Monday, July 31, 2006

The Devil Wears Old Navy Baby

I’ve just finished reading The Devil Wears Prada, and so I thought I’d do a side-by-side comparison, since the similarities between the boss from hell and “working” for a baby are so evident. That’s how I came to the conclusion that the devil wears Old Navy Baby (and sometimes Gymboree, when there’s a sale).
Note: Of course babies are way cuter, nicer, lovable, and in no way devils.

You probably know the story, but here’s the quick blah, blah, blah plot summary: Andy is the junior assistant to Miranda, the editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine, and so has to do more of the hands on grunt work than the senior assistant.

We mommies are the junior assistants, and daddies the senior assistants (because we do more of the work in the trenches—but go daddies!).

Andy is on call 24/7.
Mommies are on call 24/7.

Andy gets very little sleep, due to the demands of her job.
Mommies get very little sleep due to the demands of their job.

Andy is not allowed to skip work due to any kind of illness.
Mommies are not allowed to skip work because they are sick.

Andy is not allowed to eat in front of Miranda (“What is that disgusting thing?”
she asks as Andy stands there with a cup of soup. “Throw it out!”)
Mommies are similarly and otherwise prevented from eating.

Andy survives on Starbucks.
I survive on Starbucks (can’t generalize this one, cause I don’t know about other mommies’ drinking habits).

Andy sneaks in calls when she is ostensibly on the job.
Mommies sneak in phone calls only when babies nap, ostensibly on the job.

Miranda’s mood is unpredictable.
Babies’ moods are unpredictable.

Miranda never gives praise for a job well done, but screams when Andy has done something wrong.
Babies don’t give praise for a job well done, but use the cry/scream as the main channel of communication.

Miranda expects Andy to read her mind, and anticipate needs, and frequently changes her mind at the last minute.

The pay is a mere pittance.

And finally: Andy is promised that the reward for putting in just a year of servitude will be a leg up on the competition for her dream job.
Mommies are motivated to survive the year by thoughts of an equally tremendous reward—a child who sleeps through the night and eats solids (ah, freedom!).

P.S. It occurs to me that making a comparison of the most taxing job imaginable with motherhood is so easy, I might as well have launched into a tirade examining the ways in which the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in WDW is imperialistic and misogynistic . . .

Monday, July 03, 2006

My Piggies Went to the Carwash

This blog is primarily aimed at family members who like to hear cute toddler stories and, politely, never get tired of them.

I love two year olds for a couple of reasons:
1) What they say is unpredictable.
2) They are very patient when, on occasion, you don’t understand the unpredictable thing they have said.

The other night when I was putting my son to bed (“Mommy, it’s very late! It’s story time!” he had called to me, as is the routine), he noticed my bare feet. He has an aversion to his own bare feet—he’s not the least interested in wearing the sandals I bought him, only the hard-soled Spiderman shoes or soft fire truck Robeez.
We were sitting on the bedroom floor reading stories. We don’t sit in the rocking chair anymore. Maybe it’s because of the makeshift “blackout” curtain my husband put up in the window, which is right by the rocking chair. The curtain is a plastic tablecloth duct-taped to the window frame. It’s frightful.
Anyway, my son noticed my toes. With the delight only possible for a two year old who has just noticed something ordinary, he cried: “Mommy’s toes! Mommy have toes!”
Then he wiggle-waggled across the floor to reach my feet and grabbed the big toe on my right foot.
“This piggy go to the car wash,” he mumbled with imperfect memory, but perfect imagination.
He was more confident with the next toe: “This pig. . .went groceries!”
Next toe: “This pig at home.”
Next: “This pig, car wash!”
And the last: “This piggy went for car ride!”
The game produced many giggles (he laughed, too).

At supper recently, he displayed his patience, comme ca:
“Yellow flame!” he demanded.
“Yellow fame!”
I asked, “You want a yellow something?”
“No. Gellow fam.” He was very calm about it, but insistent.
I still didn’t’ understand, so I tried another tactic—the one where I admit I have no idea what he’s talking about.
“Sweetheart, can you use more words to tell Mommy what you want?”
He was very agreeable: “Mommy, I want you to sing the song Grandma’s Farm.” As clear and complete as that!
Grandma’s Farm is a song that I learned as “Grandpa’s Farm” but since I have a grandma with a farm, we’ve changed the words slightly in our house. It’s a song that’s used to welcome a bunch of children to a group and their names are inserted at the beginning of each verse. This is a treat for my son. He gets to veto anyone he doesn’t want me singing about. Suffice it to say, some people make it to grandma’s farm, and some don’t.

And now for the bonus family moment: After staring at me with great interest, my son stated, perfect sentence and all, “Mommy, you have boogers in your teeth.”
Boogers?? Where’d he hear that word? Daycare?
Perhaps it goes without saying, but I really didn’t.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Two Kinds of Ugly

I had another topic in mind for my blog today, but since I have started the day with extremely bad hair, I’m in a bad mood, and I’m pondering once again the two kinds of ugly. What I mean by extremely bad hair is this: it’s not that the hair is as bad as it could be, it’s the surrounding circumstances. In somewhat decreasing levels of acceptability, I think it’s OK to have bad hair when:

  • you haven’t showered that day
  • when you have showered but haven’t had time to blow it dry because the baby has started to fuss
  • when you have showered and completely styled your hair but you are very overdue for a haircut, which has been difficult to schedule because of baby’s imagined erratic feeding on the day you want to go; or even when said baby’s schedule (and/or the toddler’s shenanigans) prevent you from even making the phone call.

