Friday, April 27, 2007

Not all Urban Babies wear black.

Top ten reasons the Boy is an "urban baby" eventhough he rarely wears black:

10. He is a burgeoning food critic. He won't eat chicken and peas, but he will eat sauteed scallops and steamed asparagus.

9. He loves the workings of daily city life. He gets really excited about garbage day. Really, really excited.

8. He is familiar with the delicate art of negotiating. When I say we have to get dressed and go, he says "No. Two minutes".

7. He's fashion forward. He owns more designer clothing than I do.

6. He's been immersed in culture. In fact, he's been to the ROM more times in his two years of life, than I have since I moved to Toronto 15 years ago.

5. He's already networking. He says "Hi!" to random people and offers them snippets of small talk to get the conversation going, like "I ate a cracker!"

4. He's a useful shopping companion. He can direct you to the bank machine, the LCBO and all coffee shops in the Village.

3. He's already working on the bohemian lifestyle. He frequently "goes to rehearsal", carrying his gourmet food bag from Rustico.

2. He knows all the catch phrases of urban life. He rarely says "Thank you", but he constantly suggests that we go for a "coffee and a muffin".

1. He already knows his Starbucks order. When we get to the cashier, he shouts "Grande! Grande! Grande!"

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

That wasn't ketchup on his shirt..

I knew I shouldn't have gone to work today from the moment I got up. I was more tired than I should be considering that it's been almost a week since I finished exams. I wasn't feeling sick, exactly, but I was experiencing a general malaise. I seem to have contracted the Boy's goopy eye syndrome, too.

My day started at 6am by going outside in my pyjamas and picking up the trash can that our aggressive neighbourhood raccoons had knocked over. In the middle of my shower, I was seized with the fear that I had thrown out the government tax return check, so I showered quickly and went on a frantic dripping search through the piles of mail on our dining room table. I hadn't thrown it out, of course. I never throw out money. When I woke the Boy, he asked to go back to bed. I should have listened. I wanted to go back to bed too.

I spent a long, frustrating trip on the subway because someone had pulled the personal assistance alarm. I finally got to work and had no sooner sat down then I got a call from Mr Earth. The Boy fell at daycare and had cut his head rather badly. A mother who was a doctor saw it and thought it would need stitches. They wanted me to meet him at the hospital emergency room. They tried calling me, but when they couldn't reach me (I was stuck on the subway), they called Mr Earth. Mr Earth is out of town on business.

We spent a long time waiting to see a pediatrician, eventhough there didn't seem to be anyone there. The Boy was being very good and cooperative, but his bandage fell off at one point. The cut had been described to me as "deep, but small". It actually extended almost the length of his eyebrow, and when I saw it my stomach lurched. I'm not queasy at all with cuts and scrapes, but there's something innately wrong about seeing perfect two-year-old flesh sliced open. I knew the first real accident that requires medical attention could happen any day, but it's quite another thing entirely to be sitting and looking at it. I was shocked that the Boy was so calm. My poor brave, bandaged baby. The only time he cried at the hospital was when the doctor glued the cut together. Glue for flesh is weird. Better than stitches, though, all told. Not sure I could watch my baby's flesh being sewn together. Although, I'm sure I will someday.. .knock on wood. At least today eased me into it a bit.

The Boy was fantastic throughout - a real trouper. Other than not taking a nap. At all. The whole day. My tired old bones weren't happy.

Anyone know of a good way to get blood stains out of shirt?

Monday, April 23, 2007

The (elusive) Red Shoes

**Update below!

Mr Earth offered to buy the shoes for me! I went shopping Friday night, expecting to come home with my shiny new shoes. Apparently, they don't make pretty shoes for someone with my elephantine feet. When I told the saleslady that I wanted a size 9, she said:

"Oh. We only order one or two pairs in that size, and they usually sell out right away."

Well, thanks. What does that tell you lady? Do you think that it might be a good idea to order more shoes for these, according-to-her-non-existent, large women with unfeminine feet? I tried other shoe stores and other shoes, but nothing fit right, or were quite sexy - or red - enough to suit me. You just cannot buy black shoes when what you really want is red. You cannot settle for pretty and practical, when what you want is sexy and frivolous.

