Writing and editing
category: baby
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Dear Readers (aka my immediate family),

On Thursday (two sleeps), David and I will be finding out if the baby is a boy or a girl. Or they might not be able to tell us. Here at Miss Stan dot com, we believe in polls. And this is the perfect time for one. I will reveal the information on Friday – so stay tuned! Note: this isn’t a gender reveal – you will have to wait until the baby is out and maybe 10 or 11 years old to guess that. This is strictly nuts and bolts, so to speak.

Here are the details to keep in mind while voting in the SUPER IMPORTANT poll:

1. David has made one boy and one girl already – so looks like both are entirely possible.

2. This pregnancy I have been WAY WAY more sick than my first.

3. People tell me I look rested and glowing. The same people also tell me I look big, so I can’t imagine they are trying to spare my feelings.

4. When we went in for the first ultrasound the Russian technician told me, “It looks like a package.” When she showed me the baby’s bum, it did, indeed, look like a package.

5. My parents have told me that I can have another baby as long as it is a girl.

6. Holden says he has a baby in his belly too. He tells me the baby is really growing and wants to play with toys. His baby’s name is Paprika. Mostly, she is a baby sister, but today it was a baby brother. No word yet on the due date.

7. I have extraordinarily bad intuition about this stuff. I was pretty shocked both times to find out I was pregnant. I was also fairly convinced that Holden was a girl. That said, I am leaning the way of the Russian sonographer.

Choose wisely:


The ultrasound went like this:

Technician: Oh, it is a girl!

Stanny: A girl!?

Technician: Oh, no. Wait a minute. Don’t cry. I think it might be a boy.

I wasn’t about to cry, fyi. But then, we had a 5 minute discussion about whether the shadow was a penis or the umbilical cord. Her best guess was boy. I think she is right. I am super excited.

On a side note, at the end of the ultrasound, I did ask if anyone had ever cried when she told them the sex. She said once a woman cried and cried. The technician seemed dumbfounded, “What does it matter?” And she is right.

I am really excited/scared shitless for August. Thanks for voting.

And I will let you know when Paprika is due. Holdie told me she is coming soon.

Nine or ten hours after Holden was born, a doctor came into my room and told me that he had to take Holden to the NICU because he wasn’t breathing properly. I told the doctor that he could do no such thing. And the doctor looked at me and said, I have to take him. When he lifted my baby out of my arms I cried and cried. The doctor seemed somewhat surprised. The nurse with him told me that she would be back at 8a to take my catheter out and walk me to the NICU.

I watched the clock for eight hours, like a tiger ready to pounce.

The nurse showed up after 9a. She remarked on the amount of pee. I almost tore her head off. She got me out of bed and walked me, maybe 10 feet to the bathroom. And then she chirped merrily, “Well there you go – you can make it to the bathroom! That is far enough for now!”  And with that, she basically shoved me back into bed.

I remember thinking: who the fuck decides to do this shit more than once? What is the point of loving someone so much, so stupidly, within just a few short hours of knowing them that you would be totally willing to put up with the most humiliating bullshit?

Well, I guess I forgot about all that, because guess what? We are having another one! I am 4 months. I’m feeling good after the first horrific three months.

Thoughts on a second pregnancy

1. People tell you after your first, when you get pregnant your body is used to being all stretched out. And when people tell you that, you secretly hope that it won’t apply to you because it sounds not so pleasant. But it is true. In the last two weeks I went from sandwich bloat to full-on belly button popping belly. I think I wore my jeans into my 6th month last time. This week I had to say goodbye to my pants. Last time around, this seemed sort of wonderful and miraculous. This time around, not so much.

2. Now that people know that I am growing a human, they usually ask, “How are you feeling?” And usually because my mind is on fifty different things, I don’t catch their drift and just say, “Oh fine, how are you?’ Sometimes people ask me how the baby is and I have to think for a moment about what baby they are talking about. “Oh, this baby? I eat, it grows itself. No laundry. Amazing.”

