Monday, May 26, 2008

The Silence of the Babes

So I'm sitting in Starbucks this morning (where else?), with two kids. The morning has not gone so well.

The Little Guy woke up at 5am and would not go back to sleep. The Boy got up at 6am and would not go back to sleep. How on earth did I manage to pop two early risers out of my lady parts? It makes no sense. I hate mornings. I am most decidedly NOT a morning person. I may get up early of necessity, but I am not happy about it.

The Boy's 9;30am soccer class was off/on/off/on due to rain, necessitating FOUR calls from the coach, right during the Little Guy's much-needed albeit truncated morning nap. We were late to the class because I kept assuming it was off, and I forgot a burp cloth. The Little Guy spits up a lot. Not that it's possible to feed him in public, of course, because EVERYTHING is more interesting than eating eventhough he will be a total bear if he doesn't.

After much convincing that seventeen thousand "water breaks" were not necessary to playing soccer (we LOVE our water at Casa Earth), the Boy kicked the ball around, changed into his "after soccer" clothes and we were off for coffee. Finally.

Inside Starbucks, we quickly got our coffee and juice. Snacks, I brought with me. The Boy sat down with his apple juice and his cup full of raisins. He wasn't particularly happy - he seemed tired - but he was sitting and eating quite nicely. Not even his usual loud and boisterously happy self.

The Little Guy was another story. He was a bit tired, and just wanted to suck on his soother. Unfortunately, at just shy of seven months, he still has trouble keeping it in his mouth. I just bought some new MAM soothers online, because his is outgrowing his NUK Starlight ones, and I can't find the next size up anywhere. The were recommended quite highly, but I didn't realize that they don't come with a little pull handle. That's how I attach the Bink Link to the soother so that it doesn't get lost. Anyways, I was trying to find a way to attach the Bink Link to the new soother, and gave him an extra soother to suck on while I tried to figure it out. Of course, the spare kept falling out of his mouth. Everytime it fell, he screamed like a banshee. Everytime I popped it back in, he was a quiet, happy camper. And then it fell out again. And then I heard it.


The lady in the table shushed him. I didn't look up. I was trying to work out a solution to the Bink Link problem. I assumed she was trying to help by calming him down. I popped the soother back in. A couple seconds later, it fell out again and he screamed. And I heard it again.


I thought that I was lucky to have someone trying to help me out when I'm not having the best of days. The soother fell out again and he screamed.


And then she got up and moved tables.. It wasn't until then that I realized that she was not trying to help at all, she was just trying to get him to shut up. And then I got pissed off. Not only is that NOT at all helpful, it's just not nice.

Now, we hadn't been there long, and with two kids in tow, we certainly weren't going to stay long. Especially as both of them were about an hour away from nap time. The Little Guy would have been happy if he had been able to keep the soother in his mouth. He was only screaming because it kept falling out. And he has a sizable pair of lungs. But he's a baby, and he's learning. But I promised the Boy a treat in Starbucks, so there we were for at least a few minutes.

You know, I'm just doing the best I can to get through the day, and to keep everybody I'm responsible for relatively happy. I'm not one of those parents that let their kids run roughshod all over public places. I do believe, though, that as a parent I have a place in the public arena. I don't have to hide away at home, or stay in parks, or move out to suburbia. I firmly believe that the only way to teach children good behaviour in public places is to take them out to public places. We don't stay long. We leave if things get out of hand. We allow noise as long as it is happy noise and is not ridiculously loud.

But I do have a place in public. And I won't let anyone take that away from me because it's a little inconvenient or somewhat noisy at times. If we want our children to be respectful of the public, we must extend that respect - along with some lenience - to them.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Amateur, but not Amateur-ish

I've been acting for twenty years now. (Twenty. Gah! It galls me to admit that. I feel ancient.) Whenever someone asks me what I've done, though, I get all shy-like. You see, about 95% of my acting experience has been in community theatre. Local theatre. Amateur theatre. Non-professional theatre. Call it what you will, people tend to back off like you've dropped a stinkbomb in their lap.

Community theatre used to be about a bunch of local yokels getting together and putting on a play. They may or may not have had any theatrical experience. They may have had a lot of heart, but very little skill, and almost no production values. Well, times have changed, my friends. Sure there are clunkers out there, I readily admit that. I've seen some really bad shows. I may have even been in one or two of them. There's a whole other side to community theatre, though, of which many people are not aware.

