Friday, November 30


I'm sitting here, basking in the wild silence in my home, surrounded by things that need looking after and knowing that I am the one to do it, yet I sit.

My young son fought his nap today like a champ - he cried and pleaded and at one point he almost defeated his tired and silence-starved mother. It wasn't pretty, but it ended well with assurances of love from me. Sleep is so important and precious to people like us, people who have difficulty stopping themselves once they're going. I can see it in him and I, as mother, can take steps to ensure he gets the rest his mind and body need to recover and start again. What baffles me is my own inability to do the same for myself, to be my own mother and make the wild child inside take a break... so much to do and say and think. Only my youngest truly gets it - when she is tired or overwhelmed she just closes her eyes and sleeps, stirring only when something needs attending to - eating, diapering and socialising - otherwise she sleeps, or sits calmly and takes the world in. Oh, to have such peace.

Thursday, November 29

good enough is good enough

Simple, no? So is "done beats perfect every time" - yet these concepts are some of the most difficult I have ever tried to imbibe. In grade school I would often get an incomplete rather than hand in a less-than-flawless project. It happened a LOT.

I am adopting "good enough is good enough" as my new mantra in an attempt to hack through my perfection paralysis. So far so good - well, allowing myself to behave, clean, write, communicate imperfectly has been tough, taking on challenges where the outcome is absolutely unclear or unknown is really tough (so tough that I haven't really done more than dream about the scary things I want to think about planning to do), but it has only been a week and a half since I admitted my imperfection.

Man, this shit is really hard.

kids in glasses

trying out the new specs:

nice glasses, kid!

how to look cool while brushing your teeth:

this is how to look cool while brushing your teeth

rocking the brainy-kid look at science world:

fun with Oma at Science World

finding my voice

After Rigby's birth I complained to Andrew that I felt like I was losing my voice. I would open my mouth to speak and it would felt like I'd lost control of my vocal cords, it felt like those moments in a dream when you try to cry out or scream and nothing comes out - that moment when you suddenly realise that none of it is real and wake up.

I thought maybe I had a cold, though a very selective one that would only stop me from speaking when what I was saying wasn't me. Trying to cajole Sebastian using the concocted phases from one parenting book or another, or when I would try and tell someone everything was awesome. It was almost like my body had finally had enough of the bullshitting and was sending a message to my mind - be sincere or be quiet. The problem was my mind was so busy worrying and scripting that she was slow to catch on, the realisation came one moment when I, frustrated with all the steps it was taking just to get a thought vocalised decided to take a short-cut, open my mouth and let whatever was going to come out come out. It did, and loudly, the tenor of my own voice took me by surprise and I almost cried in shock and joy.

I'm taking tiny steps to reclaiming my voice - allowing myself to drop the multiple layers of verbal filtration when I'm at home, working towards doing it with other family and even the occasional stranger.

It is hardest with strangers and those are the moments when my fight or flight response comes roaring at me like an ocean wave. I get all sweaty and turn red and feel a bit like I am 16 again trying to buy cigarettes from the corner store, afraid of what being caught could mean (would they call my parents? The cops??). But in the two experiences I've endured this week, I stood my ground and did my very best to remind myself that the worst thing that could possibly happen is I might (unintentionally) offend someone whom I would likely never see again. It was so much harder than I can intellectually justify, which makes my pride about overcoming it also feel a bit unjustified, but I am so proud of myself - one for taking part in an important study on maternal care and two for taking care of my son's poor scalded tongue and telling the pissy, dismissive staff at my local coffee that their kid's steamed milk ought not be so freaking hot.

In other self-improvement news, I am swearing much less. I have nothing against swearing, but for me it was getting to be such a habit. The funniest thing is I did realise I'd stopped swearing until I did swear and it felt shocking. (Essentially, fuck is about the only swear I've stopped using, but it is also the one that peppered my speech the most).

Wednesday, November 28

letting go

I am feeling better - not all better, mind you, but much better.

Monday afternoon I drove my mom to the airport and returned to my ordinary life. Having her around has been incredible - have I mentioned that? And now that she's gone, I really miss her.

Yesterday was a great day - one of those days that make me wonder if I had blown this whole postpartum thing out of proportion. One of those days that I would have held up as proof that "everything is fine" before. Not everything went as planned, but the sun was shining and I was rolling with the punches like a pro.

