Thursday, March 30, 2006

Where the grass might be greener

It seems that people have children, buy a minivan and move out to the suburbs. It might be the secret parent oath that I forgot to pledge.

I love the city. It has everything to offer. Culture, entertainment and community living. It has always seemed to me that this fine city I call home is made up of many little cities that all join together. Every section has a different feel with a different heritage. It's wonderful to be exposed to so many different lifestyles. As a parent, I also value living so close to one of the best children's hospitals in the world.

I didn't always live in the Big City. Nope, born in a village and raised in the big city of the area – population: 16,000. It did draw a large farming community so it had most of the big chain stores and fast food restaurants. I grew up with the same circle of friends from nursery school through high school. As a child I felt stifled by small city living and dreamed of getting out. From the age of ten, I told my parents that I'd be living in the biggest city our country had to offer. They laughed and thought I was cute. When I sold my car, packed my silverware in my luggage and boarded the plane, their eyes filled with tears and looked like their hearts would burst. Even at that young naive age, I hated putting them through that but I had big dreams and adventures were waiting. Plus, I knew they were only a phone call away.

Now that I'm a parent my heartstrings are being tugged at once again. I now have the guilt of raising the grandchildren so far away. I want my children to know their grandparents and I feel like I'm robbing them of a close-knit relationship. They do have Colin's parents nearby but his family is very different from mine. They are older and no longer have the ability to look after small children. Plus I don't think they ever had the same family bond that I grew up in. Aunts, Uncles and cousins were all part of my daily life. His family would only get together with their extended family once a year.

I never saw this coming but having children also made me reevaluate my standard of living. The dream house in the big city would cost at least half a million, while we could be living mortgage free in the small city. Lord knows that we need more room for all their plastic toys!

Children can run and play in the streets in the small city. Here they can play in our postage stamp sized yard while supervised.

It will be strange when our girls are old enough to develop friendships. I won't have the luxury of already knowing their new friend's parents. How will I know it's safe for them to go to that stranger’s house?

All of sudden the big city has turned a little scary for the small town girl but I know it's just the natural worries of being a parent. Do we secretly all want to raise our children, the way that we were raised?

The one reason that Colin doesn't have to fear me pressuring him to move out to the boonies is this.

We can't live without sushi restaurants!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

shhh... That's a dirty word

I have the latest, trendy accessory. You know what I'm talking about. The coolest celebrities think it’s all the rage. Why of course, Babies. So why the hell is Mommy such a dirty word?

I first discovered the Mom versus Mommy War over at
Motherhood Uncensored. Soon followed this, this and this. It was Her Bad Mother that got the greasy wheels in my mind rolling.

I originally thought that the reason why Mommy Blogs were being looked down upon were because non-parents found the genre self indulgent and boring. You probably remember that woman that you didn’t know so well, maybe through a friend or at work. She tediously recounted pieces of her child’s daily activities like it was the best thing since sliced bread. You felt it was polite to listen but all you heard was blah blah blah, Ethan, blah blah blah so cute… You couldn’t wait to run to your closest friend and tell her what a dreary knob so-and-so was and then spill the beans about who was doing who, what you found on sale and complain that your boss didn’t know his way out of his own ass.

I totally understand why a childless person would find something labeled a Mommy, Mom or Parent Blog to not be their cup of tea, even though I’m sure that you know that these blogs are filled with all kinds of amusing topics. It just so happens that we share a common bond. There is a little creature that makes us beam.

Yes, being a Mom is one of the things that defines me. However I clearly remember That Woman and I refuse to be labeled dreary knob. In my rare social encounters, I try to discuss things I’ve read, music that needs to be heard, stuff in the news and maybe some celebrity gossip. Even though I don’t think I’ve overtly bored anyone with poop stories, invitations are less frequent. This is partly due to the fact that people know I have children to rear. Not to mention that after the age of thirty, people with or without children, tend to switch to being homebodies.

I needed an outlet to discuss Mommy issues and I found this wonderful world on the web. Smart and funny people that understand and share delightful stories that make me laugh and cry. It couldn’t be here that this war was raging?!

