Thursday, May 29, 2008

52 reasons: Patience

Wow. With my sudden return to work I am way behind with my 52 reasons I cannot be a stay-at-home-parent which are all bunk.

Here is one I have really been bursting to post. I do hear it a lot from other moms and wonder if blogger parents share this one in their arsensal of "rationalist parentings" [sic], hahahahahahahahahahaha. Here goes...

I can't be a stay-at-home-parent because... I am not patient enough.

Do you do that one? I mean I have done that one to death. It is actually pretty much full of it and here's why.

1. I am patient enough.
2. Being patient all the time is not good for children.
3. Pay-as-you-go caregivers are not always patient. I have found I am relatively actually more patient. If you count up the minutes/hours for sure. Yay me!
4. Free caregivers (often known as grandparents) are not patient either they are sort of... well... oblivious, or something.

What is it we are saying when we say we are not patient enough? Is there someone patient enough to hang with a 2 year old and a 4 year old 24/7? Who are these angels of bottomlessnessed giving outlook? What would real children have been like for centuries before if they had access this manner of child-rearing-droid? In the hierarchy of virtues where does patience lie? What am I saying????

Yesterday, was my first day of work and I'll go again tomorrow. It is short to start. I negotiated a part-time graduated entry program; just four hours a day this week. I do love my job, it is a good one. I don't really feel at odds with my "52 reasons I might be a good stay-at-home-parent" while I'm working. The work needs to be done. I am doing it right now, someone needs to. After 23 months out of the workforce it feels nice to fill that need again. I will watch closely how my family feels about it, and these reasons will inevitably help me work through the watching.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Recommended Title: Mungo and the Picture Book Pirates

Mungo and the picture book pirates / Timothy Knapman.

Puffin, 2006, c2005.
Books and reading -- Fiction
Imagination -- Fiction

0141380608; 9780140569742 (pbk.)

Wow. What a long time it has been since I have posted a simple recommended title. But I do love doing it.

I was quite surprised to have trouble finding this book in the library when a good friend suggested it for us. When I purchased it I guess I could see why the public library might not have it. It is not a very sophisticated book. But we have really come to love it, both our boy and our girl. This is a great gender cross-over pirate book. And it is where our daughter learned the phrase 'jump right into a book'. For that reason alone I think more libraries should get this book.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008


I know there are bloggers who write the most excellent stories; some who compose nifty essays. I love to visit them, often. I never really do that here. Our philosophies differ as much as our talents. I report. I am a standard journal monkey. And what I love about this form is that it is so permissible. It admits regardless of quality, with no necessities of quantities, either.

This is convenient for me, one who very often tells only half a story. Who's to mind, it is only my blog. I am allowed it out without explanation, without completeness.

Half story for the day...

I almost left her there.
My daughter.
Using the terms loosely.

A long day of fun at the fair for May Day. A predictable end coming with some edginess and then the spark. Late for nap. Tired and hungry, keyed up. My son wanted to play with the seat belt she grabbed it. Siblings fought.

Tho' I had two adults, it was my show. I have never cracked the drill sargenting that others might. When the going gets tough and you need to:
Change clothes
Wash up with no washroom
Pack van
Say bye bye
Have drink
Find loveys
Get home

Do it all in the minus 45 minutes I just do it. My husband even asks too many questions and 'doesn't get it'. My septagenerian parents stand by. In awe of my anxious prattling narration of the actions for departure. My Dad might put a stroller away. My mother, plays on.

When they fought on the back deck I snatched my daughter out of it and moved her to her seat. And she yelled, "Don't". But the fighting had to be stopped. Her grandmother ran to her, consoling. Announcing that she was "tired of seeing the child bullied". And, then I yelled, "Don't, please go."

I am a bad mother on any day. But today? And, as always, from my mother.

I am agast but I really could have left her there, my daughter. Myself entirely wrapped up in the narrative that she is in fact best off a character from a Shirley Temple movie, sans maman, without family. An individual. Special. Cherished grandchild, instead. Not mine, hers.

I am her daughter. Surely I can see my mother's value(s). To disparage her is to, in some manner, deny myself any esteem.

But she can be such an amazing witch. Steeped in powers I will never understand. Whirling spells that stop me dead. Looking in horror at my own child ready to hand her over. Mom, tell me how it is. It is I am sure so simple.

I have tried, on and off, for these 3+ years to 'do it her way.' But I never do. It is actually quite impossible. I am their mother, not her. It is a psychic tussle. I will feel this pain whenever we share their time. Her burgeoning critiques, the scoffs, her playing favorites and the rapture and worship my kids give freely.

Moths to the flame.

