Friday, March 30, 2007

Things You Don't Want Your Daycare Report to Say

So I get home from class last night, where we watched Ginger Snaps (note to self: don't eat dinner while watching gory horror movies), and I ask Mr Earth how the Boy was.

Him: "You should check out the report."

Me: "Why, is anything wrong? Is he okay?"

Him: "Just check out the report. I can't really explain it."

So, I checked out the report. Usual stuff about toileting and disposition, and this...


I had fun today because:
I played with poop and animals.


I don't know what's more distressing: the fact that he played with poop and nobody stopped him, or that there were animals in the daycare.

Hmmm.




Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Please Play Again

You have no idea how infuriating these three words are to me. Every day at work, I go down to the Timmies and buy myself a large hot chocolate. They never fill it to the top because they have hot chocolate that comes out of a machine, all they have to do is push button, but the large button doesn't fill the large cup. Fine. Most days I have to wait in a line so long that I'm wondering if anyone really works anymore, or they just show up as a pretense to go get coffee. Fine. I generally get coffee for one or more people and eventhough my hands are full, I'm expected to hold the door for someone else instead of the other way around. Chivalry is dead. Fine. But this RRRRRRRoll up the RRRRRRRim to Win thing is making me TENSE. Cause I don't. Win. Ever. Okay, fine, I've won a free coffee or two. But buying a beverage five out of seven days, you figure you might beat the odds somehow. Now I'm not asking for a million dollars here. I know I'm privileged. I want for nothing, really. I mean, I want a lot of things I don't have, but really - I want for nothing. Far better that the Large Jackpot goes to the person at the end of their rope who doesn't know how they are going to make ends meet this month. I am not that person. I am simply a person who buys a beverage every day of this stupid contest in the hopes that I might see those two lovely little words "Win/Gagnez". And it's not about the prize. Don't get me wrong, I would love a thousand dollars, or a plasma TV. But what I really want is recognition. I want some person - or in this case some cup - to say "you are doing a good job, Nomo, you deserve a prize". It would make my day. Truly. Is that so wrong?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Real Moms

The inimitable Mad Hatter tagged me, oh, ages ago to do this meme about Real Moms. I've been so swamped with course work that I haven't had a chance to write about it before now. It's supposed to be accompanied by photos, but I haven't had time for that either (or rather, I had a few moments, but the photos were crap) so that brings me to my first two points:

  1. Real moms don't have time to blog as much as they would like to.
  2. Real moms try to take funny pictures for bloggy memes, but look like crap in them and already have low enough view of their beauty that they certainly don't need to post ugly pictures to prove it to the world at large.
  3. Real moms have to get up at 5:30am to exercise because they can't find any other time in the day.
  4. Real moms constantly have dark circles under their eyes, regardless of whether they had a good night's sleep or not (and they did not - see #3).
  5. Real moms have painfully dry hands from overwashing - so much so that they are cracked and bleeding. (Nobody needs to see a picture of that, do they? O woe is me.)
  6. Real moms know the exact locations of all local coffee joints, how accessible they are for strollers, and whether or not they have a change table. Oh, and know exactly what they are going to order and how much it will cost, so that they can spend the minimum amount of time in line, yet always seem to end up behind someone who has to read the menu in its entirety before ordering.
  7. Real moms spend considerable time wondering where Max and Ruby's parents are, and why Little Bear's parents wear clothes, but Little Bear does not.
  8. Real moms are tired.

