Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Trans folk and air travel discrimination

Ahhh - the Harper-bots are at it again!  This time, they've decided that if one's visible gender presentation does not match the sex assigned on one's passport, people should be denied access to their flights.   For serious.   Check out Jezebel's take on the situation - they've pretty much nailed it.   As they rightly assert: "it's not as simple as just getting the sex designation changed on your passport, in order to do that the government requires proof that you've either had sex reassignment surgery or will have it within one year. So basically any transgender person who doesn't fall neatly into that very narrow category is screwed because they can't get a proper ID."  

Wanna add your name to the chorus telling the Con's this is ridiculous and discriminatory?  Head here and sign on the dotted line.  

Monday, January 30, 2012


Here is one example on the list of things you do NOT want to hear when you've ducked in the shower while the kids play:


"Ummmmmmmmmmmm.  I reallllly love you, MAMA!"



Hey ya'll - here's a great read on fat-shaming, inspired by the awful Georgia campaign using fat kids in anti-obesity ads from over at xojane.   http://www.xojane.com/issues/whats-wrong-fat-shaming  I found it to be a perfect early Monday morning read... maybe you will too :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Points of Contention

Points of contention.
High Points. low points.  Points of endless crying. Aching points. And points where no point is readily available.  I don't give a rat's ass points.  Stunning points of clarity. (points of none.)  'Fuck You!' and I-want-to-throw plates-at-the-wall points. (points of rage). i'm minuscule and alone in this world points.  Points Surrounded.  points loved.  Small bony limbs in a haphazard tangle around me points.  Ugly Hard Points. Thousands upon thousands of pin-pricking points of desire.  Points alternately slippery and sure-footed. perfectwordsrollingoffmytonguepoints. Points of silence, stuttering, stiltedness.  Points of terror.  Wild heart banging right out of my chest points.  Mouth Wide and Singing at the Top of my Lungs Points.  The points where each of your fingertips gently touched my face.  Longing points, heartsore.  Points of Losing It All.  Me*me*me points and points that threaten to swallow me whole.  Dancing in spite of it all points.  Remembering points.
Points of departure.
This blog post from over at deadspin is so funny I almost peed my pants.  I'm not kidding.  Funny as hell.  And so very very true!  Which gets me to thinking we should go over there and read all of the other great posts, too :)


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Definition of Love – As Told by Children

Definition of Love – As Told by Children

Kids are so awesome. And wildly big-hearted.

Roe v Wade

Today marks the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  Check out this link for Planned Parenthood to see women talk about what this has meant for their lives.   And remind yourself that we have to stand vigilant  about our rights to reproductive health care, as our governments continually allow their erosion (and in some places, their erasure).


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Repost: Oh, the Yo-Yo of it All..

If somebody would've told me beforehand - I never would have believed them.  The yo-yo is sometimes too intense to actually be, well, believable.  I'd have thought they were being melodramatic or exaggerating.  I'd have thought they didn't appreciate, you know, the miracle of parenthood and blah blah blah, etc. etc. 
So, what the heck am I talking about?  I'm talking about the ups & downs and highs & lows of parenting.  I'm talking about how bloody quick that high can become a low, and vice versa.   (It's entirely possible that I've blogged about this before.  If so, clearly I'm still amazed by it).

(As a sidenote here: I will be the first to admit that my kids tend towards the, um, intense.  They come by it honestly.  Like their Mama, they do not believe in doing anything, or any mood, half-assed.  Moderate just isn't our way.  So I get that other folks may think I'm wingeing when I talk about my kids' moods or tantrums or reactions or activity levels and the like.  But you'll just have to trust me when I say, my tots are an intense little lot.)

Anyhoo - back to the ups and down business.  There are days when the mood pendulum is so great that I can cry happy, sad and frustrated tears all in one day (or one outing, for that matter!).  Who would believe that before becoming a parent?  