My daughter is my mother's first grandchild and my son her last. I tell myself she is learning to be a grandparent as much as I am learning to be a parent... but today. Today I really was ready to just give her my keys and walk into a forest somewhere where the bad mothers go to drink shooters and read blogs all day.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Blog on Blog Action

Sure I like to get plenty negative on Vancouver at times. But after a 30+ degree holiday weekend begging a trip to the most beautiful beach in the world, I guess this town is OK.

I love the tag Dooce gave us once, Vangroovy. Vancouverites take note she who's aura can block out the gleam of Kathie-Lee's porcelain veneers is here in town with an invite to share a beer this Friday.

The nuthatch is on his way.

Our Girl Friday seems pretty much nonplussed. I think she's still thinking of all the great chicks at a different seaside that day. Really glad to see the sun shone on the Blog'Ers, too.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Childcare Vancouver

Last month I said something about childcare and my dear AlphaDogma was all WHAT?? The assumption she had had was that there would be a good range of childcare choices in this fine metropolitan locale; for a number of reasons there are not.

1. Social Credit
For many many many years BC had a legion of the white plastic belt types managing our provincial affairs. It is my belief that while the 70's and early 80's brought actual public or at least group daycare to communities of women in Saskatchewan, the Maritimes, Ontario (obviously) and even Alberta not so British Columbia. Public money was expended to break ground for nice bridges and fancy highways, world expotitions, and BRIC shares.

No ground was broken for things like daycares and the ground that could have been gained there has now been permanently lost. Building childcare services from scratch are, like my business of libraries, EXPENSIVE. Too expensive really for the post-social-safety-net economies of North America. I have a range of micro-daycares run out of family homes that I can call, make that about 75 outstanding phone calls on my to do list. These centres can be great but they inevitably have downsides (challenging children at home belonging to the caregiver, short hours, fickle landlords, poor facilities, long vacation closures and even complete service cancellations). I will use one of these for my two year old, probably part time. To be honest I found them a bit unsuitable for kids over the age of 3. They just become a pay-as-you-go clique with a jeopardy of waaay-hay-hay too much TV.

2. Not a family City and Mo-Wo the Ad Hoc Urban Geographer
Vancouver is expensive to live in. I love being a city dweller. I liken my neighbourhood more closely to the rural-come-newburb small village feel of the town I was raised in back then -- even more than said town is nowadays. It seems odd to me but daycare is much cheaper and more plentiful in the burbs.

I live in on Sesame Street, South Vancouver. It has, in my scientific studies, a high density of SAHMs. It seems a bunch of us bought in here for the same reasons. It was one of the last realistically priced places to buy in Vancouver if you wanted a family home at the turn of the century. There are families with kids under 7 about every 3 doors on the 3 blocks surrounding me. This has created a vibrant and happy parenting environment and it has fostered more courage, may I say, to stay home longer and/or part-time through the pre-school years. I get a different story from my friends in Richmond, Coquitlam and Kerrisdale.

3. Nanny come lately
I could hire a nanny I guess. I am not a nanny fan and truth be told it is June... There will be no pre-school after next month and my 3 year old might commit hari kari if stuck home for the summer staring at her brother and an in-home care provider. Also, nannies in Vancouver are too plentiful for me to deal with. Every Jane, Agnes and Melodica his just migrated here from Manilla, Bogata, Nelson, Chetwynd and Provost thinking hey I CAN LOOK AFTER CHILDREN! It is a needle in a haystack to find good people.

I am interviewing and think I might do a nanny share with another family 3 days a week. But how long will I hire the person for? People I know with nannies often invest a lot into hiring a nanny they keep for only 12 months. What is the point of this?? All that search time, training and then getting accustomed just to do it all over again, and over again and over again.

There was a time when I told people I would go back to work when I had good childcare. I have in my 4 year parenting career had about 7 childcare scenarios. For the most part no scenario has lasted more than 7 months. I would clearly label one of those as a 'good childcare scenario'. Based on the conditions and my own experience I might never work. I don't think I have ridiculously high standards I just prefer my kids are not bribed with candy, barraged with gender sterotypes/division or are left with TV's for hours on end while I am at work.

Though my husband might be surprised to hear this I do think it is a form of discrimination. I like working but I like my children to be safe, secure and developing normally more. I have one friend with good childcare and I think if I could have beat the odds as she has of finding daycare I would be a different mother. She has her kids in a quality, managed, group settings that are continuing. These are centres care for kids for the periods of age 1 to 3 and then 3 to 5, adding preschool content to the latter program. I have 1 friend with quality care like this. Remember I am Mother-Woman!!! I know hundreds of mothers in Vancouver and getting spaces like these are a long shot. (Getting them in a single centre, by the way, is nearly impossible, my buddy still faces dual drop-offs cross town). If I had to make my work decisions solely based on my desire to go to work and not on a blend of work and available childcare services. I would be a different mother.

And just saying that I could be different as a mother at all seems a bit strange to me.

