Writing and editing

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.

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!

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.

FUCK THE HOLIDAYS.

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.

Stuck for gifts for the Ashtangi in your life? I compiled a short list for y’all

1. Toe skin: I remember seeing the tape around Sharath’s big toes in Goa and wondering if it was some sort of elaborate prop. Nope, I soon learned, your toe skin just peels off in large chunks and makes you bleed toe blood on your manduka when you jump back. You will wrap your toe in scotch tape, popsicle wrappers, anything, to stop the pain before going back in and jumping back on your bloody toe over and over again. And guess what? They don’t really ever heal. Or when they do , you get a short respite before you feel something one day catch on your sock and a shiver of pain goes up your leg and you realize your goddamn toe is splitting again. One day, David was teaching me the headstands in intermediate and I watched, as I slammed my feet down 7 fucking times, the trail of blood on my purple rug get thicker and thicker. Did I stop? No way! I was learning the end of intermediate – you wouldn’t stop either. Do you think this toe bleeding might be an alignment issue? Save it sister. Just get the Ashtangi on your list some baby soft lovely new toe skin to fuck up.

2. A night where everyone eats at 4.30 and then goes to bed at 8: Ahh, bliss! A big meal as the kids are getting out of school and then to bed while it is still light out. Perhaps a romantic night in a senior’s residence would fill the same criteria.

3. Coconut water IV drip: Ashtangis have been loving coconut water since before Madge got her sinewy hands around a VitaCoco. Maybe even from before Madge played a yoga teacher in that movie and did poses from Advanced A. In Mysore, the residents give major side-eye to the yoga students who sit and flirt at the coconut water stand all day because they think there is something nefarious going on. I am not saying there isn’t, all I know for sure is that you sort of NEED a coconut after practice. Last week I had a stomach flu that went through me quickly for one day. The next day I was excited because it gave me an excuse to buy a very large container of coconut water and drink it all myself. If you could somehow figure out how to put coconut water into an iv drip, that would be the best yogi present ever.

4. A life: Sometimes when you hang out with a group of Ashtangis they start to wistfully reminisce about when they had a “life”. Which I guess means the time in your life when you could eat or drink whatever you wanted whenever you wanted it and you stayed up late and slept in until noon. I think that is also part of not being 17 anymore, but what do I know?  On the flip side of senior’s residence night, you could take the Ashtangi you love for an all out full moon bender! Chances are he or she will be in bed by 8, but it is exciting to try.

5. Anything from this man:

YouTube Preview Image

He is wicked funny and is an awesome teacher. He is also hot and when you buy his shit it keeps Mama Stan in bling (or in a small house on the edge of Scarborough) so I can write more super informative posts about Ashtanga. Win/win baby!

Alright. Ho Ho Ho! Don’t say I never gave you nuttin.

I like having pregnant people in my class. I like that they have to break all the rules. They get to bring water in, and I always shuffle students around so that they get the cool spot by the door. Often the cold wind created by leaving the door open in the middle of winter makes the room unbearably cold for everyone else – but no one says shit. And I think that is sort of funny and great. I like that they modify and skip poses, and the people beside them are extra paranoid about bumping into them. I also sort of love that the pregnant people breeze through this luxury like it has been that way for them.

Just to be clear, and this is not intended to be a story about how I walked five miles to school everyday in my bare feet, Sharath never gave me a good spot in the room when I was pregnant in Mysore. It vexed me to NO END. Like, WHY are you punishing me by giving me a spot right next to the swinging/baby smashing door of the men’s stinky bathroom? I never asked, but I am sure I rolled my eyes as I waddled over in a huff.

The other day, I was driving on a busy, fast-moving road and a pregnant woman started to jaywalk. She walked slowly, with her eyes fixed on the other side. As she approached the left lane of cars whizzing by, she held out her hand. She held out her hand in a “talk to the hand” fashion. The cars immediately stopped. And she made her way across.

When women tell me that they have 100 children, I sort of understand. I would also like to direct traffic with the wave of my hand, so I know why you would want to have that power over and over again. I suppose the swollen feet, the weird poos and the (yikes) baby you get at the end of it are not as enticing to me. But the ability to shut down rush hour traffic and still be a bit of a huff? Awesome.

Because I write this blog and I teach, and  – well – I have waddled next to the men’s bathroom in Mysore and busted out a practice, I often get asked about what a woman should do in her practice when she gets pregnant. Here is my top three suggestions:

1. Sleep: Oh I know it isn’t a bank that you can just deposit in for a month and then withdraw everything and leave it empty for two (twenty) years. But do you really want to be thinking about how you COULD have slept and didn’t?  I am saying this like I am going to really change a first time mom’s mind about how little she will sleep. But whatever, that is why you have another kid. So you can really sleep less and think about what an idiot you are.

