Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Holy F'in Shit! They Did It! Congratulations, America.

I'm not even going to pretend I'm politically literate, because that would be almost complete bullshit. But I am super duper excited that President Obama actually got to sign the health care reform bill into law today.

It was almost like watching the Berlin Wall come down. Except this wall was built of ignorance.

Congrats to all those who overcame fear of the unkown and helped this idea become reality, and congrats to a leader for not giving up his vision in the face of massive opposition. I'd like to see some of that backbone in our own MP's.

P.S. the captcha for sharing this post on FB was "urgency for". Fitting, no?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Child Services Obviously Has My Address Wrong...

So, being all worn out from parenting ( jeez..why didn't anyone TELL me it was so hard?), Baby Daddy and I decided to order pizza for supper. Forty minutes went by, and we got a phone call from the delivery driver that went something like this:

(Delivery guy) "What did you say your address was?"
(Me) "It's XXX Xth"
(DG) "Well, I'm at XXX Xth and there's no one here. Is this a (insert random Midwest city here) number?"
(Me) "No, it's a (second city) number"
(DG) "Oh shit, I'm at XXX Xth in (random Midwest city #1)!"

We tried to convince him to drive the pizza to our city, but Delivery Guy wasn't having any of it. Some people have no sense of humour. When you order from a chain, folks, always specify the city you are ordering from. Delivery Guy was not happy, we were not happy. 80 minutes is too long to wait for a pizza.

Anyway, I'm thinking something like that is happening with Child Services. I mean, I'm still here, The Nipplehawk is still here, and the contraband walker is still here. And we're all FINE.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Suburban Homesick Gratitude Blues..( or, How the Hell I Did End Up Here)

Oh man, am I homesick.

Thing is, I'm homesick for a place that no longer exists. I'm beginning to doubt it ever did.

Last night was one of those early spring nights that bring a sense of wonder to even the most jaded of souls. One of the first warm days of the season that melts into a muted sunset and finally fades to a perfect royal blue as soon as the last rays have left the sky. The kind of night that keeps you out drinking on the patio until until your hands are frozen, claw like, around your pint glass and you are wearing your toque and jacket but you will NOT go inside because dammit, it's too nice out. Then at some point someone does convince you to come inside and you realize that you're drunk, and work tomorrow is going to suck balls anyway, so what the hell? Let's go see a show!

One of those nights where you crawl into bed at three a.m. You reek of beer and smoke, and faintly of regret, dreading the day to come. You know that it was all worth it, though, because dammit, you were with your friends, having an awesome time, you saw a great band, and shit; it's only one day. You'll survive.

I'm sure everyone has their own spring fever memories. Many of them likely involve less booze. The point is, that's mine. When I feel that clean, cool evening air for the first time after a long dark winter, that's the place I get taken back to.

This year, though, that wonderful sense of possibility was tinged with a pretty deep melancholy. As I rode through that fresh night on my bike, I felt like a younger version of myself, if only briefly. I felt like I was riding down through my old neighborhood to the local to meet some friends for a patio night.

I remembered that feeling of riding reckless through the city, not a care in the world other than what time the liquor store closed. I remembered living in a place that was large enough to have a band scene. I remembered stoop parties with my friends. I remembered being focused on a career where I showed some talent, and where I loved my work. It all came rushing in on me at once and it hurt. I let it.

What hurt was not so much that all of those things have changed in the past couple of years - although they have, dramatically - as the fact that those memories were quickly becoming fiction even as I was living them. Those nights going to meet friends were becoming fewer and further between, replaced by me, riding to the nearest pub to get drunk. Those stoop parties often just involved myself, a book, and twelve beer. My career? Definitely something there, but how many times can a person miss work because they're hung over?

There was nothing careless about my single life. It just seemed that way on the outside. And I know I wasn't the only one living that way. Many of my friends were in the same boat, sliding quickly from bar star to alcoholic, not noticing the years flying by, not changing. Just running faster, playing harder.

My whole world changed two years ago, the day my mother passed away. I gave up my wandering ways, my career, my whole lifestyle, moved to the flatlands to help my family. Like me, many of them had moved away when they were young. Now those wanderers are also returning home. I am surrounded by the big, messy, loving family that I'd spent so many years running from. It's the best decision I've ever made.

Six months after moving to this tiny town, I met a man. Now I have Captain Chaos - certainly the best thing that's ever happened to me. That little guy fills me with feelings I didn't even know existed before I became a parent.

In the past two years I've given up freedom for responsibility, solitude for family, recklessness for stability, dissolution for sobriety. Sometimes it's overwhelming, to think where I've been and where I am today. So, if one clear calm night, you see me gliding around on a bike and you can't quite place the expression on my face, I'll let you know right now - it's gratitude.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

They're Coming to Take Me Away! Haha heehee hoho..

