December 9, 2010

Have a Little Faith...?

Version 1.0 has her first Christmas concert next week. The preschool sent home a notice telling us that the kids would all be dressed as angels and would each carry an LED tealight and march in procession at the Catholic church. I felt uneasy with this.

First, we are not Catholic, nor are we committed to any particular faith or denomination. In fact, we do not subscribe to organised religion in any way. That's our choice, for better or worse. While I fully respect anyone's right to choose, I don't want my daughter or son indoctrinated in any direction until they are old enough to understand what they are hearing and can make informed choices one way or the other. I understand we are all influenced by the way we are brought up and can never be completely impartial, but this is the way we have chosen and that's just that (read: I'm not interested in a debate here around whether we should or should not be following any prescribed faith, so save that for somewhere else).

While the preschool is a Montessori, and Maria Montessori was Catholic and built Catholic teachings into her framework for education, it's at the discretion of the teacher as to how much is built into the curriculum  or the practices. Our particular school's teacher is indeed Catholic but does not introduce religion into the teachings, other than when she is explaining a Christian (or other) holiday, and to say thanks when they have snack. I have asked for Version 1.0 to be allowed to do something else when anything faith-based is introduced, and the school has been absolutely fine with that.

The point is, my daughter is not even three years old yet. Anything she hears, particularly in a structured environment such as her preschool, she takes as (mind the pun) gospel. She's not old enough to think critically about what she hears and make decisions about it. So, if she comes home praying and talking about Jesus, I'm going to have a hard time helping her unlearn that. Regardless of how you may feel about that, it is our choice not to have our children indoctrinated. This should be completely acceptable. She may choose later in life to adopt a faith and that is her prerogative. But I won't teach her something I don't believe in.

So, the Christmas concert. Yes, it's just Christmas carols and tealights and I am sure it's going to be really damned cute. But upon further investigation, I have learned there will be readings of scripture and some other activities lead by the church. I feel like a fraud staying to hear these words but I also don't want to rob my daughter of the experience to participate in these events. I just can't kick the uneasy feeling I have of total misalignment with what we believe.

I have had friends who have stated that they participated in faith-based activities when young and their own beliefs weren't affected, and I guess that is true, but isn't it kind of wrong to have one foot in each camp? Can I really show up at a church when I feel such discomfort with my daughter listening to all the things that are just not part of our own family culture when she's too young to understand the bigger picture? She's just old enough to absorb everything but the explanations may be too confusing for her if and when she asks.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Blowing up the issue? All I know is it's got my stomach in knots and I need someone to set me straight and suggest an approach. I guess it's all about allowing her to have experiences?

November 20, 2010

Reach For The Stars

IMG_0823 Version 1.0 had her first ballet class today. It was beyond adorable, and ripped my heart out at the same time. I just cannot deal with her getting older, and more mature, and less dependant, and more extroverted and more experienced, and… oh for chrissake, she’s only 2. What’s wrong with me?

Anyway, today was priceless. She started talking about taking ballet class many weeks ago, before I was aware she even knew what ballet was. I would have to say I was a bit surprised as she’s always been a rok’em-sok’em kind of gal, into soccer and her bike and WWF knee drops onto Daddy’s cheekbone in the middle of the night. I couldn’t picture her in this epitome of feminine.

However, she prevailed, as she does (the child has a one-track mind once she formulates an idea of and I enquired at the local dance studio. Sure enough, amid their largely restricted admission past September, they found a way to include her in their November intake. So, we got registered and started reading all the rules for the school, picked up the correct attire, and waited excitedly for the week and then day and then hour when ballet class started.

We arrived earlier than the teacher today, and of course we were having gale force winds plus more, so we had to wait outside the school in misery for a few minutes, but once we got in, we suited Version 1.0 up in her doll-like ensemble and she looked just like a little toy. And such a big girl at the same time, it took my breath away.

IMG_0811She did really well, for her first time, and skipped and galloped (when she was supposed to be bunny hopping, but at least it resembled a forest creature of sorts), and pointed her toes and plied with the most serious expression on her face as if she was up for her Royal Conservatory examination already.

What is particularly interesting is that she did take a few pit-stops to come over and sit on my lap for a few minutes to recharge her uncertainty batteries before joining back in with enthusiasm. However, all the girls began doing the same and soon it was just the teachers dancing by themselves in front of the mirror. So they closed the doors, and the kids went back to full concentration. What is it about Mommy and Daddy being there that makes them less likely to join in? Logically, it should be the opposite. We should be giving them the confidence to continue in the group, but it seems to have the converse affect.

Anyway, after finishing class and gathering stickers Version 1.0 wanted desperately to stay and watch the teachers dance during their practice sessions. She seems to be right into it, as also evidenced by the 852 times we have watched the newly-discovered Angelina Ballerina and the Youtube video of a preschool class dancing to the Toy Story 3 theme song (her absolute most favourite movie right now… hence the title of this post).

I wonder if kids find their inclinations this early, or if by next ballet class there will be a new order of the day and she will refuse to participate as she did last year with skating? I’d hate to pay the money now if she may not want to continue after the initial toe in the water. I suspect we just wait and see, but damn she’s cute in that tutu and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t push for her to stay in.

October 24, 2010

A House is Not A Home

I picked up the latest edition of House & Home in the check-out line the other day. Or maybe it was Modern Living, or Expensive Houses You'll Never Have ... I don't know, I can't remember. Anyway, it had lots of nice pictures of beautiful rooms decorated to suite the style du jour. Curiously, they didn't list 'Toys R Us' as one of the style categories raging to the forefront in the lives of the wealthy and stylish.

Too bad. I could use an update.

Last year, we built a significant addition onto our home. Before you decide this makes me sound like I'm oozing money, our home is a half duplex from the disco era and we did it because it was the most cost-effective way to increase our living space - to say my husband is handy is like saying Mother Teresa did a couple of good deeds... He built everything himself and to code.

Anyways, we built this awesome addition in anticipation of Version 2.0 coming along one day (in the last month of the reno while we were living in a trailer in our driveway). We finally had all this space and we were going to find a place for everything, Version 1.0 would have storage places for all her stuff, we'd have a real living room where we could entertain... Yeah, that was a great daydream.

Today, we have toy store chic. There are toys and games and play dough and bloody ride-ons in every damn corner. My fancy bathroom is currently overridden with stuffies, squirty toys, three of today's wardrobe changes and a bench.

We clean up Every. Single. Night.

Its really amazing how this kid can make a mess. I mean she literally swoops through a room and pulls crap from every shelf, plays for a minute then on to something else. By afternoon you can barely walk through my much bigger new living room.

I want my daughter to enjoy herself and I also want her to take responsibility for her mess. We do clean-up time every night complete with a ridiculous song, and she will play along but to initiate it herself just doesn't happen.

Clearly she doesn't know how utopian life can be with those postmodern lines and nary a coloring book lying in the arterial route through the house.

But, really, that's not what I want. I don't want to exist in someone else's ideal of perfect. I'm ok with a bit of clutter and a well-intentioned mess. I just... want a bit of house that can be organized, and represents the guardians that now get steered by those short tyrants.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

October 6, 2010

What Happened To The Witches?

I was in the drug store with my daughter the other day and they had a whole assortment of random Halloween paraphernalia on display already. Some was amusing and some was frightening and some was a little bit of both.

Last year, she wanted nothing to do with it. She was freaked out by the scary faces and didn't get the concept of a costume - in fact, she fought me like a demon trying to get it on her... Until she stepped through the whole process and discovered that it ended in a contribution of candy in her little orange bucket. It didn't matter that she didn't get to eat any of it (that's what Mommy and Daddy are here for, as evidenced my Mommy's large size jeans), just the idea of the colorful sweets got her so excited.

We walked around for hours and knocked on every door and she turned to me and said "Mommy, Halloween is FUN!". She was not even two at the time so I can understand her initial hesitation but what a difference a year makes.

This year, she started reading her Halloween books a month early and is already planning her trick or treat route.

And, she chose her costume: Buzz Lightyear. If there is anything my daughter is not, it is girly. She wavered on her decision for not even a moment, bypassed all the frilly tutus and princess fairies and zeroed in on Buzz. Mommy is happy cause it's simple and one piece and will keep her warm throughout the inevitably rainy night. Plus, she looks damn cute in it.

But what the what has our costume selection come to? Call me an old biddy but every costume marked "girl" from say age 4 and up was some kind of sexy version of an old classic. Sexy witch, sexy nurse, sexy Frankenstein. Not kidding! A freaking short skirt, fishnets and heels for size 4! Unreal. I mean, I did my time dressing as a whore vampiress before but I was 23! Not 4! Do parents really buy those for their kids because they think it's ok for a 4-year-old to be sexy? Ick.

I guess on the boys' side the gore and violence emulated in their costumes would be a reasonable contrast but somehow it doesn't seem to quite leave your kid looking so... Pathetic and vulnerable.

When I was four, I wore a ghost costume with red lights for eyes and carried a large battery around under the sheet so my eyes would glow red all night. I suppose I could reintroduce that costume now for my daughter, provided it hugs all her curves in just the right way?

I just threw up a bit in my mouth.

Can we please have the witches and goblins and ghosts and Ronald Reagan back for our little ones? Maybe a dollop of creativity instead of skank? I'd like my kids' friends to say "Oooo!" and not "Ewwww!".

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

September 24, 2010

Regression Testing

My daughter is awesome. Not only is she super clever, but she's empathetic, happy and - best of all - she has a very mature sense of humour. She loves to make you laugh and will go to great lengths to make sure everyone watches her comedy routines.