Continue reading at Playdate and see rare photo of Mr Earth in flagrante...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Petite Truth

Thanks to some connections, I am lucky enough to have just finished reading an advance copy of Petite Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson. Have you read her blog? I actually haven't, and it was a curious thing to read a book about a blogger's life without actually having ever read the blog itself. When I first started reading it, I wasn't at all convinced that I was going to like it. Frankly, the style seemed a bit magazine-like or Harlequin-romance-ish. Neither of which is bad at all, but it's just not my thing. Then I got caught up in the story. Wow, it was fascinating! Kind of like watching an imminent train wreck - you just can't seem to tear your eyes away. I read it faster than any book I have read in a long time. It also raised some questions for me, as a blogger, that I haven't stopped thinking about yet.

You'll forgive my memory, I hope, and my complete unwillingness to look up actual quotes (the baby is napping and time is precious), but Catherine said two statements to me that seemed somewhat contradictory. One being that her initial calling card when she started her blog was that of unflinching honesty. A little bit later, she said something along the lines of the fact that you can't depend on the full honesty of any blog. (If anyone else is reading this and knows the quote of which I speak, please let me know - it's driving me nuts and I don't want to have to read the whole book over again...although I would..)

Anyways, I was sort of taken aback by that comment. I understand that there are some blogs out there that have more of a storytelling bent than others, but for the most part, I accept what people put out there as "the truth". Or, at least, the truth as they see it. That IS the truth, as far as I'm concerned, because blogs are generally first person accounts, and we know that we are seeing the story through the authors eyes.

Catherine described her blog persona as much more upbeat than she actually is in real life. I found this really interesting, because it is so very different from my experience with blogging. For my part, I write what I'm thinking or feeling. If what I've written have seemed morose or negative, it's because that is how I'm seeing the world at that moment. If it seems happy, it's because I am. If it's boring, well, a sometimes my life can be boring and monotonous. I find it incredibly difficult to write something that is not in the moment. It can be done, of course, but I find it takes a lot longer to write, and I usually end up scrapping the post altogether because it sounds fake and stilted.

However, perhaps her ability to create a different online persona is the reason that she has thousands of readers? It's also probably the reason that she is a writer, and I'm just a person who writes. But I like the fact that on my blog, I can be exactly who I am. I don't have to be a mom, wife, or actor. I don't have to be any sort of 'character' at all. I can just kick off my shoes, loosen my pants and relax. The truth ain't always real pretty, but it's always pretty real.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The sleeping situation at night - or rather, the NOT sleeping situation at night - is getting a little ridiculous in our house. We have gone from a baby some impressively long stretches, to one who can barely make it four hours.

I'm practically positive that he is not waking up to eat. The Little Guy is not so little. He could live for weeks in the wild off the fat on his thigh (hmm, must get that from me..). Not only that, but I can usually soothe him back to sleep in about 10 minutes or so. But then, of course, I'M up. And it takes far longer than 10 minutes for ME to get back to sleep.

I generally feed him cereal around 6pm or so, and then breastfeed somewhere between 7:30 and 8pm, after I've finally convinced the Boy to stay in his bed. The Little Guy is waking up at around 11:30pm. I don't think that he's all that hungry, but since I'm often awake, I will feed him in the hopes that he will sleep "through the night". Ha.

On a "good" night, he then won't wake up until about 4:30am. I get up and soothe him back to sleep. I fall asleep shortly after 5am, and then he wakes up at about 5:30am. I take him into bed with us, eventhough I'd prefer not to because it means that I can't sleep. He might then not wake up till 6 or 6:30am. I finally get up to feed him, although frankly, he doesn't seem all that hungry. He eats, of course. He would eat each time he awoke, if I let him. My getting up at 6am usually wakes up the Boy, and then we are all awake. Fun. Have I mentioned that I'm not a morning person?

On a "bad" night, he wakes up at 2:30am, 4:30am, 5:30am and 6:30am. Sometimes I almost wish that he would wake up at 2:30am, because occasionally he will sleep until 5:30am and I have a chance to get back to sleep after getting up with him. If he goes through until 4:30am, then I'm awake for the day from that point on.

I'm afraid to go to sleep too early because it really messes with your sleep patterns to go to sleep for the night, only to wake up an hour later. I also treasure the child-free time at night. I look forward to it all day. It's also really stressful to live your life on tenterhooks, waiting for him to wake up. I could better deal with his erratic nap patterns in the day if I knew that he would at least sleep at night. So to recap, the general pattern is to get to bed somewhere around 12:30am, and up for the day around 4:30am.

It's getting to the point where I'm willing to try just about anything, even the dreaded "cry it out". I have mixed feelings about it. The Boy was a great sleeper. He went through his wakeful periods of course, but we did a miniature version of the cry-it-out with him and it worked. We only did this because we noticed that any time we tried to pick him up, it only made him cry worse than before. So instead, we let him cry and after about ten minutes, he stopped on his own. If he ever cried more than 10 minutes, we would go in and get him.

