Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The boob post.

I never thought I would write such a detailed post about my breasts, let alone how much of a pain they can be. I mean they're small and don't really get in the way - I can run without support just fine and I'd be stretched to squish them into a little black dress (they don't really squish). I'm talking about literal pain... and here I am: slightly delirious from flu like symptoms, typing away with potato in my bra. 

Yeah, a fucking potato. Mr. Potato Head met his maker today (but part of him is getting some serious action). 

I have a blocked duct. Or, with the low energy-nauseous-achy all over-can't seem to get warm no matter how many blankets I pile on - kind of feeling, mastitis. The later is likely but we won't know for sure until tomorrow. There is a script in my purse that I am hesitant to fill. My lactation consultant agrees.

I love my breasts, so it pains me to write anything ill about them. (HA! Sorry that just kind of happened!) But in all seriousness this is one of the most painful things I have experienced. 

It started with a stabbing pain in my left breast. I was walking up the stairs, minding my own business when Ghosty decided to punch me right in the boob. Okay, it wasn't the ghost apparently, it was my breast producing milk and my duct not allowing it to flow.

My daughter is almost two and a half and I have nursed her (just once a day, if that, for the past few months) this long without having any complications. A wee bit of chapping when she was first born but no yeast issues, no latch problems and thankfully no concern when it came to supply. Which is how at 2.5 when she's feeling really off at a party and needing comfort I can nurse her just fine. 

After my appointment today, we assume it's because my supply is still abundant and she was able to get it flowing again with a big nurse on the weekend, but she didn't quite drain it.... and voila! A blockage. I am amazed that it can happen that easily and how the pain came on so suddenly. That pain? It's severe. 

I found this article that is really close to what my specialist was saying - and although I recommend you head to one yourself - this might give you some comfort and help you stay on top of it. 
Or, if you've been through this - what's the best way you got things flowing again?




Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Best Day of My Life

Today. Today is going to be the best day of my life. 

Why?

Because my daughter asked to dance with me. 

I work part time at a theatre which sometimes can lead to incredibly late and long I've-been-on-my-feet-for-6-hours-straight-with-no-break nights. Last night was one of them. Exhaustion this morning took over my limbs but my daughter thankfully doesn't understand and insisted "MAMA! Mama get up!!!" 

Penelope help my hand as I obligingly roused myself and lead me towards my slippers and a blissfully delicious cup of coffee. We made a smoothie together (ever see a 2+ year old react to a blender being used? I highly recommend it), sat and shared a glass together, and then she looked up at me and said words that are music to my soul...

"Mama, I want to dance!"

We sat on the computer and I let her chose what categories she wanted from Songza. Her choices lead us here. (Take three and a half minutes to listen... and if you fancy - dance!)




At first we just danced on our own, then danced down the hallway and in circles - and then this moment came where she asked to be picked up. Climbing my torso like a tree she pulled herself up so we were cheek and cheek, pressed her face against mine as hard as she could, wrapped her arms around my neck and said, "Love you Mama". And then we danced with our faces squished against each other, holding each other tightly and hoping the song would never end. Okay, that last part might just have been me ;)

best. dance. of. my. life.



Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The big BIG emotions of a two year old... and the even bigger emotions of her mama



We have a two year old.

That sentence should be all I need to type for most to understand and empathize with what we've been struggling with over the past little while. The tantrums, the NOs, the refusal to get dressed/brush teeth/eat dinner/go to bed, pushing us away in anger, the whining - oh. my. gods. the whining and stubbornness to boot. 

It's the big emotions of a two year old - they're growing and developing at a rapid rate and they are responding authentically, albeit brain stabbingly painfully for us. I envy the truth to their actions and emotions. 

My emotions are just as big, maybe even bigger, as I learn how to deal with the anger that results from the shrieking-hairpulling-punching-kicking-and-screaming-in-the-middle-of-the-street-moments. I'm not proud. I yell at my kid sometimes. I wish I could tap in to some ujjayi breath and pause before I react more often than I do, but honestly ...
by the end of the day I want to be the one shrieking-hairpulling-punching-kicking-and-screaming

We have been taught, trained, to unlearn natural human responses as we've grown into adulthood. We're taught not to cry when we're sad, or not to yell when we're angry. The focus has been on happiness and bliss for so long we are forgetting what it's like to react to our authentic emotions. 

