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Motherhood is the Sh*t.

The nurse comes into my room on the maternity floor.

“Did you eat a lot of fruit today?” she asks with a curious smile.

“Ummm, no?”

My three-day-old jaundiced son was in an incubator down the hall and Florence Frightengale here was talking about apples and oranges!?

She chuckled. “Max just pooped and it shot right out of the hole in the side of the incubator.”

Not connecting the dots? Fruit has fibre. Mommy eats fruit. Breastmilk transfers fibre to baby. Baby shoots supersonic, projectile poop missiles.

Excellent work, son! Next time, point your cute little crap cannon right at the meany-faced nurse. You know the one. Get ‘er right in the meany eye.

And so it began. My entire existence would henceforth revolve around the emissions of this itty-bitty bunghole.

During those six days at the hospital with my little Mexican midget with the excess bilirubin, I had to document every dang detail of his brownload downloads. Colour, frequency, size — it was a proper doo-doo diary. From black meconium to guacamole green to mustard yellow, his Crayola box of crappola indicated his bilirubin was regulating and we could finally take Paco home. (As his liver-tan faded to the intended pasty white, his moniker changed from Cheech to Alfredo to Billy Reuben to Casper, but we eventually settled on Max, short for Maxican — a salute to his uncanny six-day impression of George Lopez.)

I stole as many diapers from the hospital as my duffle bag would hold and went on my merry mommy way.

Before long, Max’s butt nuggets became that familiar shade of brown. Now that’s the shit I know… and love? My romanticized notions of motherhood quickly kerplunked to the bottom of the diaper pail. Beyond the bliss of little white onesies and cloud-soft chenille blankets was the fundamental truth that we are all just animals, performing the most basic of human functions: Eat. Breathe. Shit. Sleep. Survive. Max and I, both.

In a twist of cruel irony, my dad was battling colon cancer. He had a tumour removed from his bowel the very day I peed on a stick and heard it scream “pregnant!” Good and bad, the colon was certainly seeing a lot of action in our family. But let’s keep this light, shall we? Back to the ass goblins.

Shit was everywhere. Yes, fan included. If I had one of those super-cool infrared CSI poop detectors, there’d be one white patch behind the fridge where shit had yet to splatter. But hey, we were home. Let the feces fall where it may.

It’s when we ventured out into the real world that things got messy. More than once we stripped Maximus Stinkimus down in public places, including once in the parking lot of a car dealership as we shopped for a new ride. I triple-bagged his clothes as my husband dangled the 15-pounder out of the car door, Michael-Jackson-balcony style; Max had shat himself from neck to knees. If I hadn’t packed extra clothes for him, we would have had to wrap him up in a Pontiac poster. Stool-resistant seats blasted to the top of our “things we need in a car” list. Basically, we needed to drive Frank Barone’s couch.

We were rolling with the punches of new parenthood, but this shitstorm was a new climate for us. Two years prior, our new puppy had arrived, fully trained to poop in the yard at nine-weeks-old. Human babies are so dumb.

But I didn’t realize just how wonderful infant poop was until Max, around age one, started depositing full-size, mega-toxic shitsicles. I may as well have been changing my husband’s diaper. One day, honey. EW! (Please read that EW in all caps, 48-pt type, and followed by 10,000 exclamation marks.)

And around age two, the butt-munchkin started assuming “the position.” Turbo Ginger never stops, so when he does it’s either because Thomas is on Treehouse, or there’s a corn-eyed butt snake en route to Pantsville. Here’s how it goes: I notice a sudden silence. This can only mean one of two things. He’s either standing there across the room, holding a pair of scissors and staring at me thinking, “Will she stop me, or shall I go ahead and carve the shit out of those curtains?” Or, he’s bent over at the waist at a 45-degree angle, red-faced and quivering, squeezing some Mississippi mud into his diaper like a human tube of toothpaste.

His body in a full Nazi salute, it’s like he’s a member of the Turd Reich. Okay, that’s it. When my kid starts to remind me of Adolf Hitler, I know it’s time for change. It’s potty time, baby.

But we didn’t push the potty training too hard, warned by many that he might rebel and either get a tattoo or start pinching loafs all over the house. But once he realized what we were up to, Max started hiding. Behind the couch. Behind his bedroom door. And he started saying things like, “I gotta go see a man about a horse.” Okay, that’s a lie. But he did start saying, “I go hide,” and “Don’t look at me.” Oh OK, Mr. Mysterious, what ever could you be up to? You better not be smoking cigarettes in there, or watching those skanks on Toddlers & Tiaras.

