When I went to university, I had dial-up Internet. If you’re under 30, that probably sounded a lot like: blah blah university blah blah word word. Basically, before broadband technology, many moons before smart phones, we had to use our home telephones to connect to the Internet. Like, ew.
I’d click the button with my mouse, wait for the telephone connection to establish, make a sandwich, feed my brontosaurus, read the Complete Works of Shakespeare, and listen to the zany screech of my giant computer as it configured and synchronized to prepare for data transfer. This could take up to 20 seconds. Sometimes the connection failed and I’d have to try all over again. Like, cringe.
But the delay was bearable because hey – it was 1996. Cell phones looked like bricks. Apple was just a fruit. Mark Zuckerberg was eating cheese puffs in his parents’ basement. Tweeting was for birds. Digital cameras cost a kidney and your firstborn. And parents lined up for days to buy the decade’s most innovative gadget – Tickle Me Elmo. This dinosaur dial-up system was cutting freakin’ edge.
But if I had to go back to it now, I’d freak. Today, the Internet is immediate. Day or night, I tap my laptop to wake it up from sleep mode, or slide my finger across my mini Internet machine (iPhone) to reveal the app screen, and BAM I can find anyone and anything I need in seconds. The world is at my fingertips, 24-seven. And it has improved way more than my fingertips. It has made me a better* person all around. And not just because I can now Google “how to be a better person.”
It has made me smarter. Every known fact is a click away. The moment a news story breaks, I’m on it like a bonnet. What kind of numbskull goes skipping through the fields with the woodland creatures when there’s a boatload of information to be consumed online? Sorry chipmunks, I’m busy learning over here. I panic when my phone goes dead because every second offline is precious mind-enriching time. Thanks to Youtube, I can watch a tutorial on how to change a diaper, change a tire, or change my underwear without taking my pants off. Because of Facebook, I know the very moment my aunt Ethel is making a tunafish casserole. And with WebMD, I am now a medical doctor in my spare time. Conversely, I no longer need to know how to spell (LOL!), which leaves valuable brain space for reading about serial killers on Wikipedia, finding my ex’s house on Google Earth, and discovering what happens to stuff when you microwave it.
I am saving the planet. No more newspapers – yuck. No more greeting cards – yay, e-cards. No more handwritten letters – do I look like Lucy Maude Montgomery? I pay my bills online. I chat with friends online. I write in Microsoft Word, not a notebook. Thanks, Internet. You’re welcome, trees.
I enjoy more me time.No waiting in line at banks – three cheers for online banking. No more dialing numbers to get a pizza – I order online in a snap. No walking around the mall – online shopping is the bomb dot com. And no high school reunions required – let’s just start a Facebook group where we don’t have to do sit-ups for six months prior, okay? Okay, good. And, you know what all this saved time adds up to? More time for cat videos. Sweet action.
I am a friend to the world.Social media connects me with people, far and wide. Sure, some of them are potential stalkers who want to cut me up into little pieces, but I never leave the house so it’s all good. It also connects me with old acquaintances. You know, people whose body parts I may have touched with my body parts. I can rekindle old romances in case my current one falls through. Girl guides motto: be prepared.
I am an emotional rock. I no longer bottle up my feelings. Instead, I tweet on a whim, post Facebook rants, and send accidental texts to the wrong person. It’s so liberating to just put it all out there.
I am an entrepreneur. What’s the point in having a scrapbook of new, innovative chicken nugget shapes tucked away in a drawer where millions of people can’t enjoy it? Thanks to the Internet, I can share my bird-brained ideas with the world, inspire my kids with my entrepreneurial spirit, and earn some cash to pay for their therapy.
I’m keeping the romance alive. My husband and I text each other from opposite sides of the couch. He says sexy things like, “How’s your blog post coming along?” I say sexy things back like, “What level are you on?” He’s a Candy Crush champion. An architect of the gummy bear gods. I always dreamed of marrying someone who can stack multi-coloured, graphic candies into straight lines.
I’m continually humbled.Most bloggers don’t like trolls. Neither do I – I love them. Hidden deep inside their illogical rage are some very humbling insights and opinions. I’m also humbled when some lucky ducks post pictures of themselves in front of the Eiffel Tower, knowing I will never have the cash to get there. No matter how big in the britches I get, thank goodness I can always count on the Internet machine to knock me down a peg.
I’m a better daughter. I connect with my mom more often since she killed dad with her cooking and signed up for Facebook and bought an iPad. I mean, sure she writes directly on my wall thinking it’s a private message, asking me about my rash. And she hasn’t found the spacebar yet so everything she writes looksalotlikethis. And she messages every other night to ask me how to get rid of the little blinking vertical line on her screen. Mom, for the hundredth time, it’s the cursor. The Internet has brought us together like no cup of tea or organ transplant ever could.
It has made me more efficient.With mobile Internet, I multitask like a boss. I cross the street while reading the headlines on Twitter. I eat while trolling recipes to find ideas for what to eat next. I blog while bathing. I spend time with my kids while scrolling through pics of other people’s kids. When most people use the bathroom, they just stare at the pattern on the shower curtain. Not this juggler of all the things. Just this morning, phone in hand, I replied to 17 emails, learned how to fold that pesky sheet with the elastic at the corners, watched a squirrel carve a pumpkin, and signed an online petition to bring back purple ketchup. All while bleaching my moustache. Bam.
Thanks, Internet. You’ve made me a better* person.
* I also signed an online petition to create a sarcasm font.
Have you seen the new provincial tourism commercials? They’re lovely and colourful and do a great job at highlighting our assets and hiding the ugly bigotry that’s alive and well here in Newfoundland and Labrador. I guess “prejudice” and “old boy’s club” were not key benefits on the creative brief. That’s what you get for all dem dolla bills.
But have no fear, citizens of earth. We can always count on the people of this fine province to shine a big fat national spotlight on our backwoods hillbilly bullshit for free.
Bigots are everywhere, no doubt, not just here. But I don’t live everywhere. I live here, and so do my children, and so will my grandchildren most likely. So here is where I’m concerned. Here is where I got a problem.
I was listening to CBC radio on my drive home from work last week, and they aired a call from a man who was giving his opinion on the recent news story about a local jeweler who had placed an anti-gay marriage sign in his store window. It read: Man + Woman = Marriage God’s Way, Genesis 2:24.
He went on for several minutes of my life that I will never get back but, in a nutshell, he said that he supported the business owner’s right to put a sign in his window because everyone is entitled to their opinion and free speech and blah blah blah word word word and “the gay crowd” need to just suck it up. THE GAY CROWD. He said it several times and with such contempt, he may as well have been calling them shit-eating zombie fuckers.
After his call was aired (and then another one by a lady who thinks we should leave the homosexuals alone because God will be their judge), the radio host’s voice chimed in to politely say, “Thanks for your opinions.” Yes, thanks for the gonorrhea too, buddy. Much appreciated.