Today was, in contrast, a day that seemed only to exist as a reminder that I still have a long, long way to go. From getting out of bed this morning to sitting down to eat or type, today was just harder. That voice of supermom, looking over my shoulder and telling me all the little things I should feel bad about was louder than my inner cheerleader. I managed to keep her quiet by doing a few things I wouldn't normally do, things like letting Sebastian play with water in the kitchen sink so I could have a few moments to rest. It seems so small and silly but I really had work hard to keep myself from trying to mop up every errant drop of water.

Cleaning is my vice, my crutch - I feel like life can only start once my house is clean. And like one day, if only I clean enough, I can stop and enjoy myself. Thankfully I am learning that there are lots of things I can do to keep my house tidy enough to not weigh on me so much, and that a little mess isn't the end of the world. I found myself frantically cleaning once again when Andrew took Sebastian to do laundry. I was cleaning because Andrew's parents are coming over in the morning to take Sebastian out, to give me a break. They're doing this to help me manage my overwhelm and here I am freaking out about looking like I have it all together. Happily, I caught myself before I'd spent my whole "break" working my ass off - and as a bonus I got a chance to giggle at myself before curling up with a book.

Sunday, November 25

perfection paralysis

My mom leaves tomorrow evening. I have gotten quite comfortable with having another person or two around to take care of things and am actually a little frightened to face life on my own again. But I also feel rested, competent and ready to get back to work.

I am really thankful my mother was here through this week, it has been a tougher than normal one, not only because of the obvious, but also because Sebastian got his first pair of glasses *and* needs to wear an eye-patch. Having an extra pair of hands to help pick up toys and do dishes and hold the baby has been really nice - but her biggest gift has been to remind me (constantly) how normal and wonderful Sebastian is. She has also been able to point out that him screaming his head off when it is time to take off his patch is a cry for attention more than anything else - she has given me the strength to let him howl and not think that it makes me a bad mother. She has watched him plot and play us - smart cookie that he is - and watched us do his bidding. She helped us remember that ours is a kid who craves structure and rules, even as his rails against them (just like his mama).

She also did all she could to whittle away at all my excuses for staying home - she bought me a really lovely jacket (actually a "3-in-1" jacket that is not only cute but also perfectly suited to life on the west coast) and a nice pair of waterproof boots (lusciously wool-lined and crazy-comfy). She accompanied us to the family centre and Science World - both were no-sweat and pretty easy to get to with just the tiniest bit of pre-planning. We even made it to Costco (and I decided that *that* was something I would never attempt alone with both kids).

Before she leaves we will have an easy meal plan and activity schedule down and have figured out ways for everyone to monitor me and keep me on track. We will also make a plan for breaks for everyone - Sebastian is going to start visiting his grandparents on the island regularly and I also know we have enough willing and lovely friends who would happily take Sebastian for a night or an afternoon to give us a break from each-other. This stuff won't make the underlying issues disappear, but will give me the time and space not to let my mind get so far away from me.

There's a bunch of other stuff I was going to write about (right... the perfection paralysis of the title) - but my mind has moved on to something else and I think I need to deal with that first. Oh, and I've gone through and posted a bunch of nearly finished entries from the last few months, they're all tagged unfinished, if you're curious.

Friday, November 23

ppa, ppd, ppocd and pppaxil

About time I updated, huh?

First I want to thank all of you for your kind words and encouragement. I love you all.

This has to be quick - I started this post many hours ago and it is now creeping up on 11 and I need me some sleep.

Life has been hectic this week and hopefully I won't miss anything:

~ We had a nice weekend, last weekend. Our amazing friends Brian and Shannon watched Boo at their place Friday and Saturday nights - we used the time to relax, do a little shopping, not cook, laze about the house, shop some more, watch movies, talk, cuddle and just chill.

~ There were many, many, many phone calls made and taken - I am so thankful to Big A for taking care of all of that (I still don't really feel like talking to anyone or answering the phone - but am working on it). Food was dropped off, arrangements were made to have my mom stay with us indefinitely, boxes of tissues were used up, disposable diapers were purchased and at the end of it all we picked up our son (whom we missed terribly) and drove up towards Whistler in search of snow (and a nap).

~ Monday morning we all got up and out of bed early, Andrew helped get us out the door and on our way to the coffee shop where an hour and a half later we would be meeting my friend Heather who was on katy-sitting-duty. Luckily I love Heather and relish any excuse to drag her away from her busy life, after spilling two coffees and a steamed milk we walked back to our house where we all sat around and talked and played until shortly before 1:00. Heather needed to run off to see a client, but Andrew was home moments later. Then, just before dinnertime, my mom swooped in to take care of us.

