Isla’s into giving bear hugs right now, and that’s the face that let’s you know it’s coming.
I pulled out some of her new summer clothes on Friday afternoon that I bought last year while I was pregnant, and apparently not thinking. See, I love a cute jumper but never wore one myself because of the… er, logistical essence of an adult onesie. (Here’s where Hamish pipes in to say: “I didn’t know they made jumpers for adults.”)
Well, this one here from Baby Gap is also lacking necessary snaps which means diaper changes require complete disrobing. This outfit may not make it to the end of the summer. Cute, but it may not last. Ugh. What were they thinking?!? And why didn’t I think to check?
The rest of the weekend was so ridiculously busy, I don’t even know what actually happened. Involved, there was a bit of thrifting and antiquing where I fell in love with an amazing setee that I don’t have a clue on how to reupholster, a few photo shoots for Eh! Good Looking, a housewarming party for our dear friends wherein Isla partied it up in the Ergo until 10pm not wanting to sleep, a family lunch downtown T.O., yaddi yaddi yaddi yadda. Same old, I guess!
One thing that isn’t the same is that, for the first time, we put Isla in the front of the shopping buggy rather than drag in her car seat. So weird. All of a sudden, I have this KID who can sit while I grocery shop, in the buggy! Sob. Time is flying. I’m trying to drink in every single second.
The bed spread I really really really wanted for Isla’s nursery is on sale with Dwell for $288 US, down from $400 US.
I purchased both (yes, both) the Dragonfly set and Charlotte set from a sweet sample sale on One Kings Lane. Their respective $400-odd price tags (at the time) had each dropped to $150 US each, so I panicked (yes, panicked) and snagged both, shipping them to my bestie’s apartment in NYC for me to pick up there. (OKL doesn’t offer international shipping.)
In my defense, I tried to shill one of them on Craiglist both in NYC and Toronto and there were curious takers; everyone seemed to want me to split them up, wanting to buy only the blanket or the bumper or so on. One guy even asked if I had an air conditioner he could buy while he was at it. Random. It was getting to be a headache so I cut my losses and kept both, though the Charlotte set hasn’t been opened yet.
If I bought a third bed set, I’d be in divorce court so… I’ll just admire it (again) from afar and use this as a push to actually decorate Isla’s room once and for all using what I have.
The sale has lots of yummy items up for grabs with free shipping, no less. Dear American residents: Never take the plentitude of free shipping offers for granted. Your neighbours to the north are seriously jipped in this department and are envious. Thanks, Management.
Find the sale here.
brushed my hair for the first time since having it done n’ did today and wow, it’s so much thinner! I *love* the razor cut, and my hairdresser (who also happens to be my second mum: *love* her too!) totally hooked me up for a hot summer with a baby. Long hair but not heavy and… well, ridiculous to maintain. Buh-bye to my lazy ponytail!*
On a much more interesting note than me twirling my hair… All the hair clippings are being collected to be sent down to help sop up the oil in the Gulf. Very cool. And by the looks of how much hair she thinned out of my ridiculously thick hair** that was left on the floor, if the oil spill is remedied by the weekend*** we’ll know that I as well as thousands of other ladies getting their hair twirled helped save the world for one more day.
* I reserve the right to bring back the ponytail out of choice, not laziness.
** Thin haired girls, don’t be jealous. The grass is always greener but it still needs a landscaper and thick hair is a time thief.
*** Seriously. The oil spill needs a faster solution. This is insane.
This goes out to the lovely nibblesandbits as she’s got a good eye, noticing Isla’s bling! And to the anonymous asker who told me it must hurt her because her baby chub folds over it.
When my tell-it-like-it-is brother in law first met Isla in the hospital, he asked “Tamara, is your daughter wearing a dress?” with respect to her bundler (which, by the way new mamas, were amazing for quick and low-maintenance changes and all I put her in for the first two months!)
Not 20 minutes later, while holding her, he asked “Tamara, is your daughter wearing a bracelet?”
Basically, Isla had made a girly, high-fashion impression within 24 hours of her arrival. What can I say…
Isla’s bracelet is a sterling silver expandable baby bracelet my grandma bought in Scotland on Argyle Street. I had one (below, left). My mum had one (below, right). Our family tradition was just to have them on the girls.
