Sunday, December 25, 2005

Milo and The Man

Merry Christmas, everyone! And if you don't celebrate Christmas, have a happy holiday, a humdinger of a Hanukkah, a merry winter, a super season, a cool Kwanzaa, and fabulous Festivus.

Feel the love, y'all!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Would you like some eggs to go with that ham?

Milo has discovered the joys of goofy expressions, thanks in part to Rob's dad...

I can already tell he's going to be a HUGE hit with the girls in high school...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Pirate's Hit the Big Time!

Jennifer Laycock, editor of Search Engine Guide, has mentioned Dread Pirate Robert in an article about her "The" 30-day money-making blog experiment. She says nice things about him, too!

Three cheers -- I mean, three "Avast, ye scurvy dogs!" for the Pirate!

Friday, December 16, 2005

I'm the new "it" girl -- it's true!

So there I was, strolling through the blogosphere, dum de dum dum, don't mind me, when all of a sudden Ms. Mama snuck up behind me and whacked me upside the head, shouting, "Tag! You're it!"

Okay... it didn't pan out quite that way. But tagged I am, nonethless. And I feel compelled to follow through with it, otherwise I just know I'll get seven years' bad luck or the guy who I have a crush on will never ever like me back.

Here goes...

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot.

1. Running2Ks
2. Queen of Spain
3. Becky
4. Ms. Mama
5. The Diaper Pail

(Okee dokee... that wasn't too hard.)

Then select five people to tag.
1. Dread Pirate Robert
2. Laurie
3. Daddy L
4. Dak-Ind
5. William

(Heh heh heh... passing the buck! And now with the questions...)

What were you doing 10 years ago?

I was working as an English teacher in Japan. I'd been living there for four months and was suffering my first real bout of culture shock. I couldn't get over how the Japanese just plain did everything WRONG -- from refusing to obey any kind of traffic rules while walking on the sidewalk (just pick a side and STICK WITH IT, PEOPLE!!!), to standing uncomfortably close to me while in elevators or waiting to cross the street, to insisting on having the windows kept open in classrooms during the winter in schools that DIDN'T HAVE CENTRAL HEATING. (They said it was character-building; I said it was torture.)

(Needless to say, I began to find Japan much more bearable -- and I'm sure the Japanese found me much more bearable -- when I finally realized that it was ME who was doing everything wrong. When in Rome and all that...)

Ten years ago to the day, I was actually in Indonesia, taking a much-needed holiday from Japan. It was the first real trip to a foreign country I'd ever taken (I was so thoroughly chaperoned in Japan that I never really felt unsupervised -- I knew that if I was ever in danger of falling down and going boom, there'd be someone there to catch me. Japan: a lovely country, provided you're not going through culture shock.)

My friend Amrit and I had a marvellous time in Indonesia. After freezing my ass off in non-central-heated-character-building Japan for the past couple of months, I was delighted to be somewhere warm. And I had the best coffee I'd ever had in my life while there--served piping hot every morning, accompanied by a plate of fresh fruit. Mmm...

We went to the islands of Bali and Lombok. I remember Bali as being a land of bright floppy flowers and innumberable stone statues of all the local dieties, peeking out through the greenery. Lombok was a little more subdued, but we enjoyed it more because it was further off the beaten track. We had an especially entertaining time one night when a couple of island boys took us on their motorbikes to an old Dutch colonial plantation house on a hill overlooking jungle and coffee farms and we spent the evening there drinking moonshine made from rice alcohol and staring at the stars.

What were you doing one year ago?

Eating a fried egg on whole-grain toast. Perhaps two fried eggs on whole-grain toast. And when I wasn't eating fried eggs on whole-grain toast, I was wandering around in an exhausted, first-trimester daze saying to myself, "Holy SH*T! I'm pregnant!"

Five snacks you enjoy
1. Fried eggs on toast -- still to this day
2. Samosas with tamarind chutney
3. Spring rolls
4. Antipasto on Triscuits
5. Sweet, dark cream ale (it is TOO a snack!)

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics
1. "Dreaming" by Blondie
2. Anything from Pink Floyd's "The Wall"
3. "Buenos Tardes" by Ween
4. "Love on the Rocks" by Neil Diamond
5. "Rainbow Connection" by Kermit the Frog

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire
1. Party!
2. Party!
3. Party!
4. Give generously to deserving charities
5. Party!

Five bad habits
1. Overusing exclamation marks!!!!!
2. Eating WAY, WAY, WAY past the point of being full
3. Reading a trashy novel in the bath when I KNOW I should be cleaning the house or cooking dinner or starting up my own home business or doing any of those other things that nicer, better, more dedicated people do with their free time.
4. Drinking orange juice straight out of the container
5. Forgetting to put on one of the two lovely watches my husband bought for me and then spending the rest of the day repeatedly asking him to tell me what time it is.

Five things you like doing
1. Writing
2. Hot tubbing
3. Walking in the woods
4. Swimming in mountain lakes
5. Starting the day off right with a hippy speedball

Five things you would never wear, buy or get new again
1. Leg warmers
2. A leopard-print string bikini (Okay, I was 16 and had terrible judgment, people -- though I'm not sure if that makes it better or worse)
3. A V-necked shirt worn backwards
4. A thin leather tie
5. A nose piercing

Five favorite toys
1. Milo
2. Rob
3. My computer
4. My bicycle
5. Rob's iPod

There! Done! Time for someone else to be the new "it" girl or boy.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Yes, Milo, there IS a Santa Claus

He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.

PLUS, he just bought us a brand new Nikon Coolpix S4 camera, so we could take lots and lots and lots of pictures of your very first Christmas. Score!!!

I'm thinking that Santa is going to find something more than milk and cookies when he comes to visit this Christmas Eve. The jolly old geezer might even get lucky.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My little Mowgli

As you can see in my profile, my last name is Whalen -- a fine old Irish family name that is a modern variant of O'Faolain, which once upon a time meant, "of the wolf clan."

I only found this out a couple years ago, but it made perfect sense to me. Finally, I had an explanation for all those werewolf dreams I had as a young teenager -- dreams in which I was the wolf, running through the woods and hunting down my victims. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, if Freud were still alive he would no doubt chalk it up to unrealized sexual longing or some such thing. Stupid Freud.) It also explains why my family likes dogs so much, and why my brother and I both could be described as loners who nonetheless enjoy traveling in packs.

In keeping with my canine heritage, a couple years ago I convinced Rob that we had to adopt our downstairs neighbour's dog, Nell. The neighbour was moving to a new place and couldn't bring Nell with him. It didn't take that much convincing; Nell was practically our dog anyways.

Our neighbour loved animals and had a kind heart but wasn't home a lot of the time. Since he also had three cats (one of which was blind, another missing a leg, and the third afflicted with a serious drooling problem), he usually left Nell out on the back porch when he was gone from the house. We took pity on her one day when she was outside shivering and let her inside to hang out with us.

And so it began. Once that envelope was opened, Nell, starved for companionship, had no intention of letting it close again. She started spending as much time as she could upstairs with us, insinuating herself into our home and hearts.

Part Labrador, part Staffordshire terrier (i.e., one of the four distinct breeds commonly called "pit bulls"), Nell was a pound dog who wasn't at all socialized when our neighbour rescued her from certain doom. He soon discovered that she was extremely dog aggressive and frightened of strangers. Our guess is that she was an abused "puppy farm" dog, and was trained to fight any dog she saw from an early age, before she ended up at the SPCA.

Of course, a large, muscle-bound dog that's frightened of people tends to display that fear in the form of growling and teeth-baring, so Nell often made people just as frightened of her as she was of them. (She freaked the holy bejeezus out of my mother AND my mother-in-law, but those are stories for another time.)