Maybe it’s because blogrolls mainly refer to our category as Mommy that the women who have outgrown this label are miffed. It does seem to be the age of our children that determine our titles. My oldest calls me Mommy and my youngest calls me Dada (She’s eight months old. Everything is Dada.)

Then again maybe some Moms feel that people who refer to themselves as Mommies are degrading their genre. I don't see how this could possibly be true. It takes only a couple minutes of reading a newly discovered blog to see if that person’s writing style is something that you want to return to. Personally, I have to stop surfing because there are too many incredible women writing blogs that I’ve become addicted to. Soon I won't have time to create precious, blogworthy moments with my own children.

If we want respect for Mom/Mommy/Parent/PWC (People With Children) Blogs we need to end the war. Peace out.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Que Sera Sera

“The reason adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up is because they're looking for ideas.”
- Anonymous

Scene set up (Strawberry, in tears. Calming down from a tantrum.)

Me -“Oh sweetie, you’re such a drama queen. Maybe you’ll be an actress?”

Strawberry sobbing –“No mom.” (More sniffles) “I’m going to be an astronaut.”


When it came time for Colin to decide on a career path, his father pushed him towards the trades because it was the highest paying choice that required little education. He had two uncles already in the trades so it was an easy thing to fall into.

One of the reasons that I fell in love with my husband is because he has a carefree spirit and a special way in finding joy in his surroundings. Colin has a real positive energy. He doesn’t take things too seriously and he definitely doesn’t over think things.

He has always enjoyed the creativity of cartoons and comics. His mother has told him that she is jealous of him because she could never get the same enjoyment out of reading this section of the newspaper. I find myself smiling when I hear him laughing out loud.

On several occasions, he has laughed in his sleep. Last week, when this happened I lightly probed him, “What’s so funny?” He said with a sleepy smile, “I’m making up cartoons in my head.”

I really think he missed his calling.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Checking bathroom walls

It's a rainy, Jack Johnson Saturday. His music is perfect for rainy days. It also suits lazy, lounging, coolie drinks in the sun at the cottage. I've convinced Strawberry that Jack Johnson is Curious George so that she doesn't throw herself on the ground and cry for The Backyardigans. I do like those disco beats but one can only listen to this CD a hundred times a day.

I have an ever-growing list of things I want to write about, but the words escape me. I expect a lot out of my amateur writing. I have to be happy with it. So happy that I can go back and reread things. Again and again. Maybe with a smile. At least without a sour, tart face. So far not everything here meets my own standards, but that's not enough reason to hit delete. It's a learning process and I hope that practice will make me better.

So instead of tackling a topic, I leave you with a question? (Begging for more audience participation... is anyone out there?)

Do you get silent, listen for a few moments... hang up phone calls everyday?

We do. If I didn't know better, I'd swear my husband was doing things to bring on Fatal Attraction stalkers. Maybe I have been using my husky Demi voice too often. I don't know. Call me.
867-5309 (I shouldn't make light of this because it really does creep me out, but what's a girl to do?)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Fluff stuff

Not crying or pouting

Ok so it is about time that I switch gears around here. I've become all too serious and boring. I think I might be scaring people far, far away. I vow it's only happy fluff I'm going to spout.

I had a long overdue visit with The Domestic Goddess. Have we ever changed since the days we were roommates, danced in the cool kids clubs and created the macaroni and beer taste test. I hope I am remembering that correctly. It's funny how vivid a memory can be and yet it blurs like a dream. It could be due to age or just too many drinks that night.

She made us oh so delicious pizza. I said utterly stupid things like "So when are you going to have your second child? Or do you just want to get this one out first?" Sorry! I really don't know what possesses me sometimes.

I need to make an effort to see friends more often. It would help in remembering social skills.

My girls even put on their angelic "we mostly never cry or pout" faces.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Every time I turn on the news, there is another story of a mom who had been suffering from depression. It is immensely sad when a mother takes her own life, robbing her children of the role she was supposed to provide to them. It seems like irresponsible journalism. I thought the media was not supposed to cover suicides in fear of copycats.

It is even worse when the news reports that a mother has killed her children. I become completely heartbroken. That's when I turn off the television in tears. I usually end up haunted by these thoughts.