To this day, Isla doesn’t even notice she has it on. In fact, I didn’t even notice she had it on! I woke up in the hospital to my mum all excited so show me the dressing up of my baby they had done.
Nobody loves it more than her cousins. Each and every one of them have tinkered with it, eyed its gleam and tried to figure out how to share the one thing of Isla’s that wasn’t easily shareable.
When we’re out, most people like it, adore it, comment on it, and ask where to get one. Especially older ladies. They eat it up! A few others, however, like a mother I ran into at the YMCA, ask how I can pinch my child this way.
Even when I show how its expandable and does so on its own with great and graceful ease, no WD40 required, they’re skeptical. Even when they’re standing there with their own infant’s ears pierced, they’re skeptical.
Now, I’m not down on people piercing their child’s ears. It’s not for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not for you. I’m that kind of mama; each to their own and no judgements, please, either way. I think you get where I’m going though… Good for goose, gander, all that jazz.
Anyway, I promise world, it doesn’t hurt her! Between the baby wearing fiasco and this, you’d think I was barely capable of caring for a sack o’ flour, but I promise, she’s fine and lovely and healthy and well! I know this because I’ve never once adjusted the bracelet for her in the past seven months. And since this is her hospital bracelet, I know her wrist has grown. (Sob. Look at how teeny tiny that wee hospital bracelet is!!!) As for the chub folding over it, those are my baby’s Michelin rolls, thankyouverymuch! And I think they’re adorbs!
- Two girls were getting their hair done for prom at the hair salon. I started prattling off about my own prom, like they even cared. Because what teenager cares about a decade+ old prom experience?
- I saw a car full of young teens be pulled over for joy riding. I looked at Isla and thought, yeah, my kid will never do that. Only kids that grow up in small towns with lots of country back roads and farm fields to donut in… Oh, wait.
And, really. I’m not even old. Time share resorts with a hard sell pitch wouldn’t even waste a free weekend and breakfast on us. But I felt it today, for some reason.
*drool* Lasagna. Homemade veggie lasagna. Oh, and Isla drooled over it too. She thinks anything that involves cutlery is food for her now. Our lil’ foodie…
From the first frame, she looks like something out of Jaws. And the shrugged shoulders demonstrate just how pleased she was with herself. The squeals… Oh, I love when she’s vocal. And then she found her feet and was off again. Our lil’ distracto…
And, can I just say as her incredibly biased mother that the little wisp of hair over her one ear is hilarious? I mean, do I even bother to trim it? The other side doesn’t have it, and normally it’s tame. But every once in a while it runs errant and makes her look like a troublemaker. Too funny. I need to get a better close up of it.
And that water ring? Yeah, that’s what happens when your guests think coasters are merely sitting on the table boasting their even plane and superior application of gravity.
There has been a consistent curse on our home with respect to laundry over the past couple of weeks. We’re ruining things left and right to the point where the clothes — the victims, if you want to wax poetic — aren’t even fit for donation. So preventable. That’s what makes it annoying.
It started with me accidentally washing Hamish’s iPod. I opened the door to our front-loader and out it fell to the floor, ear phones and all.
It ended with Hamish accidentally putting a dry-clean only scarf in the wash along with my “primary load.” Meaning, the weekly load of my laundry that contains 90% of the clothes I wear on a full time basis. Ahem. 90% of the clothes I used to wear that are now pink.
In and around the beginning, the middle, and the end, a series of “oh, I put the stuff in the dryer for you” and “THAT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO GO IN THE DRYER!” Stuff shrunk. Stuff shriveled. Stuff literally all came undone in the wash.
Life could be worse. Don’t worry. I’ve got perspective.
In a last ditch effort, I took the pink stuff and dunked it in a bucket of bleach and hot water with the exhaust fan turned to high so that I… well, wouldn’t. I figured I would swish it around with an old duster handle to see if the pink haze would come out, seeing as there didn’t seem to be much more that could go wrong with these threads.
My favourite blue shirt? Success. It’s fine as the blue graph-paper-like weave wasn’t effected. My favourite purple sweater? Toast. The purple turned to a bright fuschia which would have been fine if not for the fact the material became all nubbly and tattered after the harsh treatment. Oh, me and my delicate fabrics. I should just wear burlap and call it a day.
