Her Bad Mother

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday Miscellany - Bigger, Longer and Uncut!

Edited, below*... and then again**! Cuz there's always more to say!

1. So, there's this Canadian Blog Awards thing going on, right? And, like, a whole bunch of the Canadian bloggers that I love are nominated. So, as it happens, am I.

Canadian Blog Awards

You see the problem, right? It's not so much that I'm nominated against some of my favourite people (I have no problem voting for someone other than myself), but that they're all nominated against each other. Who do I vote for? One can vote every day, so I could simply vote for different people in different categories, except that that really just undermines the whole exercise, if I'm just scattering votes around in a frenzy of desperate love. And if I'm not just going to parcel out my votes on some vague principle of amicable equity, how do I choose who to vote for? What does 'best' really mean, anyway, when applied to blogs? Funniest? Best pictures? Most tear-jerking? Most prolific? Most likely to buy me presents?

Head. Hurting.

Then there's the whole problem of being nominated in two categories myself. There's a reason why I'm a political theorist, and not a politician: I can't do it, politics-on-the-ground. Hate it. LOATHE it. I simply cannot campaign for myself. Which is exactly what they expect you to do with these awards: ask people to vote for you. Ask people to vote for you EVERY DAY. Ask your friends, blog-neighbours and total strangers to go to the site, place some votes, and then come back and do it again every day until voting ends.

This makes me very uncomfortable. In part because, as I said above, there are so many other great bloggers that you should also be voting for, should you feel inclined to wander over to the voting area. And in part because I can't really give you any good reason to vote for me (beyond appealing to your pity, that is. What if I were to end up the sorry blogger with ONE VOTE - my own, lodged on the one day that it occured to me to go vote for myself?) (I want no backtalk on this in comments, do you hear?) There is just so much wonderful, wonderful writing out there, and such variety, in our humble Canadian corner of the blogosphere, that it seems impossible, to me, that I could make any claim to being 'best.' Seriously. So, having no platform to campaign upon, I will simply abstain from campaigning.

(HBM has no formal affiliation with Mothers Against Canada And Awards That Give Her Bad Mother A Headache, aka MACAATGHBMAH, and does not approve this message.)

I will, however, encourage you to go and visit the site and tour the great Canadian blogs that they have listed there. Click around, check out the landscape, quaff some virtual maple syrup. You'll like it, I promise. We're good people, we Canadians. Check us out.*

2. Speaking of checking out Canada, why not visit the newly refurbished MommyBlogsToronto site? I warn you, though - it's gonna make you want to move here.

3. Hey! Have I mentioned this week that WonderBaby turned one?!?!?

4. Oh, yeah, I did. But! Did you hear the one about how she came out of my hoo-hah?

5. If touring the Canadian blogosphere or reading sappy labour stories doesn't appeal to you, you could always go turn yourself into a South Park character.

Blame WonderBaby.

(WonderBaby, as imagined by Her Bad Mother after two sleepless nights and three extra-strength Tylenol washed down with Sleepytime Tea.)

(Her Bad Mother, as imagined by Her Bad Mother after two sleepless nights and three extra-strength Tylenol washed down with Sleepytime Tea.)


*If you do decide that voting is fun, you don't have to be Canadian to participate. Hell, you don't even need to know where Canada is! You can vote every day! You can vote while drunk! This is democracy AT ITS FINEST.

**Or, you could get drunk and write a nasty letter to the mother-hating anti-boob fascists at Delta. Or, if you are too drunk to write a coherent letter, just go sign this. It's probably a better use of your political energies than the Canadian Blog Awards.

OK. You can now go back to making South Park caricatures of yourself...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

To WonderGirl, On Her 18th Birthday

(To be opened November 14, 2023)

My dear, dear WonderGirl,

Once upon a time, not too long ago, sweet girl, you were WonderBaby. You were my WonderBaby.

When you turned one year old, you stood 32 inches tall. Your head was big and round with tufts of yellow hair, and your eyes were big and blue and sparkling with curiosity. You held that sweet round head high, your shoulders always back, your proud chest thrust out to meet the world. You marched through life, on two steady feet, belly-forward. You were as self-assured as a much older child, and yet, you were still my baby.

You loved Mandarin oranges, and tofu, and cheese.

You taught yourself to walk (and roll and climb) at the first opportunity, and by your first birthday, you were running and clambering and exploring this big wonderful world as quickly and thoroughly as you could. You were as sure-footed as a child many times your age, but you were still my baby.

Your first recognizable words were Mama and Dada, but you very quickly added Hi, Bye, Book (buk) and Cat (ka) to your arsenal of words, which you always held in reserve until the moment that each would have its most devastating, heart-melting effect.

You loved to explore, and to learn, and by the time you turned one year old, you had figured out how to get past baby gates and how to open doors and you made it clear, with every step, that nothing would hold you back. You were always looking for new faces, new things, new landscapes, but you always kept one eye on the whereabouts of your Mommy, or your Da. You delighted at encountering both the familiar and the strange. You were fearless, but you were, always, my baby.

On your first birthday, you started the day with a squeal of delight, and spent the morning racing about the house, chasing cats and pulling books from the shelf and refusing breakfast because everything was just too interesting and there were just too many things to do and I looked at you and I thought, what a powerful, powerful little person my baby is. Such a little person. But still my baby.

