Best of the Blogosphere

home-office-336378_640Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy these goodies!

Did you read Charlotte’s Web as a kid?  It was one of my favourites.  Last year, Letters of Note featured a letter written by E.B. White explaining why he wrote the book.  It’s a delightful letter and made me yearn for the days of typewriters and when the word “dandy” was used with more frequency.

If you’re a child of the 70’s or 80’s you may have been a latch-key kid or if you weren’t a latch-key kid, you were probably a child of the “laid back” parenting generation. Translation: your parents let you play with lawn darts, eat microwavable meals and watch pretty much anything on television. In today’s world people gasp and call child protective services if your toddler has a complete collection of Happy Meal toys, but in the olden days our parents were teaching us basic survival skills, like how to pour your own cereal.  Lady Goo Goo Gaga reminds us that those days are long gone in her blog post Pottery Barn Lunches.   If you are a mom that makes tic-tac-toe sandwiches or cheese into the shape of a daisy, you may be slightly offended.  If you’re like me and think that you’ve packed a killer lunch for the kids if it covers two of the food groups, then read on . . .read on!

This post by comedienne Kelly MacLean about Surviving Whole Foods made the rounds a few months ago but I recently re-read it and I can honestly say that after a good belly laugh about the craziness that is Whole Foods (even though I have only been to Whole Foods once), the gloomy, winter day was a bit brighter.  Best lines:

“Whole Foods is like Vegas.  You go there to feel good but you leave broke, disoriented, and with the newfound knowledge that you have a vaginal disease.”

“You know you’ve really made it in the world when you get Candida.”

And my favourite laugh-out-loud, snort your coffee line:

“I went on a cleanse once; it was a mixed blessing.  On the one hand, I detoxified, I purified, I lost weight.  On the other hand, I fell asleep on the highway, fantasized about eating a pigeon, and crapped my pants.  I think I’ll stick with the whole eating thing.”

In the age of post-baby bikini bodies gracing the cover of every tabloid that line the grocery store check-out stand, it’s refreshing to see what a post-baby body really looks like for the majority of women.  Photographer, Ashlee Wells Jackson, documents several women in their 4th trimester for her intimate and evocative 4th Trimester Bodies Project.

The Truth about the Rainbow Loom by Kim Bongiorno for In the Powder Room had me thinking one thing: F’ing right!

I have spent years and years and years and spilled countless tears trying to get my husband to understand how to be there for me.  When I saw this video by Katy Davis and Dr. Brene Brown, I emailed it to him and do you want to know what he said?  Thank you, I get it now.

He said that he get’s it!

And the Heavens rejoiced.

And if you live somewhere that hasn’t experienced this ghastly winter, watch this video by Rick Mercer for a taste of what we’ve experienced.  I would like to say that it’s an exaggeration, but honestly he’s not that far off the truth.  Hang in there East Coasters!

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All A Baby Needs

A few weeks ago my husband and I were out for dinner and from our window seat watched a young couple pull up to the valet and wrestle to set up a monstrous stroller, snap on the car seat, bundle the baby for the three steps from the curb to the restaurant, and struggle to get through the door with the oversized baby bag that looked like it contained enough stuff to back pack around Europe for an entire month.  The mom looked weary.  The husband even more so.

My husband and I exchanged a knowing glance.

“First timers,” he said to me under his breath.

“What gave it away?” I replied, both of us smiling.

Everyone with more than one child knows that with your first you have photographic evidence of every milestone and breath in between.  Thanks to digital technology, hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures are taken of first-borns.  By the time a second is welcomed into the family, photos are taken but not nearly as many.  And as for number three . . . there are pictures.  Somewhere.

The same applies for babies and gear.

When I first discovered that I was pregnant with my first, nearly six years ago, I scoured the internet for “must-have lists”, interrogated the merchants of our neighbourhood baby store, and researched the pros and cons of every stroller, bottle, breast pump and sling on the market.

I was going to be prepared.

“What about a birth plan?  We NEED a birth plan. ”  I barked hysterically at my husband, father-to-be, who quickly discovered his status was being usurped by this unborn baby.  He took that as his cue to rein me in.