My dish rags? Yeah, they’re fine but who gives a toss. My favourite PJ pants? Done-zo. And they had pockets. Do you know how hard it is to find medium-weight cotton PJ pants with pockets? (Actually, why do I need pockets in my PJs? Still…)
This is as much a vanity-laced materialistic pity party as it is a chore manifesto. Laundry will again be accomplished properly as of today.
for us Canadians — something about Victoria, all I know is I can wear white now, right? It was a big-time downer since we were supposed to be NYC
for chocolate flavoured Pinkberry with friends all weekend but a little thing called responsibility kept the three of us home. We had some major house repairs that needed attention, and Hamish had work stuff on the go.
Anyway, I am behind on some computer work and some Tumbling and some general information about the world. Like, the oil spill wasn’t miraculously duct taped in the past three days. And, Brittany Murphy’s husband is dead now too? Rando. And did you know ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ was written on May 24th, but in 1830? Okay, that last one is even more useless info than the one before, but now you know. If you ever need that nugget in a trivia battle and it leads to your victory, I want a fist pump in my honour.
Isla’s with her grandparents for a bit, and I thought I was due in Toronto today with AllanM88, but it’s actually tomorrow (forehead slap) so I’m going to enjoy the quiet, get caught up and see what you all were up to for the past 72 hours.
Me: “Do you know where the light bulbs are?”
Hamish: “What do you need a light bulb for?”
Me: blank stare
I was in the brief and passing company of some nurses this past weekend who mentioned my sling situation was going to dislocate Isla’s hips. Eep! Really?! I’ve been paranoid ever since; they said they had watched me the whole time, worrying about the baby. I have no idea whether or not I was/am/could be in danger of dislocating Isla’s hips, but the fact I was being watched and my child’s welfare was being worried over has left me a bit rattled for a new solution.
I love baby wearing and I’m not ready to give it up. I’ve been wearing Isla the traditional way in my favourite Serena & Lily Market Sling, which prompted the suggestion, since day one. I guess at 7mos, she is getting a bit big for that position… I’m happy to carry her in the hip position with this sling for quick runs into a store or something, but it definitely requires my one arm snug around her so far.
My sis-in-law lent us their Bjorn which has been a hoot, especially for Hamish since the sling is
a bit on the girly side. But I can’t wear it for long before the distribution of her weight gets to me.
So my bessie mate lent me her Ergo Baby Carrier and I’m in LOOOOOOOVE!!!! Isla’s not. But I’m in LOOOOOOOOOVE! She wants to face out. But I want her to be snuggly newborn again. Neither of us are going to get our way on this one. She keeps wriggling her one arm free. I’ll have to try it out a bit more with her and see if she comes around because I LOOOOOOOOVE it. So comfy. In theory, it’ll last a lot longer. And hopefully nobody will raise hazard as a result of these parenting skills.
When Isla’s with me six days a week, I subconsciously think that because I’ve fed her lunch, “we’ve eaten.”
When Isla’s with my mum that seventh day, I’m so anxious about getting everything done that I forget to eat again. Well, I just delay it.
Basically, I’m stopping for lunch y’all. But (probably) only because… I fell asleep at 6:30 pm last night and my entire dinner was loving wrapped up for me as leftovers. Bonus.
concerned that Isla’s Fisher Price mini aquarium bowl thingy just started choo-chooing like a train? Crossed wires? Hearing things? Am I being punked or something?
I should be getting ready while Isla naps. I’ll get the hang of this one day…! Ha!
This weekend it really sunk in Hamish is back at work after his parental leave and that our Saturday and Sunday time is… uh… BRIEF.
Yesterday morning we took a walk through town and made a much-needed pit stop at for some British chocolate. Nom… My parents took Isla for a few hours so we could get the house and groceries in order since we had our first party last night at the new house. The need was bittersweet as it was an intimate send-off of sorts for two different couples who are onto new ventures. With one set Vancouver-bound to start their medical residencies and the other Ottawa-bound for law school, these are definitely a missable four. Just going to have to make plans to visit.
