Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Question Period

We seem to have entered the phase of questions in our household.   Make that, the phase of unending questions.  Torture by questions.  (Okay, maybe that's a tad dramatic.  Okay Fine.  You got me.  Some of the questions in question are clearly adorable and lovely and all kinds of cute and demonstrate all the ways my smalls are super clever.  It's just that they go on forever.  Like that 'song that never ends'.  Or 'Stairway to Heaven'.) 

Strangely, though both kids are cleary ensconsed in different developmental phases, BOTH of said phases involve copious amounts of queries.

Girlio is into figuring out how things work around the house. Her constant refrain is "What doing? What doing? WHY?"  or alternatively, "Why Mama?  Why?".  The former is exceedingly cute and the latter exceedingly funny, because it always comes out sounding entirely theatrical.  

And Boy-o seems to be trying to figure out how out how pretty much eveything in the world works. His questions start first thing in the morning and keep up a steady pace all day long. Some are obsession specific (current obsessions include all things planetary and firefighting).  Things like "why is smoke stinky?",  "Why is fire hot?",  "Why isn't Pluto a planet anymore?"... "Is Pluto sad about it?", fall into this line of questioning. 

And then there are the running commentary questions (which can drive a mama MAD, I tell you!)  These are the background noise to every storytime or video.  The kinds of questions that could easily be answered by being quiet and actually listening to the story or video in question.  "Why is he doing that?",  "Mama! What is she thinking?", "What is that person doing?", "Why don't you know?", "Mama? What's in that bag?", "What's going to happen next?", "Is he sad?", "Mama? What is she wearing?", and so on and so forth and so on and so forth. 

The third variety of questions are what I like to refer to as the "grand" questions.  Ones for which I could not even possibly hazzard a remotely educated guess.  My favourite so far happened just yesterday. 

Boy-o: "I wonder what everyone is doing?" 
Me: "All of your classmates?" 
Boy-o: "NO!" (clearly exasperated that this question has to be explained).  "Everyone in the whole world!"

(Just try and answer that one ;)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Whoa Fat Mama, Bam Ballam, Bam Ballam, Bam Ballam...

(This post could alternatively be titled:  "Because I'm fat!  I'm fat!  I'm real, real, fat!"  You know, just in case you needed a different song stuck in your head.)

"Do I look fat in this?"   Ha!  Just kidding.

Okay.  So let's get the preliminaries out of the way.  I'm fat.  (gasp!)  I use the F-word to describe myself.  (gasp!)  It's not a put-down.  (gasp!) 

And though the world is currently teeming with discourse about women who want to lose weight so they can 'be that great and healthy role-model for their kids', I think I'm a just-fine role model for my children (double gasp!)

Everybody still with me?  Everyone alright?

Super.  Let's move along.

I am, apparently, among other things (like lazy and too stupid to know better), an epidemic.  That's always lovely to hear, no?  It doesn't matter that I exercise (a lot), role-model and encourage a physically active lifesyle with my kids, eat pretty darned healthily, have amazing health (knock wood), not to mention perfect blood pressure (which my docs always seem so surprised about).   It doesn't matter that the skinny person next to me might have an eating disorder, or live on cheetos, or, you know, crack.   My body is an epidemic.  Let's just stop for a second and try to take it what impact it might have on a person to continuously be told they are part of an epidemic.  An epidemic.  Like smallpox.  Like AIDS.   Like . . . me.  

(If you guessed that it makes me feel super-awesome-fabulous, you win the prize!)

Now the idea of 'health,' the area from which the epidemic discourse arises from, of course, is the ultimate trump card in hatin' on fat people. 

Wanna make fun of some fat folks?  Why not!  Heck - it's for their own good.  Fat is, after all, soooooooooo unhealthy. 

Wanna become obsessed with your weight?  Wanna develop disordered eating?  Why, we'll congratulate you!  After all - it's for your own good - fat is sooooooooo unhealthy.

Wanna create a culture of perfectly intelligent women who converse more about the state of their thighs than the state of the union?  Done!  After all - fat is soooooo unhealthy!  (If I had a dollar for every thin woman who conspiritorially shared with me their body-hatin' crap, because, I, an actual fat person, must hate myself just as much as they do, I'd be rich.  Rich, I tell you.  Wifey and I could retire and go on permanent vacay... just sayin'.  And though I have my moments - I guarantee ya, I don't hate myself as much as they do).

Wanna create a culture of children who grow into adults who are terrified of getting fat above all else?  Let's just keep on keeping on then.  We're well on track.  C'mon kids, fat is soooooooo unhealthy.