Since Version 2.0 came home, she has been quite interested doing all the things she used to do when she was an infant. She spends many hours of her playtime diapering her stuffies (and attempted the cat), or wrapping herself in a blanket while drinking from a bottle.

More interestingly, she has insisted on following in her brother's footsteps when he is being transported or is hanging out with us. Like the time she insisted on being carried in the Baby Bjorn while my husband vacuumed:

Or yesterday when she decided she needed to hang out in the Jolly Jumper. Or today when she sat in the exersaucer for an hour watching her cousin session some vids:

I'm not sure how long this phase will last or if it is just part of the adjustment process to having a new little brother. Nor do I know how I really feel about having two babies at once, but she gets a kick out of it and she makes us laugh. What else really matters?

If she starts wanting to wear diapers again I am drawing the line.

September 16, 2010

I'm In A Chair

This post is brought to you by my betrayal of my working self, the one with deadlines and insanity these last few weeks... Or rather months. I sit now, still rocking my infant son on my lap (even though he fell asleep an hour ago) because I'm in a deficit of my children. I leave early, come home late, and have little else than their morning drowsy eyes and evening droopy smiles to carry with me throughout the day.

Heard this story before? A bit of a rerun, no? Man, I've got to get some new material. But before I move on, someone direct me to another working mom with a fresh newborn that I can connect with. Really! I totally want to exchange stories. Am I the only lunatic out there who goes back to work right away? I wish I had the choice but we just don't.

Anyway, yadda yadda I miss my kids right now.

So I'm cuddling and rocking and blogging from my phone for the first time ever. This has promise! Half the reason I'm so behind on my posts has been because I'm too distracted by work while at my computer.

This leads me to Topic 2 tonight - technology and parenting. My family is techie. We love technology (and love to hate it). I work with technology and for me information technologies are substantial enablers.

Contrast our access to information to 30 years ago - the, uh, decade in which I was born. No WAY did we have access to as much information that we have now. Doctors were silos and you were lucky to get a second opinion if you even knew enough to feel you needed one. Parents flew blind, particularly throughout the pregnancy phase, and all those things we take for granted now and consider absolutely imperative (ultrasounds, car seats, prenatal vitamins, etc) were only a twinkle in a midwife's eye back then. Yet somehow we made it through being born and thrived just fine for the most part.

So I wonder now whether our baseline for knowledge actually rivals that of the experts 30 years ago and whether all our self-proclaimed experts have taken on a sense of entitlement because our online communities are so empowering. Further, then, does this entitlement cause everyone to be more brave, or opinionated or even hurtful?

I experienced another online battle a couple of weeks ago and am ashamed I got involved in a moment of weakness and passion. I know better. So many people live for that crap because it embodies the only place and time they can feel like they identify with something and can be passionate and brave without consequence.

I realize this isn't news that people behave this way online but my concern is that we've become so critical and judgmental about issues that are so fragile and so important to get right that we're actually emotionally paralyzing new or experienced moms and dads who have any shade of doubt about these issues.

I kept thinking about this debate for days afterwards as it raged in cyber war and realized how stupid we would sound if we were behaving the same way IRL. We would look like a bunch of stereotypical fighting cats with all the mudslinging underway, and we would have lost credibility for seeming so evangelical.

Much worse, I think: most of these issues are *none of our business*. Who are we to try and influence someone else's choices or situation? What right do we have to marginalize women who haven't gone the same route we did? What service exactly do you think you are providing to new parents other than to help them on to the battlefield in one camp or the other?

Listen, if you feel passionate about something, do something productive or effective to really solve a problem. But for the love of pete, don't hide behind technology to justify your bad behavior.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

August 12, 2010

Absentee Parenting

I’m an absentee parent these days. For the last few weeks, my life has consisted of airports, cab rides (a significant percentage of which have been frightening), hotel food and single-serving toiletries.

I know this schedule won’t last forever, and may only persist for a few more weeks. I know it is a positive and career/business-building experience and that I am opening doors and building important relationships. I know my kids will not be scarred from my periods of disappearance.

But, oh. My kids.

I yearn for them every minute. I keep looking at pictures of them on my iPhone so I can smile back at them and marvel at how we made such beautiful creatures. I watch videos of Version 1.0 yammering on about her crazy ideas and plans. I watch videos of Version 2.0 gurgling and cooing and melting my frigging heart.

I’ve written before about role reversal and how my husband and I have decided to divvy up household responsibilities. Nothing’s changed much, except we keep adjusting as we go.

When I had my son 3 months ago, I essentially delivered him on Friday and was back to work on Monday, taking calls, writing documents, doing what I could. I never really stopped. I’ll admit the first couple of months were very, very hard for both of us. Version 2.0 was so colicky I would end up crying myself, or yelling out loud to no one in particular. Hubby was stretched to the max as well, and we were living in this periphery to our normal selves, wondering when things were going to get easier.

Well, they did. A bit. We can breathe now. Thanks to formula. Version 2.0 has a voracious appetite and once again, I didn’t make enough to keep him satisfied. Within days of being able to feed him formula to supplement, we noticed a marked difference. We were both at such a level of crazy that it just had to be worth it to get that sanity back. Unfortunately, he is a fussy one when it comes to what’s in his mouth (aren’t all men?) and he soon refused to breast feed anymore.

Toss in there the unfortunate timing of an excellent business opportunity that has me away a lot and breastfeeding doesn’t stand much of a chance. I feel sad about this, and guilty, but I know better. I know the scary level of crazy we had become and I know how badly I do not want to be caught pumping in a public washroom again, or having to deal with breast milk on my suit jacket in front of a client.But mostly, I know my son is fulfilled and healthy, no longer hungry all the time because of my measly supply. I have made my peace and I hope no one gets all lactivist on me again because I just might get physical with my fist. I understand, to those women who have never had a problem, they can’t imagine that low to no supply could ever be real. Well, I assure you, it can. And lo and behold, finally… a few others can relate:

Breastfeeding: No Milk At This Store

A Breastfeeding Guru Who Uses Formula

Crap. That was a bit of a tangent. Where was I? Right. I miss my kids. My healthy, beautiful, thriving kids.

Who have both had formula.

That is all. I’m home now and need to go snuggle.

Also, it’s my anniversary. So, I need to go and… um, snuggle.

July 12, 2010

Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy

HayJoandPJ Holy schamoley, it’s been awhile. Life is pretty insane right now and my days keep slipping away into a flurry of activity around bedtime, including keeping Version 1.0 in her big girl bed, keeping Version 2.0 from wailing his lungs out (whiskey?) and generally trying not to keel over with fatigue before either of the above two happen.

To stay light-hearted tonight while I am still in a relatively sane and calm frame of mind, I thought I would introduce you to my daughter’s favourite new passtime: singing. Yes, before she would tell us to stop when we sang, and took little interest in music herself. Then, suddenly, she is frigging Maria Von Trapp (her married name) and you are *not* allowed to sing with her. Nope, she’ll stop you cold the first few words in.

The downside to her Star Search-seeking solo tendencies is that she doesn’t get the benefit of hearing the proper words to her favourite songs. As a result, we have some pretty interesting mash-ups and strange renditions of the classics. Without further ado, I present the world of children’s song according to my daughter.

Old Nut-Donnell

Old Nut-Donnell had a farm
And on his farm, he had a .. What he have? A Chicken! (she actually asks the question out loud)
With a cluck cluck here and a cluck-cluck here and a cluck-cluck here and a cluck-cluck here and a cluck-cluck here… (she isn’t sure how to get to the transition so the poor animal just keeps making his sound until she gets bored)

Farmer in the Dell (Politically Sensitive 2010 Version)

The farmer in the dell
The farmer in the dell
Hi ho the hair-ee-oh (yes, this part stuck in my head for awhile)
The farmer in the dell.

The farmer takes the wife
The farmer takes the wife
Hi ho the hair-ee-oh
The farmer takes the wife.

The wife takes the wife
The wife takes the wife
Hi ho the hair-ee-oh
The wife takes the wife. (Lucky farmer)

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Baa Baa Black Sheep, any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.
One for the mshfjsdfjkjh (she can never figure out this word so kind of mumble sings it)
And one for the game
One for the little boy who lives in the lane
Baa Baa Black Sheep, any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.

(Baa Baa Black Sheep is best sung naked with your music table. On a treadmill. Don’t ask.)


A, B, C, D, E, Up, G….

I’ve Been Working On The Railroad

I’ve been working on the railroad
All the lip long day

I’ve been working on the railroad
Pass the lip long day

Can’t you hear the whistle blowing?
(insert random line that ends with something that rhymes with “morn”)

Can’t you hear the captain shouting,
”Dina blow up horns!”

The More We Get Together

(This one probably requires the most work)

The more we-gether, we-gether, we-gether
The more we-gether, we-gether, happier be
My friends, your friends, we-gether.

Version 1.0 is very conversant for her age, speaks in full sentences and clearly, and understands everything you say to her. So, she learns the words to the songs pretty quickly once she’s had a chance to hear them a few times, but the original renditions are quite a hoot and she seems to hang on to quite a few of the tweaks she thinks make the song better.

Tonight, she heard Queen’s “Somebody to Love” on Glee, and was singing “somebody, somebody, somebody, somebody, somebody” tonight. I am sure it will only be a matter of time before she’s got Bohemian Rhapsody down to the last word. I still don’t know all the lyrics myself.


