What to Expect When You’re a Leaky Bag of Hormones.

So I’m growing another human. It’s in my abdomen. I peed on that 50:50 stick on New Year’s Day (no reason really, just felt like a good way to kick start the new year) and it spit two lines back at me.

One. Two. Boom. Just like that. My immediate thought was “Shit, I shouldn’t have consumed that much wine yesterday”. Ironically, I’ve been longing (fiending) for that much wine ever since…

[Not really. Well yeah kinda. I love motherhood. And pinot noir. But moreso motherhood. Especially after a glass of wine…]

Anyhow, so yeah. Pregnancy. We meet again, you ol’ dog, you. We’ve been together, what is it, 38 weeks and four days now? Yet it somehow feels like 3.5 years, doesn’t it?

I remember the last time we parted ways…

I cut my hair like Bieber because I was “youthful” and “funky”. And hubby and I slept cozily on the living room floor of our one-bedroom Calgary condo for six months to create the illusion for the wee pudding boy that he had his own room.

Oh how times have changed…

I remember, at that time, being so exhausted trying to constantly stimulate the baby with expressive faces and animated talking and singing and tummy time and more faces and more talking and shapes and colors and classical music and…

By mid-morning I would be mentally tapped-out. Like, mouth-breathing while drooling. Tapped out. And so – shirt still unbuttoned, one or both bare, leaky tits apathetically flapping about – I would bundle the baby in the carrier or stroller and just go. Just walk aimlessly out of the condo and into the neighbourhood for sometimes hours. I was delusional with exhaustion.

I was also gym-selfie-worthy tanned due to all the time outside. And I unintentionally lost the baby weight (and then some) with such speed that the extended family had me convinced I had some undiagnosed wasting disease.

Once my family doctor confirmed an uncontrolled, flesh eating disease process was not, in fact, consuming me, I accepted my surprising, primiparous fate…

I’m a skinny chick now.

Pregnancy and delivery must have re-programmed something in me, perhaps at a chromosomal level. And now I could eat Zesty Doritos for breakfast and I’d probably lose weight for doing it.

“I don’t know”, I’d say, when asked about the sudden prominence of  bony parts previously burried, “I guess from breastfeeding?” Deep down, though, I’d be thinking “I’m just one of those people who can’t gain weight now. It’s not my fault.”.

And at the same time, my body hair almost stopped growing. I kid you not, I rarely had to shave my legs or armpits.

In short: my post-partum self had the body of a pre-pubescent boy.

Flash forward three and a half years: he done hit dat puberty.

Indeed, pregnancy #2 has inspired my body in a different direction. In the same work week, one colleague told me (“because I’d want you to tell me“, she said, bless her) to pluck my chin whiskers, and another told me that said whiskered face looked “really swollen”. I tried to argue with Friend Ship #2 that “it’s probably just from recent weeks of crying myself awake”. No, she confirmed, it was moon face. “Nothing temporary about it”, she assured me (I may be ad-libbing a little, but that was the gist).

Also, rest assured, I am no longer hairless. And I’m no longer “that skinny chick”. Also, there are skin tags now. There are sun spots; I call them freckles to sound “cute” (to myself). There is hair everywhere (can you hit puberty twice?). And (because I can’t commit to anything these days and started this blog many weeks ago) I am also no longer pregnant!

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Lil JD was born on August 28th. It happened much more quickly than my first labour and delivery. But that’s a story for next time. *annoying, exaggerated, open mouthed (probably with something in my teeth) wink*

So what can you expect, expectant ones? Expect to cry (a lot). Expect your body to not be your own, at least for a while (or forever). Expect to survive on no sleep starting around week 32 of pregnancy and ending around week 936 of your child’s life. When the first rays of sun peek through your mini-blinds – er, I mean, really fancy window coverings – at dawn, expect a joy similar to that felt by a lost soul in the desert stumbling upon an oasis…

Sweet adorable baby Jee, I made it! I fucking made it! I’m not the only one awake in the world anymore!!! *maniacal laugh*

Fuh realz (sorry). In the first few post-partum weeks, that joy of surviving another night is deep.

Expect to resent your partner and to appreciate him/her to the point of idolization.

Expect to be overwhelmed, almost constantly, with guilt. Every day. Morning until night. [I’m fucking it all up…]

Expect pride. And dread. And elation. And sheer terror.

It’s been a ride once again. Still to come in the next posts?

  1. Child birth #2. This one happened in a hospital. Heads up: I didn’t poop in a tub this time.
  2. Hand, foot and mouth disease – it’s something that happens when you have a three-year old plus a newborn and haven’t slept in four weeks. It round-house kicked my entire family in the collective face. It’s kicking my ass right now as I type this.

Until then,

Your estranged (and temporarily diseased) HOAR

And So Ends The Craziest Year of My Life (Sap Alert!)

I go back to work on Monday.

As my final week of maternity leave draws to a close, I can’t help but get a little misty. It seems like just yesterday I was passing out on the couch while watching Californication, around 1 am, dreaming of pissing myself…

I was the size of a minivan so sleeping had become a real challenge. And I was good at sleeping when I was human-sized. Real good.