Then this week, my newsfeed was inundated with the glorious goings-on in Spaniard’s Bay where a woman exposed the sexist culture at the local volunteer fire station where she is the lone female firefighter (and most qualified, by the way), and half the department quit and we hope nobody’s frying chips on the stove in Spaniard’s Bay tonight, and missus gets called a “conniving witch” who’s out for the chief’s job, and half the town assemble in protest to show support for “their men” who have been so horribly wronged by these allegations of sexual harassment. CBC broke the story and it quickly made national headlines. Yes, right now when the rest of the country thinks of Newfoundland and Labrador, they’re not thinking of the beautiful scenery featured in our tourism commercials. They’re thinking of a fireman filling another fireman’s hat with jizz. Excellent. Very majestic. The papers deliver just the facts, of course: she alleges this, he says that, they all claim this and that and everything else. Journalism.
Ahem. You know what? I’m not a journalist and this is my blog and I can say whatever the fuck I want and not even my mom can stop me though she’ll probably try, so guess what? WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT. IN. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK.
FUCK THAT GUY ON THE RADIO. Fuck thanking him for his “opinions.” He was an ignorant prick. In the tone of his voice, thinly THINLY veiled in polite words so CBC would actually be able to air the thing, I discerned stupidity, arrogance, and contempt. If he was willing to say this on the radio, what does he say in real life? What does he REALLY think of my gay friends? (Two of whom are getting married tonight, by the way. Congrats, Amy and Katie!) And what, oh dear baby jesus in the garden, is he teaching his children and his grandchildren? I’ll take a pass on those play dates, thank you very much. FUCK THAT GUY. Also, fuck that jewelry store owner. I don’t want my kids seeing your fucking sign, you Old Testament twit.
And you know what else? To anyone in Spaniard’s Bay or any damn place who thinks you gotta be “one of the boys” to work among them: FUCK YOU. How about we all step out of the time warp and be “one of the humans.” And if you’re teaching your kids, directly or indirectly, that women need to just shut their mouths and know their place, SHAME ON YOU. It’s one thing to be an asshole yourself. It’s quite another to teach that assholery to your kids and deny them the chance to be someone better. Sounds like child abuse to me.
Fuck you, radio caller guy – not because I’m concerned for my gay friends and family. We don’t need to defend them anymore because it’s 2016 and there’s nothing to defend and never was. They are strong and would crush your caveman ass with their laughter. What concerns me is that you bastards still exist in the same world as my kids. My son is almost seven years old and still learning about life, and straight or gay or ponysexual whatever the fuck that is I don’t even care, he’s still trying to make sense of the world. And by some horrible stroke of bad and terrible luck, he might come across the likes of you and be exposed to your brand of epic crap. Imagine if he had heard you on the radio, he might have thought, “IT’S ON THE RADIO SO IT MUST BE TRUE. AND THE NICE NEWS GUY SAID ‘THANKS,’ SO IT MUST BE RIGHT.” Mind you, if he had been in the car, I would have slammed the radio off so hard I would have tuned in Tokyo for real. Or maybe I would have left the radio on and used it as an opportunity to teach Max about horrible people like Hitler, and you. We would have a nice long chat and look up the word “bigot” in the dictionary. I think my son is smart enough to resist your hateful poppycock, but even if one ounce of it trickles into his mind, if one speck of his love and understanding and humanity is replaced with arrogance and hatred, someone will pay. I WILL NOT HAVE IT.
And fuck you in Spaniard’s Bay too, BECAUSE MY KIDS ARE HERE AND RIGHT NOW THAT’S NOT FAR ENOUGH AWAY FROM YOU. And I’ll be damned if I let one single droplet of your bullshit spill onto them. The news coverage of the rally showed children holding signs that said “support our men” and I had to check the calendar to see which year it was, and check the mirror to see if I was sporting a beehive, and I was almost disappointed to realize it was 2016 and my hair was on trend because it meant YOU PEOPLE ACTUALLY EXIST. What scares me most is what the kids are gathering from all this. THEY’RE KIDS. Their brains aren’t fully developed yet. Even if you folks in Spaniard’s Bay were right about everything (FYI you’re not, everything out of your mouths has only helped confirm Seymour’s claims), your kids are learning to NEVER TRUST A WOMAN WHO SPEAKS UP. And what’s worse, your daughters are learning to NEVER SPEAK UP AGAINST THE MEN and NEVER REPORT SEXUAL HARASSMENT because NOBODY WILL BELIEVE YOU. Imagine how many times a child has overheard the word “bitch” or “whore” or worse in reference to Brenda Seymour this week. I’m sure that won’t breed any misogyny at all. You should erect a new statue in the town square of a fireman holding his big giant hose, with water splashing into the faces of the tiny womenfolk. That should draw some support.
Are the residents of Spaniard’s Bay bad people? Absolutely not. I probably know a few of them. And, being a bayman myself, with a baygirl t-shirt and a thick Bonavista Bay accent, I’m in tune with outport life. I respect it. Not all baymen are backwoods hillbillies. It’s important to know that. Rumour has it there was a rally in the town today to show support for Brenda Seymour and, more importantly, calling for community-wide education on sexual harassment. I hope the country of Spain hears this so they change their minds on wanting their name back and stop pretending they were never here.
Are the male firefighters there bad guys? Not at all. I’m willing to bet they’re all generally good fellows. What they are guilty of, though, is living in the dark ages, when you could make comments in the workplace like “I jerked in your hat,” and you didn’t have to DO SOMETHING (besides laugh) when a dude played a porn video as part of your team’s training, and you didn’t have to take ambitious women seriously because nobody else ever did and nobody cares. But, see, ignorance is no excuse for treating people like shit. Just because you don’t KNOW you’re behaving badly doesn’t mean you aren’t, and it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. So now they must make amends out there in Spaniard’s Bay. You know, by getting schooled on what sexual harassment actually is, and how a toxic work environment can be created by the best of people when they just don’t understand shit, and how we need women in positions of leadership because HELLO, it’s 2016. And please please PLEASE, don’t forget to teach the children. As soon as possible too, to get the poison out. Perhaps if we had all been taught this stuff early, none of this would be happening. And maybe, once they all see the light, they can apologize to Brenda Seymour. Maybe even thank her, as I do, on behalf of all our daughters and sons. Thank her for bravely pushing this all too common bullshit out into the light, clearing the path for education and change and bearing the backlash herself, so my little girl can grow up and be anything she wants to be including the god damn FIRE CHIEF, and my son can grow up and never find himself in this kind of hot water.
Ahhhh, it’s great to be a blogger.
And I thought I was pissed off about the price of vegetables.
Now now, Canada. Just because our new Prime Minister is a man doesn’t mean we can treat him like a piece of meat. If we had elected JUSTINE Trudeau and everyone was yapping about her ass, we’d be throwing maple syrup all over the place.
Besides, Justin Trudeau is NOT the first hottie at the helm. Here are the Top 15 Hottest Prime Ministers of Canada. (It started as a top 10 list but there was just so much hotness on Parliament Hill. The Hill is basically an active volcano spewing hot lava into my lady cave.) Here we go:
15. Jean Chretien. Yes, I’m serious. In a country that prides itself on including all kinds of people, ol’ squishy face deserves a spot. He didn’t let a little bells palsy stop him from becoming the head freakin’ cheese, and you know what Jean? That makes me randy. Look at it this way: he talks with one side of his mouth and he’s deaf in one ear, so all that unused energy gets channeled to you know where. The man is 80+ years old and still swinging around his French baguette.
