What’s the best thing you do for yourself?

This question popped into my head late at night. I was tired, achy, frustrated at being tired. Frustrated at another day when I didn’t get to the gym or get on the treadmill even though I walked and got fresh air today and should probably just let myself off the hook.

What's mellower than a river otter? Maybe a sea otter

What’s mellower than a river otter? Maybe a sea otter

There are good things I know I should be doing for myself – sleeping regularly; coming up with a regular schedule that allows me to get to the gym, spend time with my kid and work on deadline; planning meals and remembering to take things out of the freezer.

One thing I could definitely do better for myself is giving myself credit when I do good things. I’ve been eating in the mornings – not a full breakfast but an apple is better than an empty stomach. I did walk today, and I had a fun morning with my kid. I’ve been knitting more lately, and reading a lot which is something I missed doing. Reading more also means I’m watching less television. The other day it was cold and rainy, so we went for manicures, me and the kid and Grandma. And then we went shopping.

I’ve been writing things out, because just the feel of pen on paper is good for me.

I’ve been focussing on my business and where that’s going for me. I’ve been asking for things, because Erica Ehm taught me at last year’s Blissdom that they might say yes.

There are improvements to make, and I must keep that in mind. I much make the hard choices because in the end it will make things easier. There are a lot of changes to be made, I can’t pretend that everything is rosy – that’s never been my strong suit. But I can give myself credit. I can remind myself that I succeed sometimes. I can ask questions that will take me closer to where I need to be.

And I will take all advice that’s coming:

What’s the best thing you do for yourself?

 

Seeking sleep guru

In the world of parenting I am often looking for answers. Luckily in the world of parenting, particularly in this age of technology the answer to ‘someone has been through this crap before me’ is usually ‘oh! Me! That sounds just like my kid.’

Right now we are dealing with sleep patterns.

This kid has a lot of energy. Sometimes she just can’t stop herself moving around. She’s always ready for the next thing, no matter how obvious it is that she needs sleep.

She stopped napping around age one, which the family doctor basically told me was impossible. “She should be falling asleep in her lunch.”

Well, I didn’t know what to say to that because she wasn’t. And it wasn’t just me, she didn’t nap at day care either. In fact once she did fall asleep and our daycare provider told us she kept going in to check on the kid because it was so weird.

She’s long had trouble falling asleep at night. I was somewhat taken aback because when she was a baby and even as a young toddler there weren’t real issues.

But as she got older she started showing signs of being a lot like me.

I don’t settle well at night. I have trouble shutting things down, closing my book, turning my brain off. Even when I was worming 7 to 3 it took months for me to realize I had to go to bed earlier. Even knowing how lack of sleep effects me I still talk myself into it.

So here I have a four year old who can’t settle. Can’t stop thinking of questions she wants answered. Can’t stop thinking about things that she’s done or is going to do.

It used to be that we could put her to bed at 6 and she’d be out before 7. Now if we do bedtime at 6 or 7 she’s awake past 9, sometimes past 10, and even past 11:30.

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It’s crazy, right?

So I’m looking for the parent who’s been there before and has a perfect and easy solution. Or maybe even a moderately difficult one.

I scream

I remember when I was a kid, not quite sure how old, when my grandfather got out an old ice cream maker to show us how it worked. He poured in all the ingredients, put in the ice and the salt, and started cranking. I think we each got a turn. and then there was more cranking to be done. And more…

For a young kid it was interminable. Why wait this long when we could go to a store?

Now as a grown up, trying to keep some track of what goes into my daughter’s food, and also wants her to see how things are made, I understand. Making ice cream is a really cool thing to see.

When I was out and saw an ice cream maker attachment for my mixer I scooped it up (pun intended) and after freezer the bowl my husband set about making the ice cream.

Raspberry

Raspberry

 

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I would love to bring my 93-year-old grandfather over here to see ice cream get made in this bowl in 20 minutes with no manual labour.