If you think this is funny, go and check out the Misheard Lyrics archive. I swear I have never laughed so hard for so long.

June 20, 2010

An Open Letter to My Husband

PJ-Newspaper Dear  Hubby,

Today is Father’s Day. Or is it Fathers’ Day? (Oh, whatever. I can never get it right. Both kind of work… focus…). I woke up bleary-eyed as I am prone to doing these last 7 weeks and remembered that I was going to make you coffee in bed, and have your gift nicely wrapped and a sweet if scribbly card made by our children, just for you. I was going to make you brunch with our friends, laze about with you for awhile and then make a nice dinner, after which, well that is for us to know and the interwebs to speculate.

Instead, you got your coffee when you came downstairs much later (I did make it for you, to my credit… at least there’s that), your gift was stuffed into a Christmas box which Version 1.0 opened and presented to you before you had time to be surprised, your card never materialised and I went for a ride with my friend after brunch, leaving you home by yourself with our two children for a couple of hours. Dinner was mediocre and we haven’t talked in the past hour as you’ve been upstairs with Version 1.0, and I’ve been downstairs with Version 2.0 and on a call for work, and it’s doubtful that we’ll get a chance to, erm…. connect… before I fall asleep beside my breastfeeding child after I’ve done some research for my meetings tomorrow.

So today didn’t quite pan out as I had planned for you, to make you feel like you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and the rock in our family of misfits, and the most caring, generous, patient and deliciously evil-humoured man I have ever known. I have been selfish today, but somehow you managed to make me feel like you were happy I was. Our kids have been trying, but you took it in stride, like you do every day. You even remembered to tell your own dad how much you love him.

There is no one better than you. No one by a long shot. We are the most fortunate family to have you, and love you more than any scribbly card could ever say.

Hope you had a good one, Lover.

June 2, 2010

Lest We Forget

The other day a new mom asked me when my daughter had gotten her first tooth and how quickly they came in. I was shocked to find I couldn’t remember. Clearly fuzzy on the dates. It didn’t even occur to me that two years later, I may actually have burned out enough brain cells with lack of sleep and too many firing pistons to render my short-term memory completely frigging useless.

When I was a child, my mom kept a baby book for each of us. While I realize she may have skimmed some sections, she did a pretty good job of keeping locks of hair, drawings and paintings, and all her dates relatively correct.

I had always loved going through those books when I was younger and now they would mean even more to me, to compare the development of my own children to see if there were similarities or differences, and whether that neurotic thing my kid does with her eye-rolling and tossed hair is similar to what I did at that age (clearly she gets it from her dad).

I tried. Really hard. I really did. I put all the keepsakes in one (or five) places so I could organise them later. I’ve kept every memorable piece of artwork, every greeting card, all the well wishes, etc. But god help me if I can ever get around to actually writing down the salient memories in an appropriate form. I have three baby books for my daughter. THREE! With nothing in any of them. Thankfully I can use one for my new son, but what will I do with the third? Maybe we’ll get a dog.

I can’t even find my kid’s medical history. The preschool wants proof that her immunisations are up to date. I remember having some slips of paper somewhere  that we were handed when we went for shots. I remember some type of passport we were supposed to bring but failed to every single time.

So, anyways, I have been trying to figure out how to do this without causing myself too much anxiety. I want to do my baby books. I really, really do. I suspect it will be fun. But maybe if I could somehow capture things day to day, I could capture the really cool memories and not just milestones like first poop and first swear word (rhymes with “duck”).

First, I figured since I do a pretty good job of keeping my tweets and Facebook status up to date, why not capture all of those in one place? I found Momento, a mobile app that scans all your online social networking accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc.) and amalgamates all your updates per day. So, I can go back to any date in the past and see what I had written. Almost guaranteed, I had updated Facebook with all the major milestones, and more recently Twitter. Still not in a baby-friendly format but at least the data is there, along with amusing anecdotes and rages, so I can one day update a true baby book, when she’s 12 or something.

Then I tried Kidmondo – an online baby book making site. I’ve just signed up tonight so we’ll see if it’s any less cumbersome than the other tools I’ve seen out there, or whether there is a way to quickly update from my phone or somewhere else without going through a big process.You can include rich media and also package it all up for a printed book one day. I like that option.

Anyone else used anything that doesn’t require sitting down for an hour at a time and trying to remember what you wanted to write? Any ideas on what you think your kids will really want to read when they are older, vs. what we think is so awesome?

May 25, 2010

The Family Tree

hayjo_bigboy3 weeks. That’s how long our newest family member has been in our lives. Oh, wait… 3.5 weeks. Bloody hell, I look away from the calendar for a minute and 5 days go by. I don’t even remember what month we’re in.

Regroup. Back on topic.

Version 2.0 has wound his way around our hearts in little time, and is becoming more and more alert every day. I love watching him look around, usually with furrowed brow, wondering what the heck he got himself into. If only he really, really knew what a crazy crew he’d joined.

My family has been tremendous since his birth. Everyone has been so generous and chipped in to help in one way or another, spoiling the kids and us, bringing food or just entertaining Version 1.0 while we adjust to two. (Particularly important for her to have all that attention lavished on her because she is clearly a child of my own flesh and blood and thrives on being the centre of everyone’s attention.) We’re going to be forever grateful for having had that assistance during these first few weeks. Now that Grammy and Grampy are heading back home tomorrow, life’s going to get a little weird and crazy again.

For whatever reason (and I don’t think this is particularly strange), I want my children to have a close family. I want them to know their family, have close relationships with their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, and be able to call or visit whenever the mood strikes. I lament the fact that Hubby’s parents are so far away that this can’t be reality quite yet, and we hope to have them here soon, but I’m looking for ideas on how to bring them closer when they are still physically far. Any ideas on traditions, routines, tools, techniques for staying connected with far away family? We love them very much and want the kids to know them well.

Are the roots of the family tree important in the development of our kids? Or, is this primarily contingent upon mom and dad and their immediate surroundings? How much interaction with extended family is required for that to be a strong influence in their lives? Can they achieve that same influence through letters, emails, phone calls, etc.? Even with my family only an hour away, it still means we don’t get much face time together.

I’m interested in ideas and thoughts around engaging with family that is far away. Or how to kidnap them so they can’t go home and are forced to stay with you forever.

May 22, 2010


Breathe, breathe, breathe. In for two, out for four. And… we’re good.

Apologies for the brief interruption in sanity that was my last post. I was teetering on the edge of “holy sh$% is this going to be my life for the foreseeable future???” and contemplating what types of substances could opiate me enough to not notice the circumstances until we got past the colic. Luckily for us, Version 2.0 recognized his mommy’s instability, weighed the costs and benefits of continuing the crazy-making behaviour and thought the wiser of it all, ending the sleep strike of a few days’ duration.

Today, and the last couple of days, we have been back to a mostly angelic child with a discernible fussy time in the early evening/late afternoon. This, I can handle (even though I feel somewhat zombie-like due to an unfair bout of insomnia last night). I’m still sleeping on the couch with him at my side, due to a toddler unwilling to sleep in her room while the guest bed is being occupied. It’s just easier to have my own, compact space to sit up, feed the Hoover, and then lie down again to sleep.

So, we’re settling in to something of a routine.

Another way I am settling (and if you are offended by my critical view of zealots and overly passionate do-gooders, skip the rest of this post):

Coming to terms with my medically interventioned delivery.

This is a big, hot topic and I’m going to try and be brief, but doubt my ability to do so. I’ve fought for awhile to try and educate the very passionate individuals out there who (usually with good intentions but lousy forethought) are actively alienating a good portion of the population of the women they profess to be supporting. These are the women who went through childbirth with surprising ease and likely no medication or intervention, and believe now, strongly, that every woman can do this if they just reject the horrible pressures and fear-mongering of the medical profession, plan to give birth under a shady oak with their friends and family chanting beside them. Surgical procedures are unnecessary, drugs harm the baby and mama, and we all live happily ever after because EVERY woman is designed to give birth.

My assertion has always been that as long as mom and baby are healthy and happy, who cares how they got here? Also, not every woman is designed to give birth. Without the tools and procedures available to us, we would see alot more deaths and injury to both mom and babe. That’s the way it is. Let me say it again… we’re not all birthing divas, for various reasons. Some of us need help in order to have a healthy baby. As long as we know that this help is available, we are able to feel more confident and less fearful.

Logically, I know all this. Pragmatically, I know I needed the intervention I had, whether it was the emergency c-section this time, or the epidural last time, and I can reason that out. BUT! GET THIS! I feel disappointed this time. I feel like I’ve somehow not risen to a challenge – that I copped out! REALLY? Why is that? Oh! I know why! Because the zealots have created an environment in our society where anything less than the drug-free, quick hero birth is somehow seen as sub-par. Like we haven’t really done our part. Where does this come from? Videos (I’ve seen some doozies where the distributors insist it’s not meant to alienate anyone, just to celebrate life…. yet right there, in the video, in plain text, it compares and contrasts drug-free and not drug-free births and how the babies have suffered or been unable to ‘perform’ to the optimal degree… um, guilty much? Oh, actually my favorite is the new FB group called “I had a home birth. Not crazy. Not brave. Just educated.” …. seriously? Could you be more condescending? I’ve read and read and read and based on my experience it is just not for me. Don’t call me uneducated for THAT!), discussions, prenatal classes, public health nurses, online communities, EVERYWHERE. You can’t NOT support these approaches without being disregarded as jaded and fearful. Imagine a new to-be mom watching these, reading these, hearing these, and going in to deliver their first child absolutely convinced that anything that is suggested to her is an abomination and she suffers the disappointment and guilt when she requires assistance of some kind or another. You want to try and tell me that that doesn’t instil unnecessary fear of judgement and criticism to a new mom? It’s absolute crap.

