metro mama

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Early Literacy (or, How to Nurture Your Young Shakespeare)

I attended a seminar from Toronto Early Literacy Specialists last week and thought I would share what I learned. A lot of it is common sense but I’ll pass it along anyway.

First of all, and we all know this, have many books in the home and read, read, read. Don’t just read to your child--set a good example and let your child see you reading (no problem for we literary mamas). Have some of their books on a low shelf they can reach so they can make their own selections.

Second, talk to your child a lot. No shit. Get down to their level, talk slowly, and let them see your face. Give your child lots of time to answer questions. We often only wait 2 seconds then answer for them. Give them around 10 seconds to reply.

They recommend the length of your sentences be just one more word than your child’s. For example, to my 13-month-old, I should speak one word at a time (slowly, at eye level).

I’ll take this advice with a grain of salt. I think it’s important to talk a lot, using full sentences that are grammatically correct. But I also try to teach individual words using this method. It’s worked for dog, cat, and duck.

Use your library! Visit often and browse the books. Talk to your children’s librarian. Get recommended reading lists from library web sites.

The age of 9 months – 18 months is critical for language development.

The age of 18 months – 2 is a period of explosion of language.

Take every opportunity to talk to your child. Talk about what you’re doing during meals, getting dressed, bath time, etc.

Use things like logos, street signs, and menus as opportunity for reading. They recommended a book called “City Signs”.

Tell stories. Make them up or tell them stories about yourself or family members when you were young. Recap the day, recent trips, and events. Tell simple folk tales. Use voices. Have them tell stories back to you. They recommended Sally Jaegar as a great source of info on storytelling.

Children often learn to write their name first, usually around age 3.

A good suggestion, I thought, was the use of a word box. Have your child make their own greeting cards. Have a box of words they use often (such as happy, birthday, mom, dad, their name). They can use the words to copy.

Give them lots of different writing tools.

When they’re working on art, refrain from direction! Don’t tell them the tail has to go here, they eyes should be there--let them be creative.

From around age 3, do junk art. Have them build sculptures with junk and masking tape. Take pictures of it so they’ll willingly dismantle their creations.

From around age 3.5, label things in the home. Stick to one room such as the kitchen. Put the labels at their eye-level. Leave them up for around 6 weeks, then move them around.

Make books. For example, use a food flyer. Cut out pictures and label them. Use family photos to make a book about family.

Subscribe to magazines like Owl and Chickadee.

Limit access to computers and TV, lest your child be in the sorry position of finding the real world boring in comparison to the virtual world. I agree with this. I want to research this topic and write about it someday.

On Foreign Languages

They recommend that for a child under 3, stick to one person for one language. So, if mama speaks French to babe, she should speak exclusively French. Papa should speak exclusively English. You could also possibly speak the second language at an exclusive location (mama speaks English at home and French at Grandma’s house).

For new immigrants, they recommend they speak their first language. They say it’s a common expense for parents to try to speak English at home to help the child; however, it is a broken English. So they child isn’t getting a strong example of any language.

On Phonics

I believe in teaching phonics. The speaker agreed, but said it can be taught through songs and rhymes. By age 3 they can pick out rhyming words. No need for boring, strictly-phonics instruction

That’s all. Let me know your thoughts, wise ladies! Any theories? Any strategies that have worked for you?


Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Cakes loves to climb lately. I follow her around, with arms outstretched, allowing her to scale stairs, furniture, you name it. She has developed a new habit--once she reaches her summit, she closes her eyes, smiles, and does a swan dive, knowing I will be there to catch her.

I love the fact that she trusts me enough to do this. I’m glad she is brave.

I hope her trust will always be in the right hands.

I hope she will always know I am here for her.

With arms outstretched.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

You know what I want to do? Strut.

Last night I joined some friends to watch some cheesy 80’s dance movies.

The organizer of this madness is the biggest fan of the 80’s. She even has her own 80’s band called Big Hair (I’m not shitting you-here’s their website). Toronto mamas: I highly recommend you check out Big Hair sometime, they’re a blast. It’s also a great idea for a bachelorette party.