~ Tuesday we had Sebastian's eye appointment. The doctor confirmed what we thought and we left with a prescription for glasses and instructions on eye-patching. We picked up the prescribed patches, but came up empty-handed in the glasses department. We were pretty certain Lenscrafters would give us the best deal, but the one we went to (Metrotown) had a rather pitiful selection of tiny frames. The guy helping us could have been less helpful - but it did strike me that he couldn't give a shit if we found glasses. This led to a much-too-long search for frames that ended abruptly when we, as a group, decided we could not take another moment of it. On our way out of the mall we stopped at please mum, where my mum bought her grandkids some holiday clothes, including a plush red bath robe for her grand-son that, except for the trio of cartoon animal appliques on the back, makes him look like a miniature Hugh Hefner.

~ Wednesday morning we tracked down a great set of frames at a different Lenscrafters and then rushed home to meet Andrew for my appointment. It went well, very well, the Doctor didn't necessarily tell me anything I wasn't expecting to hear. Though she did give me the impression I am being even more unrealistic than I thought and thinks that with the right combination of cognitive behaviour therapy and drugs - I will be a surprising new woman. She also, thankfully, is not under the impression that I pose a threat to myself or my children. This is excellent news to all of us. My mom needs to get back to work asap and my husband and I can't really afford for him to take time off (though we will make it work if it ever comes to that). With my mom helping out I have been able to see things more clearly than I was before. I can now see how important time for me is (and doing laundry while ignoring my screaming nearly-three year-old doesn't count any more). I am looking into some options, we are adjusting our diet and exercise, making (easy) weekly activity plans, and asking for help. Nothing is going to happen over night, and some days are bound to be hella-tough, but I am going to make it through and be alright!! Better than alright - I am going to go back to being "me"!!! She doesn't think I am depressed, per se, but instead that I am suffering anxiety with a touch of OCD.

There is more, including photos of my little nerd and tales from patch-dom, but for now I am staring at the screen without any actual focus and can think of nothing more lovely than laying my head on my pillow and closing my eyes.

Monday, November 19

reality sets in

I am sitting on my couch, baby asleep on my chest and laptop perched on my legs, watching my mom do my dishes and listening to my husband and son bathe in the bathroom, lists of the things I *should* be doing rolling through my head, final credit-style.

Today my husband got me out of bed early and together we all got out of the house by 7:30a - the kids and I walked to a neighbourhood coffee shop where we would be meeting our friend Heather at 9:00a. After spilling two coffees and a warm soy milk, we walked through the rain back to our house where we all hung out, played, read books and talked until she had to leave at 12:30p. At 12:45p, Andrew walked in the door - he put Sebastian down for a nap while I ran to a sandwich shop to get lunch. My mom showed up around 4:00p and will be keeping me company for as long as "necessary." You see, I am not allowed to be left alone or alone with the kids. This is my new reality and while I enjoy the constant company... it is weird to need a baby-sitter. I am in the strange position of not knowing whether or not I can trust myself - especially strange because I don't feel any different today than I did a week ago, but today I need a sitter.

It is all for the best, not only do I know this, but I truly appreciate everyone coming together non-judgmentally to help me in a time of need.

Saturday, November 17

obsess much?

Normally when something is afflicting a family member or friend I am the first to hit the internet to better understand. This time, I am making a conscious effort not to do too much research before my initial evaluation on Wednesday - I don't want to inadvertently taint my answers to better fit one mold or another.

That said, I needed to find out if maybe I was crazy (not an appropriate term, eh?) and I am not in fact, suffering PPD - I mean, I still laugh, still have moments of joy, it isn't like I can't function - my house (until yesterday) has stayed spotless, I make budgets and meal plans and pay bills (again, until yesterday - so I should take care of that), I may not be leaving the house much, but I make plans and when I do leave the house I am... okay... not great, I would rather be at home, away from people and their judging eyes - away from big trucks and their crushing wheels, away from constant reminders of how not together I have it (for example, my inability to follow driving directions and consistently get lost - once it was annoying, but funny, now it feels like a sign of my failures as a parent).