I looked at you and I was astounded: my baby, turning into a little girl. My heart pounded and swelled and broke, just a little bit, as it expanded to contain the flood of love and the flood of hope and the flood of fear. You were growing, as I watched. You were becoming you, ever more you, and, so, ever less me. The time and distance from your birth, one year prior, was so great that for a moment I thought that, if I were to look back, really, I would not be able to see across that distance. At the moment of your birth, you were still part of me, flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood. As I looked at you on your first birthday, I saw – and thrilled and wept for seeing – that you were so rapidly becoming you.

And now, so many years, you are you. I know this, without having yet seen it.

I don’t know you – the grown-up you, the you of your future, of my future - yet. I’m writing this on the occasion of your first birthday: there are many years still to come before I know the grown-up you, the you who will read this letter and wonder at her mother's sentimentality. I’m only just starting to know you, even though, in so many respects, I already know you better than I do any other being, and even though it will be many, many years before another human being knows you as well as I do. As remarkable as it seems to say so, I am only just now - in this, your first year - starting to know you. It is my hope, my wish, my intention that I will always strive to know you, to understand you. It is my wish, my hope - however misguided it may turn out to be, at times - that you will always let me.

I don’t know what will happen (what has happened, if we are truly looking backward, from the vantage of your 18th year) between your first and your eighteenth birthdays. I don't know, yet, the stages that you will go through. I know that there will be much joy, much laughter, many smiles. I know that there will be much love, and many hugs. I know that we will have shared all of these things, in spades, by the time you read this letter.

I know, too, that we will have shared many tears. We will have shared pain. I’m certain that there will have been misunderstandings, resentments, confusion between us. I’m certain that there will have been many, many times that you will have felt such a great distance from me – and I from you – that the fact of our closeness, the fact of the bond of flesh and blood and heart between us, will have been forgotten, lost somewhere over the horizon of the space between us, mother and daughter.

But that fact – the fact that you are my flesh, my blood, my soul, my heart - will, always, remain. For as much as you grow and live and live and grow and become you – wonderful, brilliant, beautiful you; sure-footed, self-assured, fearless you – you will always be mine, you will always be my heart.

You will always, always be my baby.

I love you.

November 14, 2006

Happy Birthday, Baby. Happy Birthday.

Monday, November 13, 2006

One Year, Less Some Hours, Mercifully Forgotten

One year ago tonight, I was in labour. I had been in labour for, oh, 18 hours or thereabouts. I would remain in labour for another 18 hours.

Thankfully, I've blanked most of it out.

30+ hours BEFORE arrival of the WonderBaby. Note ginormousness. Also note deluded smile, unique to women who mistakenly believe that it will all be over soon, and that effort of pushing a being the size of a prize-winning pumpkin through nether regions will be entirely manageable.

Tomorrow... tomorrow is for remembering the joy.

(That is - after a very exciting blogradio debate on feminism with Julie, hosted by Kristen!

blog radio

After that joy, the birthday joy will be indulged.)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Who me? Worry?

So, in the comments to my last post, somebody took me to task for my hand-wringing. 'Where is your confidence? Guilt, inadequacy, overwhelming, deprive, missing... these are your words?' The fingers were practically wagging through the screen, and my immediate impulse was to phone my mother and chastise her for commenting anonymously.

But then I thought twice, and realized that my mother would never take me to task for my hand-wringing. Not because my hand-wringing doesn't exasperate her, but because she long ago reconciled herself to the fact that I am - in her words - a worrier.

And because she knows that she (with a little bit of help from the Catholic Church) made me what I am: a type-A, overfunctioning worrier who is driven by guilt and fear of disappointing significant others and persons of authority. I've been well-trained in the arts of worry and hand-wringing, having learned early on that my parents and others had Very High Expectations of me and that I should have Very High Expectations of myself and that there was - is - no more terrible fate than Disappointing anyone with such expectations (not least, myself). I have always been expected to Do Well, and so I have spent a lifetime endeavouring to make good on that expectation. And, of course, worrying that I might fail in that endeavour.

It's exhausting, sometimes, but it's what I do. I could no more stop worrying than I could stop breathing. (OK. I could stop myself from breathing, but then my face would go red and I would eventually lose consciousness. Which is probably pretty much what would happen if I stopped worrying.)

Which means that this blog is often more a chronicle of my angst as a new mother (and as a wife, an academic, a feminist, etc., etc.) than it is a diary of my days with the WonderBaby. And that's fine with me. When I'm not strutting my worries upon the (virtual) page, I'm reflecting and working out ideas and figuring out my - our - story as I go. Being able to reflect upon my worrying here, with you, goes a long way toward keeping it from interfering with my day-to-day life. And as I have said many a time, you all play such an important part in this exercise, wherein I figure out, in words, how to be a good mother - or, more to the point, how to be completely comfortable being the best kind of bad mother.

So thank you. Thank you so much.

It'd be pretty lonely, otherwise.

(Seriously, people. Your comments on my post about not being able to write about Tanner actually helped me to SLEEP last week. And the many, many supportive comments and helpful stories that you shared in response to my last post, on being ambivalent about whether to have more than one child... I can't even tell you what a tremendous, tremendous difference that it all made to my state of mind. It made me less intimidated by own expectations of myself as a mother. It made me think, for a few moments here and there and now, that I'll be fine, regardless of the number of children that we have. That's huge. HUGE.

I love you.)