The only thing we seem to be encouraged to do is to laugh or smile when we're happy. A lot of people can't even cry when they're sad because they've been so conditioned. I once wrote about screaming into pillows - and underwater - and it's the greatest feeling because you can release the emotion that has boiled up inside you. 

Really, that's all our toddlers are doing... releasing and expressing their emotions. I want to try to let my girl work her emotions out for herself - for her to learn how to be a good listener and understand what is happening. I know, I know... it'll come with time. 

For now I'm trying to focus on the flip side. That with all of the above comes the wonderous development of a two year old. Seeing them struggle with a puzzle or a toy and its mechanics only to witness the "ah-ha" moment when it seems to click for them. Hearing them try to string sentences together in an attempt to communicate more fully... and hearing them repeat the same word over and over trying to get their point across through the power of inflection. 

Discovering colours, feeling how their bodies move when they dance and how their voice sounds when they sing. Learning to use the toilet and brush their own teeth... it's all fascinating to watch. 

That being said... I'm still looking for ways to stop and breathe before reacting. Have any tips?




Sunday, 22 September 2013

Through the seasons...

"and the leaves were telling secrets to the wind...that falling is just another way to fly."  That quote seems so delightfully appropriate as we celebrate the fall equinox. This moment of balance between light and dark.



I have journeyed through the dark, and danced in the light. It's amazing what you go through, not just as a mother but as a person when your world shifts from light to dark and back again - from falling to flying as the quote suggests. We all go through these transitions, the cycles of the seasons within ourselves - over and over - it's never ending. We plant seeds, we watch them grow, we harvest them and we hibernate.

As we get closer to the end of this year's cycle I see how balanced the falling has helped me become. How much more centered I feel being aware of what season I'm in, within myself. 


I used to celebrate each turn of the year with formal, sometimes elaborate, rituals. Over the past few years, however; I have come to mark the season's changes through participation - my physical actions a meditation for the changes within that coincide. To mark the harvest we canned, we picked apples and roasted vegetables, and as we did this I thought much about the seeds I had planted in the spring for myself...

 thought about how today marks the beginning of the next chapter of the year and
how abundant our harvest will be. 

have always struggled in my relationships - professional and personal - co-worker, sister, daughter, lover, mother... often it didn't matter. My depression fed insecurities. 

Once I started to deal with the dark and learn to be okay in the light, I was able to make more of an effort to give energy back to those who gave it to me. I always doubted the happy, feeling more comfortable in the lows than the highs. Once I became aware of this I made a conscious decision to have relationships that were fair and equal exchanges of energy.  

Rather than simply planting a seed and seeing what would happen, I nurtured my relationships; I watered and sunned what sprouted. And I am forever grateful the seasons helped me do that. 

This time of year is indeed about harvesting; for me it's about being grateful for the gatherings that took place all summer which enriched those relationships, and myself by proxy. I now sit calmly knowing that I have love and respect coming from so many different directions and where before I would doubt it, or its sincerity, I now unquestionably accept it as part of my bountiful harvest. I know that I'm deserving of it, because I helped it grow. 



A blessed Mabon/Autumn Equinox. 



Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Mama's night out - dishcrawl style

It's Mama's night out and I'm on a dishcrawl. 

What's a dishcrawl you ask? It's like a pub crawl, but rather than have your head swimming from too much booze, your stomach is bloated and delightfully full from all the food you've eaten.

We stumble all the same.


For the next three hours we will visit four restaurants, with three samples at each. The theme: a foodie's paradise. NOM NOM.

The night starts off with a glass of wine at the first restaurant and I'm delighted to see an old co-worker has joined the tour. I catch up on all the gossip from my old radio station - which is indeed juicy with news of former co-workers, and I fall into a relaxed rhythm of chatting with a handful of the other people doing the crawl. It turns out I know a few people and the night turns into a little bit like work as I network and possibly score myself a new freelance client. 

I take out my fancy new phone that takes great photos - then I realize restaurants and pubs are dimly lit and i should have brought the good camera. 

The other mama shows up. She has brought her husband. So much for a mama's night out. But I really like her husband so it's okay. Kiss kiss. More wine please, and bring on the food. 

Arnaud, who manages the Tir N'an Og downtown gives a delightful spiel on the pulled pork hoagie we're about to ingest - it's on a pretzel bun and it's AMAZING. Gluten-free goes out the window for the night. 




