Wow

 

SweetMadeleine.ca

Yesterday began with me dragging Olive out of bed early, because yesterday was my book signing.

(!)

The signing began at 2PM, which falls right in the middle of her usual 2 hour nap so I had hoped that by waking her up early, she would nap early, and then finish napping early, so that I could get to Chapters in time to hand her off to Adam, and start the fun!

This did not happen. Of course not! Ha! Haha! Oh god! Why toddlers, why?

Spectacular backfire. Not only did she not nap an hour earlier than normal, but she didn’t even nap at her regular naptime and so then, there we were with an hour until I had to be at the bookstore, with her rolling around in her crib, moaning and giggling and just generally being completely oblivious to the fact that she was at that very moment ruining my life.

So I did what I think any sane mother would do, I ran around getting my stuff together and packed her out the door, relying on the magic of the automobile to lull her to sleep. It worked, thank god Ford.

With a powerhouse of a child like Olive, it’s always good to know that she has a weakness. That kid is absolutely powerless against anything with a motor.

So, O asleep, I drove downtown and sat, in a sweltering car outside the bookstore as my hair gradually fell apart, taking terrifying anxious selfies as the butterflies in my stomach grew and multiplied.

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Instagram caption: “This is the face of an author freaking out 45 minutes before her first book signing because her daughter wouldn’t nap and her husband can’t make it and what if no one comes and oh my god I forgot to wear deodorant. #panic #anxioushippies #sweatbabysweat #icantstophashtagging”

When it was close to two I woke Olive again, and hauled her and everything else (including my cardboard box for Terracycle collections) into the store.

Turns out Adam had a scheduling conflict at work and wasn’t going to be able to make it, (which kind of broke my heart, and I think it broke his a little, too) so I called in reserves in the form of my fabulous friend Colleen (armed with about four pounds of blueberries for O) and my sister-in-law Kate (armed with a coffee jar, water bottle, apple, and nectarines for me.)

These women, I tell you. THESE WOMEN. They are the shit. I do not at all deserve them.

Once all of that getting there chaos was out of the way it was just me sitting at a table with a bunch of books. My books.

I sat there, and I looked at that stack of books. I looked at my hands and the pen and thought about what was happening, and I felt this swell of incredulous pride rush through me.

And then they just pushed it right over the top- one of the fabulous Chapters staff came over and brought me a peppermint tea, and then someone else announced me over the store loudspeaker and I swear it was like I was a real somebody, or a lost child!

It was absolutely surreal.

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I don’t know why I am making that face. I’m sorry. That lady had a fabulous hat and I loved her.

The best part, hands-down, about this fantastic experience was that when each person would approach the table they would pick up my book and start to leaf through it. I would smile and say hello, and then they would usually ask something like, “So, you wrote this?” and I would smile so big that my cheeks hurt and say, “I sure did!”

And almost without exception, every single person would meet that response by raising their eyebrows and saying, “Wow!”

And look, I understand that wow is kind of a placeholder word, a word that stands in line waiting for other, more coherent thoughts to trickle through and usurp them. I know that wow doesn’t always mean wow!, sometimes it means oh, and sometimes it means I see, and sometimes it simply means, I don’t know what to say.

I know this.

But still, each time someone would say wow, I would repeat it in my head, feel it echo in my heart and resonate in my bones and I would start laughing.

“I know!” I’d say, “How’d that happen?”

I needed this signing. So much of this side of the book gives me intense anxiety. The radio interviews and podcasts, the thought of speaking live to an audience who I can’t see and can’t reach, my words lasting forever online where anyone can access a flub or a missed word or a sentence that was stumbled over.

I really enjoy them when I am in the middle, deep in the swing of it, but am a wreck before each one, just like I was a wreck in the hours leading up to today.

It’s not that I am terrible with people – I think I comport myself fairly well in social situations and have been really happy with how my interviews have gone so far. It’s just that this zone, the going and doing and meeting and speaking, it’s not where I live. I prefer to reside in these carefully measured written words where I can delete or erase or edit without censure.

So although I am incredibly, truly grateful for the reason behind the stress (I mean radio interviews?! What a fantastic problem to have!), I still find it challenging to manage.

I think I am improving a little each time, each time it feels more and more natural, but it is a definite learning curve for me. A steep one. A large, lurching step outside my comfort zone.

Anyway, all of this senseless blathering is trying to say that I absolutely loved being able to see people face to face, one on one. I loved being able to have conversations where they spoke back, asked questions, shared their own stories. It was something I had been missing and I am so glad I was able to experience it.

