Monday, July 28, 2008

Morose the Pity

I look forward to working harder tonight on my announcement for flailing mothers of TWO very young children that somewhere around four years it levels out. It's true! the end is near exists.

Til then I have to say a word about the new phase more than the old phase. It is truly over for me. I have in this past week fully realized that I have no more bodily excuses for flabbiness or even fatigue. I was underslept today and that was 100% my fault. I have to open doors for myself. If I am extra hungry too bad.

Sniff. Independence lost. Is independence on hold. Is independence resented.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I remember when I named this blog. It was a joke on a self-address I used to make on behalf of my daughter. An script for shakey know-nothing moments where I could look into the dark eyes of my newborn and repeat the mantra.

"Yeah. Right. Whatever you want to tell yourself Mother-Woman."

That is what I thought she was thinking as I fussed over breastfeeding or acted like I could arrange a perfect learning environment or in those hours I chased ideal work-life arrangements. She is my child, her snarky humour was destined; I am glad she either had it or helped me create a theatre of it.

When I published that I was Mother-Woman it was important to me. I see now it was my public progress to an identity not of growth but of attachments. Till now I was always stepping up on goals, I was a very typical modern American in that way. Motherhood changed that. Now I am more or less a splat. A SPLAT. Everyday I am a messy tornado of identities, responsibilities, successes and failures not quite successes. I might liken my future, my self [sic] as splat. Splat or splodge -- sticky and stuck. A woman yes at the core, but a hyphenated woman. Fully formed into woman think of me a potato head, jam in this hole CAREER-mother! over here COMMUNITY-mother! the smile on my face MOTHER-woman! in the earhole mother-FRIEND! the weight of my ass parent-CONSUMER! The appendages are endless. Her Bad mother wrote recently about a grafting. Her appendages different from mine but perhaps not disparate.

My life has been pretty linear. I stand in awe of the sage nonlinear. I wonder if I ever could become more comfortably random, multifaceted and/or dynamic. Motherhood has made me try it on but maybe it didn't take? Me is a simpleton. I wuz a zygote once and then I grew. Gaining and growing out, on, up; dems the marching orders. Modernity. Linear.

As my work life has swollen in prominence there has been some return to the woman I was four years ago. Revisiting the straight and narrow, right in there -- the rat race. I wander the halls forward. I connect the dots, complete steps, fill in blanks. The halls are narrow and with each step a small piece seems to nap off of the mother-woman. I feel a bit naked. Damaged and, well, snappy. Mother-woman, a biplane down the sewer pipe.

What is it that could keep all the stuff glued on? What??? Is it creativity? Perseverance? The 7 habits of highly effective mothers? What?????

Tell me!!!!

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Party Pooped.

I come from party hearty stock.

On the paternal line my grandfather played the banjo in the town dance band -- his house floor boards offered the only hall in McTaggart Saskatchewan in those years at the end of the dirty thirties when my father was the age of my children today.

On the maternal line my Alberta born mother is from historically large Ukrainian clans both urban and rural. Her own family compact 4 gregarious girls and one stylin' boy. Behind her extends a long history of rowdy road trips and campouts. Upwardly mobile and thanks to a brief stint of 'international work' in the 60's plenty a fancy formal and sophisticates cocktail parties. In my own wonder years my mom fared well in the Elizabeth Baird, Canadian Living Magazine duke it out dinner party circuit. Read my chilled cucumber soup can kick your gazpacho's ass any day.

I come by it naturally. Even before I left home I was a party addict. My parents were always supportive and managed to enjoy my suburban house parties of considerable size; right down to the puke in their bed that time. I was the first of our group to get my own place and from there I was known as Your Hostliness. I regularly fed my friends all through my twenties with weekend dinners and Ukrainian Christmas Eve suppers. I could always count on the rave reviews of expert munchies critters ready to face anything from galantine of duck to the McTaggart Strawberry Shortcake recipe after long rattle-y ride down the side of a mountain or two in Nord Vancouver! There was those Boxing Day chilli buffets and the ever popular community suppers that distinguished those years in the Villa!! You know who you are.

I love to have people over; and to cook for them. I used to never tire of it but now I do TIIIREE my head aching to plan another detail.

