Remember my New Year’s Resolution? The one which started, this month, with the herb garden?
Some of you said that you would join me in my quest to find one earth-friendly change to make each month. Some of you further asked for a monthly reminder.
This is it.
Next Monday, which is February 1, I will be posting about the change I intend to start that month. Anyone who wants to take part has a few days to consider what change, small or large, they might undertake, so that they may tread a little more lightly on the planet.
How to evaluate the gems that drop from innocent wee lips? Am I getting a todderfied version of reality, or am I getting the True Facts of Home? Sometimes it’s easy: “My doggy’s name is Ralphie and I take him for walks and I feed him inna blue bowl,” when you know the family has no pets. And sometimes it’s not so easy.
“I wear unnerwears. And so does Anna and Timmy. But not Baby Noah and Baby Tylers, because babies wear diapers. And not mummy and daddy.”
“No-oo! Grown-ups don’t wear unnerwears!”
“No, silly. Grown-ups don’t wear nuffin’ unnerneeff.”
Nor even sick. Nor have I decided to give up blogging. (I did manage a Mid-Century Modern Moms post.)
I’ve just been busy. Busy hibernating. Busy nesting. I’ve been cooking, and organizing, cleaning, de-cluttering, and planning. (My herb seeds arrived!) I’ve been reading, and playing games with my kids, and taking the dog (gawdhelpme) for -25C walks.
Mid-winter nesting. It’s like being pregnant, only without the morning sickness, the backache, and the belly!
But I promise to try to do better this week. Which is not to say I’ll post FOR SURE, EVERY DAY, but that at least I’ll try. Last week, I didn’t try at all.
And it was lovely. Happy Monday!
“Why are you crying, Mary?”
“Because I’m so very happy, sweetie. It’s okay.”
It is in fact the sun, so heavily shrouded by clouds and falling snow that its brilliance is muted to a mellow white glow. It could well be the moon. I start to say as much, but Anna is still talking.
“The moon is my friend. The moon likes me, because I was born on a full moon.”
Anna has obviously heard the story of her birth night many times. It is part of her personal mythology. “I like the moon, and the moon likes me, because I am a moon-girl.”
She is. Pale and fair, though her beauty radiates life; none of the moon’s delicacy. She’s also sun and storm, blustery gale and spring zephyr. All seasons is our lyrical Anna.
“When the moon sees me, it is happy because I am his moon-girl.” And then, in quicksilver Anna style, she tips her face skyward, chin up, rosy cheeks a platform for the falling snow. Until she opens her mouth.
“I’m catching snowflakes with my mouth! I’m eating the snowflakes!”
“What do they taste like?” I ask, curious. What do snowflakes taste like, to this child of moods and passions, romance and myth?
She crinkles her face and grins at me. Grin grows into a smoky-deep chortle, then a full-fledged belly laugh, rising from her very boots.
“They taste like snowflakes, of course!”
Stolen from Kimberly, via Facebook…
1) Favorite object in your room?
Either the Georgia Okeeffe print we bought for ourselves, or the very cute stained-glass oil lamp my brother gave me.
2) Have you ever smoked a cigarette?
Yes. Both legal (bleah) and illegal (still bleah, but nicely mellow-ifying).
3) Do you own guns?
No. Who would want a weapon of local destruction in their home? (Unless you hunt to actually eat what you kill.)
4) What flavor drink do you get at sonic?
What’s sonic? I mean, other than a hedgehog?
5) Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
MD’s and optometrists, no. Dentists, yes.
6) What do you think of hot dogs?
Bleah. But once in a while (say, once a year) I want nothing other than a big, fat, hotdog with Dijon mustard and a heap of hot salsa.
7) Favorite song?
Right now? Charmed Life, by Diana Krall. But that changes by the hour.
8.) Can you do push ups?
Yes. And real ones, not girly one. About, oh, 6 of them…
9) Can you do a chin up?
10) Favouritee type of jewlery?
Earrings. Dangly ones, because I have a long neck.
11) Do you like blue cheese?
12) Ever been in a car wreck?
13) What’s one trait that you hate about yourself?
14) Middle name?
Used to have two. Had them surgically removed from my birth certificate when I was 20. Now I have none.
15) Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment:
(1) I’m cold.
(2) I will never be warm again.
(3) I will exchange sexual favours for a trip to Tahiti.
16) Name 3 things you bought yesterday.
Yesterday was Friday. I was working. When I wasn’t working, it was one million degrees below zero. I did not leave the house. Are you NUTS?
17) Name 3 drinks you drink regularly ?
18.) Current worry?
My youngest. Not that she’s done anything specific, or even that I really expect her to do so, but just because she’s at that age where they can go like a rocket in an entirely unexpected (and horrific) direction. (Boom! Sur-PRISE, mum!!!) I’ll be holding my breath for about two years…
19) Current hate right now?
20) How did you bring in the New Year?
21) Where would you like to be right now?
Tahiti. Or Sumatra.
22) Name three people who will complete this?
23) Do you own slippers?