And here I am, feeling like I’ve missed something because I had to have surgery. I don’t have a birth story like I did the first time. I don’t know how long my labour would have been, how much I dilated before my water broke, how many pushes it would have taken. I went into labour, it was very quick, and he was out of me within 3 hours, taken surgically. I KNOW it had to happen, there was no choice in the matter (and trust me when I say, there was no choice…. I was NOT blindsided by some bored doctor who just wanted to get home). I should have no remorse.

But guess what? I do. Not only because of the aforementioned emotional and psychological battling, but also because the recovery is so much more intense, and frustrating. It’s unlikely I will have more children, so I won’t have to decide what to do next time, but that also means I will never have another chance to try again at natural childbirth. But why the hell do I care so much?

I’m not alone, I have discovered. In fact, I am in good company. Every other woman I have spoken to about this who has had some type of intervention (and many who have not), feel the same way. They feel guilty, like they have missed something or done something wrong, or possibly put their child in a less optimal situation, when really… they have not. They did everything they should have and the last thing they need to feel is more guilt than we are already going to face for the rest of our lives as parents.

A word of advice to you passionate people who mean well… take a second to think about what your message means to all the women who have had an intervention of some sort (and likely felt ok about it until you posted that last video or article). Take a minute to think about what you are insinuating to the rest of the less ‘fortunate’ population who chose something other than your way. By all means, do what is best for you, enjoy every minute of it. Noone is here to judge you. We’d appreciate it if you would return the favour.

To all the zealots who go a step further and actually get vigilant and abusive in your messages… give your heads a shake. You’re making it worse for the vast majority of the population. It’s none of your business how someone else wants to give birth or raise a child, nor is it for you to judge whether their situation warranted intervention or not. Why don’t you try spending your time supporting the women who need it, and leave those of us who were happy with their end results, happy.

I need to go and cuddle my little man now, and celebrate what I have, no matter how he came out. I guarantee you he’ll never be worse for wear because of it.

May 17, 2010

There’s a Forest…

So, we had a baby boy. Two and a half weeks ago. I wanted to post sooner about this beautiful little thing, and my thoughts and musings on all manner of subjects, including life with two, my love expanding, natural childbirth vs. intervention, sleep, being busy, working after birth, etc. I had intended to be light-hearted, swathed in this glowing euphoria not just of a new life but in the surprising ease with which we have entered into this new phase.
I should have posted then, to give fairness to the wonder of my sweet baby boy and how precious he is to us and how lovely our life will be with him in it. Unfortunately, over the last couple of days all the euphoria has been drained and I’m struggling, big time.
Up until a couple of days ago, he slept, ate, slept, ate, slept, ate some more and we had a good little thing going, he and I. He eats alot, more than Version 1.0 did, and is up every couple of hours but it was manageable. Saturday night he did a stint from 1 am – 4:30 am where he wouldn’t settle and I couldn’t get him to sleep. Intermittent crying, etc. I was tired for sure, but it wasn’t hell. Yesterday, 4 hours of it again in the afternoon with everyone trying their hand at getting him to settle, and varying degrees of success. Today, it started at 1 PM and it’s still going strong at 9 PM. I’ve had him out walking in the stroller, bouncing, jiggling, swinging, shushing, feeding… We’ve been rewarded with a few short naps but as soon as he wakes, he’s back to the crying. He won’t take a bottle with much success, rejects a pacifier (a whole pile of zealots are cheering right now), and the swaddle doesn’t seem effective anymore.
I’ve been crying for an hour.
My crying makes me think about other sad things, like how I have been so consumed with keeping my baby fed and happy since his birth that I haven’t been able to spend any quality time with my daughter, and how I am so conflicted and upset that I had a c-section and how mad it makes me that the natural childbirth zealots out there have made us feel less worthy because of this, how I know it’s going to be forever and a day until I get time back with my husband, how frustrated I am that I can’t put 100% into work to try and give our business the push we need (and relieve my partner who has been picking up my slack), etc.
We are the practitioners of guilt, us moms.
I will end this post now before I sink more deeply into frustration and sadness, but will leave with some bright lights that burn behind the fog and I know will pull me out of this soon enough:
  • My baby boy is gorgeous. He’s as perfect and beautiful as his sister was/is, and we’re thrilled to have him.
  • I was up and recovering from surgery within hours of being wheeled into my room. Two days after, I was walking around and ready to leave the hospital. Though it has been painful, with infections and such, I’m thrilled that two weeks in, I’m in pretty good shape and only occasionally reminded that I had major abdominal surgery.
  • My in-laws have been here to share Version 2.0’s early days, and make sure Version 1.0 gets ample attention. We don’t get to see them often, so I am thrilled they are here. My parents have also been amazing and supportive and came to help when Version 2.0 was just days old.
  • Version 1.0 has been so sweet to her brother, and I love her even more for how mature and loving she has been. Yeah, we had a few days of off behaviour, but it’s better now for the most part and she’s a wonderful, patient, loving girl. She’s started saying “Mommy, I love you SO much” and I want to eat her at that time.
  • Our friends have been amazing, stocking our freezer full of meals and our cupboard full of wine. I can’t thank them enough for being so kind and helpful.
  • I had him on Friday, was back to work on Monday, and am thankful I’ve been able to at least keep up some involvement, even if I’m not 100% productive. I have an incredibly understanding partner.
  • My labour was quick and he was out in three hours (including the c-section).
  • One day he will be a toddler, and we will be past this crying.
On that hopeful note, I will close now and try to see the forest for the trees. I just wish they would stop falling on my head.

April 30, 2010

We Are Complete

This morning at 1:30 am we gave birth to our newest bundle, a little 8 lb 2 oz baby boy.

I'm currently recovering from the unplanned c-section but everything is otherwise well.

Thrilled to no longer be pregnant and thrilled at our new addition. More to come.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

April 27, 2010


PJ_redshirt I can remember walking into my boss’s office, only months into a new job, to tell him I had screwed up royally on a funding proposal, which would leave us many tens of thousands of dollars short on a project. I remember he sat there staring at his computer screen for nearly a half an hour while I sat opposite him, before he said a word. I was terrified.

I can also remember standing in front of a podium about to address an audience of a few hundred people, to ask them for large sums of money in support of a worthwhile cause, knowing that the cause relied heavily on the success of this event. My heart beat in my throat with unnerving pressure.

I remember the same feeling as I stepped in front of a raging drunk man at a party, as he was about to swing a punch at my good friend who he had mistakenly identified as a swarthy letch who had hit on his girlfriend. Apparently this man had no qualms about hitting a girl and was right prepared to do so to get to my friend.

I had to put my cat down last year after 15 years together. I had to tell a friend of my extreme disappointment in how she had let me down in a big way. I’ve ended relationships.

I gave birth. I’m doing it again. The pain is tremendous and the unknowns weigh heavily. This, and all these situations above, all took courage. Guts. Knowing the consequences (or how they could be), required me to be brave. Many people have been much more brave in situations far more dire. I’ve been lucky, I suppose.

But far and above the one thing that has taken the most courage, and that leaves me shaky and full of breath-holding fear every day, has been becoming a parent. Not the labour, messy newborn stuff where I have to deal with pain or circumstantial crying, fatigue, etc. No, not that at all. That’s nothing. The commitment to this little living thing, and the heart-breaking LOVE I have for my child leaves me absolutely panic-stricken.

I covet my child. I absolutely love her with all of my being. I am not ashamed to say it is more so now than it was when she came out of me, clawing at my insides to make her way into the world. This love has grown strong over time, as I begin to see her personality and we become invested in each other. Now, it’s scary love. The kind of love with an edge that I’ve only come close to in the throes of passion with the man I married. I know he understands this and that it doesn’t mean I love him any less – our love continues to grow and mature in ways that are tremendous, but I’m talking about something that can only develop with a little person you’ve had a hand in creating from your own flesh and blood.

Yes, it is exhilarating. I would stop the world for her, do anything. The feedback I get and the love that is returned is otherworldly. But my god is it frightening to think of *anything* happening to her. Frightening is not the word…. absolutely petrifying, it makes me feel nauseous. If I lost her, I can’t imagine ever coming back. I can’t imagine being able to live. That takes more courage than I’ve ever known, going into every day and night knowing how much I stand to lose, and consciously agreeing to put ones self in that position for basically the rest of your life. I don’t think it gets any easier, I think you fear as much for the loss of your child through your maturity as you do early on.

Of course, I try not to think in these terms and I know I could not have known the extent of this emotion before I had my child. But now I sit, in the wee hours of morning because I can’t sleep due to my man-cold, and my discomfort and my anticipation of the pending birth of Version 2.0, and I can’t help but wonder how there is possibly room in my heart to both hold the love for another child, and to find the courage to become doubly as vulnerable… in a few days’ time. I know it’s the most precious gift and I should remind myself of that daily. I do. I really, really do. In no way do I reflect on this and think “what have I done??” but it sure makes your other moments of back-patting courage seem measly when taken into perspective.

As we anxiously await the arrival of our second little gift, I wonder if I am alone in this neuroses, overanalyzing this state. Is it easier to just not go there or does anyone else feel as … exposed and vulnerable from something they wouldn’t trade for the world?