I know that the media has just picked up on postpartum and it appears to be an epidemic. There has to be a better way to bring information to the public. It is a serious condition that can be treated. The media should offer hope not more depressing stories.

Finally some good news

A big sigh of relief and my heart felt a spring of elation. It is a happy day when peacemakers that have been held hostage are freed. I have to admit I feared the worst. This is when it feels great to be wrong.

Their families can finally get a good nights rest.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Justifiably foul


Seven cheerios are on the floor. Strawberry runs into the kitchen. "Oh no! A BIG mess." A tiny smudge of blueberry jam is on my arm. Strawberry scolds, "You have to have a bath."

My mom will be so happy to know that there is hope. It seems that the clean gene only skipped a generation.

When my little one gets older, she's likely to scrutinize all the pictures of herself looking rather messy and be a bit disappointed in me. At least I didn't lick my fingers and wipe your face clean. Well in truth, I may have, but only to disgust your dad. Please forgive your easily entertained mom.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

An ode to Spring

Spring Goddess

I await your presence with anticipation, dear goddess of spring. Make the world warmer once more. Paint the ground with breathtaking colours and release the sweet aroma. Awaken my senses. Bring the world new life. It’s the magic of spring in all its glory that can fill my heart with hope.

I can’t wait to be blanketed with a warm breeze, to watch Strawberry frolic outside, to see Buttercup discover the sensation of fingers and toes on grass. The romantic vision of the new season has seized my soul.

Yes, it was the warmest winter on record but I still crave spring and it cannot arrive early enough.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sugarcoated sanity

Today I'm my normal crazy self. It actually kind of scares me how I can fully return to myself so quickly. The white jacket, padded room type disconcerting, especially since I don't look good in white. I'm too pale.

I chalk yesterday up to the wee hours of the morning spent playing Sims 2. It's an addiction I submit to only when the little ones are sleeping. Time literally escapes me when I play. Sleep deprivation has a way of playing havoc with my mind. Plus then a Pringles commercial hypnotized me.

All is swell once more. That's not to say that today wasn't filled with insane moments. Getting Buttercup to not cry, remove her toy from her mouth and eat some baby food was a challenge. It's true that Gwyneth Paltrow would not want to be my friend. She's been quoted saying she can't understand why anyone would baby talk. How else can you say, "Sweetie take chicken legs out so mommy can put the num nums in?" Not in a grown up voice! How do you have endless rounds of giggle provoking peek-a-boo? It is not possible without the sugarcoated tone. I found humor in the fact that supposedly her husband Chris is using the force, playing light sabers with a friend. (Once again interview material just heard this evening) He gets to be a kid but it’s only grown up talk for Apple.

With that thought, I'm off to sleep so that more sanity can return.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Weight of the world

Today everything came crashing down. It's been spiraling down for some time. I was completely emotionally drained. All because of the post I'll never post. If I don't talk about it, then it's not real. Yes, I know, I'm in denial. In general, I'm such an open book that it's probably good to have a few secrets.

I hate having my kids see me depressed. It's not fair to them. There are such bigger issues in the world. Other people have much larger problems. The guilt was seeping in. I wanted to snap out of it but the thoughts kept streaming in.

Words, words, words… circling around. Polluting my mind.

Before children, when it all became too much, I would crawl into bed and sleep for twenty-two hours. It was the best way to turn off the words. That is just not an option anymore.

I could just follow Tom Cruise's advice and take some vitamins. Yah, right. That will make it all better.

I could put on the Arctic Monkey's CD and bounce around with Strawberry laughing and imitating me. That would take energy.

Hubby, who suffered much abuse today, knew I was at my breaking point so he came to the rescue. He told me to go have some me time. Ever so slowly, I tripped to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee and sat myself down in front of the computer. I started surfing blogs.

The words of others removed me from my thoughts. I began to feel like a human being again. Other moms reminded me of the joys in my life. Life was manageable again.

I returned to my family, cranked some tunes, made a half decent meal and watched the Leafs suffer another loss. They need to read your blogs.

Friday, March 17, 2006

One cool cat

Thanks for the inspiration.