I was semi-lucid during said piss-dream, so I went with it. It felt nice. Warm. Really warm. Shit, that’s a lot of warmth.

Semi-lucid changed to apathetically-conscious as I reached down to confirm that this was indeed a dream.

Confirmation denied.

I was drenched. The leather couch was drenched. And it was still gushing.

[I know. I’m aware of how gross the word “gushing” is. Particularly with regard to your netherlands. But it’s just the most accurate word here. Sorry.]

Initially I thought, wow, it’s one thing to piss yourself in your sleep, but you’re essentially awake now. Time to Kegal it up, Lax McGax.

[?]

But it didn’t matter. No amount of Kegals or anal winking (see that blog post about “the rectal”) or clenching of anything could stop it. In fact, any sort of movement only exacerbated the flood.

Holy mother shit. My water broke.

Now, I had taken courses in natural childbirth (*half-smirk with one eyebrow raised while unnecessarily re-buttonning single button on blazer*) and fancied myself a bit of an expert on “how to handle labour and childbirth”. Despite never having done it.

One of the first things they told us was that Adrenaline (our “fight or flight” hormone that floods the bloodstream in times of polar bear attacks and whatnot) directly opposes the natural, feel groovy hormone that allows labour and childbirth (and orgasms, if you’re lucky) to happen. Let’s call that rascal Oxytocin.

No problem, I thought. I’m a hippie at heart. I’ll just channel all my inner zen and float through labour like a feather in a warm autumn breeze. Inhale life and love, exhale fear and painBring on the oxytocin.

But as I lay there in a pool (I’m sorry I’m still on this but…wow…like, it’s a lot. Way more than you’re imagining right now. And just when you think your body can’t possibly hold any more liquid; even if you were a previously empty vessel filled head to toe with baby-float juice? It pretty much starts all over), I was feeling anything but zen.

I was pure Adrenaline.

I still tried to fake it. Once J had cleaned up the mess and I strapped a queen-sized mattress into my fullest-arse drawers, I lay back down and tried to get in the zone. But while I attempted to summon tranquility and gratitude, I looked more like Rodney Dangerfield (God rest his soul) on his eighth cup of coffee.

My teeth were chattering uncontrollably. They had told us in our course that, should you go into labour in the middle of the night, it’s imperative that you go back to sleep because “tomorrow you will run a marathon and then some; you will need your strength more than ever”.

But to fall asleep when you know that to-day a human is going to emerge from your vagina (sorry, dad) is tricky, to say the least. It’s like being dangled by your foot from a plane in flight and told, “I won’t drop you for a while, ya might as well try to get a little shut eye”.

I am a hollow reed. My troubles blow through me like the wind.

I am a hollow reed. My troubles blow through me like the wind.

So I didn’t sleep. In my defense, once my water broke, game on. The contractions weren’t very mild for “early labour”, the time they suggest you “go for a walk”, “bake a cake” or “knit something”.

Knit, my ass.

Within an hour of my water breaking, we knew beforehand, I would have to be hooked up to IV. So we called the midwife.

Tangent: We went with a great midwifery group. They met with us throughout my pregnancy and took care of all my prenatal needs and whims – even coming to my home to cater to my occasional bout of paranoia. They were lovely.

The group we were with had three midwives. Let’s call them Jane, Judy and Jackie. We were to meet all three throughout the pregnancy, but on the fateful day of the birth, we would get whomever was on call. Fair enough.

Somehow, due to a mix-up in scheduling, we ended up seeing only Jane and Judy right up until my 37th week. And we were more than happy to have either one pluck a youngster from me. Jane was Scottish, maybe in her late forties, very maternal, doing this for years. Judy was maybe in her mid-to-late-thirties, no kids of her own but very warm and confident and made me feel like I could do anything.

It was Judy who came to see us at home for our 36-week visit. While she was there I casually mentioned that it’s funny we’d never met Jackie. Her face turned uncharacteristically serious.

What? You haven’t met her?

Sure enough, scheduling conflicts. She called the clinic office and quickly arranged it so that my last few visits would be with Jackie.

Ok, I thought. But she’d better be Scottish. Or have some other Mrs. Claus-esque qualities. Or at least be uber maternal (in lieu of my own mother who was, at the time, in Africa hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, running a half-marathon and embarking on a week-long, overland safari. I know. She’s wild. Definitely the Blanche to my Sophia.).

For the record, we only had two more appointments before lil M would decide he’d had enough bathing.

The following rant is an example of how I can sometimes fall into that ugly trap of judging a book by it’s cover: At my 38 week visit, out walked Jackie to collect me from the waiting room. Rather, whom I would soon find out was Jackie. At the time I assumed this was Jackie’s spritely niece on a high school co-op program, ambitious little tyke.

But nope. It was Jackie. A vision of petite n’ tight, nulliparous youth. Whereas I was more a “flaccid pudding of leaky hormones”.

Fast-forward to two weeks later, 1:30am. We dial the midwife “pager” number.

Hello, Jackie speaking.

Typical.

