Author Archives: labmonkeyftw

Microblog Mondays: Partner

microblog_mondays  Yesterday Spud and I went to visit a very good friend of mine. We packaged up our head colds, and wandered off to a nearby city to have tea and chats (me), refuse our naps (him), and go for a lovely walk on a sunny and warm-ish day (both). It was lovely to see my friend, who was slightly disappointed Pea wasn’t there. I lied and said he’d just come down with our household cold (he hasn’t, he’s healthy because he never gets sick. He just wanted a quiet day).

I got home, with Spud having finally taken a brief snooze in the car, to find:

  • the week’s laundry almost done, with the exception of one load that Pea hadn’t started because “I wasn’t sure if it was ok for both of your pants to be wet at the same time”.*
  • the week’s bread made
  • the week’s steel cut oats for breakfast cooked
  • the most pressing spring garden work done
  • the garbage and recycling organized to be put to the curb
  • the kitchen clean and the house readied for the week

I pulled in tired and in the midst of a raging allergic reaction, as my friend has a dog, three cats, and two rabbits, and I am allergic to …. all of them. Pea grabbed Spud and sent me off to shower and decontaminate. I emerged, clean and renewed, to find Spud and Pea having a dance party in the living room.

I read an article about raising feminist sons last week, and one of the main points was to not conform to gender roles around the house – to instead model equality. Pea is a full partner and the glue in our domestic life. I think we’ll be ok on that front.


* I need to get more pants…. although I do actually own more than two pairs, I don’t tend to wear any of the others.


One perfect day

Saturday was just lovely, so I’m documenting it here to remember in times of grumpiness later.

It was my morning to get up with Spud, who popped up cheerfully at 6:05, which is only barely reasonable. We nursed and snuggled on the couch to read some books. Spud is deeply into books with real pages right now, so we spent some time In The Town All Year Round, and then tried to find Goldbug on some new pages of Cars and Trucks and Things that Go.

Breakfast was a treat, with a grey squirrel choosing to hang out on a branch as close as humanly (squirrelly?) possible to the dining room window, so we watched his (her?) acrobatics while munching oatmeal and berries. “Curel” said Spud, pointing.

I cleaned up the kitchen and put away the dried dishes from the night before and dumped the dishwasher. Spud transferred his vehicle magnets from the fridge to the dishwasher, back to the fridge, to the floor, to the dishwasher, and then over the gate and down the stairs. This is a new cunning ploy to be allowed to climb up and down the stairs, which he is fascinated by. I texted a friend: I MISS YOU.

We went downstairs and played peekaboo on the red couch, with me crawling around the sides and Spud shrieking and laughing above. My friend texted back: “I MISS YOU TOO. We are randomly free this weekend.” We gathered up the magnets and went upstairs, “We are free too! Want to come over this afternoon post baby naps?“, got dressed, “Yes!” and then wrestled into snowsuits “Hooray!“.

Outside, it was lightly snowing, but half the sky was blue, and it was above zero. Such is March in New City. A decent pile of snow had fallen overnight, so I shoveled the driveway while Spud wandered about. We detoured into the back yard after I’d shoveled about a third of the driveway. I shoveled another third while Spud investigated the exposed ice on the driveway, and the sidewalk while Spud headed to the corner to watch the cars on the busier road, with me resetting his voyage several times so I could keep up with him (yoink!). We watched cars for a while and practiced crossing the road holding hands. We watched a squirrel chase a chipmunk, and saw two busses go by, one of which honked for my small pointing poddlekin, to his great delight. We came back to the driveway, and while Spud was pretty done with being outside, he thought me shoveling was funny enough to allow me to finish off the last third of the driveway while he sat and watched, or wandered and was yoinked back, or climbed tiny snowdrifts.

Inside, after a diaper change and brief nurse, we had a snack and then booted up again to go grocery shopping. A busy Saturday morning shop, just for the basics and more fruit and veg. Spud held a lime, and then a plum, and was very pleased throughout. He made friends with the teller, who was “having such a great day, the last three carts had babies in them and there is a labrador retriever outside the window, oh my gosh”.

Home again, we put groceries in the kitchen and felt very accomplished. I got a text from Pea “You guys need some snuggles? I have found some extra snuggles”. A family romp in bed, with books and snuggles and peekaboo under blankets ensued. Pea and Spud made coffee together, and we all had lunch. “How would you feel about B. and her family coming over this afternoon?” I asked, sweetly innocent. Pea thought that would be fun, which was good because it was already planned (I do this a lot, he is very tolerant).

Lunch over, I nursed a sleepy Spud and put him down to nap. Pea and I retired back to bed for a more adult snuggle. He took a shower, and I fell asleep! First time I’ve napped in a very long time, and it came with a great many weird dreams, but I felt much better for it after a week of very early wake-ups. I woke up abruptly about twenty minutes before B. and co were meant to arrive. Spud woke up five minutes later. We were all dressed and ready by the time friends arrived.

An afternoon of chats and updates, watching the toddlers toddle and attempt to share things, and LEGO for the older kid (and Pea). Pea did the lion’s share of Spud-watching, so B. and I could gab. Everyone snacked, and then B. and co headed out just before dinner.

Dinner, a bubble bath, and a solid long nurse had Spud retire to the land of dreams. Pea and I poured a scotch, finished watching season one of Stranger Things, and then de-frightened ourselves by watching a couple of episodes of detectorists (gentle British comedy, and so delightful). We are big wimps, but Stranger Things is very good. But unnerving, because we are big wimps.

