Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Miss Chou Chou Magoo is no longer two. She is three, or, as she informed me on the ride home yesterday, "I don't want to be three. I'm four." Which essentially captures what it means to be three — smart enough to be sassy and willful, but young enough to be cute and endearing (making it easier to take the first part of that statement).

I know that I've long fallen off the Chou monthly update wagon, but on this her third birthday, I thought I should at the very least make an effort to jot down what life is like with her now.

First, Chou is a...um...stubborn/smart/willful/determined/bright/friendly/temperamental/musically inclined/loud/athletic child. See? A good mix of the trying and the terrific. Chou is active, mentally and physically, loves singing, playing make believe, colouring and painting, playing king of the castle and some sort of "Bees attack!" game she learned from her friend Jack. She's more aggressive lately, I think because of all the time she's spending at daycare (it's not daycare so much as the group of kids she's playing with, and it's not bad, just different). She still loves to help me cook and bake, and we still have pre and post supper family dance parties. She'd rather be outside and moving than inside watching TV, but she's decidedly in love with certain shows (Dora is a recent addition, but Ruby and Max and the Cat in the Hat are favs). Her vocabulary grows daily, and I love that she uses uncommon words for a girl of her age. Chou still loves her routine, so much so that fits erupt if someone, namely me, has the audacity to remove the lid of her yogurt before she can. The Horror! And yes, that is one of the fun things about being three — the drama. Oh, the drama. As in, I may not call her "babe" as it's far too close to "baby" of which she is NOT, I am often reminded.

But she's also a magnificently confident child, makes friends easily and is willing to climb new hills and explore new lands with courage and wonder. She is actually upset when I show up to pick her up from daycare in the car. "Where's the Chariot?" she demands. Our walks home full of puddle jumping, snow hill climbing, rock collecting and mail fetching take f-o-r-e-v-e-r, but I savour our time outside in the fresh air. Which makes this winter that will never end that much harder, as I simply can't wait to spend as many hours as possible hiking and exploring.

When it comes to describing Chou, the words come easily, but any parent knows that when you try and convey all the love and pride and wonder you feel for your child, words always fail. And so it is with me. Quite simply, she is my everything and each and every second she's away from me I feel incomplete. I love her more than I ever thought someone could love.

And then she comes home, throws a fit over nothing and demands a Baby Bel cheese. Yup, that's my girl.
7 a.m, watching "kid shows" as she calls them. Couch snuggling is one of my favorite things to do. Hers too, I think. Happy birthday, babe.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A conspiring universe

For anyone who hasn't read The Alchemist, I suggest you go and read it now. I'll wait.


Back? Good.

I'm not a religious person at all, but I am a rather firm believer in that which we cannot see. I believe in energy — that the more good and love we put out in to the world, the more it goes around and comes back to us, that people are intrinsically good and that when you put your wishes out to the universe, the universe conspires with you. No, I haven't had too much coffee, I've simply been practicing a bit more patience, and trying to be more content and aware of all that goes on around me.

Let's back up a bit.

I recently hit my one year mark at my current job. I expected a raise. Not a big one, mind you, just a raise. I had all these plans and goals of what I would do for the magazine and all the extra work I'd put in and all the travel I'd do. Then, I didn't get the raise. The boss says all is well, but no, no more money for you. My first reaction was to get pissy. Then I stood back and thought about what kind of message this might be.

For starters, I now know just how tough and time consuming this job is from December through March. As balance, I now know just how NOT tough it is May through June (there's a shoulder season on either side that's so-so; I do know there are 12 months. Duh). I also know that I've been craving more time with Chou Chou Magoo who is soon no longer two. And I have a doula client due now, one next month and another in July. Doula work fulfills me in ways a desk job never could, and spending time with Chou is priceless.

The connection? I think that if I'd been given a raise, I'd feel more obligated to spend every spare moment of every day working, thinking about work, considering work. Instead, I feel like I can draw a line ME time vs. WORK time. I can feel good about this line — I can be proud of my work achievements and my work ethic, but I can take my evenings, weekends and early afternoons and savour them, guilt-free, with my daughter and any other hobbies or interests I choose to pursue. I can cultivate friendships, spend time working on my own health and offering my support for labouring women. My job, as it is, allows that.

And so we come around to International Women's Day and our conspiring universe. I have a doula client due next week, but I feel that baby is going to arrive any day (as in, today, in fact), and I was worried that my deadline this week would derail those plans. Yesterday, I had two things on my plate that I HAD to deal with, and one this morning, that, had she called, would have meant I either couldn't attend her birth, or would have had to attend only part. I asked the universe to just give me 'til Tuesday at lunch. Pretty please? And here we are, no baby and work "musts" getting crossed off the list.

What does this have to do with Women's Day? Not much really, except that I think my most valuable contribution to this day is to be there, fully and present with an open mind and heart, at a woman's most powerful and vulnerable point in her life — giving birth — and I'm just too happy to know the universe agrees.