Wednesday, 11 December 2013
But Jack? He saw "Bub-uuuls!" Jack loves bubbles (obviously. he's not crazy, after all). And it took this morning's fog for me to realize that in addition to rain, snow, fake snow in the weird see-through snowman at the grocery shop and (my personal favourite) dust motes illuminated by shafts of light in our house, fog also qualifies as bubbles.
What a wonderful lesson. That nothing needs to be the totally perfect, very best, most universally-celebrated -- or even particularly pleasant -- version of itself to be adored. Just needs to be headed in the right direction.
Thanks, kid. I needed that. Also, I suppose I might consider dusting a bit more often. Once this fog has cleared, that is...
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
There are a lot of things my 16 year-old self wouldn't believe for a minute if I rocked up from the future to fill her in. Smart phones, the pleasures of honestly just being oneself, and the fact that one day people around the world would unite in a shared pleasure of watching cats do stuff on the Internet. (The Interwhat? I might say. Isn't that that computer bulletin board thing Brad is always on?)
But it's true. I've been in town since Friday and today, after day two in the office at my new job (working with a woman I've been honoured to call my friend since well before my 16th birthday), I signed a lease on a four bedroom bungalow not two miles from where I grew up. It's behind the grocery store we used to shop at (much fancier than it used to be these days, I must say), a five minute walk to my office, the GO train and the Lakeshore.
Our house is on a street bordered with huge pines and deciduous trees quickly shedding golden and red leaves. Trees I swear must have grown at least 10 feet since I lived there, but maybe it's a reverse trick of age. Maybe trees are the one thing from childhood that seem bigger when you come back to them. The backyard is of park-like proportions when compared to our London digs (and indeed any Toronto, Montreal, Mexico or French digs I could ever lay claim to). I've been telling myself that however weird and unsure and freaked out I feel about leaving beloved London and making yet another new start, it's for the best. But it wasn't until when I saw Jack tear down that 200 foot stretch of lawn, through the leaves and past the trees, collapsing in laughter, that I knew it in my heart it was, too.
Friday, 18 October 2013
One the greatest pleasure I've enjoyed as Jack's mom is reading together. There was a time when all I'd have to do is sit on the floor and he'd rush off for a book and back himself into the Mommy chair (me). But sometime over the past few months, the dynamic has changed. It started out innocently (and, might I add, adorably), with Jack reading to me as well. I'd read, he'd read -- matching the intonations and a few key words. Adorable, right? Then he started insisting that he read the book the whole time. His versions were generally much more dramatic than mine - shouting, pointing and banging on the book, which he invariably holds upside down. Still adorable. Arguably more so.
But then something snapped. Suddenly, I am not actually allowed in the story chair at all. Indeed, if I try to sit down, I am berated and Jack gets behind the bloody thing and pushes at it until I get out. On one hand, I admire this new independence... and maybe generosity? (I am allowed to sit on the toybox next to him and listen while he reads, after all) But on the other hand, I'm like Dude, I invented this story chair. I was reading stories to you before you even knew you had hands! Also, you read your books upside down.
I know that's not the right attitude. I know it's pretty awesome that he wants to clamber up there all by himself and read. It really does warm my heart. But I do miss the cuddly ritual of it all. And I miss reading! And that's why I said to him, when he wanted to re-read "Yawn" one more time tonight, "Ok, you can read it one more time, if you promise I can read you a story after." It didn't work of course (what with his minimal understanding of time), but it made me optimistic about years of storytimes ahead, knowing that at least for a little while, we'd actually fight to read them to each other.
Thursday, 17 October 2013
I am sure I am not alone when I say that keeping a house clean while working pretty-much full time and raising a toddler is... a challenge. I have finally put a dent in the problem by hiring a cleaner to come in once a week to tackle the big ticket jobs like the bathroom, hoovering, surfaces and washing floors. This leaves Alex and I free for the daily tasks - doing the dishes and picking whatever toys, bits of food or pots of makeup Jack might have tossed on the floor that day. And the laundry. England, dear, dear, England, WHY must you derail my efforts to not dwell in our own filth by refusing to acknowledge the dryer as a useful addition to the household??!
Ask your average British person why most flats and houses lack dryers and you will get a horrified look and a comment about how EXPENSIVE they are to run. Besides, they will say, it's so much nicer to dry things on the line!
To the latter point, yes. Fine. Taking air-dried laundry from the line on a sunny day is absolutely a pleasure I can get behind. However. I still have a problems with both points. First of all, dryers are a hella lot more energy efficient than they used to be in 1955 when the British apparently developed their aversion to the devices. I have actually looked into this and a reputable consumer review publication says it costs between £37 and £131 annually. ANNUALLY! Second, I don't know if they noticed this, but it regularly rains for days or weeks at a time here. And even if you "dry" things inside, the humidity means that it takes a good two days to dry. Case in point, it's been a rainy few weeks here, so the laundry I did last Friday is STILL OUTSIDE and the mountains rising from the laundry baskets in our bedroom are threatening to topple over and kill us in the night. Worst of all, my husband will be out of socks for me to steal soon.