I went to bed with a book, falling asleep and staying that way – Spud choosing for the sixth time in 2 weeks to sleep through the night! I got to sleep in on Sunday while Pea and Spud baked bread, which was decadence to follow a fun Saturday.

I was remembering how March felt last year, with Spud sleeping for his first four hour stretch, and me feeling stretched thin and brittle to boot. Life was fascinating and filled with love, but it wasn’t fun. Life is fun now, and I want to remember it well.

Reasons why my son is crying

  • he fell over and bonked his head/arm/pride
  • I pinched his skin when snugging up his zipper, firmly (oops)
  • he is being carried
  • he is not being carried
  • he is having his face washed in the high chair. All other face washes ok.
  • I said no
  • Pea told him not to bite
  • He signed more and more didn’t arrive oh wait yes it did all is well
  • We opened the door and he didn’t get to go out because he had bare feet
  • He went out in bare feet and it was cold
  • I closed the dishwasher
  • I opened the dishwasher
  • I opened and then closed the dishwasher and then walked away
  • I am eating something and he is not
  • Pea is eating something and he is not
  • A squirrel is eating something and he is not
  • The squirrel left
  • He is having his diaper changed, except for when diaper changes are hilarious. Unknown categorization at work.

Related: the Toddler Feelings Helpline, from the inimitable folk at McSweeney’s.

Microblog Mondays: a cure for what ails you

microblog_mondays Spud and I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. We are in search of:

  • a prescription refill for me
  • a referral to an allergist for him
  • a referral to a nutritionist for him
  • a referral to a dermatologist for me
  • a referral to a pelvic floor physiotherapist for me

This will inevitably lead to an overwhelming number of follow-ups in the next few months, but it really is due time we get a handle on whether Spud’s food issues are intolerances or allergies, and how/if to test him; what I can feed him if I decide to stop pumping or he decides to wean; my slowly expanding mind-bendingly-itchy eczema patch; and my post-birth nether region oddities, of which there are many and of which I will not subject you to details.


Microblog Mondays: trim the excess

microblog_mondays I am pretty sure two of my colleagues think I’m pregnant. I accidentally pluralized “kids” in a conversation around age (as in “my kids will be in middle school when I’m 50”) – a moment of aphasia/forecasting forward to the possibility of kidS. I was drinking water at the time, with everyone else imbibing alcohol. And my belly was protruding because, let’s be honest, I’m pretty flubby at the moment.

I may be imagining this, but I don’t think so: one of them INSTANTLY flipped into the super-annoying solicitous mode he’d adopted throughout my pregnancy with Spud. I’ll drink a beer near them soon to sort that out.

That said, I am indeed quite flubby and, of greater concern, very very out of shape. I jogged for the bus the other morning and was actively sore the next day! After a 23 second jog!!! Oh no, my friends, oh no. I have renewed my mental energy in finding space to do workouts, and have adjusted my expectations. A 20 min workout at home is likely my best/most viable option, so where are the workout videos I was using in Hilly Quirky? If I’m going to shower in the evening, can I do some quick pushups and crunches and stretches first? It’s sunny later in the day now, and warmer as well, so getting off the bus a few stops early is back on the table for a bit of fresh air and light (very light) cardio.

I’m going to try to gently build it in, so that it becomes normal to be a bit active again and my muscles have time to get on board. I will aim for next month to add in some specific and more serious workouts. I’d like 1-2 light workouts a week right now, and 3-4 additional moments of more vigorous existence than sitting.

conversations with Pea, part the quack

At dinner

Spud: bir. birb. bir. birdth. birb.
Pea: Yes, those are birds!
Spud: gasps, points*
Pea: those are ducks! Or as some people call them, water chickens!
Me: No.
Pea: grinning Some people do!
Me: no, NO, not while he is LEARNING the LANGUAGE!!
Pea: Spud, what does a water chicken say?
Spud: mouth full of curry Murmfleblaag


* this is his newest mannerism and it is SO cute. Gasps are reserved for really amazing things, like yellow school busses and large birds, including the truly awe-inspiring flocks of crows that are in the region at the moment

spring shearing

My hair is a rough tumble of thick waves and curls, and spends 95% of its time up in a ponytail or messy bun at the back of my head.

My hair was, for the first time in my life, really really long. Curling past my bra strap, hanging behind my shoulders without slipping forward long.

It was also tangled more often than not, heavy, slow to dry, and rarely seeing the light of day. I sometimes got to work and only then realized it was still in the “I’m coming, I’m coming, it is very early” morning bun from grabbing Spud. I was, conversely, becoming quite vain about it and how long it was, and I usually try to maintain a vanity/maintenance level somewhere between “I’m wearing pants, what more do you want” and, at best, “I even chose nice pants”.

I cut it all off.

I am donating a ponytail that is eleven inches long to a society that makes wigs for cancer. I am getting used to my chin-length bob. My head feels 900x lighter, and my neck is relieved of its bun burden. I can take evening showers again, as I hate to sleep with wet hair.

I am very very happy having shorter hair again. I am not at all happy with my current haircut. My stylist seems to have cut all the curls out of it, rather than working with them. I wanted a tumbled cap of curls such as I had in Hilly Quirky for some years. I have a rather severe bob that, if it does anything interesting, just flips out at the ends.

It looks like a “mom cut”. It looks, at best, “cute”, which is pretty much the opposite of what I was going for, hoping shorter hair would actually make me look older. It looks fine, and I don’t look bad, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for. So much for vanity, but I also cannot be bothered to try to get it changed.