I Target

I have a complicated relationship with Target…

I fervently support local small businesses and would love to exclusively use their beautiful products but sadly baby boutique prices are astronomical. When, in the first few weeks of Joanie’s life, Eric and I were going through ten receiving blankets a day I sent him to collect as many as he could find. Sharing my values when it comes to small businesses versus conglomerate department stores, Eric visited some of the boutiques in our neighbourhood. He had been resistant to my new relationship with Target, but after his excursion in which he only found forty dollar blankets, he joined me in my resolve to shop at the big stores. After a short trip on the metro, he returned with sixteen new blankets for the price of one from the boutique.

Target is the best and worst place in the world. Its glaring florescent lights, garish easy-listening music and glitchy self-check-out machines accentuate the experience’s suburban and impersonal qualities that I have defiantly resisted since my rebellious adolescence. Most of my teenage angst was nonsense, an effort to stand out, my short lived foray into vegetarianism and my disdain for pop music, for instance. (I now eat meat and love Toni Braxton.) I do, however, stand by my aversion to big stores. We all know the effect Walmart and the like have on individual proprietors. Not only are small businesses devastated by the arrival of these stores in communities, the products they bring along with them are crap, garbage, poorly made shit.

The sad truth is that as part of a young family, just starting to sort out its finances and suddenly confronted with the prospect of tuition and mortgages, I don’t have the money to buy forty dollar receiving blankets. Babies grow awfully swiftly. They are fountain of gross that don’t give a damn about material possessions, thus rendering such purchases frivolous. 

Once I accepted Target as the best option for onesies, rompers, sheets, wash cloths, breast milk storage bags, socks, diapers, bottle nipples, soothers, owl-shaped night lights, baby powder, zinc oxide, rubber duckies in chef hats and, yes, receiving blankets, I was converted to a Target love, albeit a reluctant one. Joanie has everything she needs and plenty more, and if  I wear blinders and keep my ear buds firmly snug and tuned to NPR, I can get in and out of Target in less than twenty minutes.

 Now I love Target for exactly what it is: cheap junk that I won’t mourn when it reaches the limits of its use. I still visit the boutique on occasion as their are some items that require investment. I have a terrible vision of a Target crib crumbling beneath my daughter’s ever expanding weight and height and sometimes I can’t resist an adorable linen dress in a store window. It had whales on it! 

Note: Target people hate when you take pictures in their Target and they especially hate when you refuse to use their self-check-out machines. 

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It’s a lot of sitting on the floor.

I write this lying on my stomach next to my daughter Joanie as she wriggles and squirms on a mat with an arch over it from which hang various bells, mirrors and rattles. In the centre of the arch there’s a plastic sun that sings lullabies and blinks along to the melody in an epilepsy inducing fashion. Eric and I refer to it as the “over-stimulation chamber.” Yesterday, as Joanie lay enraptured by the solar tunes and flashes, I fell asleep on my hardwood only to wake up with a small pool of drool by my lip and an annoying pain in my shoulder.

Though baby books offer scores of advice, lessons and anecdotes, the authors of such tomes neglected to warn my knees about just how much time they would spend on the ground. On average I spend four hours a day kneeling, lying and rolling on the floor. Whether I’m enjoying an egg sandwich across from Joanie in her bouncey chair or lying next to her during her tummy time on a yoga mat, the floor is the place to be.

And it’s not just in my house that I find myself occupying the terra firma. Few of the establishments I frequent have changing tables. This is no travesty. I understand the restrictions old buildings impose, and I’m a resourceful lady, I’m certainly not above kneeling on bathroom tile next to a pile of receiving blankets on which a diaper can be changed in a cramped and poorly lit space.

Recently, while joining some friends at a local pub for an afternoon pint, I took Joanie to a closet of a bathroom. It was too small for both of us on the floor so I arranged a changing space on the toilet seat. As I cooed and whistled a few “What a good girls” at my squirming daughter, I realized I neglected to lock the door. A very surprised young woman walked in and cried a George-Takei-esque “Oh my,” and fumbled the door closed again. “It’s okay,” I murmured apologetically, wondering why she was so disturbed by a woman changing a diaper, scoffing casually at her uptight, posh manner. It wasn’t until I walked back to my table that I was able to picture in my mind what she had seen. Rather than a mother doing mothering things, the young woman must have thought she was privy to a lady squatting in front of a toilet, praising the porcelain for its good girl qualities.

Motherhood, it would appear, isn’t convenient. It’s a lot of accommodation, resourcefulness and quick fixes. Strangely enough it’s not embarrassing. That probably has something to do with the amount of bodily fluids I deal with on a daily basis.

 

 

Note: Skip Hop makes a portable changing station. I haven’t bought one yet, but it looks like a good idea.

Wait, wait. Can I start again?

Admittedly this blog began as an effort to make light of an irresponsible life, one I’d imagined as typical of my Never-Never-Land generation. It was swiftly abandoned as life hit me in the belly, so to speak, and my silly bumblings suddenly became foolish and inconsequential. 

My boyfriend, hereafter referred to by the pseudonym Eric, and I had a wonderful and terrifying surprise. After just three months of dating Eric, I was pregnant and expecting the baby in April of 2014.

In a few quick moments being a rock star and first place in the bad bitch contest no longer mattered. I had to start eating three meals a day; none of which could be candy. My finances had to be put in order and I needed to see a doctor for the first time in years. I started reading everything ever written about childbirth and parenting (only to find later that I would forget it all). I cleaned baseboards, made shopping lists and became stricter in my previously unruly dog’s discipline. In short I made a mad and frantic dash to the adulthood finish line, clumsily flailing about along the way.

To my dismay and surprise, there is no finish line. That is why the title of this blog has remained the same. With every action, superficial and substantive, I make an effort at adulthood. A lot of the time I fail, but it’s all much more earnest than it was before.

What follows is “Because I’m an adult,” the version that addresses parenthood, adulthood and living well.

Please enjoy.

Note: Frank the cockapoo is now eleven years old and doing fine.

Typing on a computer that I stepped on while stumbling to the crib at 3 in the morning

Typing on a computer that I stepped on while stumbling to the crib at 3 in the morning