Wednesday, February 20

trying not to push my luck

Things have been pretty freaking awesome around here lately. I have a buncha stuff to do, heaps, in fact. Important things like making sure we can pay our car insurance (this may be a problem) and making sure our kids have medical coverage. I am slightly annoyed because I a) didn't think the insurance thing would be an issue because I thought the government knew we had two kids now and was giving us 2x our whopping universal child cafe benefit (no dice?) and b) because Andrew and I each dropped a ball getting rigby's MSP (provincial medicare) forms filled out and sent. He forgot to include a form and I forgot to fill out a section. I'm pulling my hair out trying to remember if we signed our taxes before I so smugly mailed them off a couple of weeks ago.

But all that aside, things have been cool. My family has remained pretty well-fed (with a few understandable, but expensive, slips), we've been getting in an appropriate amount of social encounters, we've been pretty harmonious in the home and my son is on the brink of being fully toilet-literate. Today he pooped on the pot all by himself. It was amazing. He's also re-gaining some nap-time independence, the last week I've been able to put him down in his room and leave him to fall asleep on his own. I've told him that he can choose not to nap, but the consequence of not taking his nap is that his collection of matchbox cars (and trucks and big-rig) will be taken away for two days. This is a common consequence, having a toy taken away for two days, and it seems to work well for us. It gives him an idea of choice and consequence, while giving him a consequence he can grasp, since "you'll be crabby and mom might go crazy by 4" wasn't all that motivating. He thinks I'm funny when I get flustered.

I was doing rewards for a while, but it got to a point where he would just choose to forgo the reward in exchange for funtime with crazy mom (often a few hours of dvds/books/toy tossing and snacks). It was hell. So, the consequence - I really hope it works because neither of us is ready for him to give up his nap.

Monday, February 18


Morning poem #1 by the beautiful and talented Amanda of this always opens to the story within and prettyfnmess.

cold coffee day

The sun is shining, the crows are chattering, my children are resting, but not sleeping, and I have just sat down for the third time today.

Time one, I poured my coffee, made my breakfast, sat down and found myself scarfing my granola and banana and running off to tend to a screaming Miss R.

The second time I sat was for lunch, noodles and "asian" sauce from a packet, helped by the addition of chickpeas, peanut butter, braggs and (for me) hot sauce. I dumped out my breakfast coffee and poured myself a cup for lunch. I made it most of the way through lunch and drank 1/3 of my coffee before we were off and running again.

Now, I sit with my third cup of coffee. Tepid the moment I added milk, the pot is 4+ hours old, after all, and now it is a matter of drinking it to get me through until 5:00 and not the joy of drinking coffee... sigh, I really love a good cup of coffee.

And, now to check and see if the man-child is sleeping yet (I have imposed consequences for not napping, he'll lose his collection of die-cast cars and his big-rig if he chooses to stay up and play today), and nurse the smallest Forsyth.

Friday, February 15

my wee baby

She just rolled over (the first time I've witnessed it, but it has happened in my absence once before) and let out the biggest, burliest burp. Followed by a series of farts.

I love babies!!

mommy's alright, daddy's alright

they just seem a little weird.

What's been keeping me going this week:
- the soundtrack to Juno
- Paul Simon

- Scrubs, Seasons 1&2 (again)
- kids who nap at the same time (not happening today, which is why I am hiding in my room thinking of things to be grateful for)
- Cheap Trick running through my head
- other people's blogs, since I've been too lazy to update my own
- spending the money that was sitting in my paypal account on some patterns by Hillary Lang (of wee wonderfuls fame) and a subscription to sure nail & fire (Kelly Hogaboom's zine)

am I a writer?

small boy asks sleepily, "What are you doing Mama?"
"Writing," I reply.
"But why, Mama?"
"Because that's what Mama does, baby, Mama writes."
"Oh, I get it," the precocious little guy says, though his tone tells me he isn't quite sure.

Is there a difference between merely wanting to be a writer and actually being one? Do I need readers to be a writer?

Maybe I need a thesaurus.

Thursday, February 7

burnout and re-entry



What a week. So much is going on, my mind has been racing, my actions have not been mindful, I've been operating on adreneline, anxiety and caffiene.

Today I realised I'd burnt out. I called my doctor and left her a message stating in my disconnected way that I think I have fallen backwards. I don't think, I know. I was trying so hard to maintain the high of the last while, where I was handling things well, doing things, working hard... too bad I'd stopped working on ME.


peanut sauce left over from last nights dinner (dipping tofu) + colourful corkscrew macaroni = an awesome dairy-free mac and cheese substitute!

me and my shadows

I've found a new way to hibernate and lock myself away from the rest of the world. The great part is I had even managed to convince myself that I was really getting better. Not getting better, that I was better. Whatever that means.

I have filled my plate so full I can barely carry it. And I convince myself that so little of it is for me because I love serving my family so very much. I put myself into the role of martyr and tell myself it is what I want. All the while my soul is starving, and a starving soul does no one any good.

