“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”
Could never really commit myself to Easter. I actually managed to avoid it for four years. It stikes me as a largely sort of bullshitt-y holiday, of course I doubt I’d feel that way if I happened to be religious, but I’m referring more to the implausibilty of the humungous ( is he/she humungous? ) Easter bunny hiding eggs in his waistcoat or wherever. When I am asked about Santa I feel perfectly at home talking about him, it doesn’t feel fibbish – I believed in him when I was wee, and I enjoyed believing. But the Easter bunny seems sort of ill-conceived, lame even. Even I, the one who gets excited over practically anything, can barely muster enthusiasm for easter crafts, imagining the bunny. I can’t believe anyone buys the bunny.
Finney ran around excitedly hunting for eggs, it was fun and all… I left riddles on post it notes and I must say I sort of liked to watch him hunting for his drug of choice, chocolate. I will not make it ( and all sweets..) so like the forbidden fruit for my second born after seeing what censure does to appetite, increases it by, like, infinity…
On the other hand he is so happy with his miniscule stash and the deeply primal, slightly incredulous pleasure he obviously gets from it is hilariously sweet to watch. Maybe next year I’ll get him a mighty chocolate bunny instead of the few measly lindt mini-eggs and a tiny golden bunny … no doubt he’d want to sleep next to it, dream chocolate scented dreams, while dream-chewing his ears. As it is, he carries the tiny tote bag I gave him around with him for days, rationing his pleasure. I hear a tin-foil crinkle and see him squatting in a corner, underneath a window-sill sighing in pleasure, hoping he is unheard by baby brother who has recognized the wrapping and is eager to suck the marrow from the discards, foil and all.
The other day I was coming back from a dress up class with Finney, we had gone with my mum and dad, when I noticed a robin on our next door neighbour’s sidewalk. I hurriedly deposited the childers in the house and went out with a tea towel and a wine box. His little yellow feet were pointed to the sky, I noticed the little patch of white under his closed eye. Little fella was still soft, still warm – I gathered him up and brought him inside, to the warmest room in the house. This has happened before – the birds are beautiful daredevils, they zip from our holly tree in the back yard to the rowan tree on the boulevard, pirouetting in the air.
Finn and I were in the middle of a game, last time I heard a thunk on our side window so serious that I actually yelped. I pulled on my boots and ran out into the snow telling Finney to watch me from the window. I looked everywhere for about 20 minutes and was about to give up when I noticed something dark protruding from the snow beside the cherry tree. The robin had obviously hit the snow at a fair clip, he was below the icy crust entirely except for the very tips of his tailfeathers. I scooped out all the snow beneath him and took him out, put him in a box. We cooked a little sugar water and put it in the box with him, near a radiator and hoped for the best. In a couple of hours he was scritching around, and it was the most amazing feeling somehow – to know that your interference had a result this encouraging. Who knows, maybe I’m kidding myself, maybe the robin could have extracting himself from the icy crust himself. I like to think we helped. Little lives are so important.
I remember we were camping in the Australian rainforest, driving on an impossibly twisty roadway high in the mountains, when a tiny lime green bird I never found out the name of, swooped under our car. We resurrected him too, kept him sheltered in our car overnight – cooked the same sugar water – the bag of sugar was later plundered by a crazy scaldy-looking bush turkey. I remember thinking that if the bird died, then our whole trip was not worth that one little death. She lived, our little robin yesterday didn’t.
It seems like a heavy thing to consider, what media you expose your children to, nevermind that their overexposure might well be unavoidable. Maybe we ( isn’t the collective terrifying?) all have the not so subliminal fear that they will end up as slouching ne’er do wells in white hoodies, who never leave their rooms, subsisting on porn and pizza pops. I would much prefer that they would devote a reasonable amount of enthusiasm to the future imaginary jaunts I have concocted- some of which include Mt. Kilamanjaro ( done casually and in good spirits, sharing a flask of whiskey and a crumpled sleeve of maria biscuits at the peak) and return visits to our cottage ( you can scuba from the pier and try to spot the moray eel that reminds them of their vice principal lurking among the beer cans and the startlingly impressive cold water anenome..)
Case in point, I was exercising the other day, Finney had ensconced himself in the baby swing and we were watching some weird old movie with Yul Brenner as a commandante in The Russian Army. I thought I was being admirably relaxed about the whole thing – it is a bit of a priveledge.) and for some reason I didn’t switch it of despite Yu’s decidedly unchivalrous behaviour towards the american love interest/protagonist. Anyway, I was called down ( via the baby monitor ) after about 20 minutes and I left it on, quite the act of faith for me. No sooner am I in bed nursing the babe for 5 minutes of so when I hear some dramatic stomping and finally the violent throwing- open of the bedroom door… Finn is standing there with a ludicrous frown. teeth bared.. ” What, what?? ” I say… ” That ending was TERRIBLE” he says, accompanied by an actual growl of frustration. ” He DIED! I don’t ever want to see that story again!” then he twirled, rather showily, on his heel and commenced villian-smooshing play on his various super-hero vignettes.
Only picks up the interesting mail?
Keeps the things I love to eat best ’til they fur?
Hides important things in obscure books?
Eats unwashed carrots and cold veggie dogs for lunch?
Takes my child for the odd midnight walk?
