Monthly Archives: October 2014

No Control at All


I am unable to make my daughter do what I want.

Given my perspectives on parenting, I would have thought I would understand this by now, and, in fact, would not WANT to control her. No. I still, at times, want to make her do what I know she needs to do.

Starting Sunday, she had a fever and a runny nose & sore throat. I know what she needs: liquids. She needs to drink lots.

I offer: Tea. Water. Smoothie. Lemon water. Fruit.
Does she drink?
Hardly anything at all.
Less than she normally drinks.
The colour of her pee: definitely yellow.
At one point, she had three different liquid offerings sitting on her table.
By the end of the day, I can’t even remember if she got through one whole glass.

I encourage. I offer. I put the straw in her mouth. I tweak taste. I talk rationally about it. I pass her the water bottle. I make it serious, casual, fun.
Nothing works!!!

Sometimes, this parenting thing is exhausting. I can’t believe how ridiculously difficult it is to take care of my daughter in the most basic of ways.

Good night.


Deep thinking about simple ideas


Transitions enable change. Does that mean that a month in a hotel could jump-start my new life?

We are out of our condo for at least three weeks owing to water damage from above. Note to any potential thieves, all (ALL!) our possessions have been moved off-site for the reno. We packed up kitchen, bathroom, clothes, office & toys, planning for a month out. In fact, owing to husband’s work schedule, I did most of the packing. And then, when we had to switch rooms two days into our stay because they were fully booked, I did most of the repacking. And the unpacking. And a good chunk of the re-packing to move us into our third and final room. Nothing like packing up your stuff three times in a week to sell one on the value of minimalism.

As the restoration company assessed our place for the move-out, the two people said several times, “Yep, lots of stuff in here!” “Yes, lots of things to move out!” I’ve never thought that we had that much, aside from an obvious surplus of books, so their comments really made me look around. It’s not excessive, I still don’t think, but it’s enough. It’s enough that, as I’ve noticed recently, far too much of my time is spent cleaning and maintaining. Enough that we need to keep on top of it or the mess can overwhelm my delicate spirit.

I had hoped that a streamlined life in a hotel would enable us to spend a peaceful month away. That is still theoretically possible. However, spending multiple intense sessions peeling & slicing apples for the food dehydrator while ignoring my daughter were not part of the plan. Hours spent cooking too much food as I attempt to use up vegetables before they go bad: also not intended. And running up and down three flights of stairs to move things around and watch my daughter is not the simplified existence I imagined.

Might I be my own worst enemy?

Is it possible that a simpler, more satisfying life is attainable if I want it?

Could such a life involve fewer and shorter to do lists?

Could I let instinct, not cell phone beeps, alert me to attend to important tasks?

Could I simply buy less – less food, fewer books, not as many craft supplies or clothes – so I have less to deal with?

Could I put first things first and, at a cleared off table over a simple meal, connect with my daughter and spend our first period of time together in the morning talking, learning and building our relationship? And let that lead us through our day?

Right now, these all seem possible. The only barrier is myself. I tried to reduce my to do list today. I removed one item. There is a library book sale tomorrow, and I quite want to go. And even as I envision a streamlined existence in our condo, I am not sure what I actually am willing to part with to make it happen. Just as one example, can I give up one of the beautiful table cloths I have, the ones we use never? There’s the embroidered green one, that beautiful middle green past spring. The red and pink flowered one. Several thick, beautiful cotton white ones with embroidery. Not to mention, the two table cloths from Russia with embroidered designs from the Cheboksarakh region. The only one we use is a functional, washable brown one, so that one will stay … with the others.

Oi. Change truly starts with me, should I so choose.

Our Brief Flirtation with Cable TV


They called in the evening and my husband spoke with them. Unexpectedly, he didn’t hang up immediately but spoke with them and then asked me: “Do we want cable for $4 per month?”

I paused. My higher self said no. Then a vision floated before my eyes: approaching winter, empty evenings, couch bliss. While I don’t watch much television, there is one major weakness my husband and I share: design/reno/decorating shows. Just imagine evenings of shared renovation bliss!

“OK. Let’s try it.”

The cable guy came. It was fine. Except that he couldn’t really fully install it and get the cables properly connected, so we had a random PVR box sitting in the middle of our floor, and loose cables around, but it worked. And wow, a house hunting show on my own television! While I’m folding laundry! Awesome.

My husband came home. My daughter woke up. And then the 3 of us were sitting there watching the rectangle.

To avoid that, we tried to confine viewing to times when she was asleep. Surprise! That doesn’t leave a lot of time. And we didn’t talk too much when the thing was on.

But still: renovation shows!!

The bill came. Would you believe it if I told you that it was more than $4 per month? Yes. The first call back was extremely unsuccessful as they couldn’t explain why our bill was more than we had been promised. They said we would get a call back.

Would you be surprised if I told you we didn’t get a call back?

At that point, we were packing to move out of our condo that afternoon for a month (reno work). I called and got the brilliant Kara. She listened, empathized, apologized, and got to work. She found the problem (a promo code not entered) and got us back to the promised $4/month. And when I told her that regardless, we were cancelling, she was able to do some magic to reduce our monthly bill by almost $40 for the next 6 months while downgrading our cable package. No more reno shows, so sad … but also no more rectangle, and cost savings for 6 months.

We’re now in a hotel, enjoying the occasional tv viewing, and agree that it’s best as an occasional bonus, not a regular menu item.