Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Hallowe'en!

Super A. as Superman, Baby N. as Nemo and Little I. as Spiderman.

She's cute and she knows it.

Our Hallowe'en treat: Mud Monsters.

Super A. and his Mud Monster Ralph.

Little I. and his creation: "Cookies don't have names, Mom!"

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Qui suis-je?

On the very first day of seventh grade French Immersion, my homeroom class played a game called "Qui suis-je?" or "Who Am I?" We all had a name of a historical francophone figure taped to our backs. The point of the game was to ask other people questions (in French!) in order to figure out which name we had.

I feel as if I've been playing "Qui suis-je?" lately, but the name on my back is my own. The game is figuring out the answers to my questions.

Am I a stay-at-home mother? That's the work I'm currently doing 40 hours a week, but it doesn't feel like my vocation, my calling in life. I excel at some parts of the job, such as baking and multi-tasking. I suck at other parts, such as crafts or actually playing with my kids, down and dirty on the floor.

Am I a reporter? Inside my head, in some visceral part of me, yes, I am a reporter and always will be. I think like one. I see story ideas everywhere. I still eavesdrop on conversations in public. No one is paying me to do this stuff anymore, however. I have sold my first freelance piece, but I don't know if that qualifies me as a working journalist.

Am I still even a Christian? I have struggled so much with prayer lately, with trusting God, with forgiving. Even attending Mass is a challenge, and I love the Mass. I miss the community of Catholics we had in Yellowknife, people to help me keep my eyes on God.

Am I still a young woman? The wrinkles on my face tell me I'm not. The past two years have aged me greatly; until my pregnancy with Baby N., I was often mistaken for a teenage mother. Between the severe dehydration during the pregnancy, the third C-section, losing more than 30 pounds afterwards and raising three kids, I now look older than I am. It's depressing. Yet I am not old or even middle-aged.

Who am I? Is this what my thirties are going to be, another stage of self-discovery? Sorry, I've already done this. I just want to get on with my life!

At least I'm sure of a few things: my husband and kids love me. I love them, more than my own existence. And we're going to be okay.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Beans and cornbread had a fight

My Hubby enjoys food. He will eat almost anything put in front of him. This made the early part of our marriage much easier, since I wasn't a very good cook. No matter how charred, runny or lumpy a dish was, he always cheerfully dug in.

I am a picky eater, however, or rather a recovering one. I was the kind of child who would sit in front of a hated dish for hours rather than try it.

My brother J. tells a story about how I once ruined Thanksgiving. I tried a small bite of something I disliked because my mother threatened to take away dessert. My stomach rebelled, and I GROSSMENT puked all over the steaming turkey. END GROSSMENT

We had KFC for supper that night. J. was bitter for years.

Little I. seems to have inherited his father's cheerful love of food. But Super A. inherited my taste buds along with my imagination. I'm philosophical about it: He is healthy and growing, if a little skinny. I don't make him different food. If he doesn't eat, he goes hungry until the next meal or scheduled snack. It's his body. Whatever.

A.'s pickiness drives Hubby crazy. All A. has to do is say the magic words, "I don't like...." and Hubby's blood pressure shoots. He gets a wild look in his eye and a sneer on his face.

"You try that," he intones.

A. takes a small bite, makes the gross face and spits out the food.

This is where I usually intervene and remind A. of the table rules. One bite of everything. No spitting at the table. No complaining.

Lately, the fight has gotten worse. Hubby is pressuring him to eat more, and A. has been eating less and less.

Today at Thanksgiving dinner, Hubby looked like he was going to jump out of his seat, all over some uneaten potatoes.

What I can't get him to see is what is going on in A.'s head.

It's simple: he is sensitive to food. To its smell and taste and texture and temperature. Stress makes him more sensitive, so pressuring him to eat only makes him like the food less.

I am the same way. Even now, my food must be piping hot or ice cold. I can't eat lukewarm soup or melted ice cream or room temperature meat. Texture is important to me, too. I get it.

I don't know how to diffuse this. But in the end, eating is A.'s problem, not Hubby's. Until he accepts that, he's making it his problem.

I just have to avoid making it mine, too.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

May I just say...

...I am enjoying the fact the trees here still have most of their leaves, while there is snow on the ground in Yellowknife?

This time last year, the kids and I were wearing snowsuits. Now we're wearing rainsuits and only beginning to rake leaves.

(By the way, while I like Amy very much, the only reason I'm linking to her campaign web site is to show you the snow in the pictures.)