14. Sir Mackenzie Bowell. His name sounds like the intestine that poop travels through, but his face doesn’t look shitty at all. Well, what I can see of it under that snow-beard. I think his Cabinet ministers were jealous of his good looks because they said he was incompetent and forced him to step down. Bowell called them “a nest of traitors” and went home to have all the sex. He fathered nine children and lived to be 93, which in those days was like older than Yoda.
13. What’s for supper? Sir Charles Tupper. Mmmm, delicious mutton chops with a side of bow chicka wow. Oh c’mon, this guy was seriously ahead of his time. Facial hair is all the rage now. Charlie Tupps was the original hipster. This picture of him gives me double nipple boners.
12. Alexander Mackenzie, Canada’s sexy answer to Abe Lincoln, except instead of being famous for ending slavery, our bearded boy was famous for something much more significant: introducing the secret ballot. If he wasn’t dead, I’d introduce him to my secret ballot box.
11. John Sparrow David Thompson. I like my prime ministers the same way I like my prime rib: thick and juicy. Thompson was 5 feet 7 inches tall and 225 pounds. Pretty sure they named fat raisins after him. He dropped dead while visiting Queen Victoria in 1894. Went face down in the crumpets. We can’t blame the Brits though. Thompson was from Halifax so we should probably blame the Greeks. Friggen donairs.
10. Kim Campbell. Can we leave the lone lady off a list that sexually objectifies? Is Stephen Harper a good musician?Exactly. Ah, Kim. The political princess with the golden hair, with possibly maybe some brains underneath it somewhere but who really knows or cares let’s just talk about her cute bob and bouncing bajongas. Kimmy is cute as hell and calls her vagina her “portfolio.”
9. Paul Martin. PM was PM from 2003 to 2006. He had the initials, and the baby blues. He also had the polio when he was eight, but that didn’t stop him from developing a serious case of sexyitis. Okay, so Paul’s no supermodel, but he passed a bill that approved same-sex marriage in 2005, making him hot as balls in my books.
8. Pierre Trudeau. Consistently ranked by historians as our #1 Prime Minister, and they don’t even take into account his high cheekbones, epic erections, and sexual rendezvouses avec Barbara Streisand. Pierre was intellectual, charismatic, but most importantly, stylish. He looked fuddle-duddling good in a suit, a fur coat, and…a sailor boy outfit? Yeah, okay, I’d get on that ship. Ladies were hot for this badass who wore sandals and slid down bannisters. Unfortunately it’s too late for me to slide down his. FUDDLE DUDDLE! Justin’s will have to do.
7. Wilfred Laurier, Prime Minister from 1896 to 1911. Canadians loved Laurier for his “sunny ways” – evident in this portrait. (Justin stole that phrase from him, and his hair.) The ladies adored him. In fact, after his death his sexy remains were placed in a stone sarcophagus, adorned by sculptures of nine mourning female figures. Apparently they represent each of the provinces in the union… Likely story, guys. Laurier died of a stroke in 1919. Unfortunately it was not the kind I give with my hand.
6. This Arthur ain’t no aardvark. Arthur Meighen was legit hot. You’ve probably never heard of him because he was Prime Minister for, like, five minutes back in the 1920s. But hey, that’s all you’d need with this piece of gear, amirite? I might be right or Arthur may be hypnotizing me with his crazy sexy eyes.
5. Why the fuss over Justin’s hair? JT’s got nuthin’ on JM. Check out Sir John A. Macdonald‘s do. I’d like to make it a policy to run my fingers through that wig. I don’t even care that he was a raging alcoholic and a horrible racist, this Sir makes me purr. Macdonald was Canada’s first, and I wish he had been mine. I also wish I was a 10-dollar bill so he’d be on me.
4. This Disney prince, John Turner,was Prime Minister of Canada for 79 days in 1984. And whattayaknow – our little prince had a thing with Princess Margaret back in the 50s. He couldn’t marry her though because he was a dirty Mick. Not dirty enough, I say. He eventually married great-niece of John McCrae, author of “In Flanders Fields.” Flanders Fields was also the nickname for Turner’s vast and fragrant ball sack.
3. Lester Pearson. This sexy nerd was in charge from 1963 to 1968. That’s not a bowtie; that’s a seat for the lay-deez. Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis. I’d like him to take a look at my Screwez Canal, see what can be done about that. Pearson also started the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. I can tell you right now, Lester: my current status is horny.
2. Before Tom Selleck there was Sir Robert Borden, Prime Minister of Canada during the First World War. Rumour has it he cheered up war widows with free moustache rides. Borden is on the 100-dollar bill, so I always carry one around in my pocket so his upper lip hair is as close to my vagina as possible. Can Justin even grow a moustache?
1. OH YES, HE CAN. Justin Trudeau, hottest Prime Minister of Canada, ever. I mean, he’s no mutton chops (see #13) but he’ll do. And, he’s all about girl power, multiculturalism, equality, rights, and freedoms. So he’s definitely cool with me showing up at 24 Sussex in a leather mask and dog collar. Justin is my religion now. God I love this country! And hey, if JT wants to lay some pipeline, I’d get behind that. Honestly, I’m just glad I didn’t have to put Ben Mulroney on this list.
Have you heard about the new Care Bear? Her name is I Don’t Give a Fuck Bear, and moms (the ultimate caregivers) are modelling themselves after her.
Okay actually it’s just me so far, but it’s bound to catch on because WE MOMS CARE TOO MUCH, about too many things: the house, the homework, the clothes, the cooking, the activities, the appointments, the parties, the presents. Not to mention having to care about how our tits look all the livelong day.
Enough with the caring, Florence Nightingale. That shit will kill you. Nobody notices half the stuff we fuss over anyway, so why bother? It’s time to take care of you, Mommy. By just not giving a mother fuck. Allow me to illustrate.
My house is messy and not a shit do I give. Sticky floors happy kids or whatever the fuck that coaster says. Fuck coasters.
There’s a spider living inside the couch and I don’t give a fruit fly’s fart. It can spin me a custom body bag for all I care.
The carpet does not match the drapes in any imaginable scenario and here’s a quarter to call someone who cares.
Our kitchen table is a catchall and I don’t give a shit sandwich. You can wipe the jam off your face with a sock, or Batman’s cape, or the cable bill. Choice – now that’s something I care about.
There are Star Wars stickers all over the walls and care I do not. There could be worse things on the walls, like blood that connects us to a crime scene, or…oh god no…Caillou stickers.
My husband hates how I overload the dishwasher, but so what if something comes out dirty? It’s clean dirt now. Go care about genocide or ISIS or something fer fook’s sake.
I don’t care that my son is wearing those pants with that shirt and dem dere socks. He looks like a homeless bayman and…hold on, my I-don’t-give-a-shit senses are tingling.