But now, at two and three-quarter years of age, he’s ready and about 87 per cent trained. He has the occasional accident, but who doesn’t? (Blush.) The day is quickly approaching when I will no longer accidentally lick “chocolate” off my wrist, and I can buy more vodka and less crap-catchers. Those friggers are 50 cents a poop, er, pop! I’m broke. And I’m not just talking about my vagina.

In the meantime, I’m savouring my little pooper’s first life endeavour. (Well, second, if you count “latching on.”) His determined, wide-eyed poop face is cute as hell, despite the assault on my nostrils as an ungodly aroma wafts up from below him. He looks down through his legs to see the chalupas he’s dropping and exclaims, “Look — it’s poop!” No shit, Sherlock. He has pooped on the potty about 70 times now and he’s still psyched — every time. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Then we “drop some friends off at the lake.” Proud and excited, he watches it swirl down the drain and exclaims, “Bye poopy, see ya later!” I sure hope not, dude. What’s that? — A knock on the door. Oh… God… Nooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

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Parents Need Dreams Too

It’s 2012. Sounds so space age, doesn’t it?

As a child in the ’80s, I used “2012” in my short stories as that far-off, fictional year when humans would be colonizing Jupiter and driving hoverboards like Marty McFly.

Instead, here we are, only slightly altered since last year, but another year closer to death nonetheless. And we’re still asking ourselves: What do I truly want?

And don’t say, “I want to be happy.” That’s a given. That’s like saying, “I like puppies.” Of course you like puppies! Who doesn’t? Well, Jeffrey Dahmer… but, who else?

The real question is, what do you want to do before you croak, before you expire like sour cream in the back of the fridge? I’m not talking about a bucket list of bullet-point experiences. I’m certainly not talking about things you want to buy. I’m talking about your passion, your work, your “thang” — the pursuit that will probably dictate the theme of your eulogy.

For some, the answer is as easy as pie: “I want to bake pies!” Sweet action. Bake your buns off, bee-otch. Give Martha Stewart a run for her honey-pecan pumpkin pie.

Maybe you just want to fish more. Become one with the great outdoors. Catch a rainbow trout so colossal, Cuisinart will invent a bigger frying pan and name it after you. (That one’s for you, honey.)

Perhaps you want to be a CEO with a corner office and a parking space that says, “Park Here If You’re Awesome.” Go for it, smarty pants. The world is your oyster — shuck the shit out of it.

Or maybe you just want to be a really, really good parent. Awesomesauce. Spit ’em out, keep ’em happy (and alive); there is no higher vocation.

Myself, I want to be an author. Stop laughing.

I want Angelina Jolie to play me in the movie based on my book, The Adventures of Turbo Ginger. I mean come on Angie, we look exactly the same.

I want Tina Fey to stumble upon my broken twat and ask me to co-write the screenplay for Reflections of a Broken Vagina. Ticket sales will be through the pelvic floor, and then the roof.

With my earnings, I’ll live (and write) worry-free for the rest of my days and pay Max’s way through The School for Freaking Awesome Children. (Screw the gifted.)

In the meantime, I’m having a blast making advertising. I plan to be the first person to create a billboard made entirely of human hair.

People ask me, “Where do you find the time to do it all?” Sometimes it’s because they’re impressed, more often it’s because they’re secretly scorning me: You should be nurturing your mini, not your manuscript. Bad mommy. Bad, bad mommy.

Here’s how I find the time:

I don’t clean. It’s not an episode of Hoarders up in here. But to my mother’s disappointment, mommyhood and Hollywood come before cleanli…hood…ness.

I write like you shit. It comes naturally to me and doesn’t take as long as you think. It helps that I rarely use words beyond seven letters long. #mesostoopid

And I occasionally neglect my family. Luckily, I married a patient man who’s a really good dad and thinks dust bunnies are kinda cute. If he snaps one day and leaves me, I’ll hire Vincent Schiavelli to play him in the movie.

Clearly, in addition to all this mommy blogging I have to actually be a mother. I mean, where else am I going to get my material?

