Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Hi, my name is NoMo and I have a confession: I don't like to cook.
I don't like it. I don't derive any pleasure from doing it. In fact, it stresses me out. Timing everything so that it's all hot at the same time. But not too hot or it will burn the mouths of babes. Worrying if you're going to make people sick by undercooking the chicken. Worrying if you overcook the chicken that no one will eat it. Angry because you spent a lot of time making food and a certain somebody won't eat it because it's not grilled cheese. This is not fun for me.
I DO, however, love to bake. But you can't just bake goodies all the time. Brownies for breakfast, lunch and dinner is not cool. Especially when you have two little mouths to feed. (I'm pretty sure an all chocolate diet for kids is frowned upon. I'm not 100% positive though - I didn't read the handbook.)
I was reading Domestic Goddess Kgirl's post at Playdate about a working mother's meal planning, and I was just floored by how she's got her act together. I swear, one of the toughest things about going back to work is not rushing to get the kids out the door and to two different daycares, not rushing through a backlog of work, not rushing through lunch doing Christmas errands with less time than usual because you have to leave early, not rushing to get to two different daycares to pick up the kids and get them home before their mouths and there stomachs complain too loudly - it's that after all this, I then have to find something for dinner. And find it fast. This week I've foisted the dinner-making on Mr Earth, and have been much less stressed because of it.
This past year on mat leave, I have tried and tried to better myself in this arena. Once a week, I would make a healthy, balanced dinner from scratch. Not reheated, not defrosted, not from a can or a mix. From scratch. (And yes, I'm aware that once a week is abysmal, but remember, I am The UnChef). The boys and would go to the local markets and get fresh meat, fresh produce everything. I had some help from this awesome book that my friend at Random House sent me: The Good Food for Families cookbook. It's pretty great - it has lots of easy to follow recipes, advice about what to serve with the main dish, how to make the family meal kid-friendly and stuff about the Canada Food Guide. It's so user-friendly that I actually came to enjoy cooking a meal. The kids still didn't eat it, but oh well. The Boy doesn't venture far off the grains section of the Pyramid, and the Little Guy was just starting solids. I felt pretty good about myself. The quintessential Family Dinner. We even went around the table and shared our "three (favourite) things" of the day.
Needless to say, that has fallen by the wayside since going back to work. It actually fell by the wayside earlier than that, who am I kidding? And now that the Little Guy is turning out to be such an adventurous eater (beets! parsnips! salmon! bok choy!), I want to get some of that back. I feel so pressed for time, though. At the end of the day, I'm just happy if the four food groups re represented. I already spend so much of my evenings prepping for the next day so that I can get out the door and to work on time, if I add prepping a meal, I fear that I will lose any "me" time that I've scrounged for myself. Ack! Get out the world's smallest violins and play a sad song for me will you? Parenting is hard and I should suck it up.
Cooking is not my talent. No sir. I am good at many things, and that is not one of them. I need one of those doohickies from Star Trek where you just tell it what food you want and it appears. OH! That reminds me - something I AM good at: spotting the hotties. Get yourself on over to Playdate and see what Hollywood hotties made Mama Drama's list. You'll be surprised.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
One of the best things about going back to work is the chance to read. Twenty minutes on the way to work in the morning and twenty minutes on the way home. If I'm lucky, and not running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I even get to read some at lunch.
I find reading so relaxing. It's one of the many manifestations of order in my life. If I have time to read, I can't be too overburdened or overwhelmed. I must always have a book 'on the go' and at least one 'in the queue'. If I don't have a book to read - even when I don't have the time to read anything - chaos ensues. If a book I am reading is no good, I am moody and annoyed (well, more so than usual). If a book I am reading is suspenseful I am tense and spook easily (Koontz's Intensity was a bad choice - I couldn't sleep). If a book is good, it's -- magic. I will find any and every chance to squeeze in a few pages, paragraphs, sentences even. I'm a slow reader, admittedly. I like to savour the words, not rush through them. On the upside, I remember what I've read really well. Sometimes I can even picture the words on the pages. That probably comes from memorizing so many scripts.