Yes. Down-filled ones from Bushtuka. Pillows for my feet. I LOVE them. (“Do you own slippers?” Pfft. It’s a MILLION DEGREES below zero. I am FREEZING. I have been freezing for DAYS. I may NEVER BE WARM AGAIN. Of COURSE I have slippers. Do I have slippers? What a stoopid question.)
24) What shirt are you wearing?
Navy and gray striped rugby shirt. Over a gray ribbed turtleneck. Over a purple camisole. In layering is warmth. Or at least that’s the theory.
25) Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
One would have to have done so in order to have an opinion…
26) Can you whistle?
27) Would you be a pirate?
No. I like to be clean. I don’t like to fight.
28.) What songs do you sing in the shower?
La, la, la. Whatever I feel like that particular minute.
29) Favorite girl’s name?
Sarah or Rebekah.
30) Favorite boy’s name?
Adam or Stephen.
31) What’s in your pocket?
My cell phone.
32) Last person
that who made you laugh? (Grammatical aside: If you’re talking about a person, it’s ‘WHO’, not ‘THAT’. This one DRIVES ME NUTS!)
33) Best memory as a child?
Behind my house there was a bush, then a farmer’s field, then, about a mile back, a river. The river was about 15 feet below the level of the field, steeply angled, very sandy “cliffs” dropping from the grassy field to the river below. At the base of the banks was a narrow strip of compacted, wet sand. I would go there with my sister, a year younger than me. We were probably, oh, 10-ish.
We would launch ourselves from the field and hit the sandy sides of the “cliff” with both feet, then bound again, two feet together, two or three huge, bounding leaps until we hit the sand beside the river. Then scramble back up the banks to leap again. (Go into the river? Never! There were EELS in there! How did we know? We just did. Bleah.)
We also had a nature club in the abandoned, three-walled shack not far from the river. At various times we had a birds’ nest with eggs, a snake skin, various bugs, leaves, spider webs, on display in there.
34) Worst injury you’ve ever had?
Tore the ligaments in one ankle the first time I ever wore heels. (I was eleven. They were one-inch wedges.) I didn’t realize you couldn’t run in heels…
35) Do you love where you live?
Yes. If only Ottawa had shorter, milder winters, it would be PERFECT!
36.) How many TVs do you have in your house?
One. In the attic. I never watch it.
37) Who is your loudest friend?
No one is so loud they embarrass me, and I’m kinda sensitive on this one, so I don’t think I have any loud friends. (Though when I’ve been drinking, I get less sensitive. I may even get a little loud… but only a little.)
38.) How many dogs do you have?
39) Does someone have a crush on you?
Someone loves me, which is much better.
40) What is your favorite candy?
I prefer salty to sweet. Um… liquorice allsorts are nice.
41) Favorite Sport?
To watch or to play? To watch… um… figure skating? To play? Sex.
42) Where is the next place you want to travel to?
Who’s sending me plane tickets?
43) What were you doing 12 AM last night?
44) What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?
Will I read first, or write?
I am at that “certain age”, and by and large I think I look pretty fine for all my years. The wrinkles I genuinely don’t mind — evidences of a life well lived — the gray hair I cover, and the various bodily creaks and groans I get seen to by my RMT daughter. (Hee!! Well worth paying her train fare to visit.)
However, the weight? The thickening of the body? That I don’t like so well, and the weight, she does creep on if you don’t pay attention. So I do the obvious — avoid the junk and put a little activity into every day. (Sadly, chasing toddlers doesn’t seem to be sufficient all by itself. I can’t think for the life of me why not. Booo.)
I also have a weight-maintenance strategy (shared, as I happens by Mir): “tea as food substitute.”
When I get that sudden “MUST EAT” urge, I indulge in a little self-talk: “You’re not hungry, you’re bored. Have some TEA!”
So I do. Cup after cup of the stuff. The first one or two in the morning are black and caffeinated, the rest are herbal. Mint, rooibos, raspberry, spice… So much choice — even though they all taste the same: water. Beautifully scented water, but water. I don’t care. What I’m after is HOT and calorie-free.
(I’m drinking even more this week, seeking some form of heat. Minus 28C with a windchill of -39C (-18F and -38F). Even inside, I need two layers and a sweater. Boooo.)
But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. With all that input, there has to be an output. And so there is. Lots and lots. Copious. Many trips up the 15 stairs. Many, many trips. 15 steps up, 15 steps down. (Which is another way in which lots of tea contributes to weight maintenance. And — I live in hope — semi-decent thighs??)
Problem is, I live in a home knee-deep in toddlers, many of whom are toilet trained. Toilet trained, thus also going up those 15 steps to the bathroom.
Going up them slowly. Sooooo slowly. One-step, one-step, sometimes stopping to check out a piece of lint or take a wee breather or simply stare blankly into space. I could harry them up the stairs, “Hurry UP! I have to pee, too!”
