We are now pretty well settled in our new house. There are some things I know aren’t going to work long term (really need to figure out a better way to organize the kitchen cabinets), but I’m very happy. It’s open and sunny and the kid and the dog love running around the backyard together.
I thought everything was good and I thought we’d done a good job of moving the kid in. We told her about the upcoming move and explained what the boxes were, we told her Grandma was coming to live with us, we brought her out to see the new house while it was still empty. I made a point of getting her room finished first – I painted it before the move happened and I unpacked all of her things first so her furniture, clothes, books and toys were all in place her first night.
It seemed as though it had all worked, she seemed happy, but lately she’s been saying things that are bothering me a bit. At bedtime one night, and again today, she told me she doesn’t want to go back to Grandma’s house, she wants to go to her “favourite” house. She gets quite upset talking about it while I try to explain that this is our house, our home. A couple of times at bedtime she’s started yelling at me that she doesn’t want her yellow room, she wants a blue room. We had picked out the paint together and I double checked with her daily for nearly a week before we actually bought the paint. Today in the car, while she was screaming and crying about not liking the new house I realized – her old room was blue.
She only seems to bring up these issues when she’s already fighting me on something or having a tantrum and I don’t know how upset she really feels, but now it’s starting to really worry me and I don’t know what to do about it.
On the line of changing my life, as I posted not too long ago. And I’m just trying, pushing myself a bit.
Now in week two of being a work at home mom, three contracts on the go, plus my own little project that I’m trying to build on the side (Absolute Equality – more about that soon).
I’m playing on my strengths – writing, curiosity, political awareness, organizational skills, a drive to not let anyone down.
I will be reading at Blog Out Loud with a lot of brilliant people in just over two weeks. I’ll be shaking in my boots, but I’m also in love with the post I’m reading, and I get to share it and that’s awesome.
I built a presentation for Cocktail Deeva and didn’t get selected for her ticket to Blogher, but I did forward that pitch to its intended audience. They said no because they have a team of bloggers they work with, but they also said they’ll keep me in mind for the future.
(Again, thanks very much for the opportunity, Dee).
And I bought a ticket to Blissdom Canada this year and I’m damn well going. I’m going to have a damn good time too.
I’m asking questions and looking at self publishing for a series of children’s books I’ve written that I want an audience for.
I’m stepping into the ring and I’m taking whatever is thrown at me. And I’m going to be successful. I’m building my life and I like the way it’s looking.
We got our errands done and we went to visit Gramps and she was a good girl the whole way through. I didn’t even have a fight to get her dressed once I pulled out that purple and blue dress.
We got home and she helped Grandma plant some flowers. She listened and followed the steps and I was very impressed with how well she did.
She washed her hands when we came inside just like I asked her to, and we had a nice lunch.
We went upstairs for some quiet time and I fell asleep but she didn’t, so she got into a few things, but nothing important. She moved the fruit from one bowl to another, she put carrot sticks in strange places. It was fine, except for me feeling like a terrible mother for being in a position like that.
We walked together to check the mail, we stopped at the park on the way home and we decided to get the kiddy pool out when we got back.
And right there all hell broke loose.
She disobeyed, she did things after I’d asked her not to, she kicked and slapped and me, she yelled. She pushed things off the table onto the floor, she dumped a glass of water onto the floor.
The afternoon and evening were just hard.
And then, in the evening, I was walking around Chapters, having a bit of a break, trying to move out of that bad place, and I was walking around the kids’ section and I almost started to cry. I was so mad at her and at the same time so completely overwhelmed with love. I felt crazy.
But she’s my girl.
We’ve been re-doing the backyard all weekend (and when I say we, I mostly mean Joe). Pulling out weeds, moving rocks, pulling out eight dead cedar trees, filling in dirt and getting ready for the garden we promised the kid she would have.
The grass is dead in parts and Joe has had to mow it every weekend that we’ve been here. It grows and grows, just like the dandelions that have taken over the front yard. Meanwhile, the kid and I have been inside and I’ve seen the same episode of Stella and Sam many, many times, and Sam thinks he’s small but Stella tells him he’s growing like a weed.
And then I look at my kid.
Who is this kid?
She was a little baby and now she’s a little girl and I’m not entirely sure when that happened. She just keeps getting bigger and she speaks in sentences and she’s learning shapes and she recites the alphabet. Sometimes she says things that cause he father and I to look at each other and shake our heads – how does she remember this or know that?
