On Coming Back:

The reason I dropped the blog last March was to focus on writing a book, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I answered emails (like all the emails!), ate large hunks of cheese, and watched the great oeuvre of Shondaland.

The thing about being a writer and a mother, or at least it’s like this way for me, is that writing doesn’t feel like a real duty. Any self-respecting and emotionally secure artist will tell you otherwise. (And yes I believe is self-respecting and emotionally secure artists, but that’s a whole other conversation that gets me very bent out of shape.) In real life… that’s silly, it’s all real life… in my non-blog-nine-to-five life I am actually a professional writer. But despite being 100% sure that writing is for me, whenever I sit down to work, there’s a nagging in my brain telling me I should be organizing Joanie’s Duplo collection or catching up on How to Get Away with Murder.

The point is that I should be more confident in the validity of my personal writing as a venture. I have to make things happen for myself, otherwise who am I to tell my daughter to do the same?

In the front of all my journals, I write, “Stop whining and get on with the work.” I heard it on a podcast once, and it gives me a good kick, though truthfully not enough. Unfortunately at the end of the day, I am just so damn exhausted by the hours of copywriting, dishes, and toddler dance parties that I don’t take the time to do what I’m really passionate about. This all sounds very whiny, but I only mention it as exposition to my new resolve.

Never in my life have I written more than when I was concentrating on this blog. Not only was I consistently updating, I was writing short stories, researching for scripts, and journaling like a fiend. Now, I’m filling my previously rich notebooks with to do lists. So, inspired by my sister-in-law’s blog and fuelled by my own frustration with The Murkoff Empire (which is really the driving force of this blog), I’m back!

I’ll be posting every other Saturday, so stay tuned for my next post on December 26th. It’s about butt holes.

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Hiatus

Hello friends and followers,

I’m taking a little hiatus to get my affairs in order for the new year. Thank you so much for your continued support. It sure has been swell.

Because I’m an Adult will return the first Friday of February. I’ll be covering the end of breastfeeding, becoming a participant, and any other weird stuff Joanie surprises me with in the coming month.

Some of my love (most of it is reserved for my family. I’m not a monster)

-Leigh KP

If you missed me at Yarn

A couple of weeks ago I posted about an upcoming performance. If you didn’t have a chance to come out, which you probably didn’t given that so many of you don’t live in Montreal, that’s okay. My dear friends Bianca and Rita filmed and edited the story.

Please enjoy and forgive my nervousness.

Joanie: a study in scowls

“I have more pictures of my children than my father ever looked at me.”

-Jim Gaffigan

While my dad was very present and certainly looked at me lots, the sentiment of the above quote reflects my own over-zealous photography. I’m sure my dad never came close to amassing the amount of pictures I take of Joanie. (Although with the purchase of his new tablet and the arrival of his first grandchild that may change.) I have had the same phone for two years and already baby pictures take up ninety percent of the megabytes or gigs or whatever storage on a digital device is called. This ratio is particularly astonishing as Joanie has only been alive for three months of those two years. 

I’m not sure how much this growth in documentation has to do with my generation’s excessively visual culture, but I do know the ease of taking and saving pictures is an obvious factor. I never have to go looking for my camera. I never buy film and consequently I never worry about wasting it. I am therefore free to hold a camera in front of my daughter’s face for as long as I want, doggedly trying to catch her elusive and ephemeral smile.

That little smile was born around the same time as the grand son of one my mum’s co-workers. Said co-worker receives a picture message a day of the new baby, so naturally my mum wants the same. I, with my new mother googly eyes, am proud and happy to oblige. But the thing about newborns is that they don’t do much, and while I see every new wink or finger twitch as amazing, they don’t make for varied photography. Really my mother has just received ninety some-odd pictures of a scowly baby strapped into various baby-keeping devices

So what do I do with all these pictures? Shall I oversaturate the internet with Joanie’s cherub cheeks? Before I was a parent I would have scoffed at the notion. “No one cares about your baby and it’s weird that it has a Facebook profile before it knows its own name.” Now that I have my own collection of kissy faces and toothless smiles, I can’t help but post the occasional photo or send out of mass email of Joanie’s spring clothing line. 

It wasn’t until I read Kirsten Clodfeter’s article “I’m that Mom whose Baby Photos you’re Blocking on Facebook” that my current Facebook profile picture of Joanie and I and our matching scowls  felt justified. Clodfeter’s article, funny, insightful and heart-wrenching, suggests the massive photo sharing parents do is a simple expression of love. And it’s true. I love that little smushy face and I want everyone to know it.  

 

Note: The Jim Gaffigan quote can be found in his special Mr.Universe, available on Net Flix

and

Kirsten Clodfeter’s article can be found on Salon.com

 http://www.salon.com/2014/07/25/im_the_parent_whose_baby_photos_youre_blocking_on_facebook/

Note 2: That’s little me in the picture, not Joanie, though we bare a striking baby resemblance. 

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. 

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.