Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Trickle Down Effect

I know it's painfully obvious to everyone who reads my blog that I have a serious obsession with Twilight. From the videos to the posts to the countdown widget. What I hadn't realized was the trickle down effect this would have on Miss A.

When the full trailer came out Peter was kind enough to transfer it to our DVR. Let's just say it was watched several times. With different people who happened to be over and were interested. Like, my sister, my niece, friends. It wasn't an overly scary trailer so I didn't mind if Miss A watched it. She pays attention to everything in great detail. So I shouldn't have been surprised when she started asking to see the 'Bella one'. And then asking many, many questions. "What's his name? Why is Edward climbing up the tree like this? (mimics him climbing fast with Bella on his back) Why is Edward kissing Bella?"

Last weekend our friends came over for supper. They gave me the awesome early Christmas gift of a Twilight poster. Miss A was pleased about it and informed me that it was Bella and Edward on the poster, then I believe she asked to see 'the Bella one'.

Today, while in the car she noticed the CD case of the soundtrack and she asked to listen to it. I told her we already were. She was delighted because she has been singing and humming along to it for weeks now. She asked to hold the case and after pointing out that Edward and Bella were on the cover she preceded to clutch it all the way home.

I think the real kicker was this past weekend when we went to Madagascar 2. This was her very first time in a movie theater. We went because Peter's work reserved the theater as a kids Christmas function. Her attention span waned a little at times during the movie and it scared her a few times but overall I think she enjoyed it. Santa was waiting for the kids as they came out. They were able to say hello and get a little present from him. Miss A thought that was kind of cool but as we continued to the exit she said "I want to see Bella!" (Which was a little confusing for those of you who know us.) Peter was the one who figured out she meant. She wanted to go and see the life size cardboard cut out of Bella and Edward at the front entrance of the theater. She happily pointed them out to us and the young girl at the ticket counter (seemingly a fan) cooed "AWWW! That's so cute!!" To which I replied "Is it cute? Or is it weird and kind of creepy that my three year old knows who they are?" Not to mention that after that she seemed to forget all about the fact that she'd just seen Santa. Sigh. I think I'm going to be in trouble when she gets to be a teenager.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Promise I Won't Spoil Anything

That said I will reference. So for anyone who hasn't read the book skip this post or read it and don't be mad, I warned you.

So. I saw Twilight last night. And I had to write about it. Not the movie really, but the experience.

I haven't gone to a special showing of a movie on opening night for a long, long time. Peter and I were discussing the one's we've gone to and all we could come up with were 'X-Files Fight the Future' and each of the Matrix sequels. And I can say that for me at least, my anticipation for Twilight was the greatest.

Since Peter has also read the series it was important to me that we saw it together for the first time. He had volunteered to babysit but I found a babysitter so that we could both go. We went with my fifteen year old niece and a friend of mine. We arrived almost an hour and a half early. There was already a small line up but we were sure to have good seats. Other friends of mine were ahead of us in line and they ended up sitting in front of us so while we waited for the movie to begin we all had a good, hyper visit.

The crowd was pretty diverse. A lot of teens, some with, some without their Mom's. A couple of hardcore girls with official Twilight T-shirts. There were also some almost gothy looking 20 somethings who sat behind us and they were acting too cool to be there. They amused the heck out of me because they were trying to be all 'I don't care' yet there they were at the sold out show. It's not like they just decided on a whim to come because they had nothing better to do. And I heard them muttering at the teens to 'Stop texting!' and then 'The movie's starting, shut up!'

There were audible cheers and applause as the lights went down. (Some of which may have come from me, it's a blur. Ha!) The most memorable trailer was for this movie which I hadn't heard of but I'm not very excited to see. Wow, Dakota Fanning is growing up. And I think she's going to make it. I'm so glad because I think she is an amazing actress and I'd hate to see her end up being 'that child star'. I digress.

So it begins. I had the most bizarre warm feeling inside my body the entire movie. I actually enjoyed the experience of watching it with other avid fans of all ages. I thought they behaved themselves rather well. * If you don't want to know anything about what is in the movie even though you've read the book and can guess skip to the next paragraph. The only time I was confused with the crowd reaction was during the classroom scene where Edward first catches Bella's potent scent. Here is Edward Cullen obviously in pain, tormented - and the crowd starts laughing. It was the sort of reaction only a large group of people who'd read the book would have. Maybe it was nervous laughter? Who knows? Anyway, it was weird.

*Maybe skip this one too. I was happy that they took a lot of lines directly from the book. I was also impressed with some of the lines they added that were either very funny or touching. And I can't keep this one to myself, when Edward first speaks in the movie I think Robert Pattinson may have channeled Edward Scissorhands. Just that scared, socially awkward thing and his tone of voice. Don't let that turn you off though. It worked and yet was very amusing to me.