Isla was a ham, and didn’t play strange with anyone which is good. I know babies have these phases and all, but still… I always feel bad when she does. She was right in all the action and then all of a sudden needed to tap out. Took her upstairs for a bath and she seemed so thankful for the quiet time. She fell asleep halfway through her milk so we ended up having to dream feed her before we went to bed.
I was thankful to have everyone over. Seeing some more familiar faces within these walls all at once made it feel like a) less of a show home and b) that we really haven’t dropped off the face of the earth just because we moved back to my home town. I mean, people can FIND us! This is promising.
I say it feels like a show home because not only were Isla’s toys contained to a corner, but since there is still a list of 200 +/- repairs needed from the builder, we can’t really be hanging pictures or painting or decorating until they’re all done. It’s surprising to me how living in a space that isn’t personalized can actually weigh on you a little bit.
We went the Mexican route since I seemed to be out of all other ideas for knife-less buffet options, and BBQ was not
functioning an option. I love our knives but they fall. As in, fall off the plate. I could just see all dozen knives twirling floor-bound in fits of joy… Shudder. I wanted finger food. Or at least fork food.
The only reason I bring this up is because I made a flan for dessert. A creamy, caramely, custardy flan. I was petrified. As in, as petrified as one can be about making a dessert and so not really petrified. Typical me had to try out this (what I thought to be) difficult dish mere hours before everyone arrived. Not to mention the fact that our basement bathroom FLOODED in the midst of all this prep and caused a major delay, not to mention clean up and preventative measures in case it happened again. I’m starting to wonder if my studio will ever be finished and ready.
But, the flan. The FLAN! It was fantastic. Ahem, FLANtastic. I totally ran a victory lap when I inverted them on the plate.
Off to a bridal shower today with the ladies from last night so the fetes continue!
Isla is under the weather.
This Dr. Mum has observed:
- Sharing of previously consumed food in unsavoury manner, plus other tell-tale physical signs of being sick. Or hungover, but I think it’s safe to say in this case it’s sick. So, yuck. Or replace the ‘Y’ with another letter.
- Triple-extra cuddly. Cute, lovely, but not normal.
- Zero interest in playing. See above.
- Heightened interest in cuddling with a teddy bear. Adorable.
- Zero interest in any of her food or milk. Weird.
- Over-napping. Advantageous to my list of things to do, but I’d rather have a healthy wee’un.
So now we’re both wearing biohazard suits because I respect our clothes and the general engineering of cotton too much, and she’s off for another cool bath. I’m extra frowny faced because we had a play date we’ve now had to cancel with my bestie friend Amz and her two awesome and adorable boys today. Lunch, swimming, photos, fun. It’s too bad.
Grandma and Isla day! But it’s also Tumblr Tuesday so… here I go asking for my first recommendation in the parenting directory, if you’d be so kind!
Har! I get it. I get it. Recommend me for a parenting blog on the one day a week I send my sweet baby girl to her grandparents so I can get some work done…
Actually… Maybe I’m onto something.
When your husband is having… er, words with a construction foreman via your cell phone while you stand waiting, finding a newfound interest in your pedicure’s top coat. Breathe. Life could be worse. Life could be worse. Life could be worse.
have spent the morning dancing around her nursery to Sesame’s Street’s collection of Silly Songs (distro’d by E1, my old haunting grounds, holla!) while a parade of construction workers have spackled, painted, ripped out drywall, re-wired sockets, poked, prodded and generally cussed at the state of our house. The construction, not our mess that we’re still in because it’s mad hard to move with a six month old, yo. She’s now miraculously having a nap while they install hardwood floors in the neighbouring house and I am looking around thinking a beach in Cabo might be bloody lovely right now.
My husband is back at work today for the first time in four weeks (yay parental leave) and already I want my teammate back. It’s time to put on my big girl socks and handle this all like an adult. Boo-urns.
Here’s her belly from the other day, only because this picture still makes me laugh and didn’t end up with the rest. I’m thinking this may become my first stretched canvas purchase. No?
Mother’s Day. I had every intention of not writing anything. And then I was going to write something after all. And then, this came out.