The Little Guy, though, gets himself worked up to a frenzy. He rarely falls asleep in the stroller or carseat. I've spent many an hour long car ride in the past few weeks listening to him scream louder and longer until I thought he might choke. Somehow, I don't think this bodes well for the cry-it-out approach. I'm at my wit's end, though. Anyone had any luck with it? Anybody really against it? I've overheard women swear up and down that it's the only thing that worked, but maybe their baby's temperament is just fundamentally different than the Little Guy's.

I just know I need to sleep. I don't like myself very much when I'm tired and cranky. I'm not pleasant to be around. And I can't get away from myself. Every time I turn around, there I am.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Hardest Post I've Ever Had to Write...

Ohhh, I watch WAY too much of The Bachelor. I feel like I'm doing a rose ceremony: "The is the hardest decision I've ever made..."

I've been tagged with a meme. Normally, I love getting tagged for memes (I do! It makes me feel popular! Love me!! Please?). HOWEVER. This meme is different. It seems that the lovely Mothergoosemouse was included on a List. A list of the Top 5 Most Bangable Blog Babes for the month of May. I am simultaneously relieved and offended that I am not on any of his monthly lists. (Not one month. I looked through them all...I kid. Sort of.) She decided to create a meme about it, and challenged the rockin' hawt Motherbumper to share with us the time whe she felt she was at her most bangable. Bonus points for photos. And then she tagged me.

Here's the problem: I don't think you could choose an adjective which describes me less than "bangable". Okay? Most definitely. Pretty? Sometimes. Beautiful? Once in a blue moon, maybe, if the stars align just so, and I have a team of stylists at the ready. A more accurate description of me would be "Two-Face". Do you remember that Seinfeld episode where everyone thought that he was dating two different girls because sometimes she looked really nice and sometimes she looked frightening? Two-face. That's me. It's also why I almost never allow myself to be photographed because just when I think I'm having a good-looking day, someone snaps a photo and BAM! I'm Spike Lee's cousin (Ug Lee). I prefer to think of myself as one of those elusive beauties. You might think I'm quite pretty if you look at me out of the corner of your eye. Just don't look at me too closely or you shall be turned to stone. Sort of like this:

I worked hard to perfect this look. I call it Medusa Chic.

It's been a bit tough in the acting department. When you're young, everyone expects you to be the pretty little ingenue. I'm not hideous, but there's always someone prettier. I'm Skipper in a world full of Barbies. It used to bother me, but not so much anymore. Being the empty-headed love interest was never my thang anyways. I much prefer the character roles. And I think - hope! - that now that I'm maturing (ahem), I'm going to come into my own soon. Take that Barbies!

So anyways, this is a roundabout way to say that I had to consult the experts (i.e. Mr Earth) as to when I was at my most "bangable". He readily answered that it was around the time that we got married. I don't know if I should be offended that he doesn't think I'm bangable now. (What you don't like a haggard mom with bags under her eyes, smells of milk puke, wears elastic-waisted pants, and who regularly forgets to brush her teeth until about 3pm when she suddenly says "oh crap, why is my mouth so fuzzy??" What's with that Mr Earth??). But he's probably right.

May 2002. I was fit, pretty much at my ideal weight. I regularly got a good night's sleep. I had money to burn, and usually spent it buying clothes that the affianced would find sexy. I used to buy negligées even! I was running and doing shows, and with the soon-to-be Mr Earth by my side I knew that I had won the Life Lottery. He's a good guy. The best. If you're going to pick a time when I was at my most attractive so far, that's probably it:

Photo credit to Laura Bombier.

If it was up to me, I probably would have picked last March, when I got my new headshots done. I had lost almost all of the baby-weight from the Boy, and was feeling pretty good about that. I felt I had gone through all the rigours of the first-time mom thing, and instead of killing me, it made me stronger. I was really worried that the photos would turn out horribly, because I'm just not all that photogenic, but I had some really nice ones to choose from. Unbeknownst to me, I was also 3 days pregnant with the Little Guy, which makes this photo all the more special to me. It's also the ONLY preggo photo of me that I actually like to look at:

Photo credit to David Leyes.

Please note that neither of these photographs are what I actually look like in REAL LIFE. These photos represent what my idyllic life would be like IF I had a retenue of professionals including a hairdresser, a make-up artist and a photographer. If you want to see what I look like in REAL LIFE, please see the Medusa photo above. I reiterate, I rarely let someone take my picture. It's unfortunate that my kids will think that I abandoned them in their youth, but oh well. They can hug my headshot!