There were also parts were I had to fan myself with my hand because they were so romantically intense and beautiful. Unfortunately there were as many of those times in the movie as there were in the book but I wasn't expecting there to be so I wasn't disappointed.

I found myself feeling sad as I knew we were approaching the end. I took comfort in the fact that I'll be seeing it again on Sunday night. When it was over there were cheers and applause again and the gothy 20 somethings mocked saying 'Oh my God Twilight!!' in shrill voices. I couldn't keep my mouth shut and piped up. (indirectly) I don't remember what I said but it seemed to shut them up. I just couldn't take any more of their we're too cool to be there crap.

I was relieved when my niece broke down in the car afterwards clapping her hands saying "That was so good!!!" I was beginning to feel like a bit of a loser for being more excited than a 15 year old.

And I have said nothing of the experience of watching it with Peter. We laughed at all the same parts, swooned (I think) at all the same parts and agreed on the parts we thought were cheesy or lame. Though we both needed our sleep we lay in bed for a long while last night whispering about it. I am so glad I married someone who I have so much in common with and whose company I enjoy so much. Being married to him is like getting to have the best sleepover (or slumpover) party every night.

Anyway, go to the movie.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I know I've written many posts and linked many videos about Twilight. But this a honest to goodness thoughtful and serious one.

This Saturday some of the cast visited Much Music for an hour long 'Twilight Special'. Being the devoted fan that I am, I tuned in. I have watched a few short videos of the casts public appearances. It's amusing at first, all the screaming, but it gets old fast. Which is why I've only ever watched the short videos. But this live appearance at Much was basically an hour long scream fest. It was, frankly, a bit much. I started feeling like a bit of a knob for watching it. Actually, I started feeling uncomfortable.

Here are these poor, drenched, freezing kids, who'd stood outside (some for TWO DAYS!) waiting for their chance to see the stars of this movie. Although it likely won't be followed up on I have absolutely no doubt that many of these kids will end up with pneumonia. They'll be sitting in the theater when the movie comes out, deathly ill, hacking their guts out, tears streaming down their faces because "OMG, it's just so beautiful!" (Right now being a fan kinda feels like getting caught playing Bratz dolls in your bedroom.)

It got me thinking about how I'd feel as a parent if my girls wanted to go and stand in the rain for two days to see something/someone they were obsessed with. Would I let them go? I want to say 'no way'. Peter says 'no way'. But the thing is I'm still young enough to be in touch with the 15 year old girl that I was. They girl who wore a gold band on my left ring finger and a single gold sleeper in my left ear so I could be like Robert Smith. Would I have stood in the rain for two days for the chance to meet him up close? Heck yeah. Would my mother have let me? I can safely say, no.

So how far is too far? At what point as a parent do you decide an 'interest' has become too intense? Can you do anything about it? I mean, obviously you can prevent them from spending two days in the rain and getting hypothermia but you can't control their thoughts. As I mentioned, I LOVED Robert Smith. I LOVED The Cure. Still do actually. Many times I sat in my room weeping over songs that I thought were so beautiful, so perfect. I had dozens of their posters plastered all over my wall. My obsession influenced my clothing, my jewelry, my hair color (not style ha ha!), my choice of alcohol. Did it hurt me? Well, I didn't go out on many dates but in the long term, no. I still love the band. I'm still a rather obsessive person (gasp! you're kidding!) but in a much more low key way. (yes, really.)

I don't think it's a bad thing to feel deeply about things. I do think that it's worth talking about. No one ever talked to me about why I felt so strongly about The Cure, or anything else I was crazy over. They just shook their heads, teased me or ignored it. I plan to do things differently. I'd like to know what my kids are passionate about and why. I'd like to have conversations with them about it. Perhaps sway them on things that I may not particularly be too happy about them loving. But I'll never be able to do that if I don't listen and really want to hear what they have to say.

So when the day comes that my girls are asking to do something outrageous because of their undying devotion to whatever I will seriously consider and weigh the pros and cons before laughing in their faces and saying "Absolutely not!"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Revealing Her Competitive Nature

Lately I've been trying to encourage Miss A to speed up. She has a tendency to dawdle. For real. I've been getting really tired of listening to myself saying "Come on, let's hurry up." "We've got to hurry, we'll be late." Or when I'm really exhausted and fed up giving the dreaded label "You are SO SLOW! Hurry up!!!" and then I feel guilty.

Recently I've tried to motivate her to be faster by making a game out of it. So I try the "See if you can beat Us" game. We have done this when getting into the car and it seems to work rather well. The other day I tried it when we were getting dressed. I challenged her to see if she could get her clothes on faster than I could dress Baby B. It took her a little while to get on board with this but once she did she was delighted with the idea of being 'the fastest'. Until she noticed that we had quite a head start. It was at this point that she fell to the floor in a heap and began to sulk.

