Stress Levels: Outer Limits, Part II

So, where were we? Oh yes. When we last left our heroine at the House of Peevish, she was having a major existential crisis because, oh yeah, INSTITUTIONAL INCOMPETENCE, BUSES, AND INSURANCE.

That was a fun day, wasn’t it?

And it will comfort you to know that, in fact, exactly ZERO progress has been made on the whole “what the fuck do you mean, you’re not going to pay us for the value of our almost-brand-new car” and “what the fuck do you mean, the woman who totalled our car is also going to be driving our daughter to school on a regular basis” fronts. So that’s nice. Wouldn’t want to shake anyone’s worldviews with quick and logical resolutions to arsenumbingly stupid problems, would we?

But as I had said, that was just the start of our stress and fun, although the rest is slightly less OMG ONGOING STRESS stress and more of the WELL THAT WAS STRESSFUL, BUT NOW LOOKING BACK IT’S KIND OF HILARIOUS variety.

Because what’s not funny about subtraction, sweating, and boobs, I ask you?

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.

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Music Monday: Procedure Music

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, in early November, I was in the midst of infertility treatments. I had, at the end of a depressing IVF cycle, an inauspicious egg retrieval and then an embryo transfer to undergo, and as part of the Feelings and woo woo positive energy la di da around the procedures, they recommended we create a playlist or CD of music.

This music was supposed to be played in the background to help relax you during what could be a stressful and uncomfortable procedure. And the relaxation was also supposed to help improve your chances of success.

As you may or may not recall, my procedure failed miserably.

Now, the impression I got from my transfer team was that most people went in to their procedures with some music with ocean waves and rain playing over some New Agey woo woo music by Enya, or some ballady Celine Dion shit. That kind of thing. Not me.

My whole attitude ran more to the “This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around” end of the spectrum. Hey, if I’m going to spend a couple of hours with strangers traipsing around in my ladygarden and balancing my ovaries on the point of a pin, I was going to need to be happy and distracted.

I had some James:

And some Bjork:

There was The Clash:

And The Specials:

Some Depeche Mode:

And a little The The with some boogie woogie Jools Holland to really confuse the med students looking on:

As well as the usual suspects of The Cure and Neil Finn and whatnot that one has learned to expect with me.

So, not so much woo as WOOHOO!! And maybe that worked against me. But I think you have to start these things the way you intend to go on, and no way my potential children were going to start this life listening to some awful ballady Celine Dion crap. Possibly my potential children preferred ballady Celine Dion shit. Whoops.

Oh well. I have That Girl now, and she would have been ALL OVER the playlist I chose. I think, in retrospect, this just proves that some things are simply meant to be.


It has been another week of sickness here, starting with barfing on the weekend, and progressing to diarrhea for the last two days. Which means I have been cleaning up some pretty vile things emitting from a certain small person a great deal this week. So that’s been fun.

But we have had some pretty good moments, and before I collapse into bed, I shall relate one to you.

The other morning (after the barfing had passed, but before the diarrhea had commenced), I laid out some clothes for Stinkerbelle on her bed while she was downstairs eating her breakfast. Once she came upstairs again, I told her to go in and get dressed. She likes to do this, “ALL. BY. MYSELF.” as we are regularly reminded. So I sat down at my desk and started to check email.

Stinkerbelle began to strip off her jammies, and soon a small nudenik was walking past my door on her way to get dressed. A few moments passed, and then the small naked kid appeared in my doorway.

“Mom”, said That Girl, “can I ask you something?”

“Sure,” I said, turning from my computer.

Stinkerbelle came in, in her altogether, and sat down on the carpet in front of me. She said, “I was putting on my panties, and…” At which point, she splayed her legs out and started futzing about with her undercarriage. Showing me, I might add, all that Nature had given her.

“And I saw…” she said, pointing at her nether regions, “um… What is this?”

I fought with every fibre of my being not to dissolve into hysterical laughter right on the spot. Because every parent KNOWS that the time for That Talk is coming, but you are never REALLY prepared for it. I mean, you THINK you will handle it with great calm and dignity and appear cool. But the reality is, you rarely do.

Which I can tell you, I certainly didn’t. I probably did alright though, and kept the silent-laughter-shoulder-shaking and tears rolling down my face to a minimum.

“Well,” I began, as all good and calm and relaxed discussions of one’s personal regions surely MUST begin, “that is what makes you a girl. That’s a vagina.” Which I know in actual fact is not REALLY what it is — vulva, vagina, clitoris, women’s parts are so complicated, AND BELIEVE YOU ME, SHE WAS SHOWING ME SHE HAD THEM ALL — but that is, for the sake of ease, the catch-all term we’re going to go with at this time.

