I cannot believe the highs and lows I see day in and day out with a toddler. She’s up, she’d down, she loves you, she hates you, she’s having a great time, everything is terrible and awful.
I also have reason to believe toddlers are magical.
Tonight I called my mother to complain about a day that had been tantrum after tantrum for hours. She came to the office with me and it took me have an hour to get her into her socks, boots and coat and then to convince her to leave. Of course, once I let her push the elevator button all was fine and dandy. She didn’t want to do this, she didn’t want to do that, she kicked and screamed and the people who heard me try to get her into her car seat after our last stop probably thought I was physically hurting her.
And my mother answered the phone and I started telling her about my day and the top of my mind was our trip to Chapters. We walked in the sunshine, I browsed and she went over to the play area. I checked in on her a few times and eventually sat down to watch her play.
It was the first time I have ever seen her play with other kids, rather than just playing beside them. She interacted with the two little boys who were already there. She played with the trains and she toy shopping cart and vegetables. The little boys had scenarios and she was talking back to them and went along with the game. One little boy introduced himself and then asked her name and she came right out and told him. Just a few weeks ago at the start of soccer class they sat the kids in a circle and asked her name and she didn’t know how to answer the question.
In a day full of stubbornness, she’s still absolutely amazing.
I work in politics. I’ve worked campaigns. I vote – always. I discuss politics with friends and voice my opinions. I have had occasion to blog about things I’m very passionate about.
The section of the book I am currently reading has included a lot of discussion about Barack Obama’s speech to schoolchildren and the parents who were furious about such a thing. This is the politics of hate. The politics of us vs them – you’re either with us or against us. One essay writer pointed out: “This is the President…”
The country voted, someone came out on top, respect the office, respect the choice of your fellow voters, even if you don’t like the result.
Here in Canada we have a government and we have an opposition. The government introduces legislation, the opposition opposes it, debate ensues.
Except not any more.
Our government has decided that they don’t want to debate so they don’t have to. They are put time limits on the amount of debate there can be on virtually every bill going through the House of Commons. Where there is still debate – in house committees – the government side has decided to take things in camera.
When any of the opposition parties questions legislation the government side gets angry with the for opposing. The opposition. Yeah.
All of this means that the Canadians who did not vote for the party currently in power are not getting the chance to be heard and all Canadians no longer have access to information about how decisions are being made.
And the sad fact is that a lot of us are not paying enough attention to realize or care, but we should.
If I had my way, people would give up the ‘us against them’ hatred and learn more about the process.
I have a puppy whom I love dearly.
In truth, he’s not really a puppy, he’s six now…
…but he’s a small dog and he often still acts like a puppy. We brought him home with us when he was eight weeks old, 2.1 lbs, right before Christmas.
He was a bit difficult at first, but it didn’t take long before he became a member of the family.
He has quite the personality.
He likes to hug and cuddle. He gets very excited when the people he loves come to visit – most especially my mother…
He has always known when I’m feeling sad or down and he always tries to make things better. I don’t think he’s ever happier than when he takes a nap cuddled up with one of us. He thinks he’s a big dog and he wants to play with the big dogs when we go to the park – German Shepherds, Labs and Retrievers, who all wonder what this miniature schnauzer thinks he’s doing.
He has many names, my puppy. My grandfather calls him Dawg. (I don’t know where he learned that spelling). We call him the Puppy, Chancellor, Sir, Mr. Poo, Poo, and Henry, of course. He is Henry.
I knew when we first met and he licked my nose that we were family and he was something special.
And so I have written a book series about Henry. My Little Henry.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about almost as long as Henry has been part of our lives. It’s something I’ve started and stopped. Now it’s something I’m working on in earnest and have actually discussed with friends (including a very talented friend who has agreed to illustrated my stories).
I’ve written five so far and I’m quite happy with them. My primary goal is to bind them together for the kid to enjoy. My secondary goal is to self publish them and sell a few. (My dream goal, of course, is having them picked up and doing book tours with Henry in tow).