I just finished Kelley Armstrong's Bitten (Random House Canada). What a fun read! Just what the doctor ordered. I've been so stressed about returning to work, the Little Guy not sleeping, everyone being sick and trying to figure out just what I want to be when I grow up, that I really needed some kind of break. Bitten is pure escapism, and I loved it.
I went at it kind of blind (thought it was going to be about vampires - whoops!), and was surprised at the loot that fell out. I've never read any books about werewolves although I've seen lots of movies (Ginger Snaps, An American Werewolf in Paris, Teen Wolf. Anyone-??). With the exception of Ginger Snaps, most werewolf stories are kind of...um...unreal. (This is coming from a girl who LOVES fantasy novels, so take that as you will.) Armstrong pulled off a really neat trick of making a story about werewolves not only thoroughly modern, but very believable. Her narrative style, while it took me some time to get used to, is very familiar - like sitting down with a good chum and recounting what you did last summer.
If you want to get all philosophical and thinky, I would add that the book really spoke to me on a personal level because although it is about werewolves, fights for Alpha position, betrayal and all that, at the heart of the story is Elena's (the sole female werewolf, and central figure) struggle with accepting who she is, and not who she thinks she wants to be. Working through that whole can of worms myself, and it's a messy job.
But Boo to thinkiness - I want fun! I want excitement and intrigue! Bitten delivers. It's total book-candy. (And anyone who knows me well, knows how I loves me some candy..)
I refuse to be labelled! OK, just this once: books
Monday, November 24, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wow, this week has been rough. If you're wondering why I've not been around more when I'm finally back in front of the computer most of the day, it's because I can barely keep my eyes open.
The Little Guy has decided that sleep is for the birds, and he's just going to forego naps and bedtimes in favour of staying awake and screaming. He screams on the way home from daycare, too. He wants to be held, and I just can't push the stroller and carry him at the same time. Not for that distance, and not with the Boy in the stroller. He also screams and crawls away when I try to clothe or diaper him (But that's old hat around here. You'd think I was torturing him, instead of trying to put on a onesie.)
The Little Guy now spends his days with a local mom and her two kids. She's studying to be a nutrionist, so she's a very good match for our second son, whom we fondly call "The Mouth". He'll eat almost anything. He does seem to like it there, though. In fact, the only time he's not screaming lately is when I drop him off in her arms in the morning. (I'm a little insulted, actually. The only time I expect him to scream and he turns mute and just watches me leave.)
The other day, Mr Earth was blowing raspberries on the Little Guy's tummy before bathtime and the Little Guy was chuckling away to himself, and I felt so lighthearted. I realized that it had been quite some time since I'd heard that sound. That made me a little sad. Okay, a lot sad.
On the plus side, I don't look as sloptastic as I usually do. Every few years, I go through this metamorphosis in the grooming department where I decide Everything! Must! Go! and this time around it happened to coincide with my going back to work. I've decided that if I'm going to work in an office, I should look like I work in an office, not like some student fresh out of university who cobbles together a sad little outfit that is woefully unacceptable. I've tried to apply the rules from my favourite show What Not to Wear. (I always laugh at the people who complain about having to shop on the show, but it IS actually very tiring! I should stop laughing). I've written about my new rules for what not to wear at the office when you're a mother newly back to work over at Playdate. Go have a read. Laugh at my blighted fashion attempts. Give me some wardrobe advice. I obviously need it..
Must sleep now. So very tired. And so very glad tomorrow is Friday.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Instant replay of my morning (or night...or morning...not sure which):
3am Mr Earth up with Little G
4:50 Mr Earth up with Little G (and, yes, Mr Earth rocks)
5:20 Nomo up with Little G
5:22 Nomo changes large stinky poo
5:25 Nomo puts Little G back to sleep
5:27 Nomo changes small stinky poo
5:30 Nomo sits in chair with Little G till Little G falls back asleep
5:45 Nomo puts Little G back in crib
5:47 Nomo disposes of stinky poos
5:50 Nomo goes back to bed
6:01 Nomo's alarm goes off
6:50 Nomo changes large stinky poo (this time from the Boy)
7:00 Nomo wakes up Little G
7:15 Little G poos again! (Mm, blueberries and sweet potato. I may never eat
So, I had time to get ready without being screamed at, which was really nice. I smell like poo, which is not nice. The house smells like poo, which is even less nice. I did make it to work on time, but just barely. I had to run with the stroller most of the way. (Did I mention that Boy and Little G are in two DIFFERENT daycares?)