I'd like to hear from Metro Mama, Motherbumper, and Funny Bunny. If you've already been tagged, I apologize - I haven't been visiting as much as I'd like. Stupid essays. Stupider exams.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tapestry

HBM has had some lovely thinky posts about narcissism lately. To my mind, it's kind of ridiculous to deny narcissism. Everybody is narcissistic to some extent. We are all the star of our own reality show, and each and every person in our lives are either co-stars or supporting actors. And hell, I'm interested in the minutiae of your life, so why couldn't you be interested in mine? I think people are endlessly fascinating, and never tire of the different ways that different people deal with the same situation. That is precisely why reality tv is such a booming industry. Don't tell me you don't like reality tv, I won't believe you. I thought I didn't like it either. Now I sit glued to the tv when American Idol and Top Model is on. It's the vicarious thrill of superiority, when I can sit on my comfy couch, wear my "fat pants" and say things like "That's the wrong song for her" or "Her eyes are dead in that photo - she should act more". Let it be known that if I were in their exact same situation, I would make all the same mistakes, even armed with the info I have now. If you have a tv, chances are you're watching some version of a reality show. If you're not, it's simply because they haven't invented one that catches your fancy yet. Give it time. They will.

In fact, I would argue that in creating these "mommy blogs" (how did that get to have derogatory connotations, anyways?), we have, in fact created our own reality tv show: "The Mom-iverse". The difference, to me, is that instead of sitting back and criticizing the naive singers and vapid models, I sit back and learn a thing or two from people who are in the same situation as me. Instead of criticizing, I read and think things like "Wow, so that's what you're supposed to do!" or "Wow, I don't think think I know all the meanings of those words, much less think I could use them together in a sentence!". Is it narcissistic to think that someone out there is deriving the same pleasure from reading my blog, from reading the minutiae of my life, that I have in reading theirs? Maybe. If so, I say narcissism is Hot! (Thanks, Paris). Why must we belittle the minutiae? What has the minutiae ever done to you? That is how we live our lives - a series of random moments that create a rich tapestry of life. Of course the minutiae seem unimportant if you don't see it in context. Put together, the individual threads are beautiful to behold. The delicious feeling of watching these "minor" events unfold, in my life and in the lives of the blogs I read, gives me a sense of connectedness. And when I someday sit back and see the tapestry as a whole, I will see it as beautiful not simply because life is beautiful, but because I am invested in that life. I had a part in the creation, even that part was only the minor role of observer.

So, in the interest of keeping this Mommy Blog a proud "tapestry to feel and see; impossible to hold", let me share with you some trivial details of my life, which I maintain are anything but trivial - to me (but then, I am a narcissist)...

In the past week:

1) I took the Boy to 2-year-old birthday party celebrating the birthdays of all the children in my mom's group. It was at Gymboree, and though the Boy didn't participate in any of the group activities (I think he was overwhelmed), he did crawl through tunnels, walk a balance beam, climb over hills, and play basketball with an adult-sized ball. The Boy doesn't normally get this much "gross motor activity", prefering to play with his cars and Little People. He napped for 2.5 hours afterwards.

2) While the Boy and I were outside the house waiting for daddy to come home, a pre-baby runner friend of mine named George jogged by. He stopped to say hello, and we had a short conversation sprinkled with random non-sequiturial comments from the Boy, who didn't like that the conversation was not directed at him. To keep him from protesting too much, I would ask him sporadic questions like "Where's Daddy?" (Daddy's at work), "Where's the Boy's house?" (Over dere). After the last question, the Boy turned to George and asked him "Where George's house?". That's the first time I believe he has ever asked someone a question about a subject that didn't directly relate to him.

3) The Boy started taking my hand to go for walks. In fact, we walked two whole city blocks in this fashion - from Starbucks to the Library, and back again. Up till now, walking, for the Boy has meant "mummy carry you". My heart and my arms have never been so light.



So, if you're out there wondering "What good amid these, O me, O life?", take heart. I, for one, am listening.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Lucky Number Seven

Kgirl at The Kids are Alright tagged me with the following meme: to "list seven songs you are into right now. No matter what they are. They must be songs you are presently enjoying. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to".

This is a tough one for me, actually. I'm always listening to music, but rarely seem to have time to listen to albums anymore. Or maybe I'm just lazy and finding the right CD from our large collection is too much effort. I listen to JackFM and Live365 (usually 80's or 60's music) at work. At home, I listen to our downloaded music on "Random Play" - Mr. Earth is all about the random play feature and I just go with it. I can tell you the songs that turn my crank lately when they come up in the scramble:

1. Love is a Battlefield (Pat Benatar)
Something about the "prostitute with the heart of gold" story always gets me. And a girl who shimmies her defiance of her pimp, and can pull off wearing a feather in her hair gets props in my book.