I am happy to rescue worms, really I am – but sometimes I wonder if the whole worm rescue has gotten a little too big. Going places becomes difficult. Especially when you intend on arriving somewhere at any particular time. Many worms need rescued, you see, and rescues must be done with a proper, non- lethal stick. Therefore in sog-capital Vancouver, on any given block, upteen ( read, up to thirty ) worms await rescue. This is a task for a worm superhero peerhaps, but for a mama with a zany 5 year old and a babe strapped to her back and a ridiculously huge bag, it soon loses it’s charitable afterglow… We shall keep a worm count, methinks, to keep our morale up. Today: thirty-seven half smooshed worms, placed back into the soil free to regenerate another day or get gobbled up trying. Question of the day: ” Mummy, if worms don’t have blood, then what’s all that GUCK?”
Strange and random topics often lodge themselves in my mind and I devote unreasonable and unproductive amounts of time wondering about them. How can something be tragic but inescapably beautiful at the same time? I wondered aloud today about something totally random, as I am prone to do, about whether or not a dog had ever been sent into space. Ian said yes, he’d remembered a display on it at the planetarium when he was little.
Why does this memorial page, as cheesy as it may be, break my heart? What is it about the image of this little stray pup, heart rate skyrocketing from stress, in interplanetary orbit, so monumental. I felt such a weight when I read it, like I was somehow responsible, that it stood for something so huge, that this one act of omnipotence was so nonchalant in its brutality, and not unusual at all. And then there was an after note, this Oleg gazenko one of the chief scientists on the mission, who felt more than a niggle of impropriety but admitted that it was a wrongdoing, one that he recognized fully, thought about often. Why does this admission seem so important? There is significance in a scientist admitting moral error, to admit to a response of the heart, to a moral query – to being troubled. It gave me Goosebumps to read this because it signifies to me that people have the capability of being earnest and that truth must be capable of somehow loosening the tethers of the undying rationality that has been used for so long to excuse the most explicit wrongdoings.
“The more time passes,
The more I’m sorry about it…
We did not learn enough from this mission
To justify the death of the dog.”
And Laika on a stamp, that is just like some sort of mythical gravitas. Would Americans have put some martyred space ape on their stamps? Me thinks not. There isn’t even a separate listing for the rhesus monkey who was the first monkey in space and who died of suffocation. His name was Albert.
I am embarrassed to admit that I feel more for Laika. Something about apes and monkeys, they are too much like us with the same repulsive qualities; overly socialized, aggressive, egotistical.
Laika, though, is easy to love.
Trying to come to terms with my sweet, happy sleepless baby. I feel like some sort of a cartoon character, vaguely jerry-esque, sneaking the wee man into his bed, sneaking off on tiptoe… I barely make it outside the door before his eyes pop open, woken by the oil-numbed squeak of the hundred-year old doorknob, possibly, but more likely by my leaving. Even though I curse often and profusely at this annoying habit, I can’t be mad. He’s just so goddamn shiny and rosy, he wakes up after his 12 minute micronap as if he’s woken in an alpine meadow to a seranade of violins. It feels huge somehow, like I just can’t ruin this little happy being. It’s a serious duty, conjuring, fostering, honouring that sort of purity.
I have to do something uber fun with Finn. Mind you, he is hard to impress. He has grown up being dragged to all sorts of places with me from the beginning, with nary a schedule to stick to.. ” Let’s go to the mountains today! Let’s take a bus in the wrong direction..” Our fun has suffered a bit, with the arrival of the little one and with the wet gloom of the Vancouver winter. These days, he refuses to go out – he has a serious loathing of the cold. I cuddle him under the duvet and whisper what I consider to be sweet nothings.. ” Mama’s going to take you to an island, a warm one, will you come with me..?” And jokingly, while washing his hair I asked him if he would still come with me if we couldn’t buy any mushroom tofu or any egg sushi there, and he was utterly appalled, contorted eyebrows, all tragic disappointment.. ” What, mama – no egg sushi? We can’t goooooooooo…!” I wanted to laugh, but he’s very sensitive to that these days, so I just stoked his forehead and reminded him that mama can make sushi quite well, an idea he considers ludicrous. I, for one, am maintaining my island fantasy. Right now I am imagining impossibly green, pockmarked fields, ridiculously heavy sweaters, three goats and a ramshackle, but serviceable, loom. Ahhhh. Nevermind that I haven’t got a goddamn idea how to weave.
Every year I make lists of things I hope to do at Christmas. This Christmas, on my year off, it seems limitless. This is,of course, a figment of my imagination, I am quite heartily limited by my new babe and other things, though these are not any limitations in the true sense. They just mean that no matter how I fantasize about afternoons spent at messiah, or an evening in front of the fire with some suitably christmassy libation, it’s not likely to happen. And if it did I probably couldn’t enjoy it rightly. I feel like my place right now is here, and it feels right, unquestionably, happily so. The longings are just heat traces of former existances, not true regret-pang pinings.
What I still think I can accomplish is some frosty night out somewhere, looking at lights, bringing my boys on the christmas train, bundled up, then back home, with a few family members. In my head I imagine there would be wassail, cranberry goat cheese tarts, stilton with onion port chutney, pear pudding with frangiapane, and other seasonal tidbits. There would be ice lanterns lining the path and real cedar garlands, and loads of candles, bien sur. The chances seem slim that I could orchestrate anything so synchronistic, In reality I would have a well intentioned but wilted salad with slightly burnt walnuts, goat cheese smears would line the refridgerator door. Having simultaneously burnt and underdone the rosemary crepes, we would be calling for pizza. In a frantic rush I might have underdressed the kids for the cold, forgotten to feed the yowling cats. Why don’t we all just run with that mess anyway? Lets get pizza, a bottle of wine, some Bing Crosby, pop in a log-fire dvd- and play some rummoli. We’ll watch some slides, let Finney stay up way too late. Funny how the simple things can somehow be so much more satisfying than the most well laid plans. Even when they’re *ahem* semi-fictional.