3. I am super excited to get some nice baby clothes and think about names. Holden wants to buy some toys for the baby. He has a few picked out already at the local toy store, and that is going to be the best ever. I am buying a crib this time around, and I am happy about that. And then I remember the other shit I need, like a change table. Gross! I can wipe the baby’s poopy ass on that change table and one day that same baby will fall off the change table and I will get to spend time in the emergency ward. Some baby stuff: incredible. Other baby stuff: complete crap. Now that I have had one baby, I know that my child will fall off some incredibly high surface he/she is perched upon. I also know there will be baby shit on the walls. These are facts. Facts, I thought my incredible mothering skills would prevent me from ever experiencing with my first child. I feel at once dismayed at my nonchalance, and also comforted in knowing that I am part of a large group of shitty fucking mothers who let their babies fall from high places.

All this to say, I feel really lucky that I get to have another baby. it is a crazy big honour being someone’s mom. I hope I am up to the challenge. I have a feeling this baby is going to be an incredible person.

On another note: Holden got a camera for Christmas from his Auntie Kim. We uploaded the pictures the other day to our computer. So great.

A lot of the photos of people are at this level.

Sigh, jeans….

He sets up weird photo shoots with his toy reptiles:

He took this awesome shot of me, and he added the emoji. Love!

Once in a while, he takes a really arty shot of something at crotch level:

Holden took this shot of us in Miami. Ashtanga Celebrity time! We are practicing in Kino Macgregor and Tim Feldmann’s backyard. I am on Kino’s mat. And I am practicing next to David Robson. And in that photo I am almost three months pregnant with his child. Ashtanga Celebrity!! Preschooler paparazzi!

Ram Vakkalanka teaches philosophy, chanting and Sanskrit at our studio. Our practice and general studio philosophy is so intense and focused, I think we need to get a little spun out. Also, my home study habits are poor and inextricably linked to deadlines, reading lists and essays. That is to say, when I have a quiet moment, I don’t often curl up with the Yoga Sutras if I could check my email fifteen times in five minutes instead. Taking classes and talking with Ram when I can has added a great deal of depth to my practice and my teaching. Which is not to say that I am not still the same ignorant jerk – I am! But at least I feel like I am getting my toes wet, instead of standing on the beach complaining of the heat. Do you know what I mean?

The ocean metaphor is apt for Ram, because dude knows a whole bunch. Sometimes, David and I meet with him and we can ask him ANYTHING and he will, no joke, talk for an hour on the subject. Often by the end of the hour I feel like i have been tossed about in a strong wave. I am pretty sure I have asked him the SAME question and he has talked for an hour differently about it, trying to get me to catch a glimpse of the surface, or the bottom – I’m not sure which.

Our last “Chanting the Yoga Sutras” session with Ram, I asked him why my job as a parent made non-attachment or the idea of a dual world of Purusha (pure consciousness, soul or spirit) and Prakriti (our mind-body systems, the physical and not true manifestations of Purusha) seem so unappealing. I feel like I need to believe this reality because my son is in it. I feel confused as to why anyone would want to be enlightened because it might move you further from your children.  How could I want to be un- attached to my child?

He told me that my son didn’t actually belong to me. I don’t own him, the universe is just creating him through me. And somehow this made perfect sense. I see myself in him, and I see David – but Holden is also something entirely different. My three year old corrects me on the difference between jellyfish and siphonophores – and the importance of that difference is not either of us. Funny, how I can know this about myself as a child. That I am same but different from my mom and dad. And while they tried their best to help me learn how to be a good person –  I am my own person, good or bad. Separate from them, but connected to them. I know this, and maybe have always known this about who I am as a daughter, buI have trouble with the same idea as a mom.

Ram said, like a good babysitter. You can love the children in your care very much and make sure they are safe and protected. Teach them right from wrong and be present and engaged with them.  But at the end of the day, a good babysitter knows those children do not belong to her. Non-attachment parenting. I found this so beautiful.

