tripping the life unbalanced

Sunday, March 25, 2007

sayonara blogger

Dear blogger,

I'm sorry to say it's come to this, but I must bid you adieu. I am so very sick of your tantrums and your lack of intuitive thinking. I also need a break from this site - to start again, fresh and without any emotional ties to you.

I hope I can take my friends with me - they weren't just your friends you know. They were our mutual friends when we started this relationship. Like any divorce, I know I'll lose a few. But my real friends can find me over at Wordpress, where the love is still fresh and promises still mean something.

Please forward any mail, messages, and new debates to my new address at

Your soon-to-be-ex,

Sunday, March 04, 2007

4 years ago

4 years ago tonight marks the eve of Alice's birth. I had a c-section on March 5th, 2003, due to some endometriosis that had plagued me throughout the pregnancy. The plan was for the section to start at 10AM on the morning of the 5th, and about 4 years ago right now we were just returning from an excellent Thai dinner. The last dinner we were to have as just two. We tidied up that night, making sure every last detail was taken care of. We were excited. And scared. Extremely scared.

We lay in bed and talked the night away, even though we knew we had to be up at the crack of dawn to get to the hospital. I was scared about the impending surgery, but mostly anxious to meet the baby. The one we had been talking to, singing to, envisioning and loving before we knew her. I couldn't see myself as a mother, or Matt & I as parents together. Our lives were chaotic, even then, a fact that was reflected in the clutter that filled our hallways and closets. I was nervous I would not be able to step up - to face motherhood full on like I hoped.

And now, four years later, with our lives still in chaos and constant clutter wrapped around me like a shawl, I feel sentimental tonight with the memories of Alice's birth. Because of the section, she was born with fluid on her lungs that lingered for a few days. She couldn't breath on her own for awhile, and was put on a c-pap machine until she was 4 days old. I wasn't allowed to hold her for 4 days.

I have battled anxiety and panic in the past few years, and yes - I could argue that it was parenthood that did that to me. I could say it was being a mother that at times brought the worst in me. But it wouldn't be entirely true, because knowing Alice and being her mom has also changed me for the better. I often feel she created me, and not the other way around.

Even in the first year after she was born, when the anxiety started to show up, holding my daughter could calm me down. Breathing in that milky breath, as I rocked her and desperately tried to carve out my place as a new mother. We were still more like one then, instead of two. She was still just mine. And as much as I embraced and welcome the entry into daycare (oh god you have no idea), it was sad too. Those endless days of just her and I were gone. Forever caught in this type of sentimental remembering.

Just now when I went in to kiss her goodnight, she had fallen asleep amidst a pile of books on her bed. The little baby who never napped, who scared us all in the first few days of her life, the energetic toddler who tantrumed her way through the 2nd year, the preschooler who jumped and danced around the house, the willful child who recently told me "now, I hate you" and "I can never stop loving you" on the same day - this child of mine, she sleeps so beautifully. I feel blessed and lucky and full of love for this child.

4 years ago tonight, she created me.

Happy birthday, baby.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

sometimes, it's the little things that push me over the edge

Alice has been home sick the last few days and Matt and I have barely had a chance to shout obscenities at each other as we passed off child care shifts. The benefit of owning your own business is that you can make up your eight hours in the evening. But the downfall of owning your own business? That you end up working in the evening when you could be doing more productive things like..oh...catching up on American Idol.

Surprisingly, I've been super efficient the last few days and have actually managed to cope with the stress without resorting to my old friends Ativan or Masi. Oh I sighed pretty heavily and sworn a few times under my breath, but for the most part I've stayed pretty calm.

Until tonight, when I saw (or rather - heard) this.

Oh Ben Gibbard (and the other guy from the Postal Service) just what the FUCK are you doing? Look, I understand that bands sometimes do the whole commercial licensing thing (remember the whole uproar over that Moby album, anyone?) I get it, and usually I don't raise a wagging finger. But god, you have taken a song that is important to me and destroyed it. It's one of the only songs that I truly could play at any time of the day and manage to smile. And I know you don't know me and you don't owe this little blogger anything but I feel I must tell you how let down I felt when I saw that commercial. All of the impatience that has simmered inside me for the past few days as I've doted on a sick child has now risen to the surface. In a pile of rage.

What's left for me now, Ben, WHAT'S LEFT FOR ME NOW?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

oh. hi.

