Friday, January 25

stepping back

You might have noticed that I haven't been around much... you might not have. But since the holiday I have not been writing much. I am working through all my emotional "stuff" as well as being this mom/wife creature. There is a lot of catching up to do, things I started and really want to follow-through and finish (like last year's taxes, a commissioned piece and something to be mailed) and I can not shake this feeling that the internets are eating my time and my mind.

It isn't just that, though, I'm also at a point where I need to reduce my life to the necessary and valuable. I am tearing away the clutter, both material and figurative, and for this I need some time. There are projects to be finished or abandoned, relationships to cultivate, time to manage.

I hope this blog is something I come back to, and soon. But for now I am backing off and re-evaluating pretty much everything.

Much love to all my friends. You can always email me: idylliaATgmailDOTcom.

Friday, January 18

I am mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted.

Sebastian has resumed his toilet training. We're optimistic that this time we'll have what it takes to push through and get it done. Well, I'm sort-of optimistic. I've been feeling so lazy about this whole process, I guess I just hoped it would just happen, like so many other developmental milestones have. But he is pretty attached to his diaper and I am pretty tired of all the poopy laundry. Plus there's preschool to think about. I really, really REALLY want him to start going to preschool soon.

I made him a chart for the fridge, bought sparkly Thomas the Tank stickers and we're off. He is currently roaming the house naked and earned his first sticker 20 minutes ago.

potty chart

It may *sound* like we're off to a great start, but I am feeling so impatient and bitchy that I have a feeling I am undoing all the good that's been done.

Saturday, January 12

rolling, rolling, rolling

I've been up and down and up and down lately. It sounds like a lot more fun than it actually is.

I am one of those unlucky few breastfeeding mothers who doesn't get a post-partum break from periods, nor did it help me lose any weight last time around. Jury's still out this time around, but it isn't looking great. So last week was punctuated by an intense bout of PMS. Plus our favourite family hang-out was still closed for renos, AND we were in post-holiday recovery mode. I am surprised we made it through the week relatively unscathed. I managed to lose it on both my son and my husband - all the while a voice screaming in my head that "my anxiety is creating exactly the situations I am trying to avoid. Stop it!"

I think that means I'm growing.

I have been having wonderful conversations with people. Wonderful, helpful, engaging, interesting and enlightening. I've been giving myself permission to run off and spend time with friends and family without my kids in tow (or without both kids) - I am fraught with feelings of guilt over abandoning them, but its weight is slowing me down less every time I walk out the door.

Today I left my kids and husband at home and enjoyed a lunch and shopping trip with my friend Shannon. She and I are crazy-similar, so our meetings are always full of drama, soap-boxing, challenges and lots and lots of laughter. We went shopping after lunch and I found a couple more things to send off to my very patient swap partner. I feel so bad about missing the date that I really want this package to rock her socks. Plus I'm hoping to take her up on an offer to stay a night when I go on my journey to Portland.

That's right, this girl (and her little girl) are going on a road-trip in April to see Elizabeth Gilbert in Portland. We're driving straight there, then we have three days to wander home. This is a totally indulgent trip, I hope it will allow me some time to connect with myself and experience something outside of normal. My husband and father are supporting me financially (Dad), physically (Andrew) and emotionally, and without that support this would not happen. I've been sitting on the idea for a few days, letting it sink in, and while some anxiety has creeped up over it, it has only barely dulled the excitement (perhaps to a more realistic point) and I still want to go and I still want to go alone. I've begun telling people about it. Strangers, mostly. The guy at the bookstore who mentioned her coming to Vancouver (it was sold out) and got the ball rolling, the waitress who commented on the book (which I had just gifted to my friend Shannon - purchased used from said bookstore), you...

In other news, I had my first CBT session yesterday. It was great. I like my therapist and the fact that I was able to find a sitter for Sebastian. I came away from our initial meeting with a couple of small goals, a little more insight into my thinking, and a lot of resources. I see her again in two weeks, she thinks she can get me some extra sessions (I'd normally get 5-8) if I agree to be filmed for a provincial training program (she said I'd be "great" for it - I am choosing to take that to mean she thinks I am personable and eloquent (chatty) and not that I am so nuts I'd make a great case study). I'll also start group therapy soon - as long as I can get 8 weeks of mid-day childcare... I do think it is possible.

Hang on - I just remembered I want to put another coat of paint on Sebastian's closet doors while he's out.

We are now once more coat of yellow and two coats of blue and brown away from having his room finished. This has been one long, drawn-out project, which we will likely continue to change and tweak (glowing stars, anyone? little flowers? woodland creatures?) - but it is nearly done. His room is now home to a four-wall mural depicting a nice Dick Bruna-esque outdoor scene. It makes me think of the line from Where the Wild Things Are where "his ceiling hung with vines, and the walls became the world all around." I'll post photos when it is done *and* we have a decently sunny day.

