We had a great Christmas away. The travel was a bit too much for the baby girl, who could do nothing but cry when we got to the airport, and didn’t enjoy the last hour or so of the drive to Dryden. Once we made it to our destination and she had a good sleep her personality came roaring back and she spent her time running around various relatives’ houses and doling out hugs.
She was well-gifted for her first Christmas, and surrounded by love. I was excited for her to spend it with her grandparents, and for her to meet her Aunts and Uncles and her Great-Grandparents.
The only hitch in our little vacation was my getting sick near the end of the week. It started with a sore throat one night, which turned into a sore throat, cough, a fever and chills. On the drive back to Winnipeg my right eye started itching and getting red and swollen. On the plane home both my ears popped painfully. When I woke up after our first morning back I had pink eye on both sides and a cough. Last night I coughed through most of the night and woke up after finally getting some sleep with a really bad earache.
It’s as though my immune system abandoned me somewhere in Northwestern Ontario.
Being sick, and being worried about getting the rest of the family sick, put a bit of a damper on the end of Christmas and has me very worried about our week ahead – and a big week it is.
On Monday we start the Baby Girl on her transition to day care.
I’m having a hard time being sick and trying to get rest right now because there is so much to think about and so much to get ready, but the thing that’s bothering me most about being sick right now is the time I’m missing with her.
Over the past year I have had the privilege of spending almost every minute with that little girl. I have gotten the chance to play with her and teach her and to just sit back and watch her. There is a good chance I will never in my life have this kind of time with my beautiful daughter again. I need this time to mourn the loss of that. I have realized that I need to grieve, and I’m okay with that, but my body is throwing obstacles at me and it makes that harder.
I also would really like to be using this time to plan menus, organize the house, and get more exercise on the treadmill that I missed while we were away, but instead I find myself lying in bed feeling weak and worried about being contagious. If I pass whatever this is on to either of the other members of the household, then things get even more complicated.
So after a good Christmas, and a pretty amazing year, all I ask for the start of 2011 is to be healthy and for the ability to push through.
My dear little girl,
Every day I watch you and every day and every day I am amazed by you. You have such strength, such curiosity, and you are so beautiful.
People stop us wherever we go to tell us how beautiful you are. Your hair is showing signs of being red and your eyes are a wonderful blue. You’re tall, we knew that was bound to happen, and you’re always happy. So happy I wonder what we did.
I watch you walk around the house on your strong, solid legs and I marvel at the history those little legs and I have shared. I felt you moving right at 18 weeks pregnant and you kicked and kicked every day all the time. You kicked me from the inside right up until the day you were born and then you started kicking outside.
I look at you every day and I know that someday someone is going to make you feel as though you’re not beautiful. Someone is going to make fun of your strong legs and you’re going to feel the hurt right down to your core and you’re going to begin to doubt yourself.
Someday you’re going to feel like you’re just not pretty enough, and someone is going to try to convince you that not being pretty means you’re worth less. These little legs that have carried you will suddenly be deemed too chubby or too muscly. I know it will happen, and I know that it won’t matter how often your father and I tell you how beautiful you are, and how those strong legs have carried you, the history that those legs and I have.
You are my daughter and you will never be a stereotypical ‘pretty girl.’ Your hips will be wide and your breasts will be big, you’ll be too tall to be a gymnast and too sturdy to be a model. My goal is that you won’t have to fight the fat the way I have, but there will probably be struggles along the way.
I worry that you’ll see your body as something that stands in your way, rather than something that was moves you. I worry that you’ll fall in love with ballet or gymnastics and have your heartbroken when you realize that you don’t fit into that mold.
You are so beautiful from your ever-growing feet to the top of your crazy mop of hair and your strong little legs will carry you wherever you’re meant to go.
Thinking about what I want for 2011 is almost as difficult as planning for 2010 was. Once again we are entering the unknown. This year we aren’t waiting for a baby (who took her sweet time arriving) but we are starting a whole new routine. The first week of January we start transitioning into that routine, and the second week we are all a-go. Getting up, making sure everyone eats, getting me to work, getting the baby to daycare, getting Joe to work, making sure Joe and I have lunch, trying to fit in family time, exercise, making dinner plans.
I have no idea how I’m ever going to go to Costco again – the only safe time I’ve found is on weekdays right at opening.
The fact is that I’m ecstatic to go back to work, I’m excited to be facing new challenges and opportunities there, but I’m terrified at the very sudden and dramatic loss of time. The Baby Girl and I are going from spending all our time together to seeing each other only a few hours a day. My morning routine of drinking coffee and having breakfast while catching up on Twitter and watching the baby have her breakfast and morning bottle is going out the window. I’m not even sure how Joe and I are both going to be able to get a shower in. I have no choice about going out in bad weather. I have to, once again, figure out how to pack healthy lunches.
My main goal for 2011 is figuring out the easiest ways to get everything done.
My other goals for 2011 include:
I’m sure I’ll come up with more as the year goes on, but my main goal is to make it through day by day, keeping my connection with my little girl, and maintaining some sense of sanity in our lives.