So I did a little researching, I knew anxiety was part of the problem - and lo and behold, the postpartum period can introduce all kinds of mood disorders, not just depression. So, armed now with the knowledge that when I go in an tell them that I do still have fun they won't send me off with a pat on the head. When I read the symptoms for OCD it was like a lightbulb went off, and when I told Andrew what I had done and what I thought and he rolled his eyes and then nodded knowingly - OCD would fit a lot of what I've been doing and thinking. We will see what comes of my meeting on Wednesday, but it is just nice knowing that I can be briefly happy and still sick (not actually being sick, being a hypochondriac, is a bit of a phobia of mine).

Friday, November 16

the other shoe

I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop for ages, I knew it was coming and my increasing anxiety of late let me know it would be soon.Every time the phone rang I would practically jump out of my skin - not only was I afraid of what might be on the other end, but I also worried that if I did pick up the phone, would I be able to sound human and, most importantly, like I had my shit together?

I'd hate to worry anyone.

Turns out all that concern was pointless - I was the other shoe this time. I lost it today on my son, my son who I have had a very hard time liking lately, my son who so perfectly pushes my buttons and whose incessant chatter was like a recording of nails on chalkboard playing continuously.

Our problems are many and too much for me to handle on my own, despite whatever effort I put in. I am relieved to be getting help. I look forward to having my brain work again. I look forward to having someone to talk to about my issues and my family's issues who can help us manage them. Like a modern guardian angel of sorts. And I am willing,once my initial scary-as-all-hell symptoms are under control, to take the time to find someone I mesh with, someone I trust completely and who is able to see past my very thick and competent facade.

Part of me wishes I had asked for help when I first began to see the signs of depression... I wish I had spared my son, especially, from my anxiety, anger and sadness. I hope that the help I get helps me be the mom he needs me to be and soon. I miss our connection - I miss our love (the same could be said of all my current relationships)...

My God, I am so glad for the support of my friends and family. And part of me is still amazed that these friends have stuck by me through my assholian period and through this and then when I asked for help they have practically lined up (okay, we only asked a few people for help - but every single one has come through).

Now - if only I could make myself sleep...

my demons

So today I fessed up to being depressed.

It wasn't easy, I am so awesome at denial that I almost had myself convinced, but I had a sudden realisation - I could not keep living like this. My options were few and I knew that if I didn't get what was going through my head to another person right away, I was afraid I would lose my strength and go back into my well-constructed illusion. And if that happened, I wasn't quite sure I could trust myself not to do something regrettable.

Andrew came home immediately, calling my midwife on the way. She listened while I cried and cried and cried, she asked me some questions and declared me enough of a risk to myself and my children that once again I am not allowed to be left alone. I think she and everyone else might expect me to resent that, and I very well may in time, but I appreciate it. I am super-hella-worried about what it all means, and not at all comfortable asking so very many people for help. But, the low-down is my mother is flying in on Monday - Sebastian is staying with his Auntie Shannon all weekend and has a playdate with our friend Heather on Monday morning. And I suddenly feel much less overwhelmed.

If I hadn't asked for help, or if I had reached out to Andrew - but not let it go further, I would likely still be feeling a sense of relief, I might even think that everything really would be okay, but it wouldn't and I would go right back into my anxiety-fuelled cycle. This time, for the first time, I feel like *woah* there might be a real light at the end of all of this. I might go back to being me...

Gosh, I wonder if I will recognize myself if that happens. I hope I do, I have a feeling that I am a really cool person (I have made such awesome friends over the years - so I have that to go on).

Wednesday, November 14

what do you mean it isn't friday???**

I am beat.

Seriously, in what kind of cruel world do I get slammed with a cold so soon after bringing new life into this world? I only hope that my diet of coffee and cookie dough will be sufficient to slay this beast, and soon.

I know I've been whining a lot - I have actually been avoiding posting on here for fear of sounding whiny, negative, ungrateful or depressed and annoying or worrying my friends and family who don't see me every day. Not that the people who do see me every day are any less worried - I admit I am a bit of a sight with my unkempt hair (dudes, it is fall in Vancouver and I have frizzy hair and *no time* for styling, this mop-like-thing on my head is just what happens, trust me I don't like it any more than you do. At least it proves I am showering!!), my dirty, ratty, mismatched clothes (Rigby is a master-spitter, this afternoon, in fact, after my shower, I decided to go naked for a while - to save creating more laundry) my under-eye bags (nope, not sleeping - quel shock, non?) and my gnarly cold symptoms that include a nasty cold sore, runny nose, strange voice and lack of patience (I am not good at being sick, which is why I generally avoid it). And I complain, a lot... it is a wonder no one has staged an intervention (yet) - but rest assured, I am pretty certain I am not falling into the depths of postpartum depression and am, instead, reacting pretty typically to the stresses in my life.