(No, he really hates to fly).
So there you have it. My little project with my puppy.
The title for this post comes from the Oscar nominated song from The Muppets – an excellent film which brought back wonderful childhood memories as well as giving my daughter great joy (and she now demands to “Dance Chickens!”).
The post I’m thinking of has little or nothing do with said film. I’m thinking a lot about my ‘brand,’ brand sort of rhymes with man, the brain does what it does. I digress…
I love blogging. I love my blog. I love reading other blogs and talking to other bloggers. I am enamoured by the craft and the community and the people I have met through this space. Many times I have tried to figure out just what this blog is – is it my journal to capture memories and share stories and connect with others through our shared experiences or is it my brand that I want to build.
Branding is the in thing. The last season of America’s Next Top Model was all about being a brand, associating yourself with a word, a distinct personality.
I don’t know how to be a brand. I don’t know how to be anything but what I am minute to minute. I don’t know how to maintain a persona or stick to one theme. I just don’t know. Moreover, I don’t know if I would want to. There are so many things that race through my head on any given day, so many things that seem important, so many things that it helps to write them down. So I do, and most of that I do here.
So, am I a brand? Do I want to be? Am I sellable?
This week is kindness week in Ottawa, and if I had kept up with my blog reading this week, I would have read many a post about performing random acts of kindness.
Being mindful of other people, not making things unnecessarily difficult for the people around you, these are things my daughter will learn. She already says excuse me and please, and she’s very good with her thank-yous. She thanks automatic doors when they open for her.
I want her to be the person that notices those around her and does things to brighten their day, or at least not make it more difficult.
The problem I’m having with talking about Kindness Week is that all I can think about is something that happened on my morning bus a week or two ago.
The bus was full, as it often is. Standing room only. I was one of the many without a seat. I was standing next to the first door and holding on through the starts and stops. We reached one stop and an elderly gentleman got on. I knew immediately that he was not steady on his feet. He looked as though he might have Parkinson’s or some other issue that made him shake as he walked. He had a cane.
I stood in place, and watched this man and waited for one of the healthy looking young women in the priority seating to stand up give him a seat.
And nothing happened.
No one moved.
The driver turned around and shouted back “CAN SOMEONE GIVE THE MAN A SEAT, PLEASE!”
I wish I were surprised that everyone had waited for someone else to give up their seat for the comfort of this man, but I’m not. I’ve seen it before. And so I’m having a little difficulty with Kindness Week.
But I also heard a story from Joe this week. He was going into a grocery store and someone had invented a parking spot, as Ottawans seem to do quite often. And then someone else had parked in another non spot next to the invented spot.
Joe watched as a man shouted out to point out to the driver that this second car was blocking access to the handicap spot. The driver responded that he would only be a minute, and the second man responded telling him that he was either going to move his car or the police would be called.
Someone being kind to a person who isn’t even present, taking the time to speak out. That is what kindness is.
My kid is sick.
I mean, she’s been sick before, but right now she’s very sick. She’s got pneumonia, though it’s only affecting her left lung so we’re lucky we caught it.
She had a fever and a bit of a cough and she wasn’t sleeping – kept coughing herself awake – so I took her in to our doctor (the family doctor I count my blessings for) and we got a diagnosis and a prescription.
It’s a completely terrible thing. She breaks my heart and I would do anything to be sick in her place.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to be so sick and not really understanding what you’re feeling because it’s never happened to you before, and not knowing that it will be better. It’s one of those things that I don’t really think about until I stop and look at her for a while. Of course she doesn’t understand this or that, she’s never been conscious of it before.
This morning she kept telling me “Mommy, my nose is stuck,” and I knew what feeling she was talking about – lord knows I’ve had enough colds in my life – but she doesn’t yet understand how to blow her nose and I have no idea how to teach her. No idea.
How do you demonstrate that?