2. Right By Your Side (Eurhythmics)
The Boy and I dance to this constantly. Well, I dance, and the Boy endures my spastic gyrations. Good times.

3. Band of Gold (Freda Payne)
This. Song. Rocks. Man, I wish I had a voice like this chick.

4. I Don't Like Mondays (The Boomtown Rats)
Do I need to explain why this song speaks to me? Granted, the kid's reaction to Mondays was a bit extreme..

5. Come Sail Away (Styx)
Yeah, man. I like a song by Styx. You gotta problem with that? ...Anyways... the beginning of this song is crazy beautiful. The rest? Comme-ci, comme-├ža.

6. Carey (Joni Mitchell)
Love Joni Mitchell. Love. Hands down, this is her coolest song. I often find myself humming it eventhough I still don't know all the words.

7. Anytime (William Finn)
A few weeks ago, Mr Earth took me to see a show called Elegies, by his favourite musical theatre composer. About three quarters of the way through the show, there was a song sung by a mother who had died of cancer. She was singing to her young child who would grow up without her. It broke my heart. It made me want take singing lessons again, simply so that I could somehow attempt to make others feel the way that I felt when I saw this song performed. Most people won't know this composer or this song, so I'm going to post the words now. It may give you an idea of what it's like, but it will not replace what it was like to see it performed live:

Anytime you laugh
Anytime you cry
Anytime you hear a sound
When you're on the grass
Lying on the ground
Anytime you wash your hands
I'll be around
I'm out there on the baseball field
Though I'm well concealed
I'll be out there cheering
I'm out there in the books you read
It is guaranteed
I'm not disappearing fast
Anytime, no not anytime
And I am there each morning
I am there each fall
I am present without warning
And I'm watching it all
Yes I'm watching it all
I am there in music
I am there in sky
I don't know why this thing did happen
But this much is clear
Anytime or anywhere
I am there
Anytime you pray
Anytime you fight
Anytime you gained a pound
Anytime its day
Anytime it's night
Anytime the earth moves
I'll be around
I'm out there in the maple trees
In a summer breeze
On a perfect evening
I'm out there when you celebrate
When the world seems great
I'll be waiting by your side
Anytime, yes anytime
And I am there each morning
I am there each fall
I am present without warning
And I'm watching it all
Yes I'm watching it all
I am there in flowers
I am there in snow
I don't know why this thing happened
But this much is clear
Anytime you cry
Anytime you sing
For anything
And I am there each morning
I am there each fall
I don't know why this thing happened
But this much is clear
Be aware
I am there
I am there
I am there
I am there
I am there
I am there
I am there

For the second part of the meme, I'm supposed to name seven sisters to continue it. Unfortunately, I'm so late to the game, that I think everyone has already done it. If not, please appropriate this meme for yourself and let me know - I'll post your names below. If I reach seven people, I will truly consider myself lucky.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Good Morning Sunshine!

Don't know how your day started, but here's a brief glimpse into mine...

Nomo: I'm hungry. Do you want cereal for breakfast?
Boy: Don't wanna cereal. WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!
Nomo: Ok ok, how about some toast?
Boy: (Pause) Sniff. Yeah.
Nomo: Ok, toast. Let's put your Mr. Froggy bib on.
Boy: Don't wanna froggie bib. WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!
Nomo: You have to wear the bib.
Boy: WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!
Nomo: Do you want butter on your toast?
Boy: No! WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!
Nomo: Alrighty then. Why don't we put butter on it just the way you like?
Boy: WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!
Nomo: Here's your toast.
Boy: No wanna toast. WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!
Nomo: Ok, I'll just sit here and eat cereal then, because that's what I want to eat.