Yeah that's right. I listened to Lard when I was a stupid kid. I just dated myself. Big whup, wanna fight about it?

That has nothing to do at all with the forthcoming rant - except that, every time I do something that I'm "not supposed to" with my kid, I picture Child Services screeching up to the house in a van to take me away, and then the words to that particular song run through my head.


So, yes. It's a rant. And I'll just dive right in and let you know what a horrible mom I am.

Up until a couple of days ago, The Nipplehawk had a kind of walker thingy that I could put him in while making coffee and breakfast amid the chaos that is mornings around here. It was callled a Rock n Bounce because it had a rocker on the bottom, where the wheels used to go on those (now banned) old school walkers. The Nipplehawk loved it. He would cruise all over the kitchen in it, tipping it forward on its rockers and pushing with his strong little legs. He was pretty proficient with it too, able to back up and pull alongside things. He had figured out that the tray in front was too long for him to be able to reach over, but the sides of the Rock n Bounce were narrow. He could easily grab stuff (his favorite pastime EVER) if he pulled up alongside it.

I loved the Rock n Bounce too. It kept the Nipplehawk entertained until I became conscious and somewhat organized. It also kept him moving, and damn if it didn't challenge his bright little mind. (Pulling up alongside stuff? How cool is that? The kid's only 6 months old, but obviously a genius. Totally unbiased opinion.)

The Rock n Bounce met an unfortunate end the other day. It was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was fallen on. The faller, by the way, is fine. But our beloved Rock n Bounce didn't survive.

The next morning was awful. I had to put the Nipplehawk in his old swing whilst I made coffee and breakfast and washed toys and washed dishes and and and....

The Nipplehawk was clearly unimpressed. "Where's my car?" he howled (in baby, of course)
and "I'm bored! and "pick that up!" and "pick ME up!"

The screamfest was enough to send us to the nearest BallsMart to replace the Rock n Bounce. Alas, nothing of the sort was to be had. There is absolutely nothing at Ballsmart that a baby can self -propel. "Fair enough", I thought. After all, we live in a tiny town, and the selection of baby things is astonishingly poor. (I say 'astonishingly' because frankly, there's not much to do here except drink, fight, and, er, make babies. There's always a baby boom here.) So I got on the 'net. Surely I could find some sort of Rock nBounce facsimile out there. All I want is something to keep my active little guy active. It was sad watching him squirm around in his swing, clearly wanting the freedom of movement he had become used to.

I couldn't find a damn thing.

The (rather lame) replacement for a walker or Rock n Bounce these days is a kind of stationary play saucer, where the only part that moves is the seat. It rotates 360 degrees so that baby can play with all the cool doodads that are placed around the outside of the saucer, which is okay, I guess, if baby doesn't mind sitting still. It's even got an attached bottom, so that baby can't possibly push the playsaucer across the floor.

I started thinking about all the baby things I've looked at in the past few months -and believe me, that's a lot of baby things - and I realized that 99 percent of them are designed specifically to keep baby entertained while stationary. I suppose in theory this is a good idea. No one wants their child to fall down the stairs, or get too close to the stove and get burned, or be bitten by a dog. No one wants their child to get hurt.

The thing is, we're raising another generation of kids that are so wrapped up in safety gear they can't even take a step. We keep them inside, because the streets are too mean. We're raising kids who are reliant on the entertainment to come to them, instead of the other way around. And, perhaps worst of all, we're raising those kids to be stationary, to not take risks, to not be active, because it's too damn dangerous.

Is it really safer for a kid to spend most of his time indoors, away from the big bad world? How is he supposed to get street smart? Is it really better to keep him on the couch or in a chair, in front of a computer or a console, getting soft, than to let him stretch his legs, run, jump, play and even fall? How is he supposed to know the limitations of his body if we don't let him learn through physical activity?

I guarantee, it's gonna suck when the Nipplehawk hurts himself. But he is going to. And he's gonna play outside, under that carcinogenic sun, doing things that are probably not CSA approved. He'll have a helmet when he rides his bike, for sure, but he will never be a bubble - wrapped kid.

Eeeeep. I told you it was going to be a rant.

Anyhoo, I was talking about this to a friend of mine the other day, and she (awesomely) offered me her son's old walker - the kind with (gasp!) wheels. I'm gonna buy some gates and take her up on it ASAP. I'm totally stoked to see my little man in action again. I can hardly wait to see him zipping around the kitchen, pulling things down, terrorising the dogs and grandma...the dogs are gonna freak out when they find out he's even faster than before. They'll never be the same again....

I'll be waiting for that Child Services van.