Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Daycare Update

I wrote last week that I am of the opinion that daycare is very advantageous for children age 11-20 months. For ages 36+ months not so much.

Some people wondered why I said this. Quite simply -- and hopefully not too rudely -- I'll say that when my kid was younger I didn't entirely care what she did or who she played with at daycare. It was much less complicated. Little guys just sort of play around each other. Also, when my first was first in daycare it was a really wonderful time for her, and me. She was exceedingly happy to be at work when I was at work. She didn't really need too much besides the nearby company of her 2 or 3 playmates plus the Little People garage 3 days a week.

Now she goes to a 3 to 5 year olds daycare with 24 other kids. It is a melee of dress up and MY TURN! and playgrounds, train sets and fashion statements. I nearly lost it when she came home last week singing "I'm a Barbie girl...". I am poised to become the whacko parent who wants to make it a Disney free zone. I've seen the embryonic bullying and I am pissed. What now?


Monday, September 24, 2007

2nd time around


My second child offers a good image of my reaction to the news that second children in the works here and here.

And, updated to add... and here

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Warning: These Are Not Real Problems

Mo and I are trying to give away free items on Craigslist. The following are the key words from the preceding sentence: GIVE. FREE. We are not attempting to part with nasty little things, like a Mason jar full of snot, or year-old pizza. The items in question are an older chest-type deep freeze and a love-seat size fold a bed both of which function and neither of which has suffered cruel or unusual treatment.

But can we give this shit away? Noooo! We advertised on Craigslist and were deluged with responses. The ads included photos of the FREE items so no needless questions would arise as to the colour, condition, or quality of the FREE items would arise at the time of collection. We called back a few of the respondents and arranged with a number of them to collect the FREE (as seen on the computer!) items from our garage.

Sofa Lady arrived first. She drove here from New Westminster. She did not take the FREE sofa. It was the wrong colour.

The Young Couple came later, all the way from intermarried Port Coquitlam, for the freezer. They asked: Is it Powersmart? They did not take the FREE freezer because it is old.

Mo then arranged with another person, obviously unconcerned about the environment, to collect the FREE freezer. He failed to attend at the appointed time or at all.

Thus I am compelled to say to you, dear Craigslist readers: You are a bunch of pricks.

You wouldn't know this, since it was not in the ad, but we have two young kids who require a significant portion of our time and energy. While the FREE items do not hold any monetary value for us, we do value our time together, and are inclined to spend it on pursuits other than waiting for you to come over, inspect our FREE stuff on our time, and then explain to us why it is not good enough for you. Here is a detail you have obviously not considered, in addition to the previous two... these things are FREE! What the fuck are you expecting? A Louis XIV chaise longue? If so, perhaps you should go to the Craigslist pages for Versailles.

So you see, I have enough things to do to fill my time without waiting for or listening to you. I also have two cats. One or both of these cats has decided recently to eschew the litter box for the non-clumping and forbidden pleasures of our area carpets. Here's another little morsel of information for you: Cat shit does not show up well on a Persian rug. Also, cat shit, particularly the ill-formed or loosened variety, feels quite disgusting when you step on it bare-footed. So you see, we need to stay on our toes around here. There's a lot of spot cleaning going on. And foot cleaning. Being angered and disgusted by cats is time-consuming. We do not have the time to work in your dumbassery around here.

In conclusion I say this to you, oh fickle readers of Craigslist: You are too fucking choosy for your own good. I am not calling you beggars, far from it, I'm just saying I have a problem with the degree of expectation you bring to transactions which involve me giving you FREE stuff which you do not have to pay for because it is FREE and I am happy to GIVE it to you. Go find the brand-new FREE freezer, or the sofa done in just the right shade of ecru... I am sure they are lodging together in a carport in Whalley. Fucknuts.

Best regards,


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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Daycare v. Nanny

I will return to full time work in just a little over 90 days and I have NO CHILDCARE for one of my children. My daughter started at a full time program earlier this month and so far she likes it there. Not that she tells me what she's doing or anything. Like it's any of my business?

My baby son, for whom I believe daycare can be a huge plus*, for him I got nothin'. Apart from the standard dry lines of wait list positions and blathering banter of program directors and family daycare operators who can't tell me anything. The search makes my heart ache. I always feel like an alarm will suddenly ring and I will have to go to the office and leave my near-infant child to lie in a alleyway whilst I toil and fret just to make a living.

