referred to above.

I have quibbled about the tendency of those involved in this process to skirt the subject of vasectomy. Now I will complain anew.

The jerking off into a cup portion of this sorry affair involves some serious institutional euphemism. My appointment, not surprisingly, is not identified by the fully spelled version of the acronym JOIAC. No. It is called "the Freeze." Today I scheduled my Freeze. I will shortly be ushered into a curtained booth to the agonizing strains of Phil Collins with some well-worn pornography, and be given one hour to uh, perform. Into a cup. The Freeze... the Freeze it what happens AFTER the JOIAC event. I won't be there for that, but to pummel my point into submission, the portion of the process which involves my, uh, input (or output) is called: the Freeze! Come on. Can no-one keep a straight face?

Envisioning a styrofoam chalice,


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Thursday, February 08, 2007


The earnest young man in Detroit is never one to disappoint me these days in burrs. As in, he is under my saddle. The latest case comes where he frets over retail and our humanity.

I am loathe to reminisce over the kinder, gentler days of business. I believe the phenomenon of old men who sell suits and support their families that way was what got me most. The store where we got my brother's first suit made sure to pay women 35% less because they shouldn't be working. The store where p-man bought his last suit has the faux associates who send us endless friendly junk mail in their interest to serve.

The problem is connecting ourselves in this secular way... at all ... through spending. Stores have become our meeting places? Please no... should I go on the diatribe of class...? Ah, no, too tired...

Let me stick to the true basis of the blog personal experience...

In my maternity leave I feel especially driven to defend myself from this reality. Among the reasons I chose to keep living in this neighbourhood is because I am walking distance to 30 green grocers, a bakery, deli, Pakistani video store, etc. You can't go too wrong aimlessly shopping in those places. But the mall... the mall. So many folks constantly take their kids in there. I tried to suggest to a few people recently they go to the library and they so did not get it. I had to explain that there were playspaces and food and books and fun at the library, just like the mall! Still no signs of comprehension.

It is hopeless. Is the notion of "public space" dead? ...more to come.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Paradigm Shit

Well Miss Fancy just returned from a successful underpants day at daycare. So far it has been at-home success so I am pretty damn happy to find her coming home in the same pants I sent her in. Can anyone tell me where to get nice child's underwear by the way, especially training pants. I swear the disposables are nicer -- can we say corporate consumer conspiracy?

Anyway, it seemed time for us parents to get off our disposable training pants addiction and I think we have done it. I knew she was up to it. I mean she wouldn't be my kid if she's couldn't hold it for 6 hours or whatever. We will seal the deal next week for Valentine's Day which we have now explained is "the underwear holiday."

And as a follow up here are a few asides about this life without diapers; things I didn't realize till now.
1. She is no longer automatically wearing waterproof pants when we go to the playground. Piss.
2. Wow if we are a bit late on numero duo those underwear have nowhere near the sealing power of a pull up.
3. She now has to learn how to 'take turns' for the bathroom. So it begins my mother noted.
4. I now realize the real purpose of bathing your kid nightly. She gets kinda yucky down there cause well "I can do it by myself", of course.
5. It takes about a week before propriety to set in... I have now been summarily ordered to "Get outta here" when she is taking her turn. Fine with me.

And that is the Mo-Wo Ass Wednesday report from our asses. As p-man is up to his ass in work to earn our new home.

ps.. for those into other nether regions posts for the week don't miss this.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Regularly now they trot out the platitudes of myth-making. Even the most respectable news agencies in the world are making swift posting of every available salacious detail in the trial that runs near my house. Each broadcaster spits out the dimension of terror with piteous nods of respect to the targets. Ah, they were mothers and sisters and children they throw in. Those women. The prostitutes in the freezer. (How uncomfortable did that post make me?)

You see I have a small stake. I whisper a bit about the horrible crimes with agency. For I hate this case as many people do. I balk at its reflection on women. I shy from digesting the magnitude of the reality.. as a member of the community where this crime was perpetrated. Mostly I cannot stand it all because I am someone who knew Riviera. While the judge will know her as Sereena. I knew her as Riviera. A street name for a remarkable person who was bright and brave. (She looked nothing like that picture.)

In the years as this news developed I have always asked inside how could she have been a victim. She was always the heavy. A heavy-duty personality in the pool of sex trade workers working the toughest neighbourhood in the country.