I don’t care when people think my baby girl is a boy (because she’s not dressed in pink.) I care so little, I don’t even bother to correct them. I also tell them her name is Paul.
We don’t go to all the birthday parties and the only thing I care less about is – oh wait, there’s nothing I care less about.
The dog and the kids are in our bed half the night and I don’t care because soon enough the dog will be having a dirt nap and the kids will wish we were dead. On my nightstand is a tall glass of I don’t give a fuck.
I don’t send cupcakes or goody bags to Max’s class on special occasions. Hold on let me write that down on my list of things I don’t give a fuck about.
I’m constantly sharing photos of my cute kids and I don’t give a flying fishcake if it’s making y’all gag. Go look at some ugly shit instead – maybe some warthogs or some scrotums.
Sometimes we go to bed angry. I can’t help it if you’ve been a dick-weed all day. We’re not going to be happy every single second. VOCM cares; I do not.
I really don’t give a tinker’s cuss about having it all, leaning in and all that. I’m just doing my best and if this is as good as it gets, then I guess that’s pretty fucking good.
Caring less about crap allows me to focus my Care Bear Stare on things that matter: my tires are on right, our helmets fit, there are vegetables in the fridge and books by our beds, and we talk about stuff – like how to treat people, our dreams for the future, pizza, and how you can’t say the F word till you’re a grown-up.
In case you missed it in the June edition of The Overcast…
Sugar doesn’t just look like crack. It is crack. Or, at least, it’s highly addictive and totally killing us, which is close enough. In fact, we might be better off putting crack on our corn flakes where we can see it, because almost everything we eat is laced with perfectly legal but totally deadly processed sugar.
The biggest junkies of all? Oh, nobody special, just OUR PRECIOUS OFFSPRING. They open their beaks and we throw in the gummy worms. Because every child needs a little love, tenderness, and diabetes.
The scariest part: sugar isn’t just in candy. It’s added to EV-REE-THING: bread, pasta, cereal, sauces, bagels, crackers, even peanut butter. Kids avoid vegetables like the plague and beg for sugar-jacked snacks, like junkies seeking their next hit. They’re not hungry, they’re hooked. And they’ve tricked us into being their dealers, doling out way more than the recommended 4-6 teaspoons of sugar a day.
Our kids naturally crave it, and the world freely caters to (and cashes in on) that craving. Look at yogurt. Max would rather eat turds than plain yogurt, because he has tasted the bliss that is vanilla yogurt, which is basically yogurt chock-full with sugar with a pretty flower on the label. Plain yogurt tastes like socks to him now. And so they stack the shelves with the flavoured stuff, because that’s what our sugar savages want, and that’s what their stupid parents buy.
It’s not hard to see how we got here. More and more packaged foods giving busy families convenient meal solutions – and enough sugar and salt to pickle our pets. Cereal ads during Saturday morning cartoons selling “whole grain oats” but failing to mention that everything else in the box will bury you. (It’s no coincidence Lucky Charms has the word “harm” in it.) The ongoing cupcake craze. The heaps of treats at Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and everybody’s damn birthday party every damn weekend. WTF GUYS. No wonder our poor kids have severe cases of gotta-get-me-glucose. We’ve been injecting it directly into their veins since they got here.
We’ve created monsters, and frankly we’re too weak to reverse the curse. After a long day, the last thing we want is to argue over some peas. We just want our kids to be happy, and you know what makes them happy? Fucking ice cream. We’re also too exhausted to decipher those nutrition labels. A few quick tips: Most cereals and yogurts should be in the candy aisle. Ketchup is a bottle of sugar, salt and red dye (nice try with the tomato pic, guys.) Juice is basically the bile of Satan. (Even Canada’s Food Guide will soon give juice the axe.) If sugar is in the first four ingredients, keep moving. And just because it’s in the tot food section does not mean it’s good for you.
Many experts agree this generation will not outlive their parents. Dudes, that’s our children’s lives they’re talking about. In case you didn’t quite get that: SUGAR IS KILLING OUR KIDS. So why aren’t we outraged? Why are we patiently waiting for Health Canada to enforce stronger regulations? Why are we still talking about the vaccine/autism bullshit when there’s a REAL crisis happening? My god, if people can get a Playboy bunny to create global panic on the theory that vaccines cause autism, surely we can get someone to start a war against sugar, a crisis that actually exists, based on actual science. Of course, the sugar industry would have us believe the science is flawed, which was also the tobacco industry’s response to lung cancer.
We must tell manufacturers to shag off with the sugar, especially in our kids’ snacks. And make the sugar content clearer and more visible. Frig off with the grams; tell us how many teaspoons of sugar are in there – a measurement we can visualize (FYI, 4 grams = 1 tsp). Tell us how much of that is natural sugar and how much is added, and what percentage of the recommended daily intake it constitutes. And enough with the fancy chemistry too – glucose fructose fucktose – it’s all sugar and you know it.
But c’mon, big brands care about their bottom lines more than our kids. Not even that cuddly old guy from the Quaker Oats ads will save us. We have to make sure our kids’ futures don’t go facedown in the Fruit Loops, even if nobody answers our calls for help. The same way we’d make damn sure our kids got off the crack if we were talking about that instead.
Sarah from Canadian band Walk Off the Earth made news this week when a United Airlines flight attendant kicked her pregnant ass off the plane because her toddler was acting like a total toddler.
There are a couple morals of this story:
Know your celebrities so you can save your discrimination for ordinary people who can’t create so much buzz.
And leave your kids at home.
I’m kidding. You can’t always travel kidless, especially when you’re going on a “family vacation.” Without the tiny humans, it’s just called a vacation, and feels way more like a vacation too since vacation entails a certain degree of relaxation, which children annihilate by their very presence.
But that’s how she goes. When the husband and I headed to Florida with the kids a few weeks ago, we knew shit was going to go down. Ironically, we left on Mother’s Day and this was my “card”:
Come on, you can barely get out the door with the kids at home. If you think being in a different location battling sweltering heat, long lineups, jet lag, and sugar overdoses is going to improve the shituation, you’re on drugs. We purposely packed all the things to prevent, catch, clean, and store the inevitable shit — both literal and metaphorical. We’re not idiots. We had done this before. Doing it again was like walking willingly into the monster’s lair with a giant “EAT ME” sign, fully aware that we were about to be limbed. Which does sound rather idiotic, come to think of it. But alas…At least it’d be warm there?
I started listing the mishaps as soon as we got on the plane, because by then a whole bunch of fuckery had already happened. It was barely 8am.
First, things got hairy at the airport. The website said to be there at least one hour early for our flight into the US. Good sense and trusted friends told us to double that time, to be safe. So of course we went by the website, because we are lazy, stupid hillbillies. Why lug around two kids and all that junk at the boring airport for two hours if we didn’t have to? BECAUSE THAT AIN’T HOW IT’LL GO DOWN AND YOU KNOW IT, BITCH SELF. The first half hour of our journey was major sucktown. At one point I actually looked down at my boarding pass and I swear it said destination: Hell.
