Thursday, July 24, 2014

{sully's first show}

I haven't been to a show since November. It was July Talk and Thomas D'arcy at the Club and I was standing behind a row of exceptionally tall guys who didn't really care at all if I got to actually see the show or not. Sometimes one of the musicians would climb up on top of an amp or something and I'd have a quick glimpse, but mostly I just listened. I wasn't mad about it or anything; that's just the way it goes when you see a show at the Club--five people get to see and everyone else gets to listen. It's really too small to be a venue. And yet...there we were. Again. Another band playing to a sweaty little clump of squished and squeezed rabble.

Anyway. The point is not that.

The point is that I've gone a ridiculously long time without seeing a show. Eight months, almost exactly. For someone who usually takes in a show every month for sure, and sometimes a show every week, and sometimes multiple shows in one week, this has been a sad stretch.

It's just that babies don't really like shows. They have little eardrums, babies do, and want to eat at super inconvenient moments and can't sleep with all that bass going on. So, out of respect for Sullivan, I have stayed home from shows for eight months.

You can understand, then, why I was so pumped about The Dead South's free concert in city square yesterday as part of the North American Indigenous Games happening in the city this week. I woke Sullivan up from his nap early and I plopped him in his stroller and I said, "Today! You! Are! Going to your first concert! And you're going to love every minute of it and not cry and not be hungry right in the middle of it and you can fall asleep if you want I guess but you should probably just stay awake and drink it in like mom's going to do. This is going to be great!"


Success! He loved it! At least, he watched the whole thing with wide eyes and shed only one silent tear during a very intense banjo bit (which was either due to the emotion the musician expressed through his instrument or a blocked tear duct which sometimes makes Sullivan cry without actually crying). It was sweet. Definitely going in the baby book.

And I've got the itch for more.

Monday, July 21, 2014

{the speed of time}

The most overused phrase of all time would probably have to be, "This _______ has gone by so fast!"

This summer. This month. This year. This weekend. This whatever.

I mean, I say it all the time too. Just yesterday I realized that summer was about half over and I said it. This summer has gone by so fast. Faster than any other summer. I know I said the same thing about last summer too, but this summer--way faster.

But I guess this is just the speed that time is. Kind of a weird elastic speed which feels fast when you're in a moment but stretches the memories out behind you in kind of a deceptive way which makes you think that the past went by at a much slower pace. Like a chronological Doppler effect. It's comforting to think about, actually. That time isn't just getting faster and faster and faster every day until the minutes crash into one another like some kind of thousand-car pile-up.


This weekend, we tried to get out of time (and town) for a day by going to the lake with Barclay's family. There's something about a big body of water that seems to slow time down. And though that might also be an illusion, I wholeheartedly buy in and let it fool me completely.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

{my seahorse}

Usually, when Sullivan naps I clean the kitchen.

If the kitchen is clean, which almost never happens, I clean the bathroom.

If the bathroom is clean, which would definitely be a surprise, I vacuum the floors. 

If the floors are speck-free, which is almost a laughable thing to think, I might do some laundry.

If there's no laundry to do, which is practically impossible and at best highly improbable, maybe I could dust. 

There is never, ever, ever no dust. 

On Friday, I laid Van down in his crib and pulled the door shut quietly behind me--a crucial moment in the nap-time routine which could make or break the whole operation. I stood there for a second staring at the room in front of me. Dishes on the counter, crumbs on the table, etcetera. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. 

I said out loud to the Kitchen, which was sitting very still and listening very intently, I said, "Not right now, Kitchen." 

The Kitchen didn't really care. 

I went instead into my office, the room with the paints and pens and pencils and papers, and I sat at my desk and started painting. Like, painting really fast.

Sometimes, Sullivan naps for an hour. Usually, though, it's more like 15 minutes to half an hour. The problem with babies is that they never tell you what they're planning on doing before they do it. He's never like, "Mom, you have an hour. I'll wake up at 4 and we'll hang." 

So I've learned that, whatever I do with the time he's asleep, I have to do it fast. 

I've also learned that my favourite "art", if you'll allow me to call it that, is the stuff that you do without thinking too much. You just sit down and start doing stuff, grabbing supplies and using them, until you either have run out of time or supplies or ideas or you just plain feel like you're done. 

The two learned things fit together pretty nicely. Which is good.