Over time, however, as she spent more and more time upstairs with us, she gradually learned to trust people and see them as sources of food and affection. It was a fascinating process to observe; whenever we had friends over, she'd stand at the entrance to the living room and watch us, clearly wanting to come in and join us, but reluctant to move away from her escape route. If someone startled her by getting up too suddenly from a couch or chair, she'd quickly bolt downstairs to safety. Whenever she misbehaved by growling or baring her teeth at someone, we'd boot her back outside. A number of our friends have children, and we knew that if Nell were to continue to spend time in our home, we'd have to adopt a no-tolerance attitude to any sign of hostility on her part.

It didn't take her long to realize that whenever she acted aggressively she was deprived of warmth, food, and attention, and so she learned to behave herself better around new people.

The fact that every single person who entered our house was encouraged to give her a dog biscuit certainly helped. Soon she was as excited to meet a new stranger as she was to greet us when we returned home from work.

So yeah, when we heard that our downstairs neighbour was moving and needing to find a new home for Nell, we told him she already had a home -- with us. And she's been with us ever since.

We have been amazed and overjoyed to see how far she's come over the past few years. People who used to be terrified of her now love her to bits. She's a really good dog for the most part -- doesn't steal food or chew up our possessions -- and she's simply awesome with all of our friends' kids, who fight over the privilege of feeding her dog treats and getting her to do tricks. Really, if it weren't for her unfortunate tendency to pick a fight with every dog she sees, she would be the perfect dog.

And yet, when I found out I was pregnant, Nell very quickly became my primary source of anxiety. How would she react to the baby? Would she become jealous or hostile? Would she (god forbid) harm the baby?

I read every single thing I could find about dogs and babies, and I have to say, nothing reassured me very much. All the baby experts and dog experts said that anything could happen, no matter how gentle the dog, and stressed the importance of NEVER LEAVING THE DOG ALONE WITH THE BABY FOR EVEN A SPLIT NANOSECOND.

As you can guess, this did nothing to ease my worries. Especially when I read things like, "Be especially vigilant if your dog enjoys chasing small animals, such as squirrels."

Nell absolutely LIVES for chasing squirrels. It's her sole reason for being (well, that and tummy rubs). All of a sudden my pregnant brain was filled with images of Nell chasing a wee baby up a tree, and leaping up at the trunk until the boughs of the tree broke and down came baby, cradle and all. I started envisioning her using the baby as a chew toy, or taking it out into the grassy area between our house and the one next door and burying it in the dirt, like she would a bone.

Okay, so my imagination was doing overtime. What can I say? I was pregnant.

I knew that if Nell ever got aggressive around the baby, that'd be it for her. She'd be gone from this house the very same day. I steeled myself for that possibility, even as I prayed it'd never happen. I absolutely love Nell and am so happy to see what a great dog she has become, but if she ever hurt my baby I'd kill her with my own bare hands.

Thankfully, she has been an absolute DREAM with Milo. I'm not sure if it's because she's female or not, but she has adopted a protective, almost maternal stance towards him. When he was first born, she would come and stand beside us whenever I breastfed him. If he's crying and I'm in another room, she comes and stands in the doorway until I get up, and then she leads me right to where Milo is crying. She frequently licks him on the face and hands, and I swear it's because she likes him, not just because she thinks he's delicious (although she seems to find some of his bodily fluids to be more palatable than I really wish she would).

In the past few weeks, Milo has become fascinated with Nell as well. He'll stare at her, transfixed, whenever he catches sight of her. And when I call her over for some petting, he reaches out toward her. I always move him closer to her, so he can touch her fur and so she can get used to him grabbing for her. ('Cause I know it's going to be a whole other ballgame once he becomes independently mobile and can chase after her.)

Yesterday, while Milo and I were playing, Nell was beside us, clearly wanting a belly rub. Deciding to combine some Nell time with some quality tummy time, I put Milo down on Nell's dog bed with his face right up against her belly, while I scritched her chest. Milo lay there for several moments and I sat there beside him, congratulating myself yet again on finding another way to maximize his tummy time, when all of a sudden I heard a familiar sucking noise.

Yep. You guessed it. Milo was apparently trying to suckle Nell. Whoops. That was probably taking this whole "dog+baby=happy family" thing just a wee bit too far.

I grabbed Milo and lifted him off Nell just as she was turning, startled, to see exactly what the hell he was doing to her. I'm really glad they both seem to like each other so much, but I'd rather she wasn't his wet nurse.

Nell checking out Milo when he was still just a week and a half old.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Unngh... I hab a code

Will he catch it or won't he?
Time to see what Milo's immune system is made of...

It's the first cold I've had since I was pregnant. Rob came home with it on Thursday and very kindly gave it to me while we were out partying on Friday night. And this, after I'd been bragging to my parents that afternoon about how Rob ALWAYS gets colds and I BARELY EVER do. Grumble grumble... it never pays to brag about good health.

Usually when I catch a bug, the moment I feel that first tickle in my throat I call in sick to work and spend the next 24 hours sleeping as much as possible, waking only to suck on a zinc lozenge and drink a cup of hot ginger tea. After a day of living in snooze mode and letting my body use all of its available resources to combat the bug, I always feel much better and usually have the bug out of my system within the next day or two.

However, things have been different this time around. Instead of lying in bed all day Saturday, I had to get up and take care of Milo, after having just five and a half hours of seriously broken sleep. Ditto on Sunday, though I was at least operating on a bit more sleep.

And to make matters worse, the lack of sleep and ridiculously low energy levels have made it impossible for me to get up to do my daily yoga routine the past couple of mornings. No yoga = even less energy, so I feel like I'm caught in a downward spiral and won't be able to feel truly healthy again until I'm able to get a full twelve hours' sleep. Or Milo starts kindergarten. Whichever comes first.

Hmm. I knew babies were demanding little sinkholes that devoured all your time and energy (not to mention money), but who woulda thunk they were actually bad for your health?

Come to think of it, I suppose that makes Milo no different from any of the other addictive substances I've been hooked on over the years...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

'Tis the season to go drinking, fa la la la laaaa la la la la

The Pirate and the Dame, all primped and prepped for their night on the town. Please note the lack of spit-up on our clothes and the ol' ball and chain bouncing away in the background...

Friday night was our company Christmas party. And by "our," I mean Rob's AND mine. Since mid-November, he's been working at the same company I work for**. Doing the same job I do. Drinking from my coffee cup, surrounded by all my office cubicle art. Nepotistic? Yep! Verging on incestuous? Sure is!

My parents came over to babysit Milo while we went out and tripped the light fantastic. It was the first time that anyone other than me or Rob was to put him to bed. I was just a wee bit nervous, seeing as how Milo hadn't been very happy the last couple of times Rob has tried to feed him with a bottle -- and Friday's babysitting duties involved giving Milo not one but TWO bottles, his all-important pre-bedtime feed at 7:00 and his dream feed at 11:00.

I wasn't nervous enough to consider not going to the party, however. Nuh uh. Mama needed to go out and play. With her man, for a change.

Thankfully, my parents acquired lots of babysitting experience while taking care of Milo's little cousin Nadia back in the late summer-early fall, so they now think of themselves as total pros. I knew they wouldn't call us to interrupt our evening unless, say, Milo sucked back a bottle of liquid Drano and had to be rushed to emergency. Even then, I'm not sure they would have called us unless they were positive they wouldn't be able to get back from the hospital before we came home from the party.

So yeah, I was feeling pretty good about going out, since Milo was being left in capable hands. So good, in fact, that I rushed out the door with Rob to catch the bus downtown without even saying goodbye to my baby. Does that make me a bad mother? Hmm.

(We called my parents from the bus about 10 minutes after we'd left the house, to ask if Milo was still okay. They laughed at us.)

The party was held at the Vancouver Aquarium, which was a truly awesome place to throw a party (the whole "whales in captivity" controversy aside). After all, who needs decorations when the walls are filled with fishies?

I spent a fair amount of time trying to get the sharks and piranhas to notice me. They just played hard to get; must be a "top-of-the-food-chain" sort of thing. The giant flounder, on the other hand, was a total attention whore.

The food was good. The company was great. And the dancing was absolutely fabulous. Even Rob got into it, and that boy really knows how to shake his booty when he feels like it.

