Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It Came From The TV

Teddy doesn't watch a lot of kids' television. ok. ANY kids' television.
He's allowed to watch some football with his daddy or the occasional youtube snippet sat on my lap but otherwise I just don't turn the TV on.
I'm not proselytizing here, that's just how we roll chez moi; mostly because if the TV is on then I am in front of it, with cookies, "hey Oprah, wanna cookie? NO? More for me then. nom nom nom." for HOURS.

I DO NOT want to be one of those "oh no, my kid doesn't watch television, he's too busy reading Proust and eating celeriac" mama's. Because those guys suck.
and there are some exceptions to the rule...

Anyway, that's the background story; this weekend at The Word on the Street there was a stage with TVO Kids TV characters on it.
Teddy dead-eyed the puppet guys and the hyperactive singing woman like some kind of brutal Queen Street hipster. One of the promo girls tried to hand him some stickers and temporary tattoos and he gave her the stink eye. Em-barr-assing.
"Teddy you say thank you to the nice lady". No dice.
I didn't want to be all,
"Yeah, no, he doesn't watch TV (and I'm judging you so hard right now)" So I said thanks and put them in my bag.
This morning, guess what my wallet was wearing?
A TVO kids temporary tattoo. Only it turns out, temporary tat's? Not so sodding temporary on leather. And sticky, SUPER-SUPER STICKY, which means whipping the wallet out of the bag to pay for groceries with feminine hygiene products stuck to it.
Which sucks.
I blame the TV.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Webcomics and... Stalking? (well maybe a tiny bit)

This Weekend was The Word on the Street. A book thing in Queen's Park that was completely awesome.

There were all kinds of talks and book signings. The one I was most excited about was the Webcomics one, where I might have been (a tiny bit) stalking Ryan North creator of Dinosaur Comics and Emily Horne of A Softer World.
They were both completely charming, as were Faith Erin Hicks and Kean Soo. Andy Belanger was there too.

I am rubbish at being a fan girl, really rubbish. The guys did signings after and that would have been the perfect opportunity to get something, you know, signed and maybe say hi. But I didn't because I totally choke around super-talented people. Totally.
In my head I'll be all ready to say,
"Hey Emily Horne of A Softer World! Your pictures are so pretty! and I like how benevolent your lens is to people's silly, beautiful minutiae, it makes the contrast of Joey's words even more of a sucker punch in the awesome nerve. "
Which is a bit dorky and long-winded but all true stuff.
Except, put me in front of Emily Horne of A Softer World and what comes out of my mouth is,
"HI! I like your EYEBALLS".
or "HEY Ryan North creator of Dinosaur Comics! Your brain makes me a happy"
or something even creepier than that.
Which is not cool.

Want to know what's so awesome about A Softer World, and also to feel like someone sucked all the air out of your lungs? Then go here.
And Dinosaur Comics? Well it's all awesome, all the time. Find it here.

Margret Atwood was also doing a reading and signing (I might have had a plan to use my fan girl spaziness that involved sitting in the front row of her reading and whispering slightly suggestive things while repeatedly touching my own face. That plan might have been thwarted by my tardiness.)
But lookit, here's a picture of her signing books and looking beautiful (you can't see them but she has great shoes).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ready for Anything

Because you can never be too prepared...
Footie Jammies? Check.
Swim pants? Check.
Hard Hat? Check.
Furry backup team? Check.
Called in the air support from Grammie? Check. We are in so much trouble.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Parent Fail

'specially not for this guy:

We have a set of knives. Five of them. Big knife. Little knife. Medium knife. Bread Knife and Horror Movie knife (it's huge and I'm afraid to use it, because my fingers aren't made of titanium and also it gives me the willies) Which I'm sure you'll agree is fascinating. We have knives. You know who shouldn't have knives?

So, I was in the kitchen making lunch, The Bear was in there trying to hustle cookies out of me.
"COOOOk". He said and hopped from one foot to another.
"COOKCOOKCOOKCOOK" he pointed at the cupboard where the cookies live. (In case I had forgotten, on account of how he thinks I'm a stupid)
"No cookies 'til after lunch Bear" See, I can be responsible.
Hop hop wave hop.
I shook my head. Teddy mumbled "Cook" under his breath then reached up and scooted his chubby little paw along the counter, grabbing the first thing that he reached. Which just happened to be Big Knife.

