Monday, June 30, 2008

Bow, bow, Thank You, bow, bow.

My first blog post ever written will be published at Root & Sprout in the Reviews section. YAY for me!!

Feel free to check it out! There's lots of other good stuff there too :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Break me off a piece of that Kit-Kat bar.

There is nothing I love more than being with my baby.

Smelling her baby-sweet hair, playing with those chubby little hands, feeling her Michelin Man legs wrapped around my waist, making goofy faces just to hear her giggle, watching with pride as she discovers everything around her, knowing that she trusts me wholeheartedly, gazing back at those big, adoring eyes. I am her world. She is mine.

But gosh, sometimes I could use a break.

It is tiring to be the only one that can calm the fears and soothe the tears.

Should I have done things differently when she was really little? Would it have made any difference? Am I now lying in a bed that I made?

Or are all babies like this?

I'm kinda sure that if I wasn't living the life of a hermit she might be a little more open to others, but I'm not 100% sure about that either. Babies need their mamas. That's why we have the boobs.

Not that I have other urgently pressing needs to attend to. Just the occasional shower would be nice; I don't dare to dream about a long soak in the tub. Or maybe being able to go to the bathroom alone. How about a meal that I can eat without everything being grabbed, squooshed, and dropped right into that pouf of cat hair.

The days where beds are made, floors mopped, dishes washed and dinner cooked are as rare as an empty rum shop on a Friday.

But I know that this time is fleeting. Her first year is more than half over. Where did that time go???

Maybe instead of blogging during her nap I should be washing my hair. Then I would have clean hair, but it would be really lonely.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Country roads, take me home.

I soooooo need to buy a hammock!

I also need to buy a beautiful country cottage with tall, shady trees all around so that I can hang my hammock and swing with the angel peacefully to that soothing, mellow hum of the woods.

The angel loved it. She just drifted off to sleep as we rocked. Completely at peace.

As kids, my Dad used to take us hiking almost every other weekend during the dry season. The beach was a regular weekend and often weekday activity too. And we had a lovely back yard with trees perfect for climbing and picking. So even though I didn't grow up in the country (Chaguanas may not be the city, but it ain't exactly Nature World either) we had our fair share of natural life.

Now I live in an apartment the middle of a city. There's a patch of grass outside with a couple trees, but that's where everybody ''walks'' their dogs. And its behind a gas station. Not exactly National Geographic.

There was something about being away from the cars, steel, and billboards that made me realize how noisy life in the city is. I had forgotten that. Not that country life is devoid of sound; au contraire; those birds and frogs were going at it non stop! But it wasn't noise. And the rigid structure of cold, dead concrete can't begin to touch the wild beauty of a forest.

I think my friend Kati will be seeing a lot more of me this summer!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It's summer daaahling

I'm headed off to the country for a few days! Whoop tee whooooppp!!

Sunshine that wont be blocked out by buildings, fresh air with minimum carbon monoxide and exhaust fumes, grass we can sit in cuz its more than just where the dogs pee, trees that grew just cuz they felt like it. And even better!! ANOTHER MOMMY TO TALK TO!!

My friend Kati has a 1 month old and has moved down to her country house, daahling, to enjoy summer. We shall bond and speak of babies, nappies, lack of sleep and other such exciting topics over cups of tea while sitting in the sun.

Or maybe not... it's kinda cold. I shall wear a sweater!

So in the sun we shall be, bonding over babies, while the men bring home the freshly slaughtered bacon. Never mind the bacon is in a grocery bag, for the bag is heavy, and they are strong manly men.

That's the picture in my head anyway. I'll let you know how far away from reality it was when I get back on Friday :)

Dear God, Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease don't let it rain.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Inert - lacking the ability or strength to move; chemically inactive.

Last night as hubby and I were watching an old (but new for us) episode of The Wire (which we are totally addicted to, in the way that downloading entire seasons which you can watch at your own leisure after the Angel goes to sleep, can foster) when I had an epiphany.

Actually my epiphany came when I had to go nurse her back to sleep cus she woke up... again. She does that every hour or so until I come to bed. But at least I get a few precious hours of hubby-and-me or just-me time in between.