There is nothing that can prepare you for the rush of sheer bliss that comes from spontaneous hugs, declarations of affection, or impromptu kitchen dance parties with a coupla smalls?  There is also nothing that can prepare you (and I mean nothing!) for the intensity of helplessness and anger when you are dealing with an intense hour long (and that's not even close to our household record either peeps) in which you get slapped, kicked and have to dodge miscellaneous projectiles, in which the raging tantrum-ee is so worked up, he gouges a huge welt in their own stomach, while you are attempting (and usually failing) to maintain a zen-like calm.   But then, as quickly as it roared in, the tantrum stops.  And you are overcome with an overwhelming need to comfort and shelter this child that seconds ago was as big as a hurricane, and now seems so vulnerable and tiny.  Or  how 'bout the extreme frustration from dealing with a toddler so steadfastly against the concept of sleep that she will poke her own eyeballs in an attempt to avoid getting those zzzz's.    And  unexpectedly, the toddler collapses in a heap of sleep.  And you are overcome with relief, and an enormous flooding of gooey love for this gorgeous, sweetly sleeping babe in front of you.

The yo-yo is nuts.  Sheer nuttery.  Especially when you add to the yo-yo your own feelings of ineptitude, the nagging suspician that you could've, should've handled it (whatever it is) better, that you are really not cut out for this business.  And top that with the moments that just go right, those fleeting moments when you get to think: 'Wow, we're doing an awesome job with these amazing kids."   Yo.  Yo.  

There is this fantastic old movie about parenting, called (wait for it!):Parenthood.  It's an 80's flick with Steve Martin and Mary Steenburgen and if you haven't seen it, you are totally missing out.   (Really.  Rent it or Netflix it or something).  Anyhow - there's this scene where a wise little grandma is trying to explain to her grandson (Martin) that parenthood is like a rollercoaster...

Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.

Gil: (not really paying attention) Oh? 

Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride! 

Gil: (totally sarcastic) What a great story. 

Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it. 

Grandma is right of course.  It's a roller coaster.  One minute your heart is breaking and the next second it's swelling with all kinds of warm fuzzies.  It's an awesome, wonderful, terrifying, angry-making, holy-crap-I'm-tired-and-scared-and-I-don't-know-if-I-can-do-this, exciting, sickening, exhilarating, roller coaster.    

Or, you know, a yo-yo.

Either way, what a ride.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Anxious, squared

When you have struggled with mental health issues, the contemplation of having kids can become a bit more loaded. At least, it did for me. Would my kids be prone to anxiety? Depression? What about the fact that I have a family history of schizophrenia? Would I saddle my kids with this? What if pregnancy was a highly anxious time? Would it impact them in utero? And then there's the whole, you know, living with me part. What were the risks? Was it fair?

Eventually of course, the drive for kidlets won out.  And I'm so, so very glad it did.  Because they are bloody amazing, incredibly beautiful little souls.  I can't remember what life was like before them, and I don't really want to.

But - I did spawn a child with anxiety issues.  I don't know if it's genes.  Or habits picked up from living with an anxious mama.  Or both.  It probably doesn't matter.  The fact remains that one of my littles struggles with anxiousness, and in times of great flux or crisis, (like, say, now) these struggles become really pronounced.

So here I sit, wading through all kinds of guilt.  It's my fault the family is going through all this change.  It's me that has anxiety, which though I try very, very hard to manage, gets modelled in their daily lives.  It's me with the crap genes.  etc. etc. etc. blah. blah. blah.

Ultimately, though, the guilt serves no purpose (you know, other than possibly fulfilling a perverse need for self-flagellation).  It's not helpful.  To either of us.  And possibly not fair to me.  Because I do the best I can, with what I've got, and that's probably all any parent can do.

So then, what to do?  How do we move forward, and cope with the issues at hand?  Finding a kid friendly therapist is high on the list.  And I'm beginning the search for kid lit on coping with fears and anxieties (suggestions greatly appreciated, if you know of any!).  Trying to model and find tools for coping with the anxiety.  Finding resources.  Working with teachers and bus drivers and other parents to deal with presenting issues.  Accepting that this is a time of flux, and the flux (and hopefully some of the anxieties) is a temporary state.  Being more gentle with him.  And with myself.  Moving past guilt and into action.

Still.  Knowing that my child has anxiety feels exponentially worse than dealing with my own.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kids just say the darnedest things....