At the beginning of 2009 I wrote out a short list of things I wanted to accomplish. One of the five or six things on that list was quite simply “to be pregnant.” At some point during that year I planned on being pregnant.
It was the only thing on my short list that I accomplished, buy by the end of 2009 I was very, very pregnant.
And so 2010 began, I was very, very pregnant and feeling like a total failure, scared of what I was facing – both how I would go into labour and how I would cope with motherhood.
And then on a day I hardly remember but will never forget, our little Baby Girl was born. They placed her on my chest and all I could think was ‘what do I do with it?’
That was the moment that I got to meet one of the most important people in my life, and this was the year that I got to know her. At that moment I had no idea how deeply she would affect me, but I had a pretty good idea that she would change my life completely.
I’ve tried to keep track of everything we’ve done together, and I’ve tried to do everything that I can think of in this one year just so we could experience them together. I pushed myself so she will have no fear in certain situations. She changed me.
Twenty-ten is the year I gave birth and the year I became a mother. It is the year I stepped out of my comfort zone and met some truly great women who will continue to inspire me. This year I began to truly define myself outside of my work, outside of being a mom. This year I helped to organize a charity road hockey tournament that did more good than we realized. This year I started to realize what I really need and want. This year I learned that I need to be working at something to be happy.
In 2010 I grew more strength than I really knew was possible and felt more weak and alone that I ever have.
I 2010 I found my family, I made new friends, I found out more about myself and the world around me.
I can only thank her for all of the things she’s taught me and changed in me by trying to teach it back to her.
Last night I made a really great dinner. I cooked a roast beef with lots of roasted vegetable (why have I never tried to roast carrots before? Seriously). The house smelled fantastic and it was a perfect warm meal for a blustery cold day. As has become my habit at dinner, I ate what I was hungry for and found that there were still a few things left on my plate and was surprised by how much food I had taken compared to what I actually ate. This is a good thing.
Last night after dinner, we set out on a couple of errands and while we were cashing out I bought a Coke for myself and a Coke Zero for Joe. Later that night as we sat watching the hockey game, I sipped my Coke and thought to myself that I didn’t even really want it. I don’t understand why I bought it and why I continued to drink it, except just because I always do.
I am still fascinated by these two ways I have of looking at things. I can sit and enjoy a good, healthy meal without overindulging and feeling over-stuffed or sick, but I can’t just say no to myself when it comes to sugary drinks or one more cookie. Whether an actual addiction or just a bad habit, it seems as though I will actually have to re-wire my brain a little bit.
I’ve tried to quit cold turkey, but they I just end up eating poorly and trying to hide it. It’s become clear that I’m not very good at monitoring my intake. What I haven’t done is 30 days.
Several people have reminded me recently that it takes 30 days to change a habit. Right now I’m facing 30 days of Christmas celebrations, transitioning to daycare and returning to work – But 30 days from today also happens to be my daughter’s first birthday. That same daughter I’m trying to be an example for. That same daughter that I don’t want reaching for pop and cookies as her after dinner snack.
So maybe I can just count the next 30 days as a great chance to add to the challenge. Maybe all the travel and celebration and change will be a distraction from my cravings, which will gradually go away as the 30th day approaches.
So here’s the deal, Coca-Cola Classic, for the next 30 days I will not make any exceptions for you. I will not order a pop just because someone else at the table has. I will not buy a bottle just because it’s next to the checkout. I will not treat myself because I’m at the movies. And I think it’s a pretty safe bet, Coca-Cola Classic, that as a result I may drop a pound or two and feel much better because of all the water I’ve been drinking.
Here’s what else I’m going to do in the next 30 days:
And I am going to remind myself I frustrated I get when I give up or make an exception, I am going to remind myself how unfit I feel and how good I could feel, and I am going to make 2011 my breakthrough year.
In 10 days we fly out for Christmas, when we come back we’ll celebrate New Years and then we’ll start transition the Baby Girl into daycare and then I’ll be back at work.
All of this is happening very, very quickly and I feel as though there’s just too much to do and I don’t know where to start. And panic sets in.
I’m desperate to find ways that will make life easier once we all have to get out of the house for the day.
This weekend I spent some time cleaning and re-arranging our kitchen a bit so that things make a bit more sense (and also to move more dangerous things to place where our now very mobile and drawer-opening baby can’t get to them).
I re-organized my closet so that work appropriate clothes are grouped together. I’m trying, as always, to rid the house of unwanted or unnecessary things (clothes I don’t wear, things we don’t use, toys the baby has grown out of). I’m trying to organize my recipes so that we can make quick meal plans and be eating healthy.
I’m doing everything I can to try to keep up, and right now it feels panicked. I feel a sort of desperation to be as organized as possible, to start getting back into work mode, to be myself again, but I don’t know how to define myself as a working mother. I had barely started defining myself as a career woman when I found out I was pregnant. The fact is, though, that I’m not very comfortable in the skin of the stay-at-home mom.
And once again, I seem to have reached a point in my life where I have no idea who I am supposed to be or how to get there, and every time I start thinking about the future and all the options and challenges ahead I feel knocked right on my ass.