So I guess tomorrow, on my day off, the cleaner will clean and I will tackle the mountain (starting with Jack's clothes, as he can't really borrow socks from his Dad). And I will just pretend that racks of slowly drying clothing all over is just the latest in home decor.
There are a lot of things I'm looking forward to about our upcoming move to Canada -- being close to my family and friends, an exciting new job... but I think that at this stage, having a dryer might trump them all.
Tuesday, 15 October 2013
If there's one thing
does really well (other than theatre
and food and architecture and overall awesomeness, that is) it's parks. There
are the famous ones in the middle that everyone knows about, but you'll also
find a decent park or two in most non-royal neighbourhoods. Where we live in London South London, we're lucky enough to be surrounded by
three large parks, all of which have pretty awesome playgrounds. The only
drawback is that whatever mascochist designed the two with the best playgrounds
decided to build them at the very top of a massive hill.
This is good news for burning off a few extra calories, but bad news for having a SUPER FUN DAY AT THE PARK with a toddler who craves both independence and lacks a sense of time/logic in equal measure. So our days at the park go a little like this:
1. I wrestle a screaming Jack into his stroller so we can actually get to the park in less than an hour.
2. He quickly calms down due to my awesome toddler whispering skills and/or a banana bribe.
3. We arrive at the park and he begins frantically trying to undo the harness (crying again).
4. I release him and he charges up the path. Then down the path. Then up. Then down. This goes on for quite some time, as I try to coax him to continue in an upward direction to the SUPER FUN park!
5. Since he can't actually see the park and doesn't understand even the near future, this doesn't work.
6. More running up and down the first 10 metres of the hill.
7. I finally pick him up (screaming again, of course) and carry his enraged, writhing body up the hill.
7b.Joggers, people on dates and people reading books look at me like I am a kidnapper, or possibly a murderer.
7c. Other parents look at us with a fond and understanding smile.
8. We get to the park and all is forgotten. Jack has SUPER FUN for about half an hour.
9. Jack tries to steal someone's scooter/babydoll stroller. I stop him. More tears ensue.
10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 at least once (each time his attempt at burglary is just a little more subtle and sly).
11. Time to go. Sometimes this just works and he happily leaves with me. Well, it did that one time. Mostly I end up looking like a murderer again, but that's ok, because I am among my people.
12. Jack calms down again. All is well.
13. Jack decides to assert his independence and run, laughing like a madman, down the hill.
14. Jack falls on his face and cries.
15. Repeat steps 12-14
16. I wrestle him back into the stroller, or just as often we stroll back together the long way.
A day at the park might not be super relaxing as it used to be, but despite the tears and thievery and possibly being ratted out to the cops for child abduction by a well-meaning stranger? It is indeed SUPER FUN.
Thursday, 10 October 2013
Despite the very kind and helpful Osteopath men suggesting you never carry a baby on your hip...( riiiiiight - cause who needs hands?!), the pain persisted. And 22 months in - now that I have started running"again"- a friend suggested Yin yoga to increase the strength and flexibility of that particular region. Oh. My God. Do it. Just really... do it. It is so good. If you beg (or show a modicum of interest) I will tell you all about it.
If your pelvic bones protest activity that used to be normal. If you back is f*%*^ed, If you can't get the cardio you need because of any of the above, find these people. If you are in London, try http://www.yinyogalondon.org/. Bonus, after all the long (three to five minute is the norm) poses are done, there are blankets, and grown-up nap times! Ok, technically you aren't meant to nap, but unlike work, you can do it without consequence (!!). Honestly I was so excited about the potential nap I could not sleep.
Once again. If the above rings true, DO IT.
Win, win, my friends. Win, win.
Wednesday, 9 October 2013
Sorry it's been a while. Since Jack started nursery and I went back to work, it's just that I've been quite busy. I've finally written my novel, am training for my second marathon, started a masters in mathematics and am currently gigging with my new band, for which play lead guitar.
Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration... In truth, I've been trying to balance the demands of maddeningly sketchy freelance work for the BBC, trying to get through a part-time PR course, going on job interviews, moving house, having a social life (or reasonable facsimile thereof) and spending quality time with my husband (oh ya! I got married, too!). Mostly though, I have been reveling in watching the best little boy (as he is in fact more boy than baby these days -- he has teeth and says stuff and everything!!) I know grow up. Also, I have been looking at more pictures of cats on the internet than I ever imagined I would (I imagined that figure would be none). Thank you, husband, for this and everything else you bring to our marital table.
But I've missed you blog, so welcome back. We have three months till we leave wonderful London behind for the sunny shores of Canadia (more on that later) and I am planning on enjoying every moment to the fullest. Even the moments where I am wrestling a screaming toddler into his stroller after nursery... wondering when it became acceptable for them to apparently dose kids with PCP at snack time.
I'll be posting regularly again, once I finish writing the original guitar score for the film I wrote and will be directing myself in. Ok, another lie. I guess I'll just start posting regularly again from right now.