Our resident expert selected two definitive 80’s dance films: Staying Alive and Breakin’.

First, we viewed Staying Alive. Boy, was John Travolta in great shape in those days. I had forgotten how buff he used to be (and what a great dancer!).

Why don’t any of the Think You Can Dance dancers have that steely look of determination like Tony Manero?

The second film of the evening was Breakin'
which I have never seen before. It was sooo cheesy. It really makes you realize just how far the dance form has come.

Jean-Claude Van Damme is an extra in this film! He is sporting a leotard, bopping in the background of a dance scene. Hilarious.

All of this cheese was washed down with guacamole, brownies, and cheap wine.

Good times.

Next time, I nominate Footloose.

Two questions for you, lovely readers: what is your all time favourite Travolta role? Favorite 80’s dance film?


Fence update: Thanks for all of your advice; however, the decision was taken out of our hands. Our buds went away for the weekend and in the meantime, the fence people came and finished the work.

The wee yard is looking rather nice. I’ll post the after pictures soon.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Toronto the Bad

I need to interrupt the Toronto the Good series with some venting on the negatives of city life. A few events in the past week are testing my idealistic view of Hogtown.

1) We were the lucky recipients of some gorgeous plants from my sister-in-law's wedding a few weeks ago. We proudly placed them on the front step. This morning, we woke to find two of them ripped up and scattered down the block. I was able to gather them up and re-pot them (most of them still had their roots)and I think they'll survive the trauma. But I am really upset by this. I hope this is a random act. There are some "characters" on the street but until now I was convinced they were benign. Now I'm not so sure.

2) On Saturday I sped Cakes by a drugged-out dude on Queen Street who was about to piss on the sidewalk.

3) I spotted a prostitute on the corner, at 4:00 in the afternoon, two blocks from our house.

4) We're pretty sure a guy across the street is dealing.

We really do love our neighborhood. We think our house was the deal of the century and we see changes happening so quickly. Yet these incidents have left me really upset and questioning if we have chosen the best environment for our babe.

I think we have. I can't think of a better alternative. We can't afford one of the frou frou neighbourhoods in T.O. Besides, we don't really want to live in one. We lived in High Park before this (renting, of course) and it was too homogenous (a post coming). I know we couldn't stomach the suburbs. A small town definitely isn't for us--I grew up in one and got in so much trouble when I was a teenager. Plus, Big Papa and I would hate it. The only viable alternative I can envision is a town like Peterborough--close to Toronto, yet big enough to have decent restaurants and a university. That's really not what we want either though.

So, I will have to continue building on my Toronto the Good series; sadly, not to convince my readers, but to remind myself.

The Breast of Times and the Worst of Times

A year ago, I was sporting 40 pounds of post-pregnancy weight.

I was not a pretty sight--my boobs however, were fucking fantastic (38D!)

I was always a 36B chick. The girls were smallish but perky, and like they say, more than a handful’s a waste.

They were nothing special, but nothing to be ashamed about either.

When I was pregnant, I loved having huge boobs. That was the only good thing about pregnancy for me.

Fast forward one year. Today I have finally shed that 40 pounds but I have lost the lovely bosoms.

My stacked set has been replaced by a couple of flaccid empty pouches.

Oh, the injustice.

It’s been such a tumultuous year for the girls. Full of ups and downs.

I think they’re beyond recovery. They’re sagging with defeat.

They have capitulated.

My only question is, what happens if I do this baby making thing again? Can they sink to new lows? How low can they go?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Love Thy Neighbour

"For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?" --Jane Austen

As you know from my posts, we’ve been having a smashing time with our new neighbours.

Our fences are being built this week. The two couples who live south of us are old friends who bought side-by-side homes. They are getting a gate between their backyards.

We’ve been socializing a lot and I think a gate between our yard would be nice too.