So we had just seen a scene where Prez got some advice from a co-teacher at the inner-city school he just started working at. ''Give them lots of activities to do. Keeping them busy keeps them off-guard!''

And as I was lying next to the angel my mind wandered on over back to that.

How do you learn to bake a cake? Make and fly a kite? Ride a bike? It sure isn't by reading and memorizing the instructions, right? It was by dropping a few eggs on your mothers just mopped kitchen floor, getting glue stuck in your hair and skinning a few knees.

Or is that just me?

I know people have different learning styles. Rote memorization (is that redundant?) never really worked for me. I still have a hard time remembering multiplication tables, despite repeating them day after day after day after day after day in morning school traffic with my Dad.

When you think about the VAST quantity of info that is handed out during the 20 or so odd years of school, how much of it is retained?

Like Chemistry. The most abstract thing I ever studied at school. I just couldn't see it in real life. My teacher asked me if I never thought about where soap came from. Not really, no. I sensed some disappointment there. Biology, some geography, art, some physics, sure! Chemistry... negative. There was just no reaction in me with that info. I was completely inert in that environment.

Although I did learn what 'inert' meant. And it only took me 15 years to use it :)

So what's my point? I'm not really sure actually. Just felt like rambling a bit.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Do you hear that???

It's the beautiful sound of an angel sleeping... and she didn't need to screech before too. It seems to have come to an end. Praise ye the Lord, Hallelujah! So what was it anyway? Growth spurt? Lung Practice for an illustrious cheerleading career? Or maybe she's gonna be a rock-star? Move over Axl Rose!! Whatever the reason, I'm glad that it has come to an end... albeit probably only for now. I'm sure that it will come again.

Its just a phase, its just a phase.

But it's Midsummer here in Tallinn! Jaanipäev (pronounced yanni-pev) in Estonian. This is a Big Deal over here. BIG. Like Christmas Big. Days don't end. They get a little darker around midnight, but just briefly, and then the sun comes back out again. To commemorate these never-ending days, Estonians get drunk, jump over bonfires and see which woman can throw an old rubber boot the furthest. No kidding. I have done this. Grilled meat on open fires, (or a bar-be-que pit if you don't feel the need to be too authentic) is the main menu.

Last year we camped out at a friend's country place. He hasn't built the house yet, but he did have a sauna. Another ''must have'' for the true Estonian country experience. A wooden hut with a fire, hot stones and a bucket of water for steam. Birch tree branches to be slapped on hot sweaty backs is the real deal for those so inclined. I haven't done that one yet. I am lame.

No camping this year though. In true Jaanipäev fashion it rained all day. And I just wasn't about to endure sitting in a tent all day with a 7 month old.

She is 7 months today!! Happy Birthday my angel! MWAH!!

She's just about sitting up on her own, although she does forget sometimes that leaning back will shift her center of gravity and de-stabilize her perfect form. She's is only 7 months after all. And there is only so much physics you can remember at any given time, Dad ;-)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I didn't mean to bash the internet yesterday (Hi Lis ;-)). It has been my saviour throughout my pregnancy and even more since the angel came along.

If it wasn't for the internet I would most likely have given up on breast feeding a long time ago; especially given those torturous first weeks when my confidence was at an all time low, and certain family members kept harping on about not having enough milk, and formula being the Great God of fat babies with pretty skin. The angel also probably wouldn't know the comfort of being worn in a sling, and sleepy night time snuggle nursing, nor I the convenience. I might never have heard of Attachment Parenting and would be caught in the struggle between listening to my instincts and being afraid of spoiling my baby. (She's not spoilt dad. She's just a baby who needs her mama).

I googled ''Baby Screeching'' in an effort to understand what could be causing these recent heart-stopping, ear-piercing, sometimes-seemingly-random shrieks that the angel has taken to producing regularly in the past few days. Various forums popped up with other mom's looking for the same help as me.

+1 Point to the Internet: I am not alone in this. It happens. We are not freaks! And it seems to be sorta common in the 6 to 9 month age bracket, right where the angel fits in.