This year, it was a happy one, indeed. Don’t get me wrong. Woke up to two smiling faces, breakfast in bed and cards all around peppered with promises of a spa day and a reminder that the Dyson downstairs was just what I always wanted. It was lovely.
The rest of the day was the same old. Well, same old for the last four weeks. Isla plays and naps. Hamish and I clean, tidy, unpack, scratch our heads, look for lost items and giggle at the fact that we just had them the day before in and around her self-created schedule.
Mother’s Day is always happy in the true sense of the word, but man, it brings back a certain brand of hilarious post-traumatic stress for me (and my entire family, while we’re at it) and I find it difficult to sit still as Mother Almighty even though Hallmark et al are telling me I should. The recipient of lovely well-wishes, I just couldn’t help but feel at once lazy, nerved up and, most of all, reminiscent of Mother’s Day gone by.
See, our family owned a restaurant for the better part of three decades. A Scottish tea room smack in the center of this small, quaint town I now find myself back in. Mother’s Day was our coup de grace on an annual basis. It was our fresh start, rocky start, what have you. It was our day of all days.
Reservations would begin to trickle in around February. Our regulars knew the drill and waiting any time past the first of April was a fool’s fancy. Around the middle of March, I would invariably find myself wandering to the front of the restaurant, up to the heavy wooden desk my Grandad had made, to sit on the edge of the old stool shoved in behind it. Flipping through the reservations book, I’d start to count the number of scribbles in and around the second weekend of May and holler to my Grandma, insisting on a strategy. This year would be different, I’d shrilly announce over the sound of kitchen staff starting to clean up for the day. This year, we’d be ready.
When they say the sign of insanity is the repetition of a task hoping for an alternate outcome, they were talking about me from March to May from about 1996 - 2006. Even when I had moved on and didn’t work full time at Pause Awhile anymore, Mother’s Day was never off limits. And my attempts to organize it were at once necessary, unnecessary and without grounds. My Grandma had run that place for 30 years and here I was, thinking a little task management would corral a chaos like none other. Year after year I would, without fail, snap the reservation book shut, march to Table One to slap it down, turn to the cupboard under the groaning, overworked coffee machine and pull three oversized paper place mats from their box. From here, I would fetch a ruler, multi-coloured highlighters and the schedule from its magnet on the milk fridge in the kitchen. The schedule was the most important part.
To this day, I never understood why people didn’t like working Mother’s Day. I mean, I know it was awful. It was by far the worst day to work in the Groundhog Day-history of Pause Awhile. The only other two candidates were the day before because of the excessive food preparation and the day after because we’d be starting from scratch. Nobody (working there) was in a good mood on Mother’s Day and, to be honest, it was debatable that the customers were even either. My Grandad would mutter year after year, “why do people insist on taking their mother’s out all on the same day? Why not split it up? WHY COME HERE?”
But the truth was we did a mean Mother’s Day. We were the ideal destination for young and old. We pandered to the kids with miniature teapots and tea parties and a two-storey doll’s house they could peer in at. We saw the old bitties a mile away and were ready for them. “More tea for the Queen Bee?” I’d tut, brisking past table to table knowing they loved the attention. “My, look at your beautiful family!” I’d coo as I sat them at the “best table in the house” amongst the British paraphernalia lining every wall. And this was every day. Mother’s Day just meant we’d experience five times the turnover. As a small staff, coming together as the embodiment of the most functional dysfunctional family you’ve ever met, we’d run out of something, twice, always. We’d yell. We’d laugh hard. We’d prank. There were always criers… Quitters… But with five times the turnover we’d make six times the tips. If it was about nothing else for one day and one day alone to my teenage self, it was about the tips.
The schedule was a land mine. The week-ers who ran the floor Monday to Friday didn’t want anything to do with this particular Sunday. They were mothers themselves and, not to mention, they knew better. The newly hired summer staff, an influx of co-eds who thought higher education and being able to handle that one cantankerous TA had readied them for a summer with us, with my grandma, invariably had plans. PLANS! They had mothers too, after all. Silly co-eds. Scheduling Mother’s Day was the easiest way to weed out the Nancies. If they couldn’t survive a scheduling, they didn’t have a hope making it to June. This left the weekend regulars, and we always knew it would fall on our shoulders. We were ready even before the schedule was posted. We knew.