Speaking of attachment parenting. I read a lot about it before I had my son. I tried to follow the tenets to the letter. because so much of it made sense to me like baby wearing. After Holden was born, my reaction to the books changed, and when I read the same books – I felt guilty and cruel. The books didn’t change, I suppose I just became much more tired. I became convinced about my own failings as an “attached” parent to my baby, Recently, I started reading book on attachment parenting and it brought me back to those same thoughts and feelings. Like a little cognitive loop in my head. The lesson here, for me, is that I can’t parent according to a certain set of rules. Most of the time, I just have to get up in the morning and try not to be an asshole. At the end of the day, I have to forgive myself if I was an asshole, apologize to my kid  and attempt to do better tomorrow. I recognize that is a sad parenting philosophy. I think I like the babysitter idea better.

Next week I am going to ask Ram to write a book on Non-Attachment Parenting.

He wasn’t so sure if skating was going to be his thing when he watched every kid go by and wipe out. But I told him he would have to hold my hand so I didn’t fall and that seemed to do the trick.

His favourite part was the “caution/danger” tape strung across the steps to the parking lot so that you wouldn’t be tempted to fling yourself off the rink into a car.

Sometimes you work and work and work really hard to make the right choices in life. You say no to a bunch of things like cigarettes and cheese burgers even though your brain tells you that you might really need cigarettes and cheese burgers to be happy. Eventually, you get to a place where your brain tells you to eat a vegetable instead of smoking a cigarette or eating a cheese burger and that is strange. And then, it happens all the time, and then you never want a cigarette or a cheese burger again. And that feels weird, but right. Your friends who like cigarettes and cheese burgers think you are a pretentious dummy, and you try not to judge but you feel superior.

And then you go to Whole Foods.

And you are wheeling a little shopping cart around the store after coming close to having a coronary in the parking lot, and all the choices have been made for you. You do the math in your head and realize that you are spending most of your pay cheque on crackers and sprouts. And you can buy fake cheese to put on your fake burger and you line up with basically nothing to eat in your cart. You have a strange sinking feeling that you hate everyone in the store, so much, because they are always in your way or they are rude or they are buying real burgers. And you realize: you are not any better. All that yoga and fake cheese, imagine what you would be like if you didn’t do all that? Frightening.

Ugh. Whole Foods.

I have been to the Whole Foods in Toronto and the one in the suburbs. And I am inured. Maybe the Toronto pushy is a pushy I am used to. Maybe it is because our country in so big, we tend to spread out a little. I’m not sure. But whenever we travel in the US, I look up the nearest Whole Foods expecting that I will be spending most of our vacation eating from the coconut yogurt aisles. And we do. But I often come away with such serious doubts about my life choices afterwards. For example:

1. Seriously, what is the deal with the Whole Foods parking lot? Three days ago I watched a man on a phone back his Porsche up into a police officer and then shrug when the cop yelled at him. AND the cop just kept walking because he was in a hurry to buy kale like the other 40 million people crammed in the store that day.

That same day, we tried to leave the parking lot, but realized the car line-up to leave was over 30 minutes long. I had a weird feeling like I might die in the Whole Foods parking lot. But I also felt better because we had purchased strawberry popsicles sweetened with brown rice syrup. So we ate them and  and we listened to the cars honking at one another. Just as an aside – if the driver of the first car in line isn’t busy backing up into a cop but waiting for a break in traffic – then why honk? I don’t really get it. I mean, if you own a Range Rover than you probably get a pay cheque and so you have to be smart enough to get to work and make someone pay you, so it follows that you should be smart enough to figure out that honking might not solve your problem in this instance. Anyway, we ate our popsicles on the stoop and waited until the parking lot had cleared. Later I read that the popsicles also contained white sugar and I felt stupid.

I found a video about the Whole Foods Parking Lot! I think I am late to the party. but it made me laugh.