2. Eat Out: Have you ever taken a 6 week-old child to dinner. It is easy! They just sleep. If you made the mistake of not going out to eat while pregnant you have a couple months to do that before you pick your restaurants based on the play area, or for us, whether or not they have a fish tank.

3. Talk on the phone with someone other than your mother: When the phone rings, my son says, “Grandma!” Yup. It be like that.

I have other suggestions, but you will have to come to class. Or read the book I am co-writing – which should be out in umm…. 2060.

Sometimes I feel the urge to say to pregnant ladies, “just you wait.”  But then I remember people saying that to me and wanting to show them the pregnant traffic-halting hand of doom.

Stan: I am so tired!

Some mom: Just you wait. You are going to be so tired.

or

Stan: Practice is hard when you are pregnant,

Some other mom: Just wait until you have a baby. That is really hard.

or

Stan: I can’t believe how little time I have.

Another mom: Just wait, you won’t have any time for the next fifty years!

You know what? I did wait. And you know what else? All you bitches were right. But I am going to do my best to not utter those words. No one wants to hear how much it is going to suck. And really, it mostly doesn’t suck at all. Mothers, I am asking you to bite your tongue when those “just wait’ words come bubbling up. Let’s enjoy how the pregnant people part traffic and students with a wave of their arms.  Smile as they sip water while we have to bind in Marychasana D.

When the baby comes out we will get to say, “Enjoy every minute!”

One moon day, David, Vanessa and I had time so we went to a class downtown. It was a beautiful day and the studio was gorgeous and well-designed. The class was great and the teacher was wonderful and if years of Mysore style practice hadn’t turned me into a OCD crazed lunatic, then the whole experience would have been entirely unblog-worthy.

But, alas. I am a total nut job, and even though I am a yoga teacher I can’t just GO to a yoga class and be okay with it like a normal person. I need hours of shivering deconstruction after 75 minutes of asana. David and I went to a class four years ago called “Eye of the Tiger” and we STILL talk about it. But it was called “Eye of the Tiger”, so we are compelled. Part of the problem is the style I practice doesn’t change in very fundamental ways. So, I think I am a bit of a dinosaur in the yoga community. I didn’t know there was a whole playlist creation neurosis for yoga teachers. Because I don’t practice with music ever it threw me off so much that I spent the whole class thinking about how John Mayer dated Jessica Simpson.

Mostly,  I hate the thing where you have to show up at exactly the right time. Appointments are for dentists!  I know for most people when you practice in Mysore, India you have to show up at the exact time minus 15 minutes. But I will let you in on a little secret – if you give birth you can come any damn time you please in Mysore. I know! Reason enough!

Actually, another little secret: when I was pregnant, Sharath told me to come to an earlier led class. But I didn’t want to get up at 4a and waddle down a dark street. Fuck that! So, I just came at the time I wanted to come at. I am pretty sure I would have been yelled at if I wasn’t pregnant. I wagered a guess that he wouldn’t yell – “You! Masala Dosa! What is your time? Your time is 4.30” at the pregnant lady – and the wager paid off. Since then the timings part of my KPJAYI card is left blank.

Dads, just so you know, David gets a time. But he likes it like that.

This year because we are Canadian and Ashtangis and we like to follow rules exactly, we put in our applications too late to go to study with Sharath and it was full and we couldn’t go. We were suddenly looking at the month of November – wide open. And so , we decided to go to Florida.

Not going to Mysore has this funny feeling around it. Like weirdly disconnected and jangly. I am more then happy not to make the flight, or to try to figure out what to do with a tomato, rice and cucumbers every night for dinner. But the longer the time stretches out between trips to India the more out of touch I feel with the international Ashtanga family. I think it is worse for my husband who has already started locking me down for months to go in 2015.

When we go in 2015, what will have changed while were were here in our little cold corner of the world? Somehow, I doubt John Mayer will be played from the Sharath’s office.  If the practice doesn’t change, then why do we go year after year? Why wouldn’t we just go one year, get the jist of it and then save ourselves some money and go to Florida and sit on the beach instead?

I think, every year I go, I have stood on my mat in that shala a different person. The first year I went, I didn’t have a daily practice. The second time I was pregnant and so brave. The third time, I had a little baby, I was sleep deprived and unhappy. The last time, I felt fulfilled and I wanted to teach. In 2015 – who am I going to be? How could the same technique taught by the same teacher have seen me through such dramatic shifts in my life? I often don’t want to go to India because I think it takes too much time. But that might why I should be going. I think practicing creates time and space in my life – at least some reaction time. The shala in India gives me time, whether I take it or not, to listen, breathe, reconnect with my teacher and my family.