Do you notice a pattern in this conversation? I thought so. To which pattern were you referring: the incessant crying, or my mounting frustration? Enter the Terrible Two. I've done all the reading, I know that toddlers have difficulty communicating and this results in tantrums. I know that you should keep them safe and let them have their cry. I know that you should offer choices so that they feel more in control. Sage advice. But what do you do when the tantrums make you consistently late for work? What do you do when you offer a choice, the Boy chooses neither, so you choose and he loses it? How does this very wise advice play out in real live situations? Or, what, for the love of God, am I doing wrong??

I'm afraid that this conversations paints a poor picture of the Boy. He really is the funniest, quirkiest, most congenial little boy I know. (I'm not biased, of course..). Unless, however, you do something he does not like, or ask him to do something he doesn't want to do. Or offer him a food that displeases him. Then he goes from zero to scream in .5 seconds. And all hell breaks loose.

I know, I know - I should be grateful that I have such an easy-going child the majority of the time. Believe me, I am. I get down on my knees every day and thank whatever gods are listening that such a high-strung person, like myself, should have such a good-natured child, like the Boy. But I would argue that it is precisely this easy nature which makes me wholly unprepared for when Mr. Hyde makes his appearance. I fluster. I flounder. I flop. I lose my cool. And I was not cool to begin with.

It doesn't help that we're both a bit under the weather. (That's not the reason for the breakdown of communication, but it's a factor.) It doesn't help that I've, characteristically, bitten off more than I can chew with this whole school thing and I'm freaking out about the work that must be done in the next three weeks. (This is totally not his fault, it's mine. I try not to let it affect my relations with the Boy, but I can't seem to separate it. Poor Boy.) It most certainly doesn't help that I feel like I'm hanging by a thread.

Ack.



Sunday, March 11, 2007

Wild and Crazy Girl Out on the Town

So. Very. Thirsty. On Friday night I met up with a few of my fellow mommy bloggers for drinks at a pub. I was kind of nervous all day, like I was going on a blind date or something - only I wasn't worried whether or not I would be getting lucky at night's end. (I didn't, in case you're wondering - Mr Earth was asleep). Despite the two days of near dehydration, I'm so glad I went. It was very cool to finally meet the pretty faces behind the words. I had such a good time, in fact, that I have been unable to write about it coherently for two days. I'd like to blame it on copious amounts of alcohol, but I only had two Smirnoffs so sadly, I think it's just the mere fact that I'm old. It was quite the night for me...I drank alcohol (in public, not in my basement in front of the Teevee)! I was outside the house after 8pm (lockdown at Casa Earth)! I didn't go to bed till early the next morning (not passed out at 9:30pm)! I met a fabulous bunch of ladies who I hope to see again! AND...we ended the night with chocolate. Good times. (If you're wondering who the crazy lady riding the subway at midnight with three chocolate bars in her greedy mitts was, that, my friends, was me).

Last night we went to see MacIvor's House at Buddies in Bad Times. I'm doing a paper on it for one of my courses, so technically it counts as homework. Elated by eating dinner at a restaurant sans kid and apparently learning nothing from my hungover dehydrated state, Mr Earth and I polished off a bottle of wine before the show. Nothing like doing homework while drunk. (I'm not an alcoholic, shut up!). This is what happens when I'm given some freedom - my weekend turns into drunken debauchery. Anyways the show - if you live in the area and want to see a great show, I highly recommend it. And it's only an hour and fifteen minutes with no intermission, so those of you (like me) who can rarely stay out late anymore without falling asleep will be home early. Part of Buddies' Creator/Performer series, it will be MacIvor's last time performing the show as he is closing his company da da kamera to move on to other projects. It's billed as a "sit-down, stand-up, one-man comedy nightmare", and I dare you not to laugh. It runs till April.

Hey - how did this post turn into a plug for Buddies? All in all, I had a fun crazy weekend. Rarely do I do anything more exciting than ordering an extra shot in my latte. I need to sleep now, thank you. Gotta get ready for the next time! I hope...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Let it slide

It's funny how you just let things slide when you become a mother. Eating proper meals. Keeping the house clean. Exercising regularly. It took me a long time - longer than it really should have based on those "new-mom tips" I was gobbling up like candy when I was pregnant - to realize that this is okay. Carrying a few extra pounds, carpets that look like a crumb-minefield, and ordering takeout for the third time in a week are small prices to pay for quality time with your family. What's been plaguing me lately is this - when is it not okay? When have I let things slide too far?