My husband’s father drove us to the airport in our vehicle (it’s larger than his, with lots of room for luggage and my giant milk jugs). He dropped us off at Departures with all our crap and drove off… WITH THE CAR SEAT BASE STILL IN THE CAR GOD DAMN IT. The car seat base is like a permanent fixture in the backseat, so I knew it could be easily forgotten if I was on autopilot, which of course I was after spending the last 48 hours packing and doing laundry and buying last-minute necessities and shaving all the hair off my body while my husband worried about the Habs and whether they’d survive game 5 so he could go see game 6 in Tampa. If I had tattooed DON’T FORGET THE CAR SEAT BASE on the inside of my eyelids so I could see it every time I blinked, I’d still have forgotten it. We realized what we had done just a few minutes later but we couldn’t call the father-in-law to scoot back with the piece of shit because he didn’t have a cell phone with him. My FIL is all that and a bag of chips but OMFG who doesn’t carry a cell phone with them at all times nowadays? HOMELESS PEOPLE HAVE CELL PHONES. Our flight would soon be boarding so we’d just have to sell the baby at the airport in Orlando since we couldn’t drive anywhere without that mechanism in our rental car. But hold the phone, Andrew had an idea, and thankfully this time it wasn’t a baby spoon that makes choo-choo noises. He called our neighbor (at 7:30 on a Sunday morning – sorry, Rod!) to physically intercept his father on his way back to our house to get his car. It worked. He returned with the car seat base in the knick of time. Too late to check it as cargo though, so we lugged the bulky bugger around as a carryon. But at least we could keep the baby now. We need those spare body parts.
We forgot the GPS too. Damn it, Andrew, you had ONE JOB.
And we forgot the apples I had cut up and placed in the fridge so I could start feeding the snack savage (Max) as soon as the begging began. Why do I even bother?
AND we forgot the kids on the elevator. Let me explain before you call CPS. We grabbed the car seat base and bolted toward security. Max insisted on pushing Rae in the stroller, so Andrew and I lugged the carryon bags. We had to take the elevator, of course, so we piled in at the bottom. And piled off at the top. Except, when Andrew and I got off at the top and moved toward the lineup for security, we heard the elevator doors close behind us… with Max and Rae still on it! OH MY GOD WE HAD GOTTEN OFF WITHOUT OUR CHILDREN. And down the elevator went. Thank god there are only two floors. Andrew poured down the escalator to catch them at the bottom and shower Max with reassurance, but by the time he got there Brother Max and Sister on Wheels were already on their way back up, now with two elderly women on board with them (not social workers, I hoped.) As the doors opened, I saw the tears in Max’s eyes. Which makes sense since he was just TOTALLY ABANDONED by the people who claim to love him most. I wanted to repeatedly slam my head in the elevator doors but we had to get through security STAT, so instead I quickly told him how sorry we were, how stupid we were, and how proud we were that he took good care of his sister during this crisis. His hands were firmly planted on the stroller handlebar the whole time. But from thereon out, he decided to leave the stroller pushing to his responsible, attentive parents.
To complete the morning from Hades, Andrew had woken up in pain. He has degenerative disks in his back (so he is at least partly a degenerate?) and when it acts up it casts a gloom on everything, like living in the shadow of Oscar’s garbage can. Great timing. And totally spontaneous! It had nothing at all to do with the backflips he was doing on the couch when the Habs won game 5 the night before.
As we were going through security, we heard our names being paged at the gate. Panic is a lovely feeling, isn’t it? Oh, but first we had to submit to a random swab-down to see if we were carrying any anthrax in our sippy cups. What luck. Figures though. We had just left our kids on the elevator. We probably looked like those meth head parents from Breaking Bad.
We boarded the plane and spotted our friends, Dave and Steph, and their two boys, Owen and Grady, sitting quietly near the back. We sat directly behind them – for a kickass view of Owen’s epic meltdown when Steph tried to secure his seatbelt. Locked down to a chair? Oh hell no. Owen put ‘er up for a good 20 minutes until his mom’s arms became his seatbelt and the flight attendants turned a blind eye in favour of their ears which were glad the screaming had stopped. Luckily we did not have the same flight attendant who’s making headlines this week after telling the mama from Walk Off the Earth to WALK OFF THE PLANE. (Three-year-old Owen was scared of many things on our journey, especially things meant to keep him safe like seatbelts and sunblock. Somewhere he has most definitely written, with a jumbo, red crayon: TRUST NO ONE.)
And what fresh hell is this? There are NO TELEVISIONS ON THIS FUCKING METAL BIRD. It’s not a catastrophe for Max; he has his iPad. But what about us? Were Andrew and I supposed to TALK? Were we actually expected to LOOK AT EACH OTHER? Where’s that emergency exit?
We arrived in Orlando still married. Rae was a dream on the plane. And Max completed a whole bunch of levels in Angry Birds, the details of which I can’t share because I was nodding my head and smiling and making a shopping list in my head the whole time he was telling me about it.
In Orlando, the rental car place tried to fuck us, as always. But we were prepared for that and got out mostly unscathed. Dave took an extra $100 hit because he didn’t have his insurance policy number with him and obviously couldn’t call to get it (it was Mother’s Day, a Sunday.) Rental car companies are basically Satan.
When we arrived at the villa we had rented for the next nine days, we discovered the rental company hadn’t come through with a second crib for the second baby. Grady needed the crib more than Rae, being a 10-month-old orangutan boy they found in the jungle. So we could either create a fortress of pillows for Rae to sleep in and check on her every 45 seconds to make sure she was still alive which sounds truly relaxing, or we could get our hands on a second crib and a couple boxes of wine for Mommy. We went to Target and bought a playpen. (I returned it the day before we left. It just wasn’t suitable.)
On the way back to the villa from Target, Rae went ape shit. It was a long day for the kids and we were really pushing it now. She cried so hard in the car, we had to pull over so I could gag her with my tit (or breastfeed her, whatever). I have this awesome, beautiful, happy baby WHO HATES IT IN THE CAR. What in the actual fuck. Every baby loves the car. People have clocked thousands of miles driving their kids around in cars to lull them to sleep. The car is every baby’s #1 cradle of choice. Except our baby. She hates the car. There goes my dream of her being a bigshot class action lawyer being driven around in the back of a stretch limo like Glenn Close in Damages. I really wish someone would invent a way to breastfeed while the car is moving. (Andrew, perhaps you could get working on that one right after your choo-choo spoon prototype.)
We spent the first day hanging out by the pool. And I mean HANGING OUT. I breastfed Rae every three minutes. I was worried she’d get dehydrated so every time she fussed for half a second, I slapped a boob in her gob. With the sun and the daughter sucking all the moisture out of me for the next nine days, I slowly transformed into a leatherback turtle. Here’s a pic of me and Max taking a walk:
The next day, Andrew and Dave drove to Tampa to watch the Habs get destroyed by the Lightning. They washed away their sorrows with beer, stayed overnight in a hotel, and drove back the next morning, genuinely excited to go to the outlet mall for the day — if by outlet mall you mean a mall with an outlet where men can escape without their wives noticing. But hey, maybe they’d see the Habs shopping for golf shoes.