I wrote a little bit ago about wanting to find things to work on - the first has been to get organised again. There was a brief point in time, most of 2006 and a little bit of 2007, where I was almost meticulously organised, at least on paper, and if imperfect, the system did ensure I payed my bills mostly on time and that Sebastian and I had a pretty regular schedule that worked well for us. Then it fell apart, I was pregnant, we were really broke, there was nothing to do because of the civil strike, I was all-consumed by the act of parenting one child while growing another, I lost my desire to cook (or eat the foods I had cooked)... it fell apart. This last week or so has been spent trying to figure out, through a haze of insomnia, how to get back on track. I have found new love for iCal, preferring it to Google Calendar simply because my laptop and phone can sync with the click of an icon and my schedule is always at my fingertips. I had also grown immune to the handy reminders Google would send me via SMS, which was really the initial selling point. Anyways - I have been slowly inputting things of importance into my calendar, figuring out meal plans and budgets in the mean time - getting everything centralised and organised. And now that all the set-up is done it is time to move on to the next couple of goals.

Namely setting up a regular, weekly schedule for the family (with room for spontaneity, of course) and creating healthy and affordable meal plans*. I am trying not to over-fill our weeks, while still giving Sebastian the kind of stimulation that keeps him nice and sweet. It is a delicate balance, since a tidy portion of our recent outings have only served as fuel for my growing insanity (and his future therapy). We decided last week that the Library is a good morning errand - we have found a library we love, so of course it is in the next town over. And we're going to try out some of the community drop-ins, revisiting the ones we used to frequent and finding new ones. Last winter Sebastian and I really thrived when we had three regular, consistent, morning activities and two "days off." He got to go out and be around other kids and I got to talk to other adults. It left us both feeling fresh and able to manage the rest of our days.

So I am working on a schedule

*a side note that I may have already mentioned - we have gone back to having our groceries delivered - it costs more, but given my general state of overwhelmedness it seemed like a good idea in the short-term.

**I wrote this very shortly before admitting I was, in fact, having heaps of trouble managing and could not do it on my own. I debated scrapping the post, or finishing it and posting it - but given how much has happened between then and now I decided to leave it unfinished, exactly as it was left last week, a testament to how hard I was trying to maintain my denial and delicate facade of competence.

Sunday, November 11

i guess this is growing up

Andrew and I had a big talk tonight, we've both been feeling pretty blah. Not happy, not depressed, just blah. We're understandably tired, we're understandably worn out, we've got a ton on our plates and have barely been there for one another all week.

I am convinced I know the cause - I am pretty sure that we have entered that vicious consumption/laziness/depression cycle, I saw it coming miles away - we started eating take-out almost exclusively near the end of my pregnancy, and since we're usually broke and had things we *had* to spend money on, take-out usually came in a bag (or two) imprinted with the letter so quintessentially "fast food." As soon as that yellow letter comes back into our lives we begin reverting in all kinds of ways. We overspend (our rent was late two months in a row), we get all lazy with our parenting, we stop maintaining the house - leading to necessary cleaning binges, we retreat socially, we discuss taking up smoking again (so far, so good), we stop talking and instead begin assuming we know what the other is thinking (and usually resent them for whatever that is)... we get all mopey and morose and totally unmotivated, which leads to more fast food meals and the cycle begins again.

Andrew proposed that the smoking, lazy, fast-food eating, overspending us is us in our natural state - his reasoning being that we always revert to being "that" couple when things get tough, plus we have been those people for so long. I countered with the idea that we are simply people who take the path of least resistance when facing a tough challenge - I think that most people in our society are the same way, so not even trying in the first place. I contend that our true nature is to attempt to grow and learn and evolve because those times when we are truly happy - times when we feel good about ourselves, our lives, our world - are also the times when we are making a conscious effort to live well. He conceded that I did have a point, which I am taking to mean he is on board with my plans to get things back on track.

I have not completed my big list - but I have been whittling away at the little one (which is also very big) and have come up with a few things to work on now. I fixed our budget and as long as we can curb our frivolous spending, we should easily have enough money for a modest, but lovely, Christmas, as well as some modest, but lovely, birth announcements. I also made a judgement call I have been mulling over for a few months - I decided that the convenience of having all of our groceries delivered to our door weekly by far outweighed the premium prices we will now pay for, admittedly fantastic, organic produce and natural foods. It is an added cost that isn't easy to take on paper, but in practice - with two kids and a fried brain - it is worth every cent! Plus we're already blowing our budget every week with all the fast food.