The problem is, I’m not sure how to bring it up. If I do, and they’re not interested, it will be really uncomfortable (kind of like if you’ve been dating someone for a while and you ask if you’re dating exclusively and they get all embarrassed and say they’re not ready for a commitment yet).

Maybe it’s not a good idea anyway--what if they move out and some asshole moves next door?

Some people believe you shouldn’t get too close to your neighbours. Big Papa was my next door neighbour when we started dating (yep, I actually married The Boy Next Door. I gazed longingly at him over my fence for a few days before I got up the nerve to ask him out. I engineered a meeting by waiting until a few minutes before he came home to wash my car in my short shorts. The rest is history.) A few friends advised against it. One of them said not to shit in my own backyard. I’m glad I didn’t listen--look how well it worked out.

Back to the present. What to do…dare we proclaim our love?

I can’t believe I find myself fearing rejection again. It feels like my twenties.


Friday, June 23, 2006

Toronto the Good, Part 2: Pride and Respect

In honour of Pride Week, another reason I love this city for my babe: exposure to many different family models.

I want Cakes to grow up among families that are different from our traditional family unit of mother, father, and biological child.

I want her to appreciate families with one mom or one dad, two moms or two dads, families that include extended family, families with adopted children, inter-racial families, families with no children.

Here in Toronto, particularly in our neighbourhood, she will see all of these variations and will understand they are not inferior to our family model.

She will respect these many forms of family.

By the way, the Pride festival has a weekend of family activities. Find information here.

Happy Pride!


Thursday, June 22, 2006

I Predict a Riot

I Predict A Riot

Tonight we had burgers and beers with the neighbours. Right now I am watching the Think You Can Dance results. In lieu of a post, please enjoy this band I'm really diggin' right now.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Toronto the Good, Part 1: The Arts

One of the things I will explore on this blog is why I think it best to raise Cakes in the city (reasons beside the fact the city is better for us and happier parents make for a happier baby).

One of the biggest advantages of the city, in my opinion, is the access to the Arts. I grew up in a small town with one movie screen. My parents didn’t (and still do not) have a great deal of interest in the Arts themselves, but they did make an effort to expose me to some degree. They enrolled me in ballet, guitar lessons, and art classes; however, the offerings in a small town were very limited.

In my twenties, I discovered a love of the Arts. Toronto was a bonanza, the extent of which I didn’t fully appreciate until I moved here.

It is very important to me that Cakes be exposed to as much as possible. She can decide what she likes and doesn’t like. I don’t want to force things on her or make her days jam-packed with activity.

I can’t wait to see her reactions to new experiences. Oh, the places we’ll go…

The theatre. Big, beautiful Mirvish productions. I can’t wait to see her eyes widen at the spectacle. Pay-what-you-can Shakespeare. We'll take a picnic to the comedies at Dream at High Park and the lesser known plays at Shakespeare in the Rough. We’ll check out the quirky Fringe Fest shows (age-appropriateness permitting). There is so much great theatre in Toronto--we will take in as much of it as we can.

Dance. The Nutcracker every Christmas. Free ballet by the water at Harbourfront. Hip-hop classes (something else we can do together?)

Literature. Readings by her favourite authors. Shopping for new books at The Word on the Street festival.

Music. The TSO. Our brand spanking new Opera House. Broken Social Scene at Olympic Island. The Beaches Jazz Fest. Christmas choirs at Massey Hall. I will even suffer through children’s concerts.

The visual arts. I want her to have a membership at the AGO. Perhaps we can take some sort of class together--I am woefully ignorant on this topic.

Film. Foreign films on small screens. The Toronto Film Fest.

I know some of this stuff is expensive but there is also a lot for free. Plus, it is all about priorities. We may not have cable but dammit, we’ll have opera tickets.

We’re also surrounded by art in our community. There are many galleries nearby. Artists live here--our next-door neighbour is a sculptor; the next door houses an actor.

There is so much here to offer her. I hope she’ll have more interest in the concert hall than the computer screen. I think her world will be so much richer with these treasures at her fingertips. I’m sure she will find something to be passionate about and her own creativity will be nurtured.