It was the first time since Milo was born that I danced without a baby in my arms. I barely knew what to do with myself -- I just felt so darned light.

And you know what? I only missed him a wee little bit.

It's not that he wasn't on my mind all night. On the contrary; he rarely left my thoughts. For the first time, however, thinking about him while out didn't make me anxious or want to run home to hug him tightly in my arms. It actually made me want to party harder, to celebrate his existence by pouring another glass of wine and clinking glasses with Rob to toast our incredible fortune at having been gifted with such a wonderful baby. And, of course, for having survived the past five and a half months of "Boot Camp for Parents."

We finally stumbled through the front door just before 2:00 a.m. My mom woke up just enough to tell us that Milo had been an absolute dream. He'd sucked back both bottles of milk and gone to bed without a fuss. Apparently, he hadn't noticed our absence at all.

It occurred to me that I could choose to feel slightly hurt by his lack of need for me, but I quickly shooed that thought away. The more independent he is, the better. After all, isn't the whole point of parenting to raise self-sufficient children who can lead personally rewarding lives and hopefully in the process make the world a better place? Of course it is.

However, I'm not quite ready to be rendered obsolete just yet, thank you very much.

Not that I have to worry about that. Milo woke up at 4:30 that morning, just a few short hours after we'd gone to sleep. Then he woke up at 5:00... and again at 5:15. He refused to fall asleep until I personally went into his room to give him his soother and shush him back to sleep. As soon as he saw me, he gave a little shriek and wiggled with delight, then was asleep ten seconds later. Clearly the boy still has some need for his mommy.

Needless to say, the rest of the weekend was payback for the great time we had on Friday night. I spent most of it fighting to keep my eyes open as I tried to recover from the lack of sleep. I'm so tired right now that I'm yawning as I type this and am actually TOO TIRED to expend the effort necessary to get off my chair and go to the bathroom to take out my contacts and brush my teeth so I can finally go to bed (until I give Milo his dream feed an hour from now).

So, yeah. Independence, when it comes, will be a good thing. Only then am I sure to be guaranteed a full eight hours' sleep.

**Of course, I'm not working at the moment, seeing as how I'm still on maternity leave and will be until sometime next summer. Canada: it might not be the land of the brave and free, but it IS the land of kick-ass one-year mat leave.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

So many Milos, never to be seen again

We've lost our digital camera. Dear lord, we're parenting blind. We've gone DAYS without taking a picture of Milo -- days and days and days. Rob's going into withdrawal. He's developed a permanent twitch. It's not pretty.

We've torn the house upside down, looking everywhere for the silly thing, so far without any luck. Meanwhile, Milo keeps on getting older. And older. My god, he's almost five and a half months old -- and we haven't taken a picture of him since he was just over four months old. Garrgh! Over 20% of his life has gone undocumented and will forever be lost in the foggy haze of unrecorded history. For if we can't provide physical evidence of it, how will we ever be able to prove it really happened?

We weren't able to take a picture of his first ride in the jolly jumper. We haven't yet captured any images of him doing his modified version of the bow pose during tummy time. And we have no video of him babbling his first string consonants ("Da da da da da da da!").

Do you SEE what kind of crisis we're dealing with here???

Thank goodness Christmas is right around the corner. Here's hoping that Santa has us on his "nice" list...

A rare photo taken of the elusive pumpkin-pelted Milo Man, taken with his Gramma's camera

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Lookee here!

I done got me a new look!

Okay, so it's not the most professional blog out there. I must admit to knowing sweet diddly about HTML or web design. But I promised you a DIAPER PAIL, dammit, not a rose garden. Or a well-designed blog, for that matter.

I must give kudos to my wonderful Pirate for having helped me so much with this redesign. He found the three-column template online and helped me make the switch; he also figured out how the hell to add graphics to the title bar. You'd think it'd be easy... but you'd be wrong.

We'll be continuing to work on the look of this blog over the next weeks and months. If any of you gentle readers have any thoughts on design or suggestions you'd like to share, please do! I'm learning as I go and would greatly benefit from your no-doubt superior wisdom.

For example, I'd really like to know how to make this body font smaller. I figured out how to change the size of the header font, the sidebar font, even the "leave a comment" font. But do you think I could figure out how to change the size of THIS font? This font RIGHT HERE? Noooooooo. Suggestions, anyone?

In the meantime, I'm off to bed. I've been messing around with this blog for hours now and my eyes are crossing.

Sweet dreams, all.

p.s. Milo is still ridiculously adorable, exhausting, mind-blowing, brilliant, infuriating, and cute.

I'm alive!

Not dead!

At least, as not-dead as someone whose thankless ingrate of a child has decided it'd be fun to start waking up again in the middle of the night to the tune of five wake-ups between 11 p.m. and six o'clock in the morning can be.

(Is he teething? Maybe. Is he being awakened by long bone growth pains in his legs? Quite possibly. Is he actually the Anti-Christ cutting his evil fangs on his poor unsuspecting parents? I wouldn't bet against it.)

I'm actually currently working on a new template for this blog and will hopefully have it up in the next day or two. (Milo the A-C willing...)

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The #1 argument in favour of teen pregnancy**

A few Sundays ago, we went out to dinner with Rob's family to celebrate his Nana's 90th birthday.

Needless to say, Milo was the life of the party. He's Rob's parents' first grandchild, and they are stupid-drunk in love with him. They passed him back and forth between them all night, walking around the restaurant whenever he got the least bit restless and introducing him to the other diners. By the time we left, I think everyone in the entire restaurant knew his name.

Nana was pretty good about being upstaged by her great-grandson at her own party. She was thrilled to be surrounded by three generations of her descendants. As I sat there beside her, I couldn't help but feel a twinge of envy. Chances are slim that I'll ever know any of my grandchild's children (assuming, of course, that Milo will one day decide to put those family jewels of his to some use other than diaper soiling).

Like so many other women these days, I waited until I was in my mid-30s to have my first child. I certainly don't regret that decision. I was WAAAY too immature in my 20s to even think of having kids. There's no way I would have been able to take care of a baby -- I could barely take care of myself. (Seriously. I once spent two years surviving almost entirely on food from the local 7-11. Granted, this was in Japan, where convenience store food puts most North American grocery store offerings to shame, but still. I think most of the vegetables I ate during that time came in dehydrated soup broth packets. And let's not even talk about the times when I showed up for work wearing clothes I'd gone to sleep in.)

Thankfully, the scant amount of wisdom I actually did manage to acquire by my mid-20s made it glaringly clear to me that I had a lot of growing up to do before I could even consider taking on the responsibility of having a baby. And that was a good thing. In the process of doing all that growing up, I got a Masters in English, I worked abroad for several years, and I traveled to a handful of different countries in Asia. I learned a lot about different cultures and different people; but I learned far more about myself.

I cherish all those different experiences. Without them, I know I could never have been a good mother to Milo. And honestly, I'm glad I wasn't in a hurry to grow up. By the time I was ready to start a family, I had really gotten a lot of sh*t out of my system. I had become bored with doing the same old things with the same old people night after night. Don't get me wrong -- I love my friends to death. But it had begun to seem to me like we were always doing the same things, having the same conversations, and nothing ever changed. And that's how I knew I was definitely ready to evolve.

So here I am, a 35-year old woman (who still feels like she's playing at being an adult) with a five-month old baby boy, and I really couldn't be happier. I feel like I became a mother at precisely the right time in my life.

And yet, when I think of Rob's Nana (or his other Gramma, who also has a small posse of great-grandchildren to her credit), I can't help but feel a bit wistful. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to watch Milo grow up and someday have children of his own. But it's unlikely I'll ever know their children. That's the price you pay, I guess, when you spend too much of your own life being a child -- you miss out on the childhoods of your descendants.

However, the upside to all this is the fact that Rob and I made our parents wait SO long for a grandchild that they're now doing backflips to see him and are willing and eager to come babysit for us at the drop of a dirty diaper. So there's a silver lining in every cloud, I guess.

