Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pre-Raphelite Hair

At present, I have Pre-Raphelite hair. It is long and red and streams out romantically from anything I attempt to use to contain it. If I were to sail down the local creek in a row boat with a white dress on, I would surely be mistaken for the Lady of Shallot.

I must say that while hair like this is excellent for mooning around in rowboats and floating to your death, or for swooping dramtically through a field on horseback to kiss an errant night, or regally weilding a sword as you go to knight a brave hero, it is not so convenient for, say, flopping a baby over your shoulder or trying to look repsectable for a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper when you have just removed your touque and put a baby sling over your head after your toddler had decided to "brush" your braid two minutes before you leave home. Essentially, while an excellent hair cut for your average swooning heroine, long, slippery, unmanageable hair is not convenient for your average mother of two. No matter how lovely it looks the one time a year when you can actually wear it loose and down without it getting stuck in small childrens' mouths, spit up on, climbed over top of and tightly grasped in tiny fingers.

So now the problem is: What to do with my hair? I am presently in what I have decided to call my "Earth Mother Phase" -- ie -- crunchy attatchment parenting quilt making girl. There are only so many hairstyles that are appropriate to this look and ideal. Long and free flowing is one option. Very short and choppy is the other. Dave hates my hair short, and plus I did that for 5 years in B.C. and only a very few hairdressers could do something with my hair that looked good for more than 5 min. after I left their shop. But long and flowing is so impractical, especially when it is so heavy it gives you headaches. So I am on a quest for a hairstyle. I'll keep you posted.

An Escape! and a Rescue! in 24 hrs!!!

This post is so exciting I decided it had to be written in "lucinda grande" font.

I escaped on Saturday!

Despite having been woken up at 3:30 am and listening to my son say "I am angry at you, mommy. I want to wake up" and "I need something to eat. I need something to drink. I need to play." for 2 hrs, and five or six inches of snow that had fallen the night before, we left for the one hour drive to visit Sharon and her children. Yes, not only did I leave the house, I left our town. It was very exciting. The roads were pretty good -- there were only treacherous, slippery sections (nothing like blowing snow over top of icy roads) for about 20 min. of the drive. For another half of the drive I went 80 km/h because the roads had a thin layer of ice -- the kind that is only a problem in case of a sudden stop or strong gust of wind. But after about an hour and a half, I made it there. I was quite desperate to get out of the house.

Andrew and I had thrilling conversations on the way there. Here is an example:

"Am I an excavator, mommy?"
"Yes, you are."
"I'm a big excavator. Are you a bulldozer, mommy?"
"Yes, I am a bulldozer."
"I am a happy big excavator. Are you a happy bulldozer?"
"I am a happy bulldozer, excavator."
"What is Aaron, mommy?"
"Um . . . Aaron is a tiny skid steer."
"We are all driving -- the big excavator, the little bulldozer and the little skid steer."
"Yes Andrew."
"Am I an excavator, mommy?"

I arrived around 1pm, with both children happily sleeping in the car. And then I took them out of the car. At which point they both woke up.

I don't know if I have mentioned before that if Andrew wakes up in a different place than he went to sleep in, he is NOT HAPPY. This is not just a small moment of upset. This is a huge no-holds barred fit during which he clings to me and screams and usually needs to have something to drink and then calms down after about 20 min. So, that is what Andrew did. He arrived at our friends' house screaming. And Aaron had a dirty diaper and a bit of a rash, so he also started screaming. So I had to try to change Aaron while Andrew tried to climb on my lap while the kids all wanted to say hi while Sharon tired to get the last details of lunch ready and distract Andrew so I could calm down Aaron so we could all eat lunch. It was madness for about half an hour. After that, everyone except Andrew settled down for lunch. Andrew was too excited and wanted to get Edmund's toys out right away, so I let him, since he had already been awake for 10 hours and it was only lunch time, and it meant the rest of us could eat in peace.

After that we had a nice visit. Andrew played with Sharon's older two kids. I got to see my god daughter in her very cute walking and babbling stage (the stage where they talk at you with all seriousness and earnestness in a completely foreign language). Sharon and I both had a chance to complain and commiserate about the agonies of February in Saskatchewan. Sharon chased my son around for me, so I didn't have to get off the couch while nursing Aaron, and we did eventually get Andrew to eat something. We had our traditional mid-afternoon cake and coffee (although because Andrew and Bea are done with naps there was a bit more cake involved than there used to be, and a bit less peace and quiet).

At one point during out time, Andrew and Edmund decided to go and play in the basement. They were playing happily for a very long time -- we didn't hear any crying or shouting or arguing. After about an hour we realized that we were experiencing a rather extended period of peace and quiet, and we instantly knew that it was too good to be true. I went down to investigate and found Andrew and Edmund sitting side by side on the couch, spellbound. Edmund had figured out how to put on a DVD by himself. I had to chase them back upstairs and that was the end of our peace and quiet.