If you came today – thank you!  If you didn’t, we missed you! I really hope that I will be fortunate enough to have other opportunities like this in the future, but even if I don’t – I mean.

This really was one for the books.

 

SweetMadeleine.ca

Solitude is blessed and alone is okay

First this beautiful beautiful thing that you should most definitely watch right away, sent to me by my sister because I wrote her a letter from a coffee shop where I said I had escaped my husband and my daughter and my dog and was enjoying the salacious thrill of walking alone, unencumbered. Savouring it like a small stolen thrill I wasn’t meant to have. I was a shoplifter, stealing my own time behind their backs.

I used to hate being alone, I used to dread it. Now I crave it,

 

 

I loved this. Thank you, Mawney,

*****

The other thought hit me like a truck as I sat watching Enough Said, which was a random selection as I don’t usually watch movies and even more rarely am I able to sit through an entire one. But there I was watching this unlikely fantastic film, and in amidst the beautiful humanity there was a daughter going to college and they had this shot of her walking away up an escalator and she has short curly tousled hair and suddenly I saw Olive, and suddenly I realized that Olive may want to leave home some day and oh my god.

What will I do? I ask honestly. With heartbreak.

So I sat there bawling, as one does, about the inevitable loss of this independent spirit I have unleashed onto the world.

And that’s when Mawney texted me the above video and I took some small solace in thinking that I can take that loss, that gaping hole that Olive will leave if she decides to leave, I can take that absence and create beauty from it. And I will be alone again, and I will be on the other side, trying to steal time, time away from her friends or her school or her travels. I’ll be scrapping for her presence, as I now scrap for my absence away from it all.

Society is afraid of alonedom, like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements, like people must have problems if, after a while, nobody is dating them. but lonely is a freedom that breaths easy and weightless and lonely is healing if you make it…

 

…And it doesn’t mean you’re not connected, that communitie’s not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it. take silence and respect it. if you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it. if your family doesn’t get you, or religious sect is not meant for you, don’t obsess about it. 

you could be in an instant surrounded if you needed it
If your heart is bleeding make the best of it 
There is heat in freezing, be a testament

 

Big skies

 

Big Sky Rain, by SunnyLeeStudio on Etsy

I live for summer days like this, the one break of rain in the midst of an interminable stretch of sweltering heat. A day where we can shelve the stroller and skip the running around after a toddler brandishing sunscreen and hats – loathed in equal measures – and unabashedly devote an entire day to catching up on laundry, plowing through library books, and recording one last addition to the #ASKAMAMA video series (have you seen the first one yet? Find it here!)

Speaking of laundry, I need to potty train this child stat. I am so over diaper laundry, SO OVER IT. For almost two years now I have washed diapers every single day, or every other day. It has ceased to be fun, I loathe it, I can not wait to get this child out of diapers. I’m hoping I can do it before the end of summer so I can give them a good wash, bleach them in the sun, and pack them away foreverrrrrrr (or until baby #2, which might not be so far off hopefully). I have found myself loving gDiapers less and less too, though I’m not sure if this is just a reflection of my waning cloth-diapering enthusiasm in general. My main issue is that they have velcro closures which are always getting gunked up with lint and fluff, and the worst part: she can take them off herself

Often I go back to check on her after putting her down for her nap, only to find that she has taken off all of her clothes including her diaper, and then I have to pray she hasn’t peed (meaning I have to wash her crib sheets…MORE LAUNDRY), and also sneak a diaper back onto a sleeping baby. No mean feat, although I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel proud every time I manage to pull it off.

My first ever book signing is coming up this weekend in Edmonton, at the Strathcona Chapters store on Whyte Ave – if you’re local I would love to meet you! I am currently having a bit of a conundrum because, pray tell, what does one wear to one’s very first book signing? Is jeans and a tee-shirt too casual? Will I feel foolish sitting there in a skirt and heels? Should I dress the part and dig up some birkenstocks? I might just default to my mom uniform. Simplicity, yes?

I did this interview yesterday with a show called Isis Unveiling, and at one point we were discussing aromatherapy when the producer popped into the conversation to let us know about this charming tidbit of news: a chemical compound found in farts may help in preventing cell damage

Am I the only one terrified by this? Am I the only one nervously looking over her shoulder every five seconds in case I get cup ‘o cheesed by my brother or my husband for my own health?

Never have I been more glad that Adam doesn’t read. I might be safe for a while.

Happy Thursday folks. I’m happy to see the rain here, happy for my quiet day of catching up (well, as quiet as it can be with a toddler) and happy too because it may do a little to combat the forest fires currently raging in this beautiful province of mine – we need as much help as we can get!