There were all sorts of responses, ranging from ''My baby does that too, and I have no idea why'' to ''It happens when they are frustrated and trying to communicate. Teaching them sign language at this stage might help.''

Also found was ''My baby does it to get attention so I ignore her and told everybody else to ignore her too. She stopped doing it when she realized that nobody was going to respond''.

-1 point to the internet for giving people who share damaging advice a bigger voice than they should have. Yes I believe in censorship... to a degree. Although, by that same argument, maybe I shouldn't be allowed to blog!

Granted this person found a solution, but the consequences of the solution far outweigh the benefits. All that little baby learnt was that her needs were not important or worthy of attention, that nobody cared what she felt, and that the people she depended on most would not always be there for her. These are not the lessons I want the angel to learn. And these are the lessons that too many people have learnt. The same people that feel isolated, angry, voiceless, powerless, lost.

And we all know how these poor souls contribute to society.

But reading more I did find some commonality with my situation. Being hungry, tired, over-stimulated, or simply needing a cuddle seemed to be triggers. So it seems that I was losing touch with the angel and wasn't reading her cues properly anymore. Or maybe her cues changed?

Solution: Reconnect, pay closer attention.

+1 point WWW

Overall score: Positive.

Every rose has it's thorn.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

The angel has transformed into a banshee. And I know that I am responsible. Who else can I blame?? It has to be my fault right? She is trying to tell me something and I, being a complete blockhead, am not getting it. Poor little thing is so frustrated.

It's so confusing sometimes this parenting thing. I'm trying to do my best to help her realize her full potential, but it seems I've already gone and screwed that up. Lord knows how many mistakes I've made already to damage her. But how do know what to do when what one ''professional'' says is good, another says is bad.

I was talking (emailing) with the editor at Root & Sprout about it recently. The internet is a fantastic resource for parents in today's society. You have information out the wazoo on every imaginable topic. But you also have to shift through a lot of bad advice. And it isn't always easy to tell the good from the bad.

Parents in more traditional societies don't have this problem, I'm sure. Their wisdom is handed down from generation to generation, specifically tailored to their unique environments. No need for trial and error. That was done a looong time ago.

I don't have that luxury. I have the internet. The One Stop Shop. But how do I know what I need to get??

I try to follow my intuition. That's generally a fail-safe method. But then sometimes that voice in my head gets muffled by the other voices of social conditioning and brainwashing. Then they start battling it out for the mike up there... whoooo headache!

And in the meantime, the angel continues screeching.

I'm sure that nature didn't intend for raising a baby to be difficult. That just doesn't make sense for the continuity of of our species. But along the way, we lost touch with nature. And now we have generations of the emotionally damaged hanging around, passing their damage along. Is that our evolutionary path?? Jeez, that's a sucky plan. Like a heroin addict, do we have to hit rock-bottom before we see the need to change?

Although, to be honest, I do think that things have started to turn around. More and more, parents are beginning to realize that maybe the way that they were raised, albeit lovingly and with the best intentions, may not be the best route. Attachment Parenting, The Continuum Concept, Unschooling and Natural Child movements are gaining momentum while baby-scheduling, sleep training, formula feeding and other non-natural methods seem to be decreasing in popularity.

But again, how do we know that this is what's best?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's Tuesday in Tallinn

So Tallinn is COMPLETELY different from Trini. COM-PLETE-LY. Red chalk and blue cheese different.

There are cobble-stoned streets, castles (yes yes, there is Stollmeyer's Castle in Trini, but that's different), free wireless internet connections everywhere - even in the park, a reliable public transport system. Over here, ''punane'' means red; back home it means... well.. erm... I'm trying to keep this blog PG. I could go on and on. It really is a totally different world.

Back home on Frederick Street, vendors with ovens-on-wheels hang out on corners selling honey roasted peanuts rolled up in brown paper cones. YUMMY! It is a hot, sticky, sweet, crunchy, all-over-scrumptious, more-ish snack.

And they sell it here! Complete with brown paper cones too!!

That's my mom trying it out when she was here in December.