** I do not mean to suggest by this title that either of Rob's grandmothers were teenaged mothers. It's actually meant to refer to MY descendants -- for only if Milo knocks up his high school girlfriend or one of his kids is a teenaged parent will I ever get to meet my future great-grandchild...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Keeping up with the Junior Joneses

I was enjoying a post-workout coffee with the women from my Stroller Fit aerobics class the other day, when one of the mothers asked me if Milo had started sucking his toes yet.

I shook my head, alarmed. "No. Not at all."

I searched the other woman's eyes for the slightest hint of surprise at my negative response. Her son is just a couple of weeks older than mine. And he sucks his toes.

How long had he been sucking his toes? I wondered but did not ask. Was toe-sucking one of those developmental milestones that all babies were supposed to reach by the time they hit a certain age? Was Milo close to that age -- or had he already passed it?

I always vowed I wouldn't do this.

Of course all babies develop differently and acquire skills at their own individual pace. Duh. That's so obvious. All babies are unique, and are interested in exploring different abilities according to their own experiences and natural inclinations. The fact that a baby learns to crawl at eight months instead of six months, say, or figures out how to talk at ten months but doesn't walk until the fifteen-month mark doesn't have any bearing whatsoever on his or her later physical or intellectual development. That's what all the books say, and therefore, it must be true.

Take a look at Einstein, for example. He didn't talk until he was three years old. But when he finally did start talking, he spoke in full sentences.

When I was pregnant, I promised my unborn child that I would never impose upon him or her the kind of horribly unrealistic expectations I tend to set for myself. I know what it's like to feel like a failure for not getting 100% on an exam. That's not something Milo ever needs to know.

At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

And yet, whenever I hear other mothers mention a skill their babies have acquired that Milo has yet to master, my chest tightens a wee bit. I can't help but worry why Milo hasn't learned that particular skill yet. What does it mean? How will it affect his future? And how am I to blame?

Is it because of my genes, or something I ingested back in my carefree days of youthful indiscretion? Or is it because of something I'm doing now?

Have I not been talking to Milo enough or playing with him enough? Am I not providing him with a suitably stimulating environment? Or am I simply expecting too much of him?

Yep. I suppose that'd be the one.

Sometimes I forget to relax and enjoy my baby for who he is now and get way too caught up in worrying about who he's going to become. Thankfully, those moments never last too long. Whenever I get lost in my fretful musings, Milo always pulls me back to the present with a squawk or a shriek or a coo. I look at him and he stares back at me, wide-eyed, sticking out his tongue or sucking furiously on his lower lip, and I just have to laugh.

After all, this isn't about me, here, it's about Milo. And Milo is simply perfect at being Milo. That's more than good enough for me.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The perfect presents for the kids on your naughty list

Why go to the bother of trying to find coal in the barbecue off-season when the nice folks at W.A.T.C.H. have compiled a list of alternative stocking stuffer ideas for you?

Love me, mommy, love me -- or else I'll poke out your eye with my killer lipstick wand.

Though I must say, if those "kickaroos" thingamajiggies came in adult sizes, I might just have to buy me a pair. They look hysterical.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

You'll never look at your neighbour in the same way again

So today I decided to check out my blog stats and look up my top keywords, to see what kind of phrases people are plugging into the search engines to get to my blog.

The results were a bit disturbing. Here, gentle readers, is a sampling of the things people are searching for information about online when they accidentally end up in the Diaper Pail:

  • poopy adult diapers (eww -- ed.)

  • women going crazy at male strip joints (double eww -- ed.)

  • dippy diaper (And what exactly makes a diaper dippy? -- ed.)

  • ecstasy unable to pee (*giggle* -- ed.)

  • what kind of diapers does Angelina Jolie (Indeed. But shouldn't the question read, "What kind of diapers do Angelina Jolie?" -- ed.)

  • pail or shots to increase booty size (Because that's what the world needs: bigger booties -- ed.)

  • gay poop diaper (Of course, the poop only *thinks* it's gay -- ed.)

  • hot chicks in diapers ('Cause most hot chicks just LOVE wearing diapers and in fact can often be found lounging about in them in their chaises longues, with their high-heeled feet thrown casually over the arm rests -- ed.)

  • picture of a grown man in a diaper (And here we are back at eww -- ed.)

And, my personal favourite, the age-old stumper:

  • what makes Buddhists tick?

My thoughts exactly. What DOES make Buddhists tick? Something tells me it's probably not shots to increase booty size or pictures of a grown man in a diaper. Though you never really know, do you?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The #1 reason why the human race probably should have gone extinct a long time ago

Those nights when your baby thinks it would be REALLY REALLY fun to wake up at 1:45 in the morning and then stay awake for no good reason at all for the next two hours.

That's what Milo decided to do in the wee dark hours of the morning when today had barely begun. He woke up and loudly started demanding my presence, so I stumbled into his room and gave him his soother. He spat it out. I gave him the boob. Wasn't interested. Nope. He wanted to play the "Peek a boo, look at me, check out how totally wide awake I am!" game. For. Two. Whole. Hours.

It's a darned good thing that babies have those ridiculously addictive laughs going for them; because if they didn't, and they continued to pull stunts like that, no one would ever, EVER have a second child. The world's population would be halved with each successive generation until there was only one person left and that person wouldn't have anyone to come running into his or her bedroom at 1:45 a.m. to provide free food and entertainment. And all those angry squawks and cries would be like so many trees falling in the forest without anyone to hear them, though not nearly so Zen.

Pointless middle-of-the-night wake-up calls: the stuff extinctions are made of.

Milo had BETTER let his mother get a good sleep tonight if he's ever hoping to get a little brother or sister...

Monday, November 21, 2005

The #1 reason why the human species has yet to become extinct

Baby laughter. It's addictive -- especially when it's your own baby who's laughing. Most people will do almost anything for it. They'll drop serious craploads of money, make embarrassing faces, even dance and sing ridiculous songs in a high, off-key falsetto for it.

Yep. Baby laughter. It's the most intoxicating drug ever.

Think about it. What are you willing to do or pay for your highs? For example, would you sing and dance in public for a bottle of wine or a 24 of beer? I'm talking in front of total strangers here -- teenagers, intellectuals, old Italian men, restaurant servers, people in dark business suits, you name it. Or would you prefer to spend the $10-$20 and spare yourself the embarrassment?

Well, when it comes to hearing your baby laugh, you don't even notice those people watching as you gape, snort, chuckle and hop like a crazy person in order to score another hit. And if you did notice, you wouldn't even care.

This is how they suck you in -- and by "they," I mean, all our successive descendants. This how the human race has managed to regenerate itself. Compared to other species, we produce young that are pathetically ill-equipped to survive on their own. Baby chimps are able to hold on to their mother's fur from the moment they're born. Baby tigers start hunting on their own when they're under a year and a half old. And baby gazelles are practically born running.

But what can we do? We can't run. We can't fight. We can't even walk until we're almost a year old. Forget about learning how to feed ourselves -- most of us don't figure that out until we're in our twenties. And by then, most other species have spawned several more generations of themselves.

Not us. The only thing we humans have going for us, biologically speaking, is our enormous brains -- and even they're a liability when we're infants, because thanks to our huge noggins our skull bones aren't even fused when we're born. And those huge noggins are so top-heavy, they'd wobble right off our frail little newborn necks, if our parents didn't do everything in their power to prevent it.

In short, our parents have to do everything for us during the first few years of our life. They have to feed us, clean us, keep us warm, safe, and healthy, and carry us everywhere they go, thus sacrificing the use of at least one of their limbs for many hours on end. They basically have to give up the better part of their lives to ensure we survive.

And why are we as humans willing to do this for our young?

Baby laughter. It's the stuff that drives our evolution.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Somebody likes me!

Many thanks to fellow blogger Elizabeth of This Full House, who named me Mommy Blogger of the Week for this past week! Huzzah! Huzzah! I'm very honoured.

See? See? And I didn't pay her or anything!
At least, if I DID pay her some undisclosed sum, I'm going to keep my trap shut about it.

