Sunday, February 25, 2007


Recently, I have been seeing ads by Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. These ads encourage you to assemble an emergency kit to be prepared for the first 72 hours of an emergency. This is the window of time when emergency workers help those in urgent need and may not be able to help your family.

Being the type of person that I am, I make haste and get over to the website. They have an Emergency Preparedness Guide you can download and after going through it I am concerned. There are three steps: Know the risks, Make a Plan and Prepare a Kit. Sounds simple, right? It is in many ways, but I think the underlying feeling I got was - the worst is coming you had better get ready. This is not meant to sound flip, it is just a general feeling I got while visiting the site and contemplating what would lead us to such a scenario.

I love being prepared don't get me wrong. I am the mom who packs a spare outfit for when the spare outfit is dirty. I am the person our friends come to for an Advil, pad, bib, etc. when we are traveling or on an outing. I thrive on preparedness, take pride it even. This however, pushes the envelope even for me. Not the entire concept, just some of the material contained in the guide.

Step 1 is to Know the Risks, Know your Region. Below is from the guide.

"Although the consequences of disasters can be similar, knowing the risks specific to your region can help you prepare yourself better. Across Canada we face a number of hazards, from earthquakes in British Columbia, to blizzards in Nunavut, to hurricanes in New Brunswick. In addition to natural disasters there are other types of risks, such as blackouts, industrial or transportation accidents, and the possibility of acts of terrorism on Canadian soil. We need to prepare for all types of emergencies."

How on earth are we supposed to know if our region is at risk for acts of terrorism, an infectious disease breakout, or a blackout? I realize that urban areas are more likely targets for some disasters, but more and more there really are no safe areas. If there are safe areas I want to move there. The blackout in August 2003 not only effected several provinces it effected two countries. I agree that there are some disasters you can prepare for based on where you live, but I think it is naive and misleading to think we can simply put all these items in a box and be prepared. Is this supposed to make me feel better?

I live in fear everyday since becoming a parent. My heart clutches when you hear stories like Kati Kim and her children. I wonder how I would have coped, would I have been able to keep my family alive in such a situation? I pray that is never tested. I think about all the families in countries at war, how do mothers make their children feel better when they live their life in a state of emergency?

There really is nothing wrong with having some basic supplies in your home so you are prepared if your power goes out or there is a blizzard or flood. I was eight months pregnant with Rosebud when we had the blackout in August 2003, and was thankful we had water and food at home and managed quite fine for our 24 hours without power. A friend delivered her baby that day in a hospital running on auxiliary power. It is good to be prepared, no doubt.

We live in a world rife with fear. Turning on our radios, televisions and computers bring scary stories to us every day. I choose not to let fear control my life. I don't think we can ever really be fully prepared for an emergency, but I have faith that I would rise to the occasion and would fight hard to keep my family safe no matter what the situation.

We do this everyday without even realizing it. We make decisions that effect the health and well-being of our family and in a way this is about being prepared. We read books, search the Internet for answers, solicit advice from other parents and seek out people facing the same problems in their families.

Am I prepared for everything? No, certainly not. What I am prepared for, is trying to do the best by my family everyday, no matter what the situation, for the rest of my life.

Friday, February 16, 2007


It might seem from my blog that I don't write much about Papoosie Girl, and in fact I think it is kind of true. It is easy to write about Rosebud, she is much more simple to document and capture in words. At three her personality is only so deep and our relationship is still very much in a honeymoon phase. She doesn't wake me up at night every two hours and doesn't argue with me about every little detail all day either. Rosebud and I live in a kind of harmony etched out by our day to day outings and activities, where it is just the two of us. She has been known to say, "It's nice when it is just the two us." Indeed it is.

That is not to say I don't adore Papoosie Girl, because I do. She is a complicated creature straining against my Mommyness some days and it can be so tiring. Most days pass by fairly uneventfully and for the most part she is a good girl. She follows our family rules, adores her sister and plays with her, and generally doesn't give us a hassle. There have been glimpses though of what is to come, and it is not pretty. She is extremely stubborn, and I think she may have come by that naturally, which has already led to some locked horns situations. You can reason with her most of the time, but these exchanges are exhausting. We are both spent by the end and often words have been exchanged that you want to swallow back up. Somehow I thought I would have more time before this started. More time before it became complicated, if you know what I mean.

I look at her reading on the couch and wonder where did this girl come from? Where did this little girl reading "chapter" books come from? I can't be old enough for a child who can read! After a quick browse through Chapters you quickly realize that this mother-daughter relationship is a topic many people have tried to explain. The fierce pride, complete exasperation, and undying love I feel can never truly be explained though. In my heart of hearts I really wanted a girl and secretly was sure Papoosie Girl was a girl. I have mentioned this before and while a healthy baby was the ultimate wish I was always nervous of having a boy. As an only child and no cousins I saw regularly, I had no exposure or experience with little boys until I started babysitting; and let's just say that impression was not favourable. I have come to love and appreciate little boys through my godson, from the delivery room to his four year old exuberance I am beginning to understand. Boys are different and that is alright, I get it now. I am not nearly as scared.