The next day, Andrew got his revenge when I started to lose my voice. I think it was caused by the A/C. Or maybe a tiny lizard crawled down my throat while I slept and bit me in the larynx. It hurt to speak. And it pained me big time when I had to repeat myself again and again because my husband and son weren’t listening to me. Which made me want to yell even more. It was a vicious cycle that made me feel stabby.
We spent day three in a vegetative state, except for all the times where we had to tend to our kids which was all the time so forget what I said about the vegetation back there. And then to really nudge Steph into a state of total nirvana, Owen went facedown in the pool. Yup, stumbled over himself and went splat. Apparently lifejackets do NOT keep you face-up in the water. He must have only been facedown for about two and a half seconds, but time seemed to standstill as Steph leaned in and plucked him out while simultaneously having a cardiac arrest. Oddly, while Owen is terrified of seatbelts and sunscreen, almost drowning did not seem to faze him. He wiped the water from his eyes and carried on. Which, to a mother, is actually WAY MORE FUCKING TERRIFYING. At least if he was afraid of the water now, he might avoid falling into again. But nope, Owen was right back at the water’s edge within seconds. And Steph was on edge for the rest of the trip. Great stuff!
Day four was our first Disney excursion. Magic Kingdom. We had all been to Disney before but had never seen the lights and fireworks spectacle they put off every night at Magic Kingdom with the money they make from those giant turkey legs. It was nighttime, so I decided to swap the baby stroller for my new Lenny Lamb carrier so I could keep a close eye on Rae. Or a cheek, whatever.
When it’s dark and crowded and you’re in the busiest tourist destination in the world, there’s something unsettling about having your baby in an outward-facing stroller where someone could quite easily toss a half-eaten candy apple or a cigarette butt or A BOMB into your baby’s lap. Um no. This kid is the bomb and I’ll wear her like one. Only sucky part was, when I went to snap the carrier around my waist, I couldn’t get it done up. Not without adjusting it first to make room for my juicy muffin top. Jesus, I had only been here four days and I was already puffed up like a Yorkshire pudding. Friggin’ Olive Garden.
By day five, it was about time someone got injured. I mean, it’s not a real vacation until you break out the first aid kid, am I right? Owen had managed to defy death for 48 hours now so it was Max’s turn to bust up his moneymaker. He stumbled on the steps and knocked his face off the side of the pool, puncturing the corner of his mouth with his tooth. Steph and I had been out shopping and she got this text while I was driving us back to the villa: “How can you break it to Vicki that Max might need stitches in his mouth?” Ugh. If I had known this was going to happen, I would have swung by The Face Store to pick up a new one for Max.
When we arrived back to the villa, Max was sitting on the couch holding a facecloth to his mouth, his eyes wet with tears. I think there’s this moment when a child sees his mom after a dramatic incident and the floodgates fully open, like he had been holding back till she arrived, the one who would understand. I put Rae down and went to Max and he started to tell me, without moving his mouth too much, what had happened. I wanted to flip out and blame everybody and hold him and cry a river, but I had to play this smart. I didn’t want him to think it was the end of the world, because it really wasn’t. His brain was intact. His eyes could see. His legs were working. By god, we’d be going to Disney again tomorrow. We decided not to take him for stitches because scars are cool. Max would just have to NOT SMILE the next day. Which shouldn’t be a problem. I mean, we were only going to THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH.
The next day we got up super early and headed to Hollywood Studios. It was the first Star Wars Weekend of the year, and if Max didn’t get in line for Jedi Training when the park opened, he might not get a time slot and I’d have to throw myself on a cactus. DO OR DO NOT, THERE IS NO TRY? In this case, Master Yoda, there was only DO. We stood in line for 40 minutes and got a 1pm time slot, when Max would meet Darth Vader on the stage. Sweet action. At least this had gone right. We had already forgotten all our Star Wars gear back home: my “Don’t Call Me Princess” Leia shirt, Andrew’s Vader shirt, and Max’s light saber. The park was swarming with kids and parents dressed in fancy Jedi robes, traditional Naboo dresses, and humble Tatooine peasant garb. Every black guy was Mace Windu. Every female with long hair had wound it into side buns. LIKE YA WOULD. Except I wouldn’t, because I’m too busy packing the goddamn diaper bag to think about doing something this cool. At least Max was wearing his storm trooper t-shirt – with his Justice League hat and Batman sunglasses. He had a lot going on. Too much. Like maybe he had taken a wrong turn on his way to Sci-Fi On the Rock. But he was content so I didn’t really give an Ewok’s ass. After the previous day’s mishap, I would have let him wear my nursing bra on his head as a hood. Rae had been wearing her “Storm Pooper” onesie but lived up to her name and shat herself in the car, so we stripped her down in the Disney parking lot. Despite my best efforts, she attended Star Wars Weekend in a pink onesie that said “I love summer.” We also left a bag of poop-stained clothes fermenting in the hot car for the next ten hours.
1pm came and Max was ready for his big moment. He stood on the stage with a dozen other kids, all in brown Padawan robes, to receive lightsaber instruction from one of Master Yoda’s Jedi apprentices. As far as Max was concerned, it was Luke Skywalker so let’s just go with that. Max could have called me Dick Smack for the entire day and I would have approved. My heart ached for my little Padawan, his face swollen on one side and looking somber all over, probably because we told him not to smile too widely on account of his mashed-up mouth. LET NOTHING GO WRONG NOW FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. No thunderstorms, please. No falling off the stage or peeing in your pants, pray Jesus. AND NO FAULTY LIGHT SABRE FOR FUCK SAKE. Annnnnnnnd he got handed a faulty light saber. Bloody hell. Maybe it was the user who was faulty (the Neosporin may have penetrated his brain), but either way – Max couldn’t get the damn thing to extend or retract on cue. Andrew and I looked at each other and cringed when we saw that he was struggling. I prayed to the great Jedi master: “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” When Max’s turn came to face Darth Vader, he whipped the light sabre out to extend it – nothing. He tried again, and again – still nothing. Luke Skywalker said, “Here, take my lucky one!” But Max kept trying and trying, and eventually – sweet miracle of life – out it came. A mother has never been so happy to see her son holding a weapon. He fought Vader as instructed and took his spot among the other Padawans. EPIC PHEW.
He searched for us in the crowd and we gave him a big smile and thumbs-up. He got his Jedi certificate from Luke and skipped down off the stage to meet us, with one-third of a smile which, today, was the same as a full smile.
On the way back to the villa, I got us lost while looking for a Little Caesars where we could get that bacon-wrapped pizza we had seen on the ads back home. Andrew looked like he might wrap me in bacon and toss me off the Tower of Terror. Rae went bonkers in the car again, which really improved the overall stress level in the vehicle. Max was in dreamland in the backseat, his mouth gaping open and threatening to tear open his cut. I took a scarf and wrapped it around his head and jaw like the ghost of Jacob Marley. No I didn’t, but that would have been funny.