It's a lil different, to be fair. There's a cinnamon flavour to it here, and it's not as sticky. And the dudes selling it don't have dreadlocks and say ''yeah fam'ly''. They wear ye-olde-Friar-Tuck robes instead of air-brushed Bob Marley t-shirts.

But when the weather gets cold and grey, it never fails to take me back to the hot, crowded, vibrant streets of home.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Prince Charming

I must have been about 3 or 4 when Pink-Eye had me quarantined and wishing that Prince Charming would come to my rescue, and bring flowers too.  

And then there he was.  A twinkly smile just for me, and my first beautiful pink rose.  

Broad shoulders carried me on countless hikes through the Northern Range since I was barely able to walk, and many times after that as well.  Strong arms held me close when I was sick or hurt.  A deep voice sang the fighting songs of the Irish, which my brother and I still sing.  A grizzly Beardie playfully tickled us into squeals of laughter.  A patient teacher explained the awesome wonders of the world around us.  A former monk turned weekly mass into a magical place where bread and wine became the body and blood of Christ, and Jesus rose from the dead.  A strict but loving voice of authority guarded a reckless teenager.  The comic made his daughter laugh when he wore a green polo t-shirt to her wedding because he forgot his other shirt at home in the haste to pick up her friends at the airport. A calm steady hand guided a nervous bride down the aisle.  An emotional father kissed his daughter goodbye and let her know that he is proud of her.  A beaming granddad waves at an angel via webcam.

Happy Father's Day Daddy.  I miss you. 

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Great Carnival Hat of 2007

Today I pay homage to my friend Nan, and her friend Witchypoo, and the Great Carnival Hat of 2007.

Here's to the wonderfulness of bloggy friends :)

Friday, June 13, 2008


It's confirmed!!!  Tickets have been purchased, there's no going back now.  I'll be home from July 10 to 31 for those who care :)

Whaz de plan?????
I wanna:
Spend a week at the beach; DDI, Mayaro, it matters not.  As long as a bed for the angel is not more than a few metres away from the action.
Laze in Maracas
EAT till I bust
Other cool island things that i can't remember right now.  

No partying this time though.  The angel is still somewhat permanently attached to my hip and chest.

See y'all soon!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A typical morning conversation with the Funny Dude.

Hubby:  Honey, I don't want to wear this grey T-shirt anymore.  I want some more colour!

Sideline:  Hubby is hopelessly colour blind.  Not in the I-don't-have-a-clue-what-mauve-is kinda way of most men.  He can't tell the difference between red and green.  He lives in a world of greys.  His clothing reflects this.

Me:  Well there's that green stripey one...

Hubby:  No, no, not enough colour.  I want PINK... SPANDEX!!

I have half a mind to go shopping today :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thinking outside the box... or basket.

Yesterday I came across this website while I was looking for info on becoming a Montessori teacher.  More on that train of thought some other day.  But as I was clicking around, I found some stuff for babies.  A little activity thingy to help them develop cognitive skills... not that I even knew what cognitive meant.  But it sounded important and I am easily impressed.

So the task was to take a small pot and it's cover, and then show the baby how to take the cover off and put it back on.  Simple stuff.  Rocket science in lesson 2.

I didn't have a clean pot (you know when you just don't feel like doing dishes??) so I figured I could show her how to put her toy blocks into their basket.  This information would surely come in handy I thought.  And the mechanics were quite similar.  Hold it, pick it up, put it down, let it go.

I was sure she would ace this.

I must have showed her about 15 times or so.  ''Take the block, put it in the basket'' was the mantra.  Taking the block was no problem.  She had that down pat.    What was done with it was not quite what I had in mind though.  She was more interested in taking them back out, flipping that basket over and banging on it.

DUH!  The basket is MUCH cooler as a drum!

And the Student shall become the Master.  

I was so caught up in trying to teach her that I couldn't see what she had learnt on her own.  And her trick was definitely more complex than my lame chore.  I caught on eventually, hence this post, and had to laugh.  At myself of course.  I was just in awe of her.

