Saturday, July 31, 2010

Free at last, free at last!!

Guess where I'm headed? Las Vegas! Guess who's *not* coming with me? My kids! None of them, not even one! I haven't travelled anywhere solo in over a decade (a decade!), and I have to tell you, I'm pretty stoked about the next four days. Am I a terrible mother for not even feigning separation anxiety? I couldn't even muster one crocodile tear this morning! I've stressed out more about wearing a bathing suit in public while I'm lounging (yes, I'm bragging) poolside at the Bellagio hotel (now I'm bragging some more) than I have over being apart from my lovely children (see, I called them 'lovely', surely that scores me some mom points?).

I practically leapt out of our minivan while it was still moving this morning as my husband pulled into the Ottawa Airport -- I was worried I'd turn into a pile of mush when it came time to leave, as it turns out, I was pretty ready to cut the cord(s). For the most part, the kids were OK with Mom leaving for a few days, only one cried, and I think that was more a result of being pulled out of bed at such an ungodly hour (what can I say, Hannah likes her sleep!). I'll be honest, I was expecting a little more reaction to my absence, we'll see how well they fare come bedtime when the reality sinks in that Mom won't be there to tuck them in (shock, horror!).

I nursed Grace this morning for what will likely be the last time. When our other children weaned, I never knew that our last nursing session was our last nursing session, it just sort of happened. It was bittersweet to nurse Grace this morning knowing that in all likelihood, when I come back in four days, that aspect of our relationship will be over. At this point, I don't have much milk left to speak of, breastfeeding Grace is more about comfort and habit (for both of us!). I hope she's as OK with weaning as I am, but if she wants to get back on the wagon when I come home, we'll pick up right where we left off.

I'm a little nervous leaving my husband in charge of our brood, he's an excellent, involved, father, but I don't think he fully realizes how much work he has ahead of him for the next four days. When he comes home from work after nine hours away, the house usually looks the same as he left. While it may not look like I accomplish much in a day from his standpoint, he fails to consider all the mundane chores of the day -- getting the kids dressed, feeding them, cleaning up after them, entertaining them -- wash, rinse, and repeat. I did my bit and made sure to leave with all the laundry washed, folded, and put away. Shawn, you're a good man, may the force be with you.... sucker!

I'm not completely solo for the next four days, I'm visiting Las Vegas with my brother and his wife. Other than planning a daytrip to the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam, I don't have any concrete plans per se, but I do have some goals:
  • I will drink a yard of margarita. Why not, eh?
  • I will wear make-up. I've been rocking the 'natural look' far too long, it's time for some under-eye concealer!
  • I will *not* wipe anyone else's poopy bum. If I fail to accomplish this goal, needless to say, this will be my first and last trip with my brother and his wife.
  • I will see a celebrity. No, Carrot Top does not count.
  • I will eat a meal without giving up a single morsel to anyone else. Grace Pearson, I'm lookin' at you, eat your own damn food!
  • I will have wild sex with random men. Not really, I just want to know if my husband reads my blog (is this thing on?).

I've installed Skype on my laptop so that I can chat with the kids every day without paying outrageous hotel telephone rates (a quick 'hi' and 'bye' costs, like, a million dollars!). My laptop has a handy-dandy webcam feature, so they can see me while we talk. A quick dry run last night confirmed that the webcam offers a less-than-flattering angle, the kids will get a birds-eye view of Mom's double-chin, I hope they still recognize me!

I'm sure the next four days will fly by, and of course, I'll be happy to get back to the munchkins, after all, how much R&R can one person possibly handle? I'll let you know!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Families in Ottawa can all breathe a collective sigh of relief now, knowing that they will be welcomed with open arms at Taylor's Genuine Food and Wine bar. Thank goodness for that! Why, just last night, the husband and I were lamenting the lack of child-friendly restaurants that serve Sun-Tech tomato salad with crispy pig cheeks, our kids' favourite!

All kidding aside (clearly, I'm kidding), I have been really surprised at the reaction this issue has provoked. If you're not in the know, a reservation was refused for a group of people that included a three-month old baby. Various excuses were offered as to why the reservation was refused, ranging from shielding patrons from the possibility of breastfeeding (shock, horror!), to not having the amenities to accommodate a child (did I mention the child in question is three months old?). The refused party, in return, has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (and yes, it's a completely legitimate complaint, breastfeeding rights in Ontario are protected under the HRC, you don't want to start that argument with me!).

As disappointing as the original incident was, even more disappointing was the debate it touched off among foodies, the majority all of whom sided with the restauarant owners. It would seem Ottawa's finer restaurants are regularly terrorized by families -- I had no idea! Although, to be fair, I likely don't patronize the same caliber restaurants as the self-proclaimed foodies, but I digress...

Anyhow, there are a few points raised by the foodies that I would like to address:

Your children aren't the center of the universe! You can't expect everyone to love them as much as you do!
Yeah, I get it, you don't like my kids. It's OK, some days, I don't like 'em either.

