tripping the life unbalanced

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


So I have lots to write about regarding the ARM conference and the post conference festivities from last week. I have so much whirling around in my brain about the excellent blogging panel with Marla, Ann, Andrea, Dani and Jen, and lots of stories to relate (like how I started crying during Marla's presentation). And so much more to say about how being in a roomful of intelligent funny women talking about motherhood and beyond made my toes curl with excitement the rest of the weekend. Seriously folks. It was top drawer.

But all of that will have to wait for another day, when I'm feeling more verbose. (I know. Me. More verbose. Can you stand it?)

Tonight, however, it's all about the Halloween activities going on in this house, and the fact that little girls don't like it so much when mommy keeps asking them to "please please turn to the right so mommy can capture the beauty of the costume!"

She eventually did have fun. Right around the time that the 5th chocolate bar kicked in. Can't wait until bedtime. God help us all.

**edited to add: It's a costume of a little girl riding a unicorn. I love how the front legs look all deflated, as if it was empathizing with its rider.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

TTLU: Now. With. More. Acne!

Great. This is just great. Suddenly, and without much warning, some pimples have taken up residence on my face. And we aren't talking little tiny bumps, but rather big RED mothers that compete with my nose and eyes for space. Just in time for a very public outing tomorrow afternoon and evening.

So those of you I have not met before who will be attending the ARM conference tomorrow I'll be with the one at the back of the room trying to cover up my face with a very very long scarf. Or perhaps, the one heckling Marla. I haven't decided yet.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

parenting over the phone lines

There's been much discussion in my house lately about privileges. The privilege to have candy after daycare if you don't scream at me at bedtime, the privilege to watch The Backyardigans if you don't jump on the couch after I told you a million bloody times to cut that out, and even the privilege to have playdates if you don't spit at me on the way home from daycare. For the most part, Alice excels at reward challenges: she likes to work towards a goal that could end positively for her (and provide her with multitudes of Polly Pocket gummy bears. Jesus lord.) She has become much better since last year's Year of The Shitfits (when we saw some doozy tantrums). But now and again the shitfit will hit the fan and I'll duck for cover.

As always, it warms my heart to know that other bloggers feel my pain and parenting foibles. Marla has been experiencing some tantrums of her own with Josie, and we were recently swapping stories. After a botched attempt the other day to get together with Josie and Marla, Alice was upset when the date was postponed. And like all good parents before me, I used this disappointment as a parenting TOOL. Like I said, we were engaged in heavy discussions about "privileges" with Alice, and I knew that Josie and Marla were also in negotiations about tantrums (i.e: act like that and a privilege will be taken away, my friend!) So when I told Alice the playdate had been cancelled because Josie was having difficulty with her tantrums, I also made sure to let her know that that's what happens when parents are fed up with being yelled at. Alice looked at me solemnly and asked if she could call Josie, and here is what (mostly) was said:

A: Hi Jothie
J: Hi Awice
A: We need to be good tomorrow, okay Jothie? We need not to shout and scream and yell at our mommies 'cause I wanna see you tomorrow and I have stickers and I actually want to play with you actually.
J: Otay, Awice. I come to your house tomorrwoah and not be bad tomorrwoah.
A: that's good 'cause I want you to come to my house for a playdate like my mommy said today but then we couldn't do it and now we need to wait until tomorrow actually in one day
J: Yes Awice. I won't yell no more and be good and see you tomorrwoah.
A: (big pause)
J: (bigger pause). The only sound is that of mommies giggling in the back ground
A: (prompted). Bye!
J: (also prompted) 'Bye Awice.

Score one for the mommies. It worked! Dear god it worked. I made sure to milk that conversation for as long as I could that night. "You do want to see Josie tomorrow, right? So you probably want to make sure to go right to bed and NOT dress the cat up in a Princess dress under the covers, right? I hope Josie is listening to her mommy too." I'm not sure if the same went on at Marla's that night, but I can definitely say that the dual reward challenge worked wonders for me.