I think I'm going to take a screen cap of her site and blow it up to poster size and tape it to my wall. My moment of fame, immortalized for all to see!

I'm also very grateful that so many of you blog readers are willing to put up with my all-too-often obnoxiously slow loading time. I'm working on it, I swear! Rob and I are messing around with creating a new template with this site, but since his return to the working world, our progress has slowed considerably. Patience, dear Prudence...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

He's my very best friend in the whole wide world. Plus, I own him. **

Or at least, I used to...

It's been a tough week for me here at the diaper pail. My man has up and left me.

It's true.

Up until this past week, the Dread Pirate Robert was here at home with me, helping me remain sane as I learned how to cope with the often exhausting job of taking care of a new baby. He completed his university courses on the very day my water broke (which was also *supposed* to be my last day at work), and since then has been unemployed but looking for work.

It was pretty sweet timing, actually. Honestly, I don't know what I would have done without him. Hats off to all you mothers who had to learn how to do it all on your own.

But, as of Monday -- yay! sob! yay! -- Rob has got a real live full-time job. This is very good, as it means that we won't be forcing Milo to beg on the street corner to get us the money we need to buy his Christmas presents.

(We had rather dim expectations of Milo's fundraising abilities anyhow, seeing as he hasn't yet learned how to sit up by himself. He probably would have tipped over behind the "Need money for smokes" sign and no one would have been able to see him. And I'm sure he would have had problems keeping the other street kids from stealing the coins in his begging bowl.)

So yes, we're all very happy that Rob is now working. Except... except... now from Monday to Friday, I'm the only person in the house who's capable of making consonant sounds. And there's no one around anymore to wash the breakfast dishes or read to me while I'm feeding Milo or hold him while I take a shower, not to mention play with him so I can spend an hour or so blogging every day.

I've finally had to learn how to do by myself all those things I've always relied on Rob to help me with, like folding up the stroller or putting Milo in the Baby Trekker. I've even learned how to go to the bathroom and fasten my pants back up while holding a baby the entire time.

Yes, I know I've been spoiled. No one knows it better than I. In fact, I'm so spoiled that I have never ever had to wash so much as a single one of our cloth diapers. (But sssh, don' t point it out to Rob, I don't want to jinx a good thing.)

Of course, all good things must come to an end, and so Rob has ventured bravely forth into the wild corporate jungle in order to bonk some beasties on the head and drag them home for baby and I to feed on. We're all very excited and wish Rob the best in his new job.

But still... I miss him. I miss him most when I'm breastfeeding Milo and he's not there to read to me. I miss laughing with him at lines like, "Rachel didn't ever want to get her head chopped off. People said it hurt terrible fierce."

Ah, well. I guess that's what weekends are for. That and blogging, that is...

Whither thou goest, my pirate?

** The title of this post was taken from an episode of "Home Movies," a very funny cartoon that everyone should watch at least once.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

That boy will do anything to keep fitting into those cute newborn outfits

I think Milo might have an eating disorder. I'm very concerned about this. The boy seems to binge and purge after every meal.

As soon as he wakes up from a nap, he starts fussing and whining for his next feed, like he can't get my boob into his mouth quickly enough, and then he gulps down as much as he can stomach without even bothering to chew.

And he eats, like, six or seven meals a day. Okay, I know the Canada Food Guide suggests that people eat three main meals with a couple of small snacks throughout the day, but Milo treats every single feed like he's a condemned man and it's the last meal he'll ever eat.

Sometimes -- I kid you not -- he tries to gobble everything down so fast that the milk comes out of his nose.

Now, do these sound like the eating habits of someone who has a healthy relationship with food?

But it gets worse.

Between one meal and the next, Milo tries his very best to regurgitate every last bit of food in his stomach. It all starts innocently enough, with a few innocuous wet-sounding burps. But the burps just keep getting wetter, until large quantities of clotted white liquid are streaming out of his mouth and pooling in the folds of his shirt.** Or on my shirt. Or my pants. Or on the duvet cover. Or the floor. Or the dog. (I won't gross you out by telling you what Nell doggie does to the little puke puddles she finds scattered around the house. Suffice it to say, she is in no danger of developing an eating disorder.)

I'm beginning to suspect that all this vomiting might be intentional. Ever since Milo discovered his fingers, he's been sucking on them relentlessly, often sticking them so far down his throat that he actually gags. I catch him doing it several times a day.

The irony is, he's still gaining four to eight ounces a week. When will he learn that this kind of extreme eating behaviour just won't work? Silly monkey. Everyone knows that eating less and exercising more is the only real way to take the pounds off and actually keep them off.

But I'm worried that Milo might be a "quick-fix" kind of guy. As soon as that kid starts to walk, I'm making sure the laxatives stay on the TOP shelf of the medicine cabinet.

** Rob seems to think that I'm exaggerating the amount of vomit that Milo actually spits up. But to my way of thinking, ANY amount of vomit is too much. Am I right, folks?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Just call me Jaime Somers

The following information is classified as TOP SECRET ... TOP SECRET... TOP SECRET...

Before Milo was born, I was worried that I might be going deaf. All too often I'd have to ask people to repeat themselves or get Rob to tell me what Jon Stewart had just said, so I could find out why he was laughing so hard. It made me feel a bit ridiculous at times -- especially when I'd find myself smiling and nodding at someone without hearing a word they said, but being way too embarrassed to ask them to repeat what they'd just said for a fifth time... or a sixth.

( Ah, how the sins of our youth come back to haunt us. My poor hearing is almost certainly due to all those hours I spent as a teenager aimlessly driving around on isolated country roads with AC/DC blaring on the stereo in my 1980 Ford Pinto. Yeah, that's right. I was hugely into AC/DC back then-- in fact, I was an AC/DC snob, preferring to listen to Bon Scott belt out classics such as "Dirty Deeds" or "Highway to Hell" than have to endure ol' whatisname crudely holler all that "Who Made Who"-era shite.

Oh, and my Pinto was cherry red with a red Starsky & Hutch stripe blazoned across its sides, and it had a nasty tendency to overheat on the highway. Yep. I was the height of cool back then.)

These days, however, I've become convinced that someone must have implanted a bionic hearing device in my ear when I was in the throes of labour, because I can hear EVERY SINGLE SOUND MILO MAKES, no matter how soft and insignificant. My ears have become permanently attuned to his every utterance, it would seem.

Rob and I can be in our bedroom listening to a loud "car races and explosions" kind of movie and I'll still be able to hear Milo in the next room over, sighing as he slowly comes awake.

"Shush!" I'll hiss at Rob, gesturing for him to turn down the volume. He'll comply with a dubious frown, clearly about to tell me I'm imagining things, when all of a sudden Milo will make another noise, louder this time, and Rob will raise his eyebrows in surprise.

"Well, whaddya know," he'll say. "I guess he is awake."

Of course he is. I knew he was. His tiny little gurgles and squeaks are as loud as a foghorn to me.

No matter how deeply I'm sleeping, the moment Milo makes a sound, I'm jolted wide awake. I can hear him squawking in his crib when I'm in the shower. Once I even heard him fussing when Rob and I were in the office jamming to Pink Floyd's "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict " -- and as anybody who's ever listened to that song can attest, being able to hear one tiny creature squawking in the midst of that kind of auditory chaos is surely a superhuman feat.

I feel like a walking, talking Who song -- except I can hear for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles. I almost believe that I could even hear Milo's heart beat, if only I listened hard enough.

I'm beginning to fear that I'm not going to get a decent night's sleep until Milo's gone to college.

Hmm. So this is what motherhood feels like.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Yep. I jinxed it

Kind of... Milo woke up this morning at 6:00 and I was just SO not ready to greet the day yet, so I gave him his soother and that helped him fall back to sleep for another hour and a half.

Clearly, the soother still has value.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Third night in a row without a pacifier

And the eleventh day in a row that Milo has slept through the night.

Hmm. Do you think I'm jinxing myself for even mentioning it?