He could come over for an hour and we could make ice cream, freeze it up a bit, and then make him a milkshake.

Progress!

Giggles

So the NHL season is over here in Ottawa. The Senators didn’t make the playoff (oof) and now we have nothing to cheer for. Now we’re talking about next year (and also trying to win our playoffs pools), and what changes we might see in the team. There’s a lot of talk that Jason Spezza will get moved out of Ottawa, traded away for the benefit of team and player.

When there is talk of Spezza leaving the Senators I get actually, physically emotional. I can’t seem to help it. I lived in Belleville when Spezza got traded there. He was the first sports story I ever got to cover as a reporter.

12 years ago, Yardman Arena

12 years ago, Yardman Arena

When I got my Sens jersey a few years ago there was no question that Spezza’s would be the name on the back. I had seen him up close in junior and I knew what he was capable of. I know a lot of fans have had complaints about him, but I always cheered.

Still, when he was made captain at the beginning of this season I knew it was a mistake. Joe and I argue about this – I think it should have been Phillips, he thinks it should have been left empty for the season. Still, we agree that Spezza was a wrong choice. It was too much to ask of him, to step into Alfie’s shoes, it was too much for the team.

Now it is generally agreed that Spezza will be playing somewhere else next year, and I understand all the reasons for him and for the team, but I get teary every single time it has come up in conversation.

I miss the days of the franchise player. We had one in Alfredsson and then he was gone, now Spezza.

 

Science!

I am very interested in science. I loved learning chemistry and biology and especially physics when I was in school. Sadly, I did not have a great memory for scientific things and thus did not test well in the subject. Still, I am interested and I want my kid to love science and the way it makes you look at the world.

She doesn’t have godparents, but she does have a science-parent. Our friend Dan has a degree in biochemistry and has agreed to help keep up her interests. It shouldn’t be a problem as this child has no end of questions as to how things work and how things are made. Curiosity is the key word.

When we were invited to head to the Museum of Science and Technology for a play date I thought it was a great idea, and when I told the kid that we were going to the science museum she literally started jumping up and down and asking me about experiments.

Experiments are cool.

Lever

Lever

Physics!

Physics!

It is possible that during the demonstration with the liquid nitrogen I got more excited than she did.

 

Joe at 34

When we got married almost seven years ago your best man said that you’d told him what you wanted in life – a family, a dog, being able to sit back in your home and watch the hockey game with a beer.

So here we are.

A family, our own home, a dog (who’s a bit weird), a kid (who’s a bit weird). We do good. Most of the time.

We’re symbiotic, me and you. Opposite in the right ways. We get tested, we push through.

And you and her? Too much the same sometimes.

Seriously

Seriously

We grow together. All of us.

We have things to work on. We both know it, and we do work. We flow in and out together. It’s been an impossible nine years we’ve been together. Totally improbable. 

I mean, when we met you have blue hair and wore torn cords and band shirts. I did not introduce myself thinking – in 10 years I’ll be married to this man, we’ll own a home, have a child and he’ll be a director somewhere.

"That's him, that's the man who will be the father I always wanted for my children!"

“That’s him, that’s the man who will be the father I always wanted for my children!”

Did not cross my mind.

And then it all just happened. We were dating, engaged, married, parents.

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I remember it felt like forever between getting engaged and having the wedding. Waiting for her took forever. Now, looking back, it’s impossible that it’s been almost a decade. It makes no sense.

I told you not to marry me. I’m glad you didn’t listen.

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So, what are you afraid of?

On a webinar the other day Shelagh Cummins asked those of us who were listening in what we would do if we were not afraid.

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That’s me at a roller derby bout. A few years ago I went to an open house for a roller derby team in the city. It was a great experience, though difficult physically. I was three months past giving birth and hadn’t been in shape before that. Still, the atmosphere was kind of awesome, the women there were all different but somehow the same. And then I didn’t go back.

The next year, or maybe two years later, I tried it again, and my health and fitness was even worse, and I didn’t make it through one session and I quit.