This past month has been so busy. I've hardly had a second to myself much less write a blog post. I was off on business trips to Washington and New York, and between those trips and trying to actually spend time with my family, blogging just hasn't been a priority. I go in waves back and forth on this whole blogging thing. Sometimes I can't get to the computer fast enough to get my thoughts out, and other times I feel this whole self-referential cycle drives me bananas. But yet, here I am. And here are the updates.

1. Dance class. Thank you all so much for your very kind comments on the last post regarding Alice's fear of dance class. It meant a lot to me that the post resonated with many of you. I'm happy to report that we managed to get over that hurdle. We convinced Alice to give the class another try, and the next week we went back. This time, we got there a little earlier than everyone else which meant Alice was able to run around the dance studio by herself for a bit before the other kids showed up. And that time on her own made all the difference. She just needed to pee in her own corner, if you know what I mean. When the class officially started, she joined the circle of little dancers willingly and proudly skipped around the room.

Watching her do this was pure gold, as I'm sure many of you can imagine. It's these little moments I try to hold onto, especially amidst other moments of "nooooooomommmyyyyyyyyIIIIIII'mmmmnotttttttgoingtobedddddddddd"

2. New York with Marla . I was in NYC on business a few weeks ago and Marla joined me for fun and freedom from her family. It was a jam-packed few days, as I was attending a tv conference, and Marla was exploring the city. I could spin long yarns about our time there, and how wonderful it was to see Marla enthralled with the candy store that is NYC. But I will leave the majority of those stories to Marla herself, with the exception of what was probably the most memorable night there. I'm talking about watching a very drunk Marla negotiate her way throught he NYC streets late one night. Watching her yell "I wanna be in tv bistibution" on 44th near 8th, and following her (or rather, chasing her) throughout Times Square as she drunkenly wove in and out of stores, pointing at door guards and saying"do you want me to try and get the guy to blow the whistle on me??" I'll leave it to her writing skills to tell the full stories, but suffice to say I will never look at a Lands End coat the same way. And as usual, I don't have any pictures to record my time in New York, but I know there are some doozies in Marla's collection.

3. Our weekend getaway with Nadine and her family (notice the pattern here? I'm thinking about starting up a whole new blog where all I do is recount adventures with other bloggers). In case I haven't mentioned it before, Nadine's husband and my husband are in love with each other. Seriously, it's the real thing. They call each other almost every day and I've caught them having meaningful conversations over the phone. They were chomping at the bits to have a family weekend getaway together so Nadine and I reluctantly agreed (you mean a whole weekend with junk food AND Nadine? Well twist my arm). We rented this place for weekend - just north of Toronto.

It was bliss - we spent the weekend gabbing and eating and drinking and sleeping and gabbing some more. And watching the kids run circles around us.

Nadine's husband cleared an area on the ice (oh yes, there was a frozen pond of course. Laura Ingalls would be proud), so they could play hockey with the kids while Nadine and I lounged with BUST and JANE magazines and pretended we were going to go outside at some point. Nadine spent a good part of the weekend on this captain's bed that was in the open-concept first-floor, right beside the kitchen. Perfect for a pregnant mama to give her orders to her minions and cuddle with Nate.

That captain's bed got plenty of horizontal time with all of us. Even Matt and the kids got to enjoy some books together.

All in all, a busy month personally and professionally. The weeks pass by so quickly and I feel like Christmas was just yesterday. I have to get back on this blogging horse, I know. Next week. I promise.

Monday, January 22, 2007

let down

All of last year Alice couldn't wait to start ballet class. She would try on every little tutu dress/pink twirly skirt she could find and prance around our living room. She jumped and spun and told me she was one of the 12 dancing princesses. And I, still numb from the fact that this little person was indeed becoming very girly and was very much rejecting the jeans and black turtlenecks I laid out on her bed every morning, started to accept and perhaps even embrace the idea of Alice starting dance class. We signed her up at the local recreation centre, spent a week trying to track down all the necessary accessories (who would have guessed that locating a pair of pink size 11 ballet slippers in Toronto would be so hard?), watched patiently as she showed us her many dance moves in the week leading up to the first class, and gave ourselves a proud pat on the back for at least providing our daughter with some sort of extra-curricular activity. We were good parents.

(cough). You do know where this is going, don't you?

The day of the first class Alice and I stepped out into the bright Toronto winter day, one of the first days we were finally experiencing cold winter weather. We walked in the minus 20-with- the-windchill weather toward the recreation centre, Alice chattering away happily about what her class would be like. We arrived at the rec centre, cheeks cold and chapped from the wind, and ready to start a new journey. As we walked toward the room where the other preschoolers were, I thought about how much older Alice seemed these days.

