Pink Crayons and Cream Soda

A long time ago (but not that long ago) when I was in Kindergarten, we were colouring Easter bunnies in anticipation of the upcoming holiday. I decided that my bunny’s outfit would be pink. As I reached for the pink crayon in the centre of the table, I happened to find another little girl much like myself holding on to the other end of that pink crayon. Since she was in close proximity of me and we both liked the colour pink, we instantly became best friends.

And that’s precisely how it works with kids. Proximity and similar interests dictate who you befriend. “Similar interests” aren’t what you think they are; we are not talking about reading, playing sports, or other games. Under the age of 12, a “similar interest” is two people who both like cream soda. 

Things change as we grow older. Cream soda doesn’t cut it anymore. As a matter of fact, it becomes increasingly difficult to make new friends the older we get. I’m not too sure how the easter bunny colouring table slowly turns into a subway filled with strangers who refuse to make eye contact with one another. 

I love meeting new people, but discovered that telling strangers that I like pink and drink cream soda can empty out a subway car pretty quickly. Since our big move, I have stumbled on another way to meet new people. I have outlined these steps for all of you social butterflies who are just itching to spread your wings. 

(1) Get knocked up. 
Birds. Bees. If that doesn’t ring a bell, Google it. 

(2) Flaunt that bump. 
People love pregnant women. It must the estrogen-surge that makes your skin glow and hair luscious. Not to mention the miracle that is growing inside of you. I can’t tell you how many times random strangers at Walmart would smile and strike a conversation with me. Unfortunately, this stage doesn’t last more than a few months. By the ninth month, you feel like a beached whale and couldn’t care less about making friends. As a matter of fact, forget random strangers, even friends and family avoid you because you are generally unpleasant to be around.  

(3) Move to a new city? Maybe not.

At first, I thought it was the city. What an incredible place to be! People are so friendly and welcoming. Strangers speak to one another – certainly not what I’d expect from a major metropolitan city. This went on for a few weeks, and I welcomed the refreshing change; but, yesterday it all changed. I went out to grab a cup of coffee. This was the first time I’d ventured outside my apartment on my own. Everyone on the street and in the cafe remained glued to their smartphones and minded their own business. 

It’s not the city. It’s the baby.

Turns out once you get past steps (1) and (2) you secure a subscription to The Mommy Club. This one of a kind membership is one that lasts a lifetime. There’s plenty of junk mail, and no option to unsubscribe. Ever. 

As a new mom in a new city I am back at the colouring table. I am approached by moms on a daily basis, invited to play groups and story times. Our babies are the Cream Soda we can’t get enough of – we share experiences, give advice, take advice, and support one another through this wonderful and trying time of our lives. Our joys are heightened as we speak with pride and delight about our little ones, and our tribulations lessened as we learn we are not alone. 

The Dad Gig

In my next life I want to come back as a man.

While the joys of parenthood are countless, in a battle between fatherhood and motherhood, the dad gig is definitely the best gig around. But what about the all the warm, fuzzy feelings of motherhood, you ask? Oh there are plenty! It’s just that the lack of sleep, utter exhaustion, broken self-image, and long, overwhelming to-do lists that tip the scales in the other direction. That’s not to say fathers don’t deal with some of these negative aspects of parenthood. They do. Sometimes.

I love watching my husband play with our son. You can tell he is absolutely head over heels in love with this baby boy; and, the feeling is mutual. Our tired, cranky baby could finally be drifting off to sleep for the night, but when dad walks in the door his eyes instantly brighten, and he wants to play. Sleep? Who needs sleep?!

Mom does. That’s who.

As I woke up for the 5th time last night to attend to my whimpering child, I found it incredibly difficult to block out the sound of my snoring husband. So I lay there, thinking. Whimpering in one ear. Snoring in the other. And, that, boys and girls, is why Mother’s day is a bigger deal than Father’s day.

Another night passes, and another day arrives. The baby is up bright and early, ready to play. As I write this, it is 9:30AM. My little guy is down for his first nap.  My husband is closing in on 12 hours of sleep. Yes, 12 hours.

If you are dad and reading this, you are rolling your eyes right about now. Yet another blog post about how hard it is to be a mother, and how easy dads have it. That would certainly make for a passionate and heartfelt blog post; but, this is not it. My point is the dad gig is a pretty awesome gig. So if you’re lucky enough to be dad, I hope you are enjoying every second of it. For every dad out there there’s a mom who envies you.

What do you do?

A few days ago, we went to the bank to open a new account. As one would expect, it was a very uneventful ordeal. All the typical questions were asked, and I answered without hesitation. Except one. For the last five years, the answer to the question “What do you do?” was very simple. I’m a teacher. This time when the question was asked, I stopped for a split second and thought about it. A couple of cheeky responses came to mind: 

I am a Waste Management Specialist. I change diapers, clean up vomit, wash pee and poop stained clothes, wipe runny noses, clean out ears, armpits, fingers, toes, fat folds, and other crevices. 

I am an Entertainer. I have been recently employed as a singer. I have no prior experience (lucky for the rest of the world), and the job demands dancing, putting on puppet shows, acting, and sometimes all of the above at the same time. Beat that, JT.

I am a Restaurant Owner, and have acquired a local snack bar. It is a very exclusive venue catering to a private audience. Refreshment is served 24/7. No, that is not a typo. Only one refreshment is served. 

I am a Quality Control and Assurance Analyst. This position is closely tied to (1) above. I carefully analyze poop to ensure it is the right colour and consistency . Any abnormalities are meticulously documented and reported to head office (ped). 

While any of these responses would have probably made this particular CSR’s day, I opted for Teacher. Because, above all, I am a teacher. Just like every other mother out there. Perhaps not to a classroom full of students, but to one little boy.  I see the look of wonderment on his face as he learns something new everyday. He stares at me with his big brown eyes and I can’t help but happily take on each of my new jobs. 

The Big Move

Last week, my husband and I took our four-month old on a bit of an adventure. We packed up the contents of our home, and had them shipped to San Francisco, California. While the contents are still en route, we have arrived safely. The journey thus far has been quite the experience. 

The Airport: What Kind of People Nearly Miss Their Flight?

I have never met a “just-right” packer. People either over-pack or under-pack. I am the latter, while my husband is the former. Things tend to work out for us, as such. (similar to Marshall’s “Olive Theory” from How I Met Your Mother). Enter: Baby. The baby weighs a measly 15 lbs; his belongings took up two large check-in bags, totalling a whopping 100lbs. Needless to say, we were WAY over the weight limit for our bags, and spent far too long desperately trying to rearrange contents to make it work. As we steadily trudged through check-in, security, and customs, it appeared we were cutting it very close. So close that we were THAT family. The family racing through the airport, screaming baby, stroller, and all. The speakers blared a last call for the crazy people who were about to miss their flight (not in those words, but they might as well have said that). As on-lookers stared, I stared back helplessly.

I was once in that beautiful glass castle, my friend. 

Just like you. 

Eyebrows raised. 

Sunglasses lowered. 

Thinking to myself: what kind of people nearly miss their flight?

The Flight: Why the Hell do People Fly with Babies?

In our “priority” seats, we let out a sigh of relief. I use quotation marks because I am not too sure why the extra 2 inches of leg room deem these seats “priority” seats. Whose amazing idea was it to put the passengers with the baby directly behind business class, only to be separated by a non-soundproof curtain? Clearly not someone with a baby. 

Fed, and upright, our baby was ready for take-off. The pediatrician recommended we preemptively give him Baby Tylenol to prevent any pain due to pressure changes during take-off. So we did. It is my belief that the large meal, followed by the bitter taste of Baby Tylenol, followed by the unique sensation of take-off resulted in the 3-part projectile vomiting that ensued. The flight attendant literally yelled, “OH SHIT!” and ran to get us some hot towels (a genuinely wonderful crew, they were). So they sat there, both dad and baby completely drenched in vomit; dad telepathically trying to switch off the seat belt sign, and baby screaming bloody murder. 

A lot of crying, screaming, pooping, and more screaming later, our little angel was fast asleep in my arms. He slept a good 3 hours; and, although, I had lost feeling in my arms, I was content. He awoke from his slumber, played, watched the Wiggles. We have never watched the Wiggles before. It’s interesting, to say the least. Grown men dressed in primary colours wiggling? I had no earphones so I’m not sure if they were saying anything meaningful while they were wiggling, but even if they were, what’s with all the wiggling? I was confused. The baby loved it. Now my husband wiggles to get him to stop crying. It’s hilarious. 

 A lot of crying, screaming, pooping, and screaming later, we finally landed. Of the 6 hour flight, 3.5 hours were pleasant. I guess that’s not too bad. 

We were ecstatic to finally be here.