Archive for March, 2010

Monthly Archive

Now I guess I’ll have to change that to broccoli-face. And broccoli hands … and broccoli hair …

Broccoli moustache and beard Fun fun fun fun fun ... What? Why are you looking at me like that?

After Abby was born, I had a bit of an identity crisis. I was now a “mom” and that label seemed to come with much more baggage than I had ever thought it would. It kind of reminded me of one of my favourite quotes as a teenager:

“This life has been a test. If it had been an actual life, you would have received instructions on where to go, and what to do”.1

I had no idea where to go, or what to do. Everything about being a parent makes you feel like a failure. After muddling my way (with much help from Charles) through the first few weeks, I figured out (although not quite quickly enough) not to read any more parenting books, or at least to take the ones I did read with a grain of salt, because every book tells you that you are doing it wrong. It doesn’t matter what “it” is (sleeping, feeding, dressing) you are definitely doing it wrong. And other people, well-meaning as they might be, generally do not make it easier by offering unsolicted advice. In the light of the day, I could stand by my/our decisions, but in the middle of the night, it was much, much easier to second-guess what I was doing. After all, I was just guessing for the most part. Guessing what she wanted. Guessing what she needed. ‘Cuz babies don’t have instructions.

On top of the stress of ruining our baby’s life by doing something as monsterous as feeding her when she was hungry (i.e. on demand), there was the fact that none of my clothes fit. Maternity clothes were too big. My regular clothes were too small. I could count on one finger the number of pants that fit. Another two fingers covered the number of skirts I could wear. I wanted to be a good homemaker (dinner on the table, laundry clean, house generally tidy) and a good wife (not looking as if I rotated through the same outfit every three days) but I wasn’t feeling good about myself as a person.

“Judge me all you want, just keep the verdict to yourself”.2

The problem arises when you are the one judging yourself. Internalizing all of those judgements just magnifies them. And in the two things that mattered most to me, my baby and my marriage, I judged myself as failing.

The good news is, I finally gave myself a reprieve. Crisis averted. The bad news is that, while all my pants and skirts fit now, my shirts still don’t fit. Darn breastfeeding boobs.

1 Courtesy of the epitome of teen angst, miss Angela Chase.

2 Courtesty of a cigarette ad, although I try to ignore that fact.

When I told Charles about the Mabel’s Labels contest I entered, he was, of course, curious about what the contest entailed. When I told him that I had to write about my passions, his response, without having read my entry, was “Well, I can name three right off the bat: Abby, knitting, and pugs!”

I guess I really am that transparent!

Unbeknownst to me, he had already used those three things to build a theme for my birthday presents, which I discovered when I opened them this morning:

Ball winder Knitting kit Knitting book

A yarn ball winder, a knitted toy kit, and a knitting book, which has patterns I can knit for the pugs and the cats! The book also has patterns for turtles, hamsters, rabbits, pond fish … and no, despite the picture on the cover, I’m not talking about patterns of these pets, I mean patterns for these pets! Not that we have any of these as pets right now … although I have had all, except the pond fish, as pets in the past.

I pretty much immediately had to try the ball winder. Isn’t that just a beautifully wound ball of yarn? Clearly Logan thought it was! I can’t wait to try it out with the yarn swift that my dad made for me for my birthday last year.

I decided to continue the theme this morning when I got dressed and I put on my sheep socks and my knitting shirt (which is conveniently also green to help celebrate the other important day today).

Sheep socks Knitting shirt

If only I could top it off by spending the whole day knitting.

Oh, and his response to my family when they asked if he had any ideas of things I wanted for my birthday: “Well, you never can go wrong with knitting things.”

Can you see why I love this man?

What am I passionate about?

Hmm … well, it kinda depends on when you ask me.

Fifteen or so years ago I would have answered “U2”. I devoured every book, news article, and shred of even remotely related piece of information I could find on them, owned every studio album they put out, and collected all the singles I could lay my hands on (oh, those lovely years of 100% disposible income).

Nine years ago I would have answered “my stories”. After separating my stories onto their own site to give them their own voice, I self-published two volumes of the collected stories, and devoted an entire day each week to story writing (oh, those lovely years of making my own schedule).

Five years ago I would have said “snowboarding and kayaking”. I took the lessons, bought the gear, and spent evenings and weekends either on the slopes or on the waves. Even hitting my head (in both sports) did little to dampen my interest.

Now? Now, I’m most passionate about seemingly little things, like putting Abby in cloth diapers. There are other things that I love, like knitting and pugs (and knitting things for pugs), but I don’t know if I would say that I am necessarily “passionate” about them. But cloth diapers definitely fall into the “passionate” category for me. Even before we decided to have a child, I knew that I wanted to use cloth diapers. The more I read, the more determined I was. I never really even considered disposible diapers. Perhaps that’s why I don’t find cloth diapers to be the inconvenience that others suppose them to be.

Or perhaps it is just another instance of my “fierce independence” (a.k.a. “stubbornness”) showing through.

It occurred to me that we may have a bit of a Starbucks addiction.

Now, anyone who knows me is saying “This is just occurring to you now?!?” but what I mean is that the addiction might be a bit worse than I originally thought. I know I don’t talk much about the ‘bucks here, but if you follow me on Twitter, you will know that my Chai Latte and I are good friends. Very good friends. In fact, the only disagreement we have is that it doesn’t come in a size larger than Venti.

Well, that and the somewhat lacking service that we get sometimes. And I’m kind of a stickler for service. Treat me poorly as a customer, and I will walk. We cancelled our tv service because of poor customer service. I switched ISPs because of poor customer service (and then switched again when we cancelled our TV as they were also our ISP). I’ve blacklisted restaurants (for years in come cases) over poor customer service. The entire Tim Horton’s chain was blacklisted after a few too many mistakes.

But Starbucks seems to have a pass, even though they routinely mess up our orders. And we are routinely coming up with ways to “help” them help us. I have actually even considered, ever so briefly, changing my order to make it easier for them. My latest idea: go in with pre-marked sleeves that I can just hand to them so that they just need to fill the cup accordingly. No fuss, no muss. No water in my Chai.

Perhaps I am just actually embracing our year of Zen?