Now, before I go any further: I quickly learned that Jackie – despite looking like Topanga from Boy Meets World – is brilliant and possesses an old, motherly, warmly feministic soul. She was probably a midwifery pioneer in a past-life. And she let me crush her hand and howl like a banshee into her face for hours, God love ‘er, without showing an ounce of fear or worry.

Even when things went “a little awry” (look up “lip of cervix” for some light reading with your morning coffee) and I projectile vomitted, Exorcist style, and demanded 9-1-1 and heroin (I’m not kidding)… she knew just what to say. She and J were crucial in keeping me above water (literally; I laboured mostly in the bath and would have stayed there for the birth had someone not pooped in it. Ruuude.).

And even though I was in a zone unreachable by any language or movement, they were my strength.

I am forever indebted to both of them for getting me through that day.

The “worst best day ever”, we like to call it.

One minute you’re somewhere in between conscious and unconscious, and you’re flapping your sweat-drenched lips and rolling your head on a lifeless neck and speaking in tongues. And your body is lifted into the air by an electrified knife and your insides are wrenched and twisted until you are confident you are dead or dying and the concept of breathing or speaking or moving is somewhere far far away belonging to someone you used to be…

And the next minute he’s here.

And your eardrums turn off.

And the pain turns off.

And there’s nothing but him and you, both outside your broken (but still alive) body.

Lil M was placed in my bare arms, at home in our bed, at 6:07 pm on February 27, 2013.  And he was suddenly all there was to feel.

Something tells me it will always be that way.

Just One of Those Days

You know the days I’m talking about. You fell asleep under a pile of clean laundry you didn’t have time to fold. With makeup on, no less. So you wake up looking like the before shot of a Proactiv commercial.

Maybe you’re like me and ate a lifetime supply of peanut butter M&M’s before calling it a night. So you are hardly cartwheeling out of bed like your nimble, former-life self.

Your baby is teething. Again.

It’s humid and rainy out. Awesome.

On one of those days..,

If you were to meet the you that wrote What’s the Happiest Blood Type? B positive! you would, at the very least, karate chop her in the throat. Just a really light, swift one that she might not even feel. And probably when she’s looking away, so you can act like it was an accident. A weird reflex or something. But then, since it’s one of those days, you probably wouldn’t even feel better for your stealthful act of gingerly-delivered vengeance. You’d feel guilty and ashamed for even thinking about hurting that type A, really attractive, pain-in-the-ass go-getter.

You’re an asshole. Everyone’s an asshole. On one of those days.

Anyway…

After I fed the little lord his breakfast this morning, I finally succumbed to the sight of food caked into the creases of his high chair. Until now I’d been trying to keep it my peripheral vision only (if you don’t look directly at it, it’s not really there). But effin’ yuck, b’y.

So obviously the only answer is to lug the whole thing into the shower and let it blast some hot water on that shit, am I right? Seemed to be working like a charm.

Now the chair is back in the kitchen slow-leaking a greenish-brown ooze from each leg. Which is awesome.

Anyway…

So I waited too long to eat breakfast. Powerful leaders who waited too long to eat breakfast have directly or indirectly caused some of history’s greatest tragedies. I made that up but I bet it’s true.

By the time you feed/clean/entertain the baby, you’ve passed that window of opportunity to turn “one of those days” into “a nice little Tuesday, actually”. Your blood sugar has officially dropped below the critical 4mmol/L which makes you, medically speaking, an asshole.

The quickest thing to grab happened to be one of my sister’s “healthy cookies” from the freezer. Now let me clarify something: they are effing delicious. Big seedy pucks of nutritious, good stuff. Every kind of seed known to man interspersed with the nectar of rare Polynesian health flowers and held together with berries that make you look ten years younger and seven pounds thinner within minutes of eating them. I’m not sure of the specifics but suffice to say they are uber healthy.

But have you ever eaten something uber healthy when your stomach is aching with hunger; just raw and throbbing with its own emptiness? That’s right, it feels like eating a pack of staples.

[Side note: Growing up I always got quite stomach sick if I ate an apple when I was hungry. One time I was skiing with friends. I was maybe twelve or thirteen. The boy I was in love with was sitting with us in the lodge during lunch. He was eating an apple. I’m not sure if he asked me if I wanted a bite, or if I was just staring at him so intently I convinced myself he wanted to discuss apples. Also, I talk when I’m nervous. Ad nauseum.

I may have wanted to say “apples make me wanna puke”. Or maybe “apples make me sick”. But instead, I looked (too deeply) into his beautiful eyes and said, “apples make me wanna pisssssss”. Just like that, lingering on the ‘s’ by my own horror. Apples make me wanna pisssssss.]

Anyway, healthy food? Good. But on an empty stomach? Baaaad. I lost track of how many Tums I consumed.

In an act of self-redemption for letting my morning go sour, I invested myself in making a healthy supper for the fam. I even called mom to ask for her recipe for “quinoa pizza crust” (you just throw in an egg and some cheese but still…I made a phone call!).

I figured I’d feed the baby something way less delicious like pureed kale and salmon with infant cereal (which goes in exactly as it comes out, in texture and in aroma) and save the big she-bang for the “grown-ups”.

By the time I got the wee one to bed and started making the quinoa, my stomach was eating itself.

[Have I mentioned that I’m always hungry?]