But that takes time, time I may or may not have, so I prefer just to pound on by them. Leap like an aging gazelle over their trundling bodies, whip into the bathroom, claim that premium space with my butt. “Ha! I got here first!” By the time they’re finished all that lint-picking and space-gazing, I’ll probably be done, anyway, and if I’m not?
There are two potties in this house, and one toilet. Let them figure it out…
I’m interviewing again.
In September, Timmy, Anna and Emily will be old enough to go to Junior Kindergarten. Imagine that! My babies are heading off to the Big World Out There! So teeny to be going. School starts TOO YOUNG. I will miss their little faces.
I have three spaces to fill. Three. Sixty percent of my income heading off to JK.
So far I’ve met with three families, representing four children. (Emma is so excited about the possibility of “Twins, mom! So CUTE!”) I have another interview schedule early next week. By then I should be in a position to offer a position to an interested family. Or, if all goes well, two families!
1. Family one. LOVELY people. Soft-spoken, easy-going, sort of granola (as am I — “sort of” rather than “fervently”). Warm smiles, apparently respectful and affectionate marriage. Introverts, (as am I). Both of them interacted equally with the baby. I just got a good, good, good feeling about them. We “clicked”. I hope they felt the same way!
2. Family two. Nice enough people. Mother wants long, long weaning-in, assurances about the number of other same-age children I’ll be taking on, assurances that I will pick up her child when she cries. Mother came with checklist on a clipboard. I don’t recall if dad spoke during the interview.
3. Family 3. Only met the mother, in fact. Dad was home with the twins. LOVELY woman. Warm, ready laugh. Extrovert. Anxious about finding care, but sensible, balanced, relaxed. A slightly irreverent sense of humour when it comes to her kids, a thing I love to see.
My preferences are, in this order:
Family 1, Family 3, Family 2.
Family one is just a good fit. The parents and I are on the same page about any number of things, beyond child-rearing. This is what I look for. It just felt right, and I would have no hesitation at all in offering them the space.
Family 3 is lovely, but they’re my second choice. Not because of the twins, but because there’s a bit of a mystery surrounding how she came to me. She needs care SOON, as in, five or six weeks, and with year-long maternity leaves, people just don’t leave it that long.
I get the impression, based on something she didn’t quite say, that she had someone lined up and bailed on them. (Or, worse, she has someone lined up now and will bail on them if she finds something better.) While I totally understand why a parent would feel the need to do this, particularly a parent of twins, who has much more difficulty finding a spot, it makes me a smidge uneasy. If she’d do that to someone else, would she hesitate to do that to me? Obviously, if I decide to take her on/she decides to go with me, I’d have to ask the direct question.
They may not opt for me anyway. It was clear that my closing time is an issue. Nothing she said, but she sorta winced when I told her. So I may be excluded on that very pragmatic logistical basis.
And Family 2? I will not take on Family 2, even if the others don’t opt for me. Now, the mother seems to be a nice person. Our child-rearing styles are not too dissimilar.
By the end of the interview, though, there were just too many red flags.
She’s too Earnest. Now, almost all first-time parents are Earnest, so in and of itself that wouldn’t be sufficient to exclude her from consideration. However, she’s Earnest with a large side of Controlling.
Not because of the clipboard and checklist. I have a terrible memory. My home is rife with checklists. Checklists are my friends, and I’m not about to deny one to the sleep-deprived mother of a brain-sucking 5-month-old.
- The so-lengthy weaning-in, where she’d be in my home for part of the day for weeks on end? Not happening. It’s a huge imposition on my autonomy. Yes, I will wean in if the parents want, but for a week or two, not months.
- The expectation that she can tell me how to respond to her child — not that what she wants is unreasonable, but the point is it’s my decision to make on my time. (She can find out what my philosophy on these things is, looking for a good match to her own. She cannot dictate.)
- The request for assurances that I will limit the number of other year-old babies in my care? Well, I’d like to. Three year-old babies is a PILE of work. However, the reality is that I have three spaces opening simultaneously, and that most parents looking for care are bringing year-old babies.
In short, she wants too much control over my work environment.
She also doesn’t understand that the interview is a two-way evaluation, she of me, and me of her. Though she is continuing with other interviews, she requested that if anyone else expressed interest in this spot, I would let her know so that she could have it first. No recognition that the spot would have to be offered to her, that there are two equal parties to the decision. This is the woman who perceives her caregiver as her employee, not (as I am) an independent contractor. This perception of the balance of power matters enormously.
Moreover, she’s not the best communicator. (Not, that is, if you understand communicating as including listening). When I underlined that I could give no such assurances re: ages of children in care, it obviously didn’t ‘take’. In her re-capping of the interview, she listed that as something we’d agreed upon.
I didn’t correct her, because I’d already decided I wouldn’t take this family.
Most of these are things I would not have picked up on 15 years ago. Even if I had, I’d not have seen the significance of them. But now I know that it’s these emotive, relational things that make the caregiver-parent relationship live or die. I can predict with some assurance that within six months, this mother and I would be driving each other nuts.
But either of the others? Yup! We’ll see.