(Also, it’s not the ONLY thing about being a girl, but DUDE. We’ve got YEARS of this stuff ahead of us.)

So then I continued about how “boys are made differently, and they have a penis.”

“Penis,” she repeated, trying the word out. “Vagina” was too complicated to try, apparently.

“So boys don’t have this?” she asked.

“Nope,” I said.

“But Charlotte has this?”

“Yes,” I confirmed. “Charlotte is a girl, so she has a vagina.”

“And does Jamie have this?” she asked.

“No,” I said, “Jamie is a boy, so he has a penis.”

“But Daddy has this?” she wondered.

“Nope, Daddy is a boy, so he has a penis.”

“But I don’t have a penis,” she confirmed.

“No, you have a vagina. Girls have vaginas.”

“Vagi…” the word trailed off into a mumble.

So I began telling her how boys and girls are different, and was starting to get into how girls have vaginas and breasts and… I didn’t get far.

She stood up, and with great gravity said, “I should go back to my room now.” And walked out.

Clearly I am going to need to work on my delivery before she hits puberty.

Making Waves

It is yet another steamy week here in Suburbiaville. It is uncomfortably humid and warm. This means that it will be freezing cold and rainy for the one week we have booked to go home to Nova Scotia for a visit, as well as teeming with mosquitoes, and there will be a coating of ice on the pool.

Le sigh.

Today, we will be going for our regular weekly playdate with friends, except today? We are going swimming. This is good and bad.

It is good, obviously, for the fact that we can beat the heat and humidity for a little while. I like this. It is also good because this is the one day of the week where I can sometimes have our SUV to drive. My almost-fifteen-year-old car no longer has functioning air conditioning — the car’s worth $1500, and it would cost that much to fix or replace the A/C, so that’s a big NO — so on days when it is very hot and we have to drive to visit our friends, BDH lets me take the truck and he takes my car.

He’s a good man. A good man, who is right now sweating and putt-putt-putting along on his way to work, deafened by 4×60 air conditioning.

But back to swimming. It is also good because That Baby loves the water. She loves to splash and paddle and jump. She loves to float on her back in a life jacket. Mind you, swimming lessons were months ago, a distant memory in Toddler Time, so perhaps she will get to the pool today and freak out and DEAR DOG WHAT IS THAT THING FULL OF WATER??? It’s hard to say. But I think she will have fun.

Now, it’s not all sunshine and skittles, this swimming thing. For one thing, this means I HAVE TO BE SEEN IN A SWIMSUIT. There comes a certain age where you figure that when you purchase a swimsuit, it should also come with a supply of protective goggles for all those around you who must be subjected to the horror of Middle Aged Woman In Bathing Suit.

I have reached that age. It’s like trying to pack twenty pounds of sausage in a five-pound bag.

Normally, it’s not so bad if you are going to be somewhere, like swimming lessons, where you are surrounded by people who are also mom-shaped and enduring the trauma of wearing a bathing suit when they really do not want to. But today, we will be around people we KNOW. People who I would rather only see me fully clothed from head to toe — possibly even in a parka to hide all the unfortunateness of my mid-life figure. But I can’t, so I will suck it up because my kid wants to swim.

The other unfortunate thing…




The other unfortunate thing about going out in public in a swimsuit, is that, as a woman, and in particular a Stay-at-Home Mom type of Woman, it involves a fair amount of *ahem* “Womanscaping”.

If you are a SAHM, some days you are lucky to have even put on clothes that didn’t have some sort of stain or food substance or boogers or whatever on it, let alone wear something nice. Showers are, some days, a distant yet pleasant dream. You get up and put on WHATEVER and stumble through your days.

So on days when you actually DO manage to get showered and shampooed and shiny clean, tending the Ladygardens is the last thing on your mind. So when faced with the prospect of wearing a swimsuit in public, it requires a level of awareness and preparation that requires digging into the distant long-ago reaches of your consciousness, when you used to be an Attractive and Social Human Being.

I mean, oh my DOG. You want me to WHAT??? WHERE??

It’s not for the faint of heart.


It’s a dodgy proposition, this going swimming business. I mean, I don’t even know if I remember how to swim. I might just land in the water and sink like a rock. A fat, spandex-encased, well-groomed rock.

But you do these things for your kids. Because you love them. And you hope they will remember, and choose a nice home to put you in when you are old.

One without a swimming pool, of course.