Freaking out – but excited

For the record, I hate the masthead. Expect more changes to the look of the site.

Now, down to business.

For the second year in a row, I developed a serious eye irritation in the month of May. I believe it’s allergy related, optometrist said I scratched my cornea, ophthalmologist  said it was because of overuse of my contacts. No one ever named my diagnosis. I went through a week on one treatment, got sent to specialist who gave something different, then got ANOTHER prescription a few weeks later – all that to say I have spent the entire summer without contact lenses.

Glasses drive me bonkers. They slip, they slide, they get filthy, I hate them. And since this is the second year I’m dealing with this, I feel my prognosis is not great for the future.

So tomorrow I’m getting Lasik. Rather than buy yet another pair of glasses I will hate to try and keep them on my face, plus a pair of sunglasses, and all the aggravation of this if it keeps coming back every year – I’m cutting out the whole load of it.

I’m excited, and also terrified. I don’t do well in this kind of situation. Anyone who has ever heard my wisdom tooth story can attest to that. Dudes, your awake during the procedure. While someone zaps your eyeball. And don’t even get me started on how the whole procedure and healing blows my mind. They make a flap, guys. And then just leave it there. No stitches. No glue, nada. It just heals itself right up, allegedly. I’m so terrified I’m going to rub my eyes I’m duct taping those ugly glasses to my head, and ALSO tying my hands to my sides. Or maybe just oven mitts? what would you suggest?

 

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Quick summer recap

Wow this summer has flown by. We traveled, we hung out, we had company, there was summer camp, trips to the amusement park and the zoo. I pictured languid days in the yard by the pool with M, but there were few of those, partly due to bad weather and partly due to life in general.

We spent the first week of July at our cottage in New Brunswick. This cottage originally belonged to E’s grandparents, and when they decided to sell we jumped on it with two of his brothers. It provides us guaranteed oceanside lodging for a week or two each summer when we visit, plus we’ll rent it out a few weeks a year to try and cover the costs. One week doesn’t really feel like enough when we’re there – with so many people to visit and so many summer activities we want to do we end up feeling overscheduled and stressed a lot of the time.  But I get a lot of joy from watching the kids play with their cousins, and the fact that they see each other so rarely means fighting is minimal!

We also had visit to our home – first my mom, then my sister and her fam. It’s our fifth year in this house, and we love sharing it with visiting company. BUT we are realizing it’s time to do some renovations – it’s time for a full guest suite in our basement, because our guests deserve their own space and privacy! Fall project? Maybe.

I spent a lot of weeks under the weather – I had some scratched corneas and couldn’t wear my contacts at all, which is depressing, I had some medication changes and some TERRIBLE side effects, plus I had bronchitis that lasted over a month. M also had a long summer cold which is still going on…. I think we needed sunshine, and Mother Nature held out on that quite a bit this year. (at one point M exclaimed “is it EVER going to stop RAINING???”)

M did her first short stint at summer camp and it was a huge success. We chose a daycamp near our home that was recommended by our dear friend. She went there as a child and also was a counsellor later on. They have swimming twice a day with waterslides and games, different sports to try, climbing walls, crafts, pottery, theme days, yummy lunches. M adored it, and I was sad we only sent her for two weeks. I think next year both kids will attend, and maybe for longer.

And now we’re getting together our school supplies and trying to get back into morning routines. School is 8 days away! I’ve taken some bloggy time off, and some life time off just to hang with the kids and be lazy, but back to school means back to reality!

When it’s not about vanity

When the girl was born, she came out a hairy little monkey. A full head of hair, and some hair on her shoulders and back as well. Soft, downy, dark.

Our six year old has a unibrow. And a little lip fuzz. DSC_1086.jpgWe have never once mentioned them to her, and she never really noticed. But of course now she’s in school. And kids are assholes. Nothing triggers your social anxiety and self-consciousness quite like when your kid comes home and says “My friend says I have a moustache. And a connected eyebrow.”

I asked her if it bothered her, and she said not really. But every few weeks or so she comes home with a new story about someone teasing her. These are 5/6 year olds. Why do they care?

I’ve mentioned to her that there are ways to remove them, or make them less noticeable, but all I could think of at the time was waxing and plucking. I describe this to her and she was NOT interested. But then someone mentioned Nair or Veet, which I had never really considered. Now that there is an actual option that would be uncomplicated and pretty well painless, it gives me more to think about.

I make a point of not focusing on the physical in our house. We don’t use the word “fat” no matter how fat I feel. I run “to make my heart healthy”, not to lose weight (a half truth!). I try to focus my compliments on other qualities (you’re so funny/smart/silly/strong). But I recognize that outside of our walls appearance and conformity have a lot more emphasis.

She wears boys clothes and this makes her stand out. She prefers Harry Potter and Star Wars to My Little Pony and Barbie and this makes her stand out. These are things she is confident about and I’m sure kids make comments. But she never mentions them. She is sure of what she prefers, what she chooses to enjoy, and is confident in these choices.

I hate that she is self-conscious of her appearance. I hate that she is only six and kids are already teasing her for this. But I’m not sure how I feel about helping her remove these burdens. While I would do anything, anything, to make her comfortable in her own skin and confident around her peers, I also feel it’s like telling her they are right.

 

 

Adventures in running

Since being done work I have had a time to get back to running. It feels good to get out there again, although I am not signed up for any races so I’m having trouble pushing myself further or faster. I just jog around aimlessly, listening to filthy rap music or Marc Maron’s podcast for about half an hour.