I finished it, added the goddamned egg and cheese, mixed it the fuck together (sorry for the string of obscenities; this is just how I was narrating it in my head as I fought the urge to collapse on the kitchen floor), pressed it into a glass baking dish and baked it for twenty, God-forsaken minutes.

Then, I grated the cheese and chopped vegetables with the speed and pizazz of a narcoleptic, newborn sloth. In the process I ate too many olives which added to my hunger pangs the sensation of paint-thinner creeping up (and dissolving) my esophagus.

To make the slow process less painful, I mixed in a (pint) glass of red wine. Which, clearly, is great for both an empty stomach and acid reflux. Also, I’m fairly certain I’m hammered.

I finally decorated the be-otch, set the timer for another twenty minutes and sat down with another glass of wine. Because, ya know…

It was a painful twenty. I’ve resolved to avoid Facebook after 7pm and I find something really sad about channel surfing. So I just sat on the couch. In silence. With my thoughts and my hunger. Mostly my thoughts about my hunger. Trying not to count the minutes but counting them anyway…

Ding! The sweetest sound.

I may have had the oven mitts already on as I bolted (adrenaline surged) to the kitchen.

To see my dinner. Still cold. Still sitting atop the stove. The hot oven empty.

The next twenty minutes of food actually cooking were like a scene from Castaway. I’ve never seen the movie but I’m pretty sure the stress and hunger and desperation would have made me befriend a volleyball. If I had a volleyball.

[i don’t even have a volleyball?! Waaaaaah! It’s one of those days.]

I may have openly wept, but just briefly. A single wail. Like an infant unsure of what he’s upset about.

Ding! Finally. Here she is.

Get in my face hole!

Get in my face hole!

As I gazed upon the gluten-free miracle, it occurred to me: it’s only 7:30. J has basketball tonight. Until 9. And I (clearly delusionally) promised I’d wait for him to eat. It’s kind of (yet another) new year’s resolution.

So here I sit (8:24pm) with another glass of wine (how did that get there?) blindly eating chocolate chip cookies that came with a tea set dad gave me for Christmas. If my list of (lenient and open to interpretation) new year’s resolutions could speak, she’d sound like Tiny Fey and say, “Fuck yeah, ya are!”.

Content. Finally.

Normoglycemia is sexy. And tomorrow’s another day. God willing.

Da Belated ‘n’ Brief Crimmus Blag

Merry Christmas to all and to all...I think I'm drunk.

Merry Christmas to all and to all…I think I’m drunk.

I started this blog in about mid-December. The fact that I’m even posting it now – two days after the twelve drummers drummed – is kinda risky.

Because let’s face it: you’re dealing with the crippling plague of sadness that is early January (taking down the tree, returning to work, admitting how fat you truly are and resolving to change that…).

One week ago, you were a yuletide legend; an A-lister at every Christmas fete. Now you’ve got a “drinking problem”.

The last thing you want to hear is some asshole’s recollection of Christmas (newly) past.

But here she goes anyway. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it short. And I hope you haven’t completely shunned drugs and alcohol, because I want this to be not totally unenjoyable.

***

The main distinction between this and any other Christmas is I now have a tiny guy who accompanies me, like, all the time. Which, in all honesty, is friggin’ sweet. It just changes the game a little.

Take Christmas shopping. I’m normally a last-minute, Christmas-Eve-at-Shoppers-Drug-Mart-surrounded-by-panicked-husbands kinda shopper. But not this year. Once you have a youngster, you’ve got to be on the ball.

So the shopping day was planned for December 13. Yes, that’s right, Friday the 13th.

[I’m not at all superstitious. But my weekly tarot card reader did tell me to “beware” this day so…]

Lil M was a mess. He’s teething, poor little bug, so he was red faced and leaking fluid from all his face holes. And his mother made the mistake of feeding him spaghetti for lunch so he was covered.

It’s 1pm. I haven’t eaten (and hypoglycemic me is not me at my best, let me tell ya) so I’ve got the hunger sweats, big time. I’m trying to clean and dress him as he screams in my face.

After a mild wrestling match, I finally get his diaper on (at 9 months, babies are strong and wiggly and they don’t care what they’re covered in or what color your carpet is). I rush to get up off the floor and step on the bottom of my skirt, which yanks it completely down. And I nose dive, thong-arsed, into the carpet.

This makes him cry harder. Probably because of the guttural sound that came from my face.

But more likely because of the sight of my bare arse.

We made it through shopping though. And I only stepped on one used syringe outside the Dollarama.

***

Then there’s Christmas songs. At every opportunity I’m busting out  impromptu performances of them for the poor boy. Usually as a distraction technique when I’m changing his diaper.

We think we know the words to all the classics until we are forced to sing them in their entirety. And I don’t mean, like, Good King Wenceslas classics (although had you asked me a year ago I probably would have thought I knew all the words to that too). I’m talking the basics.

Like Jingle Bells.

Jingle Bells? you ask. Everyone knows the words to Jingle Bells!

Oh really? Finish this verse: Now the ground is white…

How about this one: A day or two ago, I thought I’d take a ride…

If you did, indeed, successfully finish either of those, you’re probably in a choir. Or you’re an elf.