So, our conversation evolved into a discussion of all the things going on currently, we're still having a hard time parenting Sebastian, plus we're working on how to make life work as a family of four - managing every one's needs and expectations, and I am trying very hard to remember how to talk to other human beings - especially my very patient and much abused husband.

Saturday, November 10

I *heart* bellen

This is the Bellen! that ran on the day Rigby was born. A case of reader projecting her own meaning? For sure! A fitting and lovely tribute to the adventure we're undertaking?? You bet!!

so guess who *didn't* sleep in?

Or wake up to coffee?


Not that I am complaining (much), it is just how things rolled this morning.

Sebastian has not been sleeping well, none of us have, actually - I have been suffering pretty bad insomnia. I can't even blame the babe, who sleeps like a champ most nights, no, this is all me. Subconsciously I think I am trying to make up for all the time I spend each day in the company of small children. I have been watching way too much "TV"- we blew through season three of Arrested Development this week and then last night watched Little Miss Sunshine (cute, but overrated) and The Pick of Destiny. I then stayed up even longer trying to wake Rigby up to nurse (yeah, yeah, but I was hoping I could avoid her waking me up just as I was ready to pass out - it didn't work) meanwhile reading through the first part of Taming the Spirited Child (see sidebar). Just as my eyelids began to stop functioning, Rigby farted and woke herself up and Sebastian wandered in and asked for a new diaper. Andrew woke up and helped me out considerably, we got both kids in new diapers and I then passed out with babe at the boob. I slept a few hours, nursed, slept a little more, and woke up in a pretty foul mood.

Seems we all did, so we scrapped our first three plans and Andrew took Sebastian downtown to wander around his work and then along the sea-wall. I was ordered to go to the coffee shop (so I could keep reading my book) but as my head cleared I realised that if I went out and came home to the same disaster of a home I would likely lose it (again). So while they were out I cleaned, and cleaned and cleaned. I also made lunch - but neglected to ensure it was simmering on low and not just keeping warm on low and the rice did not cook in time. Instead we had some hard-boiled eggs and will eat the beans and rice for dinner (I just realised I forgot to add the spinach - I am going to go do that right now and stick it in the oven to heat up - perfect opportunity to refill my coffee, too). So, since writing that an hour has passed, my house is full and loud and likely getting messy again, but I am alright with that. Really.

I've also lost my train of thought.

Friday, November 9

another week, another facelift

I *heart* Friday. Because on Friday night I get to stay up late knowing that someone else can spend the first few hours with Super Boo while I lay in bed with Baby Rigs, drinking coffee (note to Andrew, we need cream - IGA will be open before I'm awake, I'm sure), eating breakfast foods and reading. It won't be long before my dear and wonderful husband stops thinking of me as "that amazing woman who birthed my two wonderful children," and instead sees me as "that lazy cow who stays in bed all weekend." With that in mind I am going to enjoy the last bits of his goodwill. I am starting to get sick of my laziness (and its associated lack of productiveness) - I am going to miss staying up late watching movies and reading blogs though.

As for the recent changes, I really like this layout and while searching for a new layout and experimenting with various free templates I learned some new HTML tricks. I even helped Andrew make his new template work. I rock! I added a "books I'm reading" widget and am re-vamping my links list, I can't remember all the bits I lost in the many (MANY) template switch overs - but it is kind of nice, starting over from scratch.

I also dyed my hair - it is now deep brown and sex-a-licious. Now if only I had a) any desire to have sex and b) a matching sexy haircut, though I would settle for a bang trim.

these things matter

I have been bumping around my life lately, coming up with good ideas and big plans and letting them slide away. This year I considered ways to grow intellectually and shrink consumeristically, I came up with grand schemes and great plans, I grew as a wife and mother, I floundered as a wife and mother, and in the end - I feel like I have returned to the beginning.

I tried to do too much, take on too much, be my image of supermom too much, and here I lie - zitty from the junk food and sleepless from the sugar and caffeine, my darling daughter sleeping in innocence beside me, ignorant to the ways I have failed myself and therefore failed her.

I am not being too hard on myself, though I can see how it sounds like I am - I am done with the guilt over the things I wish I'd done differently, guilt being the most useless of emotions (is it even considered an emotion??). Useless unless it is used as a catalyst for change and that's where I find myself now. The changes I want to implement are many, the same many changes I have tried and failed to implement before - so what do I do? I figure out which basic changes are important and I focus on those.

