Archive | May 2010

Mommy meeting

One of my joys is meeting new people and I was lucky enough to meet Harriet from See Theo Run.  This was about 1 month ago when the weather much nicer.    I was particularly interested in her story because she worked with the same agency but had adopted domestically. She packed up her beautiful son and brought him down to my neck of the woods.  Of course, that day, I planned to take the dog for an early walk but of course, the kid got up in the middle of the night which ended up in a late rise and by the time I got home with my pack I was late and I was covered in sweat.   After feeding and watering the dog, making sure the diaper bag was fully stocked, I strapped the little dude in the stroller,  the elevator decided not to  work, so I had to get him resettled in the carrier and walk down 9 floors.  Then the elevator was working so I went back up to put him in the stroller, but by now I’m too sweaty to be seen in public, so I change and wash my face.

We met at Starbucks (for some strange reason there are 3 within a block in my neighbourhood so you never just say I’ll meet you at Starbucks cause you have to specify exactly which one and what’s the store beside it) and I met her lovely Theo.  At 9 months, he was moving all over the place.  I watched him move from the ground to the patio rail, to a chair and back again.  It’s hard to take your eyes off of him, he’s so cute.  I think Baby K and him could be cousins.  Harriet is lovely and vivacious, forgiving me my tardiness.  I’ve yet to master the skill of giving myself sufficient time to move about with an infant.  Anyways, as I said Harriet is wonderful and I loved talking to her;  she must have thought I was a lonely lunatic so grateful I was for her company, particularly on that day. We talked about the aspects of open adoption and how her experience has been so far.  For those details, please visit her blog.  I read it as much as I can.  I love watching her little man grow.  I show the pics to my husband and go, look honey, soon our guy will be doing that and we’ll have to put bumper pads on the coffee table!

At one point, she had to move her car (parking down here is ridiculous) and so I was in charge of two strollers.  A lady with her kids in a tandem stroller was looking at me awkwardly navigating the two strollers across the street.  She said, “Are those both your kids?”  “No, ” I said, pointing to Harriet parallel parking her car in front of a coffee shop (yes, another one), “This one is hers.”  “Oh,” she said, “I was just going to suggest you should get a tandem stroller”.  She looked rather quizzically at Harriet and the back again at Theo.  That’s the look I get when I point to my husband as the “daddy”.  (He says he never gets  comments when he’s out with the kid.  Oddly, I am inundated with them.)

We went to a nearby park and she gave me benefit of the additional 3 month knowledge she has on me.  It’s kind of scary to think that soon my guy will be just as mobile as hers is.   Note to self, buy electrical outlet covers.  I paid attention as she had packed a lunch for him.  Gawd, the accessories never end!  I noticed how at ease she it with it all.  Another note to self:  RELAX, GIRL!  I really enjoyed our time together and if the weather ever improves, I hope get to do it again.

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This is good news?

Ah, there are so many things I’d like to write about, things are churning around my premenstrual head… I’ve been in a bit of mood lately, little bits of anger, fear and loathing…..

Good news – I got a gig!  Yay for me!  I had done an acting workshop  in April that brightened me up a bit and looks like it paid off.  I play a juror in this movie of the week deal, not a lot of lines, but because it’s a courtroom drama, I am booked for 4 days next month.  Hubby has volunteered to take days off of work – he apparently is allergic to outside child care (more on that later) and luckily two of the days is on the weekend.

I took the little Dude with me to the wardrobe fitting.  It’s low budget so they’re renting two pairs of my pants.  Swell, now I have two less pairs of pants that actually fit me.  I was late, of course, but apparently you can get away with murder when you show up with  a baby.  They had an assortment of 1x  and XL large clothes for me to try on.  They clothes don’t really fit well but I’m not swimming in them either. Sigh.  I had given them my measurements the day before on the phone and even I was slightly embarrassed as I pulled the tape measure around my waist.  Fuck.  My waistline is 3 inches bigger than it was 2 summers ago.  However, the wardrobe lady attributed that to my little bundle of joy and who was I to dissuade her?  Once again, carrying a baby provides a good excuse.  I didn’t even have to try on even more hideous clothes.

So you can tell I’m having body image issues.  It’s not that I don’t know that I am responsible for the DQ blizzards that fall into my mouth, or birthday cake,  or Cadbury mini eggs.  I’ve been doing a lot of emotional eating over the past several months.  Mind you, DH is right beside me doing the same thing, but let’s face it, if he stopped eating crap for 2 weeks, he could lose 10 lbs.  Me?  3 months of intense exercise and eating sticks and twigs.   It’s sickening to me that I worked out  like a friggin’ dog  and went hungry to lose a few inches and I’m right back to where I started.  Did it all by myself. To myself.  I’m angry. Felt like I was distracted by the shiny things.

