September 2006

Contracting out

by DaniGirl on September 29, 2006 · 34 comments

in Working and mothering

I have exciting news: the cleaning lady starts on Monday. Isn’t that the best news you’ve heard all week?

Beloved and I are not completely in agreement on our need for a cleaning lady. To his credit, he did an admirable job keeping the place tidy (if not spotless) while he was home with the boys during the summer. He insisted we could continue to do the cleaning now that he’s teaching four days out of five, but when I found out I was pregnant it sealed the deal for me. We need a cleaning lady.

We had someone coming in for a couple of months when I first came back to work after my maternity leave with Simon, but Beloved took over the cleaning that summer when he was home and we muddled through the next year or so doing (gasp!) our own cleaning. Or not, and living with the filth.

Beloved’s argument against hiring someone was “we’re not rich,” and I do get where he’s coming from. Not that I’m overly fond of cleaning, and I certainly don’t have issues with the idea of having someone else pick up after me. Please, if I could find someone to chew my food for me I’d pay them for it these days.

We finally compromised, and she won’t be doing a full cleaning, just coming in for two hours every second week to concentrate on sanitizing the bathrooms and kitchen and do whatever else she can get around to. Frankly, aside from the additional cost, the main reason I don’t have her cleaning the whole house is that I’m worried about keeping the place tidy enough for her to clean under the clutter. (How sad is that?)

Now that I’ve gotten Beloved over this hurdle, my next goal is to convince him of the other members I’ll need to complement my personal staff: a chef, a gardener, a personal trainer, a nanny, and a masseuse. Hey, I’m worth it!


On secrets and sleep deprivation

by DaniGirl on September 28, 2006 · 24 comments

in Uncategorized

You’ll have to excuse me. This little blueberry of a baby has forged some sort of evil alliance with Simon, and they’re conspiring to make sure I’m so completely sleep deprived that I cease to function. For the past week and a half, Simon has been waking me three to five times a night (!) with grumbles in his sleep, whether for a lost soother or a cold that only seems to manifest itself during the night, and once I’m up, I’m up for an hour. They are very close to succeeding in their evil alliance.

All that to justify the fact that my brain is goo, and it’s an epic struggle just to make coherent sentences, let alone grammatically correct sentences that provoke stimulating debate. (But, speaking of stimulating debate – that was fun yesterday. Thanks for your two cents, and kudos to all of you for being so darn polite about it, too.)

I’m trying to avoid being the all-pregnancy-all-the-time blogger, but you’ll have to forgive me as that’s where my head is at these days. Hey, only seven more months to go! And there are just so many interesting topics related to pregnancy that we can talk about.

For instance, a friend of mine just found out she’s going to be a grandmother for the first time. Her son and daughter-in-law just told her last week – and she’s three months along. I couldn’t imagine taking three days, let alone three months, to tell my mom.

As you saw, I knew for all of about three hours before sharing my news with the interweb, and frankly that’s *longer* than I waited with Simon. I simply don’t get why people wait three months to tell people about a new pregnancy, and I’d like to know what you think. Even when we lost our first baby at 13 weeks, although it was truly one of the worst things of my life to have to tell everyone and sift through their grief as well as my own, I would still rather do it with the support of my friends than alone with Beloved.

What are your thoughts on waiting to announce a pregnancy? Did you tell people right away, wait for a special occasion, or wait for that mystical three-month mark? And *how* did you keep it a secret for so long? I have to restrain myself from telling strangers on streetcorners!


The rights of a nursing mother

by DaniGirl on September 27, 2006 · 52 comments

in Uncategorized

I’ve been following an interesting story here in Ottawa for the past couple of days. A mother to a five-month-old baby (and two older children) registered for an adults-only pottery workshop. It’s not a class, but a chance to use the studio tools and resources for a set three-hour period each week. The woman is still exclusively nursing her daughter and has not yet introduced solids or formula, and although she took the baby out of the studio to nurse her, the baby stayed in the class in her infant seat throughout the class.