He probably had hold of it for all of 0.6 of a second before I ripped it from his grasp, making the kind of noise only dogs can hear.
A split second was enough, enough to make me want to barf a bit and to indelibly sear the image of my tooled up toddler onto my brain. I needed a sit down and a cup of tea.

Lesson learned, put the knives where Teddy can't reach them. Which really, who doesn't know that?
Where was I going with this? Oh wait I remember, to Parent Fail, where I can feel better about my own hideous lapses in judgement by judging others. Swing by if you're looking to feel a little lousier about the world.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


A little gratuitous Bear footage...

Teddy and I heading to the lift on our way out to walk our 'nanimals. We strolled around the block, Teddy, the lion, Dilly and me. Holding paws and leashes and causing something of a stir. The good thing about going out with both of those fuzzy blonds is that I'm pretty invisible (which is nice 'cause yesterday I didn't so much as brush my hair).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

LOBSTA get yer Lobsta!

Holy awesome cow! I've just found out that the collective noun for lobsters is a RISK of lobsters.
Well that's settled then.
Halloween costumes for all.
My sweetie and me:
Dilly:And the Bear:

Best Halloween ever? I believe so.
images from: here, here and here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

If He Makes It Through The Night

Today it has been 2 years since Elliot's accident and I wanted to talk a bit about it.

Elliot is my twinnie.
He is also one of my favorite people and always has been. We have been friends, confidants and partners in crime our whole lives. A united force of two. You know the Siamese Kitties in Lady and the Tramp? Like that, only without the evil (or the frankly horrifying racism... Boo on you Mr. Disney). As an adult, I felt (and still feel) lucky to have an Elliot in my life, but he has always been a barrel of contradictions, a relaxed worrier, a kind man with flashes of juvenile temper, a tangle of over and irri-sponsibility. Vacillating between uncanny emotional intuition and cluelessness. He has a slow-burning and dry sense of humor shot through with veins of quicksilver wit.
He's just as patched together, as complex and incomplete as the rest of us; he is a good man and I love him.

Two years ago today was a Friday. It was unseasonably warm, too hot for someone who was 4 months pregnant and running about 10 degrees hotter than the humans and sweating with the constant barfies.
I had left work early, an appointment unexpectedly canceled. We had friends coming over for a night of board game hi-jinx. I came home and cleaned the bathroom. While I cleaned I played Johnny Cash's cover of Hurt by the Nine Inch Nails on youtube. I had heard it for the first time earlier that day, I played it maybe three or four times in a row, the last time standing with my hands in rubber gloves and tears rolling down my face as I watched the video.

Britt came by, Andy came home and took the pooch out to play.
When there was a knock at the door we though it might be Bill and I opened it grinning.
It wasn't Bill.
It was a policeman. My stomach gave one huge lurch, you know on roller coaster rides when it feels like everything lifts by 4 inches? Like that.
"Are you Elliot Filby's girlfriend?"
"His sister, is he OK?" I sounded calm. I don't know why I sounded calm, everything had slowed to hyper detailed microseconds and inside my head was a nononononononononononononononono sound.
"He had an accident, on his skateboard? He's at St. Mikes. He's alive, he's ok?" He flicked through his pad, looked behind me.
alive alive alive alive ok ok ok ok
"How? St. Mikes... I don't know where that is."
"I can drive you there"
I grabbed my bag.
keys wallet keys wallet keys wallet.
"I have to go get Andy"
We went racing down to the back garden. Andy was standing talking and smiling, he started towards me when he saw me.
"Elliot has had an accident. We have to go. Now. To the the hospital. Now."
He looked at the policeman, and handed Dilly to our friend Sarah. And we went. Britt stayed. As I was getting into the front of the police car Andy worried out loud,
"Erin is 4 months pregnant, should she be...?"
I made a sound between a bark and a whimper and he got into the back of the car.