It occurs to me that I went on a diet before to save my marriage and to improve my health cause let’s face it, diabetes runs rampant in our family and I was at medium risk for it because of my weight.  I could talk about the reasons and the excuses and the events over the past several years of my life that led me to self soothe with food.  But now I sit on the precipice of all that I’ve wanted, I’m finally acting again, I’ve got a beautiful child, I’m married to a man who tells me he’s never been happier, and I’m STILL feeling overwhelmed with insecurity, self-doubt and fear.  I really don’t have anything to complain about.  I would say that I am happy.  And yet, there’s something going on inside of me that demands to be fed.

You see I told you I was in a mood.  I had good news of a gig and I somehow managed to turn it all into doom and gloom.  The glamour shall return, but right now, my karma is being shook up.

Paranoid mama

My husband recently sent me this email:

SINGAPORE – Here’s some advice for all those stressed-out, overwhelmed parents trying raise their kids according to the experts, from an expert: you’re going to mess up, so get over it, relax and enjoy the process.

Clinical psychologist Nigel Latta’s words of wisdom are the basis of a new book, “Politically Incorrect Parenting”, which starts out saying there are way too many parenting books, and even more advice, out there, most of which parents should ignore.

Latta, a bestselling author in his native Australia and TV show host who specializes in working with children with behavioural problems, is a father of two boys aged 10 and 7.

He said that most parents were overly, and unnecessarily, worried about damaging their children, and yet the first step to becoming a better parent was to let go of that fear.

“We need far less advice. We have too much advice. So what do I do? I write an advice book so that people listen,” he told Reuters in a recent interview.

“Modern parents just want to do the best, but we Google stuff and end up with 26 million things that say if you don’t raise your kids this way, they’ll end up ugly, stupid and not have a decent job. If only people would calm down!”

Latta believes that sometime between the 1980s and 1990s, the whole “modern parenting” ideology took over, bringing with it truckloads of guilt and anxiety to parents who are “assailed with new information about all the stuff we’re doing wrong and all the stuff that could go wrong”.

But a lot of that paranoia is unfounded, he said, and driven partly by companies that sell baby items that our parents never needed, such as special bedding and state-of-the-art strollers.

And this fear feeds into the children, making them more anxious, and less likely to do well, he said.

“We’ve become paranoid parents. We hear about scary things a lot more than in the old days, and fear is great, from a commercial point of view, because it makes people buy stuff.

“We’ve become such a risk-averse society when it comes to children. But the crazier you are, the less well they tend to do. The happier you are, they happier they are. So you must stay sane at all costs.”

The solution? According to Latta, let your children make mistakes, let them fall and get dirty, and most importantly, have a lot more faith in them — and in yourself.

“Everything has become so bloody complicated,” he writes in the book. “Many of the simple pleasures are being eroded away because we’re so frightened, anxious, and self-doubting.”

“Here’s the thing though: we all screw it up in one way or the other. We’re parents. That’s our job. Just like we have to survive our kids, they have to survive us. And if they make it past us, then they’ll probably be fine,” he said.

I’m a little obsessed at the moment because despite my best efforts, my kid has a flat head.  I’ve rotated his sleeping positions as per doctor instructions and it’s still not working.  A couple of mothers have mentioned “the helmet”.  Omigod, what parent wants their kid to wear a helmet 24 hours a day?  I have to admit I felt like shit, I’ve been trying to do everything “perfectly” and yet he’s managed to fall off the change table (into the laundry hamper) with me RIGHT BESIDE HIM and now I’m scared to take him out without a hat lest people(ie mothers)  notice his flat head.

I remember going to a mall and taking the baby into the rather lovely change/family room.  This lady had her little girl in a stroller and I noticed as she was preparing to breastfeed her that the little girl was wearing a orthotic brace of some sort.  It was keeping her legs apart.  I sensed the mother was terribly uncomfortable about this so I just commented on how pretty she was and kept my questions about it to myself.

Well, he’s due for his 6 month shots this week, so I’ll let you know what the doc says.  Of course, my sister says what does the pediatrician say, but we don’t have one because unless a baby has a health problem, you generally don’t see one.  Something tells me I’m about to get a pediatrician. Of course, I’ll do what’s best for him, despite my ego.

So far so good

The eldest sister and her clan has returned home, and all in all, the visit was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. First of all, no one really pissed me off and second of all, my expectations were incredibly low.  I also practised that wise way of trying not to control what other people do.  Actually pretty hard for me to do, but frankly I never actually spent that much time with them.  They managed to squeeze in a few visits to mother on their jam packed vacation and shopping trip to Seattle.