Is this just one more part of the Great Fashion Conspiracy?? Don't know if you've encountered it, but I sure have. It's part of why I don't like shopping for clothes for myself:

1. Girls with small breasts always want to wear heavily padded bras. (Didn't you know that?)
2. Girls with large hips must necessarily also have large waists. (I can't leave the house without a belt or risk unsightly exposure..)
3. Girls who are large on the bottom must also be large on the top (this is especially embarrassing in swimsuit season)

...and just when I thought I found my safe haven with shoes:

4. Girls with large, wide feet should stick to clunky, formless shoes. Sexy high heels are for people with delicate feetsies.

Grr. And Grr again! Undaunted, I will continue my search. I am nothing if not tenacious. The saleslady threw down the gauntlet, and by god I am going to smack her in face with it! (Wow, that sounds very confrontational, and very unlike me. See what good shoe can do for a girl? I've never had a shoe fetish before, but if anything will make me have one, this will..)

**Well I did find a size 9 in another store - yahoo! Take that you killjoy-sniffy-salesdemon-who-made-me-feel-like-a-large-footed-freak!! The size 9's fit just fine, although I must admit that I am really (really!) bad at deciding what is going to be a wearable fancy shoe. They all feel somewhat abnormal. Usually I wear flat mary-janes, running shoes or sandals. But I'm dying to try something new and be sexy for a change. I'm sure Mr Earth appreciates the effort. Quite frankly, even if these shoes didn't fit - and I think they do - I would probably buy them and make them fit anyway, à la Ugly Stepsister. I'm just obstinate that way...

I can't believe I own a pair of stylish, high-heeled shoes that didn't come from Payless! Very exciting.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Balm in Gilead

There seems to be so much evil, hatred in the world these days that I am simply left speechless. I'm fairly certain that this is not a new thing, but I guess I'm finally old enough now to look outside my own small little universe and see what's really going on. But I don't. Not really. When faced with the horror of something like Virginia Tech, I shut down. I put my head in the sand and hide. I don't think about it, because to think about it is to feel it, and to feel it is unthinkable. Add to that months of hard work, long hours of study, and pushing myself till I'm too tired to form comprehensible thoughts and punctuate it with a disappointing performance on an exam that should have been easier than it was. Add to that a toddler who has taken the crazy pill and decided that screaming "No Mummy!", pushing and kicking, and emptying out every cupboard/drawer/desk available are the funniest things in the world...and I'm done.

When things get bad, I start to obsess about something completely unrelated. Mr Earth calls it "glomming on to something", but it's really keeping my sanity in by finding something - anything - that makes me happy. Here is my new obsession:

I saw these while on my lunch break the other day, and my heart started racing. They're sexy. They're red. They have 3.5 inch heels! I feel excited just thinking about buying them. But would you? First off, they're just over $100. Secondly, I don't wear heels all that often. Okay, I don't wear heels at all, really. I only wear them when we go out somewhere fancy, and we really don't go fancy places all that much anymore. I could wear them to work, I guess, but I doubt I would. I'm one of those people on What Not to Wear that think wearing Skechers to work is acceptable. (I do, and I have.) They seem rather excessive and impractical - two things I am not.

So can I justify buying heels simply to assuage my broken spirit? And that's how I feel. Broken. Tired. I've been driving the car for what seems like forever, and I want someone else to take the wheel for a bit. I want to sit in the passenger seat and soak up the sun. I want to be driven somewhere where it's sunny and warm all the time, not just days that I'm stuck indoors working. And my, those red shoes would look really nice lounging around on the end of my feet as we drive off into the sunset.

Wouldn't they?

Monday, April 16, 2007


If you were going crazy, would you know it?

The thing is, I've been thinking about fear a lot lately. I could claim that it's a result of studying Gothic Horror fiction for the past few months, but I really don't think that's it. You see, a while back - I don't know how long, but it's less than a year, I witnessed something horrifying. Mr Earth, the Boy and I were taking the subway downtown, although I can't recall why. I was on the pay phone getting information about a book I had on hold, and Mr Earth was off to the side entertaining the Boy in his stroller. I was facing the escalator that we would be going down as soon as I got off the phone. I watched as a frail little old lady stepped onto the escalator. I watched as the lady went head first down the escalator. I listened to the descending cry of "ahhhhh!" as she fell to the bottom. If it had been a cartoon, I would have laughed, but it wasn't. It was real. It was surreal. I didn't know what to do and I froze. I sent Mr Earth down the stairs to see if she was okay, while I stayed with the Boy. I would have called an ambulance, but the TTC workers had already done it. Turns out that she got up and actually walked to a bench to wait for the ambulance. I was shocked because I was sure that result would have been different. It's been a long time since this happened, and I can still hear the sound of her scream.

