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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:

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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:

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And one by Sharath:

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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.

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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
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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.

Hi.

In the last three days, three people have mentioned reading my blog. And three times three makes nine, I think, and that is clearly a message from the Gods that if I don’t write in my blog the sky will fall on me.

So, I just turned on the lights here at  Miss Stan headquarters. Dusted the cobwebs off the compooter, powered it up and made some cracking noises with my fingers. Read some fascinating comments from Mr. GetRidOfManBoobs. Now I’m  ready to get everyone caught up

1. Holden, David and I went to Miami, or “Miamit” as Holden calls it, last month. David had a workshop at the Miami Life Center. We stayed at Kino’s house, which was very fun. Now, I get why parents don’t go anywhere with small children unless there is a beach. Holy crap, beaches are entertaining. Holden told me today that he was going to take an airplane to Miamit. His favourite part was when he saw a crab. My favourite part was South Beach fashion.

These pictures are when we just decided to take a walk on the beach, and Holden decided to go for a swim. In his clothes.

2. That picture basically sums up the experience of parenting a toddler on a good day. Your kid wants to do something fun and silly like 98% of the time and 97% of the time you have to be somewhere not soaking wet. But sometimes you catch a break, and you can actually be a total mess and your kid totally jumps on the chance. And it is awesome.

3. Because I don’t want to give my son a crew cut, I have become one of those parents who gets asked constantly if her child is a girl or a boy. Often I pick Holden up at daycare and the teachers have put his hair in a ponytail. Okay, maybe I am also a bit lazy about cutting his hair. I recently cut it after staring at this picture for a while and realizing that I was raising a dirty hippy.

When I cut his hair in the bathtub he cried, “Hair fall down!” And I had to pretend that I was gluing his hair back on his head.

4. Holden is collecting potato bugs that he finds in the basement to show his dad when David gets home from Edmonton and Ottawa. I suppose I should be alarmed that there are that many potato bugs in my house but I figure it could be so much worse. Anyway, all the potato bugs have “fallen down”, which is such an elegant toddler euphemism for dead. Funny that the hair on his head and his nails have also met the same disastrous fate.

5. Yesterday, on a whim I visited the rat-infested Pusateri’s. Well, I guess it was rat-infested last year. Anyway, it was my first time and I bought something in a bottle. I got to see a little old lady who had a driver in a very fancy suit helping her with her crap. And best of all: when I was leaving I was about to turn right out of the parking lot because Avenue Road was a bit busy – but there was a cop there. And he stopped traffic to let me turn left. Imagine that! He went to cop school and he is helping rich people who shop at rat-infested stores turn left. It was so great to turn left and not have to go around, so I was indeed very grateful to the prosperous, if somewhat filthy Pusateri’s.

Life is good.

Christmas happened and it was pretty outstanding. Holden was all over the Santa thing and then I got all weird and into Santa too – I’d find myself blabbing on and on about Santa to Holden on the way home from school. We read the NIght Before Christmas about 50 times, (and I would catch myself muttering under my breath as I heaved my winter boots on every morning “The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave lustre of midday to objects below”) and David and I both found ourselves chirping out “Better be good for Santa!!”

Santa has to be up there on the top ten dirtiest, most lowdown crummy parenting tricks ever. Like srsly. You guilt trip your child for at least a month – possibly a year – over the amount of gifts some imaginary person will give them, except that it is really you giving the presents. And it is such a parenting fail because if your kid really is a shitty person all year, are you going to take it out on him or her by not buying a Ferbie at Christmas? Actually, maybe you would/should. Never mind.

Anyway, we had a beautiful Christmas. Holden was so excited, he was not a shitty person at any point so we were spared the wrath of Santa and we are still enjoying the lights in the neighbourhood. The holiday was happy and warm and comfortable. Next year, as Santa is my witness, I will take Holden out of daycare for two weeks so that we can do more sledding and skating. Also, I think I am supposed to be sick of him and rejoicing his return to school yesterday but I was just sad.