Around 6:30 I decided that it was time for me to go home soon. My car's electrical system is on the fritz, and only one front light is working and I have no taillights, but I figured I would just use my high beams and drive slowly. I packed us all up into the car, and started on the road. At the edge of town Aaron started fussing, so I pulled into the gas station parking lot and changed him and nursed him, then kept driving. At the back of my mind was the thought, "I've been awake since 3:30 this morning. Maybe this isn't such a good idea". But I kept driving.

Another 20 min. or so down the road, Aaron started fussing again. Andrew had (finally) fallen asleep, after being awake for 16 hrs straight. I pulled over to the side of the road and started nursing Aaron. After about 5 min. I turned on the radio. After about 15 min. the car was getting hot, so I turned off the engine and just left the radio and the hazard lights on. I continued to have to change and nurse Aaron intermittently for about another 10 or 15 min. At this point I was thinking, "It is getting late. Maybe I should just go back and head out in the morning." Since the car was getting cold, I thought I would start it up again and get the heat going.

The car did not start. Not even a dull attempt to turn over. Nothing. I tried turning on the lights. They were fading fast. The radio stopped working. The battery was slowly dying, and I was stuck 25 min. out of town in a slowly cooling car with a toddler and a six week old baby.

I looked around and saw that there was a farm not too far away, but I didn't' know how I would get us all there in one piece. I couldn't seem to find our hazard lights in the dark, and anyway, no one had stopped to see if we were all right when I was nursing Aaron, so why would anyone stop now. I tried the car again, just in case I had been imagining things, but it was still dead. Finally, I started flashing my high beams at oncoming traffic in what I hoped resembled and SOS Morse code pattern. The second or third car stopped.

Barry was a very kind man. He couldn't jump me (I never did figure out why), but he did lend me his cell phone. When I couldn't remember or find Sharon's phone number, and it kept coming up as long distance, he offered to give me a ride, but said he couldn't take the car seat because he already had two people in his car. I told him I had a toddler sleeping in the back of my car as well as the baby in my lap. He offered to drive his passengers into town and then drive back to pick us up. I accepted.

The rest of the story is quite predictable. We transferred the children into the back of his car. He drove us back into town. I called Dave, who told us what to do, and Sharon's husband and I went and jump started the car and drove it back into town while Sharon stayed with all the children. I stayed over night and left in the early afternoon the next day, when the roads were clear. Our car is presently in the shop to get the lights and battery repaired. Dave has started researching used station wagons, since this is the second winter break down we've had this year. Sharon and I had a chance to discuss the all important issue of my upcoming haircut, her middle class aspirations, and my desire to make my 40's my "linen decade". I have now had enough intellectual stimulation and adventure to keep me sane for a few more weeks of winter. All in all, it was a satisfying outcome for all involved.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Signs that Spring is Almost Imanent

-- the temperature was above zero ferenheight

-- the wind was not trying to cut through to my bones, just to my sinews

-- I saw our squirrel running along the back fence

-- it is pre-dawn when we wake up around 7 and light by 8:30

The prarie dog in Medicine Hat saw its shadow, so there is supposed to be winter until mid-March. Which is pretty normal around here. But I would love it if we had spring by April . . . mid- April? . . . Okay, I will settle for any time before May.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


One thing (among many) that annoys me with most pregnancy / early childcare books is their tendency to understate things. Even if their information is factual, it grossly understates the pain and frustration of a given problem, and instead acts as if a statement such as "your baby's sleep schedule will likely organize itself in about 3 months" is comforting.

My favorites are the ones relating to late pregnancy and early post-partum that use words like "some discomfort". For example, "You may experience some discomfort in your lower back or pubic area nearing the end of pregnancy" or "You may have some discomfort while sitting for a few days after giving birth". I also love the ones about recovery from pregnancy and childbirth that contains he words "soon". My top one of these is in "What to Expect When You're Expecting", where the authour says something like "If you have followed our Best Odds Diet, your body should soon return to is pre-pregnancy shape". Ha. Ha. Ha.

I've discovered another one of these gross understatements this week. It usually sounds something like this: "Shortly after the introduction of a sibling, you may find your toddler experiencing some regression in toileting, eating or sleeping habits". Although this is a perfectly accurate statement of facts, it does nothing to express the sheer frustration that is created when your 2 1/2 year old suddenly stops using the potty, sleeping at night, or eating properly. Andrew has started peeing on the carpet, chewing and then spitting out his food once he is full, and waking every 2 or 3 hours to ask for mommy. Add to this the annoying age appropriate behaviors of completely ignoring everything I say and / or laughing gleefully as he defies what I have just asked him to do and a temperament that requires mommy within touching distance 24/7, and you get one frustrated mommy. Oh, and did I add that I'm taking care of a baby at the same time?

One day I'm going to write / compile a book that describes the emotional and experiential truth of early motherhood. I don't care if it scares people. Motherhood is frightening stuff.