While I was waiting for Rigby I had lots of time on my hands - I also had a long-ass list of things to do. A list so long and overwhelming that I would look at it and decide to sit and read blogs for two hours instead of attempting to tackle it. It got to a point, though, where there were items on the list too important to keep shoving aside - so I re-wrote the list. I had two headings: Urgent and Important (there was a third, something like "not that important" but I had a hard enough time not putting everything under the urgent heading - the third list ended up staying empty and eventually was dropped altogether). I then picked four items from the list to do the first day, I wrote them down on another slip of paper and then put the master to-do-list somewhere I would not stumble upon it and be tempted to try to do too much. Four seems to be the magic number - less than four and I feel rather unaccomplished at the end and try to add three more things to do and feel like a failure when they don't get done. Five things are too much and I lose sleep (or shower time) trying to get it all done. Four things fill the empty bits of the day nicely.

Rigby's arrival put a bit of a wrench in the perfect machine that was my to-do list, but I think I can get my groove back (maybe I need to try three items again). It also got too tempting to add little things to the list, like "make dinner" - something I do need to do anyways, but by adding it to the list I was making the list *look* overwhelming.

But I have veered away from my intended subject... I want to make a LIFE to-do-list. Not one of those 50 things to do before I'm 50 lists, instead it will be a list of ways I want to live - things that are important to me and then pick the top two-three things to work on right now. Once those are a part of my daily life I move on to the next two, until the who that I am matches more closely with the who I want to be. This is, of course, an ongoing project - since that is all life really is, isn't it?

I thought I could sit down and come up with the list - I thought it would be easy (I am a natural list-maker) - but now that I have intellectualised the process the way I have, I think I need to, at the very least, make a spreadsheet.

Thursday, November 8

okay - I am just fucking exhausted

I have this "do it all" attitude - I feel like a failure because since my ill-fated tuna pie (that did become pretty yummy tuna stew) I have not coked anything more involved than a grilled cheese sandwich and organic spaghetti-o's. My excuse is not a lack of food - I managed on Monday to complete a rather successful trip to the grocery store. I had a meal-plan. I had it all together... and yet...

Andrew and Sebastian just walked in the door with chicken from a chain (not KFC, but not much better).

Wednesday, November 7

cook, eat, play, clean, cook, eat, clean, cook, eat, sleep, repeat

Today we ventured out of the house. Originally the plan had been to visit the family centre - but by the time we were ready to walk out the door it was almost snack time. I convinced Sebastian that a trip to the coffee shop and park could be just as exciting. The promise of a blueberry bran muffin tipped the scales.

Sebastian jumped into each and every puddle we came across, and it is fall in Vancouver, so you know there are plenty. I didn't mind at all, he was snug in his new rain outfit and I had a stash of towels in the stroller, just in case. Rigby enjoyed her first walk... well, I assume she did, she spent most of the trip asleep in her stroller bubble and didn't make a fuss until we left the park. The coffee shop was a big hit - and despite the rain we were able to sit outside quite comfortably (lucky, since the cafe was packed to the hilt and I had ordered my coffee and our muffin to stay). We chatted abut the things we saw - I explained that pigeons were not welcome in coffee shops, Sebastian explained that dogs do not eat people (?). I'd hoped to sneak back home without the promised trip to the park - our very lovely walk to the coffee shop having taken about three times as long as I had thought it would. I have to remind myself often that he's not so little any more and remembers things. I didn't mind, really, I had dressed us all well and none of us were uncomfortable or crabby, yet. Once at the park Sebastian got over his disappointment that there were no other kids present when he made the thrilling discovery that his waterproof pants, combined with the plastic slide and rain made for a very exciting ride. He was also happy to have my (nearly) undivided attention for a while.

We were having a ball and ended up staying out just a wee bit too long, on the way back Sebastian decided he was not going to be able to walk the entire distance home and Rigby wailed for a good five blocks, it started to really rain as we walked home and I ended up briskly pushing the stroller as Sebastian rode my shoulders. I then hit a point, a block from home, where I didn't think I would make it. Luckily, Sebastian had gotten his second wind and was willing to complete the last leg of our journey under his own steam. We came home, tired, wet, hungry and more than a little crabby - but we'd had fun, and more than that, with the knowledge that we could do it.