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2. White sugar: Often when I go to Whole Foods, I think to myself, “Stanny, this is Whole Foods. Where EVERYTHING is healthy and a whole food. You can buy whatever you want!” But when I leave, I realize that I spent Holden’s college fund on every vegan product in the world that contains sugar. I know this, and yet I continue to make this choice over and over again. I dream of the day when I can walk into Whole Foods with my eyes truly open and my cerebral cortex functioning and say to myself, “Stanny, that vegan chocolate mousse is not a whole food. It is vegan and it has tofu and it is a million dollars, but that doesn’t make it good or healthy or worthwhile.” Sigh, dreams.

3. MindReading: There is something a little unsettling about the fact that while I often think I am a unique snowflake, Whole Foods all over North America has me figured out.  How do they know that I, a struggling yoga teacher, would pay a million dollars for vegan chocolate mousse? That means the store is filled with people just like me who can’t resist the temptation of vegan chocolate mousse. And that seems so sad and strange and depressing.  It also furthers my belief that in a zombie apocalypse I will be the first to go. My neighbours will come and eat me and I will spend the rest of my undead life chasing cats for supper and shuffling my ethically-sourced vegan boots around.

Thanks Whole Foods.

So, Miami. Do you really want to see? Are you living under a mountain of snow right now? Can you imagine that some people live in a place that is like this in February? I will be shovelling out my car soon enough, don’t worry.

We ate carbs on the beach. So good.

I wore this and wasn’t cold!

Holden wanted a Valentine’s balloon very badly from CVS. He took it everywhere.

Handsome dad!

When I was a teenager, we used to say to each other, “Mom, kids in France are drunk! They are forced to drink a WHOLE bottle of wine. Can I have some chips?”

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And then Gavin grew up, and totally wrote this book.

This is an interesting moment in parenting philosophy, where people who know nothing but heard something about some kids somewhere else, are informing parenting movements. There is even a step by step guide to raising your child like a French person. And the author isn’t French. And I think that is a bit weird.

I don’t have a problem with French people, but are there no annoying children in France? Are no French mothers looking at their gorgeous unpasturized-cheese eating children right now and saying to themselves, “These fuckers are crazy.”?  And when those French kids grow up – are they all  super successful and incredible because of their fantastic upbringing? Or are they just human: sweet, annoying, funny, smart, dumb, difficult – like the rest of us.

That is not to say that I don’t believe we could all learn a thing or two from the way people raise their children around the world. I am always in awe of how independent young children are in India. But I guess I would rather hear a South Asian, or French woman tell me how they work their magic. Today I saw a book called, How Eskimos keep Their Babies Warm…. First of all: Eskimos – really? Are you time travelling from the 1940s? And besides that, unless you are moving to Iqaluit, you probably don’t need to worry about that level of warmth.

Week in Review:

1. I think I might need to take back that thing about not worrying about your baby getting cold unless you are moving to Iqaluit. The weather here is deteriorating into the worst pile of crap. Right at this moment, I am looking out my window and watching powdery white snow falling on the oak trees and it sickens me. Boo winter!

2. This week Holden has been an angel. Sweet, compliant, and loving. He often says out of the blue, “Sorry Mommy!” Which I could think was a bit sad considering he hasn’t done a single thing wrong in a week. But I really love it and I am secretly hoping he stays this way FOREVER.

3. Sometimes, I remember that Rob Ford is actually the mayor of my city. I wonder, briefly, if I might have dreamt it. And then, I realize: no this isn’t a strange nightmare, and I start to feel panicky about what that means. Then I will myself to stop thinking about it because it is too terrifying. But before I do that, I reflect on how many people in Toronto are doing the exact same thing.

4. We started an Indiegogo campaign to renovate our studio. Next week, between Feb 3 – Feb 7, David and I will match any donation up to $5000. So, if you were thinking about giving – next week is a good time because your contribution will double. A big huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported us thus far.