Some More Stuff:

1. Holden got a bird clock from Santa. Actually, David brought it back from Calgary and then it showed up in the movie Bernie and then in a New Yorker cartoon as one of the Re-gifts of the Magi. Mercedes and I call it a car alarm clock. Every hour there is a different car alarm. It is supposed to be light sensitive, but it is really just louder when it is darker outside. But I kinda love it anyway. Thank you, Santa!

2. We enjoyed hot chocolate together. That is nice.

3. David made a cooking video!!!! He is so funny and we have been saying “Cookies!” In high pitched voices ever since.

http://www.vimeo.com/55893660

4. Speaking of the Night Before Christmas, did anyone have the edition that was illustrated by Arthur Rackham? I did and it made the whole story sinister and juicy. I long to see it again. LIke this illustration – there are supposed to be sugar plums dancing in their heads, not creepy death angels.

5. I hope your holidays were lovely dear blog readers.

p.s. See that list thing I ddi above. It makes me look all organized, like in a brain way. Plus, when you write for the interweb you are supposed to write in bullet points so that people can just read the first three words of every paragraph. But really it was just my lazy lazy way of getting around writing actual paragraphs and connecting lucid thoughts together or fleshing out an idea.

Hurray for lists! Hurray Christmas!

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December 12th passed with a few facebook jokes, and with the 21st and apparently the end of the world fast approaching- it is Friday that we are talking about.

This morning in the Globe there was a picture of Noah Pozner’s mom at his funeral. The idea of attending your child’s funeral is such a devastating and nightmarish prospect. As parents, it can float into your consciousness daily – only to be banished out quickly. Too painful, too heartbreaking to even think about. If you stop and picture the scenario for too long, it would be impossible to function, to go to work, to practice or be anywhere except three feet away from your offspring, sobbing.

A few weeks after I had Holden, I was at a friend’s wedding shower. A mom of a (then) two-year-old asked how I was doing and I told her I was fine, but I was scared. Scared that something would happen to Holden, that his health would turn, that I (or someone else) would drop him, or he would choke. I knew life was precious before, but I didn’t realize it was also fragile and despite my best efforts I couldn’t guarantee it. She looked at me sadly and said, “That is why I want to have another one. If anything happened to my daughter, I would kill myself.” My friend is an amazing mom, and not a depressed individual. We never know how we are going to cope in the face of tragedy, but I think she was just being as honest as she could be that day.

I don’t feel the same way as my friend, but the idea of anything happening to Mercedes or Holden scares me so much. Is it wrong that I would rather the earth collapsed and everyone died than be confronted with the death of my son?

There is a certain magic to raising a kid. Two children can have the same parents and upbringing, eat the same food and turn into such completely different grown-ups. Whatever science happens to make a child there is that tiny unknown factor. The little twists and turns in the genetic code that shape how we look and who we are – and then there is something else entirely. I don’t know what that is – I call it magic, maybe it is God, I really don’t know. There is something that makes us INDIVIDUALS. Everyone in the bank line-up is an individual, but with your own kids you can see the miracle of it. Your little sleepy baby has something you didn’t give to him, foggy – but you can see if even then and it separates you from him. Having a baby and watching that magic slowly take root inside of him has absolutely been the craziest most beautiful experience of my life. i’m not necessarily a better person for it – but I think I like everyone more

Hearing about what happened on Friday is so difficult, for me because I think about what the houses of the families who lost children in Connecticut look like. In my house, Holden is really excited for Santa. We have Christmas decorations up, Holden helped decorate the tree and he asked me to tell Santa that he wanted marbles. Those kids were also probably psyched for the holidays, they probably decorated their trees or lit their menorahs and requested weird presents. The beauty and magic of their imprefect personhood is gone.

Several years ago, Mercedes’ high school went into lockdown. A man shot a teacher in the parking lot, a SWAT team came in. The man was the teacher’s estranged husband -I’m not sure if he even went into the building.  The kids at her school had prepared for a crazed gunman. They had lockdown drills (in case a “rabid dog” came into the school). She even had a lockdown drill  at the hippy alternative school we sent her to for her last couple years of high school.