Good thing, because after a beef and mushroom pot accompanied by a yummy grapefruit draught (only 2% - it's so light it tastes a bit like juice... if juice had hops) they bring us the temptress that is a deep fried red velvet donut dusted with sugar and drizzled with white chocolate. 


It goes great with the last of my wine. We are rushed out of the pub as we are running late. I will get a smaller glass of wine next time.

I'm pleasantly fuzzy as we trek to the next stop on the tour, which happens to be one of my favorite spots downtown Sir John A's Public House. Here I get giddy with excitement for Scottish fare - yes haggis with gravy is included and it's all melt-in-your-mouth-joy-on-the-palette. (piccalilli relish ftw!)



Paul, the owner, regales us with tales of the food we're about to eat and how it's prepared. 


This evening is delicious and educational - who knew!?

We are whisked off to the next location, Chez Piggy. It's beautiful but I love the pub and wish we could have stayed there longer. 



My attitude quickly changes as the chef chats about the local and sustainable food choices they are serving. Organic Enright Cattle - deepfried oysters - and the most exquisite cheese I have ever tasted, sourced from Woodstock ON -- "We sell it next door in our bakery," Chef Ian says - which causes me to dance on the inside knowing I'll be back tomorrow for more. 




My editor from one of the papers I write for shows up and we decide to slowly finish our glasses of wine. We get so caught up with work talk that we miss the group going to the next and final stop for dessert. I know it's amazing carrot cake from SIPPS but rather than rush for it, we realize they'll be half way through by now, and I trust my pregnant mama friend to eat my portion so we finish our night on a work note. 

Being able to taste all these samplings from a restaurant's menu and do so from FOUR different spots was an incredible experience. I'm happy dishcrawl has come to Kingston and honestly, can't wait to go on the next one Wednesday, October 23. This next one I'm sure will see a group of mamas trekking through the downtown core tasting from place to place. It's too good a deal not to. Christine, the organizer (that's her below) tells me she's aiming for a haunted theme. Awesome.




***update: So it turns out Christine likes the blog and has offered a free ticket to the next event to give a deserving mama the chance to join us!

Enter by telling us in the comments below why you need a mama's (or papa's) night out and you could win a free ticket to the next dishcrawl! (value: $60)

Get additional entries by:
Liking the  baby brainz page on facebook and by sharing 
this post on your facebook or twitter (if it's twitter - please make sure you tag @ArtsPromoYGK or retweet the existing post)



Tuesday, 17 September 2013

clowns, rides, sugar and a petting zoo - what could possibly be wrong with this equation?

Okay, so she didn't get any sugar. I know, I know - I'm a shitty mom. Take your kid to the fall fair and don't let them get cotton candy or a candy apple. We will all be thankful at bedtime tonight and my natural mama instincts will be glad that I didn't allow my child to ingest a pound of refined sugar. 

But still, what an asshole. 

I did, however; completely guilt trip my partner into taking us so the afternoon was about rides - primarily so he could get me to shut my trap about not having been on one since way before mamadom 3 years ago - it was also about demolition derby (no, I'm not joking actually) and attempting to get our child excited about goats and chickens, donkeys and llamas. The llamas she dug. The rest she didn't really have any use for. 

Until she saw the horses of the merry-go-round. I never got why they called it the "merry"-go-round. I mean, yeah I'm not so dense that I miss the "go-round" part, but I never found the ride exceptionally happy. Now I get it. The look on a two year old's face when, after picking out her favorite color of horse (oooge), going round and round and up and down, registers that she is indeed holding on to a horse and going round and round and up and down. 



  Also, when she spots her papa filming from the crowd and yells out a "HI PAPA" so loud I'm convinced he can hear it over the insane clowns-a-dancing-carnival music. He cannot. 

The slide was the other ride she got to experience. I have a photo of me and my grandfather on one of these from when I was 3. Who was I to deny the kid the slide.
She didn't love it. It was just... well, it was. Not as much excitement as I had hoped for. Expectations right? 


Interspersed with all of this I got to go on a ride with my friend Liz - who seems to be the only person in my life who isn't lame and will go on rides with me - and even the reluctant grump went on a ride.... 



and LOVED IT. 

The fair is so much more fun when you go on rides. Even when you don't get the sugar. 


Monday, 26 August 2013

Tribe. Fire. Sisters.