Milo went to bed tonight wearing a gorgeous new organic cotton terrycloth diaper. This thing is as soft as a high-quality bath towel, but three times as absorbent. It's a Motherease Sandy's fitted snap diaper. I'm going to write about it and all the other purchases I made at Discount Diapers in Vancouver in my cloth diaper blog tomorrow.

Yes, for those of you who weren't aware, I've been two-timing you with another blog. That one's dedicated solely to my um, cloth diaper obsession. Now please don't worry, I'm not a cloth diaper snob or anything. I don't care about the kind of diapers you use. I only care about the diapers I use. Some would say a little bit too much, perhaps... but mostly because they're just so damned cool.

There are some really amazing diapers out there that don't stink, don't stain, won't cause rashes and won't leak at night. They're cheaper than disposables in the long run because one diaper can last a baby pretty much from birth right through to age two or three. And they totally make your kid's butt look styling.

But I don't want to bother you with my monotopical rantings here... that's what my cloth diapers blog is for.

We now return you to all Milo, all the time...

Um, hello? I thought we were supposed to be talking about ME, here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

And the heavens opened and choirs of angels sang

I just put Milo to bed without a pacifier. It's the second night in a row he's gone down without his usual sleep crutch and I'm quite ridiculously psyched about it.

I HATE pacifiers. Hate 'em. Binkies, dummies, soosies, call them what you will -- to me they just scream "gateway addiction." First the babies start with the pacifiers... next thing you know, they're smoking in the boy's room or shooting up in some dank, urine-soaked alley on the outskirts of Chinatown.

Okay, that might be a bit extreme. I know my aversion is unreasonable -- lots of babies need soothers to calm them down to sleep or when they're in unfamiliar situations. I know a number of children who were hooked on their binkies during the early years of their life, and they eventually managed to give them up without a problem. They don't seem to have suffered any debilitating after-effects from their addiction, either.

And yet... and yet... every time I see a toddler crying frantically for his or her pacifier, I can't help but shudder inside. It's totally a me thing. There's something about that naked desparate neediness that makes me want to go out on to the back porch and smoke an entire pack of cigarettes in one go. And I don't even smoke.

So of course, after Milo was born, I resisted the lure of the soother. Even when he spent hours fussing and crying and refusing to settle down to sleep, still I resisted. Even after Rob went out and bought a couple of soothers on my mother's suggestion after a particularly trying two-hour screaming session between one and three in the morning, still I resisted. It wasn't until we were visiting Rob's folks on the island for five days and I was desparate to show his eager-to-be-doting grandparents that Milo wasn't a miserable, chronically fussy child whose mother clearly didn't have the first clue about how to make him happy that I finally caved in to all the peer pressure and gave him a soother.

And oh, the silence, the blessed silence of a calm baby. I couldn't believe how long I'd been willing to live without it, when all that time it was just one little piece of rubber and plastic away.

So yes, I started using a pacifier. Whenever Milo would get the least bit fussy, ploop! In it would go. It would quiet him down immediately and allow him to remain calm enough to suss out his surroundings and try to figure out what the heck this whole "reality" thing was all about. Finally, I began to work up the courage to take him out of the house for long periods of time. And with a soother, I could put Milo down for a nap or to sleep while still awake and could be reasonably sure that he wouldn't wake up an hour later crying, wondering where the hell he was or how he'd got there.

But still... whenever I'd plug that soother in Milo's mouth, I'd feel like a pimp or a pusher man. I worried that I was inviting a rabid monkey to hunker right down on his back and never leave. Heck, I felt like I was providing that damned monkey with building materials and floorplans so he could build a condo and rent out space to all his rabid little monkey friends.

I've got a terribly addictive personality myself, you see, and so I couldn't imagine a future in which a child of mine would be able to wean himself off a habit that made him feel good.

Well, whaddya know, despite all my worries and fears, my little boy has gone and proven me wrong. Twice! Not once, but twice! I'm giggling as I type this. MILO'S SOOTHER IS GOING THE WAY OF THE DODO!

Of course, Milo's currently developing an equally powerful addiction to sucking on his own fingers now, and that could be dangerous, because if he turns into a constant thumb-sucker he might eventually deform the shape of his palate and develop speech problems, and it's not like I can ever take his hands away from him. (Well I could, but I don't think that limb-reattachment surgery is covered by our medical plan.)

So we'll just have to see how this all pans out. For now, I'm just going to sleep happy tonight, knowing that my baby has proven himself capable of getting over one addiction, at least. I'll worry about the heroin and the crystal meth some other day.

Faced with increasing neglect, the pacifier couldn't help but
suspect that Milo was cheating on it with someone else...

And it was right. Caught -- in flagrante delicto!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A cursed inheritance

Generally, I try to refrain from gushing about Milo, for fear of bringing an ironic Twilight Zonian curse down upon his head. I fear that if I admit how adorably cute I really think he is, I'll accidentally trip and drop him face first on to our George Foreman grill; or if I brag -- even silently, within the confines of my own mind -- about his obvious superior intelligence, a gigantic block of frozen airplane pee will fall from the sky and hit him right smack on the head.

Okay, so I'm a little superstitious.

Still, there's no denying it. That little boy definitely won a sizeable jackpot in the gene pool lottery. He seems to have inherited the best that Rob and I have to offer. He's got Rob's long, lean frame and my almost-reaching-Angelina-Jolie-proportions mouth. His wide, perceptive blue eyes could have come from either side of our family. Ditto for his high forehead and mischievous grin. His hands are huge and long-fingered and his ears are perfect. And his strength, oh my, have I ever mentioned his strength? His adamantium-reinforced skeletal structure could only have been inherited from Wolverine. Not really sure where Wolverine fits on the family tree (though Rob's chest is pretty hairy), but Milo's got to be related to him somehow.

Of course, Milo's not perfect. But I was prepared for all the less desirable traits we'd pass on to him. Or so I thought.

I expected him to be stubborn and impatient (and he is). I'm sure that as he gets older, he'll also reveal himself to be indecisive and overly self-absorbed at times. Possibly even judgmental. And oh yes, I'm already steeling myself for the inevitable trip to the optometrist's office before the age of 10, where he'll be told he needs glasses. Thick ones.

But one trait that I HADN'T been expecting to pass on to him -- that hadn't even occurred to me as a possibility -- was the feet. The stinky, sweaty Whalen feet. The feet that really make it infinitely more polite NOT to take your shoes off at the front door of an acquaintance's house. The feet that can drive coffin nails into what might have been a promising first date. The feet that can cause loved ones to gag.

Yes. Those feet. Milo has inherited them, I'm certain of it. The poor kid is only four months old, and already when I pull his socks off, they're damp with sweat, and even smell a bit sour.

What evil have I wrought upon my poor, unsuspecting progeny? Will he ever forgive me for the curse I've so thoughtlessly bestowed upon him?

Dear lord, I forgot about the feet.

I'd better get my kisses in while he's still willing
to be in the same room with me...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Future girlfriend? Check. Future career? Check. Future rehab clinic? Currently scoping out the options...

Last Wednesday night, Rob and I escaped the house sans Milo to go see our friend Luke Doucet play his phenomenal brand of alt-pop rock 'n roll at Richard's on Richards, a bar in downtown Vancouver.

(A thousand thanks to Milo's Grammy and Grampy for cheerfully agreeing to babysit. I love Milo to death and all that, but still, sometimes it's nice to hang out with the big kids in a place where babies aren't allowed, even if it is Dick's on Dicks.)

Luke rocked the house, as usual. He's one of those uber-talented people that makes you want to bang your head against the wall until it bleeds, because his consummate skill with his chosen instrument of expression (read: geetar) is so transcendant that it makes the artistic attempts of us mere mortals seem like feeble kazoo squawks in comparison.

When Luke's not touring the world promoting his music, he can often be seen onstage alongside of Sarah McLachlan. He's been the lead guitarist for most of her live shows for over a decade now.

Personally, I've never been particularly drawn in by Sarah's music, but I've got to say this for her: the woman has taste. In guitarists, at least.

Yes, Luke is that good. Kind of makes you sick to see so much talent packed into "136 wet dog pounds of skinny white boy," to quote the man himself.