Things are crazy around here, but I've been afraid to bitch about them - afraid of what that might look like. Afraid I might seem ungrateful for all the great stuff we have, or afraid I might make things sound worse than they are - more dramatic - and worry family and friends, afraid that I'll sound petty or worse, stupid.

As I type that I know it is silly, I'm smart, I'm grateful, I am not petty and I am not crazy. I do have a mental illness and that isn't going to change overnight, I need to work to get well and I need to remember that.


Sebastian is potty-training. It is a frustrating and messy process that I am so worried about screwing up. I just want to be able to tell the kid to "go" on the pot and have him do it. But currently he is holding his poop. Waiting for a diaper and with it a chance to let loose. I wouldn't mind so much if we hadn't decided to switch back to cloth. I really loathe cleaning his poo out of diapers. Saying that makes me realise I need to get over my mental view of diaper-cleaning, otherwise we'll never stick with it with Rigby. I think I forget why I was so adamant about cloth diapering, because back when I could remember I had much less trouble rolling with the routine of rinsing and washing.

Rigby is teething, I'm pretty cool with it, she seems to be happy with chewing on whatever's available. She likes teething tablets as much as her brother (who is also teething, getting him some molars that kid is). We're out until pay day, so they both got hits of sticky red tylenol yesterday. I worry about red dye and artificial sweetners, and am reminding myself that it is done and that the peace was worth the price.

Rigby seems to share Sebastian's infanthood dairy intolerance. I was slower to admit it this time, as we've become a family who eats a lot of cheese - but the syrupy poops and painful gas can't be ignored. It'll be a good thing, considering Sebastian and I both get grumbly tummies after we eat delicious, delicious dairy. On the bright side, I've been making some food from Low Budget Vegetarian and am finding it delicious, cheaps, filling and kid-friendly.

I find myself flashing back to all the dietary restrictions I endured when Sebastian was tiny and I feel trapped. I don't want to go through it all again.


I've been rigid. Not willing or able to flex as needed, as circumstances evolve and change. I have been trying to do too much and be too much, it happens as soon as I try to step back. So I'm taking another look at things, go back to taking time for myself, get out of this trench. While I do it I thin I might do things that make me look a little crazy. I saw it in the eyes of my husband last night as I tried to let him in on the mess that is my internal monologue. But I am not yet crazy, my feet are still firmly planted in reality and as long as they're here I know I can get where I'm going.

Wednesday, February 6

the weight of the world

There is so much I want to write - so many things I want to talk about. My life is still a mess, a pretty mess, but a mess. The world is still falling to peices right before our eyes. I've been cooking some great, healthy, cheap food. Parenting is still tough.

But when I sit down my mind goes blank.

Rather, it becomes a wall of white noise, so many thoughts screaming out at once, picking just one idea out of the din is going to take more energy than this tired woman has been able to muster.

the weight of the world

There is so much I want to write - so many things I want to talk about. My life is still a mess, a pretty mess, but a mess. The world is still falling to peices right before our eyes. I've been cooking some great, healthy, cheap food. Parenting is still tough.

But when I sit down my mind goes blank.

Rather, it becomes a wall of white noise, so many thoughts screaming out at once, picking just one idea out of the din is going to take more energy than this tired woman has been able to muster.

I suppose it could be worse

Vancouver city council has decided to pay the savings forward after this summer's three-month civic strike. For wallowing in filth and dealing with a lack of services for three long, hot months, property owners and businesses will be getting a break on their taxes. A whopping $40 for the average property owner and $220 for businesses.

Renters, like us, get nothing.

CBC story

I love Carolyn Hax

Somehow, even the questions that seem to have no bearing on my life (like today's letter asking questions about dating and bad choices) enlighten me in little bits and bring me closer to understanding myself.

Read - and subscribe to her often updated feed. It is a worthwhile stop in these messy internets.

Tuesday, February 5

peeling off my mom pants

Mom jeans

I've been trying so hard to figure out what to write here. Things are moving so quickly in my life. Rigby is already three months old. She is teething and will put anything she gets her hands on into her mouth. Sebastian will be three in less than two months, we're potty training (having set a deadline for ourselves of three, back when three seemed so far away). It is insane, we have no idea what we're doing. And this kid is super keen to pee on the pot, but not poop.

I hear it is normal, but just because many kids do it doesn't make cleaning various stanky articles of clothing any easier. We've switched back to cloth diapers for both kids. We've been using disposables for a little longer than I am really prepared to admit - but I am letting go of my guilt over our frivolous waste.

I am letting go of a lot of guilt.

Which is really hard and really quite necessary. It is going to take a while before I'm willing to let go of my guilt and anxiety over my home. I am proud of my home when it is clean and organized.

Friday, February 1

so long supermom

This whole idea of there being a great, amazing, perfect picture of parenthood is so fucking demoralising. I get told everyday that I should be young, fit and supple, I should be smart, saintly and creative, I should be balanced, firm and patient, I should fucking glow with buckets of love all the time.