Women for centuries have been raising babies together. Gathering food and water. Forming a community within themselves where secrets are shared, tears are shed and honesty is prevalent.
My sisters are plenty and each of them I cherish. While I have an equally wonderful tribe of mamas and friends in the city in which I live, I am also very blessed to be part of a tribe of intelligent, fiercely beautiful women. These are women I have known for well over a decade, who met me as a coming-in-to-my-own-but-I'm-still-lost-twenty-something, and who have grown with me into adulthood. Each of them have had their own majestic and heart-wrenching experiences along the way. Through it, we know each other. No walls. No bullshit. Just raw beings; wild women who see one another in truth.

Because of my life's path and because I live much further away, I sadly only see these delicious creatures once or twice a year. It used to be more - as the summer festivals rolled around, we would congregate in forests, and clearings, farm houses and campsites to reconnect, to share and learn from one another; to run Amok and partake in shenanigans - often around a gargantuan bonfire, the sounds of drums and giggles our soundtrack.

This year there were giggles. There were drums. There was fire. We were and are tribe. But it's different now. Rather than see the sun come up because we are stumbling back to our tents from hours of dancing and running amok for hours, we see the sun come up because we are waking with our toddlers. We are taking arnica or advil for our aches from sleeping on the ground instead of the fact that we had too much mead or because our hands hurt from beating a drum all night. But, instead of mourning the festivals past, I have come to grow content in the gentle shifts. (There may or may not have been a bit of pouting and nostalgia along the way.) 

It was being faced with a choice that caused me to realize I had reached that point, that I had indeed shifted... Upon coming out of the privy a few nights back (yes, there are privies in the woods if you know the right people) I had a choice. I could turn left and follow the sounds of the drums, knowing it would take me to fire, dancing, frolicking and letting the wild woman in me run, if only for a couple hours. 

Or, I could turn right and follow the sounds of my child crying and my partner attempting to soothe her back to sleep. I wasn't aware that I had a choice, let alone that I was making it until I was at my tent unzipping the door to fold my girl into my arms and give my love a sweet, gentle kiss goodnight, telling him he was a beautiful father.

As I lay there the next morning I realized that it wasn't so much a sacrifice as it was a shift to not run with the wolves that night. That shift wouldn't, couldn't, have happened without the support of my sisters. We will run again, and often... and thanks to that, our pups might just run along with us.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Night Mama

A tired girl flops on the bed, tucks her head into the crook of her elbow. 
She feels the softness of the blanket coming up around her shoulders, and each corner of it being straightened out to ensure each bit of flesh is covered in comfort. 
A hand rests on her back, reassuringly stroking it up and down, soothing her into slumber.
With a little pat on the bum and a kiss on the head, she hears her daughter whisper "Mama, sleep. Night Mama."

Nothing better than being tucked in by a two year old. <3

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The unexpected that will make your whole day...

As I begin to recover from from a serious bout of pneumonia, I'm also learning how to be with a toddler again. Between grandparents taking her for days on end and the last few evenings spent as "family time", today was the first day in a week and a half that it was just me and my girl. 

I won't lie. I was nervous when I got out of bed this morning. Would I have enough energy to keep up with her? Will I have the patience to deal with her tantrums and fussy food choices? Will I get a break today from the punching and kicking (our home has now become a zero tolerance household for hitting)?

After a morning of sitting on the kitchen floor sharing "tea", laughing at the breakfast table and dancing to the radio, my sweet and thoughtful girl - who was full of smiles and giggles - and I went for a bike ride. 

I'm not sure if it was the cool air, the joy of being on the bicycle, or just the right amount of caffeine, but we swung, slid, and ran around in circles until our noses were red. 

Wanting to keep those caffeine levels up, I grabbed a coffee and another "tea" for P - it's water in a take out cup in case you were wondering) before we headed back home. We sipped our beverages while strolling along window shopping. Turns out my daughter doesn't mind shopping, or strolling. 

And THIS was when the most amazing thing happened. As Penelope and I are having a conversation about why she has to wait until we got home to eat lunch and I was unlocking ma bicyclette, I noticed this man sitting on the patio of the cafe - just looking at us. Seriously, just staring. 

He met my eyes, smiled and said, "You are a great mother!" Followed by an exceptionally stunned expression in which he was obviously surprised that he had blurted out the words. He then said pointing to the bike chariot, "I can just tell. You - You're a great mother."

To which I responded, "Thank you kind sir - you just made my whole day!"