I wondered how her excitement had turned to despair. And then I realized she quit because she thought she stood no chance of winning. Therefore she didn't even want to try.

I have to admit that was a big revelation to me about her character. I know that she is a perfectionist even now, at age three. But I wasn't really aware of just how competitive she was until then. And how uninterested she is in being anything other than #1.

I think I have some work cut out for me. Who am I kidding? I know I do.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Further Exploration

I wanted to include in this post how I took a course which was based on the book 'Raising Your Spirited Child'. But really it's a stand alone post.

Honestly, I could have likely gone without taking the course. I wasn't overly impressed with how it was presented but I was very grateful to find out about the book. I had several 'Ah Ha!' moments while reading it. (though I haven't read it cover to cover as yet) It sort of put into words what I have always known about Miss A. And it's the kind of book I'd like to give to those people I've come across who don't seem to believe me when I tell them about how she is. The people who seem to think that I should just be able to make her behave a certain way, that is if I was really a good parent. Which obviously, I'm not. Of course those people would never actually read the book, but maybe it would make me feel better just knowing that they might one day flip through it out of boredom and become enlightened.

Without going into it too much it basically describes the kind of kid Miss A is and then talks about the negative labels we tend to give them or their behavior. Guilty. So guilty. For example... she is so crazy! (or insane or nuts or wild, etc.) It reminds us parents to try to think of better words and not to use those potentially hurtful labels. Point taken. I am trying. But I constantly find these words slipping out. It also points out how their temperaments can help them to become very successful later in life. This is something I knew, something I have always said. I know she is going to have amazing qualities as she gets older but parenting a child with these personality traits now is... painfully difficult at times. Not to mention exhausting.

Reading this book felt like having a conversation with a friend. A friend who knows exactly what it's like to parent Miss A and who knows exactly what to say when I am feeling discouraged. It was one of those weird experiences when I actually felt like saying aloud, to the book, "Yes! Exactly! That's exactly how I feel. How did you know?" Really odd, but also really comforting.

I would recommend this book to any parent actually. Even those who might not consider their child to be 'spirited'. Some of it might sound hokey but the overall message is really great. Accept your kids for who they are. Don't wish that they were any easier, quieter, calmer or whatever. Help them to develop their unique and amazing personalities so that they can grow to be amazing adults one day. It sounds so simple but it's something I find I constantly forget and I find myself daydreaming that she could be just a little more like this or that instead and then wouldn't life be so much easier...

Friday, November 07, 2008

I Want to Believe

The responses I received on my previous post were very positive. I also couldn't help but feel that everyone was relieved that I'd finally written about something deep for a change rather than just TWILIGHT WEEEEEE! (Although having said that you should click the link because it might be my favorite teaser yet.) I think my only excuse for lack of substance could be sleep deprivation, oh wait, and the fact that I now share the computer with Miss A - aka "I wanna play my Dora game!!!" girl. But if you want deep, I can be deep. Check it.

So we've had our first skiff of snow. Right now we should actually be at Peter's mom's for a visit but due to poor weather she's actually stranded at Peter's brother's house and not at home and even if she wasn't the weather might have prevented us from going anyway.

From the first minute that I was out in the awful sleety stuff I felt a wave of sadness come over me. I was a bit confused because although the winters in my part of Canada are excruciatingly long, I am sort of used to them by now. It may have something to do with the fact that winter means December is on it's way and December is when I head back to work. It could also be the fact that Miss A not only loves but requires time outside each day to burn off excess energy. We still take her out but the frigid temperatures provide extra challenges to that task. Not to mention taking a small baby out in 35 below weather is not ideal. It won't be as nice as our summer walks to the playground that's for sure.

But it wasn't until today when I was walking like a 90 year old to the car with the kids that it hit me. I'm afraid. Afraid of falling. Afraid of breaking something again. I feel fragile.

I was thinking it is similar to the feeling of emotional fragility. When you've taken so much verbal abuse from people that you just can't even handle the thought of hearing another negative comment. I've experienced this as well.

But my ankle fracture wasn't the first time I felt my body had let me down. The first notable time was when I was twenty one and tore my ACL. It was a long and seemingly endless adventure of scoping then recovering, scoping, reconstructing then recovering, and then one year later tearing more cartilage and having to get it scoped again. I remember going back to Taekwon Do after my reconstruction and feeling so inhibited, so nervous that I would injure myself again. I hated holding back. Not being able to commit to my movements. It made me want to quit, to walk away and never look back. If I couldn't do it all the way I didn't want to do it at all. But I stayed. I stuck it out. And eventually I learned to trust my body again. To believe in it's ability to heal.

It seems this is a lesson I have continually been taught. Since that experience I put my back out seriously, had two pregnancies during which I was horrifically ill and the last of which I, of course, dislocated and fractured my ankle. Afterwards I lay on the ice, silent, unmoving. Everyone remarked at my bravery, my incredible pain tolerance. But on the inside I was breaking apart. Not again. I can't do this again. This can't be happening. I. can't. do. it.