(jesus Kate, enough with the preamble already).

As soon as we entered the class Alice became a different person. And I mean a different person. She gasped at the 7 other girls staring at her, turned around and hid her face against me. The ballet teacher was sweetly trying to convince her to join the group but she would have none of it. She refused to participate and started crying when it looked like I was leaving the room. I thought that maybe she was just a bit uncomfortable and that if I stayed a while in the room with her that sooner or later she would join in. But no. The whole class she stuck like glue to me, staring at the other children like they were monsters. I could not believe how scared she seemed. And they even did a fairy dance, which for Alice, should have been the end all. The fairy stuff, the princess shit - it truly is her crack. But yet she stayed on my lap, crying every time I tried to pry her off me. I tried every trick I knew to get her to join in, but she stood her ground.

I know, I know. Kids go through this all the time. They get shy and want their mommies - I get it. But really, REALLY, if you have ever met Alice in person you would know that she just has never exhibited much shyness in the past. This is the same kid at daycare who has never, since entering daycare at 11 months old, turned back and cried for me. Even after changing daycares and meeting many new kids over the years, Alice has never seemed like she had separation anxiety. And so I was surprised when she reacted this way.

The worst part, the very worst part, was after the class was over. I thanked the teacher for letting us sit in, and she tried to get Alice's attention to say goodbye. Again, it was like she was trying to pour acid all over Alice's face - she screamed and cried. And then I started to lose my patience.

I got angry and started thinking "well why the hell did we do this if you don't want to be here? Why did you make me come down here in the freezing cold just to be yelled at?" I'll admit it - it was a terrible reaction to have. I was impatient and not paying attention to my daughter's broken heart. I tried not to let her see my anger, but she could probably feel it.

As I got her dressed and we walked out of there, I realized that she was walking head down low and shuffling along sadly. I crouched down to look in her eyes and the saddest little girl looked up at me. She said in a very low voice "we should give those ballet slippers away because I'm never going to use them again." And my heart broke in two, right there in the freezing wind and in the middle of a bunch of other parents hustling by us to get their own kids to their cars. It hurt like nothing else has yet in my parenting experience with Alice. I've done illness and nightmares and even the beginning of terrible girl social hierarchies at daycare. And yet this was the absolute worst I have felt so far. She had wanted to dance so badly. She had waited for months to start this class. But she couldn't do it.

She had disappointed herself, and I was at a loss as what to do. How can you make that first disappointment go away? We all know that feeling - when you've waited and prepared for something that you really, truly believe is going to be your shining moment. And then at the last minute, things just don't go as planned and you feel like you've failed. That's what her little face was full of the whole walk home and I wanted to wrap a protective armor around her against hating herself.

Instead, I hugged her tightly and told her how great a second try can be. How sometimes new situations can be really scary and seem too difficult to deal with. And how mommies can also let themselves down when they want something really really badly.

I hope she believed me, I really do.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

prescriptions for plastics

Oh internet people, I have a dilemma. And once again I am turning online to lay my questions at your feet.

I am off on a business trip to Los Angeles soon and I need some advice - where to stay, what to avoid, how to look like I am having a good time? Which, to be honest, is difficult at the best times for me.

Hollywood, Burbank, L.A. West? It's a blur to me. A great big blur of tans and synthetics.

To rewind a bit, I'm heading out there for a business trip soon and would love any advice thrown my way. While I'm fairly well-versed on all things New York City, I'm afraid to say my L.A, speak is not so good. And in the world of the television industry, which pays my bills, those are the two cities that have their fingers on the remote, so to speak.

I already have Nadine on the case, and I know once Marla reads this her research finger will start itching as well. It's the best having friends who automatically reach for their laptops before you've even finished your sentence about taking a trip somewhere.

But I wanted to ask any of you who also have some advice to give - ummm...can you please give it to me already? Perhaps some of you mama bloggers have recently taken a trip to Hollywood and you want to share? Because I know how realistic that is.

Whatever you have people, c'mon already and shout it out. I'll need to arm myself with some knowledge ammo before taking on L.A. And my handy supply of Ativan, of course.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

just add a pinch of barbie

I should sleeping. I should be sleeping.

But instead, I'm up, catching up on some blogs. And when I came across this awesomeness at crazy mumma's site , I had to share.

I can't share this with Alice just yet, but sweet jesus the rest of you need to see it.