If, and I do mean if, the medical community and the media cared one whit about the health of people... up to and including fat people, we would stop talking about size altogether.  That's right, boys and girls. 


Because while being above one's 'optimal' body mass index may not be the best for us, here's what we also know:

1.  yo-you diets take years off of people's lives,
2.  eating disorders take years off of people's lives,
3.  fat people are ridiculed for trying to exercise in public.  (Ha! Fat girls in spandex!  Ha!  Fat girl running!  Ha! Ha! Ha!  Fat kids in gym class!  Hardy har har!),
4.  all people (yes, even the slender ones) need to be eating more healthily and getting more exercise,
5.  our culture of body surveillance, which has created some serious mental health issues in women in particular, is beyond disturbing.

What might happen if we took the focus off of fat and put it back to where it belongs?  Encouraging health.  And not the one-dimensional view of health currently coming out of much of the medical community.  Promoting health that includes a sense of self-loving instead of self-flagellation.  Forgive me for the Oprah-ism here, but I honestly think that giving people the tools and the encouragement they need to live the best life they can in the body they actually reside in.   It's not going to stop people like me from being fat (and looking pretty fine, I might add).  But it might help people who are so caught up in the bullshit of  being an 'epidemic.' 

What might happen if we stopped making gym class a hostile and terrifying place for fat kids, the gym a less terrifying place for fat folks?  What if we told people that everyone was capable of exercise?  What if healthier food was actually affordable?  What might happen if we stopped surveilling people's bodies altogether? 

Sky's the limit, baby.

I'm a fat mama

And I will teach my kids to love themselves.  I will teach my kids to treat their bodies (and the bodies of other people) with love, kindness and respect.  And yes - that will include healthy eating and lots of fresh air (insofar as 'fresh' air exists these days) and lots of exercise.  I hope, despite grappling with my own body shit, that my kids will never hear me say:  "Does this make me look fat?" or other kinds of self-disrespecting bodytalk because that, that message right there, is not the kind of role-modelling this mama is shooting for.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Joe Fresh kids wear disappoints

go team love. 2 cute junior team.  little league sweetheart.  pretty league.  pretty little flower.  cutie.

sharks.  pirates.  towtrucks. firetrucks.  truck-trucks. monster trucks. oceanographer theme.  camo.

Just returned from a browse through the kids wear at Superstore (aka Joe Fresh).   Can you guess which line is for boys and which is for girls? 

As Boy-o would say: "JAY-ZUZ!"

Friday, February 18, 2011

Why Justin Bieber's anti-abortion talk really gets my goat...a rant from a pro-choice mama.

There is currently some scarier than usual anti-abortion rhetoric heating up in the U.S. these days (thank you Tea Party-ers, and p.s. you suck.  And now, dim-witted teenage heart-throbs, (moreover heartthrobs who clearly lack the plumbing that might result in their facing the heartbreaking decisions that must follow an inintended pregnancy) are weighing in on the debate.  (Badly).

In case you aren't aware of what's been going on with our neighbours to the South:

Here's an article from today outlining how South Dakota is considering a law in which killing abortion providers could be ruled a 'justifiable homicide.'  I am not even shitting you here, people.  You cannot make this crap up:
And Planned Parenthoods across the U.S. have been infiltrated by 'incognito' anti-choicers digging for dirt in the hopes of getting public funding withdrawn.

And the political scenario with regards to said funding is looking increasingly grim as well, with Republican representatives putting forward bills that would strip federal funding from healthcare providers that also provide abortions (like Planned Parenthood), as well as bills that would strip women of public and private insurance coverage for abortions.  One particularly lovely bill put forward by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), the “Protect Life Act”  (excuse me while I throw up a little bit in my mouth), actually seeks, in addition to other lovely things, to prohibit states from ensuring that women have access to information about how to get access to abortion services.   The House Leadership’s FY 2011 continuing resolution proposes to completely eliminate the Title X family planning program, which has connected millions of American women with health care since Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1970.   Of course, these proposals do not just affect women's access to safe abortion services - they also would effectively cut off access to affordable birth control and reproductive health services (like, um, paps, cancer screening, free counselling services, STI screening and treatment and on and on and on).

This is scary.  Scary.  Scary shit, folks.

And uber conservative states  are hopping aboard the 'force women to have an ultrasound to look at the life she's killing' before providing info and access to abortions.  In total 10 states have tried, or are in the process of trying to pass this legislation.  (Some states have failed - go South Carolina, but I digress.)