So, I was having a workout yesterday, neglecting the children whilst they watched television.  You know how it is.  Anyhow - the following exchange occurred between Girlio and I:

I'm doing crunches on my yoga mat across the room from Girlio.  And then, suddenly, at the top of my next crunch, there she is, a half inch away from my face. (As an aside here, it's bloody amazing how kids can be super stealthy when they want to!).

Me (in total surprise):  Woah!  Where'd you come from, kiddo?

Girlio (in total earnestness and with her trademark aplomb):  From your VAGINA, mama!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Dr. Boyce: Jay-Z Will No Longer Use The Word ‘B*tch’ Who Cares?

Dr. Boyce: Jay-Z Will No Longer Use The Word ‘B*tch’ Who Cares?

So, it would seem that having a daughter has caused Jay-Z to decide that he's not going to use "bitches" in his music anymore. You know, like he's got 99 problems, but bitches ain't one of 'em? This makes me think a whole lotta things. Not nice things. For starters, is it ok to say his wife's a bitch, but not his kid? I could go on, and on, and on - ad nauseum. But the link by Dr. Boyce, above, does a really damn good job of it. He's right on the money.

Guerrilla Girls: Montreal poster about centuries of hate speech

Guerrilla Girls: Montreal poster about centuries of hate speech

This poster by the totally awesome-fabulous-all-kinds-of-rioting-wonderful Guerrilla Girls was postured in Montreal, commemorating and in response to, the Montreal Massacre. It's spot-on.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I love those moments

I do love those moments of bravado. Where I feel filled with energy and gusto and passion. And feel like I've fixed myself. You know, just like that. Presto. Bam. I'm-all-of-the-sudden-all-kinds-of-awesome-and-if-you-don't-like-it-whatever. So then I write an-I'm-all-kinds-of-awesome-and-I'd-you-don't-like-it-whatever-mantra kinda post.

And then five minutes later, I lose the bravado. And commence the second and third and fourth guessing of my life thus far.

Still. It was a good, good moment.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The Wills and the Won'ts: A Mantra of sorts

I will move forward, in my own way, on my own time.
I won't let fear make my decisions.
I will trust my intuition; which never, ever fails me.
I won't run away even if I'm certain I'll be left or hurt or otherwise squashed.
I will wear my heart on my sleeve, right where it's always been and right where it belongs.
I won't be ashamed.
I will honour the Golden Retriever in me.
I won't try to be that cool girl I've never been.
I will be intense, intense, intense.  And if it's too hot, I'll tell you to get your hands outta the fire.
I won't change myself in anyone else's image.
I will dance my ass off in my kitchen, whether the neighbours can see me or not.
I won't try to curb my feelings, my heart, my desires.
I will be goofy and silly and funny and freakish.  Because I am goofy and silly and funny and freakish.
I won't apologize anymore.  (Unless I've actually been an asshole).  Because I won't be sorry for being...
I will be brazen.  And bold.  And all kinds of bad-assed.
I won't silence myself.
I will let myself be hopeful.
I won't drown myself out in second-guessing.  Or third-guessing.  Or fourth.

I will try.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fotoshop by Adobé - (it's all over FB, but just had to post :)

Repost: Oh, he's SUCH a boy!

I hate, hate, hate the gendering of children.  It really wraps my knickers all in a knot.  Knot.  Knickers.  I hate that we limit kids with bizarre expectations of what boys and girls are supposed to like, supposed to be, supposed to do, supposed to feel.  I hate that people become very uncomfortable when people guess the sex of their baby wrong (because really, a beautiful baby is a beautiful baby is a beautiful baby!)  I hate that girls aren't supposed to be handsome and boys aren't supposed to be pretty.  (And I defy anyone who sees my Boy-o to tell me he ain't pretty**).

I hate that you can't shop on-line for kids clothes or toys without first checking off whether you are looking for girls or for boys.  I hate that they market the same freaking toys like bikes or pushy cars or kids shopping carts in pink and blue for further gender segregation.  I hate that pink and blue is considered gender segregation.

