Writing and editing
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.

category: Uncategorized
tags: ,

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.