Monday, 28 May 2012

It All Comes Out In The Wash

This weekend marked the one year anniversary of living in our condo. I have actively hated our washing machine since day one. It's glitchy. It temperamental. I have to perform a voodoo dance of carefully timed steps in a specific order to make it do a load of washing. There are numerous online forums filled with people complaining about this model of washing machine. It is a lemon.

The washing machine died 11 days ago. It's died before but we've always managed to resuscitate it. This time it refuses to be resuscitated. I called the manufacturer to see what our options are and was told there have been no recalls and we have no warranty (it's a replacement unit - our condo is only four years old but the previous owner had to have the washing machine replaced because the model is so crappy.)

The last week has been filled with a lot of washing machine rage. I don't understand how 3 years is an acceptable life span for a washing machine. I don't understand how we can be expected to pay more to repair our lemon machine than it costs to buy a new one.

Meanwhile, our laundry mountain grows. As of this morning it's reached my shoulders (and I am not a short lady.)

Our new machine arrives tomorrow. I hate the thought of throwing out a 3-year old machine but in the end it's going to cost us less to buy a whole new machine (and this way we can ditch the brand that has officially joined my "hate for life" list and we end up with a 1-year manufacturer's warranty.)

You guys, it hurt to spend our holiday fund on a new washing machine (and yes, I realize what a first-world problem this is. Doesn't make it hurt any less.) I do have to admit, though, that I'm a little excited to do laundry tomorrow.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Oh Friend You've Left Me Speechless

You guys, I don't know who nominated me, or why my blog was chosen to be in the top 30 out of all the other blogs that were nominated, but thank you. Thank you. Thank you for sticking around as I've fumbled my way through the last year or so. Thank you for your kind words and your virtual hugs and the immeasurable support you have provided me. Thank you for the emails, tweets, handwritten notes, text messages, phone calls, the love you all piled up on me while I fell apart and then slowly started to rebuild myself. I can never properly thank each and every one of you who reached out to me. I can never fully express how healing your kindness was.

All I can do is say thank you.

and leave you with a photo of sweet Gus Gus in dreamland

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

No Words Can Define What I'm Feeling

Mom, we need to talk.

I don't know how to tell you this.

I ... pooped.

In the tub. 

I pooped in the tub.

You still love me, right?

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

There's Nothing Left To Do Don't Close Your Eyes Even For A Moment Even For One Second I'll Be There Soon

My first Mother's Day could not have been better. Shawn, his brother, and my brother made a Mother's Day breakfast for all the moms. My husband, he who does not cook, organized the whole thing - menu planning, grocery shopping, kitchen coordination, and most importantly, bacon preparation. It was such a treat to be spoiled by the awesome men in my life.

It was a perfect day. Watching the love between my mom and the little mister who made me a mom filled my heart with so much joy that I couldn't stop myself from grinning wildly all morning.

I mean, really.

After our families left, we puttered around and had a relaxing afternoon. It was a beautiful day, probably the best weather we've had all year. The boys napped while I gardened (I am determined to become a gardener this year. I have an army of wee tomato plants that I have invested way too much time / energy / love into so far and they're not even in the ground yet.) Then we headed out for a family walk to pick up supplies for dinner (halibut cakes from the fishmonger and lemon tarts from the Italian bakery. I love my neighbourhood. That is all.) 

My chilled out Mother's Day became significantly less chilled out when Turtle's boyfriend sent me a text that said only "birth." 

There was a flurry of phone calls / text messages / emails before it was confirmed that Turtle had indeed been blessed with a Mother's Day baby. Turtle is a rockstar and her little guy is the most handsome angry-97-year-old-man baby I've ever seen. 

So. Sunshine. Good Food. Family. New baby (first nephew!) This Mother's Day will be hard to top. 

Friday, 11 May 2012

Momma Loved Us Every One

In the weeks after Grady's birth, I was a bruise. I was raw. My emotions were so close to the surface. Everything - even good things - hurt because I felt them so deeply. I didn't want to lose that rawness. I thought that if I lost that hypersensitivity, I would revert to being callous and critical. Because pre-Grady? I was critical.  I was full of my-kid-will-always-do-thises and my-kid-will-never-do-thats, always said with eyebrows-raised bitchy judgy eyes.