 

Monday, Monday

For this post I thought of following the fine example of The Bloggess, and calling it “Shit I Did When I Wasn’t Here” but I fear that the bulk of it would be items like:

  • Stared blankly at the wall feeling completely overwhelmed and just ill-equipped for life in general

and

  • Drove back and forth to the registry office three separate times on two different days to register for Albert healthcare, and finally getting it done OR SO I THOUGHT because I got a phone call this morning that a change the registry ladies nicely made and initialed ‘can not be rendered legally valid” and I have to re-do everything and go back AGAIN. This sort of thing drives me absolutely insane. We can’t do this online yet? Really? So back we go. To another twenty minute line in a sweltering building with a toddler. Yeeeeeah.

and

  •  Had terse turf wars about my water glass with Olive. She had her own water, I had my own water. It was the same water. She, of course, did not want her own water, she wanted mine. And something inside of me just decided “You know what? No. NO. This is the line in the sand, Madeleine. It starts and ends here.” And that’s how I ended up having a ten minute battle where I said things I never in a million years thought I would have to say to another human being. Things like “I am allowed to have my own glass of water!” which was met, predictably, with tears of rage and deep sadness.The good news is that I won. (pause for applause)

 

The only REAL thing I’ve done since I wasn’t here was that I recorded a series of really fun videos for Beth over at I Am The Mama Mantra, for her Ask a Mama series. Click here to head over to her blog to see the first one!

I feel it necessary to add that this video took no less than twelve attempts to complete because I was doing it alone during naptime and couldn’t get the camera to focus on me because while I was trying to focus the camera I wasn’t sitting where I wanted the focus to be…if you catch my drift.

Eventually I used a cardboard box as a stand-in and that worked great – and at times I am convinced it may have done the job a little better. Nothing is more awkward than watching yourself on video. NOTHING. But I am so excited to be a part of this series, and am filming the final video today if the tyrant Olive sleeps long enough (please god please god I need this).

Some exciting things have happened that I, in a very mature way, am refusing to talk about out loud in case The Universe decides to punish me by enacting this very scientific thing called a “Jinx”. So I will leave this very cruel tantalizing hint about this VERY EXCITING THING and ask you all to cross your fingers and toes and anything else you are physically able to cross (?) for me.

Aaaand on one final sexy note, the giant pill case is BACK baby. Feast your eyes on this scrumptious decadence. I simply can not remember to take my pills unless they are in front of me, which I loathe because what’s better than a gigantic blue reminder that you’re sick, staring at you all the time? But these problems are small potatoes, and if this is what it takes to haul me out of the pit than so be it.

20140714-152555-55555738.jpg

I also thought I would mention, for those who might also take medication and have small children, that although I keep my medication bottles out of Olive’s reach and I don’t give it to her to play with or anything, this pill-case is not child-proof and I have to carry it with me in my purse. I let her see me take my pills, and she knows it is “mummy’s medicine”. I show her the pills and I instruct her that the must never touch my medicine, and she repeats “Don’t touch. Medicine. Mummy”.

I think this is important because she might one day scale a medicine cabinet and defeat the childproof bottle, or find pills at a friends house, or, I don’t know, toddlers are resourceful little creatures! So while I obviously take every precaution to protect her, I also understand that the pill case looks fun, and the pills might look like candy. So rather than hiding the whole thing from her, I want to be sure that she knows exactly what it is, and what it’s for. This helps me because I feel very confident that she knows what to do if she finds medicine, and that I’ve prepared her for that possibility. Ok, PSA over!

 

 

Calgary Stampede 2014

Last weekend Olive and I headed down to Calgary for her first stampede. Friends of my mom got us the most amazing seats in a fabulous shady spot along the parade route – shade is like gold during a parade, I swear.

Undoubtedly one of the best things about parenthood is how excited I get to see her experience the world – I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so hard, or waved at so many floats, hoping she’d do the same. She had an amazing time with all of her crazy aunts, and it was a nice throwback to my Calgary roots. 

Some pictures!

(P.S. William Shatner was apparently the parade marshal this year for some reason, which was so strange to me!)

 

 

 

Calgary Stampede 2014 - SweetMadeleine.ca

Calgary Stampede 2014 - SweetMadeleine.ca

Calgary Stampede 2014 - SweetMadeleine.ca Calgary Stampede 2014 - SweetMadeleine.ca Calgary Stampede 2014 - SweetMadeleine.ca Calgary Stampede 2014 - SweetMadeleine.ca Calgary Stampede 2014 - SweetMadeleine.ca Calgary Stampede 2014 - SweetMadeleine.ca

Calgary Stampede 2014 - SweetMadeleine.ca