The next day, Owen came down with leprosy. Poor little guy has eczema and the sun and the sunscreen and the chlorine in the pool were making matters worse. His tiny frame was covered in red spots from neck to ankles. On the bright side, it would help us spot him in the pool if he went facedown again.
The following day was our last before flying back home. I returned the playpen to Target (it was so very unsuitable), so Rae had to sleep between Andrew and I for our final night, which made our last chance for romance dry up like Betty White’s lady garden, or my lady garden for that matter.
We heard the fog back home in St. John’s was delaying flights all over the place. We could very well get stuck in Newark. Ugh. As close as it is to NYC, there’s an EW in Newark for good reason. But the fog was lifting. Our flight was on time. We headed to the airport bright and early.
On the way, Rae turned on the waterworks. Again. She’s fabulous, but should never be taken on road trips ever in life.
When we arrived at the Orlando airport to check-in, one of our suitcases was overweight so I had to buy a 12-dollar Mickey Mouse bag at the gift shop to stuff with all the heavy stuff: books I didn’t read, formula I didn’t use, hair rollers I brought stupidly thinking I might have five minutes to primp, and shoes that SHUT UP I NEEDED EVERY SINGLE PAIR. The gift shop guy said he sees this every day. That 12-dollar Mickey bag is a top seller among flustered travellers who bought too many hats with ears on them. Idiots.
We boarded the plane. Heading down the aisle, I held Rae in the crook of my right arm and the boarding passes in my left hand. 36D… 36D… I scanned the seat numbers looking for our row, not realizing that my baby goat was chewing on the boarding passes. Shit, the paper was wet and a small piece was missing. I swept her mouth with my finger but found nothing. Yet she continued to chew! This was her first time chewing on anything besides toys, nipples, or her own fist. Her first food was not oatmeal or carrots or peas. It was boarding pass. Excellent. I found our seats and whipped out the chesticles to wash down her first meal. I’m not much of a cook, so I guess it’s just as well she got used to food tasting like cardboard.
Oh look, no TVs on the plane again fuck me in the eye. And my seat didn’t recline. Tremendous. The recline button was actually broken off. Gone. How the hell does that even happen? With no movie, I spent most of the flight thinking about the bag of cookies in Max’s backpack and how I wanted to stog all of them in my face at the same time and pick the crumbs out of Rae’s hair later and maybe eat those too and lick her scalp for any trace of chocolate chips I may have missed. By noon the next day I had eaten all the cookies along with my feelings. Returning to our single-digit weather in St. John’s can be difficult.
On the last leg of our journey home, we weren’t long up in the air when Shits McGee let ‘er rip. The poop started to ooze through her sleepers on the back, threatening to soil our clothes as well. But the seatbelt sign was still on, so we had to stand her up on our laps and wait. The plane levelled off nicely, they started serving refreshments, and a few thimble-bladdered passengers started heading to the bathroom. WTF MAN. I asked the flight attendant if I could take my poop machine to be changed. She smiled and said, “I have to inform you that the seatbelt sign is still on…” YOU’RE SERVING HOT TEA, BITCH. We waited. Another gaggle of incontinent assholes lined up outside the lavatory. We asked the flight attendant again. “I have to inform you that the seatbelt sign…” I HAVE TO INFORM YOU THAT I HAVE BEEN HOLDING A HUMAN SHITSICLE FOR THE LAST 20 MINUTES. Rae was crying now. Like ya would after 20 minutes of stewing in your own feces and dangling by your armpits. The pilot finally flicked off the seatbelt sign and I beelined for the magical shitter in the sky.
When we pitched down in St. John’s at 8pm, the flight attendant said “Welcome to NEW BRUNSWICK.” I swear to fucking god, it happened. IT ALL HAPPENED. And it was all good, because it was exactly the shit we expected.
There came a time when the mouldable mini human I had been dressing up like a Gap ad (FYI, that’s not slang for my vagina) became a five-year-old fashionista with his own terrible ideas of what to wear.
A style that changed my “honey, I shrunk the hipster” aesthetic to something more like “honey, our kid is a homeless midget.” Joan Rivers would have a field day with Max’s wardrobe, if she wasn’t in a field.
Unless I want to fight over something as superficial as dumb stupid clothes, or bribe him into wearing what I want him to wear and thereby make me a shitty parent, I have to just let him be.
I have to let him step out into the big, cruel world in his Batman shirt and black, pleather pants that are an inch too short – that I meant to destroy 17 piles of laundry ago (damn it). I have to let him, because he’s not just dressing up like the caped crusader. In this outfit, he is Michael fucking Keaton, looking out from his bat cave all mysterious like in his leather-look clamdiggers, waiting for the flood that will threaten to wipe out all of Gotham City. But that flood will fail because the Dork Knight has a plan germinating somewhere in that mystical area where his pants end and his sneakers begin… WHERE SUPER LIVES. Basically, he loves this outfit. So I guess I love it too. FUCK.
And I have to let him wear this outfit EVERY SINGLE DAY. Because it’s still clean, and because “wearing the same outfit two days in a row is not socially acceptable” sounds really fucking stupid.
And when he asks me if Batman “sometimes wears really dark grey” because his black pants are suddenly missing (la la la whistle whistle) and he has these here grey ones, I say “yes, he sure does”, with a sigh. Because Batman does wear grey sometimes. The Lego Movie says so, which we’ve watched a thousand million times. And if I say he doesn’t, Max will know I am a lying bitch face. I mean of course I’m a liar, I’m the freakin’ tooth fairy for god’s sake, but let’s not use up the bullshit quota on this small time crappola.
And when he asks me to make a cape and sew it to the back of his Batman shirt to really complete the picture of the vigilante superhero whose cape seems pretty useless actually since he doesn’t even fly but somehow he’d be super lame without, I say “sure, son, I’ll get right on that.” Because consider the alternative: he could be asking me to make a human skin suit.
And when the bat apparel has finally vanished into the night and it’s time for a little colour in my super son’s super life, I have to let him wear his red pants and red shirt – and neon orange socks because he doesn’t have any red socks and these are the closest thing. Because in this get-up, he is THE FLASH. The scarlet speedster he’s been drawing non-stop for a year and has every red Crayola marker within a 10-mile radius dried up like Adam West’s yam bag.
And I have to grin and bear it at the birthday party where I know the other little boys will be in J. Crew khakis and button-up shirts, but my special guy wants to wear his green safari shirt (because today he’s Indiana Jones) with his navy sweatpants (because they’re fluffy and warm), making him less like Indy and more like the star of a 1986 episode of Land and Sea where Clyde shows us around the fish plant. Dab a little ketchup in the corners of his mouth and Max is rocking this party right.
All this, while in his closet snappy stonewash jeans, crisp cotton shirts, and knitted vests lie in wait, forever.
But hey, it’s all good. It’s wonderful, even. He’s showing the first signs of self-expression, making his own choices and not giving a shit what anyone else thinks as long as he feels super duper. If I don’t let him be who he is now, expressed with clothes and art and music and such, one day it’ll be his turn to say to me, from inside his cozy human skin suit, “Hey mom, what in the actual fuck.”