The fact is that I’m scared. I’m scared of failing, I’m scared of hurting myself. I’m scared of my body hurting when I push it. Because I’ve never been someone who pushes past my limits physically.

Except a few times I have and it hasn’t be a bad thing. So why do I forget that?

There are all sorts of other things I’m afraid of. I’m afraid of failing in my business, and also afraid of succeeding and what that would mean for me and for my family.

I am afraid of losing weight and having to redefine who I am, and what my body might look like after all I’ve put it through. I’m afraid of all the problems losing weight won’t actually solve.

One thing I am very good at not being afraid of is expressing myself, particularly in writing. The lag is in expressing what I am afraid of and doing something about it anyway. I’m terrified of changing and losing something in that change. I’m terrified of how hard change can be and finding out just how my flex I have. But I’m also scared of not changing.

Last week Jim Flaherty died. He was 64, he had stepped back from his job to spend more time with his wife and three sons. He was going to get out of politics and live a bit more. Less than a month later he was dead. He just didn’t ever get the chance. So what scares me more?

 

Gossip queen

I read celebrity gossip and I’m not sorry, mostly because Lainey Lui has taught me that gossip is a normal part of society. When I got the chance to be in a room with her and a group of smart and informed ladies she even told us that Stanford has done a study on the societal benefits of gossip.

If you haven’t seen her TED talk, just watch it and stop feeling bad about being interested in which Hollywood couples are breaking up or having babies.

For those who argue that gossip is gross or has no value I think she puts forward a very interesting argument. At the Faculty of Celebrity Studies event that I had the chance to attend on Monday I was fascinated at the debate that grew out of celebrity-centred topics. A room full of women had two hours of solid back and forth about a lot of things that most people would consider important, even those who don’t think celebrities or tabloid news should matter.

We talked about society’s growing fear of admitting failure, we talked about rape culture and I was left with a lot to think about and talk about with other friends.

What I’ve done

I’ve heard women say before that their child is their biggest accomplishment, and I’m always confused by this. I love my daughter more than anything else in the world, and I believe she is the best thing I’ve contributed to the world.

But she is not something I have achieved.

I mean she’s awesome and I have had a lot to do with raising her, but she’s her own human being, not an accomplishment. I mean, I grew her, which wasn’t easy, and I gave birth to her, which was also not easy, but lots and lots of other people have done those things.

Everything she is she’s figured out by herself, with a bit of guidance from me, her father, her grandparents, our wonderful caregiver from the time she was 1 until she was 3, various teachers in preschool and other classes like swimming and gymnastics. She’s a group effort. And the biggest effort comes from what she decides to do with herself, what she decides her interests are and are not.

I have other things I can focus on for my own chest thumping, she can consider everything she is her own.

Go for the gold, kiddo

Go for the gold, kiddo

My little lobbyist

As I tell the tales of living with my particular 4 year old I get comments from people that she reminds them of their own children, that she’s funny (which is true), and I also get comments occasionally that she sounds like a future lawyer or a lobbyist. Kid knows how to argue her case. She’s not afraid to change tactics to see if it elicits a different response. She’s smooth.

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She looks so innocent

Sometimes she asks me if I’m thinking about having a baby brother or baby sister for her. Sometimes she asks when I’m going to have a baby. Sometimes she gives me an actual date by which she would like her baby brother or sister to be born.

She’s relentless. Sometimes she’ll let it go for a few days and then bombard me again. Once she came in and handed me a book and told me she was leaving it with me to remind me that she wants a baby sister.

The fact is, I don’t know what to tell her. I don’t have an answer for her and sometimes I’m absolutely positive the answer will be no, she can’t have a baby brother or sister. It’s really hard to feel like something you’re child thinks she wants so much might be the wrong thing. It’s hard to explain to her that babies are hard, not just cute. It’s hard to explain that it would totally change her life and she might not actually like it as much as she thinks.

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