I so want for Papoosie Girl and Rosebud to think of me as someone who they can rely on and most importantly understand. I think the most tragic thing would be to hear my children say they just never understood me or worse I didn't understand them. I wonder sometimes how it can seem so complicated now, she is six! I feel like we are already approaching the brink of moving from total dependence to total indifference. That scares me, a lot.

Today at the doctors to check her sore ear again she is my little girl. She wants Mommy beside her holding her hand as the doctor pokes around. For the moment we are Mommy and daughter again, no hassles, no sighing, no drama; just the two of us together. Naturally, I start to think of my relationship with my own Mom and how the cycle is continuing. I adore my Mom and she is the one person on this earth who truly knows me best. Hubby knows me well of course too, but this relationship, from birth, through childhood, adolescence and finally to me as a mother is long-standing. My Mom is my inspiration and while it was not always a perfect relationship I have never felt cut off from my mother in any way. I always knew she loved me even if she wasn't liking me very much sometimes.

I am sure I will have lots more to say about this: one girl + one girl + one mother = years of fun...
I never thought I would feel the angst so early in our relationship. I thought it never would be complicated at such an early age and maybe it is just my own worrying bringing me down a bit. I do that sometimes, worry, that is.

Love you Papoosie Girl. You are a bright shining light in my life. You never back down and I so love your strong will, never lose it sweetie. My sweet little Tinkerbell, I hope we have many more years of fairy dust upon us.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Meme too, just weirder

I know getting tagged for a meme is a huge compliment, so why then am I sweating? At least it is a topic close to my heart - how weird I can be.

Thanks to Mimi for this lovely compliment and her efforts to find out "what lies under that so-reasonable demeanor" of mine. Well, I don't know about my demeanor but here goes on the weirdness.

1) I have a Geography/Urban Studies degree yet it does nothing for my horrible sense of space or direction. I have listened to lectures, read textbooks and written papers on these topics and yet still I need very detailed instructions to move about easily. I have been known to take a longer route to somewhere just so I get there at all. This also extends to shopping malls, I always exit a store and head in the direction I just came from.

2) I have feet issues, a couple actually. I like my feet, all of my toes are in order. That is the toes all get progressively smaller starting at the big toe. Second toe is smaller than the big toe and all the way down the line. This is in my mind how toes should be and I often ponder how Papoosie Girl and Rosebud's toes will turn out, so far so good though. Other feet issues include my aversion to bare feet touching me, anyone's. Highchairs are designed for wee baby feet to constantly touch you, this I actually didn't mind but, keep those grown-up feet away from me.

3) I have a bit of the OCD thing happening. Mine is all about locks and the toaster. The toaster must always be unplugged when not in use. This does not extend to the coffeemaker or can opener or anything else in the kitchen, just the toaster. I have faked forgetting something to run back into the house to check the toaster. At night before bed I like to touch all the locked locks (front and back door) before going to bed. I also occasionally open our door to our garage to make sure the garage is shut but, that is only because hubby has been known to leave it open.

4) I like symmetry - a lot. I like stripes of any kind. I like my tea towels to hang just so which sometimes creeps me out and reminds me of that Julia Robert's movie with the insane husband she was trying to leave. I also like to dress the girls the same, I find it visually peaceful. If they are dressed different and I will be looking at them all day I find it a bit like a visual frat party. After our vacation last summer I discovered I am not the only person with this weirdness. Apparently, in terms of safety having the kids dressed the same is good for keeping track of them in large theme parks. So there.

5) I almost always go down the baby aisle at stores. I have no use for this aisle other than pull-ups but, I still browse through the baby food, formula, bibs and bottles. I am not sure why perhaps a sign I am not done this game?

6) Funny, I thought getting to six would be harder. I love cereal but, never eat it for breakfast. It makes an great bedtime snack or anytime I am hungry and am too lazy to make anything snack but, it is never eaten for breakfast. I don't like cold things for breakfast. If we go out I always order French Toast for breakfast and if we are at home I make toast. I don't like French Toast at home, yuck. Hubby has spent the last ten years trying to make French Toast in every possible way using every possible bread and I still hate it at home but, always order it out.

Is that enough? I hope so, since Rosebud has the getting up at 5am affliction going around and it is time for some shut-eye for this Mommy.

I don't think I am going to tag anyone since I have seen this everywhere but, if there is someone reading who has not been tagged, consider yourself it and go tell it on the mountain of weirdness.

Nighty night.