This is two on the way to three.
When we were having some issues with the kid – two hour long bedtimes, mainly – we saw a pediatrician and his best advice was to pick your fights. Some things just aren’t as important to you as a parent as other things and you can let some stress go by letting the kid have what she wants those times.
Lately our biggest fight has been over clothes. Every day we tell her what our plans are, and we tell her when it’s time to get dressed. And almost every day the response we get is this:
“No, just my diaper.”
She used to have no problem with pajamas and when that became a huge fight at bedtimes that were already difficult we said screw it, let her sleep in her diaper. Now she will often be around the house in just her diaper, which is fine, but when it’s time to leave the house, it’s time to get dressed. And some days that results in a screaming, crying tantrum.
When she was still in daycare this made things especially difficult because we had a set time by which to get out of the house. And on days I was home I would put off going out to avoid the fight.
Because of this I have become the mother that lets her two year old dress herself. Whatever she picks, if she’s willing to put it on, that’s fine. This means skirts over dresses, dresses over jeans, and today a striped dress over polka dot shorts. Do people look twice, probably, but it’s adorable and it’s the fight I didn’t pick.
I have a 2 year old. We say no to each other a lot.
She says no to me when I ask her to do something, eat something, go somewhere, get something, clean something up…
I say no to her when she throws things, grabs things, pushes people, does something that’s not safe, asks for something that’s not hers, asks to do something we can’t do…
A whole lot of no-ing goes on in this house.
Except for myself.
I am out of control. I have allowed myself to eat what I want when I want because of all the other stress I’ve been under – leaving work, moving, the toddler – but what I really need to stress about is my health and our budget. I need to be in control, because if I’m not in control of those things then I can’t handle much else.
I can’t keep wanting this and wanting that and letting myself just have it. Not just because I’m fat, but also because every time I order fries now my daughter asks me if she can have some too. And why shouldn’t she be able to have some of what I have?
I don’t want to be a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ parent. I want to be a lead by example parent – in diet and exercise, in having fun and in getting down to work when I need to.
I consider myself a pretty damn good mother most of the time, but I’m a piss poor example right now.
I have a life list. It’s meant to be 100 things but I still have seven or eight open spots. I don’t remember exactly when I started writing it, but I’ve got it in a notebook that is someone in a box at the moment.
I have been very lucky to be able to cross several things off that list, and I will freely admit that some things were added after I had done them and realized that I had always wanted to do that. (For instance, the summer that I lived in Montreal).
When Joe proposed he actually made a point of crossing something off my life list (he took me to stay for a night at the Chateau Laurier).
One thing that is very early in my life list is a very simple thing: Own a house with a big bathtub.
I love taking baths. I find it relaxing and it’s one of the places where I just sit back and read and let things go. Sometimes a shower is great, but sometimes a bath is just what you need. (One of my biggest frustrations when I was pregnant was that I wanted to be able to take a nice bath, but I couldn’t lie down in the bath because my front was too heavy and I needed help getting out of the tub).
But our new house?
I love a lot of things about this house – lots of room, beautiful hardwood floors, an open kitchen, a backyard big enough for the kid and the dog to play in – but the master bath? It’s awesome. There is a separate bath and shower which allows for a window over the bathtub. The bathtub, which is gloriously large.
A small bathtub means that you’re never fully covered with the water and in the winter a part of you will always be cold, which ruins the effect of the bath. This bathtube I can sink right into with the sun shining through the blind. It’s marvellous.
Another wonderful thing is that my daughter has her own bathroom (shared with the guest room), which means she has her own tub. And that means that all of her bath toys and her bubble bath and shampoo, and the non-slip mat we put in the tub for her and entirely separate from my bathroom.
My dear home city of Ottawa.
I have been feeling very good feelings about you lately Ottawa.
Walking to my office building from the parking lot next to the Supreme Court, seeing the Peace tower up above the river. It has felt very special to be working here for the past four years. It is a special thing.
Growing up here was pretty special too. I was probably a teenager before I realized that not every kid has access to all of these museums and festivals. I am very glad we’ve now made a decision and bought a house and my daughter will grow up in Ottawa too. Her childhood will be different – I lived almost downtown, walking distance from my school, a pool, arena and park. Things for her will be a little more spread out, but she’ll still have access.
I loved growing up here. I love the fall, I loved playing in the snow. I loved being around the politics and the culture. I have always come back to this city no matter how many times I try to leave.
Ottawa is my home and it is beautiful.