Three-quarters of the way through the first class, the woman was approached by an official from the program and told that since her daughter did not meet the 19-years-or-older requirement of the class, she would not be able to bring her to subsequent classes. The city offered the woman a full refund of her registration fees when she indicated that she was unwilling to leave her baby at home. In an article in the Citizen, she says, “”I’m not asking to bring a child. I wouldn’t bring my year-and-a-half-old here. It’s not a day care. But the baby doesn’t do anything. She’s an exceptionally quiet baby. I just wanted to bring her until she starts eating pablum, probably about a month from now. Then I could make other arrangements, but now I’m nursing.”

She (and the Citizen article) are spinning this conflict as a ‘discriminating against breastfeeding mothers’ issue, but I’m not so sure I agree. I think the city was probably being a little too officious when they pulled out the “the baby is under 19 therefore does not meet the eligibility requirements of the class” argument, but I do see why they might have concerns about an infant being in the workshop.

I’m a fervent supporter of a woman’s right to nurse a baby wherever the hell she chooses. I nursed both boys in public, and have no problem with any mother nursing any baby anywhere. But I also have sympathy for the other people in the class – maybe mothers who signed up specificially to be able to get away from the babies for a little while, or maybe an infertile woman who finds the presence of a baby a painful reminder, or maybe someone who simply isn’t ga-ga over babies.

I personally don’t think the mother was being discriminated against because she was nursing, I just think that there are places that maybe babies aren’t welcome. There’s a huge difference between a mewling newborn and a curious five-month-old, too. I’m trying to remember my boys at five months, and I can’t quite imagine them being content to sit in the baby bucket for hours at a stretch. (Matter of fact, I think Simon had outgrown the baby bucket by about four months, but that’s another story.)

What do you think? Does the mother’s right to nurse her baby trump someone else’s right to be in a baby-free space?


Little brother

by DaniGirl on September 26, 2006 · 24 comments

in Uncategorized

Simon is two and a half, just a few weeks shy of two years younger than Tristan. You could never convince him of that, though. Far as Simon is concerned, he and Tristan are equals, and there is nothing that Tristan can do that Simon can’t do, too.

That makes the whole school issue a little prickly. Tristan loves school; loves it so much that he asked me at least three times each day on Saturday and Sunday when he could go back to school again. I’m hoping that enthusiasm carries him through high school at least.

And of course I want to bolster that enthusiasm, so I ask him about his activities, and his classmates, and the other minutia of his day. Through it all, Simon interjects regularly with things like “I go to school, too! My turn?” It’s the first time in Simon’s life that they haven’t been spending all day every day together, and I think it’s been hard on him. I try to drum up the same enthusiasm with Simon for the daycare provider, but it’s obvious to all three of us that it’s not the same. Darn smart kids. Dumb ones would be much easier to fool.

Even though they’re two years apart, I’ve come to think of the boys as on relatively equal footing. But two years is a big gap, and there are going to be a whole lot of things in the next couple of years that Tristan can do that Simon simply won’t be ready for, whether by externally-imposed age restrictions or simply different social circles. I guess it’s not reasonable to expect a birthday invitation from a classmate would include preccocious younger brothers, but it’s rather painful to try to explain to the two year old who got left behind, let alone explaining to the big brother that you’d rather he didn’t talk about the party at home. I skipped enrolling Tristan in swimming lessons this fall, simply because there was no equivalent for Simon – he’s already done the Parents and Tots level, and he’s too young for the preschool lessons. But is that fair to Tristan? Ah, the angst!

And yet, whether because of or despite my clumsy efforts, they are clearly becoming friends as well as brothers. Tristan has decided in the past few days that he is “Lightning McQueen” from the Disney movie Cars, and has taken to calling Simon “Mater”. Neither one of them has seen the movie yet, but Beloved assures me that Mater is Lightning McQueen’s congenial sidekick, and Tristan has bestowed a compliment on Simon with this title. It’s a fairly accurate representation of their relationship at this point, not to mention how adorable it is to listen to them say, “Goodnight, Mater!” “Goodnight, Light Queen.”