So you can imagine the audience's surprise last Wednesday when Luke was totally eclipsed by a guest singer he'd invited onstage for the last song of his set. For the duration of that song, everyone forgot about Luke. All eyes were fixed on the pint-sized performer on the stage beside him: his nine-year-old daughter, Chloe Winkelman Doucet.

When Luke introduced Chloe and she first bounced up onstage, the audience was clearly charmed. She's a tiny little bird of a girl who looks just like her dad, and she was clearly thrilled to be onstage in front of a crowd of hollering concert-goers.

Scanning the crowd, I saw that most people were smiling indulgently at her. "Aw, how cute," is probably what they were thinking.

Then she opened her mouth and began to sing, and all those indulgent smiles widened into egg-shaped O's . The sound of jaws hitting concrete might have been audible, had it not been drowned out by the far more impressive sound of Chloe belting out the opening verses of Tom Waits' "Gun Street Girl."

That little girl's got pipes, I tell you. Already, at the tender age of nine, she can sing circles around all those vacuous over-produced bubblegum pop stars that usually tend to dominate the music charts.

Hardly surprising, when you consider the fact that her dad's a rock star and her mom, Tallulah Winkelman, is herself a talented actress. Ever since Chloe was born, everyone around her has been counting the days until she takes center stage in her own right. Clearly that day is not long in coming.

And so, as I watched Chloe upstage her own father and wildly surpass all of her biggest fans' expectations, only one thought dominated my mind: "Oh, sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t."

Just a couple of months ago, when Chloe was telling me about a band that she and some of her friends were putting together, I jokingly made her promise that as soon as he was old enough, Milo could become a member of her band as well.

"Sure!" she cheerfully agreed. "He can play the drums! And when I'm 21 and he's 13, he can go on tour with me."

Suddenly, that proposition doesn't seem nearly as far-fetched as it did back at the end of summer. Chloe's definitely going places, and I can all too easily see Milo wanting to hitch on to her star and go along for the ride.

He's already showing a definite ear for music. He wiggles and squeals when I play my djembe for him and he watches Rob with wide-eyed amazement when he sings and plays guitar. We've got no shortage of musical instruments in this house, and Rob and I are going to do our very best to encourage Milo to learn how to play every single one of them.

And so, against my better judgment, when he turns 13, I'm going to remind Chloe of the promise she made. I feel I owe it to my son. I mean, wouldn't nearly ALL teenagers kill to travel the country with a rock band fronted by pretty girl with a wicked voice?

Lord knows I would have. That was my dream growing up. Of course, in my dreams, I was the pretty girl with the wicked voice. But alas, the Fates decreed otherwise, and so I leave it to my son to do what he can to fulfill my unrealized dreams for me. Damnit, if Joanie Cunningham couldn't go on tour with Leather Tuscadero, and if I couldn't sing backup vocals for Bon Jovi (who, now that I think of it, has borne a marked resemblance to both Tuscadero sisters at different points in his career) , then I swear by all that's good in the world, Milo's going on tour with Chloe!!! Just you wait and see if he doesn't!

And yet I can't seem to shake the fear that some day in the not-so-terribly-distant future, I'm going to be calling up the Betty Ford Clinic to ask if they have a cot available for a washed-up, strung-out 13-year-old drummer boy.

He heard the siren sweetly singing...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

My boy won't ever lack for partners at those Friday high school soc hops

He's already mastered the white man's overbite:

Now all he needs to do is learn how to shuffle his feet from side to side and he's set.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Things that wouldn't strike you as examples of learned behaviour

The musician tunes his instrument...

Back when I was pregnant and trying to imagine what life with my new baby would be like, I always conceived of it in terms of all the different milestones (or Milostones, heh) he or she would experience during the process of developing from a newborn to child.

I wondered what it would be like to play with Sitting Up Baby, to chase after Crawling Baby and wipe sweet potato off the chin of Learning to Eat Baby. I imagined how magical it would be to stretch out on the day bed and cuddle with Breastfeeding Baby. I anticipated how happy I'd be to meet Sleeping Through The Night Baby, how excited I'd be to be able to chat with Saying First Words Baby, and how throat-chokingly awestruck I'd be to watch the accomplishments of Taking First Steps Baby.

What I never appreciated was how many different stages of development there'd be, or how surprising most of them would be. I mean, who would have thought that shivering when cold or being capable of being tickled were acquired skills?

Milo has gone through countless incarnations while learning all these new abilities over the past four months. Just this week, for example, he has become:

  • Biting Lower Lip Milo

  • Exploring One Foot With The Other Milo

  • Puckering Up To Whistle Like Gramma and Poppa Milo

...and, last but most certainly not least,

  • Staying at Home With Grammy and Grampy Without Freaking While Mom and Dad Go Out To Trip The Light Fantastic Milo.

I'm sure you can imagine how happy Rob and I were to meet that last incarnation... Much as we adore our son and love getting to know all him in all his different guises, still, sometimes it's still fun to be able to go out and play with the big kids.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

tabula rasa

Why, Mommy? Why?

I made Milo bleed the other day.

It happened while I was trimming his fingernails. My parents were coming over that afternoon, and I knew I had to declaw him so he wouldn't leave permanently disfiguring gashes on their faces.

It was all going fine until I got to his right thumb. Oh, that thumb, the way the skin clings so adamantly to the nail. No matter how much care I took in trying to insert only the nail between the two sharp blades of the clipper, some skin managed to sneak in there as well.

Finally, I repositioned the clipper one last time and decided to hope for the best and make the darned cut. 'Cause that's what I would have done if it had been my nail.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

As soon as the nail clipper went "click," I knew I had made a serious mistake. Milo's eyes flew wide and his mouth opened in a round "O" of shock. His quivering lips pulled down into a pathetic little "m" and then opened again to let out the second loudest howl I've ever heard him make (go here if you dare to learn the story of the loudest).

I looked down at the injured thumb, and sure enough, saw a thin line of red welling up where the end of the fingernail used to be. I grabbed his hand and shoved the bleeding digit into my mouth, hoping to suck away the pain like snake venom.

Milo got over his injury within a few short minutes, but my pain lingered on for hours afterward. I felt like I've failed some sort of test. Clearly, making your child bleed isn't something that mothers are supposed to DO.

Oh, I know that Milo is going to experience pain and suffering in his life. There's no escaping it. If you listen to the Buddhists, they'll tell you that's what life is all about, and if you want to discover how to truly enjoy life, you need to learn how to deal properly with pain and rise above it in order to prevent it from developing into actual suffering.

(I love how Buddhism makes a distinction between pain and suffering. One is clean and sharp like a blade and can strengthen the character of the person who experiences it. The other festers like a gangrenous wound and saps a person's soul.)

I know I can't completely protect Milo from pain, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual. That's impossible. I only hope that I'm able to help him learn how to cope successfully with the pain that life will inevitably bring him.

Yet when I look at my little boy and imagine all the cuts, bruises, abrasions, and broken bones that will someday mar his beautiful blank slate of a body (not to mention the more painful wounds that will one day be inflicted on his heart), I can't help but wish for a magic wand that would erase all possibility of anything bad ever happening to him.

Even though I know that all the unpleasant experiences awaiting him will help him acquire more character and wisdom than all the hugs and kisses that I could ever possibly give him, still, I wish.

At the very least, I wish I could learn how to use those stupid nail clippers properly, so that it won't be me who continues to be the bringer of pain.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Why do I get the feeling there's a demon somewhere in Hell who's got an IOU with my name on it ?

Milo has just slept through the night for three straight nights in a row.

I should be overjoyed. And I am! Oh, yes indeedy, I am!

And yet I can't help shake the feeling that one of Satan's minions is now the proud owner of my soul.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

evil runs amok

Here you see the bastard child of Skeletor and Pumpkinhead toying with his latest victims, Death Row Dad and Brain-Dead Zombie Mom. First he eats his thumb... then he consumes his ghoulish prey... and then he devours the entire WORLD!!! Moo! Hoo! Ha! Ha! Ha!