After gathering tools and seating myself at the home base of Table One, my Grandad would more than often look up, assess my intention, raise a bushy brow, and turn back to his crossword. He’d wish me luck with a knowing smirk in between penciling in 16 Across and ordering a fresh bowl of rice pudding. It was the best when it had just just been made.
And there I’d go. Flow charts and spread sheets abound, reservations would be filled in as neatly as I could. In the late afternoon sun just an hour before closing time, I’d pan around the near-empty restaurant, imagining it full beyond capacity in just a few weeks.
No matter how many times I had been through it, the Saturday before was always my nightmare. Hour after hour of handling a busy restaurant with quadruple the prep, I was never ready. Jam jars were leveled, butters curled, extra scones baked, triple the amount of lettuce heads chopped and stacks and stacks of tart shells piled. The things we wanted to prep for, we couldn’t. Pause Awhile’s infamous dish was arguably a tea house classic: a stacked sandwich plate featuring a variety of open faced finger sandwiches, fresh fruit and vegetables, choice of fruit tart (see stacked shells) and crisps with dip. On Mother’s Day, this was the dish most everyone wanted. But we didn’t have enough stacked trays. We couldn’t prepare the sandwiches the day before should the bread go hard. The #11 on the menu was our Achille’s heel.
You could have played Vengelis’ Chariots Of Fire on any number of Mother’s Day mornings while I got ready for work and I’d insist it wouldn’t be overdramatic. I’d wear running shoes, not our uniform black oxfords. I’d wear my brother’s sport socks, not the sheer tights I was used to. I’d wear spandex shorts hidden under my kilt because it was erring on the side of short and I needed something else to loathe about the day. Hair would be neat. Lip gloss affixed. I was a vision of loveliness for the 70+ set, but God forbid any of my high school boyfriends see me. A glance from Mum and Dad before I left. It was here. Six-ple tip day.
The second I rounded the corner to the side door of Pause Awhile, the smell wafting out of the first window boasting the smells of two homemade soups my Grandad had put on earlier that morning would hit like a cozy hug. By the time I hit the second window, the sound of my Grandma’s voice would shake me to reality that damn, we had quite the day ahead of us. She was stressed. She wanted it to run smoothly. She too wanted this year to be better than those before but hers was from a business perspective. Mine? Mine was from one of survival and sanity.
Mother’s Day at Pause Awhile would start and finish normally enough, if not extra busy on all accounts. WIth no time to eat or drink, a forgotten dinner roll in the microwave became a quick snack for those industrious enough. A little whipped cream for the tart, a little for me in my mouth. Anything just to keep going. Coffees that were well-meaningly poured at 10 am were ice cold by the time a 4 pm lull came around.
As for customers, there would always be the treasures that would show up without a reservation, say they don’t mind waiting for an opening and then leave in a loud huff ten minutes later when one hadn’t miraculously appeared. There would always be the ooh and ahh as a darn #11 would leave the kitchen, inspiring three neighbouring tables to order the same.
There would be double the conversations such as:
“Our salad dressings are french, ranch, Italian, creamy cucumber, thousand islands, bleu cheese and a raspberry vinegarette. Which would you prefer?”
“I’ll have the poppy seed.”
Or, “Yes, my scone doesn’t have raisins in it.”
“That’s your dinner roll.”
Or, my favourite and always at the very end of the day, “Yeah, did you know your sign says CLOSED?”
Oh, I’m sorry. I must have tripped out of sheer exhaustion and flipped it the wrong way around even though yes, it’s five minutes past our scheduled closing time.
There’d be customers who would order their meals as we sat them, thinking this act, so obnoxious, would garner them faster food. Little did they know. There were tables who would nurse their fourth refill of loose-leaf tea while their replacements shoegazed patiently at the front desk. There’d be tables of women — sisters and aunts and mothers and grandmothers — who would stay so long they’d need a second meal for sustainability’s sake. There’d be customers who would call at the peak of the rush and ask for take-out, reservations, directions… Like the one woman who insisted I tell her how long it would take to get there without providing me a starting point nor a mode of transportation. To this day I fear my grandma if she ever knew my response, but it may or may not have involved another Scottish restaurant, one by the name of McDonald’s.