Oh sure lady, have your fun. Put stupid toys on my head. I'm too tired to fight you on this. I was up all night playing with that balloon. Did you notice that I didn't even pop it with these vicious claws that I have? I'm living on the edge, man. It's just one of my many untapped talents.

I'm just going to ignore you. Now go away. Oh damn a bright light. Is this the end or did you just take a picture? You didn't just capture me looking like this, DID YOU? Well you have been feeding me for years so ok, maybe just this once. At least it's the cool dragon and not that atrocious peacock.

Why haven't one of those little things distracted you from this silly nonsense by now? You know one can only put up with so much of the yanking of my awesome tail, the squishing me senseless and the ever so loud constant squealing. You should really do something about them.

I will have my revenge lady. Just wait. Tonight when you are all sleeping, shortly after you get that little thing to be quiet for the zillionth time, I will bring you all to tears with my insistent wailing for food. It works for them and I'm definitely more important. I mean, just look at me!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

It's not so hard being Green

In honour of all things green tomorrow...

You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.
Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.
While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.
Your warm personality nicely counteracts any strange habits you may have.

How did they find out about my strange habits? Damn. I'm not feeling expressive today. Something to do with two hours of sleep. While changing Buttercups bum, I was playing I Spy with Strawberry. "I spy something green." "Maybe Buttercup's poo" she asks? I open up the diaper and sure enough she was right.

So before you run off to compose a limerick or head down to the Irish pub for a pint of green beer, I really want to know if we are all one of kind Teal people.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Toddler wisdom

Recently I exaggerated that Strawberry is potty trained. She's approaching three and we're getting there. When daycare called to find out when they can expect her return, I kind of implied that she's doing a little better in this department then she is. Now we are in full gear training. We read books about it. We chat about it. We do the party potty dance. We reward occasionally with Smarties. (Canadian M&M's. I like M&M's better but kids love Smarties)

Today we discussed where everybody goes. Our cat Monty goes downstairs to make peepee in his box. Mommy, Daddy and Strawberry go upstairs to the toilet. Buttercup goes in her diaper because she's little. Then she asked me where do the fish go? I told her they go in the tank.
She quickly shared her wisdom. "No mom. Fishes don't make pee because they don't have bums." She said it with such authority that I totally believe her.

It bothers me to no end to hear people discuss potty training at six months old. These people feel it is completely possible for an infant to be fully trained. Buttercup just learned to sit. I would literally have to feed her while she sat half naked on a potty if I was insane enough to think about starting now. I'm not and I wouldn't. Diapers are not that bad to deal with.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Butt, of course

Tonight, while peeling potatoes, Colin and I had a thought provoking conversation. All the greatest moments in our relationship have been in the kitchen, preparing potatoes, but I'll save that for another time.

C - "Have you seen the back of that magazine? It's porn!"

J - "That's not pornography. Porn is nude and cheesy. I would say that's more erotic."

C - "Really? Hmmm... I like it."

This was the advertisement we were discussing:

Oh my goodness, even when I was sixteen, my butt did not look like this! I've always known Colin was a butt man. There's been times out shopping where he cannot hide his fondness for my behind, constantly giving me a grab. This is pretty remarkable being that he used to be so afraid of public displays of affection that it took him years before he would hold my hand. He's gotten so bold that he slapped my friends tush thinking it was me. Boy was he embarrassed.

My butt looks more like Jennifer Lopez's. That is if she skipped her daily workouts in favor of marathon video game sessions, while munching on truckloads of Krispy Kreme Donuts. How could he possibly like me, if he likes that? I suppose this wasn't a good conversation for us to have while I'm hormonal and feeling blob-like. Winter hibernation has caused me to put on a few pounds instead of losing the extra baby weight.

I think I'll start The Blog Diet. This is spending every spare second I have reading all the other one million and one posts, instead of running to the kitchen for a slice of that birthday cake that's still in the fridge. Well maybe after the cake is gone.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I need a sippy cup

Big mess

Every time I go get a coffee, I can never make it home without spillage. I'm not a shoddy driver. It just seems that I have bad coffee karma. Thank goodness for my hubby who feeds my caffeine addiction on a regular basis. Otherwise I'd be the mom in the playgroup drinking coffee from my daughter's sippy cup.

Canadians looking for Stephen Harper to honour the promise of a national child care program can sign this petition by April 3rd.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The first haircut

We took Strawberry for her first haircut yesterday. We went to a children's salon. I was like a kid in a candy shop! I don't think she was as excited as I was, but she did seem to think it was pretty cool. She chose Thomas as her seat. Everything was brightly coloured. There were cartoons playing on TV's. There was an extensive selection of hair accessories displayed along with toys and books. Strawberry was very well behaved. After she was done, she got to try out all the other seats, which included an airplane, horse and rhino among others. The end result was I spent more money then intended but she did get a cute haircut. I justified it to Colin as an experience, like going to the movies.

Here is Buttercup wondering if she'll ever have enough hair so that she too can have a lollipop. All in good time my sweetie.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Chocolate Withdrawal Fog

It must be the chocolate withdrawal that causes the baby brain syndrome to kick into overdrive. I start pondering things such as this.

Could I like "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt if I stopped picturing Jon Heder every time it's playing? It's impossible to take those words seriously with the dancing that is going on in my mind. Sometimes it sucks being a visual person. Am I the only one who thinks these guys look incredibly alike?

Is it wrong to want to take the neighbourhood stray cats for a long drive and relocate them to the suburbs? Those damn cats are spraying our stroller and the stink is unbearable. A taxi driver once told me that having lots of cats on your street is a sign of good luck. All I've got is a smelly stroller. Maybe he dropped those cats off here.

Am I a horrible mother for letting my children watch kids TV? Those studies have said it will do brain damage, which I highly doubt. There's something sinful about watching Buttercup's face light up with pure joy at the sight of Dora or Diego.

Why haven't I won something from the new Rrroll Up the Rim to Win contest? I mean I don't have to win a Rav4 but I should have at least got a free donut by now. Plus I really think only cups that are large or jumbo size should be winners. I think I may lose my mind if you're drinking a medium coffee and win a 50" Plasma TV while my serious sized coffee tells me to please play again.

I better go buy myself a chocolate bar before more crazy thoughts appear.

Friday, March 10, 2006

A shout out to my Mom

Today I give thanks to my Mom. She lived through thirty-six hours of labour without any drugs! That's incredible. I'm surprised that she didn't hold it against me. She could have found unusual ways for revenge, possibly by not letting me have any chocolate until I was eighteen or by warning me that dancing could lead to pregnancy.

So hurray Mom. I'll be thinking of you as I celebrate another trip around the sun. I appreciate you even more and have newfound respect for your strength.

I did already splurge on a gift for myself. I figure as the years creep on to my face that I should wear makeup more often. Just having my new makeup bag, powder and eye shadow, makes me feel polished. Now I just have to find the time to put it on.

No way!

Cookie face

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Identity Crisis Part Two

All my life I've been Jana Jones*. Well that is until I married Colin. The great last name debate is only a challenge in my psyche. Colin really didn't care if I kept my name, so I decided to just add his name on and become Jana Jones Smith. This way I could still be Jana Jones in my professional life and Jana Smith to our families. It seemed like the modern woman thing to do. I take great pride in having multiple personalities.

The problem is my brain can't wrap itself around the idea of Jana Smith. I don't know who she is. I don't know why the previous generation of women had no problem with this transition. They just didn't question the way it was. Maybe we have too many choices today. Maybe we are just waiting longer in our lives and therefore have discovered who we are by the time we need to make the adjustment from being an individual to becoming a unified couple.

It seems to me that in order for this surname change to be easy, I would have to be in one of the following categories:

Have strong traditionalist values.
Hate my last name.
Have issues with my childhood or person as a whole.

I have always believed that your name does affect your personality. You can't tell me that you'd be the same person today if your name was Gertrude.

The reason that this is an issue now is because Strawberry is becoming associated with her name. She likes to call me Mommy Smith. At first I thought, well that can't be me because that's Colin's mom, but she wasn't born with that name either. She has however been a Smith longer than her maiden name. I did not know Colin's dad's mom, another Mommy Smith.

Hopefully time will give me a new perspective.