When I found out I was pregnant, I was in a production of Five Women Wearing the Same Dress. I should have known that I was pregnant because my skin broke out and I was tired all the time, but I was in hell week of the show, and those symptoms could be explained away. Stupid stage makeup. Stupid all-day rehearsals. So I used lots of foundation and drank boatloads of Awake tea. It took bursting out of an ugly prom dress costume that was made for me and getting drunk on two small glasses of wine on opening night for me to realize it. (I'm slow.) Since then, I haven't done a show. At first, it was because the next set of shows would go up in October when I would be visibly pregnant. I didn't think anyone would cast me, and I was worried that I would be too tired even if I was cast. Then the Boy was born and I was too tired. Then I didn't know how to do rehearsals when I was breastfeeding and the Boy wouldn't take the bottle. Then I was back at work and I was too tired. Then I thought I could handle a show, but how could I go to rehearsal at night and on weekends when I barely saw the Boy enough as it was? Then I thought it would be okay to do a show if it was really important to me or my development as an actor. When I weighed the shows out there, very few made the cut. Of the few that did, I didn't get the part. Stupid directors. So, all told, I haven't done a show since I was in my first few weeks of pregnancy. The Boy just turned two. That's a long time.

It would be okay to let it slide, if it wasn't something that was so important to me. But it is. It's part of who I am. Or who I was. I don't know who I am sometimes. And I'm torn between trying to be the best mom I can be, and doing things that make me happy. So far the mom side has been the clear winner. But, as Bub and Pie so eloquently put it, I am entitled to do things that make me happy, not just because it will make me a better mom, but because I am a person and am entitled to the Pursuit of Happyness. (Did anyone see that movie? Whole lot of Pursuit, not very much Happyness..).

So on Tuesday, I had an appointment to get my headshots done. Let me tell you, I have been quaking in my boots ever since I made that appointment. This guy has shot people like Rex Harrington (drool) and that Ginger Snaps girl (what's her name again?). I'm no 20-something with perky boobs and a rock hard ass. What do I wear? I have no clothes that fit. How do I look? Well, my skin is wretchedly dry and I haven't gotten rid of the muffin-top. I still have the thunder thighs, but they're bigger now. Boobs are non-existent. How am I going to pull this off? It got off to a rocky start:

Photographer: So, do you do theatre or film and tv?
Nomo thinking frantically: Nothing. Nothing! Nothing, I do nothing. What should I say here? I got nothing.
Nomo speaking out loud: Um, mostly theatre.

Photographer: Who are you with?
Nomo thinking frantically: Who am I with? What could that possibly mean?? Mr Earth? The Boy? Is he seeing dead people?? OH! Now I get it.
Nomo speaking out loud: I don't have an agent right now, but I'm hoping your pictures will get me one...

Yes, I advise telling the truth in all situations. It's just that sometimes, when I'm caught off-guard, my mind does not always follow the path of truth and light. And sometimes the lies are easier than the long explanation required to tell the truth. (You know you should have just lied when you see their eyes start to glaze over while you're talking). I don't care if I have an agent, I just want to act again sometime. I don't want to be the person I was before becoming a mom - I've changed in a thousand infinitesimal ways and I'm so much better than I was before. But I don't want to lose the things that made old Nomo a good, interesting person too. I don't know whether I'll actually let myself do shows, or I'll end up feeling too guilty again. I hope I don't. It's important to me. But I feel like I should be one of those moms who put everything on hold while their kids are growing up, so I don't miss the golden moments. It would kill me to miss those moments. Is it really all or nothing??