Now, I see accidents everywhere. I'm afraid to walk down the stairs with the Boy in my arms because I think I'm going to fall. I'm afraid to drive with the Boy in the car, in case I get into an accident. I'm afraid to let the Boy anywhere near stairs, or ramps, or especially uneven ground. My heart clenches whenever we have to take the stroller on the subway. If the Boy is standing on the couch, I want him to get down so he won't fall and hit the coffee table. If he jumps on the bed, I think he's going to land on the floor. I could go on, but why? It's awful.

I don't stop him from doing anything. I still carry him down the stairs. We've driven on the highway to see my parents. We go places on the subway all the time. I do let him run and jump and climb. But there I am in the background: hovering, warning, cringing. I get so tense that I give myself headaches and my heart races. I don't want to be that kind of over-protective mum - the one that never lets their kids do anything fun. It's funny too, because I'm incredibly lenient about things that other moms are horrified at. The Boy has eaten whole grapes since he started on solids (I tried cutting them up, but he would have none of it). He has eaten food that has fallen on the floor. He spent the majority of his first year sleeping in strollers or mini-matinée theatres. We don't stay home every time I think he has a cold.

I guess what I'm most worried about is the possibility that this fear has nothing do with what happened on the subway that day. If it was, it would go away in time. I worry that the fear was always in me, and that day at the subway was just the catalyst. What I don't want is to raise a Boy who afraid. He doesn't deserve that.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Big Questions

I'm starting to think that I have nothing interesting to say anymore. Maybe you are too. If so, check out my new blog at Mommy Blogs Toronto: Mama Drama. I'm trying to be more "thinky" there. But this here is my own personal little space. And it is said that art doesn't happen in a vaccuum. It is reflective of what the artist is going through in his/her life, and what is happening in the world. (Not that I consider my writing "art" in any way, shape or form...) For instance, light-hearted movies and musicals flourished in the 30's when there was a Depression. In the 50's when things sifted back to status quo, we saw the rise of the B-movie horror films. So, these days, I'm saving all my "Big Thinks" for the essays and exams I'm writing. That means you all get the stuff that's left over. Lucky you! And when the lovely K-girl had some questions for me, how could I say no?

1. You have just been nominated as the shoo-in candidate for Supreme Benevolent Goddess of the Universe. Who will be your running mate?
Well, this is obviously some kind of alternate universe, because I'm not a candidate for Benevolent anything. I am nice (sporadically), kind (usually), helpful (almost always). "Benevolent"? Not so much. I really want to be, though. I'm just far too selfish. And tired. So very tired. So I obviously need a running mate who's going to do all the work. And since this is not reality, I can choose anyone I want - even Dead People. So I pick Princess Di. She had a lot of money and power, and used it for good, instead of her own ends. And she didn't seem afraid to get "down and dirty" with the commoners. That's my kind of chick. I could stand to be more like her.

2. Your son seems to enjoy climbing on bookshelves. What is he trying to reach?
I assume you're talking about the photo in the corner? That's actually quite out of character for the Boy. He has shown little inclination to climb on anything. I desperately want him to figure out stairs, so that I don't have to haul him up them anymore. He is very fond of the phrase "Carry You?". In this picture, he's actually pointing at a picture of me and Mr Earth at the cottage that my parents sold last year.

3. What do you do these days to relax? How about before you had a kid?
Relax? What is this thing RE..LAX?? With a full-time job, kid, school and volunteering, it's pretty much non-existent. My best times lately involve pizza, a glass of red wine and America's Next Top Model. Or Veronica Mars, BSG, House, Gilmore Girls, or American Idol. Are you sensing a theme here? Yes, I've devolved to an empty-headed TV watcher. Before Baby, I loved going out to dinner at fancy restaurants, seeing plays, and watching movies in the actual theatre (!). The only relaxant that has remained constant is running (although that's more of a de-stressor than a relaxant). Oh, and the red wine. Don't forget about the red wine...please?