Suppose I had gotten impatient with her cuz she wasn't learning was I was trying to teach?  Suppose I told her ''No, no, no... that's wrong.  This is what you need to do.'' 

Like most teachers do at school.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Oh God, Please, No.

What is happening to my country????

When will the people wake up?  When will the government WAKE THE &#€% UP?

5 months old.  His mother.  My heart pains for her.

Yes Mr. Prime Minister... build big tall fancy glass buildings.  That is the real sign of development.  Ignore the babies whose mothers have to go back to work when they are 2 months old and leave them with strangers.  Ignore the young children who are dropping out of school to join gangs because that is the life they know.  They need Nike sneakers too.  Ignore the young adults who fill our jails and then come out even worse than when they went in.  

Ignore it all... build your buildings.  Spread your propaganda.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Nap time, trini style

Are you having a little trouble helping your angel to settle?  Does she get kinda fretty and whiny when she's sleepy?  

Worry no more!  I have a wonderful solution just for you!  GUARANTEED!

Simply sling her up and pick one of these groovy soca hits below.  Crank up the volume and boogie, wine, gyrate, shake it like nobody's watching!  

Forget those lame lullabies... SOCA is what you need!  She'll be in La La Land in no time!

Works everytime :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Van Gone

I think I was an artist in a past life and there was some residue that trickled over into this one.  Not much mind you, just a trickle.  I wasn't half-bad in school, and actually did much better in Art than I ever did in French.  But French is what they decided I should do at A' Levels.  Cuz wha kinda job you go get with Art???

But anyway, I decided recently to give it another go.  What the heck.  Plus there's nobody around for me to compare to and feel decidedly untalented like I did at art class with the people who actually were artists in this lifetime.

In lieu of real supplies which I really couldn't justify spending on (not when those cute summer dresses are bunning my eyes all over the mall), I bought jumbo crayons for the Angel and figured she wouldn't mind if I borrowed them from time to time.

The Result:

The Inspiration:

I know!!!  Its like picture perfect!!!  jus kidding

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Day at the Zoo

It was so beautiful on Sunday so off to the zoo we went... along with the rest of Tallinn.  Circled around, looked for a place to park so we could join the million-man-line, drove straight into another car also doing the same.


Damage to us:  Radiator busted, front door can't open, bumper bumped out of commission, hood sqooshed.

Damage to them: a scratch on their back door.

But I could not have hand-picked a prettier spot to have an accident!

There was an old crow reading the papers.  He was sick though, or really old... by the time we got the bureaucracy out of the way, he had gone off to birdie heaven.

I took lots of pics of pretty flowers.  The Angel tried to eat most of them... the flowers that is, not the pics.

This lil old lady was grumbling with her hubby.  He just held her hand and walked along with her.

Gave up on the zoo and went to get some grub instead.

We can try again some other time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Shot call

The Angel had her shots yesterday.  She was a sad angel :(  I wish I could make them not hurt.  She was so sweet too.  All smiley with the doctor.  And then...

I know there are a lot of people who don't vaccinate their kids anymore.  I did read up on it, just so I could make my own somewhat informed decision, but I couldn't find a convincing argument against vaccines.  There was a case of autism that seemed to be linked to a vaccine, but then that was apparently proven otherwise.  And I don't think I could live with myself if anything serious happened to her because I didn't vaccinate.

I am a big believer in a more natural approach to baby care.  I breastfeed on demand and intend to let her self-wean; we co-sleep and again intend to let her decide for herself when she is ready to move into her own bed; I wear her in a sling for most of her waking hours and some of her sleeping ones too; I am introducing solids using a baby-led approach; I have been reading a lot about home-schooling and un-schooling and hope to make the right decision when that time comes.  But I really can't get my head around not vaccinating.  It just doesn't feel right... in fact it feels a bit stupid and reckless.

Yes, there is a lot to be said for more traditional societies who practice these more natural methods, but they also have higher mortality rates.  What is wrong with a balanced approach?  Take the best of both worlds.  We have made huge advances in medicine, for a reason.  Yes, go back to nature, but take some of the things we have learnt along the way.

Anybody else have any thoughts on vaccines?