Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dirty Laundry

Just a little bit of cute before the new year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Exhibit A, Exhibit B

This picture pretty much sums up all the problems in my life right now.

Scenes From Christmas

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Melt Down

Strangely enough, two years ago, on this day, I shouted at a teenage girl who ran up to me with a charity tin, squealing, “Give us money!”

Me: If you rattle that tin in my face again, you little slag, I swear to god I’ll smack you.

I don’t know what it is about December 20th, but it’s a day that tends to make me lose my grip a bit. Today, my tenuous grip on sanity was shaken further by a 9 month old who’s teething and fighting a cold at the same time. Everything I tried to do this morning was rebuffed with a barrage of what I can only imagine was baby cursing, so much so that I was tempted to wash her mouth out with soap. (I DON’T MAKE MY BABY EAT SOAP. No calls to child services, please.) Putting pants on became akin to being jabbed by sharp objects. Putting a coat on was obviously a fate worse than death. Being put on trial for war crimes at The Hague was infinitely preferable to being strapped into a car seat. And going round the shops? Don’t even ask.

The last few weeks have been something of a struggle. The Prawn, for lack of a better word, has been behaving like a jerk. I know it's because of the new teeth that are forcing their way through her gums as well as the lurghy that has taken up residence in her respiratory system. It seems terribly unfair that babies can't behave as WE do when we get sick- simply take to their beds and wake up only occasionally for sustenance. But no, they are afflicted with the jerk reflex which causes them to behave as if they have spent most of their short lives with a pack of wolverines. Not only that, but they infect US as well and through our own sickness, we are expected to be patient and understanding of their antics all while battling sleep deprivation, a sore throat and migraine.

I hate myself for sometimes wishing that she'd just disappear for a few hours or having to leave her in her crib, screaming so that I can do some screaming of my own into a convenient pillow. No mother should feel that way about her kid, I think, but I'm pretty sure that just about every one does at one point or another.

Motherhood is all about the guilt. Asking Santa for a happy baby for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


The Prawn is just on the brink of sentience. Although she discovered vanity some time ago, (she gets unnaturally excited about her own reflection in the mirror. I sense a world of teenage image dramas in my future) she is just learning that there are many things in the world with which to interact and eat. So, obviously, this means it’s time for toys.

The Prawn’s favourite toys are as follows:

-Any laptop within reach.

-Any mobile phone within reach.

-Any electrical cord within reach.

-Any remote control in reach. (which usually results in us having to watch the shopping channel with subtitles that we can’t figure out how to turn off.)

-The strings on the hood of Daddy’s sweatshirt.

-Daddy’s guitars.

-The recycling.

-Crap she finds on the floor, no matter how well we’ve hoovered it.

If someone had told me that babies were the same at cats, (wanting to play with anything but the stuff you buy them) then we probably could have saved a lot of cash.

There are a few playthings, however, we’ve bought her that can hold her attention for more than 5 minutes.

Mozart Magic Cube, by Munchkin. A gift from my parents. This thing is pretty bitching, actually, despite our feelings about toys that require batteries. It has 8 works by the master of babysmarts himself programmed in and a choice of 5 instruments-harp, French horn, piano, flute, and violin- that are available on each side of the cube for individual or orchestral listening. Each side flashes to the beat of it’s instrument so it makes for a cool visual experience as well as audio. The Prawn digs kicking it around the room, turning on and off instruments. It’s the toy that is inevitably kicked by one of us while we’re trying to get the Prawn to sleep, setting off a cacophonic version of "Là Ci Darem la Mano" and triggering a desperate attempt to find which edge of the cube boasts the “off” switch.

Wooden Shape Sorter, by Mothercare. Mothercare has a small, but fairly decent range of own-brand infant toys that do not squeak, squawk, chatter or play stadium volume music. The Prawn just doesn’t need that shit. (Translation: we don’t need that shit) While visiting my folks, they dragged out and sterilized all of my baby toys and out of all of them, the Prawn tended to gravitate toward the shape sorter more than any other. (Save for the xylophone, but that’s only because it had a stick attached to it that was clearly perfect for poking an eye out with) Upon our return, I managed to find one that didn’t holler “GOOD JOB!” upon putting the shape in the correct slot to bring home for her. She’s spent a lot of time chewing on the pieces and banging the sorter itself on the floor, no doubt endearing herself further with our downstairs neighbours.