4. High School – evil, institutionalized joke and a time best spent smokin' BTs in the parking lot, or super-awesomest best time of your life and wow, I wish I could still fit into my pink prom dress?
Neither, actually. I did really well in high school academically, I got good marks without really trying, so I liked that part. But I was also a bit of a nerd. (No. YOU, Nomo? A nerd?? Pshaw.) After one uncomfortable year of drifting aimlessly, I hooked up with the theatre crowd and didn't really look back. After that, I was too busy to smoke drugs, or worry about what I would wear to the prom. Which, by the way, was a fifties inspired dress with a black bustier, over-sized black belt with rhinstone buckle, and a white crinoline skirt with black polka dots. I was HOT.

5. What is the one skill that you wish you possessed?
Will you ever pursue the attainment of it?
Without a doubt, I would LOVE to be a competitive ballroom dancer. Have you seen those kids move? It's crazy sexy when it's done well. Strictly Ballroom is perhaps my favourite movie ever, and I can't tell you how many times I've watched it. I would kill to play the role of Fran, the nerd who gets transformed into a dynamite dancer. As to actually becoming a ballroom dancer? Sigh. Probably not. I would have to dance with Mr Earth and we collide on the dance floor. He complains that I lead (I do), and I complain that he can't lift me (he can't). I'm too heavy, and he's weak. Also, I have no body flight. But a girl can dream, can't she?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Eggstravaganza

I should be studying for exams right now but it's sooooo boring, so instead I will share with you some photos from our Easter Eggstravaganza Weekend. Ooo posting photos during study time is so naughty...! I'm a wild and crazy gal, I tell ya. All in all it was a great weekend. We had about a gazillion temper tantrums mainly due to over-excitement, but also because I wouldn't let him eat ALL his chocolate in one sitting. We got far too much chocolate. Why the in-laws think that a two-year-old should have a chocolate bunny that is almost half his height is beyond me. All that happens is that Mr Earth and I (meaning mostly me) end up eating it for him. And I wonder why I keep gaining weight...hmm.

But really, this post is all about the gratuitous photos of the Boy, so here goes:

Elmo loves Easter because the Easter Bunny hides chocolate eggs in his crotch. No wonder he keeps laughing like a maniac.

Hands-down the best part of Easter was hiding the eggs in plain sight, giving explicit directions to the Boy to "go look on the chair", and this is the result. Good times.

The reward for mummy making me work so hard. How sweet it is.

Hope everyone had as great a weekend as we did!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Vampires have sucked my brain dry...

Nothing like spending a weekend writing a paper on how Gothic horror fiction uses vampires as a metaphor to really make you brain dead. Umm, or "Undead", as the case may be. Add to that a paper on whether or not Daniel MacIvor's House is a masterwork, and a presentation yesterday that is worth as much percentage as the paper, and I'm done. Finished. I'm afraid there are no more thoughts in my head. I wrote down all the thoughts in my head and it only came to about 17 pages. That's pretty sad, if you ask me. (And please don't ask me anything, I am not capable of coherent thought).

What all this schoolin' has brought me to is the pathetic conclusion that I am not capable of original thoughts. My papers are cited and quoted within an inch of their lives, and I'm sure if I spent more time researching, I would only find out that the lone "original thought" I did have were, in fact, published in some book somewhere. I'm starting to think that mothers of young children are not cut out to go back to school. However, there are people out there who do it, so maybe I'm just lazy? All I know is I want to sleep for about a week, but I can't because I still have two exams to write. O woe is me! To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub. (Shakespeare, Hamlet - mixed lines).

In fact, I find myself "rehearsing" many of my conversations lately, either before or after the conversation has actually happened. I'm so worried that my thoughts are going to come out all jumbled, that I have to practice what I'm going to say before I say it. Is that something that has happened to me because I am a mother, or because it's "part of the mystery that is me" (MacIvor, House)? I wonder.

I just bought the Boy a pair of rainboots at lunch, and it's snowing outside. Good timing. Hope they fit, he has rather wide feet, and apparently, children who wear rainboots are all "delicate snowflakes" (Beck, who have very narrow feet.