I also hope someday we will enjoy all of these things as adults, and friends, and she will open my eyes to new experiences.

I hope this city can bring joy to her life.


On Comments

Yesterday, a friend of mine asked if I liked comments on the blog.

Do babies like to eat dirt?

Of course, I love getting comments.

I read several blogs now. I would really like my comments on other blogs to be more thoughtful; however, being so short of time, to do so would leave no time to do my own blogging. I try to do quick comments just to let the writer know I'm reading.

That said, I love all of your comments, big and small.

I realize it would be easier to comment if I wrote something more substantial than what we ate and drank that day (coming soon, I promise!)

Also, you don't have to agree with me. If you have a difference of opinion, I'd love to hear it. I'm pretty open-minded--you may even change my mind. Feel free to do your own post and link to it in my comments. As HBM says, let's banish the term "link-whoring" (or embrace it).

If you prefer to lurk, that's cool too.

Happy commenting!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

It's All About Big Papa This Week

Today is BP's birthday.

Happy Birthday, Big Papa!

Today I was forced, for the second time in three days, to eat and drink way too much in celebration of the pater. Life is tough.

We started the day, again, in fine style with fresh, baked goodies.

Cakes and I had a playdate with our really good friends who we haven't seen in a while, freeing Big Papa to spend the morning as he chose.

We took BP for a nice lunch on Kubo Radio's new patio.

We helped the neighbour assemble his new patio table - to thank us, he brewed up a rum slushie and we had a birthday toast.

We had another lovely dinner, courtesy of St. Lawrence Market: filet mignon, baked potato with fresh chives and portabello mushroom. Washed it down with the Wolf Blas Green Label 2003.

I could get used to this. Tomorrow is the longest day of the year. Cause for celebration, I say.


Monday, June 19, 2006

My Husband the Metrosexual

Saturday was our neighbour’s birthday and Big Papa’s is Tuesday. Said neighbour told him all week they had a date Saturday afternoon. At the assigned time, four of them called on BP, piled into their Beemer, and went for manis and pedis!

I never thought I’d see the day. Now if I could just convince him it's OK to wear capris.

We had a fab Father’s Day. Cakes and I were up early. We were at Bonjour Brioche when they opened to buy some croissants for breakfast (the BEST croissants in the city, by the way).

We gave Cakes her new sand and water table to keep her occupied while we had a leisurely breakfast on our newly assembled patio furniture.

We showered BP with presents. New CDs (Kaiser Chiefs and New Pornographers) and an ACDC belt buckle. Big Papa, who is actually far from a metrosexual (a lot of his clothes come from MEC) has a penchant for outlandish belt buckles.

We spent a lazy day around the house sipping iced tea and taking turns reading the paper.

Cakes retired at 7. I made Big Papa dinner and we dined alfresco: mixed greens with blue cheese, walnuts and pear; rack of lamb, green beans, and red potatoes with fresh chives from the garden. We quaffed a nice Bin 555 Shiraz we’ve been saving for a special occasion.

Our neighbours, who were also drinking wine in the backyard (still no fences), invited us over for dessert. They served us a wonderful ice-cream-and-boozy- fruit concoction. We brought a cheese tray with some cheeses we bought at the new shop that just opened in the ‘hood, the Leslieville Cheese Market. The cheeses were fantastic.

Now, I need to come up with something for Tuesday. I also suffer from having a birthday right next to another holiday (my birthday is Dec 31) and I don’t want Big Papa to get ripped off. I don’t know if I can cook twice in one week so I’ll have to come up with something different.


Friday, June 16, 2006

A Tribute to Big Papa

With Father’s Day fast approaching, I though it timely to sing the accolades of Big Papa.

BP spends a lot of time with Cakes. He’s never too intimidated to hang with all the mamas at the park. He does his share of night duty. He is patient, attentive, and so loving with her (and me).

BP does 90% of the cooking and grocery shopping. I would eat pasta every night if it weren’t for him. When I do cook, he finds something good to say about my efforts.