And yes, that is a glass of beer in BDZM's hand. It's Guinness and my midwife TOLD me to drink it. She says all that iron, potassium, and magnesium is good for breastfeeding moms -- helps the milk come in. So yeah, I drink beer. Pints of it. But I'm doing it for the baby! I swear!

(Okay, so maybe my midwife didn't explicitly tell me to drink pints of the stuff. But hey, we live in North America, the land where more is always better. Right? Right?)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Why wait years for the hangups to develop when you can start cultivating them today?

Okay, so if anyone has been thinking that I'VE been evil in terms of the embarrassment quotient associated with some of the things I've written about Milo on this blog, I suggest you check out what his FATHER has been writing about him.

That picture is going to cost us thousands of dollars in therapy sessions alone.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

tongue-tongue weeps

For he has only one tongue with which to taste an entire world...***

I'm beginning to suspect that Milo has cannabilistic tendencies. I'm pretty sure he wants to eat me. And I'm not just talking about breastfeeding. Every time I get my face near his, he grabs my hair and pulls me closer, lifting himself up off the bed, change table, or bouncy chair as he does so, and tries to suck as much of me into his open mouth as possible.

(Have you ever had someone suckle your nose? I know, it sounds gross, but it's also kind of hysterical to see a little four-month-old baby stuck on to the end of your nose, looking around the room with a wide-eyed expression that seems to say, "Dum de dum dum, don't mind me, I'm just sucking on your nose here.")

Of course, it's not just me he wants to eat. It's everything. Whenever I give him something -- whether it's my knuckle, a toy, a blanket, or even a cloth diaper -- he stares at it with a happy smile of recognition and then hungrily tries to stuff as much of it into his mouth as he can. All the while wearing the same innocent, "Gee, how did that get in there?" look on his face.

He isn't the least bit daunted by the size of the object he wants to eat, either. I've seen him eagerly attempt to fit his mouth around toys that are three times the size of his head. And when things don't work out the way he expects, he gets quite perturbed.

He probably has no idea that some of the things around him are bigger than him while others are smaller. Some fit in that gulping baby-bird mouth of his, and some don't. My guess is that his ever-developing ability to comprehend is still so firmly situated in the realm of the senses (What's this feel like? What's that taste like? How does this form compare to that form, and what the heck's making that noise? And oh, look -- moving food machine thingy! Moving food machine thingy makes funny sounds and makes funny faces and carries me around to different places. I like moving food machine thingy!) that he
doesn't yet have any real understanding of the concept of relative size.

He probably thinks that he is the entire universe, and that everything he sees, hears, feels, smells, and tastes rightfully belongs inside of him. Oddly enough, I'm inclined to agree.

Must... eat... favourite toy... or fist... or toy... or both... yes, both... but how the heck do I get them both to FIT IN HERE???

*** Tongue-Tongue is a character that appears in an episode of the animated cartoon series, The Tick. If you've never seen The Tick, oh my goodness, you have to keep an eye out for it. It's the FUNNIEST. CARTOON. EVER. Where else can you meet characters like "Can O' Man" and "El Seed," not to mention goofball superheroes like Sewer Urchin and Der Fleidermaus"? Or watch episodes named, "The Tick vs. Prehistory," "Evil Sits Down for a Moment," or "Leonardo Da Vinci and his Fighting Genius Time Commandos!"?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Would you trust this guy to feed your baby?

I just walked in on Rob making himself a snack in the kitchen.

“Peeuw, what’s that smell?” I asked.

Then I looked at what he was eating: microwaved potatoes and gravy.

“Ohhhhhh… I don’t think you should eat that, honey,” I said, referring to the gravy.

Rob looked at me, perplexed. “Why not?”

“Um, because it’s from Thanksgiving.”

(Canadian Thanksgiving, for those of you not in the know, occurs on the first Monday in October. Yep. That was almost four weeks ago. Now granted, we’re mostly vegetarian, so our gravy didn't have any turkey juice in it, but still. That stuff was waaaaay past the “best before” date.)

Rob leaned over his bowl and inhaled deeply. “Smells fine to me.”

I took another cautious sniff. “No, it doesn’t. Trust me.”

He shrugged and took a bite of gravy-smeared potato. “Tastes all right.”

I shuddered and left the room. He ate the entire bowl of potatoes, no doubt thinking that I was overreacting once again. He thinks that so long as you boil or nuke something long enough, it’s perfectly fine to eat.

I'm beginning to suspect the guy has no taste buds.

I always feel like somebody's watching me

And I get no privacy...

So I was just typing up an e-mail to a friend, dum de dum dum, when all of a sudden I felt like I was being watched. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. The very air around me seemed laden with malevolent portent.

I turned around to see if Rob was perhaps giving me the evil eye from the kitchen for not washing out my breakfast cereal bowl (I couldn't -- the sink was still filled with last night's cold slick-slimy dishwater, something that instinctively makes me throw my dishes down on to the counter and flee to the furthest room in the house and hide behind a large piece of furniture), but he wasn't there.

So I turned a bit further and looked behind me and what did I see but Milo in his floor rocker, suck suck sucking away on his soother, his eyes wide and staring at me.

The horror.

He's SUPPOSED to be sleeping. I only put him down for his nap fifteen minutes ago. I'd been planning to use his nap time to parent-proof the house in time for my mom and dad's arrival later this afternoon.

(They're going to babysit tonight while Rob and I go to some big Casino Night bash my office is throwing for its employees -- yep, we've been having a good year. It's going to be Rob's and my first night out ALONE since Milo was born. Yay! Sob! Angst! Yay!)

But now he's awake, and it doesn't look like he's about to go back to sleep any time soon. In fact, it looks like he's the one who's ready to party.

Sigh. If only I could figure out where his off-switch was located.

This is what Milo's SUPPOSED to look like right now. Alas, he does not. Off I go to feed and otherwise amuse him...

Thursday, October 27, 2005


I've been tagged. I feel somewhat like a drugged polar bear, wondering why my left ear hurts.

But when a Queen commands you to do something, there's no ignoring the royal summons.

I got to tell you, though, if it had been a mere commoner who'd asked me to do this, I probably would have refused. Lists scare me. They hurt my head. I end up spending far too long on them, wracking my brain for the best possible answers, always certain that there's a better one out there IF ONLY I COULD JUST THINK OF IT.

All right, here goes... But I just know that as soon as I go to bed tonight, a million better answers are going to occur to me.

7 things I want to do before I die

  • Finish my frickin' book already (and get it published -- aye, there's the rub)
  • Go on an onsen tour of Japan
  • Poke around inside the Great Pyramid
  • Ride a horse in a place without fences -- without a paid guide there to smirk at my ineptitude
  • Learn how to make my grandmother's fudge
  • Learn as many languages as I can
  • Help promote a "word of mouth" revolution that results in the demolition of an economic system dependent on the production of countless tonnes of crap and instead promotes the value of quality over quantity
7 things I cannot do

  • A cartwheel
  • Bake a pie
  • Design my own web site
  • Tolerate intolerance
  • Mow a lawn
  • Make pretty things with textiles (e.g., sew or knit or crochet)
  • Believe that there's only ONE right way to access the Divine, and that all other ways are WRONG WRONG WRONG
7 things that attract me to the opposite sex

  • Intelligence
  • Sense of humour
  • Confidence
  • Groundedness
  • Open-mindedness
  • Musical talent
  • Skill in the kitchen
7 things I say most often

  • "Who's my little cutie pooty pie?"
  • "Oh! I think I hear the boy."
  • "I'm tired."
  • "I've DEFINITELY got to do yoga -- tomorrow."
  • "Can you hold him for a minute? I've got to go to the bathroom."
  • "Inuyasha ga daisuki desu!"
  • "It's probably up your ass." (It's true. I do say that quite often. But never in a dirty way.)

7 celebrity crushes

7 people I want to do this (for those of you who don't blog, you can post your lists in my comments)

Ha! Now YOU'RE it!!!