“Beth-Anne, this is ridiculous!  People have babies in caves in war-torn Afghanistan.  Women have been having babies forever.  Everything is going to be fine.  We don’t need all of this shit that’s taking over the house.”

I huffed.  I puffed.  I resigned.

And then our baby unexpectedly came two weeks early.

The crib that I had researched so extensively and hunted around for the best bargain wasn’t set up.  It wasn’t even delivered!  The mobile was in a heap on the floor.  The onesies that I had painstakingly picked out were way too big for this tiny newborn and the coming home outfit that I had debated over, turned out to be completely impractical.  With its lack of buttons I was unable to maneuver his tiny limbs into the holes with confidence.

Determined to breastfeed, I was unprepared when it proved challenging and sent my husband on a mission to find nipple shields after already retrieving disposable panties and ice for my throbbing episiotomy.  This wasn’t the way I imagined the birth of my first child unfolding.

And then it came.  My first post-natal meltdown.

I had been warned that it would be epic but this was foreign territory.  In my semi-private hospital room with a worn pink curtain separating two beds, with my pinkish son swaddled tightly in the blue flannel blanket, I lost it.

I was well past exhausted and my body was both aching and unfamiliar to me.  Tears ran down my cheeks and the sobs that racked me could only be described as primal.

I was panicking.  In an instant everything had changed.  I was no longer a woman and wife.  I was now a mother.  The responsibility was overwhelming.  It was crushing.

I had done all of my homework and nothing was going according to my well- researched plans!

And then the nurse who had stayed by my side for days on end extended her warm, wrinkled hands to clutch mine as she looked into my eyes.

“Everything’s going to be okay.  Just listen to his cries.  They are telling you what he needs.  Everything he needs you alone can give to him,” she said with her soft Jamaican accent.

Three days later we went home to a house with no crib or mobile, unsure of what we were doing and who we were, but certain that what we needed could not be found at any store or in any book.

All we needed was each other.

Mom Jeans

My “best” jeans are missing. Gone. Nowhere to be found.

Now, things going missing in my house is hardly an unusual occurrence. What’s rare, though, is that for the first time since I was a child, I only own two pair of jeans, so their absence is keenly felt.  The missing ones are a pair of skinny jeans. They look good tucked into boots, but that’s about the only thing they have going for them. They’re too short in the rise, are unwearable without a belt (lest I flash someone while bending over) and really need to be worn with both a compression tank (to smooth out my really-should-have-gotten-rid-of-this-by-now muffin top) and a long tunic or sweater (to disguise the compression tank top, of course). They were made for a bony sixteen year old with boy hips, not a fully fledged woman with birthing hips.

The other jeans, which I’ve owned since I was on maternity leave with my first son (and which were purchased in a panic when I ran out of clothes that fit; a continuously nursing child is both a blessing and a curse) are faded, wide legged, and button up somewhere in the vicinity of my chin.

The skinny jeans are the ones I feel compelled to wear. They’re fashionable. They make the three inches of visible thigh between the top of my boots and the bottom of my sweater look thin. The other ones are the ones that, everything else being equal, I would wear every day because they actually fit.

They’re Mom jeans. Baggy. High-waisted.  They’re the jeans you wore in 1987 and your mom has never stopped wearing. And now they’re the ones you reach for because they hide your post-partum pooch and c-section scar. Comfortable? You bet. Fashionable? Not even. I confess to owing a pair. You probably own a pair too, and unless you’ve had time to give yourself a thorough once-over in a mirror in the morning, you’re probably not even aware that they make your ass look like as expansive as prairie wheat-field.

What’s got me thinking about Mom jeans is this post over at the blog Blood Sweat and Peanut ButterTiffany198549 knows all about Mom jeans and the stages of transition between wearing hip, sexy skinny jeans and Mom jeans: How Bad Jeans Happen To Good Moms. Braver than I, she has so far resisted the slow, pleated slide toward comfort fit. But I embrace my Mom jeans, though they have their place: they are definitely not to be worn on dates with my husband, casual work days, playground visits, girls’ nights out, or any other places when I might actually care what I look like. But on a 9:30 a.m. Saturday errand run, me and my 9-inch rise will be rockin’ the grocery store.