And now, my husband just walked in the door with ice cream, dark chocolate, diet pepsi, bread, dip and wine (yeah baby) to make up for the three HOURS of laundry in our manual washer... I was feeling pretty pissy earlier - I'm now feeling much better (and the venomous thoughts about my husband have almost completely faded away... though the fart stink he just left a few feet away from me and the fact that I lost the original conclusion to this post because I had signed into his gmail by his request, giving blogger a brain-fart, have brought back a tiny bit of venom). Nothing a nice back rub wouldn't fix.

I have some relevant photos to post - but because I am too lazy to find both my camera and camera cord - I will leave you with the *promise* of photos to come.

for british eyes only

okay, seriously, Arrested Development is the best TV show ever made.

We finally got our hands on season three - I am so happy.

In other news, I have a pile of unfinished blog entries from the last few weeks that I am hoping to finish and publish right away... I mention this because if you read me via a feed it could be a little confusing.

Tuesday, November 6

so this is my life now...

Day two by myself with my two children (that still feels odd to say, man) has passed without serious incident (as in, we are all alive and still speaking to one another). Sebastian is jealous and bored, Rigby is plump and sleeps a lot... I went through a whole half-pot of coffee before drinking half a cup, (and then as I wrote that I made a smoking mess of dinner*).

I am thankful that for this first bit, life with two is only slightly different than life as a very pregnant woman with one. I think if things were much more difficult than they are now - I would run away and never look back. Seriously.

But still, there is absolutely no denying that things are getting better. We have all come a long way in just two weeks - Sebastian went from being so upset by his little sister's crying that on day three he actually vomited, to either comforting or ignoring her. He has also hopped enthusiastically on the potty-learning bandwagon and has fallen asleep on his own for his last two afternoon naps!! After a bit of a lull once I was back on my feet, Andrew has jumped back into his role as domestic daddy. The level of domestic balance he and I are currently sharing is something I hear few families experience... I still handle most of the running of the house, it is, after all, my "job" - but in the time we are both at home, the work is split almost evenly (and I think he actually does more than I do in that time - but don't tell him that). I am growing more confident that I will be able to pull this off - I keep having these moments where I realise that I am in this for the long haul and it scares the shit out of me, but when it hits me I am finding myself doubting my ability to handle that reality less and less. And Rigby? Rigby now weighs a whopping 9 pounds, 14 ounces and is busting out of her newborn clothes (thank goodness for Joelle, who lent me a giant bag of baby clothes - because of her I am not facing retiring a whole bunch of unworn stuff), she also smiles already and tonight, I swear, she tried to laugh.

Life is good - my husband and daughter lay sleeping next to me. My son is asleep in his own bed. And I am here - writing this instead of responding to the piles and piles of wonderful messages people have been sending since Rigby's birth.

*dinner turned out okay - I was making a tuna pie (with yams, potatoes, onion, broccoli, parmesan and, of course, tuna**), the crust burned horribly, but the insides made a half-decent tuna "stew."

**yeah... we're not vegetarians right now. I started eating a little meat while I was pregnant, and then when I was at my mom's... well, she is such a great cook and I was 8 months pregnant... and then it just spiralled out of control and here we are, still not eating much meat (and even less now that I am cooking again), but eating meat. I think we'll revisit vegetarianism soon - but for now this is just easier.

Saturday, November 3

baby steps

Our family is now "complete," Andrew and I are finished procreating and are truly comfortable with that (please save me the "oh just you wait"s).

So now we're faced with the task of finding some measure of balance after months of backtracking. Between the time I got pregnant (January) and Rigby's birth (last week) we went from doing pretty well (vegetarian, local/organic foods, very few processed foods, little trash, etc.) We were pretty new to being so conscious, only two year before we had been living the typical consumer lifestyle, filling our home, body and brains with junk. Sure we had already started cutting back - hippifying, as it were - but, for example, while I was pregnant with Sebastian I lived on Taco Bell, slurpees and penny candy. We lived off our debt, even though we both had decent jobs - we couldn't make it from pay day to pay day without borrowing from ourselves.

Since then we have managed to make some great strides towards economic and ecologic responsibility. We've had our share of slip-ups - but none as complete as the slips we have taken in the last months of my pregnancy.

So now it is on us to turn things back around - and quick, too. I'm not thinking a difficult or daunting total overhaul, rather there are a few very small, but very changing steps to be taken. And I feel that now is the best time to implement changes - while already adjusting to a different life and before the stress and pressure of Christmas hit.