Friday, December 23, 2005

Time, time, time. See what's become of me.

Yikes. I just reread my post from the 21st. Internet note: no more blogging after two glasses of shiraz (thank you HS's company for that extra Christmas treat), when I only have three minutes of free time, and when I'm feeling morose and sorry for myself (I'm sure the wine and the dinner time temper tantrum are what did me in). My birthday was fine. The babysitter (who we LOVE) came early, I had some lovely gorgonzola-drenched food, and we saw Walk the Line (great movie. Makes me want to download some Johnny Cash with my iTunes gift certificate -- thanks to my sister and KB). Thirty-four just seems like a blah age, and since we moved to Ottawa, I feel like my life has been placed on hold in favour of HS's career advancement. Which it has, let's face it. You see, we had to decide about our move to Ottawa before Charlie was even born, and I thought I would love being a SAHM (with a little freelance work on the side). I quit my horrible, horrible job with a Major Catalogue Retailer halfway through my pregnancy because I just couldn't take the stress, constant blame, and some truly evil coworkers. So I didn't have a job to go back to after my leave was up anyway. And while I do appreciate that I can take this time to be at home with Charlie, because it is a gift and not everyone has this opportunity, sometimes the playgroups and Gymboree and toddler music classes grate on my very last nerve. So I think that looking back on a year that was quite difficult (what with the PPD 'n' all) and looking forward to another year of better mental health but more of the same, it was getting me down a little. I need a list of goals that have nothing to do with motherhood. A little time just for me. I used to make a list every year of new things to do, and I haven't done that since Charlie was born (and the list for 2003 was all about getting knocked up and baby stuff). There's something to think about over the next week or so while HS is off, and I will have more time to myself. Speaking of the holidays, I have a to-do list that's all about getting ready to go to my MIL's tonight, and I have done none of it. Gotta pack, gotta wrap, gotta find the portable DVD player for the car ride.

If anyone actually reads this, I hope you have a wonderful, restful holiday season with those you love.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Merry birthday

I know it's way cooler to bash the holidays, but dammit, I loves me some Christmas. Seriously. I love the food and the family time, and I'm really looking forward to celebrating with a somewhat aware two-year old. I love his blase approach to presents and the glee that comes with ripping up tissue paper rather than the truck inside the gift bag. Charlie's birthday is two days after Christmas, and he's way more into singing Happy Birthday than Jingle Bells. My birthday, alas, is tomorrow, and for some reason I'm quite bummed about it. I usually force all the friends and relatives that I can to having dinner at my favourite dive restaurant in Toronto, Oasis, for yummy tapas and sangria. And then a movie of my choice. But this year I'm stuck in Ottawa. And while dinner with my hubby is always nice, it's just not the same.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I need to call in sick

Ugh. Can't think. Want to post, but oh the mucus. And the sore throat. And the aches and pains. Our entire household has been brought low by one seemingly innocuous toddler ear infection (and a weekend playdate with a cutie-pie who now has the croup). Good times, good times. Luckily HS stayed at home today with Charlie so I could stay in bed. If he couldn't (and he can't tomorrow), I don't know what I would have done. Let Charlie sit zombie-like in front of six hours of Dora? Perhaps.

So now a dinner of chicken soup and Neocitran. HS has taken Charlie out for dinner so I can get some rest (or, um, blogging time). I'm going back to bed. The computer monitor, she is swimming, not unattractively, in front of my eyes.

Friday, December 09, 2005

How many more shopping days?

This morning I was living one of those parenting cliches. You know the one: crowded mall just before Christmas, frazzled mom, shrieking toddler. Just throw in the fact that I looked distinctly unwashed, my outfit surely would have landed me a spot on What Not to Wear, and the toddler was not only shrieking, but sobbing, arching his back, and trying to launch himself out of my arms and on to the tiled floor.