Black Labrador puppet, by Folkmanis. This is the first thing that she’s chosen herself. There’s a lovely children’s toyshop in the trendy downtown area where my parents live that sells imported wooden toys, fun games and other unique stuff. We held a number of things out for her to look at that were met with the withering indifference that only an 8 month old can muster. However, when we held out the Labrador puppet, she reached her arms up for it. Little surprise, as she is fascinated with The Rock Star’s family dog, Dougal, who is also a black Lab. So, we bought Mini Dougal home where she has proceeded to lie on him and bury her little face into his fur, giving her an outlet for her love of the real thing which would most likely be very dangerous as Dougal is a total nutter.

I think probably many people go slightly mad their child’s first Christmas, but I’m saving the bulk of my crazy for her first fully sentient holiday. She’ll be getting a tambourine from Santa this year and that’s about it.

Considering that everything she REALLY wants to play with is ours anyhow, perhaps I should just wrap up my car keys for a bit of extra magic.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Christmas Story

It’s taken me almost a week to get my ass back into gear, but considering that I’ve been living with a jetlagged 8 month old for the last few days, I’m surprised I’m still standing.

So, it’s that time of year again. This Christmas is particularly exciting as I will have the opportunity, to actually, you know, decorate. While living on a boat has it’s advantages, especially if you like ducks, fish and manual toilet emptying, a rather large disadvantage is not having the space to swing a cat, let alone put up a Christmas tree. Mr. DD and I always tried to make do with a tiny plastic tree which was never large enough to accommodate our already vast collection of ornaments. (When we were married, my mother threw an “ornament” shower for us, so we’re all good on the hanging stuff front).

This year, while we finally have the space, we also have someone living with us who will want to get physically, spiritually and orally acquainted with said Christmas tree, so it’s going to be a little bit of a challenge to decorate like I’ve always wanted and still make sure that there is only a wisp of a chance that the Prawn will decide that Christmas lights are tasty and nutritious.

My father once wisely said that Christmas is a holiday that’s always tinged with melancholy due to the fact that it cannot be celebrated one Christmas at a time; every Christmas is a reminder of all the Christmases that have gone before.

I suppose I was around 15 or 16 when I had a sudden and unsettling realization that Christmas was never going to have the same kind of magic that it had for me as a child and it made me terribly sad for a number of holiday seasons. I’m not sure I even knew how to articulate how I was feeling, but I just knew that it “wasn’t like before.”

On my first Christmas home from college, we travelled up to Pennsylvania for the annual family Christmas get togethers. The Christmas Eve celebration (typically my favourite part of the whole holiday) was held at the house of my mother’s cousin, as it had been for years. (She’d taken over the party from HER mother, my grandmother’s sister) It was actually snowing, making the woods where her house was achingly picturesque. I’d left something in the car, so I’d crunched back down the driveway to get it. On the way back, my foot shot out from under me and I ended up flat on my back in the driveway. As I lay there, looking up at the falling snow and hoping that I wasn’t suffering from a concussion, I suddenly hear the faint sound of a choir in the valley below singing “Silent Night.”

It was a strange and happy epiphany I had at that moment; I suddenly made peace with sense of loss from Christmases past and knew that although that feeling of wonder that I’d experienced as a child was gone, it would be replaced with a warm, more familial feeling as I grew older. I’d look forward to it for different reasons. I’d celebrate it in different ways. The melacholy that had afflicted me for years evaporated, leaving behind the knowledge that it would leave behind only a happy, nostalgic ache, once every 25th of December.

So, lying in the driveway, snow slowing soaking through the back of my coat, I smiled.

This year, I've found that some of that sense of wonder has returned. It's my job to make Christmas happen for my daughter. (Even though this year, she will be more interested in eating Christmas than experiencing it.) All of the beautiful things that I remember from my childhood can come to life again for her, as well as new things that Mr. DD and I will create for ourselves.

I can't tell you how excited I am about that.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Not Enlightened

Should my daughter ever choose a spiritual path, I'll give you two guesses as to which way she probably WON'T be going.