In the end I might be getting somewhere. There has been some luck on my part but nothing that will be simple. I am currently entertaining putting my Girl Friday in a full-time play-based daycare, one she was in before. I'll register my son in a family daycare twice a week and then book on for a nanny share with another two year old three days a week. Maybe I'll find a ft daycare for him by Fall? I will try and hang it all together for at least a year. We'll see.

This set up offers the kids a good bit of social time and development while I work. That is very important to me. I found when I was working before that I want the off work hours to be family time and the work hours I have to be work hours for them, too. It also gives us a bit of flexibility, for my after hours teaching and errands help and so forth by using a nanny part of the time. Both of the daycares by the way are within a block of my home so that gives us both time and the sense of community that I think is important for little people as their independence in the world grows incrementally.

So what do you think? Is this a crazy blended solution? As you know I can tend to over-think things. I have not been happy that I need to go to work now. I want to find a soft-shoe solution, one that the kids think is fun and not one that puts the emphasis on fancy parental goals for development and programming. I have done that before and have not been pleased with the results. I know they are only 3 and 1 so their opinion might not be the most elaborate but as you know those are not always the most accurate opinions in matter like these anyway.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

This is Only a Test

I want to piss off catbert but it really won't. It will only hurt the customers and myself in a way. I have worked this week to negotiate a graduated return to work. In a month I will be working full-time at a job I left almost 2 years ago. We'll see if I can really do it after not giving it a thought for that long. Hmmmm....

I am in agony over this. I want to apply for flippin' stress leave. I have just spent a huge hunk of our monies to retain a nanny who made a cad look cuddly. I pretty much begged my daughter to trust this person. Then packed it up -- switched identities again from professional-workerama Mama to sage and hale in the hearty of the homey mommie. For about negative 13 hours I had some clarity of vision. I had a place and now..... what am I doing?

I hate to put my family through this again. All the hours dropped from actual life to find a source of childcare that may or may not exist. All the identity creep I go through to get back to a place I admittedly enjoy but can't entire believe in at the moment. But it isn't really them. It is me. My tears. The strain on them is hard to quantify. The strain on me? That's easy to describe; it is omniscient. Inescapable.

It is hardly worth it. Emphasis on the hardly.

My cousin Wendy always said I can do anything for a year. I will try this two children, two career household thing. But let me go on record, I'm dubious.

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Lose your head hat, perhaps hurry

I got a call today... from HR.
Will you take the job?
Will you come to work tomorrow? Full-time.
No you can't bring your kids.

A painful foil to.... I got the card yesterday.

Love from my three year old. [Insert intense mother blubbering.]

Facts are:
- We could use a bit of dough.
- I always thought I would be going back; so it seems best to either a.) return or b.) return and wrap things up. Fading away seems not best.
- We really have no childcare and the options in Vancouver are crazzie last minute hire nanny or crap a horseshoe or two on some waitlist somewhere. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
- I will never get another job again. I mean I can't even remember the HTML for bulleted list!

I will call back tomorrow and tell them 'I'll take it'. It will be a test and a passage. So be it. We will find a way, or not, as need be. But tonight all I can think is I waited for MY job for 5 months and now it is all hurry up, you! Anybody ever asked for a six week window on starting a position? I want to give them that much of the finger.

I'll leave it at that tonight. That and more mother blubbering.

to be continued

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Resolutions

I am not one for New Year's Resolutions but here on the eve of Mother's Day I am thinking about my resolve.

Remember what I said last week about reckless parenting? It seems a prescient concept. I am facing a lot of challenges internally and externally and the ballast of it all is the reputed resilience of my children. That life will test it in coming months is sure. Current discussions on and about blogs seem to focus attention on a societal concept of how the actions/feelings/behavior of a mother might endanger a family ... might endanger a child. Deep pains rumble from the constructions of it's antithesis -- mythic unassailable mothering.


I will make it my resolution for this coming year to banish such thoughts from my mind. To refuse to conduct my family life as if my kids are not entitled to existential space on this planet (thanks j. -- you should get a blog). I will parent more recklessly in 08-09. And beyond?

In an in-real-life mom-on-mom chat recently I pontificated further on how conditions change in the family. How the need to find an answer is so ridiculous when problems are most often transient. In the light of this knowledge parenting can become, I estimate, about fifty-two-thousand times more enjoyable. So renewal and chance is blithe. A year from now it will be something new and I will give that its due. For now I just want to protect less and see more.

What's your mother's day resolution?

And, now my son's favorite song.

He actually likes it more because the sight of flight 726 means Dad will be home soon and not because he has any understanding of 21st century helicopter parents.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Checking In

Helloooo, interweb! I have missed you. And you? Indifferent?

It has been... ages since my last post. Not that I didn't try, I just have sweet fuck-all to type about. Seriously. Mo suggested I refer to the argument I attempted to start earlier today but I indicated I am far too retiring a personality to air my psychic laundry on the web. Really.