It is the worst kind of bad hair when, like me today, you have had time to shower and blow dry your hair, and have recently had a cut and highlights. Then there is no excuse, and I have plummeted into a pit of bad moodiness. (My husband recently called to talk about the Weed Man and fly larvae in our lawn, and asked me how I was doing. I explained that I was in a bad mood due to bad hair, but that in a sense I am finding my current state of mind to be useful. It filters out all the positive things in my day, and leaves me with a true picture of all the negatives. He claims to not relate to this at all.)

In any case, BFF and I realized the phenomenon of two types of ugly in high school. The first and more benign type of ugly is when you aren’t looking your best but it’s still obvious that you’re an attractive person, and it’s a rectifiable situation. The second type is when you look like an essentially ugly person, even if the situation is easily rectifiable. So let’s work this out then. Sometimes you have bad hair, and it’s only the first type of ugly. Sometimes you have bad hair and it’s the second. Sometimes you have an acne breakout and it’s the first type, sometimes the second.
It’s capricious, really.

Today, with my extremely bad hair, I feel like I’m the second type of ugly. But wait! I have a personal out: I’m still experiencing all kinds of post-partum hormones, from nursing full time. This has totally changed (read: screwed with) my hair. For instance, I could smell it burning when I was blowing it dry this morning. Burning hair is not normal. That’s the hormones! Maybe the hormones are also making it look dry, and making the bangs hang limply in my face.
But, nevertheless, this is not apparent to the casual observer. The casual observer is not going to know that while I was trying to blow dry my hair this morning it started to burn, emitting the worst kind of odour. I had to stop drying my hair in that one section, and then I stopped completely, even though my daughter was relaxing in her bouncy seat to the buzz and hum of the hair dryer.

On this note, I would like to mention that although it seemed like I was verging on ugly type two at my brother’s recent wedding, I should be excused for that since my baby was only nine weeks old. I had to shop for a two piece outfit for purposes of easy nursing (I like more formal dresses for weddings), when my body was not yet itself, in a season when the predominant trend is towards a bohemian look. Not good. I ended up wearing a gold skirt with an elastic waist. An elastic waist. That’s not going to hold anything in!
In my more Pollyanna moments, I rationalize that I don’t look that bad in the wedding pictures, just old. Sigh.

To cap off this entry on ugliness, just remember if you have an excuse it’s the first type of ugly. If you don’t, it’s the second. But don’t despair. I doubt many people have had the dubious honour, as I have had, of winning an ugly contest. Years ago, my sister, BFF and I played it round-robin style on a camping trip. It was early in the morning, and we didn’t use mirrors. Instead we each took turns comparing the two people we could see and declaring who was uglier.
I won.
Sigh again.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Pass the Dutchie

I’ve never had a problem grappling with the idea that I married a guy who is half Dutch—mother born in Holland and then raised there till the age of five—but what often causes me pause, is the fact that I now have Dutch children, even though I’m not Dutch myself. (I’m more Irish/Scottish, or mostly Canadian since my ancestors have been here since the early to mid-1800s). I am a fan of the Dutch, and the phrase “If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much” is one I’m fond of. The phrase “Dutch people: wooden shoes, wooden head, wouldn’t listen” also amuses me, but of course it’s not as nice.

I don’t like Dutch candies—the black licorice tasting ones with the salt—but I do like Dutch cheese (Edam—yum!), tulips, and Dutch athletes. There’s one great swimmer in particular: Peter Hoogen-can’t-spell-or-pronounce-it-Baum.

I have one rule about the Dutch. I never play Dutch Blitz with them. Dutch Blitz, technically speaking, is a German card game, but you should see the tremendous dexterity and swiftness with which my Dutch friends can snatch up cards and throw them down. I have never won a game. Never. So in accordance with this rule, if I decide to adhere to it, I won’t be able to play Dutch Blitz with my children. But I’m not too sorry about that, as they can play Dutch Blitz with their father, level playing field and all.

So the World Cup action is underway. As my husband is a huge sports fan and LOVES soccer, he finally decided that our car desperately lacked a Dutch flag, the kind of thing most people in the greater Toronto area have flying from their vehicles, respective of their soccer-playing countries of course. We had to look far and wide to find the flag; the malls don’t sell them. Instead, we stopped at a roadside flag vendor and my husband proudly spent $20 to buy the Dutch flag, which in his own words “kind of sucks.” (The flag, not the money spent, although I will note I have since found out that the wholesale price of the flags is $7.) My hubby thinks the Dutch flag is too generic and can be easily confused with the flag of Luxemburg and Croatia, among others. “Will people know it’s the Dutch flag?” he wondered out loud. “Sweetie,” I reassured him, “the right people will know.”

So there it is: we now have the Dutch flag flying proudly from the car. My husband broke the first one, so I went and bought him another. And it’s OK with me: after all, my kids are Dutch, as crazy as that seems to me. My son has beautiful blond hair, and blue eyes, and my daughter we’re not sure about yet. At four months old, her hair isn’t fully in, and her eye colour isn’t set. They’re blue now, but there’s a chance they will turn green and be like her mommy’s.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hooray for blogs!

This is only a place holder blog. I just wanted to get set up properly, and then all the blogging I do in my head can be downloaded to a real blog.

Yay for me--I'm a happy blogger.