April 18, 2010

Carrot Sticks

IMG_0177 So, I’m sitting here totally frigging miserable, partially because I have less than two weeks (hold me) before I give birth to Version 2.0 (but really could be any day now… hyperventilating… paper bag…) but mostly because I realize how long I have left my blog without a post. This reaffirms for me why I’m doing this – for me, for releasing something periodically, and for exercising my writing muscle in the creative arena. That makes me satisfied, but also irritated, because I once again let all of life’s urgencies fill up my time and I left that part that benefits from taking a few minutes to muse to fill up and flow over again, like an untended garden. Interesting, for sure.

So, on to more topical topics.

Ladies and gentlemen, against all odds and with a little fanfare, we have a potty trained child. We hadn’t tried hard, and hadn’t put in much concerted effort but one day Hubby decided that we were not going into another birth with two kids in diapers. Personally, I was blasé on the subject as I didn’t mind diapers that much and Version 1.0 showed no interest whatsoever in her potty. Correction: she was interested in the potty as a special place to store knick-knacks or toy cars or sit her dolls and sometimes the cat. But try to get her to sit for even 30 seconds, and she was out of there like a shot. Way too busy, way too impatient and I wasn’t much interested in forcing the issue. After all, she’s only just turned two and we have lots of time during which we can reasonably expect her to start.

However, Hubby sat her down one day for three hours straight, during which she did a little trickle. Much fanfare ensued, and they went downstairs to celebrate, during which she promptly peed all over the floor. Hubby was so frustrated, and I figure she knows that, and for the rest of the day started trying in earnest. By the end of the night, she was peeing like a rock star and running around the house clothed like one (no bottoms). The next day, he tried pants. One or two wet spots and then we had the pants licked. The next few days (and to some extent, still now) she struggled with #2, getting much anxiety over the thought of having to do it. She tends to hold it in rather than have an accident, which I suppose is more convenient for us, but damn, that girl is stubborn, and will hold for a day or two before she can hold no more. Poor thing gets all shaky and cries when asked to sit and release. But then, out of the blue, will sit down and perform with no problem. So, we’re getting there but it’s to the point where we can take her out without diapers and she will confidently ask to visit the washroom at whatever frequency is required. We’ve been using diapers at night only, and on the occasion of a longer car ride to the city. She’s normally dry when she wakes up or at the end of a diaper day. We’re proud, needless to say.

What has emerged, though, from my observation, is a newfound change in attitude (or shall I say Attitude) from this young one, whereby her skills of ignoring (and I shall not say ignorance) rival only that of her father in deep concentration. She can easily and without guilt tune out Mommy and Daddy when necessary and/or convenient. These spells of inattention are maddening and I have noted a pattern in myself of trying to break through them. In particular, we have a problem at dinner time, but it is no different than any time of trying to motivate this child to do anything other than what fancies her in the moment.

I will waffle between carrots and sticks. Sometimes I negotiate baking cookies in return for peaceful naptime. Other times I will threaten no movie (“moo-bee”) treat later if we don’t get dressed for preschool. We’re back and forth in a perpetual carrot-stick-carrot-stick holding pattern and it makes me crazy. I’m running out of things I can threaten/tempt with and my threats and temptations are becoming increasingly ineffective. I don’t like to raise my voice and have caught myself more often than not reverting to a strong tone these days (blame it partially on being huge and uncomfortable and partially on my inability to find alternatives), which does get results but won’t continue to do so if overused. I am not opposed to speaking firmly to my child (let’s clarify, this does not mean abusively or disrespectfully), and I feel strongly that parents these days are too prone to the fear of not being their child’s best friend vs. demonstrating boundaries, which I feel are sorely needed at this age. So many kids run amuck and are completely out of control because there is a movement to try and use logic and distraction all the time, when a more firm tactic is required. But, I digress. Our child has seen the firm side of our tone on more than one occasion. Sometimes it is appropriate, sometimes it is perhaps more the result of my own fatigue and impatience, but I never professed to be perfect and will continue to waver, but try to make sure the end result is where I need it to be.

So, I’m looking for tactics, suggestions, camaraderie. Is this typical behavioural development for my two-year-old? With Daddy and Mommy, she pushes her boundaries. With teachers, instructors, playgroup leaders, friends and family, she’s a perfect, alluring, engaging little angel. I don’t think this is anything new. I need some new tools though, to be one step ahead and anticipate how to get her sitting down for dinner without needing to be naked and reading a book, or whatever other litany of ridiculous conditions are set upon us for compliance.

Your stories, experiences, gentle nudges in the right direction are appreciate.

And holy heck, y’all … I’m about to do it again!

March 22, 2010

Mommies in the ‘Hood

Keeping up with my last post about mommy communities, I’d like to celebrate the fact that I just found out about a website for Vancouver mommies. No idea how I missed this before, but one of my friends and fellow moms pointed out one of their articles showcasing great local mommy blogs. Funny enough, a few of them are blogs I read/lurk on regularly (shout out to Crunchy Carpets, Mother Woman,, and all the others who got mentions) and it sure brings our community closer to reality.

I started poking around the site and found some great articles, reviews, and resources for local events, advice and everything else under the sun. I’m impressed. Many more locally driven sites often tend to be quite thin and narrowly focused. I like to find something a bit more beefy.

Then I started wondering how micro can you get before the appeal or value is lost? Do I even qualify as a Vancouver mom if I live in a veritable suburb? Would there be value to my fellow mommies in our community if they had an online resource such as this, but focused solely on our local community? I know there is a thriving demographic up here, but I don’t know that there would be enough to sustain interest in a small, regionally specific online community. I think for now I’ll hang with the “big city” mommies and try to leverage the community there.

I’m very proud that our local Vancouver mommy bloggers have reached such levels of sophistication in the North American ‘scene’. Most of those that I read, I found through reading some of the other well-followed blogs out there, without even knowing I was reading a Vancouver mom. In fact, one of my favourites (Mr. Lady from Whiskey in My Sippy Cup) just moved out of the Vancouver area – who knew we were fortunate enough to be in the presence of such greatness for years? I’m only sad I never got to meet her while she was so close by.

I look forward to learning about more and emerging local mommy bloggers, and will continue to read those that exist with interest and enthusiasm. But would we ever have the chance to come together in person? Would that make this community stronger or would it just be weird, like a bunch of stalkers that finally get to meet their objects of attention in person? Would we get shy with each other or would we finally be satisfied that there is a whole truth to that person you follow every week? Would our inhibitions become real? Would we get awkward?

Personally, I’d love a Vancouver mommy bloggers meet up. While I get alot out of what I read, I’d also love to round out my experience and membership in this community. If I don’t have 100 readers a day, am I even allowed to say I belong? I think I do. I write, the occasional person reads, I follow and comment and feel some type of kinship with the authors.

What do you think? Am I sounding like a stalker or is this like online dating, where eventually meeting in person takes the community to a new level? Or would it fall flat on its face, never to be the same afterwards when the person you envisioned turns out to talk differently or walk differently or just be different in some way than how we imagined? Are we better left to our imaginations, just like so many blind dates should have been?

March 18, 2010

Mommy Communities – Online and Off

I’ve been collaborating with a woman I met last year who had been the visionary behind a local group for women who were all moms (and often working professionals) and were looking for a community of their own within which they could seek to engage in dialogue and discussion with each other around topics of interest, issues of interest, events, and projects that they wanted to undertake. The group had evolved into something slightly different after she moved out of town, and we are, together, hoping to restart the group with the original flavour and some new takes on the implementation.

It’s been exciting and interesting to hear how the group has grown where she is now living in the eastern US, and I look forward to meeting some motivated and intelligent women as we kick off the group at the end of this month.

(If you are a mom in the Vancouver area, and are interested in coming out to see what this is all about, please leave me a comment and I’ll contact you directly.)

I’m curious to see what kind of turnout we get, and who becomes engaged with the group. It will be largely participant-driven with sessions facilitated by the group leaders, based on demand from the participants. I used to run a group for youth that followed a similar format – facilitators that brought together resources and speakers and activities and projects based on the interests and desires of the participants – and it was a very successful and rewarding model.

I also participate in a few other communities, online, such as Babycenter Canada where I’ve been able to find excellent sources of information, resources, and perspective from other moms who have either been through it all already, or who were going through it at the same time as me. While the articles and resources provided throughout Babycenter are great, it was the knowledge from “the horses’ mouths”, so to speak, that was the most valuable to me.

I guess this is why person-to-person communities exist and flourish. We have access to bajillions of bajillions of advice and practice documents and articles and texts and whatever else is published on the intertubes, but we know there is always either a bias, or careful advisory literature is often skewed to make sure it is as safe as possible and doesn’t leave the author vulnerable to litigation should things not work out as described.

But when we can ask questions of real people who have been there, or who have experienced things we are experiencing, and there is no reason for those individuals to misrepresent themselves, that honest and personal experience can do wonders for making us feel more comfortable, less alone, more accepted, less fearful than we would be if we didn’t have that camaraderie. Women are extremely good at supporting their peers unconditionally in affairs of the heart and in traditionally women-centric domains such as motherhood.

(We’re also very, very good at alienation, being judgmental and inducing fear, but that’s for another post.)

The other interesting thing about being part of a community is that the value one gets from that community is directly related to how much one contributes. I can lurk on boards and watch dynamic conversation unfold until my eyes turn red, but the moment I engage with the group, and start to get responses or discourse that is more directly related to my own perspective, the more I become invested in that community and my interest in and willingness to participate increases.