So that’s where I am today, knocked on my ass and wondering where to start next.
After their experiences at She’s Connected and Blissdom Canada a lot of the people I talk to regularly were analyzing their blogs, their online lives and what they wanted to be as a brand.
I didn’t pay much attention to it all because my blog is my space and I do what I want with it – I use it to vent and share and remember, not to gain readers or get paid or get free stuff.
The fact is that I love being online, I love talking to people, I love talking about things that are important to me with people that can share their knowledge and experiences, and I put a lot of time into it. I would love to be able to talk about products and brands and maybe get something back. I would have to set some ground rules – honesty no matter the offer would be a big one – and I would have to define what I’m prepared to write for and what I’m not.
Willing to accept any thoughts and experiences on the matter…
Today I had the following conversation with a stranger on the street:
“There’s a fire hydrant there.”
“Yes, I’m aware of that, thank you.”
“Um… You’re parked illegally.”
“Yes, thank you.”
And this is why I have no faith in humanity.
This man decided that his convenience in getting a spot in front of his dry-cleaner was more important than the fire department being able to access water to help save lives and property in the case of an emergency. He thought his time was too precious to waste looking for a legal spot further away. I suppose he thought that the few minutes it would take him to do this errand shouldn’t require a long walk from a legal parking spot in the cold.
And this is where he loses me.
People who park illegally, people who create their own parking spots, people who don’t stand up and offer their seat when someone who is elderly or pregnant gets on a full bus, people who declare openly that their time and convenience is more important than anyone else’s.
I don’t understand. Doesn’t every major religion have a tenet that says something about treating others the way you’d want to be treated yourself? Doesn’t anyone ever think about the people – real human beings just like them – that are being affected by their every action. Don’t these same people complain when they see someone blocking their way because they too were more considered about themselves than anyone else?
Why did I learn common courtesy when so many other people in the city seem to have skipped that lesson?
Or maybe I’m the stupid one for not taking advantage for myself.
Yesterday I opened my new Bitch Magazine and read an article about something called the Modesty Survey. This is a website, put together by two ‘Christian guys’ that allows ‘Christian girls’ to submit questions about what they wear and find out whether they are dressing immodestly.
And by immodestly, they mean they want to know if the clothes they are wearing arouses male attention.
Boys and men, from 17 to 50, can submit their answers to these questions, not to dictate what girls should be wearing – according to the survey’s home page – but merely to inform them that they are bringing on inappropriate thoughts in the boys and men around them. For example, one statement in the survey is “A one-piece swimsuit with shorts on top is modest.”
Forty-six per cent of respondents agree with the statement, but it seems that a majority agree that wearing shorts over a swimsuit demonstrates a girl’s desire to be modest, but if she were really modest she would also wear a loose t-shirt.
Here is what I have to say about this survey:
Any parent that teaches their son or daughter that women are responsible for controlling men’s urges is doing society a great disservice.
You are teaching your boys that it’s not their fault if they rape a girl because she must have been tempting him. You are teaching your girls that they must live in fear of stepping out of line or they will face this unwanted lust.
All this survey is, is justification for depraved men and a tool to tell girls who might become victims ‘hey, we warned you.’
My daughter will know and understand, as I do, that every person is responsible for their own actions, that she has the right to act and dress any way she wants – so long as she’s not infringing on anyone – and that no matter what she chooses to wear no one has the right to hurt her, or touch her without permission.
No one else can dictate who she is and who she can be.
Thirty years ago, John Lennon was shot down in front of his apartment, a death mourned around the world.
I wasn’t born until three months later.
I had some idea who The Beatles were in my early life, my mother having been a teenager in the 60s, but I couldn’t have told you much about them or their music until I was about 13. For that birthday my mother, for whatever reason, decided to gift me with a copy of the movie Help! which I immediately fell in love with. Seriously. I watched it literally every day for weeks. From there I bought the movie A Hard Days Night, which I can still just about recite line by line, and proceeded to amass every Beatles’ album on CD.
At first Ringo was my favourite, he was a bit goofy and I appreciated his childlike ways. The older I got the more attached I got to John Lennon.
I grew up trying to be an artist in every way I could think of. I love to write, I used to draw and sketch quite a bit, I took photography classes and carpentry classes, I loved to sing even though I knew I wasn’t actually very good at it. John Lennon was a truly gifted artist in so many ways. He was one of the greatest songwriters of all time, he published books with his own illustration, he acted – even outside The Beatles’ own movies. He also had a soul that I admired. He was peaceful, and he believed that others could be changed. He imagined it. I wanted to have his outlook. I wanted love in my life like what he felt for Yoko Ono. (And, by the way, I think if you’re going to blame Yoko for the band’s breakup, you can lay just as much blame on Linda McCartney, but I’d rather blame all four band members who just needed to break out of their own after spending so much time together).
To this day it makes me sad that I never got to live in the same world as John Lennon, that I missed him by just three months. I wonder if our world now would be different if he was still alive.
I must try to remember John Lennon and inject a little bit of hope into the world as hard as it can be sometimes. If we all do maybe we can all shine on.