I've been on the receiving end of harsh criticism from strangers who feel they know what's best for your child (it's a strange phenomenon we are all victim to, much like the horrible birth stories we hear from strangers while we're pregnant) I've never received such a compliment and biking home I couldn't help but marvel at how one sentence of kindness could erase the residual negativity that tends to get left behind after your parenting in public is judged. 

Lesson: Some days, NOTHING is as you expect it will be, and almost always it will be better.



Thursday, 1 August 2013

"I WANT TO POOP"


Yes, it's another poop post. Tantrums and shit.This is my life.

We have moved into the dreaded potty training stage and it turns out, it actually is fascinating - IF YOU HAVE KIDS. If you don't... this is not going to be your favorite post.

At first I wasn't sure that P was ready but when we went camping at the cottage a couple weeks ago, she discovered a small chamber pot. Surprisingly, she took to it right away yelling for me when she had to go, squeezing her little butt cheeks together until I could get it underneath her. I won't lie, I was impressed. I never thought I'd be impressed by the ability to control our own bodily functions, but there it is (kids are freaking fascinating sometimes!) me - impressed.

I really want to do diaperless training, but I'm thinking the day care isn't really going to be on board with that idea so we've purchased a little mini seat that attaches to the lid on our toilet and that annoyingly jabs us in the back every time we use the crown, and a little compostable potty for downstairs. Yes, you can plant it afterwards and the poop pot will help grow a tree. 

This is where I wanted to put a photo of a tree coming out of a potty but it turns out they are really hard to find on the interweb so you just have to imagine it.

So now we have something for her to sit on both up and down, the kid is obsessed. Mind you she's not actually using the toilet but she REALLY likes to sit on the seat and pretend. She has also come to the realization that she's able to delay bedtime by screaming, "I WAN'T TO POOP" at the top of her lungs.

While she's great with dropping the kids off at the pool, the bladder release isn't going so well in terms of her actually getting it in the potty. At this rate I'm going to have to buy stock in Bounty. Have you ever had to soak up a spilled drink on a hardwood floor? It's a little like that but gross.


No major accidents yet, although I'm sure they're coming... any pointers parents? How did you get your kids to actually use the toilet rather than just sit on it? Did you use pull ups? diapers? go the naked route?

Friday, 26 July 2013

Welcome to the Terrible Twos


When we struggled with how to handle our daughter’s biting/hitting/kicking/pinching/slapping, a lot of people – friends and strangers alike – tended to comment the same way, “oh, wait until she hits those terrible twos” and smile sweetly as if they know terrible secrets of what’s to come.

Well, here we are. The second birthday has passed. My suit of armour is shined and I’m ready for battle. Let’s be honest, the tantrums have been happening for a while and the comments have been happening even longer. While we tend to think, “people just like to give advice,” I’m starting to think people simply like to add another to their circle of misery. What’s that they say about it enjoying company?

I’m not quite sure where the incessant need to crap on someone’s parade comes from, rather than offer solutions or introduce other parents to tactics that might encourage her to be more gentle. Is it like this all over the globe? Or is this a horrible first world problem that just needs to stop?

Mama drama, competitive playgroups and partner and MIL bitching sessions aside, I want to know why people insist on pointing out how much worse it’s going to get! 

Telling me today that my daughter’s massive, epic shit storm is nothing in comparison of what’s to come isn’t going to make me feel better about having to deal with today.

Is it because they feel the responsibility to warn parents that the proverbial shit is about to hit the fan? Do they feel that because they had to endure it, now it’s their turn to sit on higher ground watching someone else go through it?

So here’s a thought... all the parents who now have young toddlers, let’s take a vow to refrain from telling new moms it’s going to get worse. Let’s instead offer encouragement. I’m not talking about blowing smoke and making things seem all rosy - always be REAL! But, hey teething sucks, growing pains are tough, brain development is happening at a rapid pace and we already know these are going to be hard years ahead. How about we tell our friend, or that stranger in the park who is on the verge of tears because her kid just bit her, ran away and is climbing on top of the four year old by the slide and simply won’t listen to her, that she is an INCREDIBLE MOM and offer to help!


I want people in my life who make a choice to help each other through the tantrums with funny tales, who will be there through the breakdowns with a hug – because tears flow after you’ve been kicked in the nose for the fourth time that day – or bring coffee (or even better, wine) to parents who have had especially long, difficult days. My favorite: show up at their doorstep unannounced when you know they’ve had a sleepless night and offer to take the kid for a walk so they can nap, or read, or sit in a tub with a glass of wine. Yes, you are seeing a trend – every mama needs wine!