"I'm sorry officer, I didn't catch your name?" I was polite, incongruously dinner-party polite,
"Joe." He pulled us out onto Church St, "We couldn't find you. He said he lived in... Pape maybe? or Broadview? He couldn't remember, or a phone number, we had to use his paycheck to find out. It took me a while."
I open and shut my mouth. Couldn't remember? I don't know why I wasn't making a high pitched keening sound. My head was.
"What happened?" My stomach was doing little back flips and for a second I though maybe I was going to barf.
Joe flicked on his little computer thing, turned it towards me. "It's right here"
I read. Greenish words. MALE. UNCONSCIOUS. AMBULANCE. ST. MICHAEL'S. Then I did make a sound like a a cat being stepped on and Joe looked at me and quickly flicked his little computer thing away.
"He can talk. He's talking"
I breathed through my mouth. Talking is good. It's good. Talking.

We got to the back entrance of St Mikes, Joe ushered us through the ambulance bay, he nodded hello at a couple of Paramedics and sat us in two plastic chairs. It was an ugly place to be. My leg started twitching up and down up and down. I couldn't make it stop. Andy put his had on my knee, murmuring comforting things. I could barely hear them.
It seemed that Joe was gone for ever and my panic became this icy incoherent thing. too long too long too long. bad bad bad. too long too long. bad bad bad. It crept out of my stomach and was icing over my lungs, each breath just a tiny bit too shallow when Joe came back.
He led us to the staff elevator, onto the 9th floor. Down corridors that felt a million miles long. A sign that read Neurological Trauma had me reaching for the wall mid step, physically reeling. And then the doors. Huge double doors, that you must be buzzed though. They opened too slowly I wanted to slip through them like a fish, but we waited. And then around the ward to Elliot's bed. Faster. Time speeding up.
There he was. His eyes were closed but he opened them when the nurse said "your sister is here". I stood on his left side, the side that wasn't hooked up to anything. His eyes found me
He opened his mouth and croaked, heaved a huge sigh, eyes filling with tears.

Relief, seeing him made me almost dizzy. alive alive alive alive alive a chirpy voice in my head. alive is what matters. ok ok ok ok .
His face. Scraped raw, puffy and strangely relaxed on one side. I was afraid to to touch him, afraid of hurting him. Settled on resting a paw on his bony shoulder.
"You had an accident"
He sort of smiled. Lifted his lips over his broken-off teeth.
"I guess".
He shut his eyes.
I spoke to a nurse. How bad?
His pelvis and his collarbone might be broken. Waiting for the x ray machine.
His Brain. A CT scan. Nothing external but inside "like if you drop jello". A shear, bleeding. Deep. deep-deep. It could get worse. Wait and see wait and see.
"If he makes it through the night without anymore bleeding...".

If he makes it through the night. They might not be the worst combination of words in the English language but they feel like it to me. Brutal. The opening volley in a battle with time, where each dragging minute is a tiny jab, each uneventful hour is a skirmish won.

I called my mum.
Now. Now I know. Then I didn't understand.
The preciousness of the bones and the meat of the person that you made with your own body. The howling terror, the brutal truth of their fragility.

Then I didn't know, told her the unvarnished, meant to reassure,
"He's alive, talking, he'll be OK... if he makes it through the night".

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Poke Here...

This is how Dilly mostly sleeps; it's not terribly ladylike.

I have trouble resisting the softy fuzz on her tummy, Teddy does not. That is, he doesn't bother resiting.
He will spot her, all splayed out, snoring little chubby-dog snores, and sometimes twitching her paws in pursuit of giant dream squirrels.
He will grin wildly, hop from foot to foot, then race over to her chanting "deee yeee dee yeee dee yeee".
He will stop right next to her and very gently poke her in the tummy, then wait for the kissies. The first time he did it Dilly startled about a foot off of the couch. Now she heaves a huge sigh and gives him the kissies he is after then moves away to find a less baby prone spot to nap.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Works...

I refuse to weigh in on the whole stay-at-home parent versus go-out-to-work debate. When I say "debate" I mean the scary, politically polarized, vitriolic and mean-spirited brawl that surrounds the issue.
I firmly believe that what works best for you works best for your kid, that there really isn't necessarily a better option, there's only a better option for you.
See? No judgment here.