I’m a good mom. But I am more than that and I’m not going to feel bad about it because the Society of Breastfeeding Nazis thinks I should. (And before you go crazy cakes, I suckled my boy for 10 months and have the empty water balloons to prove it.)

Why not have aspirations beyond the diaper pail? By doing what we love — whatever that may be (as long as it’s legal) — we’re setting an example for our children. We’re saying, Do what you love, baby! We don’t even need to say it; we just need to do it. Live it. Our children watch and learn.

Every parent is unique, but we all share a common goal before we go tits-up: To die with no regrets. (Other than the regret of accidentally swallowing that rat poison that’s now killing us.) And that pursuit — or avoidance, rather — is a complicated thing.

Think about it. If I ignored Max tonight to work on the next great Canadian novel (just go with it) and I died suddenly tomorrow, I’d probably regret not having spent those last moments with him. You know, if I was still alive to feel that sting of regret.

But if I die next week without having at least half-heartedly pursued my childhood dreams, passing it up in order to be the best damn mother the world has ever seen, I’d probably regret that too. You know, if I wasn’t already decomposing.

Remember Randy Pausch? The theme of his famous Last Lecture was “achieving your childhood dreams.” “The inspiration and the permission to dream is huge,” he said. Among other things, he wanted to be an Imagineer with Disney and he made it happen, all while being a great husband and dad to three young children. Randy succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2008 at the age of 47.

Balance is everything. The challenge is to find the time and the energy to pursue your dreams — however grand or humble — while taking care of your greatest dream-come-true, your family. It isn’t easy. Time is scarce. So is money. And unlike mine, not all dreams can be pursued with little more than a computer and spellcheck. But isn’t it sad to hear parents say things like, “Oh, I’ve got no time for that now, with the kids and all.” Dude, don’t let your children be the reason your dreams dried up and died. Let them be the reason you kept them alive!

Contrary to corny philosophy, I don’t think you should “live like there’s no tomorrow.” If I did that, I’d be cuddled up in bed with my three favourite people (well, two people, one furkid) and never leave the house except to buy poutine, chocolate, ice cream sandwiches and candy. What? It’s Armageddon! Screw Canada’s Food Guide! I also don’t subscribe to the whole “you’ll never hear a dying person say they wish they had worked more” concept. Maybe that’s not always true. I bet it’s not true for the dying guy who had the cure for cancer but was so busy with the kids he never found the time to formulate it. Especially if he’s dying of cancer.

Randy Pausch’s inspirational Last Lecture was about achieving your childhood dreams — and enabling the dreams of others. Whose dreams did he most enable during his mere 47 years of life? Surely it’s those of his children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe. He enabled their dreams — not just by being a good dad, but by being a dreamer himself.

So, would I be a better mom if I didn’t have all these time-sucking pipe dreams? Maybe.

I’d like to think I’m a better mom because I have them.

 

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Dear Pope: Time for Some Tweaks?

How do you prevent a mommy blogger from ringing in the new year in head-to-toe flannel, scraping chocolate out of her spacebar with a label from a bottle of cheap wine while she updates her facebook status to: The first person to bring me another bottle of Shiraz wins a big, fat prize wrapped in flannel.

Invite her to a wedding!

BAM.

What a time. But why in the holy hell did they choose that reading in church? Whyyyyyy?

Allow me to quote from the Book of Sirach, the first reading during the wedding ceremony:

“Happy is the husband of a good wife; the number of his days will be doubled. A loyal wife brings joy to her husband, and he will complete his years in peace. A good wife is a great blessing; she will be granted among the blessings of the man who fears the Lord. Whether rich or poor, his heart is content, and at all times his face is cheerful.

A wife’s charm delights her husband, and her skill puts flesh on his bones. A silent wife is a gift from the Lord, and nothing is so precious as her self-discipline. A modest wife adds charm to charm, and no scales can weigh the value of her chastity. Like the sun rising in the heights of the Lord, so is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home. Like the shining lamp on the holy lampstand, so is a beautiful face on a stately figure. Like golden pillars on silver bases, so are her shapely legs and steadfast feet.”

One second. I need to go flip the flapjacks, then iron my husband’s shirts, then “add charm to charm,” then hurl. All the while remaining cheerfully silent and glowing like a “shining lamp.” What. The. H-E-double-hockey-sticks?!

I’m not sure if the passage was read verbatim. I was too busy picking my jaw off the floor, pinching myself, and mentally slapping my husband who kept looking at me with that smug “Get in the kitchen and make me some pie” look.