I will be interested to watch and see how my online and offline communities reflect or oppose each other. Will we see similar levels of engagement in the offline group? Is it easier to participate if you’re behind a screen, than in front of a group, thinking and speaking in real time? How do we create an environment offline that encourages participation and contribution as much as we get online? How do we keep personalities and all the non-verbal communication from influencing the character of the group?

What are your thoughts on the value (or not) of offline and online communities? Are they strong? Artificial? Is the representation in the groups always skewed? Do they encourage us to be ourselves, or do they force us to be something different? Does everyone find them supportive or are there groups or personalities at risk of being abused by them, or abusing them?

I’m looking forward to my experience as a group leader and facilitator, and encourage feedback to help us grow and provide an a resource that helps moms find tools for development, personally and professionally, through dialogue and exposure to new peers and experts.

March 7, 2010

Impending Doomcitement

DSC00118 I had a bi-weekly visit with my doctor on Thursday (yes, we’re down to bi-weekly visits now), and expected another uneventful drive-through dismissal as I don’t have much to complain about (wait! yes I do!… just nothing that the medical professional would cease to roll their eyes heavenward at), and I have typically text-bookish pregnancies.

For the most part, this was the case until he turned to announce I was going for another ultrasound, a bit late this time. Apparently I am measuring significantly below where I “should” be at this point, which didn’t faze me much as I was always “measuring small” last time as well. However, we compared how big I was last time at this stage and I’m 7 cms smaller this time. Huh. Well, he’s not really concerned as it could very well just be the way baby is lying, or I could just be a late popper (like his wife, he explained to me. Come to think of it, I did see her at the store when she was about this far along, and she was indeed tiny, but had certainly caught up in the week before she gave birth).

Anyway, long and short of it, I have to go for an ultrasound tomorrow to ascertain what the dealio is with baby. My doctor explained that most likely it’s nothing, but if they find that it is due to low amniotic fluid vs. small baby who isn’t eating his Wheaties vs. nothing at all, I may be put on – deep breath in! – bedrest. For the remainder of my pregnancy, or until conditions improve. Um, that’s like 8 more weeks, yo.

Besides that, if you are someone who knows me well, the concept of bedrest is pretty much like my kryptonite. I’m an… active and busy person. Not exactly high strung (although perhaps The Hubby would argue this), but just…. busy. Lots going on. Full calendar. No plans to stop/slow down. My people call your people, you know what I’m saying? Bedrest would be something like, um, the dentist. Wait, that may be a bit melodramatic… dentist equates with hell. Bedrest would be a slightly more acceptable version of hell, something akin to purgatory.

I do admit to harbouring these images of a litany of pool boys and french maids and nannies buzzing around me, on salary to my insurance company, rubbing my feet, serving me food and bonbons, bringing me whatever it is that strikes my fancy at the time, and generally making my life lovely for my final weeks of gestational activities. We all know this is a nice fantasy, though, and more than likely I would become excessively frustrated and unable to relax. So, really, is it useful?

The whole bedrest thing both surprised and astounded me. Surprise because when I asked my doctor what may be causing my fluids to be low, if that turns out to be the case, he said “well, you may be too busy”. Busy? Being busy can cause low amniotic fluid? Is that like, a full schedule requires fluid to be executed? Weird. That was certainly news to me. I was also astounded by the suggestion of bedrest because it reminded me of how close we are to being the parents of another child. So far I’ve kind of waved that reality off as a distant future and not really all that … well, real.

So I watched a few TV shows about newborns (man, do they ever pack the airways at a certain time of day), babysat an 8-month-old baby (whoa, babies are a cake walk vs. walking, talking toddler) and started paying closer attention to new moms around and about and HOLY CRAP, Y’ALL, I’m going to be giving birth again soon. 8 weeks max. Well, maybe 9. But STILL. At first, this made me breathe heavily, and not in a way that excites The Hubby. More like paper bag heavy. Then my chest got painful. Then my good friend who just recently had a new baby said “Dude, it’s hell. Two is hell. Prepare yourself.” That helped. Doom.

But also, concurrently, I became enamoured by the tiny, fragile newborns I was noticing everywhere. Like little dolls. I admit to never having been excited by another go at the newborn phase – the crying and colic and not sleeping and 24/7 bleariness, the mood swings and OMG nothing in return. But now, while I recognise those will still be distinct realities, I know I will have Version 1.0 to distract me and remind me of what we have to look forward to – what this child will grow into. We’ll be a family. Version 1.0 will have a sibling (whether or not she likes the idea to begin with). I think I’m even a bit excited.

So here I sit, wondering and waiting, with perhaps a bit of fear but vastly more excitement, and knowing I have no control over the little one’s entrance into the world. It could be sooner than we expected. Or, we could have the whole remaining time to adjust to expecting our second. Regardless, it’s going to go quickly, as this whole pregnancy has. I’m ready-ish, but holy crap. And woohoo!

Let’s just hope (for everyone’s sake and health) I don’t end up a miserable, laid-up wretch for the remainder of the term.

March 1, 2010

What Makes Me Happy…

Life has been nutty around here lately. I literally have not gotten a moment to rest, due to lots of travel, birthday parties, out of towners (freaking foreigners!), Olympics, my newfound love for yoga (which I haven’t been able to attend for a few weeks), and generally waddling around feeling sorry for myself and my man-cold.

Last week I was away for the longest time yet – four days/three nights. Though I was very busy the entire time, which helped me not focus on missing my little girl, once I was en route to get home I couldn’t get there fast enough. Once I did get home, it was the strangest reunion. Version 1.0 approached me in the front entrance, tentatively, as if she wasn’t sure who I was, then reached out and touched my face and said “Mommy?”. I nearly died of a broken heart. We were back to normal in a few minutes, but those first moments together were so strange, like she had somehow grown up again while I was away. I seriously don’t know how people do it, those who have to travel extensively for work with young children. But, I digress.

I was speaking to a client today who works in an organisation that has undergone a tremendous and tragic change in the last 6-12 months, resulting in mass layoffs and reorganisations. Mostly everyone there is feeling quite down and fearful, as is to be expected. However, this gentleman (who is in no less a secure position than the others) said to me today, when I asked how things were, “You know? I’m actually very good. I just am. Nothing has changed, but I feel great and am choosing to just be fine.” I was inspired and thrilled to hear someone choosing to be so positive. He’s not even really a traditionally optimistic or happy-go-lucky sort, so I was that much more impressed with his candour.

Nora from Non-Linear Girl wrote a lovely little post recently called “Happy Days Are Here Again”, in which she lists succinctly some things that are currently making her smile. Nothing world-peace-inducing or requiring much formal deep thought, just a sweet reflection on the nice things in life at this very point.

I figure we’ve got lots of not nice going on around us all the time, and the thought of taking a few minutes to reflect on what is currently making me smile would be like holding a nice cup of tea (or vodka) before bed, and drifting off to a peaceful slumber (without little feet burrowing into my spine).

Without further ado (and I hope you try this too), my happy list.

Currently what’s making me smile:

  • Version 1.0, completely, in general and specifically her newfound love of telling me how much she misses me when I go away, and that she “likes me alot”.
  • Also, the fact that I can put her hair in ponytails every now and then when she allows it.
  • Version 2.0 kicking like a crazy little alien 24/7, and the brief moments he/she lets me rest a little bit.
  • Finally getting all my papers organised after months and months of piling up in unorganized chaos on my desk. Unfortunately, one of the unopened letters included Hubby’s new bank card from, uh, last summer, but that’s thankfully all been dealt with already.
  • My hair is growing out and letting me feel a bit more feminine in a time of much needed contributions to my external self-worth (read: big fat hog growing by the day).
  • Cupcakes. Altogether too many of them in a short period of time, but hey.
  • An unopened Lego Star Wars set that is waiting to be built. So it belongs to the Hubby, but I am certain I can convince him to let me help.
  • A friend has let me borrow Seasons 1-3 of Lost to watch in my upcoming burrowing phase as the impending birth gets closer.
  • GOLD. I didn’t expect to get caught up in the Olympics craziness, but seeing that I live right smack dab in the middle of it all, it was hard to avoid and now I am reminded of my tremendous pride in my country for its personality, friendliness and success. As I drove home on Thursday night, intent on seeing my child and husband, I ended up right smack in downtown Vancouver in the final minutes of the women’s gold hockey game. The minute it ended, the streets erupted in cheers all around me. There wasn’t another car in sight, but I was surrounded by ecstatic pedestrians, all cheering for the same reason. My favourite moment of the Games.
  • Spring is in the air. Always a time for renewal, but the weather has been unusually warm, and I’m feeling change afoot.
  • Family. We spent yesterday at my parents’ house with my immediate family, watching the cousins play together and cheering together, fuelled by national pride. I love the comfort of our family, and that our husbands feel the same.
  • Foodie blogs. Perhaps the greatest thing to emerge from the series of tubes which we know as The Interwebs. The perspectives and experiments and beautiful photography give me the courage to try new and delicious things (provided I am actually at home to try them).
  • Great customer service in a great hotel. The hotel I stay at when I am away treats me like royalty, has big, deep bathtubs and spa treats and chocolate and nice towels and always remembers what I like. Makes being away that much more manageable.
  • Meeting new people. I’ve been making a point of getting introductions to new acquaintances, business contacts, friends, anyone. I’m so energized by new stories and experiences and look forward to connecting them all together.

What’s on your list? Is it harder to come up with a happy list than a gripe list? Once you get started, I prefer to think not.