I hate that all of my son's life, people have taken his exuberance and infinite energy and speed as proof of his "boyness," though I take some solace in the fact that Girlio is fast showing signs of following right in his footsteps.  I hate that boys are still told not to cry, and even when parents aren't overtly that ignorant, boys are still encouraged to "shake it off" in ways that girls are not.  Anyhoo.

Knot. In. My. Knickers.   Big one.  Huge.

It breaks my heart to think that my rainbow, sparkles, flowers loving boy, who cries freely when sad or hurt, who loves a good cuddle more than anything will be coaxed or shamed away from these things because they are not "boy-ish" enough.

It breaks my heart equally to think that my baby girl, who is already now showing signs of being a rough and tumble, take-no-prisoners, world-here-I-come kinda kid; who already loves playing with trains and trucks and making "brmmm brrmmm brmmmm" sounds, will be directed and encouraged to love dolls and play house, and flowers and sparkles more than she loves sports and trucks and trains and active play.

But what I hate even more than thinking about these inevitabilities, is the fact that we don't even consider WHY this streamlining still happens.   And here's my take (which will probably piss some peeps off, but there ya go). We as a culture are uncomfortable with sensitive, non-sporty boys who like the colour pink because we as a culture are still hugely homophobic.  There.  I said it. 

I know loads of cool parents who have no real problem with folks being gay who would die a thousand inner deaths watching their son wear pink, or drive in a toy Barbie car, or let them pick out a rainbow sparkle shirt from the store.  Call it what it is folks.  Homophobia.  Boys who like pink, who cry easily, who like "girl" things, who are sensitive, who don't like sports and would rather go to dance class, etc. etc. are sissies.  And we are scared of our boy being sissies because sissy = unmasculine = faggy.  Period.  There is no amount of spluttering or excuses that will change this icky reality.  We really need to get our shit together, because frankly, I expect more from our generation.  A whole lot more.  C'mon people.

And while we have slightly more cultural tolerance for girls who step outside of acceptable gendered play  and appearance boundaries,  like say girls who play sports traditionally played only by boys or who aren't comfortable with pink and frou frou, this is only acceptable for a brief period of time and to a certain degree.  We have a name for it - the tomboy phase.  The expectation is that eventually, all girls will embrace their 'girliness,' develop the dream of becoming a princess and marrying 'the one'.  You know, Prince Charming.   And when girls don't embrace girliness, flouff and frou frou evenutally, we get mighty uncomfortable.  And yes, you guessed it.  It's homophobia my friends.  No long hair?  No dresses?  No make-up.  Not all into giggling and weddings and boys?  That's dyke-y my friends, and we don't like it. 

My quarrel here is not with girliness, or dreaming of being a princess, because as a femme-tastic queer grrrl, I'm here to tell ya, oh- I AM a princess.   I wish everyday could be a dress-up, put on the bling, going to a fabulous tea-party kind of day (though believe you-me... it ain't).  My problem is that the princess-ification of girl culture is more heterosexualization, that is, about landing Prince Charming and being taught to value the self for how it can attract others (yep, good old P.C. again) rather than the love of pretty sparkly things because those pretty sparkly things make you smile on the inside (and oh they DO make me smile on the inside :-)

Many people argue that gendered behaviour is innate, and there may be some (and I do emphasize SOME) truth to this.  Boy-o was drawn to typical boy things more than I ever thought he would be from an early age.  BUT - I believe very very strongly that the reason he is also drawn to things like rainbows, pink, flowers, sparkles, dancing, singing, snuggling and cooking in his wonderful second hand toy kitchen etc. is because he hasn't yet been told that these things aren't "for" boys.   A great example of this happened this past weekend.  We were at a picnic Pride event last weekend where there was a free tattoo booth for kiddos. Boy-o picked out a beautiful hibiscus flower, in shades of pink and orange with plenty 'o sparkles. He was so proud, showing it off to everyone and making movements with his arm to emphasize it, the way a newly engaged woman might self-consciously emphasize her bling hand. (It was a really nice tat - I got in line for one but then felt guilty about the kid waiting behind me - sigh).