The thoughts kept pinballing around in my head:

Is this really happening?

Did she really just say that?

Is this 1954?

Am I alive right now?

Is the Pope a He-Man Woman Hater?

What’s next – a pro-slavery poem?

Someone check my ears for wax. There must be a full box of crayons in there because what I’m hearing just can’t be right.

I’m no feminist, trust me. Sometimes I even objectify myself. (See photo above. Dress bought at Trollops.) But what in the name of Christ (that’s not a curse – I mean it literally) is this verbiage doing within a 100-yard radius of a Christian establishment?

So let me get this straight… the Catholic Church thinks that, to be a good wife, I need to be a good housekeeper? Someone interpret that differently for me. Please. Be my guest. Tell me I’m reading it all wrong. (After the comments on my last post, I’m sure you won’t disappoint.) I will gladly accept dyslexia in exchange for clarity that does not involve me wearing an apron around my “stately figure” in my “well-ordered home.”

I wonder if the Pope has a little diagram of a “good wife” pinned to his fridge (full of wine and unleavened bread?) – of a shapely (but modest!) woman holding a feather duster, bending over (but not too far!) to wipe the crud off her husband’s big, long briefcase that contains his big, long list of manly achievements.

Seriously. Is this holy scripture or last month’s copy of Hustler? But hey, this gibber-jabber was written a couple thousand years ago. I can’t blame the Church today for something written in another time.

But I can tsk-tsk today’s Church for offering up that passage as an appropriate reading for a marriage! Dudes – there are so many other passages, why include this one in the list? Leave that one in the dark ages from whence it came. Keep it locked up in the closet with the rest of the secrets, whatevs. We women are trying to get ahead here. Do a girl a solid, would ya?

Thankfully, the Protestants do not accept the scripture of Sirach. High five, my Anglican brothers and sisters! And an additional low five for allowing women to preach.

I must sign off now and sharpen my “skills,” to put meat on my husband’s bones. Holy hilarious. This must be the passage my mother read every night before bed. Keep a clean house and food on the table and you’re top notch. (She must have fallen off to sleep before the “silent wife” part. Love you mom!))

Even the priest who officiated made amendments for this dinosaur of an excerpt. After the reading, he chuckled and said something like, “Of course, all these things can be applied to the husband as well.” I breathed a sigh of relief. At least he kinda-sorta acknowledged the hogwashiness of the thing.

With all due respect, Mr. Pope, it’s time for a few updates. Or kick that passage to the curb altogether. The Bible is, like, a gazillion pages long; surely you have enough other sacred stuff to draw from. Maybe this un-wisdom was applicable through to the 1950s, but come on – times have changed a little, don’t you think? The leader of the free world is black. GASP! We’ve even opened our minds to electing (and reelecting) douchebags here in Canada.

Come on Benny, I know you’re not that out of touch. You don’t deny that the Holocaust did indeed happen (unlike your buddy rebel bishop Williamson who believes there were no gas chambers – and also that women should not wear pants.) Good on ya. Now… why can’t women be priests? Are we ladies not capable of being divine? Is our divinity restricted to our partridgeberry pie and how we fold those blasted sheets with the elastic at the corners? Let us in. Not me, but anyone else with girl parts who wants in – why not? Oh, and while you’re at it, maybe you could reword the whole thing about homosexuality being a “disorder.” That’s just silly.

I think most priests and churchgoers would agree – congregations (and, consequently, contributions to the collection plate) are dwindling as communities age. The Church is a dying institution, as more and more young people drift further and further away from conventional religion. So helloooooo – if you are trying to appeal to a younger, modern demographic, this is so not the way to do it. (I think you need the guidance of a good marketing company – call me.)

When I heard that reading during the wedding ceremony, I thought to myself – Thank God (I guess) that I was married by the mayor because this backwards baloney is just bananas. I’m sure there are other teachings and readings that I could embrace, and many that I already do, but the endorsement of this Sirach poppycock is enough to turn me toward voodoo instead; clearly, the Church and I are not a good fit.

Go ahead. Put me on the Illuminaughty List. Until there’s an update, I will continue to worship the fairies in the woods. Word.

And to all ye getting married in the Catholic Church, for the love of God and all his creatures great and small and male and female, stick with Corinthians; faith, hope and love never go out of style.

 

 

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