I am pro-choice.  I will always be pro-choice.  Becoming a mother has made me even more pro-choice. To be perfectly clear, what I mean by pro-choice is that women facing unintended pregnancy must have access, information, and support, whether she chooses to take the route of parenting, placing a child for adoption, or abortion.  None of these roads are easy.  And no one wants to be in the position of having to make those choices.  And I REFUSE (and I mean refuse here people) to debate a woman's right to choose what happens to (and in) her body. 
I will steadfastly refuse to debate this right until the day when: 

1.  every sign-holding, anti-choice protester who claims to care so much about 'the children' adopts at least 2 of the children already alive and needing our assistance.  And not just cute, perfect, healthy (and most often white) newborn little people.  I'm talkin', you know, the 'hard-to-place' ones;

2.  every sign-holding, anti-choice protester who claims to care so much about  'the children' explains to me why they (and their ilk) remain in steadfast opposition to my people providing safe, loving and nurturing adoptive and foster homes to the aforementioned children;

3.  every sign-holding, anti-choice protester who claims to care so much about 'the children' starts spending more time raising money and resources to help feed and cloth and educate and find good and safe homes for the shamefully high number of starving and abused children already alive and suffering right here in our own backyards (not to mention to world over);

4.  every sign-holding, anti-choice protester who claims to care so much about 'the children' fights for better sex education, and easily accesible information about birth control and safer sex choices to all people, of all ages, and all income levels;

5.  every sign-holding, anti-choice protester who claims to care so much about 'the children' can explain to me the moral relativism that makes shooting abortion providers reasonable and rational;

6.   every sign-holding, anti-choice protester who claims to care so much about 'the children' can explain to me how creating a society in which back-alley abortions in which women and often near full-term babies die, in which women attempt to perform abortions on themselves causing irreparable damage, in which women desparate to hide their pregnancies, birth alone and then do shockingly awful things like dropping newborn babies in dumpsters) because fear and desparation and lack of supports can make people do shocking and awful things), is anything but counterproductive to the cause of helping make children's lives better;

7.  every sign-holding, anti-choice protester can somehow explain to me how 'no child left unborn' makes more sense than 'no child left unloved,' 'no child left alone,' 'no child left abused,' 'no child left unfed,' 'no child left uneducated,' 'no child left unwanted;' 

Then, and only then will I sit and debate whether or not it's ethical to force a woman to be a human incubator for 10 months (that's how long it actually is, folks) against their will, because they fucked up (for all kinds of personal and/or systemic reasons), or worse still, because they were fucked up upon.  

This kind of shit just incenses me.  Pisses me off.  Because you know what?  I care about 'the children' too.

(So Justin - please. just.  stop.  talkin'.  Truth be told, I'd actually prefer it if you stopped singing too - but I'm not looking for miracles here.  Just a smidge of some good common sense.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Getting stuff done

I am often frustrated and down on myself because I can't seem to get anything accomplished.  I start the day with good intentions, I start 'x, y, or z' tasks with good intentions, and then somehow at the end of the day, it looks like I've mostly gone backwards. 

In the past, I've been inclined to chalk this up to my ineptitude as a homemaker.  (and truth be told, there is still some truth to this).

But yesterday, I had an eye-openning experience.

I put Girlio down for her nap.  I plunked Boy-o in front of a Diego video (his current fave.  Nay - his current love affair!) with the promise that after a brief half hour run, we would do his super-fun kids yoga video together.   Can anyone guess how long that half hour run actually took me?  Anyone? 

(drumroll please!)  One hour and 17 minutes. 

Yes.  For real.  I was interrupted and had to hop off that f*cking treadmill nine times.  Nine times!  Boy-o didn't like that episode.  Or the next one.  He had to pee and needed me to come with him.  Then he didn't like the next episode either.  Girlio awoke wretchedly early from her nap and I tried in vain to resettle her while Boy-o non-cooperatively shouted and banged unknown objects in the basement below us.  Boy-o had a temper tantrum and begun hurling himself about and screaming at bloodcurdlingly at me because I refused to get off the treadmill for a tenth time to do I-can't-even-remember-what.  This all culminated in me having a temper tantrum and yelling something highly innappropriate, like, 'GODDAMIT - can't you just give me 2 minutes?  JUST LEAVE ME ALONE FOR TWO MINUTES!', which of course resulted in a child crying wounded my-mama-is-bad tears and me feeling rotten and terrible for the last two-ish minutes of my very, very disjointed (and can I say, highly unfulfilling) run. 