5. In 36 hours I am going to Miami. David is teaching at Miami Life Center. I plan on enjoying the weather and the thongs immensely. I hope you, dear reader, enjoy your week too.

I often need parenting advice. Thankfully, I go to the studio everyday and there I can ask any number of sweet, sensible moms and dads for their two cents. Because we now live in little isolated family units, and since I can’t just go ask the village elder when I have a problem that I don’t want to email my sister about, I turn to the interweb to guide me. I am happy for the amazing resource that is the world wide web, but it does sort-of concern me for two reasons:

1. If I am raising my child through internet advice, that means other people are certainly doing the same and I’m not sure what that means for our kids because…

2. The interweb is full of crazies.

Recently, I googled “three year old won’t wash hair” because Holden screams and yells and generally freaks out whenever he gets his hair washed. We start out okay, until Holden gets worked up about a drop of water on his forehead. And then, without fail the whole thing ends in a big pile of shampoo, water, and tears. We reached a low point last month, when fed up after several months of the aforementioned screaming, I told him that his hair would have to be cut off if he couldn’t wash it without starting WWIII every week. That was a shitty thing to say, and it made him cry and freak out more. After I put him to bed that night I decided I had officially reached the end of my parenting skills on that particular issue. So I turned to the bastion of good parenting, Google.

There are always three distinct parenting camps on those discussion boards. There are the Yahoo Answers type, that generally favour corporal punishment, the BabyCenter moms that have week-long cutesy project ideas, and then the far-out radical parenting sites.

The three pieces of advice I gleaned from the discussion boards:

1. Smack your child so he knows who is in charge. (Yahoo Answers)

2. Buy foamy stars and beautiful shapes and stick them to the ceiling above your sink. Buy an insert to wash your child’s hair beauty parlour style in the sink. Make up nice songs and a short musical about hair washing. Build the sets and cast your pets in the production. Perform on the street for change and then use that money to take a course on towel making. Make the most beautiful soft towel and present it to your child in a candlelit ceremony at his favourite toy store. (babycenter)

3. My child hasn’t taken a bath in over a year. I forced him to wash once a year ago, and he cried. That night I lay on the kitchen floor and sobbed in the darkness for hours because I knew I had broken his trust forever. I vowed then to never force him to wash his hair. I can see that it is dirty and he has crusty spots on his scalp. Sometimes I gently suggest a bath and he says “NO BATH” I am sure he will take a bath one day. I know yours will too! (radical unschooling site)

Okay, so I exaggerated a little with number 2, but 1 and 3 are almost word for word suggestions by ACTUAL PARENTS who posted their opinions because they think they are doing right by their kids. That night in bed, I told David what I had read. We both lay awake feeling worried for our future.

The next morning, I understood something – something I felt I had known all along but it took some creepy parents to make it clear: Parenting is about being the fucking adult. All the time. Even when you want to cry in the kitchen for hours or hit someone or whatever crazy thing you think might be okay at the time but actually totally isn’t. You have to take a step back and take a breath and say, “Ok, self. I am screwing this up. It is my job to fix it.” And that is a really hard thing to do. At least for me because I like to blame other people for my problems. But this parenting stuff, this is my problem, my joy, my heartache. I alone have to answer for my actions or inaction.

That day, I asked Holden if he didn’t like getting water in his eyes. He said he didn’t. So, David held a towel over his eyes tightly while I washed his hair. Then we chanted his name for five minutes because he didn’t freak out. When he got out of the bath, he said he wanted to cut his hair. Voila! Stanny and David, 1. Google Parenting, 0.

Just so you don’t think I waste all my time googling parenting questions, today I googled historical photos of Bowood and Lawrence, where the studio is located in Toronto. I found this on the Toronto Public Library’s site.

It is St. Leonard’s Anglican church, it was moved further south. But the picture, and the implicit tumbleweeds, it made me think that our funny small location might be a little point of focus. And I was really happy. Amazing, no?