Which is why I'm so pissed off about what happened today,
As we got on the lift the mother of one of the other kids who lives in our building asked me if I was at home with Teddy. I barely had time to nod and didn't get the chance to add that I work from home before she ROLLED HER EYES and said,

"Oh, well good for you, I couldn't do it. I'd die of boredom."

I might be over-reacting here but I was pretty insulted (actually I wanted to punch her in the kidney). We have never even spoken before and I was blindsided by her backhanded snideness. Who says to a complete stranger, "Wow, so you must be really dull or no wait, maybe you're just stupid!?!"

Being a parent is the best unpaid, 24 hour-a-day, manual labour job I've ever had. I've been teeth-grindingly frustrated, infuriated, infatuated, moved to howling fits of tears, had moments of gut clenching terror, laughed my ass off and occasionally felt guilty and overwhelmed. But bored? Not so much.

I wish wish wish that I had sprung a scathing comeback, something like,
"Oh, so your kid is boring? Yeah that must suck".
"Well yeah, I guess it really depends on how good a parent you are "
Hell even,
"Bite me, bitch"
Would have been better than opening and closing my mouth then smiling over gritted teeth and feeling lousy.

I suspect we won't be making any play dates.

The image above is from here, and actually it's attached to a really interesting post.

Take A Memo

Who doesn't love post-its? Certainly not The Bear.

I probably should have stopped him from unsticking the post-it's one at a time and then firmly patting them onto the floor BUT... I am a person who really enjoys stationary (What? It's nice! I like the way it smells and how it has all that potential) and I don't think I've ever had this look of blissful satisfaction over any paper product. So I let him go crazy.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Counting The Hours

You know what's awesome about my sweetie? Pretty much everything. He is away until Friday and we miss him something fierce, so here's a list of just some of the stuff that we love about him.

He sometimes spends entire days singing a running commentary of everything we do in 80's power ballad style. In rhyme. AND he will interject lyrical editorials, mostly concerning poop. It is one of the funniest things in the world.

He carries a baby sock around with him, pretty much everywhere he goes. He started when The Bear had teeny weeny feets and the socks were about half the size they are now. If the bear keeps growing like he is My Sweetie will be hefting a size 16 sock around by the time the kid hits 4 years old.

He looks like this:
I would love him even if he wasn't mouth-dryingly, palm sweatily beautiful, but it sure doesn't hurt that he is. OR that he keeps getting better looking as he ages. Seriously, smiley crow's feet... YUM.

He makes me a better parent and a better person. I feel more capable and braver and kinder and funnier when he is around. I guess because he is all those things and he has enough of them to share.

Everything else about him, from his ability to make the worlds best sammiches to his funny hairy toes.

Sweetie, we miss you and can't wait for you to come home.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Speed of Sound

hIt took Teddy ages to get around to walking, he waited until he had it pretty much down before he let go of the table/chair/walker/trouser legs balancing aides.
Now he goes everywhere as fast as he possibly can. See?

The trouble is that his ability to stop is a little unpredictable.

In fact sometimes it appears that he uses his facial features as brakes. Which can mean that he looks like he's been doing a spot of CAGE FIGHTING.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Operation SSSH! - Mission Accomplished

YAY! I can finally let the kitty out o' the sack.
It was my sweetie's Birthday this Saturday. He turned a million and Saturday was his actual birthday birthday.
So I threw him a party. A surprise party. And he was ALMOST surprised. Which is good enough for me.

Firstly there were the invitations.
It turns out there is a reason graphic designers go to graphic designer school. Who knew? My amateurish effort...
And the wording said:
For anybody that cares, I used Picnik (the photo editing site) as I don't have any design software and I'm all with the lazy. The font is pupcat and the balloon I hacked from here.

So I made invites. Then spent the next month obsessing about the weather and the many ways that everything could go horribly wrong.
I also bought red stuff. Patterned red table clothes (of which I forgot to take any pictures), red cutlery that I did take pictures of...
red napkins (see above). Red side plates and red meat.
I spent the two days before cooking up a storm and stashed everything at my brother's house.
Figured out a way to get Andy to the island and me there first. So far, so The A team.