BP notices when I have cleaned the house and always praises my work. He thanks me when I finally do the laundry (he’s often wearing his satin Christmas boxers by then).

Big Papa is good with money but not cheap. He cares little for material things. He doesn’t mind owning an eight-year-old car (and having to bike to work because I’m using our only car).

BP was so sensitive when I was trying to decide whether or not to go back to work. He would have supported either decision (but was happy I chose to stay home).

BP is thoughtful, smart, kind, compassionate, passionate, and indulgent.

Big Papa is a hottie.

BP has patiently assembled many items from Ikea.

Big Papa is dedicated to his family and his work, but his family comes first.

Big Papa, if you’re reading (I know you are), we love you and Happy Father’s Day!


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Burn, Baby Burn

It’s been a busy but productive couple of days. We went to visit my folks yesterday. Dad is doing well and a visit from Cakes sure did brighten his day. She was in fine form, cackling and babbling and going 80 miles an hour. She left a trail of four exhausted adults in her wake.

I intended to blog when we got home last night, but was dead tired and brain dead, so instead we accepted an invitation to join the neighbours for a port (don’t have to ask me twice). Our fences are going up this week and we need to make the most of the open concept backyards while they last.

This morning, Big Papa kindly vacated the premises with Cakes so I could get a few things done. He took her to the Family Centre and attended the crockpot cooking class I had signed up for (better him than me--I don’t even know where the crockpot is. Do we have a crockpot?) The problem with crockpots is that they’re slow--you need to figure out what you’re going to eat hours before it’s time to eat it. We suck at that. Tonight the President made us dinner in 6 minutes (Indian. Again). We had to be fast because I had a date with the TV.

Tonight I had a lovely lazy evening watching the two-hour So You Think You Can Dance and surfing in the commercials. Just a few SYTYCD thoughts….Mary is as braying as ever. Danielle sure can shake her booty. Jessica, the ballerina, needs to get some booty. Jamyz, on the other hand, knew how to shake that thang. I was disappointed in both disco numbers, especially the eighties disco. Melody and Nick’s disco set the bar pretty high last season. Pasa doble…most boring dance ever? The dance of the night, for sure, was Travis and Martha’s Broadway. Musa and Natalie were hot, hot, hot but the judges lukewarm.

Tomorrow is judgment night. I hope they BRING IT!


Monday, June 12, 2006

I Need a Vacation, I Mean, Vocation

Driving home from my mid-term this evening, it really struck me how tired I am of school. I am so tired. I usually like being a student (I have tried to view it as a hobby) but I’m nearing the end of my patience.

The reason I’m a perpetual student is because I’ve never had a strong sense of vocation. In high school, when the time came to decide what to do with our lives, I had no idea. I thought I might like to be a lawyer someday. There was no education fund, and I knew I would have to borrow, so I did a Legal Assistant diploma, thinking I’d work in the field and finish putting myself through school later. I pictured myself as a public defender, standing up for the rights of those less fortunate.

After college, I ended up working for the government for five years until the layoffs of the Harris days. In the meantime, I discovered an aptitude for, and interest in I.T. I ended up with a layoff from the public service that included money for retraining. I went to a private school and earned my IT certifications (a lot of work!), after which I was lucky enough to win a good starting position in a saturated and male-dominated job market.

Six years ago, it really started to bother me that I had never gone to university. Most of my friends had and I really felt like I was lacking something. I had always loved reading and writing, so I enrolled part-time in English.

I moved to Toronto five years ago and (after a short stint at the job from hell) ended up in a good IT position at a wonderful company from which I recently resigned at the end of my maternity leave. I don’t plan to return to the field (I’ve found the work very unrewarding for some time now).

In the meantime, I have been slugging away at school at night and will (hopefully) graduate in April.

School usually comes somewhat easily to me, but I’m finding the combination of summer-time classes and the demands of motherhood frustrating.