Most likely, you downright butchered this beloved holiday classic by finishing it from your untrustworthy and aged-well-before-its-time memory. Like I did…

*ahem* Here we go. Feel free to sing along!

[The first verse I obviously know because I wasn’t born during a zombie apocalypse. And yes, I’ve been watching a lot of The Walking Dead lately and it’s all I think about.]

[Yes, you’re supposed to sing the “Oh” like Lil’ Jon.]

Jingle Bells – a Mother’s Improvisation

Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh

O’er the fields we go, laughing all the way

Bells on bobtails ring, making spirits bright;

What fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight.

Oh!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way

Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh – hey (b’y)!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,

Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.

A day or two ago, I thought I’d take a ride

And seated in a show, as Pete did by my side

The horse was mean and rank, misfortune seemed his luck

He got into a pistol stank and

buck, bu-buck buck buck!

Oh!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way

Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh – hey (b’y)!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,

Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.

Now the ground is white, so blow it while you’re young

Take the girls tonight, and sing a sleighing song

You’ll get a bobtail snag

In forty-four below

And pitch it to an awful hag

And pop! You’ll take a leak.

Oh!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way

Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh – hey (b’y)!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,

Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.

The End.

I know, I really got into a pickle with that last verse. It doesn’t even rhyme, it’s just what fell out of my mouth as my sweet baby looked up at me with eyes filled with wonder (disappointment?). I had to keep going. He clapped (threw his hands together haphazardly, sometimes making contact) and everything. I just couldn’t let him down.

So I let Christmas down instead.

I made up for my disasterous rendition by making the “Oh”s extremely loud and over-confident. I think that helps.

***

Parenthood or not, ‘tis the season. The key is making time. Time to lounge in Christmas jammies, quote Clarke Griswold in every other conversation and draw icing dicks on gingerbread men.

Happy new year.

Let Us Stuff Some Avian Butt-hole. With Thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving, Mom.

I love this time of year. It smells like Christmas had an orgasm. Everything’s pumpkin-spiced (I’m wearing pumpkin-spiced pants right now… very breathable fabric… and, of course, I’m a sucker for a vented crotch). And colorful. And it’s a good excuse to unbutton your pants and binge eat harvested things with family and friends.

Thank-you #1: Thanks, Squanto, for bein’ such a beauty.

[Sidenote: the vented crotch thing was a joke. Or at least a premature assumption; perhaps if I ever tried on a pair of pants with a vented crotch I really would love them. But speaking of venting crotches: did I ever tell you that when my sister and I were little, mom encouraged us to not wear undies to bed in order to “let your porkies breathe”? This is hilarious for a variety of reasons. Namely, 1. we called it a “porky”. And, 2. I grew up thinking it was common knowledge that the goods were actually respiring down there. I couldn’t let the poor thing suffocate. And my mother encouraged this assumpion. So, Thank-you #2: Thanks for that, mom.]

It’s been a while since I’ve written so I have a lot of things to fill you in on. Things that I just happen to be very thankful for…

Thank-you #3: I am thankful for shit my dad says.

Lil M and I spent the better part of September home on da rock.

What was it like to fly with a six-month old?

Good question, italicized me! I have to admit, he’s one pretty cool little dude. I stole him from his crib at midnight to catch the red-eye, and the kid smiles the whole drive to the airport. With his eyes closed. I’m not joking. He smiled through security so adorably that the ovulating security guard volunteered to hold him while I got my things in order.

We boarded the plane first because having a mini-me makes you a “priority” boarder. Once in our seats, he just smiled and babbled and swatted at each passenger as he/she walked by. Then he slept the whole flight. He was a hit.

Anyway, so Newfoundland. Got to see ol’ dad / “Opa” (instead of “Grandpa” because it makes dad feel less old) who always inadvertently says hilarious stuff.

This time he was trying to describe the kind of bread he likes these days, but couldn’t remember the name…

“Ya know…vil-…fi…- vill-ah-gee…fil-ah-gee-oh…fil-ah-shee-o!” Fil-ah-shee-o? Like, fallatio with a pretentious accent? Hilarious. We razzed dad about fallatio bread for the better part of September. [Note: it’s Villaggio]

Dad’s other contenders for most hilarious comments usually come after a meal and describe how full he is. September’s newbie was, Oh Jesus, I’m a Fortune Bay punt!

Classic Opa.

Thank-you #4: I am thankful for a family that doesn’t judge.

Right after I had the baby, I was sort of a mess – physically and emotionally. I could go from sheer bliss to weepy neurosis in a matter of minutes.

My sister came to visit me when lil M was three-weeks old. She’s an avid worker-outer. She’d get up before six every morning to do yoga. Whereas I was getting up around the same time to feebly change my saturated boob pads and lady diaper.

Needless to say she was fit and energized and, in my sweat-panted opinion, pretty fashion savvy.

This one day we were heading to the mall with the baby. We were almost out the door when, suddenly, my sleep-deprived, hormone-laced brand of crazy emerged.

“Our condo is filthy! It smells like mutton dick in here!”

And with my coat and sneakers on I started frantically cleaning things.