My point here - and I do have one - is that given a choice, Boy-o chose a pink sparkly flower tattoo over lizards and turtles and frogs and all kinds of other options that might have been interpreted as more gender neutral (which is a term I find silly, but whatever).   Boys are steered to "boy" things.  They are discouraged from pinkness and sparkliness and feelings-ness and all the other things that girls are steered towards.   Girls are steered away from brrrm-brrrm Tonka trucks, from loudness and general ballsy-ness and towards all of the aforementioned "girly" things and ways of being.   This bit is clearly cultural, not innate.

Wanna know what I hate the absolute most?  The fact that I am plagued by the fear that people will accuse me of trying to "turn" my kids gay if I let my son wear pink sparkliness or tiaras or dresses, or if I encourage my daughter towards trucks and overalls and discourage Barbie and Disney princess world.  And at the risk of sounding like a broken record - yes, you guessed it, it's another example of ___________ (Fill in the blank).   I'll even give you a hint. 

It starts with an "h".

** but sorry, I just can't bring myself to post face pics of my kiddies on here because I think it's an invasion of what little privacy my big mouth affords them :-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I've Come a LONG way, baby!

So I was re-reading some old blog posts last night.  And I came upon this one, written almost exactly a year ago.  Holy crap.  I really have come a long way... :)

out of sorts

I get in trouble from time to time for 'being too hard on myself,' particularly in regards to my mom-cred.  It's true - I'm hard on myself.  It's a thing.  I'm aware.  BUT - it's difficult not to be hard on yourself when everyone else seems to have it together.  I don't really know who I mean by 'everyone else.'  I'm also fairly certain everyone else doesn't, in fact, have it all together.  But it seems of late, as though each of my days is filled with moments where I seem to crumble under the most benign of tasks, (say, like getting my kdis ready to go out the door after Boy-o's class) when everyone else seems to be doing just fine and getting on their merry way.  All merrily like.  And I'm tears struggling to get my progeny to stay in one place long enough to get in their damn snow-pants.  And since my children are practically perfect in every way, the problem is clearly mine.  Moreover, I am supposed to be a veteran-y sort of mom now.  I've been momming for over four years now.  I should be able to verify the whereabouts of my children and snowpants them blindfolded with one arm tied behind my back.  I should be able to handle wrangling that extra child to school in the morning, no problemo (we take one of Boy-o's classmates to school in the mornings).  But I am not merry.  There is no merry-making.   I want to kill the extra child in the morning.  And then I want to kill mine.  And when the other parents are merrily dropping their children off, looking well-rested and well-groomed,  I am enduring the pitious looks of strangers because I am looking frazzled, harried, on the brink of crying, and trying very very very hard not to lose my shit in front of god and the world. 

So what gives?  Am I too hard on myself, or do I just really actually suck at this?   Seems like a fine line these days.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

Repost: Why we don't keep secrets around our house...

We don't use the word secret with our kids, and I blanche when others try to use it with them  (Please don't use this word with my kids, folks!)

Why?  Child sexual abuse (heretofore refered to as CSA for expediency).  And before you dismiss me as being paranoid, I'll tell ya, I'm not at all paranoid about this.  What I am is realistic.  Read the statistics and then do the math (and while you're at it, you might as well add on a gazillion % for all the unreported assaults on children).  The basics are this:  1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will experience an unwanted sexual act prior to the age of 18.  See more detailed stats below:  http://www.littlewarriors.ca/about_sexual_abuse/statistics.html#CANprevalence

We're all on-board for teaching our kids about stranger danger.   We all live in fear of the horrific stranger abduction and abuse of our children (the ice-cream man, the dude at the park, etc.).  I don't want to diminish these fears.  These occurences are real and terrible for all involved.  But these occurences are not how the VAST majority of sexual assaults occur on children.