February 16, 2010

Olympic Parenting

olympicsOur life is a little topsy turvy right now. Since Friday, everything has turned to high performance sports, national pride and parties. Parties everywhere. Which I can’t attend (or don’t have the energy to attend). On top of travelling frequently this month, I’m participating in my own Olympic event, trying to keep all of the balls in the air.

In the spirit of this nationally syndicated event, I would like to introduce my version of the Olympics, mommy style. The following list includes all sanctioned events by the international governing body. As this event is still in its infancy (pardon the pun), the organising committee welcomes proposals for the addition of new events.

Rhythmic Cleaning (Long Program): In this event, competitors endeavour to clear the competition area of clutter and debris (may include week-long hidden bottles of milk, ground-in chocolate and packages of tiny stickers) while remaining cheerful and light-hearted. Competitors are judged based on speed, use of floor space, and creative interpretation.

Short-Track Store Sprint: This event encompasses a number of challenging aspects, including a high-speed toddler dash, moving hazards and human obstacles. Competitors are equipped with high-speed shopping carts and must negotiate narrow race lanes. Judging is based on avoidance of hazards, efficient use of available energy and time to reach the finish (stray toddler).

Combined Toddler Aerials: This event brings together the precision required for the toddler dinner toss and the aerobic fitness of the playground jungle gym chase. Competitors demonstrate agility, grace and speed in execution, using air speed and velocity to gain distance and height. Penalties are assessed for touching the ground or breaking form.

Colic Marathon: One of the most challenging of endurance events, this sport requires competitors to battle exhaustion and mental fatigue while completing circuits around feeding stations, rest stops and change tables. Competitors place based on sequential finish, which is often extended based on penalties for foul language, crossed eyes and evidence of performance-enhancing substances such as caffeine or Nyquil.

Bedtime-Cross: A battle of both physical and mental acuity, with multiple competitors on the field simultaneously, attempting to intimidate and overpower the competition. A high-contact sport, this event often results in sustained injuries and bruised egos. The competitors advance through a tournament-style ranking, until one competitor emerges victorious and can demonstrate repeated success in all aspects of the event. Athletes often benefit from cross-training with competitors within the Combined Toddler Aerials event.

We have been practicing our skills here for competition and I must say, we’re probably not in top performance form yet. We may need to wait, oh, another 11 weeks (ack!) for immersive re-training in the Colic Marathon. It will be challenging but surely rewarding, although I’m not sure it’s really a sport I will ever exceed in. I may just fall asleep at the medals ceremony and miss my moment of glory.

Have an event to add for consideration? Feel free to submit below. Happy Olympics, everyone!

February 1, 2010

On Money, Roles and Our Ingrained Ideas

According to this article, for 96% of the population with kids under 18, the typical life story goes something like this:

  1. One or both parents work.
  2. Mom gets knocked up.
  3. Mom takes requisite time off work (6 weeks – 1 year, depending on which socialist regime country you live in).
  4. Mom makes choice to either stay home and take care of kids indefinitely (30%) or go back to work (66%), putting kids in care.
  5. Dad continues as primary wage-earner, albeit with a little less sleep.
  6. Cycle continues with subsequent children until both parents emerge victorious and slowly get their life back as kids are shipped off to boarding school grow older and more independent.

For 4% of the population, like our family, we diverge around Steps 3-4 and do a complete role reversal with Daddy staying home and Mommy going back to work full time. While we are blessed with the option of a year of maternity leave (albeit at a much reduced wage) in Canada, which is distributable to either parent, some of us aren’t in a position to qualify.

We had the perfect storm. I made the higher wage by a substantial amount, while hubby’s work had been on a steady decline over the previous year before we had Version 1.0. In addition, I had been self employed for six months before we had our child, which meant that although I had worked enough hours over the past 12 months to qualify for insurance, they calculate how much you get based on the previous six months. Though I had been working, it had not been insurable earnings as I was self-employed. So basically we ended up with no social security net, no parental leave or employment assistance income. We had no choice but for me to go back to work after my daughter was seven weeks old. In Canada, this is pretty much unheard of.

Because it is still most likely that the father is the primary wage-earner in the household, and because we all have pretty much guaranteed jobs to come back to after a year off, it’s usually the mom that takes the time off. Makes sense, now that I know about the physical side effects of pregnancy and newborns. However, a loving and dedicated father can do just a well caring for baby as a mommy can. But is it that simple? I can tell you, emphatically, “No”.

The first few months were damn hard. To add to the mix, we had started a new business a month before my daughter was born, and I was eager and anxious to dive in and contribute. I’m an entrepreneur by heart and the pull was strong, as was the desire to not lose my professional “edge” (which has arguably dwindled ALOT since my child ripped most of my functioning intellectual prowess out of my head). I was visiting client sites with a breast pump and bags for milk. I had to pump in public washrooms whenever I got the chance. I am sure, to the others visiting the washroom while I pumped away in a stall, that the rhythmic squeaking coming from a few feet away was at best a curious noise and at worst a horrific half-time show which they did not want to be privy to.

As a result, of course, my milk supply dwindled and waned and my daughter did not thrive like she should, so we were forced to revert to formula to give her the nourishment she needed. She was already being supplemented as my supply was meagre, but I didn’t know enough then to be able to adjust and do nights and mornings. The fact that we had to use formula was enough stress and judgment to have made me throw in the towel, but I digress.

Additionally, the emotions and hormones and physical side effects of birth had not fully departed and I struggled a lot with feelings of guilt and sadness that I was missing all the little moments of my child’s development when I had to be away for a day or, worse, overnight. I was too overwhelmed with continued night feedings and exhausted from interrupted sleep to get back into any regular exercise routine and if I was working at home, I felt guilty for taking any time off to go for a walk or play with my daughter. She had colic and cried constantly for the first four months. She had reflux and didn’t gain enough weight, blah blah blah.

While things have definitely calmed now and we have hit our routine somewhat, I do believe it’s taken us a couple of years to get more comfortable. I still cry when I hear “Mommy COME HOME!” on the phone when I’m away for a night, and I still feel exhausted every day as we wrestle our little octopus out of bed with us. Even with a toddler, it’s HARD. And EXHAUSTING. We’re getting there. But then, in a few months, we have to start again. This time I will have little to no time off. We can’t afford it. We’re right in the thick of project work with my clients and my team is depending on me. I have wonderful coworkers and I work from home primarily, but no one can take away the physical stuff you have to get through, the breast feeding at night, the UGH fatigue and sleeplessness, and the sense of responsibility to this little newborn.

My husband – best father ever. Loving, caring, responsible, active, laid back and sweet. No issues there. But I do believe there is just something different between mommy and daddy in terms of ties to a newborn baby - that panicky sense of urgency, that desire to soothe and nurture, etc. It’s hard to explain and not something we choose, just something that comes along with the physical attachment at birth.

When I decided to be a working mom, friends and family both questioned me and looked at me funny. They shook their heads and didn’t believe that this was our only choice. That we somehow hadn’t done our math correctly and that EVERYONE has the option to stay home and WHY would you want to work when you could sit around eating bonbons for a year? SURELY it’s better for Daddy to work while Mommy doesn’t. It was so frustrating to feel like somehow we’d made a choice that was leading to more stress, when really we were like any other family who has to choose one parent working and one staying home because economically it made more sense than daycare when you weighed the financial options, and we really really both felt strongly about having our kids home with parents, just as my parents did. We just flipped the roles. Not everyone approved. In fact, many didn’t and still don’t understand. As if we’re trying to prove something to the world.

What struck me most is how much pressure there is on young women to get educated, get a good job, make good money, be independent, be powerful, ad nauseum. But when it came time to have kids, if they had done all this, they are expected to drop all of that and take the year off, care for the children and why the heck wouldn’t you?

Oh, the career will always be there.
There will always be work.
You can get maternity leave benefits.
Your children need you.
It’s not the right thing.

Actually, it was the right thing for us, as hard as it has been. And no, I would not have had the opportunities I have had if I hadn’t stayed working. Nor would we have been financially viable. I didn’t have benefits. I work. I am a professional. My husband wanted to stay home. He preferred it. Get over it!

Is it any easier for dads to keep working after their child is born? Do dads still feel that pull to be with their children? I don’t know. Is there a difference for one parent or the other? Or do dads just expect it is their role to keep working and adjust to that accordingly? I don’t know. I’ve had the privilege of working mostly from home, where I can be around my kid as much as possible. This is not all that easy and I have had to acquire an external office so I can actually get things done, and sound semi professional on my calls. But I am privileged, and all things considered, very happy.

I just wish everyone could see the full story, could consider a new perspective. As our economy continues to re-invent itself, we may be increasingly forced to make our family decisions like we do our business decisions, considering facts and outcomes without emotion or a tie to tradition. I can’t say I’ve met too many other couples in our scenario but would love to hear other experiences and feel a little less like the social anomaly.

January 20, 2010

Prickly, Prickly Times

I read a post today by EarnestGirl at the Yummy Mummy Club. She spoke of her reaction to tragic events since being pregnant and over the past decade (which, as she correctly notes, has been rife with tragedy and trauma on the global scene). She described her reaction to the horror and the despair as “falling in a well”. I thought, how apt.

I’ve always been a relatively aware individual and try hard to be sensitive to the world around me, to others’ needs (whether overtly described or needing careful discovery) and to the emotional climate surrounding me at any given time. I feel deeply for people who experience pain, which I believe is relative to experience and situation and just as real for each individual, and have always wanted to help in any way I can. I’m no Mother Teresa, just average compassionate, but there are things you just can’t ignore.