I only had fire drills and once a chemical spill drill when I went to a school that was close to a plant. There are 14 years in between Mercedes and I, and somewhere in that 14 years things have changed. I’m not pretending to know why. This is just the way it is now.

I go to work everyday and drop off Holden. Sometimes when I drop him off I can’t wait to get away. Writing those words makes me feel ill now. I go to work, and other people look after him. I also complain a lot about the price of daycare, but that almost seems silly. I’m not there to protect him during the day, someone else does – I’m not sure that really has a dollar value. I’m not suggesting that everyone homeschool or that there aren’t real financial constraints to the care you get for your child. I think I am just confused about how we all got to this point.

When I drop my gorgeous, maddening blonde boy off, I accept that his teachers might give him cheese, I accept he might fall down and hurt himself, I accept he might fall ill and throw up or come down with a fever before lunch, i accept that he might feel left out or lonely. I can accept those risks, even though it breaks my heart a little.  A school massacre is, however, an unacceptable risk. It seems egregious and impossible that I, who would rather the world ended than have anything happen to my son, would accept it. And yet here I stand accepting it.

I don’t know what we should do about it. The only thing I do know is on Friday night, I felt like the luckiest motherfucker in the universe.

My husband was away for 10 days in the Canadian Texas (read Alberta) teaching the nice folks out there. There are many reasons I married my husband: he is handsome and he makes me laugh everyday. Perhaps most importantly, he keeps me from becoming a neurotic mess. When he came back he had to listen to me for hours on the subject of how I am ruining our son.

David: Look, there are kids who were put in a closet and fed scraps. And they turned into….

Stan: ….

David: uhh. ….people.

And that is going to be the title of my new book (I’m writing that like I already have a book). “How to Raise your Kids so They Become People”

I think it will be a best seller. I mean – isn’t that enough? Look, I gave you life and I like you more than I like anything else in the universe. I’m not going to stitch hemp nappies for you or rock you to sleep when you are 15. I won’t drill you on Mensa tests or help you gain early acceptance into Harvard. Just go play in the closet. I’ll help you with the therapy bills later.

I don’t put Holden in the closet, but I have noticed lately that there is some room for improvement:

1. Hair brushing. Two weeks ago I found a little dreadlock in Holden’s hair. I cut it out and then promptly forgot about it. This week I noticed he had two dreadlocks. Oh dear. Since then I have brushed his hair TWO DAYS IN A ROW. Total record!

2. Fingernails: Why is it always the pinky fingernail or toenail that grows the longest? If you take a quick look at your child’s hands, the nails don’t look that bad, until you realize  – oh dear – my son has a coke nail. A dirty coke nail. In my defence, cutting Holden’s nails is about as dangerous as running with a pride of lions. Often I tell myself his nails are okay because I’m so scared to broach the subject.

3. Musical Education: I’m not big on kid’s music but I decided the drive to school would be more peaceful with some Raffi (who I do like). Holden doesn’t like my music, and he is so-so on most of the Raffi album except for the song “Joshua Giraffe” We listen to Joshua Giraffe on repeat all the way to school and all the way back. That is about 1 hour and 10 minutes of Joshua Giraffe everyday. I like the anti- zoo message, but I am going to stab myself in the ear if I  have to listen to that song again.

Oh well, I manage to get him to daycare without food on his face, like 50% of the time, and maybe 90% of the time he isn’t wearing his pyjamas. Sometimes I worry about being those awful smelly vegan yoga hippy parents. But then I just love it when I see him with his hair all wild and too long and hands dirty from picking up rocks outside. When he sees a lobster he says in a a high pitched voice, “Don’t eat me! Don’t eat me!” And when he does stuff like that, I think, “He is going to be AMAZING.”

It is okay if it ends up only being me who thinks so, right?