Some time between now and Christmas, we’ll be moving Simon from his crib in his own room into a big-boy bed – in Tristan’s room. Stay tuned to see how that transition fares! And if there is any justice in the universe, the pregnancy gods will give me back my precious coffee before then. Cuz I think I’m going to need a LOT of caffeine to get through those days.


Transitional pants

by DaniGirl on September 25, 2006 · 33 comments

in Uncategorized

Like most women I know, I have jeans in an array of sizes. Sexy jeans, for when I’m feeling fit; ordinary jeans; and fat jeans. I’ve been living in my fat jeans on weekends since Labour Day, and all my work pants seem to have a bit of stretch in them (can I get a hallelujah for lycra?), so I haven’t been thinking much about maternity pants just yet. Denial is not just a river in Africa.

Mind you, I’m only 8 weeks pregnant, and you might think it’s a little early to be thinking about maternity pants anyway, third child or not. I think I was around twelve weeks when I finally started wearing them with Tristan, probably a little earlier than that with Simon. Then again, I also kept 10 extra pounds as a souvenir of each pregnancy, so I’m not exactly svelte to begin with.

So on Saturday, Simon smeared something of unmentionable origins on my otherwise clean (fat) jeans, and I found myself rooting through the closet on Sunday morning looking for something to wear. I tried on my ‘ordinary’ jeans, and to my utter dismay, I couldn’t even get the zipper done up. You can’t use the famous elastic-through-the-buttonhole trick if you can’t even get the friggin’ zipper done up. And I don’t really wear track pants or yoga pants, so I was pretty much looking at spending the day with a towel wrapped around my waist, which I probably would have been happy enough to do except we were meeting friends for breakfast.

So I took a deep breath and tried not to think about the fact that I’m only two months pregnant, and I pulled out a pair of maternity jeans. Right at that moment, I think my belly popped out. And yet, for the next two hours I pulled and tugged and yanked as those suckers slid right off my hips. The towel would have been easier and more flattering. I even tried safety-pinning the hem of my shirt to the waist of my pants, which promptly tore a hole in the hem of my shirt. And of course, every time gravity did its work and the pants slid down, they brought my underwear with them, so every two steps I had to not only hitch up my pants, but stick my hands into my pants and yank my underwear back into place as well.

Not pretty. Nothing puts me in a bad mood faster than pants that don’t fit. Oh, how I hate the transitional phase.

So after breakfast, the boys went to the bookstore while I went directly to the maternity store. Did you know they’ve invented stuff and totally changed the look of maternity clothes in the two years since I’ve had Simon? They have these pants called “now and after”, that are designed for the early months and the time immedately post-partum when you have all of the flab but none of the belly. They’re full of lovely lycra, and rather than a belly panel they have a thick elastic waist at the back, so the waistband runs under your belly. They’re actually rather flattering, so I bought two pairs – which I will alternate for the next month and a half. (Who am I kidding? At this rate, I’ll have outgrown the transitional pants by next Wednesday.)

And although they looked absolutely adorable in the store, and seemed to fit quite well, I discovered on the way to work this morning that they have the same gravitational susceptibility as my maternity pants.

If you see a girl wandering about downtown employing a rather unique and awkward-looking “step-step-hitch-step-step-dig-yank-step” gait, do be sure to say hello. I’m heading out to find some suspenders…



by DaniGirl on September 22, 2006 · 36 comments

in Uncategorized

Oh my god, I’m so hungry. Hungry, hungry, hungry. I’m hungry all. the. time. Sheesh, you’d think I was pregnant or something.

It’s really inhumane how hungry I am. This child I am gestating is the size of a grape seed, and demands more caloric intake per day than my 47 lbs son consumes in a week. And it’s not just the lip-smacking, vaguely peckish, tummy grumbling hunger, either. This is insistent, impossible-to-ignore, death-is-imminent-unless-you-eat-right-NOW hunger. Constantly.