I'm ashamed by how critical I was pre-baby. You guys, I distinctly remember saying (on more than one occasion) that if a baby is old enough to walk over to his or her mother's breasts, that baby is too old to breastfeed. Admitting that makes me cringe. I hope that I never said that to a mother. Not that it makes my statement any more acceptable or any less rude, it just makes me feel less horrible to imagine I said it flippantly to another single, childless girlfriend instead of a mother who is just trying to do what's best for her child and her situation and really doesn't need an outsider weighing in on what's right or wrong about her parenting choices.

And then we're faced with something like the Time Magazine cover and it just feels like one more tool for women to use against other women (and don't even get me started on the women vs men dynamic. I have many feelings about all the "Mr. Mom!" and "Daddy Daycare!" comments we've received over my return to work and Shawn's stay at home dad status.) I have my own feelings about the image and you've got your own feelings about it (or maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about, or maybe you do know about the image and you don't care about it one way or the other) and that's fine. It's all fine. Instead of getting riled up over whether or not extended breastfeeding is normal, why don't we get riled up over people feeling like they can tell us what's right or wrong about how we raise our children and live our lives? If I've taken anything away from the Time Magazine cover it's that I'd like to say a hearty "fuck you!" to anyone (excluding Grady's doctor) who thinks they have the right to tell me the "proper" duration to breastfeed my child (and that includes my younger, childless self. Oh how I'd love to sit down and have a few words with her.)

I have lost some of my rawness. I had to. I couldn't survive if I continued to feel things as deeply as I did back then. I'm sure that part of my hypersensitivity can be traced to my postpartum  mental illness and as I got stronger and more healed in that regard, I got tougher as well. Tougher in a good way. Tougher in a way that lets me admit that Grady sleeps in our bed - every night, all night - and if you think that's wrong or gross or damaging I fully recognize your right to your own opinion. And if you feel the need to tell me it's wrong or gross or damaging? I will feel the need to tell you to fuck right off. But if you had told me that it was wrong or gross or damaging in the weeks after Grady's birth? The weeks where there really was no sleep and my mind was dark and I spent hours every day cuddling my newborn while lying on the bathroom floor, crying? It would have ruined me.

My hope is that even as I grow tougher, I never forget what it feels like to be a walking, talking (crying!) bruise. I want to hold on to that part of me and remember it whenever I have a knee-jerk reaction to something like the image on the Time Magazine cover. Instead of immediately thinking "oh wow, that kid sure looks pretty old to still be breastfeeding!" I want to think "that mom is so brave. She made a choice based on her child and her situation and she isn't afraid or ashamed to own it." Whether I agree with extended breastfeeding or not isn't the point. The point is that it's none of my business. That's not my child. Those aren't my breasts. Unless someone is harming their child, it's not my job to judge their parenting methods.

My first Mother's Day as a mom is approaching and I've been thinking a lot about what being a mom means to me. On some days (more days than I'd like to admit) it means treading water. It means second-guessing and doubting and yes, judging the choices of others. But sometimes (more and more lately) it means having the confidence to know that I am doing everything I can for my kid. I might not be doing everything right but I'm trying my hardest and that is what matters. If I try to be the best mom for my kid, every day, I can't fail. I have the best kid ever so it's not hard to want to try to be the best mom for him. 

Creepy, right? He does this giggle all the damn time. 

Thursday, 10 May 2012

She Lives In Colour

You guys, I am having a major painting dilemma. Head over here and help me out if you have a minute. Thanks! I really would appreciate any tips / wisdom / suggestions.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

No Starry World You'll Never Know How I Tried

I'm having a hard time being grateful for the blessed life I live.

I have my twisty stuff and my wobbles, sure, but I really have no cause to grumble.

I feel like I need to train my brain to focus on the sparkles instead of the dust. I'm just not sure how to go about doing that.

I've tried meditation but I find forced relaxation extremely stressful. I keep a gratitude journal which I find massively helpful - while I'm writing or reading it. I need to figure out how to unconsciously steer my mind towards the happier side of things.

How do you stop yourself from reacting to challenging situations with immediate anxiety and stress?

Gratuitous Gus shot because damn, my child is adorable: