Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rant: I am NOT a stay at home mom

Since this blog is supposed to be my outlet for thoughts, feelings and frustrations, I'm going to write this post and let caution be damned.  If I don't get these thoughts out of my head, I won't be able to focus on what I have to do...and I have too much to do not to be able to afford not to focus.

Let me preface this by saying that: This is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the most self-involved, possibly narcissistic post I have ever written. I apologize for that in advance. But it's a post written out of a desperate need for self-preservation...I'm at a point where I can only think about myself and my family for a few weeks. 

 I have a beef to pick- and unfortunately, it concerns a lot of my friends and loved ones.

Contrary to popular belief, I am not a stay-at-home mom.  

That's right. Though I don't get up, get showered and head off to work like many other working moms I know, I nonetheless juggle a full time work schedule that usually winds up being closer to 50 hours per week than it is to 40.  

I do this without childcare.

I do this without an office or dedicated hours of operation. 

I do this whenever and however I can, finding hours before Sammie wakes up, while he naps and after he goes to bed.  

I do this, often before the sun rises and continue until long after the moon is hanging up in the sky. 

I do this so that I can maximize the time I spend with my child. Some days, this works better than others. 

I do this, often at the expense of my health and sanity. 

I do this, generally leaving myself almost no free time for social. Which means that any social time I do take, generally results in me working at 5am or until 1am the next day. 

I do this, grateful and happy for the opportunity to do so. I do not resent or regret the fact that I have to work. I enjoy what I do, and I enjoy doing it.  I enjoy the fact that I can spend that extra hour sneaking in cuddles in the morning, and make up for it by working an hour later at night. I love being able to step away from my computer to give my sad baby a hug.  I love being able to schedule my work around my family's needs. 

Aside from the occasional insane work week, or the few times when Sammie and/or I are under the weather, this is a pretty awesome arrangement for both of us. 

There is only really one thing about this life that makes it challenging, and it is trying to manage OTHER people's expectations. 

I have given this rant before, but in the past two days, having received six (yes, six in less than 24 hours) requests to do coffee/playdate/hang out/etc. this week, I feel like I'm actually going to snap. 

I love my friends. Truly, I do. You all know that I do. 

But I also know that almost every one of you knows that I am under the gun right now. 

You follow my facebook/twitter/bbm actively. You've seen that Sammie has been sick. You've seen that I've been sick. You know that it's the last two weeks of the market, and I'm to my neck in work there. You are aware that I'm at crunch time for ECM. 

You've noticed that I haven't been "around" as much. You're aware that my online presence is practically non-existent. 

How...HOW does this strike you as the opportune time to reach out and say "Hey, you seem overwhelmingly busy...you should find time to hang out with me"?

Anyone who is close to me knows that I have an extremely difficult time saying "no", especially to my friends.  It kills me inside to say that I can't see you. Or even worse, to make plans to see you and then have to cancel because I know that I just can't swing my schedule for that day. I have genuinely spent hours in the past month crying over the guilt of just not being able to be there for everyone that I want to be there for. 

Forget being "mom enough"...Lately, I'm not sure I can even be "friend enough".

Don't get me wrong. I love seeing you, and trust me: I've been lonely as hell

I understand that you are all trying to show me love, friendship and kindness in the best way you know how to. You are amazing friends and people and I am eternally grateful to have each and every one of you in my life. 

I also understand that I have not always been clear about my capacity issues, and that I have been silently letting all of this pile up for weeks...maybe even months. 

Trust me, I am taking the lion's share of the blame here. I have not been clear with you about my needs. I am trying to fix this with this post. 

So I am begging you...truly begging you...if you love me at all...please, please, please cut me some slack. 

In about six to eight weeks, my body is going to start breaking down because of my struggles with pre-eclampsia and the practically inevitable arrival of HELLP syndrome.  My organs, including my heart, will soon stop operating at full capacity and my body will slowly start shutting down for the remainder of my pregnancy.  I will be at home, likely on bedrest for the the final 10-15 weeks, until the baby is born (probably prematurely). 

I will need all the company, support and friendship you can spare at that point. Trust me. My calendar will be nothing but open for visits and well-wishes.

Once the baby is born, I will have a full 50 weeks of maternity leave, during which I will be looking forward to returning the favours to each of you by investing as much of my time and energy into our friendship as I can spare between the sleepless newborn nights.

Trust me, you're going to get a lot of Zita-time in the next little while. 

However, in the meanwhile...I only have a few short weeks to get everything I need to get done done. 

And, there's a LOT to do. 

And, I'm totally overwhelmed and not entirely sure I can pull it all off.

So, if you want to support me during this time, I am begging you...please do not ask me to schedule anything more into my already overflowing life. I am not always able to say no, and I am not able to find the balance that I need to keep my head above the water. 

Instead of saying "When can I see you?", I would love for you to say "I'm thinking of you and looking forward to things being less stressful for you!".  

Instead of saying "Can we have coffee?", I would love for you to say "How are things going? Do you need anything? Can I help?" (The answers to that usually being no, but it's always nice to have someone offer...)

And if you are like me, and your schedule gets booked ridiculously quickly, I'd be happy to schedule in some face to face time...ideally a week or two in advance so that I can really work around it. 

So on that note: I'm laying off the social calendar until after November 15th. After that, things will ease off. But if we don't already have something scheduled for before then, please know that I unfortunately may not be able to add anything in (unless it's an emergency, at which time of course please call me...I will always be there when you need me). 

Jason and I will be determining how to best allocate what little free social time we have. We have some friends that we've been pushing off for months, and we will be finding time to see them as soon as possible. But, as for day-time focused activities, most will probably be on a hiatus for about a month.

Thank you for your understanding.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Sept #12: It's been a crazy day!

I was completely 100% sure that I knew what I was going to write about tonight. That was, of course, before work completely inundated me and forced me to postpone blogging until 11pm. As such, you are getting a space filler blog post, which will be edited with the actual topic I was planning on tomorrow.  I just don't have the time or the energy to do it tonight.

But just to make this post worth something...as small as something might be...a few jokes to end your day with a smile. (courtesy of http://www.the-preschool-professor.com/parenting-humor.html)

Definitions For Parents:
AMNESIA: Condition that enables a woman who has gone through labour to make love again. 
DUMBWAITER: One who asks if the kids would care to order dessert. 
FAMILY PLANNING: The art of spacing your children the proper distance apart to keep you on the edge of financial disaster.
FEEDBACK: The inevitable result when your baby doesn't appreciate the strained carrots.
FULL NAME: What you call your child when you're mad at him/her
GRANDPARENTS: The people who think your children are wonderful even though they're sure you're not raising them right.
HEARSAY: What toddlers do when anyone mutters a dirty word.
IMPREGNABLE: A woman whose memory of labour is still vivid.
INDEPENDENT: How we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say.
OW: The first word spoken by children with older siblings.
PUDDLE: A small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry shoes into it. 
SHOW OFF: A child who is more talented than yours.
STERILIZE: What you do to your first baby's pacifier by boiling it and to your last baby's pacifier by blowing on it.
TOP BUNK: Where you should never put a child wearing Superman pajamas.
TWO MINUTE WARNING: When the baby's face turns red and she begins to make those familiar grunting noises.
VERBAL: Able to whine in words.
WHODUNIT: none of the kids that live in your house...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sept #11: There's Nothing "Peaceful" About Parenting Prejudices

“Man, Zita has such a hard time communicating her point of view. I wish she’d just voice an opinion already…”

Said no one. Ever.

No really, when something strikes my fancy or for some reason ignites the flames of my passion, I can get pretty hot under the collar. 

This should not come as a surprise to you, unless this is your first time visiting my blog and you’ve never met me in person…which, if that's the case, consider yourself fairly warned.

I can definitely argue, debate, discuss, and advocate like the best of them. And while I pride myself on my ability to take on an argument, I pride myself even more on the fact that I am often told that, in presenting my point of view,  I still succeed in being respectful of the opinions of others. To me, debates aren't about winning. They are about forwarding ideas, creating dialogues, stirring emotions and passions, and progressing our society. 

One of my favourite topics of discussion is parenting- mostly because I’ve always found the world of childhood education to be fascinating. I love working with children and learning how their brains function and learn comprehend the big scary world that they’ve been thrust into.

Many of my friends are strong parenting advocates.  Most choose one or two topics to focus on and, whether they be anti or pro circumcision, anti or pro spanking, crying-it-out or co-sleeping supporters, or exclusive breast or formula feeders, it’s been a while since I’ve met a parent who doesn’t have strong opinions about at least some major child-rearing choices. I have close friends on all sides of practically every parenting discussion, and would be hard-pressed to say that any of them are anything but wonderful parents, regardless of whether or not I agree with the techniques that they choose. 

I enjoy dialoguing on these topics, and while I have formed my own opinions on the most of these matters, try my best to refrain from imposing my thoughts/values/beliefs on others.  Ultimately, I believe that the only thing that should guide your parenting decisions are the needs of your family, children and parents included.

You could summarize my philosophy on children pretty simply: They are human beings too.  As such, I will treat them with as much respect as I would want to be treated and strive to treat others with.  This has led me to make some choices that are commonly ascribed to parenting techniques grouped under the “gentle”, “peaceful”, “non-violent”, or the ever criticized “attachment” parenting label.

I’m okay with people thinking these things, mostly because I don’t put a whole lot of weight on labels of any kind and don’t make my parenting decisions based on what others (be they book authors, doctors, or friends) tell me to do. I make my decisions, with my husband, based on what the needs and realities are for my family. It’s a pretty simple equation really.

That being said, I do have one “parenting” pet peeve that gets under my skin like absolutely no other…and today, I witnessed it yet again occurring on a friend of mine’s facebook wall.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, annoys me more than when so-called “peaceful” or “positive” parents take it upon themselves to shame, abuse or otherwise disrespect other parents who do not share their point of view or who are encountering parenting struggles.

The incredible hypocrisy of someone thinking that it is okay to publicly call out another person’s parenting style in such a way as to make them feel inferior as parents and human beings while simultaneously advocating parenting techniques that are rooted in treating children with love, respect, kindness, and compassion is beyond my comprehension.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a firm believer that we should always approach children with kindness and respect; but not just because they’re children.

We should do it because they are people, and treating others with love and respect is part of living in a society.

If you believe that hitting a child is wrong because violence doesn’t encourage positive outcomes with children, then you probably shouldn’t be beating up your friends (emotionally or physically).

If you believe that labeling a child with negative traits will actually aggravate the very behaviours that you are trying to negate, then you probably shouldn’t ascribe labels to other people that you are trying to have a rational conversation with.

If you believe that publicly shaming children leads to self-esteem issues including resenting themselves and others, then you probably shouldn’t publicly shame other parents, whether they be strangers or people that you care about.

If you believe that every child is beautiful and unique and has an individual personality/learning style that is precious and valuable to them, then you should be prepared to acknowledge that the same is true for all human beings, big or small.

What right do you have to tell another parent that they are “wrong” in how they are raising their children? You are not living their life. You do not know the reasons that have lead to their decisions, good or bad.

Believe it or not, there is more than one way to respectfully parent children, and some people will not agree with your point of view. Unless you are asked for your opinion, be very cautious about offering it. And if you feel compelled to do so without an invitation, remember that your words have consequences and can heal or wound based on your intentions. 

If you really want to help a struggling parent, start by showing the same respect you think children merit. All human beings are worthy of being treated with kindness. “Positive” techniques don’t have an expiry date of 18 years.

And, while you are busy preaching compassion, don’t forget that children learn more by observing our behavior than they do by being actually being taught.  What would your children learn from your conversations with other parents.  Would they be proud of how you communicated your message? Or would they be saddened to know that you deliberately and intentionally embarrassed or hurt someone in your quest for proving that you are “right”.

Before you jump on your high horse and start preaching, you’d better make sure that your practices match your sermon.

Otherwise, stop pretending that you’re perfect and teach yourself some much needed humility.

And, for once, try actually being the person that you want you kids to believe that you are.

Please note: If ever you feel that a child is in immediate danger or is being genuinely abused in such a way as to warrant intervention, please consult a specialist instead of attempting to take matters into your own hands.  While there is no "right" way to parent, there are absolutely "wrong" ways to parent- if you are concerned that a child is in danger, please do not hesitate to contact the authorities and protect them. 

This post is part of my September Blog Challenge. I will be posting a new blog post on (at least) every other day of the month, for a total of no less than 15 posts throughout the month.  The purpose of this challenge is nothing more than to push myself to continue using writing as a way of releasing energy and opening my mind. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sept #10: Nice and Easy

Sometimes, life is full of hard choices. Lately, I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed by them.

But then, by some God-given miracle (or cosmic coincidence, for my atheist friends following along), the skies open up and something so monumental happens that all the very difficult choices all of a sudden become incredibly easy.

This was my day today.

Why, you ask?

Because today was awful. And I mean that quite literally. It was an awful day.

I had one bright sunshiny moment where I visited with my bestie and she made me feel sane again, and I got my new couches in (which was stressful in and of itself, but overall gives me a sense of happy) but otherwise, of the 18 hours that I've been awake, today has sucked for the better part of all of them.

What is it that was so sucky?

One word: Work.

Usually I love my work. But I am beyond my capacity, and I am surrounded by people who keep wanting to heap things onto my overflowing plate.

I tell them that I'm overwhelmed, and they feign sympathy...for about as long as it takes them to think up a new project for me to do.

After all, they only have me for a few precious weeks before I go on health related medical leave. (Health related. As in: I should be slowing down, not speeding up...but I digress...)

And let me tell you, all of this crappiness is actually a wonderful thing.

How can that be?

Well, very simply because I'm too frustrated, overwhelmed and exhausted to feel guilty for leaving my job for 65 weeks.  In fact, for the first time in two months, I am not only not sad at the idea...I'm downright elated.

So tonight, when I say my nighttime prayers, I will remember to thank God for giving me such bad days and reminding me that, quite honestly, some things just aren't worth the stress and I have bigger priorities to worry about right now.

This post is part of my September Blog Challenge. I will be posting a new blog post on (at least) every other day of the month, for a total of no less than 15 posts throughout the month.  The purpose of this challenge is nothing more than to push myself to continue using writing as a way of releasing energy and opening my mind. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tick Tock Time Bomb

Well, we're in week 16 of this pregnancy. I can't believe how quickly it's passing by this time. Maybe it's because I'm not as stressed out this time round.  Maybe it's because I'm simply too busy running around after Sammie to think about it.  Maybe it's because, contrary to what we may believe, pregnancy is actually much a much shorter time than it feels...

Whatever the case may be, this week I caught myself saying "once I'm in the second trimester" only to the realize that I'm already four months in! Wow.

For most women, getting to your second trimester is a fun milestone. It takes a lot of the weight off (ha ha! I'm punny) in terms of fear and stress and you start actually "feeling" pregnant (in a good way).  I'll admit, I feel both of these feelings in spades. But I also have a slightly different perspective from most pregnant women due to the fact that I'm considered "very high risk" and will likely deliver early.

When I was pregnant with Sammie, I was placed on full medical leave at 5 months and was on full bedrest by 6.5 months in.  Eventually, at 33.5 weeks, I was moved into the hospital and gave birth to Sammie just shy of three weeks later.

So, given this history, the one thing on my mind is: I'm running out of time.

Before I know it, I will be completely incapable of doing the every day things that seem so simplistic now.  So, even though it seems so early, I have to start planning for baby already.  From getting ready to create the nursery, to setting myself up with baby gear, all the steps that most women wouldn't even start thinking about until their fifth or sixth month, are of the utmost importance to me.

And I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.

If this baby follows in its brother's footsteps, I only have 10 weeks left before things start getting really tough, and really scary.

And that's just not enough time.

Thankfully, the biggest thing I need to worry about doesn't need to be decided until the day the baby comes...the baby name. 


Nothing spells pressure like picking out another human being's name...for the rest of their lives....

But for now, I'm not going to think about that too much. I have enough to think about already!

This post is part of my September Blog Challenge. I will be posting a new blog post on (at least) every other day of the month, for a total of no less than 15 posts throughout the month.  The purpose of this challenge is nothing more than to push myself to continue using writing as a way of releasing energy and opening my mind. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sept #7 Sick

There is nothing in life crueller than being sick when you're pregnant.

Just the knowledge that there are medications out there that could make you feel better, if only you weren't carrying another life, is devastating enough.  But the fact is that just because you have a cold or a flu, doesn't mean that your "everyday" pregnancy woes go away.

Stuffed nose.
Sore throat.
And hyperemis gravidarum make for one very uncomfortable preggy bear.

This has basically been my week. Actually, I"m exagerating. It's really only been the past four days. But it feels like an eternity and I can't wait to get my body back to as normal as one can expect from someone harbouring a parasite.

Someone remind me that this will all be worth it in five months...

I'm going to go attempt to share a romantic meal with my husband now... hopefully he won't mind if I fall asleep in my plate. :P

This post is part of my September Blog Challenge. I will be posting a new blog post on (at least) every other day of the month, for a total of no less than 15 posts throughout the month.  The purpose of this challenge is nothing more than to push myself to continue using writing as a way of releasing energy and opening my mind. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September #6: Mandatory Post

I have a migraine and am on day three of a nasty head cold/fever. I can keep any liquids or solids down and have just spent the last 6 hours outside running a farmers' market feeling like hell. I am posting only because I promised myself I would. Just writing this is making my head want to explode. Tomorrow I will write a real post to make up for this mandatory bookmark in my blogging challenge.

But I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this, and that meant posting no matter what.

And since I refuse to focus on only negative today, I'm going to share the one really big great thing that happened:

Today, I felt my baby move inside me for the first time this pregnancy. And so, despite my best efforts to the contrary, today turned out to be kind of awesome.

This post is part of my September Blog Challenge. I will be posting a new blog post on (at least) every other day of the month, for a total of no less than 15 posts throughout the month.  The purpose of this challenge is nothing more than to push myself to continue using writing as a way of releasing energy and opening my mind. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sept #5: Flawed

Dearest Sammie,

I have a confession to make; a secret to tell you.  Now that you're over two, I think you're old enough to handle it.  I've been trying so very hard to keep it from you, but I think that you're starting to suspect that something's up.  So it's time for me to come clean.

I am a completely imperfect mother.

Dearest son, I am so flawed that sometimes it gives me nightmares.

I wanted so hard to overcome these shortcomings; to become the perfect person that deserved the unconditional love and devotion that you shower on me daily.  Sadly, I am learning that this is simply beyond my capacity.

I am flawed in so many ways that I simply can't recount them all.  Every day, new flaws pop up when and where I least expect them.  Sometimes, I manage to keep them in check...for a minute, an hour, or even a whole day...But ultimately, they wind up rearing their ugly heads again, reminding us both of my extraordinary imperfection.

Of all of these flaws, there is one that shames the most. It doesn't show up often, but when it does it fills my mind and my entire body with an angst so powerful that it would almost stir the emotions of the most impassive of emo kids.

This flaw usually passes quickly. I am able to muster all of my good qualities to come and combat the badness right out of me. But it is there, even momentarily. And for that, I am filled with regret.

I have had this flaw since I was a young child...as long as I can remember. And for a long time it dictated who I was and who I hoped to become. It was only in meeting true friends, like your father, that I learned that I was stronger than this flaw and could overcome it.

I call this flaw: The need for normalcy. 

I've never needed to "fit in", per say. Which is probably a good thing because I've never really "fit in" anywhere. If I am not leading the pack (by choice or by circumstance), I am often excluded from it entirely...and, to be honest, this is actually completely ok with me. I really have only ever needed one "pack", one tribe to call my own. The one that I've been fortunate enough to join needs no followers- we all lead, each in time and each in turn.  It is a truly magical circle of friends.

But while I've never needed to fit it, I've always needed to feel "normal", as in "fitting with the social norms".  It's fine to step outside that box once in a while- to dabble with a crazy hairstyle, or rebel against a teacher, or take up a bad habit or two in your young adult years.  But even these rebellions are, in their own way, very normal. They are expected phases of growing up, part of the ritual of belonging to a society.

No, what I mean here is much worse than that. My phobia lies in the idea that those that fail to fit the social standards that we deem to be important, whether it be in looks, weight, intelligence, career, or other norms, are somehow less valuable as human beings.

I know that I have not always and will never fully conform to the social values that dictate our world. I've learned to come to terms with the fact that I will likely never again be a size six, or have the beauty that can only come with youth.  But I've always felt that I somehow made up for these shortcomings by excelling in other ways.  I was an extremely strong student. I have always been very successful in my career. I have a wonderful, traditional family with a beautiful home and everything a woman in her early thirties could ask for.

My life is very easy, and very socially acceptable.

And then along comes Sammie. The love of my life. The sun in my sky. The dream that I never dared to hope would come true.

You, my love, came into this world with a thunderous roar and have been tearing down norms since the very day you were born.  From the moment you came into my life, I knew that there was nothing normal about you.  You do not beat to your own drum...you conduct your own damn orchestra, and the entire world watches you in awe.

There is nothing you can't do, but you will only do these things on your terms. You are master only to yourself, and you do not follow the orders within which your growth should occur.  You bounce over some milestones years before you should, and then hold back on others to the shock and confusion of your family and your doctors.  And, deep down inside, I know that you take tremendous joy in the fact that none of us can figure you out.

I love this about you. I've never met anyone like you, except for your father. He is the only other person I've ever known whose laissez-faire attitude about social conventions actually makes him more likeable, more successful, more influential. You are, beyond the shadow of a doubt, his son...and I quite simply could not be prouder.

But, I am flawed. So flawed. And I have my own insecurities to wrestle with.

I confess, there are moments where I wish you were more normal.  Where I wish you followed instructions and followed the rules, just like the other kids your age. Where I struggle to keep my fear in check, and have to remind myself constantly that there is nothing wrong with being unique.

Sammie, my love, I am so afraid that this is a flaw that will plague me throughout your entire life.  I am so afraid that I will, consciously or subconsciously, try to subdue your impulsive, commanding spirit that I love so much. That I will make you feel ashamed, embarrassed, or somehow less special because you are not like the other kids.

I worry that I will focus on your weaknesses instead of your strengths, and that I will constantly compare you to others.  I worry that I will fail to recognize your moments of genius because I am too consumed with my fear that you are falling behind.  And most of all I worry that I will impart on you this awful flaw, and teach you that it is more valuable to try to fit in than it is to be yourself.

I swear to you that I am going to spend my entire life working to keep this flaw in check.  I also know that your Dad will always be there to remind you of just how amazing you are, just because of who you are. I know that the good moments between us will unquestionably trump the bad.

But, when I do falter and when I do fail, please promise me that you'll remember this:

These fears are my fears. These flaws are my flaws. They do not belong to you, and they were there long before you came into my life.  WHO YOU ARE IS THE ONLY PERSON YOU EVER HAVE TO BE. I am the one who needs to learn, not you. 

I love you, more than words can say.


This post is part of my September Blog Challenge. I will be posting a new blog post on (at least) every other day of the month, for a total of no less than 15 posts throughout the month.  The purpose of this challenge is nothing more than to push myself to continue using writing as a way of releasing energy and opening my mind. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

September #4: 50 Shades of GAH!

I've made a decision.  It's probably not the first time I've made this decision in my life, but it's been so long that I can't quite remember whether or not I have.

I've decided to walk away.

I've struggled and fought for days and weeks. I've begged and pleaded with myself to just push through.  I've tried to remind myself- over and over- that I am not a quitter...but the inevitable has finally happened...

I've given up, once and for all...

On a book.

That's right, kids.  After 248 ridiculously painful pages, I've decided to break up with 50 Shades of Grey. This may not seem like a huge deal to most people, but trust me- for those of us who struggle with OCD, this is actually a remarkable feat.

Now, before you get all high and mighty and reach any of fifty shades of self-rightousness for why I've decided to give up on the book, let me give you my very simple reasoning:

I just can't enjoy it.

We all (or at least, I "think" that we all...) acknowledge that the book isn't a brilliantly written piece of literature.  We're not dealing with the great American novel here, by any stretch. But that's not my problem. Hell, I read Twilight and made it through the entire series. I even watched the movies (but only with copious amounts of booze at my disposal).

Nor is it the fact that the book is inundated with graphic (but surprisingly boring) sex scenes that would make most puritans blush.  Nope, this "good girl" Catholic has no issues or reservation with liberal sexual practices between consenting adults.

It's not even the fact that the book is, for the most part, lacking in any sort of tangible plot and seems to take an eternity to get to a point...

No, my reasons for quitting are much more simple than that.

You see, I really like to read. A lot. It is one of my deepest joys in life.

And I simply can't enjoy this one.

So I have to quit, before I decide never to read again.

I don't find the characters entertaining or engaging.  I frankly couldn't less why Grey "is the way he is" or why Ana is so desperately naive that she can't help but succumb to his devastatingly handsome charming ways.

I don't care if their sex life is shocking. I don't even care if they have sex.  The very few times I've caught myself caring, it was usually because I was hoping Ana would die from asphyxiation at some point. (For the record, she doesn't...or at least she hasn't by page 248).

I have tried to convince myself to push through, thinking that I owe it to myself to at least finish what I've started. But the problem is that deep down inside I know that there are two sequels. Two. So "finishing what I started" would require me to subject myself to this painful agony twice more.

That's too much red room of pain for this lade.

Sometimes you need to know when to use your safety word.

Enough already.

Uncle, uncle, uncle!

Popsicles, dammit.

If I never have to read the words "Oh my" and "inner goddess" again, it will be too soon.

So, I'm tapping out of this one, before I spend even one more minute of my already too busy life wasting my time on fiction that I don't even find interesting.

And when the movie comes out, I can assure you that I'm going to skip that one too.

Unless they change the ending, and Ana asphyxiates. Then I might watch, if only to give myself the closure of knowing that this nightmare is finally over.

The end.

This post is part of my September Blog Challenge. I will be posting a new blog post on (at least) every other day of the month, for a total of no less than 15 posts throughout the month.  The purpose of this challenge is nothing more than to push myself to continue using writing as a way of releasing energy and opening my mind. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sept #3: Just For Fun...

I need more time with the post that I’ve been working on for the past two days…For what it’s worth, it’s a topic that would be much better as a book than a blog post, and I’m fully willing to acknowledge that I may very well have bitten off more than I can chew with it…we’ll see what happens over the next few days.

For those who have been curious to know what has preoccupied my attention to fully, here’s the topic: Breaking down the theology behind the Catholic Church’s position on same sex marriage. It may come as a surprise to many of my friends, but I once very seriously considered pursuing a Masters in Theology, with a focus on Sexual Ethics, so this post would be a bit of first step back in this area of study.

As I’m sure you can appreciate, this is a huge subject- both mentally and emotionally draining- and it is one that must be done right or not be done at all. So I’d rather take the extra time to flush out my research and really do the topic justice than just publish a poor summary of the topic.

That being said, tonight I’m going to post on a completely unrelated topic, to clear my mind a little bit and maybe even bring a smile to a few of your faces.

So, without further ado, I give you Slam-Dunk Sammie and the Happy Feet!

Also, just for fun, here's a video of Sammie swimming solo. Frick, he's cute. 

This post is part of my September Blog Challenge. I will be posting a new blog post on (at least) every other day of the month, for a total of no less than 15 posts throughout the month.  The purpose of this challenge is nothing more than to push myself to continue using writing as a way of releasing energy and opening my mind. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sept #2: A Haiku

I am officially out of energy tonight. So instead of a post, I give you my thoughts in Haiku format:


New life grows in me
This would be truly perfect
If not for the puke...


Off to bed for me.

This post is part of my September Blog Challenge. I will be posting a new blog post on (at least) every other day of the month, for a total of no less than 15 posts throughout the month.  The purpose of this challenge is nothing more than to push myself to continue using writing as a way of releasing energy and opening my mind. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sept. #1: Breakthrough

This has been an amazing weekend.  Our little family has gotten some serious downtime together, which is exactly what we've all been needing.

I've noticed that it's always on days like these that Sammie seems to experience his biggest development milestones.  This isn't all that surprising since he's an introvert and processes better in small groups or on his own, but it is always an amazing thing to witness as a parent. 

While Sammie isn't "behind" in any milestone other than speaking, he definitely seems to go about them very differently.  He doesn't mimic the way that most babies do.  You won't catch him 'perfoming' on demand by waving or blowing kisses when we ask him to, and he seldom uses toys and objects in imaginative ways.  He's always been much more focused on reality than he is on creativity and imagination.  As such, I've never seen him play with a baby or a doll, a stuffed animal or even little figurings of people or animals. I've never heard him mimic the sounds of a cow or horse, or even acknowledge them if they are pointed out to him. (Of course, as soon as you aren't looking, his curiosity with these animals gets the best of him and, almost in spite of himself, he begins to show interest.)

I've been told by expert after expert, this isn't a cause for concern.  Sammie's imagination simply works in different ways, and his ability to "figure things out" is as valid a form of creative expression as anything else.  I try to focus on all the areas in which he excels, some to the point of being years beyond his age level. I try to remember that "norms" are only comparative measures, not definitions of one's actual abilities. I remind myself that Sammie, from the day he was born, was always a unique and free-spirited being who marched to the beat of his own drum...

Still, when I am comparing him to other children his age, it's hard not to wonder why my child is so very different than the rest. 

So, I'll openly admit that I rejoice maybe a little more than one would expect or justify when Sammie accomplishes milestones that- on the surface- may appear to be mundane or unimportant. 

Today is one of those days where I'm rejoicing. 

No, it's not because my 26 month old toddler is now able to swim in a life jacket for over 5 minutes, completely unassisted, push himself from back to front, and doggie paddle across the pool over 10 metres. (This, by the way, is HUGELY advanced for his age level).  

Nor is it because Sammie built a block building that reached up to his shoulders and would have impressed even the most talented Jenga players, and then carefully balanced a train on the very tip of the structure without making it fall. (Again, off the charts in terms of fine motor skills...)

Nope, today was a special day in a completely different way.  Today, my two year old connected. With a stuffed dog.  For the first time ever. 

Two days ago, Andre and Nancy (Sammie's Uncle and Aunt back in Quebec) sent us a care package with adorable PJs and a little stuffed webkin that looks like their dog Spike.  Sammie loves real Spike. He can't get enough of him.  So, I was thrilled to receive this little momento of the beloved pet who lives so far away. 

At first, Sammie showed very little to no interest in Spike the Stuffie.  After all, he doesn't have wheels, and he doesn't stack nicely with blocks.  While Sammie was successful in balancing Spike the Stuffie in the back car of one of his trains, it was clear that the puppy was simply too big to last on the toy forever.  What was one to do with this strange, soft little fellow?

The simple fact that Sammie was even trying to find a way to play with the new toy was remarkable, an unquestionable first for him.  The fact that he chose to take him from room to room and explore different ways of integrating Spike into his play made the Early Childhood Educator in me squee with joy...

But it wasn't until his nighttime snack that the real leap was made.  

Sammie was wrapping up his meal of apples and grapes while sitting in his high chair.  I was tidying the toys off the kitchen floor when I saw Spike.  Just for fun, I decided that Spike should give Sammie some kisses.  So, I barked my way up the chair and peppered his chubby cheeks with soft, pretend puppy kisses.  

Sammie laughed out loud. 

He didn't turn his head. He didn't push him away.  He laughed. Out loud. 

I decided to push this even further. 

"Spike is hungry too!" I said, as I held an apple to the mouth the fluffy toy. "Nom Nom Nom! Can you feed Spike too, Sammie?"

And then, as if on cue, Sammie took Spike from my hands and began to "feed" him. He did apples, and grapes, and even tried to make him drink from the sippy cup.  Sammie's grin never left his face, and you could clearly see him relishing in his pretend game. 

This was the very first time Sam had ever used pretend play to engage a non-human toy in human like behaviour.  For those of you who may have done some reading on early childhood learning, this is huge.  And it's something that I've been waiting to see for over a year.  

Sammie took Spike to bed with him tonight, and I guarantee you that I am going to do my best to make sure that Spike goes to bed with him every night from now on.  My son has found a friend- a pretend friend- which at this age is one of the best kind!

I am an over the moon proud Mama.  

And yes, I'm also pretty proud about the unassisted swimming too. It was kind of nice to see the lifeguards pointing and whispering excitedly to each other.  My little fish can swim, all on his own.  :P

This post is part of my September Blog Challenge. I will be posting a new blog post on (at least) every other day of the month, for a total of no less than 15 posts throughout the month.  The purpose of this challenge is nothing more than to push myself to continue using writing as a way of releasing energy and opening my mind.