Let’s come together to make the twos (and from what I’m hearing now... threes) a little more bearable. 

What have you done to help out a new parent with a crazy toddler?





Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The no game

The conversation that just took place after Penelope threw a plate on the floor...

Me: Let's try to keep the plate on the table Poppet

Penelope: No.

Me: Yes

Penelope: No!

Mama: Yes

Penelope: No. 

Me: No

Penelope: No

Me: No

*confused look*

Penelope: Bubbles!



Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Happy Hips

This post is part of YummyMummyClub.ca's support of the Dove® Unstoppable Moms for Unstoppable Girls Contest. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors. Go to www.UnstoppableMoms.ca to enter by sharing how you inspire girls to reach their full potential.
--
When my daughter was a little more than three months old, I came out of the haze most women enter as soon as their child leaves the womb. I realized I had been going through the motions and started actively working on learning to love the new me; the mom. Somewhere between "Oh shit, I'm pregnant" and "Hang on, Penelope needs boob," I acquired a couple curves. So I should say I've also been actively working on learning to love my new body. 

Finding a balance between mamahood and all the things I love to do is difficult some days, but not impossible by any means. I'm a mom. But I'm also a partner, a broadcaster, a lover, a painter, a promoter, a yoga enthusiast, a writer, a sister, a daughter... you get the drift; I'm not self identifying as only a mother.  

I'm also a novice belly dancer. I was asked to participate in a cabaret show and at first I thought hellll no; I'm not good enough to solo in front of people; I'm not back to my pre baby body; my costumes don’t fit right; I'm not... I'm not... I'm not... Then I realized I was being ridiculous. I decided to try to turn those negative thoughts around in my head and focus on what I am! I AM a belly dancer, I LOVE playing dress up and being painted, I AM a performer!

So rather than give up something I truly love doing, I put my ego and insecurity aside and teamed up with my favorite body painter Shelley Bellefontaine, from You-Name-It Face and BodyArt, to create something spectacular for a circus themed puppet cabaret show: a snake lady. 


Sure, I was hiding behind a mask, and a layer or two of body paint. 

I was also dancing in nothing but that body paint, in my new mama body! Really, what better way than dancing in front of 200 people in nothing but paint to a) stop taking myself so seriously, b) try to let go of being in control of everything and most importantly c) fall in love with, and be comfortable in, my new body. I figured if the dance wasn't A+ at least we'd have fun painting, and I could tackle all of the above.  

Everything that could go "wrong" did. I cried through the process of creating the costume - sewing slinky fabric is like trying to walk a straight line after 6 shots of tequila; the air brush machine didn't work the first night; the paint came off certain parts of my body before I hit the stage; and having my daughter in the audience for one of the performances caused my breasts to engorge so much I thought the nipple covers were going to come off while I was dancing.

But, who do you think I was dancing for? Every time I shimmied or did a belly roll in my living room, while I fought for my body to remember movements, there was this wrinkly innocent being staring at me that giggled every time I did a hip lift in her direction, that was so full of delight simply from watching me dance.

Through all of it, I got confirmation that everything happens for a reason, and that we can control nothing but our attitudes. In doing the show, ego turned to self-confidence, insecurity to self-awareness and control to whimsical frivolity. Those three things just happen to be what make me beautiful.

A year and half later, I’m still working on me. Trying to improve my attitude; working on my ability to see situations from multiple perspectives and recognizing; and dealing with my issues, rather than projecting them onto other areas of my life. It's a never-ending learning process and it helps me be the person I want to be. Just because I had a baby doesn't mean I'm going to stop looking within. If anything it has caused me to look deeper. I'm hoping this will help guide me to become the mom I dream of being and by her seeing this within me, she’ll become an unstoppable girl.


Let’s talk about how moms can improve how our daughters view their bodies. Because, just as it is our responsibility to ensure our children are eating well and that we’re stimulating their minds and hearts, it's up to us to encourage participation in activities and to engage in communication about any self esteem issues that may arise. 

I hope I’m able to encourage by example, that when my daughter sees me taking joy in how my body moves, rather than comparing how it looks to others’, it's integrated into her mind that this is just what you do. That “normal” is being secure and comfortable in their own skin, knowing who they are and having the confidence to dance, drum and dream. Or plant a garden, play a banjo, go to a yoga class, write a book... no matter what the activity she will know that the possibilities are endless if they embrace what her spirit is calling her to do, that is what makes her beautiful and strong.  