The sad, sick, vomit-inducing truth is that most children are sexually assaulted by someone they know and trust.  Yes.  Family members, parents, step-parents, grandparents, family friends are responsible for 95% of CSA's.  I'm not shitting you here.  Ninety-five %.   People that we, their parents love and trust.  It's a terrible thought, and one we all don't want to think about.  So naturally, we'll all take a minute to comfort ourselves by saying, "Oh, not my boyfriend/girlfriend, not my wife/husband, not my father, not my uncle, not my best friend Jenny.  All the people I know are safe and wonderful and so great with my kids."   I would probably have a heart-attack from shock if my kids ever told me that someone they knew, someone I knew, hurt them in this way.  But being shocked is entirely different than being unprepared.   And I will not let my love of the people in my life blind me from the reality that most child-assaults happen from those who love us, and whom we love.   I volunteer on a sexual assault crisis line and have talked to many a distraught parent, who believed just like we do, that their children were safe with the people they love.  It happens to kids from all walks of life - not just 'those' people (whomever 'those' people are in your mind), so banish this thought, too.

And why the hating on the word secret?  Because child sexual abuse depends upon secrecy.  "It'll be our little secret.";  "We won't tell anyone about this."  "We can never tell because they won't understand."  These are all part and parcel of how abusers maintain their patterns of abuse.  Children keep their secret - out of fear that they won't be believed, out of loyalty to and love for their abusers, out of feelings of guilt and shame, out of fear due to threats.

So what to do?  Well, for starters - talk about it.  With your family, with other parents, on your facebook, on your twitter, on your blogs, whatever.  Even though it feels yucky and crappy and vomitous - when we talk about it, when we admit to ourselves that these things happen, when we stop treating the subject as taboo - we can be proactive and we can take steps to protect our kids.

1.  Make sure your kids have the language that lets them talk about their body parts.  Kids need to be able to articulate it to you if something is wrong.  Remind them that no one, not even a teacher or close relative, has the right to touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
2.  Try not to use the word secret.
3.  Let your littles know that people who love them will not ask them to keep secrets.
4.  Differentiate between secrets and surprises - (Secret = never supposed to tell.  Surprise = mommy's birthday present that she'll open next week.  Big difference there.)
5.  Tell your kids often that you will always believe them  (and then practice what you preach).  And let them know that if they don't feel comfortable telling you something has happened (and kids often tell someone other than their parents about CSA), make sure they know that if the first adult they tell doesn't believe them or won't help, to keep telling, for as long as it takes.
6. Make sure they know that no one has the right to ask them to keep a secret from their parents, and that NO older person should ever ask them to keep a special secret, especially one that makes them feel uneasy, yucky or weird.
7.  When they are old enough, be honest and direct with them about sexual abuse and let them know that you will always believe them, no matter who they are disclosing about.
8.  Probably one of the very, very most important things you can do is to let your kids have bodily integrity.  By this I mean - don't force them to hug you if they don't want to.  Don't make them hug or kiss family members if they don't want to.  Say "would you like to give Auntie Betty a hug goodbye?" instead of "Time to give Auntie Betty a hug goodbye."  Let them make decisions about what feels good or right for their little selves.  They'll let you know if it feels right at any given moment or not.  And don't allow people to guilt your kids into physical affection either: (as in, "Oh, I'll be so sad if I can't have a hug goodbye."  We don't want our kids to learn to give physical affection (however innocuous) in order to make someone else happy.  Yuck-o-rama.
9. Last but not least - teach your kids the proper names for their body parts.  
Yes.  Penis.  Testicles.  Bum.  Vulva.  Vagina.  You know the names I'm talking about.   Because if your kid is trying to tell their teacher that they don't like it when so and so touches their yo-yo, the teacher isn't likely going to make the connection.   Information, and correct information, is the biggest step you can take to ensure that your kids are as safe as they possibly can be, and will be heard if they are unsafe.

*feel free to add any steps you've taken with your kids in the comments*

As parents, we can't always stop bad things from happening to our kids.  What we can do, is arm them with the best possible information and skills to help them avoid bad things, and let them know that if bad stuff does happen, they can tell us anything, we will believe them, and we will stop it.  Period.

For more info on warning signs, where to get help, etc. etc.

Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton

Little Warriors

Serious public service announcement over now.   Feel free to go on about your day.