I also recently googled “What Girls Character Are You?” And I completed three different quizes which all came up with the EXACT same answer. Which means it is Poll Time!

category: Uncategorized
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Today I opened up the Globe and there was a big picture of a northern winter in Iqaluit complete with someone dressed up in a bunch of dead animals. That kind of winter is pretty. The crazy bleakness, the blue grey skies, the way the trees hold the snow. Pretty.

In Toronto it is pretty for a few moments. The snow falls and it looks like Gingerbread Land. This year with the ice storm, we had a few beautiful days of these exquisite tree ice sculptures. More exquisite and beautiful if you weren’t looking for a hotel to spend Christmas in, but beautiful nonetheless.

Eventually, winter gets ugly. The cars get to the snow and turn it brown and soggy. The trees shake their snow and just look like brittle arms. The sky turns the same colour as the ground – sort of yellow/white – and you start to get used to not seeing the sun peek out for days and days.

I take the subway into work, and despite the shambles that is public transportation in Toronto – I prefer it to driving in rush hour and parking on a two-storey snow bank. However, there is still plenty of room for improvement so I decided to make a little list of nice suggestions that I think could ameliorate any subway ride.

1. Toothbrushing Stations: I don’t know how this will work, but I think it is a shit hot idea. Most subway riders seem to omit this crucial morning routine. I don’t want to smell what you ate last night for dinner. All that bad breath makes people cranky and uncooperative. I think a cute little booth by the ticket agent would solve a lot of problems.

2. Listening to Someone Else’s Music: It is like a rule, unless a person is in your home (and even then), she doesn’t want to listen to your music. Even if you listen to the same music that I do, I don’t want to hear it on the subway. Maybe you need better earphones or to have your hearing checked – I’m not sure – but that could be another little service public transportation provides. The people who come on the subway without headphones and the volume turned up on their iPhones – need to return to nursery school before they can make decisions for themselves again. Even my three-year old knows I don’t want to listen to the Octonauts.

3. Stand Up! Once when I was a teenager, I was riding the subway with friends in Rome. The train was packed and we were sitting down. My friend told me not to look up because then you would have to give up your seat. Even at that point, I knew that was kind-of wrong. Later, again as a teenager, I rode a bus in New York City. When we walked in an 80-year old woman shot up and offered us her seat. The rest of the ride was like musical chairs. Every time someone would walk on the bus, the passengers would all stand up and offer their seats, my friend and I included. I always thought that New Yorkers were supposed to be pushy, driven assholes – but I learned I was wrong about New Yorkers, and the real truth is  teenagers should never be allowed to sit down because they are lazy and selfish unless a bunch of seniors teach them otherwise. So, here is my suggestion: One 80 year-old per car. Job: Offering her seat to anyone over 15 and under 30. Three weeks and the whole rude not-giving-the-seat-up thing will be a distant memory.

4. Slippers: I think the subway experience could be so much better in the winter if you weren’t schlepping through slush on the cars. I love the idea of wearing cozy slippers on the subway instead of my boots. Bonus: I wouldn’t have to bug my son not to stand on the seats. Also, less clean up! I suppose while we are making a no outdoor shoe policy on the subway, we should say no MacDonald’s either.

5. Good Subway Newspaper: Would it be so hard? I feel my IQ lowering when I read them. And I say this as someone who has been published in one. There are a million great writers out there who would work for mere ducats, the advertising dollars are clearly there with a captive audience. Those newspapers make me feel bad for the trees, and that shouldn’t be your first thought when you see a newspaper. Maybe they need more Haley-O.

6. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: For the record I think that was a sad and disappointing policy in the US military, but I think in terms of subway delays – it works. In Toronto, we have to hear about every screw that needed to be tightened therefore causing a five second delay. Learning about a delay makes everyone antsy. If I am stuck in a subway tunnel, I’m stuck in a subway tunnel. But if I hear that we are delayed until further notice because some teenager didn’t give up his seat and someone freaked out and pressed the passenger assistance alarm (true story) it is just going to panic me. Don’t tell me about it, just fix it.

