Mr. Chef and I have polar opposite views when it comes to hallmark moments. I believe in feeling sentimental, romantic, nostalgic, joyous or festive, whenever the hell the greeting card companies tell me to. He, on the other hand, has suffered a thousand too many long hours in over busy and understaffed kitchens at the hands of said greeting card companies, slaving away in the name of some fake, made up holiday, feeding the industrial stationary complex. So, he's a tad bitter, let's say.
But, Mr. Chef brought it this year. And he knocked it out of the park. A sleep in; coffee and iPad in bed; my favorite breakfast; a beautiful gift that came in a little blue box; a lovely card with a heartfelt message and a gift for someone who really needs it. Then a day at the park. A trip downtown. And a delicious dinner. Perfection.
Mr. Chef doesn't believe in Mother's Day. He doesn't even particularly like it. But he did it all to make me happy. He does everything to make me happy. And that's why I am the luckiest.
Another reason why I am the luckiest? THIS LITTLE GIRL.
Mother's Day is an outward acknowledgment of all the grunt work, all the energy both physical, mental, and emotional that goes into raising children. For this baby I stay up all night. For this baby I get covered in shit. Many many times. For this baby, I reach out with my bare hands to catch the vomit that is about to spew forth because I know her so well that I can just tell when she's going to barf. For this baby I constantly think about the millions of things I should be doing to ensure optimal development and growth, hatch plans plans of baby enrichment, and then inevitably feel guilty for not doing enough.
But for this baby I would do anything. Because of that smile. Because of the funny way she scrunches up her nose and makes sniffing sounds. Because those brown eyes are her father's. Because she is so determined. Because she giggles when we ride our bike. Because I'm lucky to be her mum.
Maybe Mr. Chef is right and we don't really need a special day to celebrate being a mother. Despite the barf and the poop and the sleepless nights and the worry and the things that are hard I don't even know about yet, it is a pretty amazing gig.
One of the distinct disadvantages of this nomadic lifestyle that I lead is not having a home base. I live forty frillion miles away from where I grew up. My parents' house is in another country, a ten-hour drive away from my home town. Revisiting my old hood and reconnecting with my childhood friends, therefore, is not a simple operation.
Enter my kind and generous aunt, who is so kind and generous that she willingly, and without a peep of complaint, offers up her perfectly styled and perfectly orderly house to fill the role of our familial home. So kind and generous is she, that she hosts Woodrooffe Conventions just about every quarter, patiently putting up with all the mountains of junk that take over her living room, tolerating her phone ringing incessantly with callers looking for stray Woodrooffes, welcoming late-night Woodrooffes, who show up at her doorstep past eleven PM to crash on her couch, and she never objects to the lack of planning and general chaos that walks hand-in-hand with the Woodrooffes.
On this particular visit, my aunty, kindly and generously let me host a dinner party for eight, allowing me to monoploize her kitchen for an entire day while I filled every spare inch of her delicious new kitchen (her pride and joy, by the way) with dirty cooking vessels and sauce-incrusted utensils.
And how do I repay this kind and generous aunt? Well, here's how:
I open my eyes, early on Sunday morning in my aunt’s gorgeous guest bedroom next to my baby. I reach over to lovingly caress my sweet girl, only to discover that she is suspiciously wet. Oh, dear, I thought. These mothereffing eco-diapers do not stand up to the rigours of all-night nursing sessions. No matter, a quick morning bath, load of laundry, and a trip to the grocery store for another pack of diapers will rectify this situation. And that was that. Until this morning.
We awoke, much as we did yesterday. I reached over, hoping to discover a dry baby. But lo, there was a tell-tale wet patch. But this time, not in the usual spot. Shit. Literally. I stripped the baby, peeling layers of dirty, poopy pyjamas. Shit. I fumbled around one handily looking for the equipment that I needed to solve this problem. SHIT! Wipes, diapers, changing mat, hazmat suit, it’s all buried below the contents of my suitcase which, much like my child's bowels, had exploded on my aunt's guest bedroom floor. Shit shit shit shit SHIT! I held baby draped precariously over my forearm, trying my darndest to prevent any cross-pyjama-contamination and made my way to the bathroom.