When Cakes goes down for her nap, all I want to do is nap or read a novel. Instead, I work on my term paper. When she goes to bed at night, all I want to do is read blogs or watch a movie--but I force myself to catch up on my readings. In a summer course, the course load is relentless.

This would all be good if I had a clear conviction of what I want to do next. But I don’t. I am 90% sure I want to teach, but I’m not sure what grade, or what type of school. I’m debating on doing my MA, but I really don’t know if I can handle more school right now. I want to be 100% sure of what I want before I invest any more time and money in education. I feel like I have been in school forever and I shudder to think of the money I have invested.

Work is important to me, but I’m particular about it. What I want in my work is for it to be: rewarding, conductive to family life, well-paying, fun, lots of vacation time, flexible, making a difference in the world. Is that a lot to ask?

I realize that I am privileged to be this picky about work and able to spend so much time in school to figure out what I want. I am very thankful for that.

The other good thing about my aimlessness is that it made my decision to stay home with Cakes a lot easier. I didn’t have a career I was passionate about competing for my attention. Again, I know how lucky I am to be able to do this.

Still, I wish I were one of those people who have a sense of vocation, the ones who have always known what they wanted and have focussed on building a career. I have done quite well for someone so scattered--it bothers me to think what I may have achieved had I been able to concentrate on one thing.

Luckily, I have a few years to figure this all out. I want to be here for Cakes (and possibly Number Two). I hope things will become clearer before I need to make any more decisions. I am thirty-three, which is still relatively young, and I have an incredibly supportive husband.

But. I. Am. So. Tired.

It is never too late to be what you might have been. -- George Eliot


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Shopaholic Takes Toronto

Actually, I’m far from a shopaholic. I loathe shopping, especially when it involves me trying on clothing. But, today I was on a mission to buy presents for Big Papa for his birthday and Father’s Day, ‘cause he deserves them. And a bathing suit, as I literally have none that fit properly and we plan to loll on the beach this summer as much as possible.

S., reading the blog last night, expressed some discontent about being referred to as “S.” He says it’s too vague--it could stand for “shithead” or “shit-for-brains”. He would prefer the moniker, “Big Papa”. Henceforth, the husband formerly known as S. will be known as Big Papa, or BP for short.

I went to the Eaton Centre. I can’t stand the Eaton Centre, especially on a beautiful sunny day like today but it is where all the cheap bathing suits are. I wanted to go to H&M first (my strategy is to try my best bet first, and if I’m successful, leave the mall IMMEDIATELY). Heading to H&M involved first traversing the entire mall, passing Baby Gap, Gymboree, and Roots Kids. My god, the baby summer clothes are so cute; however, Cakes has a closet full of clothes and new ones are neither needed, nor in the budget (and Big Papa would be annoyed if I came home with any).

I successfully shunned the baby stores and made it to H&M when I was blindsided by an adorable baby suitcase on wheels I could not pass up. (Cakes will be walking soon. She can use this to tote her own gear and maybe I can use a handbag again for the first time in a year.)

I found some cool gifts for Big Papa (can’t say anymore in case he’s reading). I tried a couple of bathing suits at H&M. I thought I was ready for this. I was mentally prepared. But the reality is, it was still too soon. I think I may have suffered a self-esteem setback from rushing into bathing suit shopping to quickly after childbirth. Needless to say, cheap string bikinis are not a good look for me (actually, they never were).

TO Mama posted about the horror of post-pregnancy swimsuit shopping the other day and recommended a shop in Yorkville. I thought about going, but I’m too cheap and too lazy so I ducked into Old Navy and found a passable, two-piece boy leg for 30 bucks. Done.


Friday, June 09, 2006

Memory Lane

20 years ago I...

...didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.
...was a metalhead. my first period (I can't believe I was excited about that).

10 years ago I..

...almost married the wrong person.
...partied far too much.
...had the most ridiculous haircut.

6 years ago I...

...moved next door to a sweet, smart, hottie named S., asked him out within two weeks, and married him three years later.
...quit smoking.
...started working on my undergrad.