Wednesday, January 9

catching up, clearing out

I've been on a cleaning and culling rampage. I've been ruthless in my drive to clear our tiny apartment of unnecessary clutter, ridding my life of those mountains of miscellany that threaten to drown us.

Case in point, we haven't filed our '06 taxes yet. I didn't even realise it until our mid-month child tax benefit money stopped showing up in our bank account. Yeah, this is just one of the reasons I laugh when people accuse me of being really organised. Anal? Yes. Organised? No.

It was a process to get our information updated with various government agencies, but one I am glad we finally got done. In all of our moving about we'd downright confused pretty much everyone to the point where *we* stopped being able to recall our own post code, phone numbers and address. Next time we move (fingers crossed, it will be a good couple of years) we will remember to take care of all that crap right off the bat. Not that I adore everyone we owe money to knowing how to find us, but it is better than not knowing we have a problem because no one has been able to reach us. I discovered, in the process, that one of my student loans is nearly paid off! Score!

Another window into my utter lack of organisational skills is the delay between my daughter's birth and the mailing of her registration of birth. I rock. Oh and there's the gift swap I totally flaked on that I am now scrambling to finish and send off (it'll be extra-special, because I feel like an ass, plus my swapee is an awesome woman who deserves a super special gift).

To make me feel even assier, and also wonderful and loved, I received a gift from my partner this morning. A gorgeous set of bug-themed wine-glass charms, inspired by my ladybug visit the day before Rigby was born, with a wish for "many more lovely encounters with harmless bugs." Also in the package was a great hair-tie, a egg-shaped shaker from her daughter to Sebastian, a very nice card and two really neat magnets made from peel&stick magnet paper and found images. She even threw in some blank magnets for me to play with!! I'll be saving them for something inspired.

Ahhh - my mama-sense was tingling and I made it to the bedroom what I can only assume was moments before my son made another attempt at putting on makeup*. He found my box of crap from last year's misguided decision to become a Mary-Kay consultant (oh, I shit you not) and was playing with a sample card. The box will likely be gone by the weekend as I get it and everything else posted free and cheap on craigslist. Someone is coming by on Friday to take the most annoying set of toys** that has ever lived in our house. Well, maybe not *the* most annoying, there was that singing bunny:

But anyways, the cleaning. It is making me mad, driving me absolutely batty, keeping me up at night (a little). Last night I was writing a list and at the bottom added the lines: "I should be sleeping, but here I am, up making lists," and "Stop thinking things through to their improbable conclusions." The first one is obvious, the second not so much. It came after I again had a fantasy of fame and fortune as a result of pluck and serendipity. I get those a lot. I go just as far with bad things, envisioning my son as a burly biker, starting fights for kicks when he does something like today's stand-off over the climbing toy in the mall play-pit.

*The first attempt was last week, shortly before heading out with friends for the morning, when he dug into my brand new waterproof mascara and got it all over his face. Later, we discovered he'd actually managed to put it in the right place too - with his glasses on we couldn't tell, but when they came off for the night, sure enough his eye lashes were clumped with the stuff. Frankly I'm proud of him, putting mascara on properly is hard, and from the smudges on his frames, he didn't even remove his glasses to do it. I keep my mascara and most makeup up high now.

**Don't click this unless you hate me already.

Tuesday, January 1

douze - non défini

Why do I feel compelled to start the year off with a list of things I don't like about myself and want to change?* It feels like a duty of the adult - the kid in me thinks it is simply absurd. I am going to borrow an idea from some women wiser than me and make mine a list of things I am and things I aspire to be. I don't know if that changes anything at all, but it might.

1) I love myself.
2) I care deeply about my impact on the environment and do things to lessen it. I walk when I can, I reuse, I recycle, I bring my own bags to the shops and I compost.
3) I am a calm and patient person. I am compassionate and empathetic.
4) I am a writer. I practice writing daily so that I can grow up to be a good writer.
5) I make clothes for my kids and what I can't or don't make I get second-hand.
6) I am funky, I have funky kids, but I'm not worried about being trendy or cool.
7) I spend my downtime working on worthwhile endeavors. I rarely flit about the internet aimlessly. I sew and knit and read.
8) I am frugal, I save money by shopping in thrift stores and by owning less stuff. I shop responsibly and limit waste. I put the money I save to good use by paying down our debts. One day we will be debt-free.
9) I buy organic food. I rarely buy meat, but the meats I do buy are either organic (beef, chicken, etc) or wild (salmon). I always buy organic eggs and milk.
10) I am humble and seek out wisdom and knowledge. I meditate and do yoga.
11) I am organised enough to keep on top of the necessary and manage to have some kind of social life. I rarely lose my keys. My house is tidy. My bathroom is clean.
12) I can read and understand simple French.

That's it. I could likely go on (and on and on). Some of the list is stuff I already do/am but want to keep consciously working on. Some of it is stuff that I imagine would make me a better person, or happier and more complete. I have no time for resolutions that weigh me down (like the one that says I want to lose weight), so they're gone this year.

*last year's list hit about 45 and could have kept going