Poor Jenn didn’t know what to do, so she decided to just stay out of my way and quietly put her shoes on. That’s when I saw her zip up her nice, high leather boots over her leggings.

And I nearly pooped in my sweat pants.

“Oh. Oh great! So now I have to change! If you’re gonna be all ‘looking nice’… I look like a homeless boy! And what is that fucking smell? This place is gross! I’m disgusting!”

Et cetera. It wasn’t pretty. I went off. Until suddenly (peaks and valleys, the ol’ hormones, eh?) I realized how ridiculous I was being and started to laugh.

And peed in our front entrance.

I used that as an excuse to spruce up my outfit. And by “spruce up my outfit” I mean I put on a long dress but kept on my toque and red sneakers. And scent of urine. I think Jennifer was wearing an “actual brand of perfume”. Pffft. Typical.

And of course my three-week old was in pajamas and not wearing a coat or socks. I realized this once we got to the mall. Even though it was snowing out. I also forgot the stroller.

“Just carry him”, my sister asked the demon possessing my body.

“No! I can’t ‘just carry him’. Oh, you certainly can, but I can’t. Look at me! I look like fucking Dennis the Menace. But fat. And on crack. People will look at me carrying an infant with no stroller and think, ‘oh my God, I think that homeless boy kidnapped a baby!’ They’ll look at you and think, ‘Oooooo, who’s that? Look at herrrrr. I like those booooots. Look at her carrying that baby without a stroller. Oh my God I can’t believe she even had, a baby, she’s so tiny! I bet she does yogaaaa! She looks like she’s all business-mom savvy, ya know? And let’s face it, she looks fun, right? I think I’m gonna start ditching my stroller more’…”.

[There is nothing sensible or rational about the hormone drenched shit that comes out of your mouth in the early post-partum weeks.]

So Jenn carried him. But within minutes of being there, Lil M thought it best to shit up and down himself. In the only outfit I had for him. Jenn was in the middle of buying something so I took my shit-baby and ran to what I thought was the “nursing area” of the mall. It just looked like a wheelchair accessible washroom to me (it was).

I collapsed onto the toilet to nurse my pissed-off baby in his shit jammies. What was I gonna do? The only thing worse than the hot mess that is me carrying a newborn around a mall without a stroller/carrier is me carrying a naked newborn as such.

I will stay here. On this toilet. Forever.

I was startled from my public washroom reverie by Jenn knocking on the door. She saw that I was clearly broken and offered to go buy lil M a pair of pj’s.

Eureka! “Perfect! I’ll just buy him some new pjs! And I’ll go, I have the new mom instinct so I’ll find a store fast!”

Yes, I really said “I have the new mom instinct”. As I sat there on the filthy toilet with my tit hanging out and my infant caked in shit.

Jenn had the good sense to snap this pic as a little souvenir of the moment. You’re welcome.

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[It is worth noting that quite literally on the other side of that toilet-paper dispenser wall is a nursing room. A nursing sanctuary, really. With dim lighting, zen music, a meticulous diaper-changing station, a giant flat screen tv, leather arm chairs, and a fucking sculpted hot-hair balloon protruding from the wall – its basket filled with beloved animal friends bidding you a warm welcome.

Whereas I had a second toilet set closer to the floor. That might be used as a footrest.]

To make a long story not as long, I sprinted to The Children’s Place, grabbed the first thing I found then sprinted back. It ended up being a $55 shark tank-top and shorts set with a matching sun-visor. It was snowing outside but at least the sun wouldn’t be in his eyes.

So thanks, Jenn, for fake breastfeeding my son with your knuckle while sitting on a public toilet as I went bat shit crazy. And helping me see the humor in it all.

Thank-you #5: I am thankful for songs that inspire you to sing along.

Katy Perry. Seems like a nice girl. I’m not such a fan of her music, though. Or so I thought…

Saturday I was driving to the grocery store for a missing ingredient. I was frantic because we were late for a Thanksgiving dinner. I was stopped at a red light and hopped-up on adrenaline. I rolled down my window. Nifty little number was on the radio that caught my fancy.

[“Caught my fancy”?]

I got the eye of the tiger… (Eye of the Tiger…hmmm.)

Dancing through the fire… (oooo, I like this. She means business! *thumb tapping*)

‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me rooooaaar… (uh! I’m into this.*head bobbing, angrily lip synching “roar”*)

Louder, louder than a lion… (Yeaaah! What an inspirational woman-power tune, I’ve got goosebumps!)

‘Cause I am a champion…

Now here’s where Katy led me astray. I was pounding the steering wheel to reflect the explosion of my realization that I am, indeed, a fearless Goddamn tiger. And as I growled out that last line, I leered out my open window, music-video style.

There was a car stopped next to me with its windows down. And a family watching me.

Which would have been fine but obviously I thought Katy was going to reiterate that I am a tiger. “Champion”? Where the fuck did that come from? And it was one of those “realising your error partway through the error” situations.

So, indeed, I growl-yelled at the nice little family, I AM A TAMPON!

Thank-you #6: I am thankful for this pose

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Because it instills so many emotions in its viewers. Nausea. Confusion (WTF is she leaning on? Air?). Irritation. Annoyance… It’s art, really.