My son turned two on Thursday and my father 70 yesterday. Read about 3 parties to fete it all adequately. The little family dinner, the grandpa Saturday night wingding of 40 and the little man pancake breakfast cum birthday party for 50.

My house is littered with rugrat entertainments. My feet hurt. I made so many cupcakes I don't know if this city might have enough mari-poochie left to fuel the need. But as I wrote one dear guest today. We love to party as much when its fuelled by pancakes and white sugar as we did in days of beers or brie.

Hey, I that sounds like a decent menu in the making....

Updated to add: Alpha Dogma you oversell us. We were really quite a lot like this:


Thursday, July 17, 2008

2.0, A Happy Birthday Post

It is two years since he arrived like this.
I did not plan a moment of him. I fulfill the stereotype of declining angst to his care. It has been said that my son is my heart and my patience. Each child has given me a precious insight and a personal betterment. This I never expected.

It has been said, for all I did to expel him that day in July now I wanna do as many things as I can to cling to him and keep him close. Here he is today, seven weeks two-years old. Ah, the pleasantness of what he left inside me for him, of what he puts there with each new day and the awe of all he is becoming here on the outside.



I thank God that I have loved you every moment as yourself. Never a moment were you the commodity BABY. I detest the commodity "baby" and how society offers so much to make us anxious about baby minding and so little about loving and caring for Julian, or Alec or D'Qwell or whatver their names are. I love this person so much.


I do cry now it's true. A few tears of love and pleasure, a moments greed for all I have had for these two years and then collapse in every chamber of my heart for wanting it to stretch on forever. I have no proportion. I would persist eternally if I could in our ketchup splashed luncheon. Please boy-o rework my knees with your new toy screwdriver. Tally-ho! that bright green stroller, you and I. Must the sun set at the gaudy play boat in the middle of the park?


July 17 2006 you were late.
So late.

Not quite an image of us.
Are you ours?

Busy and loving.
Handsome. robust.

Elsewhere I suppose I am a planner.
Here, you make me love surprises.

Here. Hear.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Babysitter 2.0 You Make me Nervous

So it's 2.0 week here at Chez Wo and oh what a Wo it is.

I never did secure a nanny share to cover my 3 day a week childcare gap. I have tried family coverage and a few teen babysitters. Last week our babysitter chose to use our laptop during her off time and didn't she leave a shocking two tabs open on our browser.

1. Some skanky youtube music video had me sneering at p-man's invasion of her privacy. But 2. I snapped to attention when the next tab -- her facebook account -- produced this commentary on my little boy to group members she was writing to from our computer.

Wow. I guess when my gut told me the nuthatch didn't really like her, I should have gone with that. He seems a pretty good judge of character.

And, let me say right now I thank my lucky stars for anonymous commenter from last week and their timely input "your kid's not going to throw sand when s/he's a teenager, it's just an age-specific behaviour, no matter what Grandma [or snarky babysitter] says"



But what do you think? I never confronted this little bag about the posting. It's not that I feel we invaded her privacy but rather that I would not want to deny another family the possibility of her repeating this dumb choice of not logging her account out if she's the sort to make a habit of posting bitchy callous comments. Do you think it was prying on our part? Tell me do you surf babysitters on facebook? I find most have set up private only profiles but I still try. And, I must confess to a certain access lust outcome of this totally 2.0 experience. Someday my daughter will have a private online space like that and a bit of bizzare time travel made me wish I could call our sitter's parents and make them look at the stuff I had on my computer for that while. I wanted to stay logged in and know what she said the next day or the next. Or maybe today when I fired her but that did seem a bit much to me.


On the upside we have now actually listened to some new music

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Another Little 2.0 Girl

A while back in the melee of childcare gaps I sent my girl to the outlaws. Now I would have sent her, usually, only for a half day but my MIL was sort of keen so what the hell.

Now when I picked her up she was screaming bloody murder. She'd emptied a bottle of perfume into her eye in between eating nothing and watching TV all afternoon. I remained calm. These things happen I said, cringing at the green eyeshadow on my dressed up little girl.

A week hence I saw what else she done on that day. "Oma helped me make a movie." Remember I helped the in-laws set up that new computer... well Oma has become a web 2.0 junkie. And now, at not quite four my daughter has made her first movie. She thinks its pretty cool and so do I. Cue the thunderbolts and tiny men in suits facing the Girl Friday's uber avatar. You have some competition Mad.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

52 reasons: Mommy/Daddy Learning Curve, Ring my bell!