5 years ago I...

...moved to Toronto, kicking and screaming. Now it's home.
...had the job from hell. I provided IT support and was on call 24/7. My phone would literally ring about 8 times a night (great preparation for having Cakes). Luckily, I found a great position within six months.

3 years ago I...
...married the lovely S. in his parents’ backyard.
...went to Portugal on our honeymoon.
...bought the house from plan.

1 year ago I...
...gave birth to Cakes and life changed forever.
...was bloody exhausted.
...had lovely, enormous boobs.

Yesterday I... Cakes' favorite story six times.
...told Cakes I love her at least eight times.
...dug happily in my long-awaited garden.

Today I... happy with my life.
...don’t know what I want to be when I grow up (yep, there is a post coming on this).
...have tiny boobs.

Tomorrow I will...

...go shopping for a birthday present for S. While I’m out, I’ll get a slushy coffee on a patio and read the paper, savouring the alone time.
...if I have the strength, buy myself a new bathing suit now that the very thought doesn't make me nauseous.

In the next year I will…

...finish my undergrad. HOORAY! Finally.
...try to do as many nice things for S. as he does for me.
...try to appreciate every moment I spend with Cakes.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Monkey Business

Our next-door neighbour gave Cakes this adorable creature.

She’s a good companion for her--a monkey for a monkey.

My monkey absolutely refuses to wear her hat. Yesterday she pitched it in the middle of a busy intersection.

Today, Monkey Girl pushed an empty box up to her baby gate and tried to scale it.

The Monkey no longer pushes her food away when she’s full--she takes a mouthful, then she spits it out and smears it all over herself.

She is a very strong-willed baby. I don’t know what we’re in for. I see many battles of wills in our future. I’d rather have her this way though and know she won’t ever be pushed around.


We had a nice day today. Cakes and I went to the park early this morning so Big Papa could sleep in. We made a couple of new friends. We watched the Chinese ladies do tai chi then they played with Cakes hair (she’s getting these sweet little curls at the back that everyone is compelled to touch).

I lounged on the deck and studied for my mid-term during Cakes’ nap. It is much less painful having to hit the books when you can do it in the sunshine.

This afternoon I planted some shrubs in the back: mini blue spruce, tree peony, climbing hydrangea and weigela. S. got out the boxes of Ikea patio furniture that have been gathering dust in the garage and spent hours assembling (poor S. has spent many, many hours assembling Ikea products over the years). Cakes and I watched him work and she crawled in our new grass for the first time--she loved the feel of the grass on her bare feet.

By the time we were done all that, it was 7 pm and the only thing we had to eat in the house was PC Indian (which we had last night), so we treated ourselves to fish and chips (from our local shop, the Reliable--what a name). We went to sit on the porch after dinner and the neighbours invited us for a mango martini. It was lovely--so fruity and frosty. I think that was the first fruit I’ve had in about 3 days.


Thanks for all your comments. We bloggin' mamas like the comments.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Number Two

I always thought we’d start trying for Number Two when Number One was about a year old.

Well, Cakes is a year old. When someone has the nerve to ask when we’ll start trying for Number Two I laugh at them.

I have absolutely no desire to make another baby yet.

I feel alone in this sentiment. My buddies with whom I went through the first pregnancy are mostly excited about the second.

Just thinking about it makes me feel nauseous.

I know there are reasons. I hated being pregnant (I also hate it when women tell me how much they loved being pregnant and that they miss it. Are you kidding me?) Cakes’ birth was rough, and I’m still getting over it emotionally. I feel light-headed when I think about it. Yet, I know other moms who experienced difficult births and they jumped back on the horse.

I’ve only just begun to feel like jumping my husband again.

The good thing is, S. and I agree about waiting for the second. He found the past year equally hard. We finally feel normal again. Cakes is a blast. We are sleeping. We’ve gotten the move over with. We have a social life again. I feel sexy again. I have time to read and write (barely). We’re not ready to give all that up.