Why should my dining experience be ruined by people who are too cheap to hire a babysitter?
It defies logic that a person who can't afford a babysitter would buy their child a meal from a menu that offers $40.00 entrees. That theory needs a little work.

I can't bring my dog to dinner, why should they be allowed to bring their kids?
I'm sorry you can't bring your dog to dinner. Maybe it's time to make some friends. Human friends.

I don't want to sit next to a child, I'm going to have to censor myself!
If you have to censor yourself because you're sitting next to my child, your conversation isn't suitable for public consumption (I don't care to hear what you may or may not be wearing under your pants either!).

When I leave my kids at home and see other kids while I'm out, it makes me weepy, I miss them so much!
Oh come on, you're lying through your teeth! Just admit it, you enjoy your time away from your kids just as much as I do!

Business owners should be allowed to decide who is allowed to patronize their establishment.
Great idea! You're not allowed in my shop.

I had suspected the exposure would be good for the restaurant, after all, there's no such thing as bad publicity (unless you're Mel Gibson), and sure enough, Taylor's certainly seems to have generated a loyal following amongst the Ottawa Foodies bunch. Despite being given the 'green light', I would like to assure the foodies that Taylor's, much like any finer restaurant in Ottawa, likely won't be experiencing a surge in business from the under-18 crowd. Like you, if I'm going to pay for dinner at a restaurant, I want to enjoy myself. If we take the kids to a kid-friendly restaurant (think kids' menus and crayons), they'll be happy. If they're happy, we're happy! The simple reality is we don't want to rub elbows with you anymore than you do with us (no offense).

I would also like to assure the foodies that *if* we should happen to make it into your neck of the woods with the kids in tow (and that's a big *if*!), I will do my best to ensure that they are on their best behaviour. It's not special treatment just for you, believe it or not, whenever we're in public, regardless of where we are, I expect good behaviour from our kids. Now, would you pass the Grey Poupon?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My 'fun bags' are just fine!

A recent article published by the UK-based "Mother & Baby" magazine has garnered a lot of attention for the author's unapologetic admission of her choice not to breastfeed her baby. In her article "I formula-fed. So what?", Kate Blundell confesses that the idea of latching a baby to her 'fun bags' is creepy,

And when you have that attitude (and I admit I made no attempt to change it), seeing your teeny, tiny, innocent baby latching on where only a lover has been before feels, well, a little creepy.

While I'm all for choice, and I would never begrudge anyone's decision not to breastfeed their child (quite frankly, it's none of my business), it's extremely disappointing to read such drivel in a publication whose sole purpose is to educate mothers and mothers-to-be. Blundell pays a little lip service to the benefits of breastfeeding, however, by her choice of words, it's clear that she doesn't really believe breastmilk is superior to formula,

...there are studies that show it reduces the risk of breast cancer for you, and stomach upsets and allergies for your baby. But even the convenience and supposed health benefits of breastmilk couldn’t induce me to stick my nipple into a bawling baby’s mouth.

Back to Blundell's original point, that breastfeeding her baby would compromise her sex life, if anyone actually believes that, I'm going to point out the obvious: it's not the breastfeeding that will affect your sex life, it's the baby who will affect your sex life! Unless you're Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and you can hand your child army off to a fleet of nannies when you retire to your chambers, postpartum intimacy will be different than pre-pregnancy intimacy, that's just a given. Parenting is tiring for both moms and dads, and there will be many (many!) times that the sweet siren of a good sleep will be more alluring than a quick roll in the hay.

Despite gestating, birthing, and breastfeeding four children, while they might not be as perky as they once were, my 'fun bags' have held up quite well, thankyouverymuch, inflating from a measly C cup to a respectable set of double D's (to paraphrase my husband, 'yowzas!'). However, as nice as they may be, I will admit that for the past ten years, the old 'fun bags' have taken a backseat in the bedroom. Considering the workout they get through the day (and how!), I like to give them the night off. The last thing I want to think of when I'm, um, *you know*, is my baby. Clearly, sidelining the old 'fun bags' has not had a detrimental effect on our sex life, given the fact I've managed to spit out three more babies since the start of my breastfeeding career.

Rather than speculating about the effects of breastfeeding on her 'fun bags', Blundell should be more concerned about the eventual effects of gravity, as you get older, your breasts get longer; your nipples will slowly gravitate towards your belly button -- sad, but true! Not to worry, however, it's nothing a good bra (or a boob job, if you're so inclined) can't remedy. You can't foil the unfoilable, and Mother Nature is pretty darn unfoilable!

I do wonder what Blundell's thoughts are on babies and vaginas, did she schedule a c-section to spare her 'fun box' the horrors of a vaginal delivery? I fully expect a follow-up article, "I had a C-section. So what?" Don't worry, there won't be a blog post detailing the state of my 'fun box', some things are just off-limits!