Soon I will get the new centres list and hit the phone lines again. If there are no new facilities opening it is a complete crapshoot, a crop of fresh frustration. I will curse and spit and cry and throw fallopian tubed shaped darts at big posters of Stephen Harper and Premier Campbell. Nothing will be sure and at best I will shit some horseshoe like last time and come up with a decent, or even good, place for my kid.

I live in the city. It is nice I can walk to the store and take the bus but ... everyone wants daycare here! Bastards. No one has good choices. A spot can cost the earth even when it's awful half the time. Due diligence and wait lists mean nothing since half the centres are chucking out their lists as the process is too onerous for them to maintain. The wait lists have never really worked anyway because no one ever takes themselves off a wait list... Once you factor in the refuse-no-sibling policy plus stuff like reality and timing wait lists are a complete artifice.

Hear the swoosh another dart before it pierces a large poster of a metaphorical image entitled "Personal Cost".

And it must be asked would I feel better about it or worse if I was sure that daycare was what worked for the whole family anyway? Or should I just get a nanny and give it a rest?

In our next installment of Child Care Search : Tales from Primary Caregiver Hell... Daycare v. Preschool: Nannies Revisited

* at this juncture in my experience I am of the opinion that daycare is very advantageous for children age 11-20 months. For ages 36+ months not so much.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007


"Do you like being at home?"

The question hangs in the air still. 5 days after I sat over lunch with the dear friend who posed it.

"I like looking after my kids", I said.

Was that accurate? No. It was pretty vacuous, actually.

I turn the question over and over again. No short answers arise. Do I think it is important to be at home? OK. Do I find it satisfying? No. Would I rather be at work? Not really/Only if I could be two places at once. What about work? Is it more important to me? Well it is pretty important, but that's not it.

I think at times about what I miss about work. That's easy. I am VERY good at my job. I miss being 'very good' at something. In my case motherhood has found accomplishment and validation to be rather fleeting. Since any barely good mothering, if not parenting, stresses the need for an unrelenting putting aside of self-seeking.

If pressed I would argue that there are many like me who crave a greater degree of validation in their lives than parenting offers. I would further argue that thousands a few use this unconscious need to fuel cliche judgementalism and peer-parent hating. If the kids won't make us feel valued, hell, at least we can gossip about being lesser fuck ups than the Smiths, Joneses and Changs.

"Do I like being at home?"

Whadda ya mean? This a crazy crazy business. This life inside the consumo-corporate defined family contract. It isn't really a matter of liking it. But for now, I wouldn't have it any other way.

In related news I am so sick of the growing ubiquity of febreze. It is about as extraneous as the phrasing growing ubiquity.

** for more on the should she or shouldn't he of stay-at-homes check the links, hey.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Point Blank

I don't really keep in touch with more than a couple of my good friends from high school. Next month at my 20th reunion I look forward to the chance to catch up. For the most part I went to school with good people.

One of my best friends from the group, and a really interesting chick, is D. We haven't talked in years but in prep for the reunion I dropped her an email. She is a busy businesswoman up North now often sparing time-off only for a good bit of scuba diving in Belize during the coldest months that Yellowknife can offer. Would she spend part of this year's time away on little ole Burbville-upon-Fraser where we grew up?

The message came back. Yes she would. But she wouldn't bring the whole family? WHAT? What family? This is the girl who said when we were 15 she'd NEVER have kids, due to being"too selfish and kids are a big responsibility." So she DID have them. By the by I remember being simultaneously apalled and admiring about her comment back then. To know thy self that's a good skill. I always envied her that.

To follow up I wrote a message mentioning my two kids and got a message with this senitiment in response.

"WHAT!!!! Two kids!! No way hosey-rosie (as my just 4 year old daughter would say). That’s unexpected for some reason. Here I’ve been envisioning you all these years as some socialite ultra-adult urbanite."

I find this remarkable in a couple ways.

1. Here we both were so sure one another were not 'parent material' ... an allusion to our enduring coolness of youthful memory, perhaps? (insert some sad social commentary on the self-effacing tenor to parenthood these days, your call)
2. Isn't it nice that despite some 8 or 9 years silence and many years of declining intimacy before that we could just pick up in that voice of familiarity and steadfast sarcasm.