I want my daughter to dance with me, no matter what she looks like, and I want her to look to me as a positive role model.  The Dove Unstoppable Moms for Unstoppable Girls Contest is for moms just like me who have thought about quitting an activity they loved because of how they felt about their bodies. 

Are you an unstoppable mom? Share YOUR story about a time when you thought about quitting an activity you loved because of how you felt about your body and let them know how you think moms/role models can better support girls to participate in activities. You have until June 13, 2013 to enter. You could win $2,500 for yourself and $2,500 will be donated to help raise a girl's self-esteem.


Friday, 24 May 2013

The silence

You know that moment - right after your toddler has been running around literally bouncing off the walls, and every other surface possible, and pulling your hair and shrieking and chasing the cat - when there's actually a blissful moment silence.

While you sit and allow yourself to enjoy the 3 minutes of silence, you have this thought tip toeing its way to the front of your mind:
nothing good ever comes from a child playing quietly in the next room.

Last time it was the marker. Not just any marker mind you - a giant permanent black marker, and I thanked the cleaning gods my daughter likes to draw on paper and not the walls. She also likes to draw on her body. 

Awesome I know... but it washes off. 

This time, it was the marker - a slim sharpie in the color of, yes you guessed it, black! In which she decided she had had enough of drawing on paper and her body and decided that the newly distressed antique sewing machine I had done for the walk in closet would be her latest victim. 

And this is how I learned that (helpful tip) nail polish remover takes off permanent marker -- mind you it took off a bit of the paint but thankfully it's a distressed look so it works.

I have no idea where she keeps finding these hidden markers but I'm now on round up duty!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

30 hours family free...

30 hours without a boy. 30 hours without a toddler...  30 hours...

alone.

It's not that I don't like my in-laws. I really do. No seriously I really do... especially my mother-in-law (yes she reads this, and yes I'm totally sucking up... kidding - she doesn't actually give a shit what I say as long as she gets quality time with her granddaughter, which she totally is :D) but when J suggested heading to Ottawa to visit with his family, and taking Poppet with him, in order to give me a little bit of time to myself I won't say there wasn't this happy little version of myself jumping up and down inside with glee. 

Since P was born, I've had one night to myself (about a year ago), and a blissful Mama's night away not too long ago with one of my best girlfriends, but this is the first time I've had two (almost) whole days and a night alone in my own house. So, I repeat...
 

So, what's the first thing I did? No, not a nap. I freakin' cleaned. Sounds indulgent eh? I looked at the toys scattered everywhere, the dried banana on the coffee table, the half eaten bowl of apple sauce in the dining room, the dishes piled on the counter and the books laying on their spines from front door to kitchen, and decided if I was going to enjoy my family free time, I was going to have to clean the downstairs so it looked like grown ups lived here. Seriously, what is wrong with us that it takes one of us being alone for a handful of hours to clean that banana off the fucking couch?

After scraping, sweeping, wiping and tidying I am having a lovely cup of tea that will lead me to taking a delicious nap in which I will cuddle deep into my electric blanket with a trashy novel until I doze, and when I wake I will walk downstairs and be greeted by no one but a bottle of stupidly expensive vintage red (okay, there are two. prepare for drunk dialing later), a take out sushi menu, and a list of a dozen things I want to write, read and create. 

This is my time alone. This is bliss.

Is it too excessive to have both a nice long hot shower AND a bath?  



Sunday, 28 April 2013

Picture post

Today was our first summer day - yes I know it's only spring, but we could have run around naked quite comfortably. 

Wait. Why do we live in the city again? If we lived in the country we could have done that! 


So, anyway... we spent the day in the back yard doing garden work and playing with the best girl in the world. We took some pictures. Some of them our family will love. The many faces of Penelope is on going however...



 peak-a-boo in the hammock
Rockin' the shades
 It's been a long day, Imma just gonna chill out here for a bit
 Oh hey, something is hilarious...
 wait... no. no it's not
 In fact, I'm a little annoyed you're taking my photo to begin with...
 Okay, screw this I'm going to play with Papa...