Friday, March 02, 2007

Mom Olympics: Winter '07

Competitor: Nomotherearth
Category: Working Mom, Daycare Division

1st Event: HOUSE PENTATHLON

Description: The goal of this event is to get out of the house on time. During snowstorms, competitors are required to leave the house earlier than usual. Components include Tantrum Throw, Cereal Wrestling, Home-length Running, Snowsuit Jump and Compulsory Singing. Extra points awarded for components that are avoided entirely.

Commentator: "Teams really show their mettle in this one - if one half of the team is not pulling their weight, you're sunk. Nomo's made a poor show at practice lately, but we're hoping she's going to pull through today. Competitors are allowed to wake up as early as they need to based on the weather conditions. Admirably, Nomo managed to get up at 6am, despite a last-minute consultation with Boy at 4:30am. It seems that the Boy was having second thoughts about competing today, but Nomo managed to convince him of the importance of the Olympics and he decided to go back to sleep until the event began. The Tantrum Throw portion was dicey for Nomo - the clothes the Boy wanted to wear were in the wash. It seemed like the tantrum was going to be averted when Nomo managed to find a pair of jeans in a pile of clothes that don't fit properly. However, the Boy's mercurial personality showed through when there was no Elmo diaper available. Still, Nomo managed to make up time in the Cereal Wrestling - at the two-minute warning mark, she got the cereal bowl out of the Boy's hands. He made one last grasp for a handful of cereal which he stuffed into his mouth in a desperate hurry. Next came the Home-length Running. The Boy got off to a good start. He made it from the kitchen to the front of the house in under 2.6 seconds and almost made it out the front door, but was headed off by Nomo who wanted to move on to the Snowsuit Jump. In a stroke of brilliance, she combined the Compulsory Singing and the Snowsuit Jump into one impressive maneuver. The judges seemed to love her rendition of "Here Comes Peter Cottontail", and so did the Boy. It distracted him from his dislike of mittens, and they managed to get out the door a full 10 minutes earlier than usual. Well done!"

Scores
Technical: 8.0
Artistic: 6.2
Overall: 7.2


2nd Event: CROSS COUNTRY STROLLER

Description: Competitors must make it to daycare with only a stroller for transportation. Time is the key factor, as competitors cannot be late for work, doctor's appointments or snack time. During the event, competitors must exhibit a minimum of 2, maximum 5, special skills. Acceptable skills vary depending on the weather and evaluation of said skills are subject to the discretion of the judges.

Commentator: "Here's where we see Nomo in her element. She cut her teeth on Hamilton snowfalls, and is by no means a babe in the woods when it comes to winter survival. She's the clear favourite here. She left the house in fine form, and nimbly displayed her ability to adapt to weather conditions by crossing the street where there was no crosswalk in order to avoid SnowHill Lifting. It seemed to be smooth sailing until all of a sudden the judges threw in a Freestyle Fallen Tree. WOW! We haven't seen that since Winter '05!! We thought that this would stop her in her tracks, but after a moment's hesitation, she went straight into Puddle Jumping. Puddle jumping is a risky undertaking in cross country stroller, mainly because it requires the co-operation of random strangers. Luckily for Nomo, there was a good samaritan at hand. It was a case of Team Lifting, Classical Style. The Puddle Jump left Nomo on the road with no return access to the sidewalk. In a stroke of genius - and, dare we say it, recklessness - she pulled a Downroad Sprint to the nearest puddle and jumped again. What a move! Nomo is really out to win this one. Having demonstrated 4 special skills in one event, we think that she just may do that yet."

Scores
Technical: 9.4
Artistic: 6.0
Overall: 7.7

JUDGES FINAL EVALUATION: 7.5

While Nomo shows great promise, we feel that she has yet to come into her own. Technically, the components are all there and she shows some real grit. Artistically, however, we need to see more. She shows more impatience with the Boy than we feel is acceptable. Yelling at houses who's residents had failed to shovel their walkways is in outright violation of our rules. Also, though she made it to her doctor's appointment on time, the doctor was running extremely late due to weather and she had to re-schedule the appointment and hustle to the subway. Which made her late for work.