Breast is best. Yeah yeah yeah, we get it. We believe you. But please don’t call breastfeeding “magical,” and please stop smiling like that.
A mother’s milk may very well be the “perfect food” but the process sure ain’t perfect so let’s not pretend it is. Is it nice to be able to nurture the fruit of your loins with the nectar of your nips? Of course it’s nice. It’s convenient, even. But it is NOT magical. Unless curling your toes while your vampire baby sucks your nipples four inches down into his throat is magical. Om no.
And then there’s the pressure. I don’t mean the pressure to breastfeed (although there is that, big time.) I mean THE PRESSURE. The ratio of force to the area over which that force is distributed. There is a volcano ready to erupt and that volcano is your tits.
The day Max was born, they told me he could suck away on the ol’ chesticles but my milk wouldn’t likely “come in” until the following day. They did NOT mean that a nurse would bring me a milkshake. They meant that I would develop a huge, rock-hard uniboob that needed to be relieved or someone would lose an eye – if not by my projectile milk than by my fist. Milk would literally shoot across the room in multiple directions like a sprinkler skitzing out on the lawn.
One way or another, you MUST get the milk out of you. If the baby is not hungry when you’re ready to feed, someone is getting a mouthful of sweater-meat and you don’t care who it is. Doctor, nurse, husband, janitor, hospital pastor: I don’t care who you are, just get over here and suck on these globes for the love of god.
This rarely happens, of course, because your baby is a voracious glutton. From the moment Max came out, he was sucking: the world’s newest little perv, looking for the nearest nipple. The day we brought him home from the hospital, we caught him trying to suck the shit out of the car-seat. The Bobbsey Twins were in for it.
His savage sucking relieved the pressure. But don’t get me wrong: it did NOT feel good; it hurt like a bitch. But it was the only way to restore some normalcy to my tender torpedoes. I bit my lip and kept my eye on the prize: 30 glorious minutes of feeling relatively normal. (Let’s leave my hemorrhoids and vaginal scar tissue out of this.)
And then the weird sensation of the milk replenishing itself inside me would begin. Just in case I forgot for a second that I was a freakin’ COW. I could actually feel the milk travelling through my ducts, from some tiny little milk factory deep inside me run by the doozers from Fraggle Rock.
This is a delicate balance between my bongos and my baby. A reciprocity that must go on, 24-7, with no escape except death. We are attached at the tit forever. It will never, ever end. IT CAN’T END. If he decides he’s had enough of the girls, I’m screwed. I will have to steal another baby. I will have to pull a Selma Hayek. I will have to slap my lady-lumps into a sandwich press. I will have to sneak into Central Dairies after hours and hook my teats up to the milking machine. When you and your babe are apart, something MUST take his place. Anything. Anyone.
Max was about four months old when I spent the first night ever away from him. Andrew and I went to a wedding about an hour out of town. Conveniently it was at a hotel, so we booked a room, pumped the milk, bought the wine, and left Max with my mom. It was time for this new mama to par-tay.
Of course, there’s no switch on the fun-bags to turn off the milk production, so I’d have to pump at intervals to alleviate the pressure. I packed my trusty breast pump and a couple hundred breast pads and off we went.
An hour or so into the wedding reception, I was practically mooing. Busting at the seams. It was time to express myself and not in the way Madonna intended. I went up to my room to pump and dump. But the bloody batteries in the pump were dead and I hadn’t brought the plug-in. KILL ME NOW. Okay wait, don’t panic. I got some new batteries from the front desk. Crisis averted.
But the pump still wouldn’t work. FUCK YOU, DURACELL. I had had it with this pumping thing anyway. Max could fill his belly in ten minutes flat but I’d pump for a half-hour to get a half-ounce of milk. (I eventually posted an ad online and sold the bastard pump to a guy named Tony.)
Okay. Plan B: manual expression in a hot bath. In other words, milking myself with my own hands, like I’m the farmer AND the cow all in one. The hot bath helps, don’t ask me why. I had tried this in the bathtub before out of sheer curiosity and I knew it wasn’t an overly effective method, but I had no choice now. It was either do it myself or wander off into the woods to find a baby beaver to latch on, buck teeth and all. I’d leave the wedding every hour or so, run upstairs to our room, whip off my dress, toss my soggy breast pads in the garbage, and jump in a scalding bath to milk myself. Just a shot glass full, but beggars with bursting bazookas can’t be choosers. Then I’d jump out of the tub, throw my dress back on, insert two fresh breast pads, and go back downstairs to the wedding. Until I just couldn’t take it anymore. Again.
This went on all night. So much for my relaxing evening. This night was gone tits-up. This wedding was dead to me. And don’t even bother trying to get frisky later, husband. I’m busy SURVIVING over here. Sorry for my lack of romance, but I’m a little occupied with NOT DYING. If I can just make it through the night I will have ALL THE SEX, I swear.
I thought about just leaving. Getting in the car and just driving home. But my husband couldn’t drive because he was, of course, drunk on life with his tiny nipples all tucked into his cute little shirt. And I couldn’t drive either because I literally could not bring my arms up to hold a steering wheel; there was just too much boob in the way. If we had an accident on the highway, my airbags would cushion the impact (YAY) but we’d all drown in breast milk (DAMN).
We were here for the night. But sleeping was impossible. I had to lie flat on my back because lying on my side, with my side-boob touching the bed, was excruciating. Nobody touch me. Nobody breathe on me. If a feather escapes from the down pillow and lands on my chest, I will surely die. I begged for sleep to overtake me so when I opened my eyes again I’d be just one hour from seeing my boy with the mouth.
We drove back to town as early as possible the next morning, my back straight against the seat holding on for dear life. Drive, muthafucka, drive. Oh look, a hitchhiker. And he looks thirsty – pull this fucking milk wagon over! If a cop had stopped us I would have shot him right in the face; my machine guns were locked and loaded.
Max is four years old now, and while he does exude a curiosity about mommy’s “tiny pillows” when we’re lying in bed reading a book, he has no idea they were his breakfast, lunch and dinner for nearly a year. I’ll tell him one day when he’s older, when I catch him and his friends with their first White Russians.
So why didn’t I tell this story earlier? I would have told it years ago, but the best part of it was off limits, and I didn’t think the story was worth telling at all without it. But that’s when I still gave a shit about what people think. Since then, I’ve blogged about my broken vagina and written a friggin’ book revealing everything those What to Expect books so conveniently leave out. Guns blazin’, balls out, baby. So now it seems kind of silly to hold back on one of the weirdest moments of my life so far.
I won’t get into the gory details. Let’s just say there was a Plan C. There had to be. Shit was getting primal up in here. I was that guy who got trapped between the rocks for 127 hours and sawed his own arm off. I was one of those rugby players who crashed in the Andes and ate someone’s arse to survive. I was up Tit Creek without a paddle. I was truly and unequivocally desperate in this moment. And desperate times call for desperate measures… RIGHT, HONEY?