In any event the post would really be just a title. Something like "Working the Same Argument Since 1990", or "Still Crazed: The Return of the Shithouse Rat." The inside of my head is no place to be after dark which is to say whenever my eyes are closed. I haven't blinked voluntarily this decade!

So, I am still looking for a topic. Um, I have been to paradise, but I've never been to meme? How about a movie review? Books? House plants? TV? Plot synopses for the first season of Angel? "Fuck me!" he types, no longer able to avoid the third person, "this is a crisis!"

Ok, so I have started to ride my bike to work.* It has been a long, very long, time since I was a dedicated bike rider and I have the physique to back up that statement. I am a bowlegged pear.

This decision was made, in part, as my reaction to fuel prices, global warming, the imminent collapse of the global economy, sea lice, and more importantly, my impending birthday. I will be 40. While this birthday is no different than any other, apparently I will be "middle aged" when I am 40. I will start to "slow down" and my girlish figure will "soften." I may start to look at hairplugs, or taking the medicine designed for chemo patients to stimulate hair growth, to prop up my pathetic sense of worth. Maybe I will buy a car with "turbo" in the title. By "buy" of course I mean "lease." Maybe I will look for a nice stewardess on Craigslist. More tattoos? Can a Harley be close behind? I can ride it to Starbucks and join the Latte Angels. Yeah! Where was I?

Oh yes, on my bike, slowly heading east on 45th Avenue towards Central Park and wondering if I would make it to New West on time. I was contemplating the exquisite (which means: very noticeable, as opposed to: it hurt so bad I made wood) pain in my saddle area caused by my sudden and unexpected return to exercise via bicycle. I was feeling good about my decision, enjoying the spring air, the cycle route, the new ride, the numbness in my cock. The numbness... I can't feel my cock! (Obviously, I can. I have hands. There were too many witnesses, is all.) Ahhhh, spring.

Bring on the stewardesses. With turbo.



* Translation: I purchased a bicycle and rode it to work on MOnday. I will do so again tomorrow and possibly THREE MORE TIMES before retirement. Proof that I love the earth.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Design Tuesday

We bought our house in November 2006. We took possession Feb 15 and started working on it right away. Since we are grown ups with children now we hired these people called professionals so we got a lot more done than back in our hardcore DIY days.

Bascially in one year we have redone everything except the laundry and rec rooms. I am pretty damn happy with all my design work and general contracting skills. We got a lot out of our $$$ and I found a really wicked team of renovators to help us. Case in point my custom cabinetry in two bathrooms and the kitchen.

We are almost done. Just a few more tile challenges. I really love buying tile. My daughter has lots of tiles to play with from all our shopping trips. (It is surprising I never did put tile on the kitchen floor by the way, wood won out. Easier on the feet and pretty low maintenance.)

Just a little late night layout time tonight.

Note the casserole from the in-laws and an open container of HaagenDaz. A renovation this massive is not enough to spoil me. I need free food and chocolate!

I love this tile, it is 100% recycled glass that we made a special trip to get it from Seattle. It rocks!

... One four inch, two x two's or a two by four? That box is the tile puzzle box my Dad made for his granddaughter to play with her tile collection in. The work the kids did Sunday really gave us the best layout we could come up with.

After this it is off to the new WC that was inspired by our Paris '04 trip. I am simply unable to decide among all these beauties. Is it just me or do these put the Beaux back into Beaux-Arts? Ok they are Art Nouveau, but hey I do design off any book learnin' or nothin'. You tell me is this pretty?

I am just getting to the home styling phase and I promise I will post a bunch of pictures then. Posts that will include a number of my recommended products for any brave new renovators out there. And, I think you know who you are.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

It Takes Two Babe

Assvice on having two children is called for in celebration of this month's bloggerly baby shower! Well you don't have to ask me twice. I posted on this last October when the news broke. Here's my spot on you-will-expire-without-my-input input from back then...

Don't look to me to sugar coat. Having more than one child is hard work but not really as mind shatteringly hard as learning to have a child at all. You have been through that and fared well. Soldier on.

So what is the hard part? Simply put it is that you have now made the choice to entangle two souls. You will make two people risk their feelings on each other, and they are each your children.
... (click for unabridged.)

If you click do follow some of those links in there they hold a lot of great comments from smart women. Including the lifesaving remarks of the incomparable Mary P. on this post. I basically got credit for her education of me on Kittenpie's blog tonight and in the spirit of rigorous citation I had to say something.

The second best bit of advice I got was don't leave the baby with the big kid. They can kill them. This is a good point and something I hadn't noticed in any of the standard baby reference works so I thought I'd pass that on. Around here we are so far so good on that score.

Very best wishes to you all from the Wo family at this time of inordinate change and adventure.

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