I’m trying to be good, but it’s so haaaard. < /whiney voice > I’ve got a stash of apple sauce cups and almonds in my desk drawer. I’ve got boxes of raisins in my messenger bag. I try to eat small, healthy things throughout the day. And I am always, always starving.

I remember the rule of thumb from last time around, that ‘eating for two’ is a myth and that at most, you should be consuming an extra 300 calories a day. That, in case you are wondering, translates into one Tim Horton honey cruller doughnut. (320 calories, to be exact, but I’ll take the stairs an extra time today to make up the difference.) Psh. As if that’s going to make a dent in the Hunger That Ate New York.

Every day this week, my eating pattern has been something along this line:
6:45 am, on the bus to work: one box of raisins.
7:15 am, at my desk: one muffin.
9:30 am, at my desk: handful of almonds (mmm, salty)
10:30 am, at my desk: a cup of applesauce.
(by this time I am so hungry I lick the bowl and foil peel-back lid clean of any speck of apply goodness)
12:00 (if I can hold off that long): lunch
(I try to make good lunch choices, but by the time lunch comes I am so hungry I want comfort food. Heavy, warm, gravy-soaked comfort food. And then I eat it, and for the rest of the afternoon I groan and my esophagus burns from the reflux and I curse the repeating taste of the damn gravy that tasted so good on the way down and will now haunt me for the rest of the afternoon.)
2:30 pm, at my desk: more almonds.
5:00 pm, making dinner: eat large chunks of whatever I am cooking raw as I prepare for dinner.
5:30 pm: dinner.
5:35 pm: remnants of Tristan’s dinner.
8:30 pm: snack.

At least I don’t (looking for wood to touch) have much morning sickness to contend with. If I don’t obey the command for food with adequate haste, my stomach starts to roll, but otherwise I’ve been pretty lucky.

And you know what the most cruel cut of all is? I’m losing my taste for coffee. With Tristan, I had a complete aversion to coffee – couldn’t stand the idea of it. With Simon, I had a mild aversion through my first trimester, but was back on it by the fourth month.

This time around, it’s not so much as an aversion to coffee as I just don’t have the same level of adoration I normally have for it. Rather than running off to get my second (and sometimes third) cup of the morning, I end up leaving more than half of my first cup to get cold on my desk. I’ve actually started to downsize from my daily extra large, just because it’s going to waste.

Oh cruel pregnancy, I’ll happily deal with the hunger and the sciatica and the gas and the hormones and the disruption to my digestive tract, but for the love of all things holy, please don’t take my coffee away from me!!!


The good, the bad and the milky

21 September 2006 Uncategorized

I’ve got a handful of little things that I can’t quite make a full post out of, so you’re getting the dog’s breakfast post today. (Hey, I just checked on to make sure I had the right meaning for dog’s breakfast, and it says this is a Canadian slang term. How about that!) Ahem, […]

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The one where she changes her mind

20 September 2006 Uncategorized

So I’ve made a decision. Isn’t it exciting? I’ve drawn a line in my sandbox. No ads on this blog. Or at least, no ads on this blog TODAY. Maybe in some other circumstance, maybe with some other set of conditions. But not today, not right now. Hey, it’s not much of a stand, but […]

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Does it count as a bedtime snack?

19 September 2006 Uncategorized

It’s bedtime. I’m pulling Simon’s shirt off to put on his pyjamas. Beloved: Loookit that belly! Whatcha been eating?(and no, luckily for him, he was not talking to me) Simon: Play-doh.

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Audrey Hepburn I ain’t

19 September 2006 Uncategorized

So this may come as a surprise to you, but I’m not much of a fashionista. You’re shocked, aren’t you? (Okay, stop laughing.) I’ll admit, just about everything I know about style and fashion I get from What Not To Wear. That’s how I learned to stop wearing faded denim cropped tight at the ankle […]

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