We’ve even considered not even trying for Number Two (but decided we probably will).

Many people think kids are much better off if they have siblings and they’re close in age. Does that make us selfish for not wanting to provide that?

If there are any other moms who feel this way, I’d love to hear from them!


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Whirlwind Weekend

We’re home after an emotional, but wonderful weekend. Cakes’ Auntie M. tied the knot. She was a beautiful bride and she and the lucky groom are going to have such a fun life together.

We embarked Thursday morning after packing umpteen items (mostly for Cakes) and carefully securing them in the car. We drove most of the way to Kingston and things were going perfectly. Cakes was having a great nap. The weather was good. I was reviewing, in my mind, all the clothing, shoes, and accessories the three of us would need for the next few days and hoping we had them all when I came to a horrible realization.

“Oh, FUCK!!!!,” I said, waking Cakes and causing S. to cringe in annoyance.

Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, I said (in my head this time).

We had forgotten the bag with the suit and all of Cakes dresses (rehearsal party, wedding, and brunch).

We continued on our way. Luckily, I knew fellow mommy blogger AC (sister-in-law of the groom), was on her way from T.O. the next day. We made some calls and AC’s hubby kindly picked it up for us, saving us a very pissed-off, five-hour drive.

AC, thank-you so much.

Next crisis--not a funny one. That night I received a call from my mother--my father had a heart attack. He is going to be fine. I am not to come until after the wedding (he didn’t even want me to know about it until after the weekend but luckily mom overrode him).

This really blew me out of the water. I have grandparents whose health I worry about a great deal. My parents’ mortality has never really occurred to me before. My dad has always enjoyed perfect health so this was a real surprise.

(I’m going to do a separate post about this weighty topic because tonight I want to blog about the wedding.)

We saw dad today. He looks great and should be home soon.

Back to the wedding.

Cakes did so well for such a busy weekend. Friday night we had the rehearsal party outside in the tent (the wedding was in my in-laws’ backyard, like our wedding). The bar was set up on the dance floor. Behind the bartender were several coolers and empty beer cases upon which Cakes had great fun drumming.

The Big Day was kind of crazy and hectic, but in a good way. I held off dressing Cakes until the very last minute. I was dressed and was feeding her some avocado when she blew raspberries at me (with her mouth still full of avocado), a trick her Auntie M. had taught her the day before. After sponging off my dress, I forced Cakes into her satin and crinoline torture device. Actually, she was reasonable tolerant of the dress but the shoes and headband were not up for debate. I capitulated easily.

Cakes looked like an angel in her dress.

There was a bit of craziness when everyone showed up and needed their corsages and boutonnieres. I was in charge of this but I sucked at it. They were these gargantuan roses that, despite my best efforts, would flop from the lapel of the poor victims to whom I was trying to affix the damned things. Finally, we sorted it all out and off we went.

The ceremony was beautiful. Cakes and the Groom’s nephew of the same age let out perfectly timed screeches when asked if there were objections.

After the vows, we all toasted the beautiful couple with lychee martinis.

Dinner was fabulous. Cakes went to bed without a fuss between the salad and the main course, which was: filet mignon, fiddleheads, asparagus, carrots, and garlic mashed potatoes.

The speeches were funny, articulate, and sincere. They made me teary.

The dancing was a blast. The bride had burned an excellent mix that including The Ramones, The Clash, and the Talking Heads. Bride and Groom cut loose on the dance floor too.

I can’t wait for the next big wedding. By that time, Cakes will be able to hit the dance floor with us.

Now that is something to look forward to.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Things I Like About Working in the Home

1. Being outside on a sunny day instead of looking longingly from a cube.

2. Not having a boss (besides Cakes).

3. Afternoon naps.

4. Matinees (both kinds).

5. Going for a beer at the Black Bull patio with S. when Grandma’s here.

6. No meetings.

7. Of course, plenty of time to hang with Baby Cakes and S.

8. Martinis and pedicures with the gay neighbours.

Work is the curse of the drinking classes. --Oscar Wilde


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