Me, all kids book-like

If I could amalgamate kids book characters to describe myself, I think I would be a cross between:

1. Stella  (by fantastic Quebecois author Marie-Louise Gay)
2. Fancy Nancy (as if this even needs mentioning ;)
3. The Boy from Oliver Jeffers' Lost and FoundHow to Catch a Star and The Way Back Home
4.  Okay - and if I'm being really, really honest... mayyyyybeeee a little Scaredy Squirrel, too.

How 'bout you?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Today was good.  Like good, good.  I felt... dare I say it?  A little happy.  A little brave.  A little I'm-the-shit.  A little, "I'm-not-taking-anyone-elses'-shit-on-or-letting-anyone-speak-for-me-and-I've-got-highways-for-stretch-marks-to-see-where-I've-grown."  Yup.  That kinda good.

I've been trying really, especially hard to pay attention to taking care of myself lately.  To consider myself as important as everyone else in my world.  Those who know me even a little can intuit that this isn't the easiest of tasks for me.  Firstly, because it's part of the burden of parenting to make a choice to put your needs aside for your kiddos.  Secondly, because I'm a people-pleaser.  It ain't good and I'm not saying it is. But it's a big part of my internalized shit to put other people's needs ahead of mine.  So the instinct towards self-care hasn't been the most natural one for me.

But I've had some pretty eye-opening moments in the past little while.  About who others perceive me to be versus who I actually am, and who I want to become.   And first and foremost, I've decided that I want to become important.  To me.

Coming back from being home in Winnipeg, being nurtured and taken care of and being loved up a whole lot wasn't going to be easy, even though I have amazing peeps here in Edmonton, too.  Because, let's be frank, real life after vacation is never easy.  So I decided that this weekend would be about me.  Entirely.  I got my hair done on Friday.  I got a massage yesterday, and hung out with some friends for a bit.

And today - my good, good day - I got some shit together.  I sent out job applications.  I cleaned my space. I had the most delicious run followed by an exquisitely (and possibly obscenely) long shower.   I wrote some.  I read some.  And now, I wait impatiently to see my littles again.  Feeling rejuvenated and ready to nurture others again.

Self-care.  Who knew?

a must must read for all parents. moms in particular.

I am posting this awesome, amazing, hella-right-on-oh-my-fuck-yes post by the brilliance that is Momastery.  I am posting it, despite my intense jealousy at her hella-right-on-oh-my-fuck-yes blog, which has over 2500 followers, advertisers, and additionally, over the fact that she clearly, clearly has time to, like, edit and shit.  I'm not bitter.  I'm all kinds of cool like that.  ;)

So go read, and then shout hallelujah!

life in the anxiety lane...

Oh man.  I've spent the last few (okay several, who are we kidding!) years of my life fairly sequestered int the land of child raising and keeping the home fires burning.  And all through that time, I quite literally craved more social engagement and contact with the big world outside of my very small one.

And now that I've begun to spend a bit more time in that outside world, old but very familiar feelings of anxiety start to crop up.  People, they are scary fucking creatures.  And though I love meeting and spending time with new people, the social anxiety rears its ugly head.

Communication is a tricky beast at the best of times.  Words get interpreted, understood, misunderstood.  Language is incredibly powerful.  Maybe it's my love of language, and my recognition of its importance that makes me so nervous about using it.  Somehow, I always feel like the language the falls from my lips is wrong.  Too awkward or too eager or too something or another.  And often too easily twisted into meanings not intended.

Oddly, writing here in the safety of my home, alone - the words fall from my hands and I don't feel encumbered or nervous about how they will be received by others.  But in the context of in person gatherings, I always leave with a torrent of replaying conversations in my head.  Sometimes it feels more agonizing than others.

I love meeting new people, connecting with people, getting out into the world.  It feels so luxurious in so many ways.

However - I gotta say... social anxiety blows.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Airtravel and littles.