But somehow I did. I survived two months of hobbling around on crutches while simultaneously being incredibly ill. I sometimes think it was a good thing I didn't have to work during that period as I'm not sure how I would have done it. I hate to even imagine trying to make it to the bathroom at work before losing my lunch all over the laminate flooring.

Not only did I survive, I triumphed. In less than one year after the accident I am walking normally. (something I seriously doubted I'd ever do again when I was freshly off my crutches) I am teaching fitness classes. I am training for an indoor triathlon. And yet, I'm finding as the anniversary of the incident creeps up on me as does the winter season, that familiar unsettling feeling is creeping up on me as well. The fear. The mistrust of my body. The feeling of being breakable.

I don't want to feel like a 90 year old who is afraid to leave her home for fear of breaking a hip. Not at 32 years of age. But it seems it is an inevitable stage I need to go through after enduring an injury. I need time to adjust to the weather and its sometimes treacherous conditions. I need time to gain faith in my body once more.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


So Beth had a great idea. She gives a theme and we can all write about it in whatever way it strikes us. This time around the theme is exploration. As I thought about that word what came to my mind was parenting.

I looked up the word explore. This is the definition Merriam-Webster gives

Explore :to investigate, study, or analyze :look into :to become familiar with by testing or experimenting

This pretty much explains my approach to parenting.

Having Miss A rocked my life. Now, I know that could be heard coming out of the mouth of any new mother. But I seemed to be utterly lost. I remember flipping through the book 'What to Expect - The First Year'. I thought, wow. None of this really applies to us. I mean the milestones sure, but as for any suggestions on what to do when your baby cries and cries and cries, for example - the best it had to offer was "If you need a break, take one." I thought my baby wasn't 'normal' and I didn't know what to do.

Then one night, I was up late again trying to calm my crying baby. I was exhausted, at my wits end. I typed into Google "baby won't stop crying" just to see what would come up. And guess what I found? A blog. The author was a mom of a girl roughly the same age as Miss A. I loved her writing because it was raw and brutally honest. She didn't candy coat motherhood, she admitted it was hard. Damn hard. Turns out she had a baby who wouldn't stop crying either. And she laid it all out there. The good, the bad and the ugly. (That particular blog no longer exists but you can find her writing here and here.)

I guess you could say that night changed my life, as dramatic as that sounds. Because if I hadn't been looking for answers, exploring, I would have never stumbled upon that blog and blogging in general. And in that case I likely wouldn't have started my own blog. Blogging has become a huge part of my life. A huge part of who I am today.

If you go back and read my earliest posts you can tell I'm searching. Trying to find the reasons why I was having such a hard time adjusting to being a mother. The whole reason I decided to start my own blog in the first place was because I was hoping to find other moms who might be having similar experiences. And I was hoping to find some answers.

Did I find the answers? Sometimes. More importantly I found some amazing mothers who I had lots in common with. People I could bounce things off of or just vent to. I found out I was not alone. But parenting is an adventure and I find most of the time as a parent I just go by instinct. You can't always find the answers in a book or on the internet. But I keep exploring. Looking for better ways or sometimes just a shoulder to cry on.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Most Definitely Second Best

*I think my title is inspired by my new favorite show which also happens to have the best titles ever.

Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year but Halloween is putting up some tough competition. I know some people would have a real problem with that but frankly, I don't care because we had the most glorious Halloween ever this year. I mean, can a Christmas tree compete with this?

And then there was this costume. Which I managed to find second hand and fit her to perfection. When I asked her what she wanted to dress up as several weeks back the first thing she'd said was a pumpkin. Then she had said a spider. So I bought a giant spider that I was going to use in the event that she didn't wear the pumpkin costume. The spider ended up being decoration. See right hand corner of photo.

She was so cheerful and agreeable about everything. I could say "Put your hands up in the air and smile!" and my wish was her command.

She has recently discovered the amazing joy of ringing doorbells. And then with the trick or treating - so many doorbells I can ring!

We only walked a block but I think she could have gone for hours. She was so well behaved, holding my hand and walking up to the doors while I took pictures. There was some pretty amazing decorating out there. She enjoyed it all immensely and only looked curiously at the fog machine at one house and laughed hysterically at the rather scary 'evil laughter' noise detector at another.

Even after we arrived home she was very proud of her haul and also very agreeable about my candy rationing. I admit I was rather nervous about her waking in the night having dreams about scary masks and so on but I worried for nothing. Who knew? This is a kid who tells me about her 'bad dreams' every. single. morning. So far so good.

I have always been a lover of Halloween but I think I have finally discovered the magic of how your children can make holidays even more enjoyable than you have ever experienced before.