Okay, your turn. Subway suggestions?

category: baby
tags: ,

“We may fairly and in all friendliness, describe the Three-and-a-half year old boy or girl as being characteristically inwardized, insecure, anxious, and above all, determined and self-willed. One might assume that his strong-willed self-assertiveness..might be rooted in personal security. Not so! In fact, the very opposite seems to be the case.”  – Louise Bates Ames.

People told me about three in the way that people have also told me about 14.  Thing is, I remember being a total ungrateful asshole to my parents for several years when I was a teenager. But I can’t remember what kind of asshole I was at three.  I felt worried, because I thought two was not Holden’s best age for joyful compliance, but most folks explained that three was actually so much worse. To be honest, three was fine. But three-and-a-half? Bananas.

We knew it was bad when we went to Florida, and on a special boat ride we saw a dolphin that swam right up to the boat and played in the waves beside it, looking at us as it swam underneath. Holden, the boy who has taught me about snapping shrimp and gulper eels and colossal squid, turned disdainfully away from the dolphin and lay face down on the bench for the duration of the trip. That started months of crazy tantrums, weird mood swings, and the strange ability to not be able to take “yes” for an answer and tantrum anyway.

Holden used to be great at going to sleep with the light off, but since 3.5 he has been terrified of his room, the dark , the ghosts and monsters he is convinced reside there. David pointed out that if a ghost spent just five minutes in that room alone with Holden – it would be out of there so fast.  Not even the creepiest ghost could stand a chance against the relentless screams of “THERE IS POO EVERYWHERE!!!!!!” or “ONE MORE STORY!! WAAHHHHHHH!!!! ONE MORE STORY!!!”

The book I am reading, actually suggested to avoid going out at all with your three-and-a-half-year old. I don’t really care when children have melt-downs around me in the store. But for sure, there are some people who do really care. I can tell because they post it on Facebook. And I know I should just get over it, but sometimes you just want to go to the grocery store and pay for your stuff quietly and not have 30% of the store thinking that either a) you are an asshole b) your kid is an asshole c) all of the above.

Good thing he is so damn cute and sweet and charming and gorgeous when he wants to be.

I was at a parenting book store last week, and the woman at the cash told me that I should prepare for age four, because that is the worst age. I felt like reaching out and shoving my wet glove into her mouth. Don’t even tell me. I can’t possibly prepare for worse. But in the most terrifying moments, I can imagine worse.

And it is bad.

Speaking of bad. This weather. I thought warming up would be a good thing. Not so. Do you know the part in Gone with the Wind where Rhett looks at Scarlett’s hands and he is like, “You can’t front on being fancy anymore because your hands are all fucked up from working in the fields or whatever. Plus you are wearing the drapes.” ? Well that is what David is going to say to me when he gets home from Regina and he sees my soft, useless yoga teacher hands that have blistered from the ice picking I am doing on the sidewalk. Minus the drapes part. I won’t wear the drapes.

I love Christmas. I like the lights in the trees and cooking nice dinners. I like hanging out with family and getting cozy by the fire. This year we had heat and lights and hot water so we were extra, extra lucky. I am truly blessed, obviously. But I can’t help but feel like an addict who keeps stretching out the day she is going to kick sugar.

It is bad enough being an Ashtangi during Christmas, because I still get up to practice. But I am also vegan, which makes me the bummer at any family holiday occasion. Like, I know, it is probably hard to eat a dead animal across from David and I, silently judging.