I’ve had barely any sleep. The kid has been awake since about 10 last night, with a short nap between 4 and 6 am. I have been awake with her and I didn’t get the three hours she had before she woke.
She woke up at first just calling for me and eventually became inconsolable. At one point in the early hours I drifted off only to wake up to her screaming cries.
I still don’t know what’s wrong. She seems happy enough now. She has this frustrating way of not seeming tired or wanting to nap even after so little sleep. She hasn’t had a regular nap since before she hit her first birthday. The last time we were up all night together, we did manage to get a nap the next day but she doesn’t seem interested in that at all today.
I think she’s tired of having a stuffed up nose, that we keep wiping for her, which hurts her red chapped skin. She’s got a cough now, which I have to assume is accompanied by the same sort of sore throat I have with my cough. She might be finally getting her two year molars, maybe it’s growing pains. I have no answers.
It’s days like this that I feel totally unprepared for this. Motherhood. I feel like I’m still an 18-year-old kid who isn’t even qualified to babysit this ball of energy I call a daughter.
I look at her and I want to just fix whatever is wrong. I want to make her feel better and cuddle her and rock her into a peaceful sleep. But she remains frustratingly awake. Not eating much, not doing much but running around in circles and watching more TV than I should allow.
It will all seems better once I’ve had a nap.
I saw a pin over on Pinterest tonight “Ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.”
I sat back a bit and thought ‘I don’t care.’
I’m good. I’m sitting here watching TV, surfing. Today we went to a hockey game and I got to spend some good time with my kid, we had an easy dinner, hung out with my sister.
It was peaceful, it was fun, and I did absolutely nothing on my to do list or thought about advancing my goals.
And it’s absolutely fine.
Today my mother turns 65.
I think I have already given her the best gift in the world in a bright and beautiful granddaughter…
…and she tells me that she doesn’t want more STUFF taking up space, so I thought instead I’d talk a little bit about her.
She was a single mother from the time I was three – and really probably before then, knowing my dad. Now that I have a daughter and I have had to do it alone when Joe goes away for work, I don’t know how I would do it 24/7. It’s exhausting and there are no breaks.
And I certainly did not make it easy for her. I was a destructive child – writing in books, taking things apart to see how they worked, hurting myself, sneaking food, getting very angry when things didn’t go my way.
I can’t say she didn’t have any help, we were all very lucky to have my grandparents around a lot of the time. They took care of my sister and me when Mom needed help.
My Mom worked very hard. She got a job in the civil service when I was maybe 5 years old. People who don’t have parents who worked in the public service would tell me that public servants were lazy, didn’t do any real work, had easy jobs with great benefits and salaries they didn’t earn.
Those people are idiots.
My mother worked hard, she went to work early so she could be home for dinners and to see us, she lived through the cuts in the 90s and worried constantly about what she would do with us if she lost her job. It was stressful.
My mother made sure we always had what we needed and more. I’ll never forget when she took us to Toronto, just the three of us. I think it was our first trip without Tutu and Gramps. We took the train to Toronto, stayed at a beautiful hotel, went shopping on Yonge St. and went to see The Phantom of the Opera, sitting in the third row. It was amazing. (And that trip started my love affair with musicals that continues to this day).
The older I got, the more I realized how hard it was, but when I was little I had no idea, and that is a tribute to her, I think. We never wanted for anything. We were always okay, we had a lovely little house, a great home life, we lived in a great neighbourhood surrounded by kids our age.
We had the freedom to go off on adventures, riding our bikes, playing in the park or in the dead end street just around the corner, and home was always a safe place.
When I sit here, on my computer, watching my little girl sing along to Wheels on the bus, I know now the love my mother has for me and my sister. It’s amazing and overwhelming. I love watching her with her granddaughter, she loves her so much, and it fills my heart. My little girl is very lucky on the grandparent front – she even has three living great-grandparents – and I’m glad that it’s a gift I could give my Mom.
Also, growing up to be a pretty good person. I think that’s a success for her too.