My sister’s kids are all grown up and are doing very well.  They are educated, bright, personable and tow the party line with their parents.  In fact, they all still live at home.  Not terribly unusual with West Indian/African parents.  They don’t drink, smoke or do crack.  I’m pretty darn sure they’re all virgins too.  I could be wrong.  But I don’t think so.  Nope.  I would have preferred to spend more one on one time with them, but they all pretty much stayed together at all times.  She managed to avoid spending any time at all with me on her own.  Nice to see my sister has created her own close clan minus her two sisters and her mother.

On the night when we were all together at a restaurant with mother, my eldest sister piped up and actually did a flowery, meaningless speech and presented my mum with a Kodak digital picture display complete with R&B music of all her important family moments.  Lovely. You know the ones that took place within the 7 years she didn’t bother visiting her mother in the care home.  And guess what, they picked up the tab.  If I known that, I would have ordered the sparkling wine.  I thanked them, even though of course, I was planning on paying for it, and let them have their moment. Frankly, as DH said, it was the most useful thing they have ever made in 7 years.

On the surface, despite my bitter tone, it was rather pleasant and well intentioned.  I had a nice time talking to my nieces and nephews and only took my mother to the washroom once.  I kept calling on others help redirect her when she got restless and wanted to walk away or tried to walk through the pane glass of window of the private room.  Yep, people, that’s what I’ve been doing for years, you can handle it for 10 minutes.  I could see how uncomfortable my eldest sister was with her, never displaying one tender moment with her.  Perhaps she has her reasons, who knows?

Mun was a little overwhelmed but she was happy and that’s what counts with me.

My younger sister and son arrived the day before and was staying with us.  I said “was” because her little boy is extremely allergic to Juno, so I put them in a hotel today.  Pity, because the Precious and his 6 yr old cousin were a match made in heaven.

Oh, yeah, did I mention my kid fell off the change table? Yep, that’s what I said.  Fell off the change table, while I was bending down to put diapers in his diaper bag.  Apparently he was gazing at his cousin so hard, he decided to roll off and fell into his laundry hamper.  I had just unbuckled the safety straps and was in the process of changing him when helpful nephew brought in his diaper bag, and I bent down for 2 seconds.  No thump on the head, no injuries.  Apparently, being extremely bendable is an infant’s blessing.  I aged 10 years. He was screaming more of out surprise as I was retrieving him out the laundry container, but no trauma, no injuries.  Well, the trauma was mine.  For some reason, I was terribly, terribly calm as I rocked away his few tears.  I briefly considered having a breakdown, but my sister was there, my nephew was there, and I had to get her to a job evaluation test.  Apparently, my little one has mastered the let’s stretch back so far I can roll over manoeuvre the front end of a chest of drawers into a laundry hamper in the past couple of days. The change mat label did warn me.

I miss not having my little nephew around, yet I was a bit relieved to have the place to myself again. Having my family visit  creates more work, more distraction, more mess than I am used to.   For the love of all that is holy, my biggest pet peeves are adults who don’t clean up after themselves or their kids.  Crabby, crabby me.

Only 2 glasses of wine

Had the family over the other night. Enter brother in law (who we all used to hate) and my other niece.  They brought some rotisserie chicken, potato salad, etc and  I put out some fruit, veggies, cheese, hummus and pita, etc.  Oddly, they didn’t really eat much so I assume they ate earlier on.  Hubby entertained the guys and I sat in the kitchen (of course) with the women and talked.  I learned some very interesting things about my older sister.  When I wrote the story of my mother, there was a lot of information that I didn’t have, so I guessed and it turns out my sister actually came to England before I was born.  She used to pick me up at the babysitter down the hall – at age 8 or 9 – and bring me home.  My mohter was always working.

Anyway, other than it being perfectly obvious that she doesn’t care for little babies (even though she works in child care and bore 3 children whom I’m assuming were babies at one point), we got along well.  She shared stories about mum with her daughters.  My girlfriend dropped by to meet everyone and when I introduced her as a producer to my nephew, my sister freaked out a little.  Apparently, she doesn’t approve of her son’s interest in screenwriting.

It seems that they are a close knit family, which is good to see in a way.  It’s good to see that they care for one another even though us sisters aren’t that close.  I’d love to spend more one on one time with the kids, but it’s apparent that  it’s not going to happen; there simply isn’t enough time and I’m kinda tied up with the Precious.

More later…..

Boiling point

And no, it’s not about my family….yet.