A few weeks ago, I got chased by a puppy. I thought I could hear barking but just kept on my way since dogs often bark at me. Then a six(ish) month old German Shepherd flew by me all gangly and silly. I pulled out my earbuds and knelt down, and he came to me tentatively. Meanwhile his owner was booting it up the street after him, causing him to dash off and back a few times (such a fun game! Pro-tip – chasing your dog will just make him run further and faster!). Apparently they were in the middle of practicing some training commands. I wanted to make a suggestion of a long training lead, but bit my tongue and smiled, and went on my way.

Often as I’m cruising along I encounter super fun roadkill. Squirrels. Birds. Rabbits. Skunks. In the city I had to watch for dog poo; in the country I keep an eye out for horse poo.

Last week I got chased by a Doberman. Again, super friendly and wanting to play, but his owner didn’t even notice him running into the street after me. I led him back to his yard, where his sibling dog (a big lazy Bernese) welcomed him, and his owner continued gardening obliviously.

But yesterday was my most exciting adventure so far! As I came over a hill I noticed what looked like a dead raccoon in the middle of the road. But as I approached it moved slightly, then I realized it was a turtle! A giant snapping turtle. A few years ago we found one in our pool filter and I thought it was big, but this Turtle! This Turtle was gigantic!

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I grabbed a stick to try and bait it – and Turtle ferociously snapped at it. However it didn’t grab hold like I hoped it would so I could pull it off the road. I then tried to use the stick to push it off the road, but that strategy resulted in Turtle jumping at me and trying to bite the stick. Things were not going well, then a nice pair of landscapers stopped their truck – one of them used to have a pet turtle and felt comfortable to grab its shell while I distracted it. Turtle flailed wildly and the dude dropped him on the first try, but we reset and finally got him into the woods which is the photo you see above. I wish I had taken a photo of Turtle beside my shoe or something, for scale.

To S, who is 4.

I can’t believe you are four years old. It’s so cliche, but it really does feel like yesterday that I was laboring in the tub, letting your dad sleep while trying to tell if you were being for real, or just fooling me.

For three years and probably 9 months you were the joy of our lives. While your sister can be mercurial, you were our easy going boy with a wry smile and a sunny disposition. The last three months you have been…. more difficult. You are starting to have opinions about everything and you need to test your boundaries. We’ll get through it, but I wish you’d get over it sooner rather than later. I want to go back to the moments when we’re driving in the car and you yell “Mama?” and I think you want to point something out to me but when I say “what?” you just say “I love you.”

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I could talk about your relationship with your sister for days. You worship her, there is no doubt. But, when you are together, it’s often like two cats in a bag. There will be tears. There may be bloodshed. You rely on each other, though, and I hope you continue to do so forever.

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I think a lot about the kind of man I want you to be. You have plenty of great role models between your dad, your uncles, and your grandfather, so that is a big bonus. But the way our world is right now… ugh, it makes me worry. I want you to be joyful, compassionate, intelligent, brave… so many things that seem to currently be of very little value. And you are so, so little, and the problems in this world are so, so big.

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But, instead of worrying about all that today, I’m going to make you laugh, make you sing, dance with you and give you a cupcake. You are my silly goose. You are my clever fox. You are my sweetest, sweetest boy.

Love, Mama.

M’s current obsession

Before the holidays, I did a lot (okay, I visited like three websites) of research on the age-appropriateness of Harry Potter for M. My go-to resource now is Common Sense Media, which appears to have pretty much everything you can think of, great reviews and advice before you introduce anything to your kids.

As with any resource, I used it as a guideline to decide that M, age 5 at the time, could handle the first book, so I ordered the box set for Xmas and in January we got to crackin. We read it together, because although she is starting to recognize words, and tries sounding out others, M is obviously not ready to read a giant chapter book on her own yet. Our rule is we can only watch the movie once we have completed the book, which is my general rule in life, but also helps her be prepared for any scary parts the movie may depict.

My intention was to read a book a year, or every six months….

But, dudes, she is seriously obsessed. Not only did we burn through that book, but we’ve blasted through two others and are 2/3 done the fourth. She loves it so much I’m able to use it as bargaining power when she’s being a ninny and doesn’t want to (eat dinner/take a bath/come inside/not fight with her brother).

For her birthday, she received several Harry related items – namely the first 4 movies from my mom and my sister. They came just in time, since we finished the first book right around then. She ran around talking with a British accent for three full days after watching that movie, and continues to do so quite often.

She also received a gift card to Chapters from my other sister, and lo and behold we found the perfect gift there.

Ms. PotterI’m having so much fun with this obsession of hers. I have neither read nor watched anything Potter related ever. I was never interested when it was originally being released, then when we had kids I made the conscious decision to wait to read it with her for the first time. And while we’re having an impossible time sticking to the Common Sense Media suggested age-appropriateness, I’m over the moon that she loves it so much, and I can’t wait until she’s reading again, next time to me.

Pressing the brake

I’m struggling a bit on the sharing front here on the old bloggy-o.  I’m pretty much an open book, I think you would agree. I have tons of issues, and I’m generally up front about them, and when they concern other people I try to gloss over the details. But now my kids are of an age where shit is getting real, and I’m questioning my capacity as a human to deal with them, and trying to work all that out. Usually part of my process would be to post here, to share, and get feedback.

But is that fair to my kids? Cause they definitely have their own shit that’s started to develop, and I don’t feel I have a right broadcasting that. But these things, and how I feel about them, are so tightly woven through my self-work that it’s hard to blur them out and still get to the root of the issues as they relate to me.

I’ve seen other bloggers take steps back from sharing their kids’ stuff when they reached school age, and always wondered why. Now I get it. No amount of “anonymity” that I give them here really amounts to much. I just erased a very long post about something we’re going through right now because shit if I didn’t ask myself “what if I was reading this about myself, written by my mom?” If I post about something shitty they are doing, or something difficult, I’m sure once they are internet-aged they’re gonna be real pissed about it. And I don’t need to add that to the list. The very, very long list.