Travelling with smalls is stressful in general. Traveling with smalls when you are outnumbered really, really blows. I can feel
My shoulders rise up to somewhere around my neck just thinking about entering the airport in anticipation of the frustration I know full well is about to occur. This includes (in no particular order):
1. one goes this way, one goes the other way syndrome, which makes me repeatedly have to decide which child to round up first (a calculated on the spot decision based on age, crowd levels and who's going the fastest) and leave my carry on baggage unattended as on lookers glance reproachfully. 2. One goes slow, one goes fast, and neither of them pay attention to where we're actually headed. 3. Refusal to put favourite stuffs through the x-ray machine, because stuffs are afraid of the dark. 4. Sudden child deafness syndrome, whereby neither are able to gear my voice at all. 5. Having to pee urgently while in line up to get on the plane or during take-off and landing. 6. The fascination with tray tables, making other passengers angry and rightfully so. 7. The need to express excessively loud displeasure when I attempt to deter the tray table fascination, which will only occur if neighbors on the plane directly next to us are fast asleep. 8. Throw down knock 'em out tantrums for any available reason. 9. M.A.P.'s. (this stands for massive airplane poops), which require squeezing both kids into an itty bitty space and, well, dealing with the M.A.P. 10. All of their favourite, carefully packed carry-on amusements are suddenly boring. Which inevitably will lead to me getting plastered in stickers instead of the damn sticker book. 11. 'Helpful'strangers who feel the need to let me know that 'Awww - they're just tired' whenever I reach the end if my patience tether, making me feel simultaneously like a bad and homicidal mother. 12. Attempting to keep their drinks and your own from spilling, particularly in light of # 6. 13. Glares from passengers around any number of normal kid related activities (making noise, making a mess, trying to make friends with other passengers, etc etc etc.) 14. Navigating airports that are not in any way child friendly. 15. Attempting to get children to wait in line-ups to check in, at security, get on the plane etc. is neither fun nor pretty.

Yep - anticipation of the fun fun fun of single parent air travel - makes a girl's shoulders a little tense just thinking of all the magical possibilities!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

being home

Travelling home is always a combination of tricky and wonderful.  This trip perhaps particularly so.  Tricky of course, because there are so many people I want to see and connect with.  Painful because I no matter how long the vacation is, I can never find enough time to fit everything and everyone in.  Which sucks.  A lot.

Wonderful because my moms are amazing with my littles, and spend loads of time, playing on the floor with them, finding creative activities like pottery (Grammie is a potter) and art stuff, going swimming and to the park, and all kinds of nurturing and loving them up (Nannie is a play therapist).  The kids have it made, and I get a break from the constant of being needed, which I find exhausting sometimes.  A win all around.

Also wonderful because I get to soak in old haunts, and as I do so re-visit the person I used to be in those old haunts.   Because I get to see old friends, who remember me before I lost my zing and tell me they see that life seeping back in.  Who remind me that I am clever and funny and a hottie-Mchot-hot; worth far more than I give myself credit for.  That I am loveable and dateable and a snappy dresser and foxy to boot.  Who listen to the events of my recent past entirely without judgement and then congratulate me for my bravery.  Because they are those kind of people.  The kind of friends you can see twice a year and hop right back in where you left off.  The kind of friends who don't try to pressure me to move back home because they know that I can't.  True loves.

Tricky because I have to leave them all soon - my lovely friends, my moms, my sister.  Because as always when I have to leave, I will be momentarily but breathtakingly heartbroken, because here I am free and easy and confident and so very loved.

So today I remind myself of my true love friends in Edmonton and how much I miss them.  I remind myself that I am brave enough to take on this new life, whatever it will be; that I am just as clever and funny and foxy in my 'new' home.  That the kids and I will be just fine.  And even more so now, perhaps, with the remnants of groundedness and warm fuzzies and positive reinforcement I've gathered from being home.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Femme follies

Things I remembered to pack to go to Winnipeg in December:

Fishnets/lace tights
Several pairs of shoes
A few pairs of cute jeans with itty bitty sweaters
My green coat (snappy but not so warm)

Things I did not pack to go to Winnipeg in December:
a scarf
Sensible jacket
Wooly socks

Sooooo. Here I am in Winnipeg. In December. Looking pretty darn cute. Holy He'll - I'm cold.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Martin Sexton Hallelujah

It occurs that maybe, just maybe, "bring it" wasn't the right thing to say to 2012.   At any rate, here's a song for the day. . . in case you need one, too.   Martin Sexton's falsetto is an ass-kicking falsetto.  Gets me every time.