Now in my defense — to those Bayshore shoppers who didn't hesitate to shoot me a "what kind of IDIOT tries to navigate Winners with a cranky toddler?" look of condemnation (I recognize that one, having fired it off indiscriminately pre-motherhood) — I try very hard to avoid such situations. Honestly. That's why I never take Charlie shopping in the afternoons if I can help it. Only a lack of basic nutrients will lead me to wrestle Charlie into a shopping cart post-nap. And this morning, all signs pointed to at least a half hour of holiday shopping: yes, Charlie was up early, but it was 6, not 5 a.m., he had been well fed and watered (thanks to a stop at Tim Hortons), he was happily chatting away to himself in his stroller just before the screaming started. And I still have no idea what set him off. So I dropped the lovely cashmere-blend socks I found and hustled him out of the store. And when setting him free from said stroller only led to more mobile displays of discontent, I promptly used my "parenting skills" (as in, I'm bigger than you kid and I can carry your writhing body and push a stroller and carry the world's most awkward and heavily laden diaper bag) to get him to the car where he promptly fell asleep. So I will battle it out with the weekend shoppers instead, sans Mr. Ticking Time Bomb of Irrational Fury. And people (read: the childless) wonder why I haven't finished my Christmas shopping.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Why oh why did I have to commit to the Internet Charlie's fantastic car-napping skills? Of course the day after I reported (ok, bragged a little) that I can transfer Charlie from the car to his crib while he happily snoozes away, it doesn't work. Charlie had a twenty minute nap after our visit this morning to the passport office. And then he fell asleep at 4:00 p.m. And of course today has to be the day that HS has a company party and won't be around for the second shift. It's now 5:00 p.m. Do I wake Charlie and endure his wrath? Let him sleep himself silly and endure a late-night play-doh marathon? Argh! What to do?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Today's verdict


Charlie, you win. You will be an only child. How can we have a lovely, lovely morning and such a rotten afternoon? Why are you so crusty after your nap? And seriously now, what is the deal with the biting? I thought that charming phase was over, but you seem keen to revisit the past. Don't you know my resources are at their lowest right before dad gets home? That I neither have the energy, time nor will to sweet-talk you out of your hissy fit when I'm making dinner?

No? Only two you say? I'm the adult in this situation? Crap.

I'm sorry I bolted as soon as dad got home, but mommy desperately needed a break.

Does every SAHM feel this way, or is it just me?

Rock on

I rocked Charlie to sleep for his nap yesterday. And as his breath got slower and deeper, his limbs went slack, and his face became totally serene, I thought, "I'm not going to get to do this for much longer." And I was a little sad. And surprised to be sad. You see, naptime used to be stressful because I would have to rock or nurse Charlie or drive him around in the car (the only plus to that is now, if he falls asleep in the car, I can get him out of his car seat, take off his boots and coat, and put him in his crib -- and he stays asleep!) to get him to sleep. Many times the only way he would stay asleep was if there was a boob in his mouth or he was snoozing on my lap and I was rocking, rocking, endlessly rocking. Now he expects his nap, and usually all it takes is a few stories, some songs in the rocking chair, and a few pats on the back in his crib to get him off to sleep. In the early days, I used to fantasize about such independence. I rejoiced when it finally happened. But yesterday it was nice to hold my little boy, who is no longer a baby, and rock him to sleep without feeling frustrated (because all the sleep advice I was getting wasn't working), resentful (so much for napping when the baby naps), guilty (for feeling resentful), and totally exhausted (because I wasn't sleeping during the day or all that much at night). What a difference a year can make. And meds. And therapy. Lots and lots of therapy.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Harry Potter with a side of fries