I always believe you can't let years of silence be a barrier to friendship. Don't get hung up on who called, or didn't call, last time. With the people that matter... it never matters. I can add I am pretty damn thrilled that she is a Mom. I know she was, actually, never too selfish anyway.

Of course I told her I am a pure and refined hipster parent all the way! hahahahaha

Cue the DJ people.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Busy is as busy does

I often joke that p-man is the UNITASKER!

I think it's catching.

We are still really reeling form the duo parenting when I figure we should have managed some upper-hand. Turning over the challenges this morning I think it is the unitasker thing. Girl Friday was always a great sleeper, for example, so we tend to put stuff on until the child-free minutes. Nowadays, many days can pass without child-free minutes. We have to find a way to do more stuff with the kids around. Besides they ain't gonna nap forever.

So far I have found they are reasonably helpful harmless when it comes to:
Doing Laundry
Washing/Chopping veggies

We need more suggestions though as we drown in our chores to 12 midnight a few days a week.

The other big mistake I am sure we are making is doing too much stuff together. I really hate this one. I like to do things together. But I think having two parents on deck at bathtime, for example, just isn't done, is it? We should be splitting up more to do dishes while the other does bedtime and stuff like that right?

When we got ready for #2 I was worried about stuff being 'too hard'. I always found some solace in the advice that my family was expanding. The addition should be seen as a plus not a minus. This advice has proved true in every area save household managment. God what I wouldn't give for an effective, and cheap, cleaning service. Where are you nutritious frozen foods? Whither be reliable babysitters and helpful relatives? I concede the two-hour houseclean days are over but cut me some slack on the personal hygine at least! I am happy as hell that 'skirt season' is over, such as it is. Have I washed my hair today this week?

Let this be a lesson to all of you how about two people.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Can-Am Games

My daughter is such an emerging North American. Instead of saying either couch or chesterfield she stubbornly insists on calling it the coucherfield. Cute, huh?

Now I am off to blogland to distribute some 100 or so comments I am running behind on. I'll be e'ing you.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Last month we took a vacation to smaller town BC. But this smaller town is not without its mega-stores. Whilst visiting mega-store, also known as Canadian Tire!, in an effort to replace the rapidly deflating air matress Miss Fancy was camping out on I think I might have intervened in a child abduction attempt. (Whoa, few things forgive such a run-on sentence as that sentiment, n'est ce pas?)

I was in the 'toy section' and could hear a conversation in the next aisle. A man and little girl.
Man: What? Who are you here with?
Girl: Sob sob..
Man: What were they wearing? What do they look like. Do they have a cell phone?
[This sounds all well and good. Child doesn't need my help, I think to myself.]
Man: Listen, do you want to go to the park with me and they will find us there.

WHAT???!>#>@??!!! Did I just hear that?.. I whip around the corner to view the two in their aisle.

Man sees me and now says... Listen I think we should go to the front of the store and they can find us there. He heads that way with her. I follow. En route the family intersects with the pair and tearful child is reunited with family party. Man quickly says 'there you go' and heads in another direction.

I walk away, pretty much. I wander a moment or two. Wonder what I should do. If I heard what I thought I heard this ain't a case of no harm no foul. I look for him. Where is he? What would I do if I found him anyway? The fierce mama-bear in me wants to find him and have a confrontation. The mouse in me thinks my-word-against his. I wonder should I have said something to the family. Will the little girl? Does the store need to know?

The moments slip away and my husband stops circling the van with our two sleeping kids. I am picked up.

I do nothing else. Feel pretty wretched about it still.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

With Purpose

So Mad put the call out for kitsch. Well I have plenty. The fish lamp, the Sampan lamp, the Juice King. I have long lost my Gaynor and Dorothy Maddox tell you How to Plan the Perfect Dinner Party; I suppose that was my peak.

So many choices still remain... Red and Rhinstone Buddha? AnCORN Watt? Nah... This is what I'll offer. I keep the following magazine ad framed in my bathroom. It sort of looks like us. And there is the power of the sentiment in the headline. Hahahahahahaha. Lately my favorite part is the segment that reads Don't Offend Needlessly.

Maybe we should change the tagline. Mo-Wo and P-man Offending with Purpose since 1995.

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