Sometimes I think I am the constant, the steady the metronome. But, maybe I am actually very nebulous. And I am here to watch my breath so that I don’t waste it all in the time that it takes to listen to a pop song.

“The family weakens by the lengths we travel.”

Spring:

Spring happened in Toronto in the last couple of weeks. The leafless, grey and brown in between lasted all of April and I felt so lushy rewarded in May. I love the first mutable colours of spring. How can bright pink look green and yellow? I lay down on my porch and looked up at the tree in my back yard. The first reddish oak leaves have begun to bud. Often I look up at that tree and think, “This is MY tree.” And then I feel foolish. The oak is 100 years old and just happens to be within the made-up boundaries of my yard. The tree experts say it will live another 100.. It was there well before I was born, and inshallah, it will be there after I die. Like spring, I suppose I am just passing through.

Primary Series:

After my trip to Mysore in September, I stayed with my Mysore practice – primary up to kapotasana for a couple of months. I slowly added poses on and only just recently dropped primary. This week, David added Karandavasana – the pose I was on in August, my last pose. I didn’t have a big injury or anything, my shoulder hurt a bit. I did feel like I had no stability in my practice. I felt I couldn’t push myself anymore without breaking and I needed to ground. After a month in Mysore I felt so much better, that I decided to keep primary for a while.

Here is a little demo of Karandavasana by David:

YouTube Preview Image

And one by Sharath:

YouTube Preview Image

This is a picture of me doing it:

In August, I couldn’t lotus up legs without support. After a week of trying now, I can lotus them, and although I fall loudly and obnoxiously, I can feel my legs brush my upper arms as I come down. I feel like this is possible, but in August after months of practice it was not even remotely close. All this to say, I think primary series is amazing. It is restorative, and also strengthening. It is a game changer. I love you primary!

Ralph

My son is quite friendly. Friendly and very sensitive. He says “hello” and “Whacha doing?” to every child he meets. Most kids, because they are kids, just stare at him and continue doing what they were doing. And then Holden stands there for a good five minutes “Hello, whacha doing? whacha doing? whacha doing?” Often I start to feel a little embarrassed for him and so I answer for the kids. Which is a little like when people ask your dog a question.

The other day, David and I were talking about the upcoming changes to Holden’s daycare.

David: Does he have friends at daycare?

Stan: The kids seem to like him. He doesn’t hit and he doesn’t get in your face or anything. He is so friendly with everyone, but

David: Is it reciprocated?

Stan: Well, maybe not. But that might be the age.

David. Is he like that boy on the Simpsons?

Stan: “My cat’s breath smells like cat food”

David starts to type away at the computer.

David: Oh god, Stan. You have to see this.

YouTube Preview Image

Oh god, my son might be Ralph Wiggum.

I am happy he is friendly, I would rather he was friendly than he just stared at people who greeted him. And I know enough kids that you often don’t get to choose whether your kid says Hi automatically or stares blankly – at least for the first little while. I worry in the future that he won’t have any friends. But then I worry that my anxiety and worry will crush him and he won’t have any friends because he is all twisted. So, I try not to worry and believe that he is strong enough to have bad days and pick himself back up. And then I worry that I am not worrying enough about this whole thing.

If you are thinking about having kids. don’t.

categories: Ashtanga yoga, AYCT, baby, Mysore
tags:

This week for the first time I experienced car barfing.

Just to give a little background:

1. My car is a mess. Okay, a certain kind of mess. Like once, I had a friend from university that I met in Vermont and she drove up in her car and it was FILLED with stuff. She used her trunk as a drawer for her clothing. I am pretty sure she had a home or at least that is what she told me at the time. Regardless, my car isn’t my clothing drawer but it is covered in dog hair and dust and crumbs and straw wrappers and tiny rocks that my son collects and leaves from 2010. I started apologizing about the state of my car maybe a year ago. When I apologize, my friends don’t say “Oh! It isn’t that bad!” they say, “Oh, don’t worry – you have a kid, you must be busy.” So, you can tell that it must be fucking gross.

2. At Holden’s  daycare you need a doctor’s note for everything. The other day, I had to get a doctor’s note for diaper rash that was – no joke –  about the size of your pinky fingernail. It takes a month to get an appointment with my doctor, so I have to go to a walk-in and I don’t trust walk-in doctors because if you went to med school why would you work at a walk-in? I am pretty sure most walk-ins are portals to hell. My hatred and fear of walk-ins often lead me to act irrationally (read: like a bad mother).

So, barf in the car.