In the kitchen, there’d be quiche that would meet their untimely demise if the physics of the spatula moving to the plate was just that wee bit off, where we’d wish the three-second rule really could apply. There’d be spilt salad dressings all down our crisp, white shirts. There’d be whipped cream smeared on the side of our kilts. There’d be soup lopped in haste out the side of the bowl onto my trainers, forcing me to care for a split second that they’d be mucky for the gym.
There’d be fun, too. Money aside, we made it worth our while. The standing joke of emptying the gritty, grey mop water into a glass and (unsuccessfully) goading the newbie to drink it. The fact that you had no time to eat until 4pm and then, after going to check on a table, returning to discovering the hard way someone had gone to the trouble to lift the cheese from the top of your quiche only to smother the inside with bleu cheese dressing.
The truth is that Mother’s Day at Pause Awhile was always the same. No spread sheet, no pre-planning, no extra ordering or extra staff would do the trick. Every Mother’s Day the restaurant would fill with a din of undecipherable laugh and chatter, the staff would leave with feet that tingled like slow fire, the kitchen would look like a pack of school children came into play chef-for-a-day and the setting sun would look like the perfect excuse to leave the rest of the tidying until Monday morning. The tips were good, yes, and would remain the sole incentive to go through it all again next year. But most of the time I was too tired to count them that night. The day had been about my family making hundreds of other families feel welcome, connected and in-tune with their respective company for a very important lunch. As for our own Mother’s Day connection, we just knew.
To begin to detail everything I’ve been through with my own mother would put me at a loss on where to start. All I can say is that I’m the product of her efforts and the reflection of her intentions. This trip down memory lane is for her. I barely spent any of these days with her, but with her mother — my Grandma — while we ran the show. But it didn’t mean I loved her less. In a lot of ways, I think it meant I loved her more. I think she’s amazing. And having a daughter of my own, I finally “get” motherhood. I get the feeling that Isla’s birthday is going to feel more like Mother’s Day to me, but still… yesterday was nice. And quiet. I’m thrilled it was a day like every other, yet so different all the same.
Putting baby Isla down for a good night’s sleep for the 204th time tonight, I realized I do it still without really breathing at all. In fact, I would bet the stack o’ chips that I have held my breath for about 150 of those nights, and at least for the first few moments after leaving her crib’s side.
See, Isla sleeps. She’s a star sleeper, in fact. We had some trouble before with naps, not for getting her down but for location (she was partial to snoozing in my bed but the day she learned to roll over nixed her opportunity to continue down that cat-nap-path). She’s also quite particular with her naps; she needs a blanket to be touching her face, she likes a small stuffed toy on either side of her head so she can turn side to side to see a friendly face, and she likes background noise.
At night, she’s less maintenance, needing only the blanket and a cherry-shaped soother my aunt sent from Wales*, the one and only she’ll take and has since self-weaned herself from the rest of the day. She’s slept through the night since about seven weeks in and I feel awful when I inadvertently beam about how well-rested I am to other mums. Even, so far, through teething. Eep.
But every night I can’t help but think (worry, pray, silently barter for karma, forget to exhale, etc.) “is tonight the last night?”
I have one name and two words that I give all the credit to here: Tracy Hogg and this book on her Baby Whisperer philosophy and I cannot sing enough of its praises. I’ve read this book four times between pregnancy and now and will soon be sending it on to some friends who might find it useful.
Even though Tracy is no longer with us (may she rest), and these books are nothing new to hit the shelves, I can personally say they’re (so far) fabulous. I just saw this next book online and am thinking it might be the spring reading I was looking for. Between starting the photography business, unpacking a new home, a near seven month old smiling all the time (the audacity!) and remnants of my old life that I should probably/hopefully regain some sort of connection to, fictional reading has tripped off the list for the time being. I just can’t get my head into it. But this, I could. Especially when the first one was so helpful! It’s on my list of self-purchased mother’s day goodies I may or may not have come into my possession.
* Okay. Maybe the fact the ONLY paci she will or has ever taken to was this bulbous cherry-shaped soother you can ONLY get in Wales or Scotland — and the fact that we had to make a request to my aunt to import us more — makes her a little high maintenance.