But who shall I tag with this meme???? Hmmmm. How's about the smokin' Kgirl and the divine Blithe Babbler? Are you chickies up for the challenge, or are you going to chicken out like I did???

Thursday, May 08, 2008

What's a Playdate without some Kicking and Screaming?

Do you have a gifted child? Do you think s/he is going to be the next Bill Gates or David Beckham?? Do you think that the only way for your child to realize his potential is to put his nose to the grindstone and work, work, work??? Don't fret! I have the Magic Solution for you.

OK, I don't. But I AM discussing an interesting book about the pressure some parents put on their kids to be the Next Great Whatever over at Playdate. Drop by and add your two cents about alarming trend of hot-housing children. Come on over, you know you wanna...

And because I can't resist, some wise words from the Great Debbie Allen:

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Two Timing

A few lovely bloggers are about to have an addition to their families: their second child.


Nah, it's not that bad - really!


Ah, that's much better. You see, I'm right in it. We had our second baby six months ago on this very date. We are right in it. (My favourite acting teacher would use the expression "in the shit", but contrary to what you might believe, being "in the shit" is a good thing.) I think that when people give first time moms advice, they tend to gloss over all the really crappy stuff because they don't want to scare them. You, my fine friends, have been there. You know that some of the stuff that goes along with being the mom of a newborn is pretty sucky. Personally, I would have preferred the truthy truth the first time around - I would have felt better prepared. However, it's nice to keep the veil of innocence going for as long as you can, too.

As to the question posed - Is the second child easier? - the answer is...drumroll please....


Absolutely. In an oh-my-sweet-lord-why-on-earth-did-I-think-this-was-so-hard-the-first-time and-what-the-hell-did-I-do-with-all-my-time-and-why-could-I-never-seem-to-get-anything-done kind of way. It really gives you perspective. I will admit that I was kind of dreading doing the whole baby thing over again because we had such a hard time the first time around. Every single thing was a struggle. Nothing came naturally. I enjoyed him so much more when he got older, and I thought why would I want to go back to square one again? Except that we knew that, down the line, we wanted to have children. Plural. Not singular.

The thing with the second one is, you've paid your dues. The learning curve is not nearly as difficult. Yes, chances are the second child will be completely different than the first, but you can still extrapolate all the information you gleaned from the first. And you know that not everything is a crisis. You won't Ruin Their Life if you make one bad decision. It sounds callous to say that you don't care as much, but it's a GOOD thing. You don't micro-manage every single minute. And everyone - baby included - can breathe a sigh of relief.


You knew there'd be a "but" right?

The second baby IS easier, but managing the second baby AND the firstborn is somewhat tougher than I thought it would be. It's a real juggling act to handle two completely different schedules, and there's not a heck of a lot of downtime. It's tiring. So here's what I would suggest, at least for the first few months:


We kept the Boy in daycare full time in the beginning, and though I felt guilty at the time, it was one of the best decisions we made. It keeps his routine somewhat close to normal, gave him social interaction that he wouldn't get at home, and gave me some time to focus on the baby.


My husband comes home from work early whenever possible. My mom comes for regular visits, and will even take the Boy for the weekend. In the early days, playdates sounded like a lot of effort, but are much more relaxing because you have an extra set of eyes (and friends to talk to!). Minimize the time you're alone with two children at first, because it can be overwhelming to be outnumbered when you're so tired.

GET HELP. (Did I mention that already? I can't remember.)

Now that we've dropped some days at daycare, we're looking into getting a housecleaner once a month or so. I'm hoping this person might even be willing to do some laundry too (a girl can dream, right?). Both of these can become out of control rather quickly, and the last thing I want to do with a spare minute is clean or fold laundry.

At the end of the day, though, what makes it all worthwhile is the look of adoration in the Little Guy's eyes as he watches his big brother. It's heart-burstingly wonderful. I could throw out all the toys because he could occupy himself quite well doing nothing but ogling his hero. And to hear the Boy announce, every chance he gets, to all his friends and strangers too, "That's my baby brudder!" Well, it's music to my ears. And there is no sweeter sound.

All my best wishes, love and support to three soon-to-be moms of two: Her Bad Mother, Mrs. Chicky, and Mrs. Chicken.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Are you a Chicken or a Pig?

Has anyone ever called you a pig, and you couldn't think of a really good rebuttal? Come on over to Playdate, where I'm talking about an interesting new theory that I heard on Grey's Anatomy.

And while we're on the subject - are we on this subject? - what's your vote:

McDreamy OR McSteamy ???

So come on over to Better Than a Playdate and read, discuss, comment. Just say hi. I'm feeling lonely and could use some positive reinforcement.