Since I have had my child, however, the awareness of tragedy seems to strike a deeper chord, and I feel hurt for mothers, families who have lost their own, lovers who lose their only reason to live. Whereas before, I related to their hurt and accepted the severity, but I didn’t *feel* it, like I do now. Please understand I don’t pretend to ever know what it’s like to endure that magnitude of pain, but what I mean to say is that it’s almost unbearable to just hear about it now. It makes me realize just how otherworldly painful it might be to experience horrific destruction, loss of life, loss of home, all of it. We’re so…. protected. For the most part.

But what made this empathy become so much more amplified since I gave birth? Am I actually able to relate on some other level, knowing now what I stand to lose, or is it hormones, fatigue, or all the other things that come along with life after birth? Now that I am pregnant again, it seems to be so much stronger, yet again. I’m contemplating reading a book right now that I know will be fantastically written, and that I will be pleased to have experienced, but will break my heart with such a tragic story. I almost can’t bear the thought of that kind of sadness now. I hate this because I feel I can no longer be compassionate, that I avoid the sad parts of life, and don’t read the horrific stories, am overwhelmed by the news of catastrophes and generally avoid anything that is not uplifting. But that is not life. That is not real. Does it get easier to rejoin the real world at some point? Or am I destined to close myself into a happy bubble and lose the ability to build my perspective and respect for those who have endured and prevailed through horrific times?

What funny beings we really are. Always morphing and changing… I’d like to stop and rest for awhile.

January 17, 2010

The Great Interview Experiment

A month or two ago, I came across a posting by one of my favourite mommy bloggers, who had participated in Neil Kramer’s Great Interview Experiment. The gist of it is, a random population of bloggers who elect to participate get paired up in random order and interview each other, posting the results of their interviews on their own blogs, and Neil curates a master list on his.

I had the privilege of interviewing Julie from He Who Laughs Last Didn’t Get It. Below is the script from our interview together. Enjoy! It’s a great concept and hopefully introduces you to some new talent. Participate yourself if you have a blog.

Interview with Julie

S: You started writing early last year. Has your focus evolved since then or did you start with a pretty clear idea of what you wanted to share or achieve?

J: I don’t really think my focus has changed since I started blogging. Because my friends were always telling me that I had some good funny stories to tell about being suddenly shoved into the world of dating at the ripe old age of 33…I felt like blogging was my first step. I do have lots of “bad date” stories to share, but what I often find is that the lessons I learn from these horrible experiences are what is actually worth sharing. And it is through these experiences that I learned so much about myself.

The toughest lesson I learned last year as a newby to the blogging community is that the people I surrounded myself with weren’t always the people I should have surrounded myself with. I realized that I didn’t like who I was becoming while I was hanging around some particular friends…and I learned it through my blogging. It wasn’t until after I went back and read a lot of my older posts that I put two and two together that maybe some of my bad experiences were bad experiences because of the company I was keeping…

It was this “realization” that made me clean my “friendship house” at the end of last year and start fresh. This may make my life boring and not blogable anymore, but I sure do feel better internally since I have cleaned house.

You mention in your profile a number of internal conflicts that challenge you regularly. Has writing helped you work through some of those?

I absolutely use my blog as a form of therapy! I used to write things in my journal, but I am so anal in the way things look that I would be on day seven or eight of my new journal and have to bag it and start a new one. Why you might ask? For stupid reasons usually. Usually it’s things like, I didn’t like my handwriting that day or I got off on a tangent and the paragraph I was writing ended up being too long. And because I like the way things “look” I couldn’t cross it out and start over…so hand written journaling was making me more crazy than nothing at all. Hence one of the reasons why I started the blog…editing was much easier.

Now as I look back, I have a good feel for where I was, where I am and where I am going and it all looks pretty and neat.

But what I am really finding out is that just because I come to certain conclusions about my behavior or things I am doing doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to change my ways. I usually find that when I write, it’s the “good, logical person” in me putting my thoughts down on the paper. But it’s the “fun, go getter that doesn’t really care what the consequences are person” that lives in my brain day to day, and sometimes those two don’t get along and usually the fun (aka…bad stuff) is a lot easier to do than the good/right things.

You provide some pretty detailed recaps of current programming. My question is... Reality shows: entertaining train wrecks or pretty accurate commentary on current societal values?

The sad part is, I think they are both…pretty accurate commentary on our current societal values and entertaining train wrecks. I have said many times that we, as a society have no moral compass by which to live life and honestly this freaks me out. I have two little boys that are growing up in this world where it is currently ok to date 25 women at the same time, or propose to one woman only to break her heart, dump her and ask another woman out all in the same evening…all because it is “good” tv. And we as a(society) are ok with that because we just want the opportunity to bitch and moan and complain when these “reality stars” mess up in real life. We want the opportunity to say “I told you so” under our breaths…

As a single woman, the “reality” of reality television also frustrates me, why you may ask? Because shows like the Bachelor dupe us into thinking that all romances should be fairy tale helicopter rides, dinners under the stars, magazine shoots, and private concerts. It’s not real, but in the real world “reality” is boring and who would watch boring. The problem is… a lot of people can’t differentiate between the two. So in order to make up for the “boringness” of reality we settle for going to a fun club on dates and hanging with a group of people, never really getting the opportunity to know our dates and whether or not we want to get to know them more. So in a sense we “settle” early on… There is no courtship or romance anymore!

A topic that has been discussed at length recently revolves around the support that women, in particular, find in their online communities. Is this real? Does it rival real world friendship? Have you had occasion to test the strength of these online community relationships?

I have only been blogging since June of last year and seriously blogging since about November so I am in no way an expert in the “support” that women get in the blogging community. But I will say that slowly but surely I have been making some friends that I never thought I would. It has been fun to connect with women that don’t even know me who support me through the day to day.

But most important it’s just good to realize, and I mean really realize that I am not crazy! The things I am feeling and talking about in my blogs are real things that other women feel and work through every day too.

I personally have not yet had the opportunity to “test” the strength of these communities. But there is one blogger whom I follow that is going through something in her personal life and she relies heavily on her blogging community for support. Every day I can see that the support she is getting is really helping her cope with her situation. It makes me smile!

Part b) to that previous question. Does blogging help you develop credibility in that community or are bloggers a dime a dozen?

I do think that bloggers are a dime a dozen and it is tough to gain credibility. But what I have also found is that if you are just honest with who you are and what you write about people will like you and follow you and value your opinions. I have read a million (ok, maybe not a million, but definitely hundreds) of blogs. And what I have found is that if your blog becomes sort of a narrative of your day to day life it can become boring and mundane and that is where you lose your credibility. But if you write in a “general” way and add your own personal stories and events, it gives you the credibility you need to be a blogger that everyone wants to read.

I try to think of things that happen to me in my world of dating as a single mom in my thirties and think about how it might affect everyone and then write about it. If I went on and on and on about the guy that insisted on giving me foot massages even though I told him over and over again that I didn’t like them you might get bored because perhaps that scenario hasn’t happened to you (count your lucky stars) but the fact that I actually learned a lesson from it and shared that lesson with everyone who probably knows someone that has gone through something like I did…that is where you gain and create your credibility from.

You're a single mom. I can only imagine this means you are forced to prioritize heavily. Where does your writing fall on that priority list and how do you motivate yourself to post regularly?

Writing falls towards the top of my priority list…God, family, friends, writing…everything else gets done when I get a chance. Writing has become a form of therapy for me that I NEED in my everyday life. For some it’s exercise or meditation, for me it’s writing. I don’t feel complete unless I write something every day.

Sure there are days when I get bogged down or can’t think of things to write about, but those are the days when I focus on things like organizing my thoughts for my book or researching things for my book…oh…by the way…did I tell you I am in the process of writing a book? I am devoting 2010 to really delving into it. I took 2009 to focus on my personal life (aka…partied way too much). That wasn’t working for me so I have adopted the motto: 2010 where the new going out is staying in. This way I can focus more on my writing and really get serious about it. I find when I focus more on my writing it puts more focus on me as a person and this is where my real growth comes. Sorry…I’m WAAAAAAYYYY off topic now. What was the question again?

Bonus question: If you were a judge on The Bachelor, how would you determine who is successful? Should America vote? :)

I absolutely DO NOT think America should have a say whatsoever in who the Bachelor/Bachelorette chooses. It’s bad enough that the production staff has a say…am I right people? Why else would Michelle have made it to at least the third week? I predicted she gets booted the third or fourth week. They always keep the psycho on long enough to boost ratings! But I digress yet again…

Back on topic. The way I look at it…my friends can’t seem to pick good men for me. As I think this story is a great example of why I think that. Don’t get me wrong. I love my friends and they love me, but sometimes I just have to wonder. I guess I shouldn’t complain about this either. Since adopting my new motto of staying in in 2010, two of my friends have already called me about setting me up on blind dates. And because I am a cool girl I said yes…I will keep you posted on how they turn out. Last tangent…I promise, back on track.

I think determining success when it comes to the Bachelor/Bachelorette is a battle that will never be won. What is success when it comes to Hollywood and dating anyway? I mean if Susan Sarandon and Tim Robins can’t make it then who can. It doesn’t matter what people think success is in a relationship, there will always be people out there that say, “I told you it wouldn’t work out”….even if they make it over the twenty year mark. I don’t know…there are just so many cynics out there. I think anyone that can manage to stay out of the gossip columns has a pretty good chance…Hugh Jackson and his wife, and Dr. McDreamy and his wife are couples that I think are in it for the long haul and not for the attention.

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