Saturday dawned all perfect weathery, I went into a panic-driven flat spin (this is totally what gave me away).

My lovely chum Britt rocked up to help with the logistics and the heavy lifting, which is a teensy bit ironical as one of the bags actually weighed more than her. We were running late and I was wigging out and making a squeeeeeeeee noise through my ears instead of doing anything productive, so Britt called a cab and hustled us down stairs.

We got to the ferry terminal. Now, if you're in the UK you might not know that this weekend was Labor Day weekend (they don't spell Labor with a U on account of how they're wrong wrong wrong). There was an air show on. The island is the perfect spot to watch said air show. The ferry terminal was busy. Very very busy. Assholes to elbows busy.
More squeeeing as I realised that WE would be lucky to make the 12.45 ferry (the one the guests were supposed to be on) but then it occurred that they were also likely to be late. So I relaxed a smidgen.

We got over, and went racing for the BBQ area that I had picked out 3 weeks before on one of my reconnaissance missions. To find a group of roughly 35 people already ensconced. "NOOOOOOOO"
I didn't like my chances against all 35 of them and while I would totally back Britt in a brawl, Elliot is more of a skater than a fighter these days. So Britt went racing over to the contingency spot and she stood guarding it while we hefted the stuff over. Sterling work she did too, seeing off a group of invaders with nothing more than stern looks (and possibly a little muscle flexing).

Next I did some more flapping and Britt blew up the balloons that would theoretically lead our guests to the meaty fun times. Then she raced off and distributed them liberally. I did a bit of clucking and tweeting and moving things around pointlessly. Then Britt hung up the rest of the decorations. She really did an awesome job and I would probably still be there, crying softly, without her help. And she wore the most gorgeous dress ever. Fact. See:

We got mostly set up. Folks arrived, I changed into something that wasn't literally dripping with my own sweat, had a bellini and waited for my man.
Who arrived via the cunning and subterfuge of our chums Ian and Kate.
All was well.
My Sweetie says he had his best birthday ever. Meat was cooked and eaten, pooches were played with. My dog ran the length of the island to find us (that's a whole different story).
The bear ate his own substantial body weight in ribs and other meats. Much champagne was quaffed. Good times were had.
And the pictures?
That's were it all falls to pieces...
I did take this one of my three favorite creatures, and it does pretty nicely sum up the kind of day it was...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

No Sleep Til - Brooklyn

The Bear is switching to a one nap schedule; which seems crazy to me. A morning where you get up, have a spot of breakfast, play with toys (or have snuggles with your sweetie), read a few stories (or the paper) then go back to sleep sounds like the BEST MORNING EVER to me. But apparently not to Teddy.

The thing about any new system is that you need to work the kinks out of it, and today has been all uh, 'kinked' up.

We went to a singing class at the Y (because it's fun to be judged by your peers), then we took the pooch for a walk before lunch, just like always. Off we set, Dilly and Mocha, Teddy and me, stomp stomp stomp to Allen Gardens (because you can never have too many awkward encounters with shouting drunks). Me keeping up a running commentary of all the things that Teddy points "WHaaaT?" at.

"Hey look, a truck, digger, ball, bird, streetcar, truck, bird...." conspicuous silence.
"Bear? Are you asleep?"
Blink blink blink.
So we turned tail, racing for home as Teddy's eyelids got heavier and heavier,
"you stay awake Bear, we have to feed you lunch"
Blink blink CLOSED. I gave his cart a little jiggle.
"Hey stay awake. Stay awake stay awake, just a few more minutes"
"BEAR. You stay awake, at least until we can change your pants"
blink. sigh. closed eyes. whuffle.

So, no. No to a clean dipe. No to lunch. Yes to whuffling sleepy noises. When we got home he didn't even twitch as I dragged him out of his cart, and popped him in bed. Out cold.
For all of 20 minutes, then he woke up starving and wet and pissed at the world (and still tired). Like I said, kinks.

Until we get it sorted I am going to be the brunette you see racing for home, cruelly jiggling my sleepy kid and yodeling "No Sleep. No Sleep... NO SLEEP TIL ..... BROOKLYN"
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