Getting a kick in the pants from Lawrence Hill


This was the week of girl's nights.  A trek to Toronto (three bottles of wine and a dirty martini later), a catch up with an old friend over dinner and tea and then last night I washed the toddler out of my hair, a clean t-shirt and put on some eyeshadow. With lattes in hand we embarked on a literary girls' road trip.

Enjoying a reading by Lawrence Hill would have been spectacular in itself, but it happened to be held at one of the most exquisite pieces of property in the area, Wintergreen Studios. Wintergreen Studios has 200 delicious acres, completely off the grid with a straw bale lodge and a series of hobbit houses along the property, which houses a lake and beautiful walking trails. *yum* A walk through the woods, a hike in heels, and an offering at the river reconnected me. To the land. To myself. To passion.

Hill himself was poignant, funny and a delightful reader. Hearing about his trials with the book burning in the Netherlands made me realize just how strong you need to be to be a writer. You need teeth and determination.

As I realized my copy of The Book of Negroes sat in my dining room, unable to be signed, I was lucky enough to chat with him about writing, children and the trip to the UK with my 10month old daughter on my back. He asked, “Who does that!?” and I say “Me... I’m VERY SLOWLY writing a memoir about it.” He then asked me who my publisher was, I replied with a laugh. He told me to get on it.

He’s right.

I’m starting to forget the little details. As a freelancer, I write for work, so rather than chronicling the amazing stories of our trek when I have down time, I have started to doing other things... like ironing.

So, with the sunshine and our dance around the Maypole coming up this week (Happy Beltane) I am tapping into my muse with a renewed sense of conviction and determination to do this... if not for anyone else but Penelope and I.



Thanks for the kick in the pants Lawrence Hill.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Bicycle, Bicycle... I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike...

In the winter of 2012 I sat in my dining room table and cried. Big drops splashing on the table top as I described one of my loves in detail, which was now missing, to the police. My red and white Schwinn had be stolen from our back yard. It wasn't so much that I was sad about the bike (don't get my wrong I was) but I was furious that someone had gone through our gate and taken it. So, I cried. 

Feeling violated and pissed off, I made myself feel better by telling myself that, living in a city infamous for bike theft, it was only a matter of time before it got stolen. But damn I loved that bike.

Imagine how quickly my head whipped around when I walked past our friends' house a few days ago and saw my beautiful bicyclette propped up against the garage door! After a few emails we discovered my bike had been ditched on their neighbours yard. The police wouldn't come get it so they gave it to my friend.  

 I know I should be super grateful and excited I got my bike back. I am. What are the chances, seriously!? I'm a little annoyed, however; at the guy who found it and was too lazy to take a super nice bike to the cop shop (a 3 min drive away) in hopes of someone being reunited with their long lost love...

...

... okay okay, I'm taking a breath and letting it out.

And now I'm stoked to have my bike back.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Charlie... it's short for Penelope

When her name came to me I thought that would be it. We got the old lady vintage baby name we wanted; she was classic and I stayed true to the insane reoccurring dream I had while pregnant of a spider. I will spare you the gory B-Movie details... but what it came down to was dreaming of the weaver, the change... MY change... voila: Penelope.

So, why do I want to call her Charlie?

Almost 2 years ago it was basically narrowed down to Matilda or Penelope. Then a couple weeks before our daughter was born, my partner and I both kind of fell in love with the name Charlie. Then I called her George for the first day she was alive because she reminded me of my grandpa George, super wrinkly and looking like she should just be out fishing somewhere... in plaid with big cuffed jeans. (yeah, he was all kinds of awesome.) Anyway, after day 3, or 4 maybe I tried calling her Matilda or Tilda and it just didn't fit. (Much to the joy of my sister in law who has promptly claimed the name for her first daughter.) Then, because I also dig the boy names for girls I tried calling her George (J hated it) or Charlie... but I knew she was Penelope. I could feel it when I looked at her. So, we named her that. Penelope Mae. She's my vintage doll.

Although I look at her and I do see Penelope (Poppet), there is still part of me that wants to call her Charlie. Quite strongly over the last week or two... What the hell? Am I alone in this? Anyone else second guess their kid's name through the years?

I can just hear it now...

"What's your daughter's name?" 
"Charlie"
"oh, cute... is that short for Charlotte?"
"no no, Penelope"


*snort. 

I found out Saturday night that J's grandfather's mom was named Charlotte... that would have been so perfect. And now just keep thinking about having another baby so I can name it. I have apparently had too much whiskey tonight.


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