Saturday, July 18, 2009


I just got back from an evening with my sisters. We went to see My Sister's Keeper and then to the Lone Star for the best fajitas in the world. I'm completely serious. There are not close to enough Lone Star restaurants in Ontario, and I had to drive an hour to get to this one. But always well worth it.

The movie itself was okay. That's not to say we didn't shed quite a few tears. The story itself is very sad, and raises a lot of interesting emotional and ethical issues. But the film was disjointed, and I didn't feel like we really got to see much character development or real interaction between the characters.

In fact, one of the most real scenes was a throw-away one in which aunts and uncles visit the very sick girl. She rarely sees these relatives, and yet they gather around her deathbed eating pizza and making ridiculous statements like (paraphrased): "Here is a book of healing meditations that I am sure will help you." "I saw a woman on a talk show who just told her cancer to get out! Go away! And strangely enough, it worked." "Promise me you won't give up."

It was easy for us to picture some of our family members in this role, showing up for an obligatory visit with an awkward hug and cliched words of encouragement.

Apart from the movie, and even the delicious fajitas, it was just good to spend time with my sisters. And it made me realize (even more) that this is something I want for my daughter.

When I think about having another child, I often think about it in terms of myself. Anxiety about how pregnancy and breastfeeding will take over my body, worry about how I will ever learn to manage two small people, abject fear over making it through the long sleepless night known as the first three months of infancy.

But it is different when I consider the issue from Will's perspective. I think about how valuable it would be for her to have someone to share this particular experience of growing up, this family. Someone who can be her ally against me (sniff) and her father. Someone who understands where she came from because he or she came from the same place.

Give her the chance to be someone's sister.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This way and that way

We have been back from our trip for exactly a week today, but I'm still feeling pulled in a dozen different directions. Since I can't pull my thoughts together on one subject, here are a few of the things that have been bumping around in my head.

- My husband's cousin and his partner visited for a few days, and while they are fascinating to hang out with, they were continually getting so caught up in something that they lost complete track of time. Which fine, no problem, but we are hanging out with a 2-year-old here. I do not at all expect the world to revolve around my parenting schedule, but I do expect some awareness (especially from family guests) that spending the day with a child in tow requires some structure.

(And to be honest here, I ended up being the rude one, when my frustration over everyone taking so. bloody. long. got the best of me. Maybe I expect too much?)

- This 2-year-old thing? I'm starting to get why it has such a bad reputation. Will can go from chirpy and affectionate to raging hell-beast in 2.5 seconds. Seriously. And even more strange, she can go back the other way. One minute she is screaming over the wrong band-aid or replacing all of her language with a keening wail and then suddenly she is dancing "round and round" or asking me to watch her draw a picture on her easel.

- Another irritating toddler trait? Suddenly everything takes forever. Getting ready. Walking somewhere. Climbing into the car. Part of it is the obsessive need to follow every routine exactly. Then there's the distractibility factor. Will is a little like Dug in that movie Up: Here I am on my way from the bed to the dresser to get a diaper - SQUIRREL! Not to mention the fact that Will is now developing selective hearing, an exasperating experience all on its own.

So. I'm learning to make my way through this new terrain without losing my cool. But oh my god, it is difficult to ignore my own emotions and deal with Will calmly when itistimetogo-wearealreadylate-ohmygod-justletmebrushyourhairalready!

- I have a love/hate relationship Canadian reality TV. I am appalled at "Pressure Cooker," which was hyped as some sort of Top Chef Canada but is so terrible I can't even describe it. What type of cooking competition tells the audience the ingredients the chefs will use, but does not bother to tell us what they made with said ingredients? Maybe we would like to know what the judges are sampling? Not to mention the fact that the teams all used the same ingredients in different ways. Ridiculous.

As a former Broadway-wannabe, I love love love "Triple Sensation." The first episode I watched had the competitors participating in theatre master classes. Their classes with a beautiful 82-year-old dancer/choreographer (I cannot find her name anywhere!) were unbelievable. She was so limber and animated that it wasn't even disconcerting when she discussed feeling the song in one's "crotch and nipples."

- It was while watching "Triple Sensation" that I fell in love with the song "I Won't Mind." Based on the few lyrics in the episode, I thought it was about a young mother giving up her baby. With a little digging, I discovered that the character singing - Auntie Lizzie - is actually Ben Franklin's daughter-in-law, who has suffered a miscarriage and discovered she can never have children of her own.

Every time I listen to this song, I pretend I haven't teared up and I determine to be more patient with my own little girl. Because I really am so very lucky to have her in my life.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

In West Philadelphia, born and raised (okay, visited)

We are back from our trip, during which I drove everyone crazy by softly humming the theme from Rocky every time I thought of it, and my husband sang the intro to Fresh Prince every time we made it back to our friends' place in - you guessed it - West Philadelphia.

We also took a total of maybe eight pictures.

Based on my touristy pose in front of the Liberty Bell, that's probably a good thing.

As someone who needs her personal space, I was anxious about actually staying with our friends for three days. I have never liked staying overnight with other people. I hate the feeling that I have to be "on" all the time (even if it's not true) and I would much rather spend a wonderful day and evening with you and then retreat to a hotel, to meet you again in the morning, of course.

With the exception of the actual sleeping experience (I curse you, air mattress!) staying with our friends turned out to be just fine. I had forgotten that they are very much like me: no pressure to start sightseeing at the crack of dawn, lots of stops along the way for coffee and bathroom breaks, hours lingering over wine and good food. Good times.

It also helps that Will loves spending her own vacation with "Grammo and Papa." Every time I phoned - and I only forgot one night as we were rushing out to see a play - she would excitedly sum up her day in about three words and a vigourous goodbye. "Water! Aunt May-na! Purple! BYE!" "Pizza! Pony! Bouncy-thingie! BYE!"

She also learned how to jump, sing the entire alphabet song, and steadfastly refuse to do anything she doesn't want to do, although I'm hoping that last one is just a side effect of the transition back to normal life.

For the most part, though, it just feels right to be together and home. And if the testing is heightened, so is the cuteness. When her dad gave her a flower last night, I asked Will what she should say. Her answer? "Thank you. I love it."

It's good to be home.

Friday, July 3, 2009

To Grandmother's house we go

Today I'm taking Will to her grandparents' house for her annual vacation. We've been practicing the way I will call her every night on the phone.

Me: Hello? Who's there?

Will: Me!

Me: Hi Sweet-pea. Are you having fun at Gramma and Poppa's?

Will: Yeah.

Me: What have you been doing?

Will: Play in sandbox!

Me: And where do you sleep at night?

Will: In BIG Dora-ji bed!

(She always adds what sounds like the Indian endearment "ji" to Dora's name. Don't ask me.)

Me: In the big Dora bed?

Will: With Grammo!

Me: That sounds like fun! What are you eating?

Will: 'Moothies!

Me: That sounds delicious. Daddy and I are going to see you in a few days. Have fun with Gramma and Poppa. We love you!

Will: Bye!

While Will and the cats are visiting my parents, we are off on a road trip to Philadelphia. See you when we get back!