I picked Holden up. He was eating oranges. We walked outside and I popped him in the car seat. I was just about to buckle him in when he said, “Oh, sorry mommy!” And then he barfed everywhere. The seat in front of him, his clothes, his car seat, the boot mat below him. It was orange. “Oh, sorry mommy!” he said again. And then barfed again and again and again. Each time, I held out my hand to catch the vomit.

Let’s take a moment here to reflect. What on earth is the instinct that causes us to put out our hands to catch our child’s vomit? I can’t actually catch all of it. It runs through my fingers. Why do I do that? On the same note I have also found myself fishing poo out of the bathtub with my hands. What is that all about?

Anyway, a good mother would have marched back in to the daycare, washed everything off and gotten a new batch of clothes. But I knew I would have to take him to a walk-in clinic. And even though I would catch his poo and barf in my hands, I will not go to the plague-ridden walk-in.

I had five wipes. i took off Holden’s clothes and stripped the car seat. The vomit has soaked through and was in the styrofoam. I popped him in the back seat and buckled him in – which is illegal and extremely naughty of me. I used four wipes for his face and hands, one for my hands and I drove home. Well, not before texting Mercedes and asking her to bring every cleaning product and utensil we had in the house and put it on the lawn so I could clean the car.

The New York Times made a cool video about Eddie Stern that I watched a few months ago. Eddie is so cool, I want to call him a hipster, but he is way cooler than that. And he lives in New York that is so cool, and his studio is cool and his temple is cool. Sigh. One the many cool things he talks about is nurturing independence with the Ashtanga technique.

I have been thinking about that a lot with my teaching and with my own practice. Where do I demand attention? When do I relinquish responsibility for my practice and say it is difficult because of an adjustment or the room or the time of day or my body type? How can I transmit the responsibility that Sharath makes me accept to the students who come to my class? This has been one of the hardest lessons for me in Ashtanga because I am quite fearful.

The longer I am a parent, the easier (although still totally challenging) that part of the practice becomes. I love those practices when I go all the way through without speaking to anyone. It doesn’t happen often because I love saying stupid shit to my teachers when they come to help me with backbending or whatever. With parenting that independence can be way spookier because you are the last stop on the responsibility train. But taking that responsibility can be so liberating. The panic I felt holding puke on the street faded in a few short minutes and that night the car was cleaned, the laundry folded and the child bathed by his big sister and asleep. I think it is important to remind ourselves of the many small and magical victories of self reliance and independence we achieve every day. on the mat and off.

And just so you know, that night Holden threw up three more times. Each time I put my hand out.

I was going to write about my neighbours across the street because they have been fiddling around with their leaf blower for the last hour and it has been totally working my last nerve.

For realz, all the leaves left in November, so the leaf blower is four months late and is now just making the road into a 30’s style dust-bowl. The noise is so awful, I want to rupture my eardrums and then walk across the street and hand them a broom. Brooms work and they are inoffensive, unless you are a cat.

As I was getting ready to write, I realized that the only reason I really care about the leaf blower is because I am on my period. If I wasn’t I might be more charitable. Might be. And then I realized, I have written a lot about pregnancy and Ashtanga and I have never written about practicing and riding the crimson wave.

A Few Notes about Ladies Holiday.

1. Okay. Talk about wanting to puncture my eardrums. I HATE HATE HATE the term Ladies Holiday. Ladies Holiday is definitely a term invented by men.  You can tell because they use the word “ladies” to describe bitches and the word “holiday” to describe being on the fucking rag.

2. I have an idea: Next time you find yourself in a situation where you are telling your teacher, or a fellow student that you are on your period try one of the following suggestions:

Friend: Hey, I haven’t seen you in class!

You: Oh yeah, My uterus is shedding tears of relief. (I think the real term is “tears of disappointment” but for most of my adult life that hasn’t been the case.)

or

Teacher: Where have you been?

You: Oh, sorry. Shark week.

3. I practice on my Ladies Holiday. Maybe that is controversial. I don’t like to teach unless I practice because I don’t feel very focused if I haven’t got on the mat. I understand if you have been in my class before and seen me drinking coffee you might question my ability to focus, but I can assure you that with my limited brain power it takes all of my focus to hold a coffee cup and tell someone to “Come Up!” from dropbacks.

4. I practice on my Ladies’ Holiday in Mysore because – dude – the cost of the shala fees!

5. I understand there are legitimate and sensible reasons to take three days off a month from practice. It does, however,  boil my blood when I hear men tell women what they should and shouldn’t do while menstruating. So basically, I don’t really care if you don’t practice, or do practice, or practice but no inversions, or practice but just primary. It is no business of mine.

6. And I hope when you do take a Ladies Holiday. It is an actual holiday, involving food, adult cocktails and some cool bitches.