So, anyway, I spent his nap time that day (which ended up being a whole entire hour), painting and cutting and doodling and I ended up with this seahorse. Who knows what I'll even do with him, but that's not ever really the point. My kitchen, bathroom, and floors were dirty, the laundry undone and the dust bunching up in bunnies behind all the furniture, but it was a pretty sweet, quiet hour. I felt a bit like myself again--not that I feel like I've lost myself or anything dramatic like that. I just feel new to this mom skin and I'm trying to figure out what life should look like now. Priorities and selfishness and sanity and all that. You know. It's good though. And getting better all the time.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

{the automatic door}

I was coming out of the Shoppers Drug Mart on Broad Street the other day when the automatic door closed in my face.

(I was pushing Sullivan in a stroller, so it actually really closed in his face, but you know what I mean.)

I scooted past Sully to catch it before it rammed into his little feet, reaching out as far as I could with my left hand, bracing the door open with that whole side of my body while I grabbed the stroller by its front wheel and pulled it along beside me.

My purse caught on the door frame at the same moment that a gust of wind from outside blew my hair into my eyes, a flurry of fluff and frizz that blinded and disoriented me. With no free hands, I had to whip my head around like a woman in a shampoo commercial. (But if I'm being honest here, it was maybe more like a horse with flies in its mane than a woman in a shampoo commercial.)

Picture it, you guys. It was a shining moment.

When I looked up, there was a man standing about two feet away from me, with an expression on his face that said, "I've been watching this whole thing and I don't really think you're fit to be a mother. I also don't think you're fit to be in a shampoo commercial. You remind me of a horse."

I grinned sheepishly as I pulled the stroller the rest of the way through the door, still leaning heavily on it and blowing a stray piece of hair off of my nose. I made a joke, something about the automatic door that I can't remember now. I thought it was funny. I wish I could remember it, because I'd tell it to you and you'd laugh your face off. I think.

He didn't laugh. He didn't even smile. He waited until I was out of the way, and then strode past as though the whole thing had been a terrible inconvenience. He didn't think I was funny. I ran the joke over in my mind. I was bothered.

I was about five blocks away when I realized that it had bothered me much, much more that he hadn't laughed at my joke than that he'd sat there watching me struggle for five minutes without grabbing the door for me. I guess we've come to a place where I don't expect chivalry, but, you know, a pity laugh would be nice. 

Friday, July 04, 2014

{the adventures of regularwoman}

I'm making some kind of zucchini-walnut-chicken thing on the stove (I don't know exactly where I'm going with it), typing this on the counter two words at a time (I don't know where I'm going with this either), and entertaining Sullivan, who is on his blanket on the floor rolling around and playing with a stuffed dinosaur. This is multi-tasking at its finest. I can do anything, all at once. I am Superwoman.

It always starts out this way. I'm doing ten (okay, not usually literally ten) things at once. Then somebody starts crying (not me) but supper is burning so I'm standing over the stove turning burners down and stirring pots and yell-singing Everybody Hurts at the top of my lungs because it's the only song I can think of at the moment and Sullivan seems to hate that song so he cries louder and then the smoke alarm goes off.

That is always the exact moment that Barclay walks in the door from work and gives me such a look of pity like you've never seen. I am not Superwoman. I am Regularwoman. I have a bawling baby and black chicken and I've had cheesecake for breakfast every morning since last Tuesday (not this past one, the one before that), and I have a longer list of things to do than of things I've done plus I don't think I've showered since March.

But I kind of love it. The learning curve was pretty steep, between sleepless nights and a demanding baby and a house that JUST WON'T STAY CLEAN and then moments like this where everything all happens at once and my inadequacy slugs me in the face like a sack of pianos, but I've learned the secret to coping with it.

The secret to coping with it is to stop trying to cope with it. As though a messy kitchen was a problem (it's not) or burnt supper were a travesty (it's not) or unwashed hair were a sin (it's not). As though sitting on the kitchen floor with a sad baby was a waste of time (it's not).

I stop, turn the oven off, sit right down on the floor, scoop Sullivan into my lap, and say to him, "Sullivan. You are driving me a little bit up the wall of this pigsty we inhabit, but I love you a lot." He doesn't have a clue what that even means, so he just makes miscellaneous baby noises and we sit there for as long as we feel like it because we can and we should and anything else I could be doing doesn't really matter as much as that. Period.