This.  This right there - is exactly why I can't get anything done.  It's not that I'm a crappy housewife.  (Okay - if we're being totally honest - it is also because I am a crappy housefrau).  But mainly - mainly it appears to be because I have children

A rotten way to spend an hour and 17 minutes?  Most definitely. 

But a breakthrough nonetheless!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

zombies have eaten my brain

It's the only explanation for why I can't sit down and write anything clever or interesting in this blog these days.  (Hell, I can barely make myself sit down and try to be clever or interesting).

Or maybe it could also have something to do with the fact that Boy-o has finally dropped his nap, and by the time my evening 'break' comes around - my eyes are rolling back in my head and I can't speak in full (or sometimes even partial) sentences.

Or maybe it could also also have something to do with the fact that this is February.  And though they try to save this god-forsaken month by throwing in a wee long weekend and a holiday involving flowers and chocolate, February is still always the worst month in the year for me.   The middle zone of a long, long, cold winter with no spring in sight.  Yup.  February.  It can suck the life outta anyone, I say.


Let's go with zombies.

Wayyyyy more interesting a predicament than loss of naps and February blahs. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Kids in Song

Boy-o may be showing an early inclination towards penning songs...
Take for example Boy-o's recent spin on a once popular Tom Cochrane song: "Life is a driveway and I'm going to be there all night long, hey hey hey heyyyyyyyy." 

Or a reconfiguration of a P!nk song:  "So what?  I'm still a rockstar.  I got some rock boots and I don't need yoooouuuu!"

And here is a song that Boy-o wrote himself, shouted out loudly and accompanied by random guitar strumming (er, slapping?):

"Nothing everrrrr ends!
Everything is lovvvvvvvvvvvve!
This is my happy skydiving song!
Love!  Love!  Love!  Love!"

Love indeed, my existential skydiver.

(Girlio, is more inclined to one song over and over again these days.  "Rinky rink rink.  I ooove you.  Rinky rink rink.  I oooov you."  For those who are wondering - it's a Sharon, Lois and Bram classic, but I'll keep ya guessin' if it's not immediately evident). 

Iowa grandmother speaks in favor of gay marriage

Friday, February 11, 2011


Lately - I fear I've become a but of an absentee parent.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm here. (Where the heck else would I be?)  Physically.  The kids are getting their relatively nutritious three square with some meh-nutritious snacks thrown in.  They're getting their naps.  Their outdoor run-arounds.  The laundry is done.  Dinner gets made.  Somehow. 

But I'm checked out.  Not focussed on the smalls.  There's been too much tv.  Not enough edu-ma-catin'/interactin'/let's-sit-down-on-the-floor-and-hang-out'in.  I'm not proud of it.  But that's the truth of it. 

Is it burn-out?  Boredom?  Depression?  I don't really know.  What I do know is that lately everything is taking more energy (particularly of the emotional variety) than I seem to have.  And so my tots are watching too much telly. 

I've decided I'm not going to feel guilty about it.  (I know their are parents out there reading this squirming in their seats at the mention of too much television and not enough interacting.  So be it.)  I'm not super-mom.  (There - my secret's out).   Hell - I'm not even sorta-super-mom.  The good news is my tots are actually too smart without my edu-ma-catin' help.   And I'm sure this parental listlessness won't last forever.  At least I think it won't. 

Given my penchant for being brutally honest about my parenting foibles, you can rest assured that I'll be sure and let you know. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

and in the queer news today...

Big queer love goes out to the New Democrats for bringing forward the transgender protection bill!  And a big ole queer YAY!, it made it through the first hurdle.  And now it's off to the Conservative Senate... so, I guess, as we parents love to say: "We'll see."  (You'll find particularly heartwarming how critics of the bill worry that this bill will be used to protect pedophiles.  Really?  Really?  We're still there??  Anyhoo.)

And big queer flip-da-birdy goes out to Dr. Phil.  Dr. Phil advised a woman in the throes of hysteria that her son played with 'girl toys,' not to let him do it any longer.   Yes indeedy.  Quick to point out that playing with 'girl' toys did not mean her son was gay, Dr. Phil felt it best not to reward the behaviour in case it led to further 'confusion'.  Yup.  Yes.  He did.   Keeping those (ridiculous and unnecessary) gender restrictions firmly intact.  All in a days work...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How lucky we are

I just had the most perfect way-longer-than-necessary-bedtime-snoogle with my sweetly sleeping Girlio. I will never cease to be amazed at the rejuvenating power of moments such as those.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Zach Wahls Speaks About Family

Oh Zach. You do this mama's heart good.

(And how I wish I could write that Iowa voted the right way.)