Into the bath for a rinse. Another bath for a deep clean. And, just as I was about to pull Stella from the bath, and into the embrace of a warm towel, SHE POOPED IN THE TUB. That inevitable, dreaded parental milestone, the tub-poop happened NOT AT MY HOUSE. I was a guest. POO-POO FLECKS EVERYWHERE. Not at my houuuuuuuse! SHAME! EMBARASSMENT! SHHIIIIIIITTTTT!
Thank you for hosting me, aunty. And for putting up with my crazy family. And my crying baby. And our general chaos. I will repay you with a poopy bathtub.
Poo-poo is becoming a theme on this blog. So much so that I have managed to optimize my blog for the search terms poo-poo flecks. Google it, bitches, I'm number one!
We're driving up to Ottawa today. And I'm really hoping my Stellabella does a whole lot of this:
Taking Stella in the car is monumentally easier these days. I look back on those good ol' days of wee-baby car travel and shudder.
On our first trip back to Canada, when she was two and three months old, we took her on some pretty long drives. Like eight car trips of six hours or more, and one doozy of a 12 hour trip. All in the space of eight weeks. I don't know what in the HELLS I was thinking. Especially since every time we would get in the car, she would scream bloody murder, shit her pants, and then scream some more. And if she was feeling particularly spry, Stella would crap all over me as I rushed her towards a bathroom in a rest-stop, forcing me to change my clothes in a parking lot, and give her (and myself) a bath in a gas station bathroom sink.
Ahhhh, newborndom. I miss you. I really, really do.
Yesterday* was one of those days where my greatest accomplishment was NOT hurtling myself into oncoming traffic. Not in an OMG-I-worry-for-her-mental-health kind of way; more in a Mah-gawd-a-hip-fracture-administered-by-a-speeding-Prius-would-be-less-annoying-than-this-crying-HULKSMASH! kind of way. I mean, no biggie. We all have these kinds of days.
Determined to conquer these petty annoyances, I awoke today with a renewed sense of optimism, armed with a plan and schedule. And things were going great. Until Stella woke from her nap, and I was all…hmm, what's that smell.
No matter, I thought, this shitastrophy** will only set us 15 minutes behind schedule. I'll take this in stride.
On the way back to the bedroom, newly clean baby perched on hip, I thought to myself, hmmmm…my right side seems to be getting warmer all of a sudden. And damper. Oh…efff.
Not to be deterred, I set about cleaning up the messes. And in the interest of proper hygiene (the merits of which have been preached endlessly by Mr. Chef)*** I reached for the soap to wash my hands. At which point it shot out of my grasp and landed in the kitty litter, rolled around a bit, just so it could develop a nice crust of urine-soaked crystals and poo-poo flecks. This was followed immediately by a resounding chorus of "EFFFFF!"
Now, with the bodily fluids of two mammals on my hands, I quickly threw the soap into the garbage.*** Eff eff eff eff! Got the baby dressed, and set out for the grocery store. In the rain.
The only lesson I can glean from the above episode is that there is a real possibility that Stella's first utterance will sound something like this: "EFFFFF!" Between now and then, I'll have to come up with a plausible (and appropriate) explanation for the meaning of that sound.
*Dates have been changed for dramatic effect. Yesterday really means Sunday. You see, I intended to blog yesterday. But I figure that most of you reading this are in North America, and so it's technically still yesterday over there, and I live in the future, so I can totally get away with it.
**Again, Kate, the English language thanks you.
***I recounted this hilarious story to Mr. Chef last night (real last night) and it went something like this:
Me: Oh, if you're wondering, there's a reason why there is no soap.
Mr. Chef: It fell into the kitty litter?
Me: How did you know?
Mr. Chef: Oh, that's happened like three times. This week.
Mr. Chef: What? Its soap. It's self-cleaning.