I am only now am drinking coffee.
[Side Note: Blogging at work is bad. Very, very bad. Bad, Nomo, Bad! But what a day Nomo had!]
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Just when I have a lot to say, I find myself absolutely mum. Is it just me? I go back to work on Monday. I'm not certain it's the best decision. But I don't know if staying home is either.
I remember this time with the Boy. I was so ready to go back to work. It's not that I loved him less or anything, it's just that the whole baby thing was so overwhelmingly life-changing that I felt the need to cling desperately to what was. To the person I was before. To prove that everything had changed, and yet nothing had. I needed to go back. And I was emotional, but it was after the fact. I lost it when, breasts bursting from night-weaning, a colleague put forth the argument that people (mothers) who aren't prepared to stay home to raise children, shouldn't have kids at all. That kids raised by "other people" (whosoever those people may be) would basically grow up to be psychokillers (qu'est-que c'est). You just don't say things like to a mother who is newly back at work. You just don't.
This time, after five months of life moving in slow motion, my mat leave seemed to slip by like a feather in stream. I had all these plans, all these dreams of how I was going to do it so right this time. I wasn't going to make the same mistakes that I made the first time around. And I was right. I didn't. I just made new mistakes. The biggest one was that I let precious time slip past me while I was just trying to keep up with Life. I was so busy with the minutiae that I failed to see the Big Picture. My Achilles Heel.
Now I want that time back again. I want to say "Wait! Please rewind! I know I can do that better!" And I'm afraid. Afraid that I'm making a mistake. Afraid that by going back to work, I am losing precious time that I will never get back. Hugs and kisses and "good jobs!" that will be bestowed by another woman.
But I'm also afraid that if I stay home, I will once again get lost in the minutiae, and fail to see how special what I have really is. Perspective is crucial. But sometimes it comes at a very great cost.
I refuse to be labelled! OK, just this once: motherhood
Thursday, November 13, 2008
After mocking people for starting Christmas way too early, I'm starting to get a bit freaked out about it myself. Maybe it's the unexpected carols in local paper store, or the 3 AISLES of Christmas decorations already up in the superstore, but my pulse is starting to race just a bit at the thought of all the things that I have to get done before December 25th. Christmas cards! Bridal shower! Holiday parties! Gift exchanges! Oh yeah, and going back to work on Monday. It's too much.
The Boy and I have been pouring over the toy flyers that have been mysteriously showing up at our door (how do they know where we live??), trying to find gift ideas for the multitude of children that are on my shopping list. Our evenings go something like this:
"Oh, mummy, can I have this?"
"This is my very favourite thing!"
"Can I get this, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeasssssssssssse?"
We're not materialistic at all.
Everything is too expensive, has too many flashing lights and loud sounds, or is just too old or too...much. And I've got a serious hate on for all things branded with movie or tv characters (yes, Disney, that means you too - eventhough my sister-in-law is a bigwig at your company). And I love the handmade, wooden, environmentally-friendly, politically-correct toys but WOWSERS do they cost some big bucks! We're on a budget, people! But Christmas is for the kids, and it's a BIG DEAL around Casa Earth. I want to see the magic in their eyes when they walk downstairs and see what has appeared beneath the tree overnight. And I don't want to spend a gazillion dollars.
So I'm trying to think back to all the Christmas mornings and birthdays that I've had over the years, and to the toys or gifts that really stood out for me. I've compiled a list of my favourite toys that you can read over at Playdate. Go and have a read if you have a moment. Who knows - you may be inspired yourself. And for the love of Pete, if you have any really good ideas for gifts in the 4-year-old or 1-year-old range, please let me know in the comments here or at Playdate. I need help!
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Kyla tagged me for a meme. [At least, I think she did. The post was in my Google Reader, but it doesn't exist when I actually go to her site. This is the second time this has happened to me with a blog today. Am I the only one? Am I reading phantom posts? It's weird. Anyways.]
Technically, I think she only [phantom] tagged me for the 7 Random Facts about myself or my kiddo meme, but since she was simultaneously doing the 6th picture from your 6th folder meme, I thought I'd jump on that bandwagon too. Cause, really, who doesn't like pictures? I mean, really-? So here goes:
Strictly speaking, this is not the sixth picture of the sixth folder. It is actually the seventh. BUT, one of the pictures before this is a cropped version of the picture before it, so I discounted that one, making this one essentially the sixth. (Also the TECHNICAL sixth picture includes me coming home from the hospital with no makeup and no sleep for four days. Not pretty. I'm all about sharing, but NO ONE needs to see that..) Part of the meme is to tell the events surrounding the picture, if you can remember them. This one is simple. WE JUST HAD A BABY. Look how cute and small the Boy was! Mean parents that we are/were, we unswaddled him in the hospital so that we could get a picture of his tininess in all its miniscule glory. The Boy was NOT impressed (see above).
Since we're on the subject of the Boy, let's do 7 Random Things about The Boy:
1. He does not like vegetables very much. It's a struggle to get him to eat them. And those people who think I should just "hide" them in his food? IT DOES NOT WORK. He is on to me, and he is not impressed.
2. He can trip on flat ground with no obstacles.
3. He heard the word *sizzlin'* on Yo Gabba Gabba the other day, and he thinks it's the funniest word. Ever.
4. He thinks all presents are for him to open, no matter to whom they actually belong. Birthday parties for other people can be stressful.
5. Every morning he greets his brother with a huge smile. (And the Little Guy thinks he walks on water.)
6. He is very sensitive. Maybe a bit over-sensitive. And I love him all the more for it. Better that than a bully.
7. Thanks to our trip to PEI, he loves loves loves restaurants and hotels. I think we've created a monster.
I'm going to [phantom] tag Kgirl, Mad, Bren J., Mimi and Painted Maypole. Do you want to play a game? (Bonus points for anyone who still gets that reference. I've been watching too much Spaced. Must. Do. Pop-culture. References. Send. Help.)
Thursday, November 06, 2008
I was walking the boys home in the stroller, and in between neighbouring pumpkins, ghosties and ghoulies, one lone house was stripped of Hallowe'en. In its stead was the merry twinkling of Christmas lights. It had the effect of simultaneously making the undead outdated and also making itself seem rather too precipitous.
Similarly, I was in a store earlier day getting more supplies for the handmade invitations that should have gone out last week for the bridal shower I'm hosting. The wedding is on New Year's Eve. I'm sure I will have NO PROBLEM finding a babysitter. Yeeaaahh. Anyways, as I was paying the exhorbitant amount of money they charged for sturdy cardstock, I recognized one of the tunes playing in the background as a Christmas carol. Here's how the ensuing conversation played out:
Inside Voice: "Freaks. It's barely November."
Outside Voice: "Omigoodness! That's a Christmas carol! Wow! Already. I wasn't prepared for that."
Shopkeeper: "Oh, it's just one of the songs on a mixed CD we have. We play that all the time."
Inside Voice: "Yeah right. Do you play that mixed CD that just happens to have a Christmas carol on it in the middle of July? Boo-yah!"
Outside Voice: "Huh."
See how interesting my life is?
Oh, and if you're already planning your holiday shopping, or - god forbid - are actually so organized that you're already shopping for the holidays (damn you and your crafty organizational skills!), then be sure to check out my latest post at Playdate. I have a recommendation for the awesomenest TV on DVD boxed set that not many people have heard about. If you like to laugh, then this show should be at the top of your list.
Don't tell me you don't like to laugh. Go. Read.
Made by Andrea Micheloni