So here's the major one. I have for the longest time been afraid I cannot be a SAHM because it would mean I am giving up too easy on me and the p-man. I remember when I went back to work after my leave to unbaby the Girl Friday and I was so relieved all the teachers went on strike. I had been on the job for about six weeks when I was locked out of work. Thank god, I thought we were collapsing. I was at a loss to understand how others were making families work with two jobs.

Well that strike cost me my job share and then I went from working 60% to 100% so lucky I got pregnant so quick, eh? Delay the problem...

Again it preys on me. Why does it seem so hard for us? Why don't I frame us as making it? I look at the family compact and I'm like... Too much junk food. Losing credibility in relation to child behaviours. Not enough freedom for the kids. Need more time for friends and family. We are too mad. The schedule is making the kids droids. But are we really not good enough?

Don't answer that.

It is a huge pressure for me. I feel that staying at home is some sort of refuge from parenting failure? A safety cushion that absorbs every behaviour error, every moment of mothering edginess, every embarrassing moment of our mommy/daddy learning curve. Well maybe we're not good parents but at least we're present, I'm thinking? You know getting points just for showing up?

This is about as wholly a load of hooey as it is an unshakable worry. We are barely deserving as their parents without the distraction of two jobs. I have said more than once I believe in a tussle over lunchbag duties. I don't want to have to quit my job because we can't do this.

I don't want to be shown up as a couple who is inept too traditional among our progressive super co-parenting bretheren. I want to believe that we are up to this sort of family life. The voice is there suggesting that I am not only functional as a quantity parent.

But who's voice is it?? And, do I even like them?


Monday, July 07, 2008

Used to Be

Used to be, we'd go to the Becker's Milk and play some type of video game to while away time and pocket money. I sucked at every game there was. Pac Man, Asteroids, whatever. No patience. All thumbs.

On Saturday I went to a friend's for some type of x-box gathering. In the last 20-odd years my touch has not improved.

We were playing a game called "Halo" or some variant thereof. For those of you who are (as I was recently) unaware of what this game involves please allow me to explain. This is a split-screen multi player game. Each character is heavily armed and goes around finding new weapons with which to kill my character which exists for two reasons. The first is to find new weapons which I cannot aim and fire and the second is to die frequently and horribly. I'm pretty sure they will have me back.

Outside of the tv set, things are good. As Mo has displayed, we have a new kitchen. I love that it's done. Done on budget, done on time. I like to cook in it too, with Mo, or with the kids around insofar as grating carrots can be considered cooking. The room is warm and light and one day we will have paid for it which will be nice provided we still have teeth to chew the food that we prepare in it, presuming of course there is food which we can purchase or grow if we aren't all underwater, or inundated with isotopes or free radicals, and bald and even our gums are too weak to dent food of which we haven't any on account of the isotope-enhanced weevils, or crickets, or triffids who have taken everything that matters away from us like food and even the Olson twins and reality television! So prepare canned goods now.

What I am saying is, our garden is doing well. Right now it is a vivid splash of green things which are growing impressively and the black dirt which is their medium. Like that Arquette girl. I like her. I also care so deeply about the environment, I bought 150' of soaker hose, so I can avoid evaporation, and the hose is made out of recycled Smurf figurines so the kids, as I can see, really enjoy the garden. So do the bees. And Gargamel.

We have many lavender plants, held over from the previous owners, which are presently a riot of purple, you could even call them lavender, blooms which are open for business. We are visited frequently by bees, many many bees, and they make a lot of noise. They are the reason our children cannot sleep during the summer. Cut down your plants, people, and pave, pave, pave!

Something else that likes to come to our kitchen: ants. Little black ants. One morning last week I came down with boyo and while I filled the kettle he cried: bugs! and there they were, in 4 separate lines, marching across the floor, hundreds, or at least tens, of them, marching through my kitchen and up the cabinets and around my dishwasher & c.