Last week, hubby and I finally had our first little breakdown over our new family life.    He’d come home from work, change, take the dog out, take business calls, then take over baby care while I made dinner, then blitz out over TV or  and snacks before collapsing into bed.  Rinse, repeat, day after day.  I’d do the usual dog/baby walk, laundry, feeding dog, feeding baby, bathing the baby, changing, playing, trying to cut his nails, blogging,arranging Buddhist meetings,  occasional auditioning, phone calling, try to eat, pee, AND no, I still haven’t done my taxes, my mum’s taxes, opened the mail, called that person back, forget about chanting, I just want to find a pair of pants that fit that aren’t yoga pants….. and he came in and said the dog doesn’t get enough exercise!  And I remind him that I just took the dog on a 2.5 km run/gasp/walk on the seawall with the kid.  And then he says, well, that’s today, the other day you JUST walked around the lagoon and that’s not good enough. By the way, that takes at least 35 minutes at a brisk pace.  This dog gets more than adequate exercise.  Even on a bad day.  There are millions of people in this world that don’t do as well as our dog does.

Cue smoke billowing out of my ears.

I had scored free movie passes and he elected to stay home with the kid cause he had been quite fussy around bedtime and didn’t want to inconvenience my friend who was willing to babysit.  What if he started crying?  What if he wouldn’t go to bed?  I was already upset that he had turned down a couple of hours to get out with me.  I ended up asking my friend to come with me instead.  Cause make no mistake, I was going to see a movie and eat popcorn.

I told him he could take the kid AND the dog if he really wanted to help as I had just had prepare for an audition with the kid crying and whinging the whole time I was showering, dressing and attempting to put on my makeup AND get us out of the house.  But then he complained he couldn’t possibly play with the dog cause the kid whined  when he stepped away from the stroller to throw the ball.  Seriously.  So I said no, forget it, I’ll take the dog to the park, you stay home with the kid.  Fine, as long as he didn’t have to hear me complain.  Fine.

Then I complained.  Loudly.  Hey, I’ll go toss the ball with her, it’s not like I don’t do take care of her AND the baby every single day Monday to Friday.  God forbid you have to do two things at once!  You get the picture.  I was getting a little sick of his tone.  Sick of the dog’s needs being put above my own. He starts beaking back, blah, blah, blah.   I stomp out with the dog and by the time I get back, I realize that he’s just as worn as I am and that he never gets time to himself either.

He gets up early with the Precious on the weekends so I can sleep in and we often have to split up to complete errands and tasks on the weekends.  We’re obviously both feeling worn out and unappreciated.  He’s staring at me with those eyes so I sit down and actually apologize to him.  I apologized because I had not taken into consideration that sometimes he needs a break too.  He loathes to ask for help (including babysitting his son) because he feels we should be able to DO EVERYTHING ourselves.   I know him well enough to know that he will always do things the hard way first before learning his lesson.  I also know me well enough to know that I have no intention of losing my natural mind so that’s why I insist on a dog walker when he’s out of town and the occasional house cleaner and I have every intention of getting a babysitter.  I can’t wait for his mother to come to town all the time.  I am willing to pay for this because my time is precious and there are other things I’d rather be doing. I would rather play with my son with my full attention rather than try and hold him while sweeping, cleaning or attending to other things.  I REFUSE to drive myself over the edge to prove my worth.

In turn, he let me know that he does put me first, does his best to please me and does appreciate everything that I do.  So we both talked it out and  I think my point was made.  Let it be known that in this part of my life, I will not be the martyr my mother was. I will also let DH know that daddies deserves a day off every now and then, too.

They’re heee’re!

So far, so good and I’ve only had one glass of wine so far…..

They arrived yesterday morning and no, they didn’t make a beeline to see mother.  I did invite them over since they were walking around downtown before they could check in.  In our family, we don’t show up empty handed so they came bearing flowers and a nice tea/cookie box from Crabtree and Evelyn.  That was very nice.  I actually had tears in my eyes when they walked in.  My niece and nephew are all grown up.  Yes, my sister managed somehow to NOT hold the baby – she works in childcare – so don’t ask me how she can resist a cute baby, but there you go.  My expectations are fairly low, so I can’t be disappointed too much.  I’ve figured out just how much I can annoy her and amuse myself at the same time.  They’ve managed to back out of having dinner with us so far this weekend.  It’s so different from DH’s family, who will spend 24/7 with you if they can help it.

We did go see mother today and we all hung out at Starbucks.  They brought tons of new clothes and hats for her.  Mum was so happy to see them.  I think she was rather overwhelmed, but it was nice hearing the kids remind her of how she would cook for them and perform at their school activities.  She even managed to sing once I prompted her with the tune.  Anyways, more family arrives tomorrow so stay tuned.

I’m just going to relax tonight and have sushi.