On a side note, Holden has started playing a game where we quiz him about what he eats: Do you eat Pigs? NOOOOOOO! Do you eat dogs? NOOOOOOO! Do you eat tigers? NOOOOOO! Do you eat rice? Mhmmm……. and the last line of the game: DONT EAT ANIMALS! I blame it on this totally harsh vegan kids book I picked up at Farm Sanctuary last year. Holden insisted I read it to him every night with the Lorax for weeks (it was an issue-driven month, I guess). You just know that Holden is going to be a total bummer at most holiday dinners pretty soon.

All this to say, if I didn’t eat sugar – that would be weird and over the top and difficult to explain. Or at least junkie-mind tells me so. Because of course, there is really just one big holiday dinner with my extended family, maybe two.  Really, I start eating sugar early in anticipation. And by Christmas day, I am sort of a mess. Why can’t I just eat sugar like everyone else? People drink gallons of pop everyday and they seem fine – okay, they are  functioning – well, at least they aren’t total bummers at holiday parties.

Currently, I have a sty inside my eye which makes me look like I was punched and feels like I have a twig shoved in my lower lid. I saw it and knew: This was punishment for all the brownies, pies, cookies, and chocolate we ate.  I told David, no more sugar – I have something living in my fucking eye.

And then what happens after I put Holden to bed? I eat a baked good that was  around from the holidays.  David looks at me and says nothing. But what can he say? He missed work today because he has a stomach bug/flu – probably from eating all that sugar with me.


New Years Eve is Mercedes’ wedding. We are in charge of the dinner and there is, of course,  cake. I guess I HAVE to eat a piece! It is Mercedes wedding! I can’t be that asshole who refuses cake at her stepdaughter’s wedding! I will just be the asshole with the drooping oozing eyelid at her stepdaughter’s wedding.

So, I thought maybe I would kick then. But then my neighbour came by and invited us to a New Years Day bonfire with the kids. He is making bannock and we are bringing vegan marshmallows. So, looks like Jan 2 I am going to kick.

But then my birthday is January 7th. Thanks Mom – now my eye is totally fucked.

Sigh, I will see y’all on the 8th after I arouse from my diabetic coma with a glass eye.

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When I was younger and pretending to be a grown up, I got stuck in an ice storm. I was living in Montreal. When the storm started I was alone and far away from my house. The sky was grey, I was confused that the subway didn’t work and I walked home.

We had no heat or electricity. We went to bars and coffee shops and felt very much a part of something. I was happy that I didn’t have to write an essay. We shopped in grocery stores lit by candlelight. It felt romantic. We were all surviving.

My friend’s mother was staying with us. She had tried to leave but her train got stuck. She had to walk through a farmer’s field to the nearest highway to hitch a ride back to our ice palace. She made tea for herself by placing a glass of water over a candle. At nights, she volunteered as a guard for a retirement home. I was glad she was there because I knew if things got any worse, whatever camping situation we had set up would fall short.

Maybe three days in, I forget now, a policewoman skated by our house and told us not to drink the water. The filtration system for the city was broken.  The candlelit grocery stores had been emptied of food, with no new stock coming in until the roads cleared. My friend’s mother went out right away and procured two large bottles of water for us. I am not sure how, we were too stricken to act.

I was tired then. Tired of sitting in bed, and living on butter. I felt sad for the trees and for myself and I wished I hadn’t been so quick to rejoice over the schoolwork that I would eventually have to do. A couple days later the heat came on.

But really the storm had been a short respite for me. I was depressed in the never-ending Montreal winter. I was almost finished a degree that I felt I had no interest or passion in whatsoever. I had the strange feeling of being and acting outside of myself most of the time.

Today, we got stuck in an ice storm. I was reminded of my experience 16 years ago and how much richer and fuller my life is now and for the most part, how I love what I do with my time.

I am still, however, capable of plodding away at projects that do not hold my interest. I am still capable of getting so sad that the person I am is no longer present.

Today, I am grateful for the particular piece of dry ground that I stand on. Grateful, knowing that it can be slippy and shifting. And thankful, remembering that when it was icy, there was always someone there who quietly recognized my unsure footing and, saying nothing, helped me steady.