So we booked the babysitter this weekend and went to see the new Harry Potter movie. The babysitter arrived at 8:30, we had Charlie in bed by 8:45, and we barreled out the door to make the 9:15 show time. Little did we know that we needn't have rushed, because there was half an hour of ads/previews! Half an hour! Now I love previews, and I expect maybe 10-15 minutes of ads for movies I probably won't get to see, but still. Perhaps if I wasn't paying for that half an hour I wouldn't be so bitter, but I think that's a little excessive. Especially when the previews are all kid-friendly, such as Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (which looked like it was filmed in Muskoka) and every single animated movie that is coming out in the next eight months. Ugh! Now I did like the movie, despite the fact that there were several moments when the scenes seemed chopped off (the movie is pretty long) and the dialogue doesn't quite follow (or maybe that was me, because I was up after my bedtime). But here's what we spent for our night out:

Movie tickets (2): $26.00
Small popcorn, small bottle of water: $7.26
Babysitter: $25

For a grand total of: $58.26

And that is why we don't get out much anymore.

I also managed to go out for dinner with a friend of mine at Milestones, which is new to Ottawa, but quite familiar to me in my pre-baby days. It used to have a cheap drink night, and my favourite was their bellini. Definitely not a bellini in the traditional sense, more like a two-ounce alcohol slushy in a martini glass. And dangerous, because you can't taste one whit of booze. Yummy! But I was in heaven because they had a dish that seemed made just for me: gorgonzola fries. All of my food vices in one dish: salty, deep-fried starchy goodness slathered with one of my favourite cheeses (but they're all good to me) and liberally sprinkled with bacon. If I could bathe in this stuff, I would.

Friday, November 25, 2005

I need hot chocolate

Oh dear God, it's winter. After toying with us last week with a will it stay or will it go? snowfall, winter has declared a huge "it's on beeyatches" by dumping a ton of snow yesterday and following up with a blindingly sunny, bitterly windy, -15°C kind of day. I'm actually jealous of Americans right now. I could really go for a family-centric holiday with a heap of yummy food to go with this weather (and stuffing. lots and lots of stuffing). Oh well. Farewell patchy, dead lawn! See you in April!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Hello and welcome!

I've been lurking and hemming and hawing about starting a blog, so WTF, here goes! I don't really know the etiquette of what the first blog entry should contain, but here's a little bit about me. If you're interested, stick around.

I am a SAHM/WAHM*. I married my first love, an amazing guy (HS) that I started dating fifteen years ago. I have one two-year old son. The reason my blog is called First or Only is not just because the short form is FOO, but it's also a debate I have every day. Will my son (Charlie) be the first born or an only child? I used to think that I wanted at least two kids, but after a nasty bout of PPD*, I'm not sure. I thought I would love life as a SAHM, but the truth is that, even though I love Charlie dearly, I'm not totally fulfilled being at home with a two-year old all day. And could I handle another baby, what with the sleepless nights and lack of sleep and the utter exhaustion, and did I mention the lack of sleep? Charlie was a TERRIBLE sleeper, and it's only now that I feel somewhat rested, as rested as one can be when your child is rarin' to go at 5:15 a.m. Add a toddler to a newborn, and egads. Sprinkle with the wintry hell that is Ottawa at the moment, I'm sure I would go insane. But after a perfectly lovely day like yesterday, I'm thinking that Yes! I'm up for a challenge.

But anywho, this blog will be about parenting a toddler, living in Ottawa, and various musings about whatever pops in my head. I guess that makes me one of those self-centred parenting bloggers the New York Times condemned, but isn't every blog a way to write about yourself?
So here goes. What else do you want to know? I'm in my early thirties. I drag my son to Tim Hortons every day. He knows how I take my coffee. The last book I read was We Need to Talk About Kevin, and it's still rattling around in my brain. The last movie I saw was The Wedding Crashers (at the drive-in), and I'm booking the baby sitter for the new Harry Potter and Rent. I set the PVR for The Daily Show, America's Next Top Model and Gilmore Girls. I'm a Capricorn and so is my son. I'm really looking forward to going home for Christmas.

*When I started reading blogs (and I read a lot of them), I didn't know what these acronyms meant. So here they are spelled out.
SAHM/WAHM: Stay-at-home Mom/Work-at-home Mom
PPD: Post-partum depression