I bust out this bad-boy many times throughout the day because I think it’s magical.

Thank-you #7: I am thankful for my over-stretched gray hat – which I may have showered in once – that has made two appearances in this post.

Thank-you #8: I am thankful for my first gray hair.

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Because it means I’m still alive. And I think it makes me look wise.

Thank-you #9: I am thankful that my boys accept me, sack and all.

Lil M and his daddy, that is. I don’t mean to brag, but… Dey’re da bist! I’m one lucky gray-haired lady-in-a-hat.

You remember Maybel? (https://heatheronarock.com/2012/05/05/the-time-the-doctor-found-my-sack/) The bitch won’t go away, bless ‘er. My doc seems determined to keep taking her picture and, in my most recent MRI, we’ve discovered Maybel’s hefty. For my physio peeps, she stretches from T3 to T8. Which, to my non-physio friends, means she takes up this much space in the ol’ spinal cord.

spine

We still don’t have all the answers, but we hope/assume she’s just always been there. I have had moments of panic about my mysterious spine resident. But my hunky baby-daddy reminds me daily of how strong and healthy I am and how, regardless, we’ll get through anything. Together.

That’s some Jack and Rose calibre shit. He melts my heart, that giant man of mine. *swoon*

jack and rose

I’ll stop there. Not because I’ve exhausted my thanks but because I’ve exhausted my wit.

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving, HOAR readers. May your turkey farts – and those of your loved ones – remind you of how much there is to be grateful for.

Your Life is Not a Movie

But sometimes you think it is, right? You know, back when you were single: you’re driving, some epic power ballad (read: Celine Dion) comes on the radio and you’re belting it out like you’re in the music video – nay: you are in the music video. Your voice even breaks through the threat of real tears, because, God dammit, the sound of your heart beating made it clear sud-den-lyyy.

That’s when you look at the car stopped at the light next to you and make eye contact with that perfect stranger.

And of course he/she is floating in a Celine Dion haze of emotion too, right? Because you’re in a movie. And you’ve just fallen in love. It’s love at first sight. The Power of Love. Sing it, Celine.

[Meanwhile, dude is probably in his car smoking a doobie, only looked at you because you were crying and mouthing something dramatically in his direction. He’s listening to “Crazy Bitch” by Buckcherry. So you’re likely in his “movie” too.]

You know what I mean though. Hollywood has us thinking that life really is like that. Soundtracks are powerful, brainwashing tools.

So I was putting the baby to bed tonight. Bedtimes have become moderately challenging. We’re trying hard to establish a “routine”. Bath, book, lotion massage, leg/fart pumps, boob, sleep. It goes down exactly like that except that lil M screams throughout the duration of the routine.

But tonight…

Tonight, as he lay on his soft blanket where he gets his massage, my life became a movie. He was about to scream but I caught him just in time. I started to sing “Colors of the Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas. I don’t mean to sound cocky but…it was amazing. Maybe it was the dim lighting, maybe I was drunk on the love of the moment but…it sounded exactly like the movie. I was Judy Kuhn. I mean, really good. Like, “why am I not on Broadway?” good. Lil M stopped his pre-cry wind up immediately and looked deep into my eyes, entranced.

[Hells yeah, he was entranced. His mother’s a f’ing Disney princess!]

It’s every kids dream. Who needs Disneyland when Pocahontas herself can sing you to sleep whilst giving you a lotion massage? It was such a beautiful moment. I knelt close to him and bent my head lower so he could see me more closely. I swear my voice hit notes it’s never hit before, even in that hunched position. I was defying the physics of vocal projection. His trance deepened and tears welled-up in my eyes. A lump in my throat threw off a few notes of the line “Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue-corn moon?”, but I think that may have even added to the movie moment. Goosebumps covered my body as I stared lovingly into my baby’s sweet eyes and crescendoed into “You can own the earth and still all you’ll own is earth until you can paaaint…” I hung on the pause after that high note, basking in its glory / my awesomeness. Lil M was suddenly rendered motionless, likely by exhilaration.

And in the silence, he shit on my thigh.

In his defense I was kneeling far too close to a naked baby butt. And, in his defense, it was a movie moment. Just a comedy. I keep forgetting that’s the genre of my life.

Fin.

P.S. I swear I will not mention poop in my next post. Not even indirectly.

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The Floods of 2013 (and a Bowel-Moved Reminder to Stay Grateful)

Warning: Content and photos may be offensive to some readers. So feel free to skip this one. Or acknowledge that everybody poops, and enjoy!

Let me begin by saying how sorry I am for all of those who have been displaced from their homes, for those who have lost their homes, their pets, their belongings. I have been watching the footage on tv like so many across the country, absolutely dumbfounded by the widespread damage.

Being so far removed from the actual “action” of the flooding, I guess I wasn’t taking seriously the urgency of the situation here in Calgary on Friday afternoon. I was sitting on my floor, watching the CBC’s footage on tv, eating toast, drinking coffee, tickling the baby, pretty chilled out overall (although sad about what I was seeing). There was a knock on the door. It was my friend, Ernesto (name has been changed to protect the identity of my friend, Jermaine). I was shocked to see him, as Ernesto recently had a lobotomy (actual medical procedure changed to protect patient confidentiality, which is important after a cholecystectomy) and has been strongly advised not to exert himself in any way – no lifting, minimal walking, that kinda thing. Hence my surprise in seeing him at my door, drenched in rain water, carrying a full tank of propane.