This is good news, because I'm started to run out of other rewards (she's onto my "no dessert until you finished dinner" scam. She was onto it the night she caught me with a cake pan in my hand, half-eaten. "you didn't eat your dinner, Mommy!") The thought of losing out on a potential playdate was too much for her to bear, and there was excellent behavior to be had the rest of the night. Which is kind of funny, because while Josie and Alice do seem to enjoy spending time together, they have mostly had their friendship thrust upon them and egged on by their mommies. We have convinced them that a missed playdate is the absolute worst thing imaginable, when really it is just so much more convenient for us if they can play nicely while we get drunk in the corner.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

paradise by the croisette lights

I'm back from la France. It was a busy busy week of tv pitching and listening to tv pitches and bitching about tv pitches and good lord stop me before I start talking about pitches again. Cannes is a beautiful but decadent place to do business. I've had my fill of cheese and bread and pasta to last me a lifetime.

Alice and Matt did fine on their own - 8 whole days without me. I was nervous when I first left, thinking the worst of course. But they were fine, as deep down (very far deep down) I knew they would be. I did, however, have a panicked moment one morning. I had not been able to reach them in 24 hours and Matt's cell phone voicemail was completely full. Leave it to me to jump to the worst conclusions. There I was, sitting on the beach along the French Riviera, Cafe Americano in my hand, 25 degrees (C) out and no clouds in sight. I should have been enjoying the scenery and breathing in all that ocean air, but instead I was leaving panicked voicemails with everyone I know. Instead I was calling Nadine on the expensive French cell phone telling her I couldn't get a hold of Matt and Alice and asking her if she had she heard anything. Luckily, she's a good friend and wasn't condescending when she reassured me that they were probably fine and that she could drop by my place to make sure if I really wanted her to. Friends like these, who don't hold your neuroses against you and validate your fears at the same time they calm you down are truly priceless.

Once I talked to Matt and found out that our new cordless phone was broken and he kept trying to answer the phone each time I called, I calmed down and enjoyed the rest of the week of work. It's hard to hate where you are when you see this every morning (view from my apartment balcony in Cannes):

Or when see this on your way to work each day:

And it's REALLY hard to hate a place that excels in making an ordinary meal feel special. Even a regular old sandwich lunch came with these:

Of course, I did miss Canadian Thanksgiving. Which meant I missed an awesomely loud dinner at my parent's house. They can actually be quite fun, and I was disappointed to miss it. But mostly, I missed the opportunity to see my parent's dog in person, who was recently outfitted with this:

If I had been at Thanskgiving dinner, I would have got down on my knees and thanked god that I get to carry this image around with me for the rest of my life. Seriously.

One last thing that the Cannes trip gave me was an opportunity to shop at some of the cutest kids' stores. What it is about European kids' clothing that makes them far superior to the stuff we have here? There's just something about the tiny wooly hats and tights and crochet dresses that makes my maternal heart light on fire. I was happy to bring back a piece of France for my daughter - a reminder of the place I go to twice a year to just be me and not only mommy. Every time I go away I find that as much as I love working on my career, mostly I can't wait to get back to the lovely little spitfire who makes my heart ache when I hear her voice a thousand miles away.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

so kiss me and smile for me

I'm off, folks. Leaving tomorrow night for a week in France to talk television. Say your prayers for me, please, because I surely will need it amongst the many many pitches of "I've got this great idea for a reality show, see?"

Luckily, I'm still sick. I've been fighting this cold/flu now for over 2 weeks and I'm damn sick of being sick. I went to the doctor's yesterday and she was all "tsk tsk you have a virus and tsk tsk there is nothing I can prescribe for you" and I was all "fuck you." She suggested that I go home and "get some sleep for two days" and then I would feel better. Yah, I'll get right on that.

Anyway, to all the people I keep meaning to contact/get back to/call/or yell in their general direction: big sorry and a promise to do so when I return.

I hate leaving Alice when I go away on business. It hurts my heart. This time she seems so much more aware that I am leaving. Tonight at dinner she put her hands on my face and said very solemnly: "France is very very far away from me, mommy, and when you are there I won't be."

Kill me now. Please?

So think of me, friends, tomorrow night as you tuck your kidlets into bed. I'll be high in the sky, high on Ativan. Missing my child already, I'm sure. But kind of looking forward to a bed by myself for one whole week. And the pastries. Sweet Jesus, the pastries.