Monday, February 05, 2007


One of the things I missed immediately not working in an office (besides the bathroom breaks, lunchtime shopping sprees, and the ability to drink a hot beverage without reheating it five times) were my co-workers. I made so many wonderful friends and leaving them was hard. However, leaving the petty, snide, and adolescent antics of some co-workers behind was easy. There is so much more I could say about this but, I won't. I have prided myself on not trash talking when I have so much fodder it would fill a book, it serves no purpose. The friends I have made are a still part of my life and while it is not quite the same, we still try to keep in touch regularly.

My job, while fulfilling in so many ways, clouded my head with office politics type of nonsense that when you are in the thick of it the only way to describe it is; suffocatingly real. Then, once it is no longer a part of your life you can look back and only wonder why you shed tears over such absurd situations office life can place you in. Between finishing university and when I became a work-at-home Mom I worked about nine years marketing. First, at a hip downtown agency and then moving "client side" when I realized it is a long commute from Brampton to Bay & Bloor everyday.

I "left" my job under the pretense of an up-coming restructure and was given a package. It was truthfully however, nothing more than a conflict of personalities. The boss who hand-picked me to take the job, personally asked me to be a part of her team, walked me to the boardroom to be "restructured." To be honest, most people assume I left my job, and most of the time I don't correct them. In a way, I did leave first. I was unhappy, and was already looking for something else, and I am sure they sensed that. I was never let-go from anything in my life, the feeling of not being in control is unnerving and I had not really experienced it before. I think I handled it fairly well, no drama, no tears, emptied my desk, filled my bags, walked to my car, called my husband while heading to my best friend's house for lunch.

Once the shock wore off I adjusted to life at home quite easily, I was only back at work about six months after my one year maternity leave with Rosebud, before I was let-go. In my heart I had always entertained the idea of staying at home but, never really considered it in earnest. It just wasn't something I thought was possible, what about the bills, our lifestyle, how do you manage? In addition, my job had the benefits and pension so leaving seemed impossible. When I look back now, I realize that while my worries were founded they were not impossible to hurdle. We are making this work, and even though we are in our very small house and are making do with less we are still extremely comfortable, the girls take lessons, we eat out occasionally, we took a holiday last year; life is extremely good.

I worked exactly two years between my maternity leaves and during that time there was always a nagging feeling that my time was being wasted. This is not to spark any debate about being a working in the home versus out of the home argument. For me personally, things were never quite right. My job was interesting and in many ways brought me satisfaction and the feeling of contributing to a greater good. Once Papoosie Girl came along though things really changed for me. I was struggling a bit (mentally and physically) towards the end of my pregnancy and ultimately left work before I was supposed to, about eight weeks ahead of my due date. It is like my body was telling me something and in the end even though she was due on January 27, 2001, she made her debut before the end of the year. This meant I missed the one year maternity leave (by about 50 hours my nurses calculated) which was a real letdown. I ended up taking eight months off, the last two without benefits.

Once back at my job, and after adjusting to the new routine I realized that I felt something was not quite right. Everyone assured me that this feeling would pass as I adjusted to the routine, the problem I was adjusted and it was not right. I was busting my butt for artificial deadlines and was being convinced it really was the end of the world if this newsletter mailed one day late; based on a schedule that was randomly selected to start with. I know I am smart and I know I made great contributions to my job but, the investment I was making felt misplaced. I wanted to invest in my daughter, I wanted to focus on a different job security, one that ensured she would still be talking to me in her teens.

My decision to remain at home (for now) is the right one for me. I don't think I would have ever made such a bold move and in some divine way this turned out exactly right. The inflated feeling that you can never be replaced is washed away awfully fast when you are humbled in such a way. It was good for me though, to experience this let-down. It taught me that at the end of the day, you need to know who you are, what you are capable of and understand that no one can ever take that from you. Jobs may come and go but, you remain the same competent person you always were. The funny thing is I rarely talk about how my job ended. It is like it transpired and then vanished. Life has gone on, and in a good way.

So back to my current co-worker of the last (almost) two years at my working-at-home job. Who wouldn't want a co-worker who replaces track pants for a tutu or apron once in a while? Now that Papoosie Girl is in school all day Rosebud and I have really started to enjoy our pal around time together. Leisurely strolls, breakfast at Tim Horton's some mornings, and just generally enjoying each other's company. Then I get to pick up Papoosie Girl from school and hear all about her day. I have friends who would do anything to be in my place, I try very hard to appreciate how lucky I am, all the while trying to prevent my brain from melting.

I get invited to tea parties, for check-ups, puppet shows, and more. We spend time in her make-believe world and pretty much ignore the real one when we can. My schedule that I love to follow has been neglected (blogging is to blame more probably) and once in a while I don't even clean on Thursday like I am supposed to.

Rosebud goes to JK next year so I know the time for this is running out. I plan to get every ounce out of our time together before then. While the days are long the years really are short and I want this one to last forever.