*Names have obviously been changed to protect our offspring. I thought about referring to Colin as Colin Farrell but that would be too distracting for me.

Thumpity thump thump

Frosty update

Here is our snowman just hours before his breaking point. So sad. Next year we promise to give you back your magic hat. I think he may have been looking up towards the sky to see if there was any sign of more snow. All he got was rain.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Identity Crisis Part One

When I was little, my dad told me that on the night I was born he saw the northern lights write a J in the sky. What a sweet Dad. My mom claims I was a content or possibly lazy baby, just happy to be propped up with pillows or to coo at my mobile.

I had the typical small town upbringing. I went to school and met friends and learned all the appropriate things that children do. More than once I got "daydreams in class" written on my report card. I was more creative than athletic. I never wanted to play outside. I was much happier reading, dancing, colouring and writing poems. My little brother spent endless hours bemused at the reaction he got from bugging me. As a teenager, I was an overachiever. I had to be involved with almost every possible extracurricular activity known to mankind plus I had a part time job.

I was an adventurous young adult leaving my family back in the Prairies and heading to the Big City with career ambitions. I managed to land the job. Six months later I met the boy of my dreams. Well maybe not dreams as that guy usually looked more like Gavin Rossdale or David Conrad (Ghost Whisperer). I found myself infatuated with this tall, blondish guy who had huge commitment issues. After six months of dating I realized I was in love. It took him eight years before he popped the question.

During that time, my career had progressed. I paid my dues and got two promotions. I was dedicated and passionate. I had always wanted this career, considered myself lucky but yet I new that being married with children was always part of the equation for me. I had no idea that 95% of people don't believe that it is possible. That I'm supposed to make a choice.

We got married and the honeymoon phase (if you call it that for a couple that had been together for nine and half years) brought about Strawberry. She's amazing. I was overjoyed. I laughed at all the silly, wonderful things that babies do.

In Canada, you get a year to bond with your new addition. I let my work know that I'd be willing to come back early if they needed me. I went in for meetings and attended some special functions. While Strawberry was getting used to daycare I went in to the office to review email. The next day, I energetically returned to the workforce. My boss met me at the door with HR and they proceeded to lay me off. I was crushed. After being there for twelve years, I was entitled to a good package but where did that leave me? I entertained the idea of an entirely new career. I took some baby steps in that direction. A month later, a job offer for my skilled profession found me working again. It was easy to keep doing what I'm good at and I've always loved what I do.

We wanted Strawberry to have a close relationship with a sibling so 26 months after she was born came Buttercup, another amazing baby girl! We are truly lucky. Buttercup is almost eight months old. I am on mat leave but this time I've been making regular visits to the office.

They say that your life does a 180 when children appear. Hmmm.. or do they say 360? Who should I ask? "They" the almighty knowing people who have come before us. Likely it is 360 for the mom and 180 for the dad. Do they know how to not lose yourself when the workplace doesn't want working moms and you have spent most of your life working hard to get where you are? In this day and age is it possible to have it all?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How low can you go?

Frosty hug

This is Strawberry's snowman. It's funny that most of the snow in our backyard is in the form of Frosty. With the nice weather, you would think that he'd be melting, but no. He's doing the limbo! Or maybe he's had one too many ice caps.

Monday, March 06, 2006

blog blog blog

It's official! I'm a real blogger. I originally created a site elsewhere and then I discovered the world of blogging. I've become a blogging fool. There are things like mommy blogs that I had no idea existed. It is amazing to read posts from friends and even strangers.

My first site's purpose was to share our little monkeys with far away family. However I found that blogging has become my new hobby. I just hope that I have something interesting to say. I've recently been reading other blogs and I'm blown away by the content that these people have posted. In 2006 everybody can be a writer. I've always loved to write but as I am sure that it is obvious, nobody pays me to do so.

During my blog surfing, I've discovered certain snobbery so to say. I could see that my site just wasn't going to cut it. So here I am, blogging away. I can be going about my daily activities and I will suddenly think of a topic to write about. My little ones will do something that makes me smile and I will declare in my mind that it is blog worthy. I haven't felt this creative in years. It is addictive. I dare you to try to just blog once.