I don't.

I don't believe that anyone does and yet I hold myself to this idiotic standard. Worse, I've held other mothers to this standard. I've totally judged another mother not against myself, but to a fucking magazine mom. I just assume other everyone does it - though I admit that I'm likely a bit paranoid, which then makes me wonder who actually cares enough to judge me, aren't we too narcissistic to really give a shit what anyone outside our immediate family does with their lives. Then, of course, I think of reality TV. We, as a culture, LOVE to judge one another - not so paranoid after all. Society has mysticised and deitised supermom and we tell each other that this is not just attainable, but something mothers ought to be constantly striving for.

Can I tell you how much this has tripped me up?

I went into motherhood around the time Gwynneth, Britney and a handful of other stars were making babies. Pregnancy was sexy, babies were everywhere, I was recently married, had recently finished college, had a huge amount of debt and wanted nothing more than to have a baby. I had heaps of reasons, but it all boiled down to two things, I was in love and I didn't have anything else going on. I didn't give any thought to the difficulties inherent in spending the majority of your time with the same short person or people, day after day. I assumed that my kid would be perfect. I had read books, plus I had a bunch of negative childhood experiences to avoid, I figured I was going to be a brilliant mother and find the whole experience profoundly satisfying.

I quickly figured out that I didn't have a clue what I was doing, so I picked up all the glossy magazines and a bunch of baby books and studied. I mean that I studied my ass off and figured I had this parenting thing down pat. I began doing all the "right things", cloth diapering, attachment parenting, breastfeeding, baby sign, I worked to change my whole life. Some of it stuck, a lot of it didn't and some of it has made me miserable.

Compared to the me of four years ago I am now much neater, I care about the environemnt, I care about nutrition, I follow politics, I listen to the BBC and NPR, I don't own a TV, I worry and fret, I have a therapist and an anti-depressant, I have lists and I nag, I'm concerned about developmental delays and toxins in toys, I can balance a lean budget, I can handle most small crises, I can bake bread, I make play dough and I sew really nice things. Yet, I don't think I do enough. Before my son's birth, I had begun thinking about not just owning my own store, but about designing and creating. When I left my job to go on mat leave I figured I would have heaps of time to do things like knit, sew, draw, paint, write, and run an online store.

My online store exists, it has a banner I spent a few days designing, a profile that was written with wit and absolutely nothing in it.

It has never had anything in it.

My focus was on making sure I provided my son with all the right stimulation and interaction. I was obsessed with making sure my kid turned out better than normal.

It was unreal, the lengths I went to - my husband and I moved in with a couple of friends because we wanted our son too grown up in a community. Forgetting the fact that I am just about the worst roommate ever, I am bossy and I have weird systems that I really do seem to expect everyone else to just automatically understand and follow. I am totally self-centred and have an unending inner dialogue that distracts me to the point that I have been known to say things out loud in response to it. I once gave my husband the silent treatment for an hour over something that was said in my head. The community life was a almost laughable disaster - a casualty of which was one of my longest friendships.

I joined and even ran a mom's group - I met a load of other mothers, many of whom I had nothing in common with and could barely relate to. It was nice to get out of the house, but there were days I could barely bear to go to playdates - being unable to stand some of the participants idiosyncrasies. I did learn not to be too quick to judge others. I did not, however, extend that as easily to parenting. I had whole books on parenthood memorised and would cluck my tongue when I saw those rules being disregarded. It helped that my son was incredible, he communicated early, was friendly, outgoing, and most importantly, absolutely adorable. People loved him and congratulated me, they asked advice and offered praise and I ate it all up. I was awesome at the mothering gig, I was SUPERMOM!

Yeah, then he changed, as kids tend to do, he grew up a little and changed a lot and I was so lost. So I just held onto my idea of Supermom, I had been it which must mean I could be it, I must have failed somewhere. I read parenting books and articles and blogs, I looked for the missing link. I would jump from idea to idea, technique to technique in an effort to quickly master motherhood "again". I was so sure there would be a simple answer. Like those questions at the end of a chapter in a schoolbook that was directly quoted and all that was required was to fill in the blanks. I thought if I could just find the right reference I could solve the problem. What the fuck is that all about?

I was there for my childhood, I remember being difficult, angry, confused. I remembered being disciplined, I remember pushing buttons, I remember giving adults hell. And it wasn't just me, my friends did it too. Did I really expect to avoid all that? Would I even want to?

And yet, and yet, there's this impression that there is a way to do it right.

What happens if I do do it right? If I do have it all together, if nothing outside of perfect happens in my little world? What happens if I achieve the ends I so desperately strive for? With the whitest whites, the healthiest meals, the cleanest counters, the kindest children?

What would it cost?

I am standing up to my internal supermom and telling her that I don't need her any more. That I don't enjoy her company or appreciate her "help". She doesn't have to go home, but she can't stay here.