“Ernesto, whatever are you doing here?” I asked (apparently this conversation took place in a 1960’s black and white film).

“I didn’t have my car so I walked to get propane in case we lose power and to fill my gas tank in case the city’s gas supply runs dry and they aren’t able to get any more into the city. Luckily we’ve already stocked up on bottled water. How about you?”

[It is important to note that Ernesto is way cooler than me and I am big time ad-libbing. Anything dorky in his dialogue is pure HOAR reenactment error.]

So here’s Ernesto, not even supposed to be on his feet, taking the initiative to stock up for his family. And here’s me, with jam on my face, wearing my dont-judge-me-there’s-been-a-flood flood (sweat) pants, watching TV. Like an asshole.

He strongly suggested I get to the store to at least get water and, if possible, propane and gasoline. I felt compelled to act, but by no means desperate or frantic. My gait pattern as I walked to the car would still likely be described as casual and/or slothful.

Then I made the mistake of going to Walmart. If you ever want to feel a sense of chaos and imminent doom, go to a suburban (probably a redundant descriptor) Walmart during the early stages of a natural disaster. It was mayhem. I had to park in an adjacent parking lot a good half kilometer away. As I made my way towards the entrance, bending into the wind and rain and struggling to keep the blanket over the baby’s seat, I literally had to hip thrust out of the way of several speeding vehicles. The shopping carts were all gone (I was told later that, at a nearby Sobeys, a fight actually broke out over the last shopping cart. No joke). So I struggled my way through the store towards the water aisle with my giant infant in his dripping wet bucket seat. The number of bodies in the one store was gross. And they were moving as if they were being chased. The water aisle was bare. Well the shelves were. The aisle itself was like a mosh pit of people. Disappointed, wet, frantic people wearing expressions of despair and saying things like, “get home now and fill your bathtub with water while you still can!”

Dear Lord. I was trying to not give into panic but, I thought, I have clearly underestimated the severity of what’s happening. I was suddenly feeling a little more than ill-prepared for a crisis. I attempted to call J to see if he was ok but my calls weren’t going through. Great.

The walk home would have taken me four minutes. The drive took close to twenty. The roads were chinched with cars moving at a crawl.

[Newfie Word of the Day: chinched.]

I got home – with no water or propane or candles or gas or cell phone reception – and tried my best not to worry. To push this along, J made it home safe and sound, water stayed safe to drink, power stayed on, and I realized my phone’s supposed to drop calls because it’s an iPhone. Like I said, we got lucky and I’m grateful. Our community was far-removed from the disaster zones. It made me question the frantic people in my local Walmart but, I guess, how could they have known how bad it would get, right?

And their distraught department store behaviour would soon look justified, low-key even. Some people react to news of disaster with panic, worry, devastation. After seeing the footage from the hard hit areas, such reactions are justified. Other people react to such times in different, perhaps less efficient ways…

Saturday morning I woke up grateful to see the sun shining – albeit through a haze of mosquitos. As I knew the kinder weather would be short-lived, I hurriedly got lil’ M in his car seat and headed down to the the underground parkade to grab his stroller from the trunk. My car is a good fifty yards from the elevator. As I started the walk, I had to step around a giant puddle.

What is that? Milk?

As I approached my stall, I could see glistening behind my car. Is that glass?

Sure enough, smashed shards of beer bottle covered the floor behind my car.

And wait, what’s that coming out from underneath the car?

It was a towel. A towel covered in…something. Shit? Is that shit?

It was shit. And how do I know this? Because on the floor in front of my car sat a tightly coiled pile of it. Of the human variety.

I was dumbfounded. So let me get this straight, I thought, someone went out – maybe just as far as this parkade – got wasted (I could only hope they weren’t of sound mind), smashed some beer bottles, took a dump in a random car stall, wiped (!!!) with a mystery towel that came from God knows where, threw said towel under the car, then proceeded to the elevator. Likely vomiting a milkshake en route. I know we all handle tragedy differently but come on!

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I stood there and cried. I cried because of what was happening in the city around me. I cried imagining the sadness of those displaced from their homes, their memories underwater. And I cried because someone pooped in my parking space. It was a culmination of things. The poop was just the topper.

Looking back I see it as comic relief. Considering the grief of the world around me in the moment, I believe it was the universe saying to me, You’re alive. You’re safe. Don’t sweat the bullshit! Don’t sweat the human shit, either!

The flood relief efforts in the city have been astounding; a heartwarming display of overwhelming solidarity. The water levels continue to decline,

[Sidenote: why does the word “sandbagging” make me snicker like a teenage boy?]

people have begun to return to their homes, and the shit – which still remains in my indoor parking stall – has turned from yellowy-green to a less threatening brown colour. It is a (terribly unhygienic) reminder to me to stay grateful. At least that’s what I tell myself.

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