Permit me to pause here and state that I detest bugs. I know they are part of the wonderful and amazing circle of life which includes puffins, sea anemones, and Sandra Bullock but I want them all to die. I suspect this all goes back to a short story I was made to read in high school. There's a guy with a ranch somewhere in South America, and the ranch is being overrun by a powerful and fierce species of ants (like in this movie*, but without the manymanymany layers of unwholesome aerosol cheese) and all he has worked for is being consumed by these ants so off he runs and nothing will stop these ants, not even run-on sentences, until he reaches a river and then I think he does something with gasoline and a match and the end. So, I hate ants.

I looked up ants on the intertubes. Our visitors are likely little black pavement ants.** Thank goodness they are not fire ants, or the dreaded crazy yellow ants (thanks, Wikipedia). You cannot wipe out all of the ants, and only rarely can you destroy their colony, it says, but you can use borax and maybe wipe out a few cells... so don't bother, flesh creature, the ants are taking over! Nowhere in my research did I see "squishing" offered as a method of ant control. Nor "squishing ants with your thumb and leaving a mound of the dead near the door to your house through which you think the ants have entered as an unsubtle message to the ants who follow". If that was a game on on x-box I would kick ass.

Maybe I should find a hobby instead.


* The finest precis and movie review I will ever read.

** The amazing thing about these tiny black ants is they have a remarkably high moisture content.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

52 reasons: If I was a tree?..

I never really wanted any of the 52 reasons to be why I can't be a go-to-work-parent when I think it's that maybe I should be SAHM but here's the exception. Maybe some days I should be a stay-at-home Mom because I don't work as hard as I used to? I no longer work 10 extra hours every week. Instead I show up late. I don't spring to answer whiny customers. I get enough of that at home.

It is a charm in the end that I didn't change jobs after my leave because back in place I can still feel a bit like my former high performing self. As one compatriot put it... if I suck today at least I have a bank of credibility there. But I can't say I am really at ease with the 'permission to suck' thing.

I do love my work. I am currently reacquainting myself with my vocation and career; this is not just a job to me. I was utterly devoted to it. I believe it helped, helps, me remain utterly devoted to my family. It taught me the degree to which I could devote myself, my time, my identity to something that no other job had ever given.

But it isn't the same as it was those few years ago.

One thing you don't know is that when I started this blog I wanted to call it "Working Mother: like there's any other kind." Back in November 2005 I was in my exploding job share, 2 months **SURPRISE** pregnant, childcare arrangements falling apart; all the while asking asking... "How am I supposed to do this?" and "This is a mess. So I give up. Let me out. I abdicate." I am at odds with the paradigms of mothers with careers. I definitely have one, and while I was away for those 2 years I feared for the health of it still it did not pull me to hurry. Maybe its because I started working at 14 more than 20 years ago and never stopped that now I feel I can. Sure but also it is that I believe what Katherine Hepburn said about motherhood -- you can't do it all, no half measures she said. Me neither! chimes mo-wo (Don't I always want to be Katherine Hepburn? of course). Supermom is crap.

I apologize for every lateness and those in the know just scoff at me. Still, I want to be the one with a work around then in another moment I'm some post-post-Annie-Hall all Baby Boom and crap... my disregard for basic professional standards and etiquette SUCKS! I pine for the pace of production I used to offer and then I question who they might get to do better, anyway. Oh, I'm vain.

Last week I attended a retirement party for one of my superiors a quite gracious man who has worked for the Board for something in excess of 30 years. I enjoyed that lunch after a good morning, one where I had hit all the bases for a change. I looked around at my friends and thought about the work life of the man being honoured. I wondered if he ever sucked like me. I bet he did, ya know except he's a man -- but that's another post. Generally, I don't worry that I am denying my kids anything by working, they are supportive and at this point they are enjoying their very active lives in daycare and with their grandparents Monday to Friday. I think they don't do math the way we do. They have enjoyed having me home for two years great but this is good too. They don't see less they see different. What is different now is not about hours or minutes but rather about commitment. I am now otherwise occupied and that's really about it from their end. I have commitments at work that I must keep. I am doing my best to keep them and that's the big deal, but that's my big deal. I think it will get better.

Experiencing and expressing the commitment intrinsic with my job is about as hard as I thought it would be. But the example it shows my kids can't be all bad hey?

And if you tire of my 52 ponderences, I was very flattered to see the topics getting chewed over here by one smart chick!

**Further to the Hepburn thing... I'm not quite sure what species of tree I am but they way I vacilate you can bet it's deciduous.

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