I was a meek and talkative volunteer taking shifts in their living room. The WISH Drop in centre was a place for a hot meal and a shower before work for those who persist in the trade and for those many now missing. Women would put on their make up opposite a clunky old tv night after night. While they all watched, you guessed it, Blind Date, and got ready to go to work, I doled out shampoo. I mediated knock-downs over mascara and told them where to find the street nurses. It was how I finished some of my Thursdays. A scant few hours and then I'd shower before bed.

Riviera was the first woman I really talked to, though to be honest she did most of the talking. In exchange for a smoke she told me 'how it is'. She seemed to be my interpreter to this other Vancouver I could not manage alone. The mutant kindergarten where childen in the bodies of adults (often but not always) trooped around doing damage to each other inside the Downtown Eastside, poorest postal code in Canada. Entertaining visitors who came to do damage to them; those dreams of being whisked away almost always being nightmares.

Women were missing then, too. It was late 2000 and the count was high. The cries for justice rang in my righteous ears. I wondered what people there thought. What they knew. Riviera would tell you what she thought. To this day I wonder if we really ever had that conversation. Part of me thinks it is a not a memory but a lie.. not really a lie but rather the sort of mirage of memory that the mind offers when all sense seems to have evacuated an event.

What do you think is going on? Where are all the women going I wanted to ask her. My mind tells me she knew. I can see her face, resolute, unflinching knowledge of 'how it is'. "Oh everybody knows. It is out to the farm."

My mind lies I'm sure. She never said that right? If she did how would it be she would ever go? I think the unspoken. A deathwish? A desire for end? No. Couldn't have been. Not Riviera. Couldn't be. That is why I can't remember right. I must have never asked. How could I have? I was scared shitless anyway. As, I say I let her do all the talking.

Do we do that now? Are the women speaking? No. No. The aren't. A babble of voices from here to Timbuktu all reporting reporting reporting. And we hear little new. A man is accused of killing almost 50 women. Who are they? Daughters, sisters, mothers. A lot of talk out there. The horror and the recoil. The man. The man we see. His fate we hang on hearing.

So little will really be known through the process. But it does remind me of that feeling. The shallow simple sensation of a warm shower after charity. The futile rancour of my life. The thinking affected little in action. The way I used to feel as I would lie in my bed, clean under my sheets to fall asleep in security barely knowing the 40 women I had seen that night. So tenuously connected to the beings who at that moment had just begun a long night's work on the street.

Everything I have will be poured into making sure that my children grow up to at least as much indulgence as I had every night after my WISH shift. The warm bed. The security of home. Fuck preschool selection.

Addendum. I would like to thank Metro Mama for calling to our attention the Sleeping Children Around the World charity. P-man and I found that this organizations bedkits made a great addition to our Christmas shopping list this year. Thanks HBM, too. And, Mad for encouraging me to write about my whole life /whole world everyday.

For more on the WISH Drop In Centre including donations see the website.
For an alternate media option see this link. (thanks Jill!)


Bad Parenting Confessional : Errrrcch!

"Honey, can you climb up into your seat?"
"I can do it."
"Great, baby, thanks."

Quickly we are en route.. Mama and toddler and enfant... Thanks for the cooperation everybody.

"Yes, baby girl?"
"You forgot to do the buckles."


So last week she was looking for freedom and this week it's restraint. Ah, the fickleness of a two year old.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Kilroy wuz here

Do you know the gnome?

That age when the butt balancing, post supine human in your house starts to do all those normal things we take for granted. It's here. I have a three-foot tall person with no hair and poopy pants who can stand! He spends minutes on end pulling himself up and smiling just prior to the crash. He can be propped up with an assortment of toys and work for like 20 minutes. Behold the joys of drawer emptying. Ahh the industry of six months of development.

When I go to the crib now it is not just in response to a shaking crib and calling baby. Two eyes peek over, two hands and a nose.

Yep. The Gnome has Arrived. I love this stage. Kilroy is here.

Have great weekends, all.

ps... is it tacky p-man will officially learn this milestone has been reached by checking the blog?

UPDATED TO CORRECT: ERGH -- my mistake to report him as three feet, of course he's closer to two feet. I will indulge in blaming the metric system this time rather than the fact I suck at any kind of spatial reasoning.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Did I lock that door? : a vignette

I make my post-nursing session way across the dining room. I feel the familiar draft from our open front door!


Where is the toddler? My heart in my throat. I am filled with fear. I await the screech of tires.

Behold the moppet perched at the head of the stairs. OUTSIDE. Clad in a purple t-shirt, blue terry training pants and purple rubber boots she declares, "I take a step? I am going outside."