Fail-safe secret weapon
by Karla ° Monday, June 30, 2008
Saturday night we broke out the baking pans and concocted a fail-safe secret weapon that no under the weather kid on a food strike could refuse – fresh from the oven chocolate chip cookies.

Filling a tiny tummy with chocolate-infused glory takes very little convincing, apparently.

Cookie Face


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Before and After
by Karla ° Saturday, June 28, 2008
Typical Friday Night Before Kids:

5:30 pm: BEER!

5:39 pm: BEER!

Oh, what the hell, let’s keep this simple; 5:40 – 11:00 pm: BEER!

11:09 pm: Stumble into a restaurant, fill the room with drunken laughter and pile food into an already full belly of beer.

12:02 am: Stumble home. Have stumbly drunken sex. Pass out and die. Resurrect sometime around noon on Saturday, moan for several hours and then muster the insanity of youth and continue marathon weekend-long binge drinking.


Friday Night After Kids:

3:00 pm: Begin to have some serious concerns about dehydration because Nate has barely eaten or drank anything in a days and days and yet the diarrhea and fever continue.

3:02 pm: Call family doctor. Not in until next week. Decide against returning to the walk-in clinic we visited earlier in the week because the appointment felt detached and rushed.

3:03 pm: Suddenly remembered that a reader previously told me about a Children’s Walk-in Clinic staffed by Pediatricans here in Ajax.

3:04 pm: All-knowing Google tells me the clinic doesn’t open until 5:30 pm.

5:29 pm: Arrive at Children’s Pediatric Walk-in Clinic one minute early to (hopefully) beat the anticipated long and crowded wait.

5:31 pm: Notice sign on door apologizing for the inconvenience, but the clinic will not open until 7:30 pm. Curse under breath.

5:57 pm: Also curse at the volume of traffic in what should be a very quick drive to the pharmacy.

6:01 pm: Pull into parking space and cringe as the sound of curb pavement and van crunch beneath me. Make note to self to learn how to park this fucking behemoth of a van already. Cringe again as I put the van in reverse and the front fender slowly scrapes its way back off the curb.

6:17 pm: Arrive home and try to get an incredibly picky eater of a kid to drink pedialyte. Realize this is about as likely to happen as asking him to solve the height of an isosceles triangle. Realize that I don’t even know how to do that. Shrug off my dwindling mental capacity and demonstrate how great pedialyte tastes. MMM! LOOK! MOMMY LOVES PEDIALYTE!

6:20 pm: Dump a cranky and lifeless kid into the very capable hands of a husband still tired from a long commute and an even longer day at work so that I can go for a run.

6:22 pm: Realize that I have no clean running clothes. Shrug off my dwindling capacity to care and dig out a previously soaked with sweat sports bra and running socks from the dirty laundry basket.

6:26 pm: God, when was the last time I peed? Fucking broken main floor toilet.

6:29 pm: Go for speed run.

7:13 pm: Arrive home. Fall over. Die.

7:14 pm: Realize there is no time to be dead when you have a sick kid.

7:15 pm: Shower.

7:19 pm: Throw on a clean t-shirt and crops and slip on my bedraggled yet über comfortable six-year old peek-a-boo sandals.

7:24 pm: Strap a limp and feverish kid into a car seat.

7:35 pm: Arrive at Children’s Pediatric Walk-in Clinic.

7:42 pm: Feel guilty when my sick toddler walks over to a five-month old and coughs all over him.

8:15 pm: Pediatrician determines Nate has a very bad ear infection. Current antibiotics not working. And why were they prescribed in the first place? Start new course IMMEDIATELY! Also, for persistent coughing learn that honey is just as good as cough medicine. Good to know considering all children’s cold and cough medicines have been banned.

8:22 pm: Arrive back at pharmacy and tote around an unwanted sippy filled with pedialyte, a lifeless Spider-Man pyjama-clad toddler and his blankie. Wait for new prescription to be filled.

8:45 pm: Arrive home. Offer child cookies and ice cream hopeful that enticing him with something sweet will get him to eat SOMETHING. Dispense new meds, tempra and several doses of cuddling and love while child falls asleep in Mark's reassuring arms.

9:00 pm: God, when was the last time I ate? Cucumber and tomato on a toasted whole grain bagel counts as dinner right?

9:17 pm: BEER!

9:44 pm: Snuggle up on the sofa and drift off in a peaceful slumber against the comforting warmth of a burly man chest.


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They say
by Karla ° Thursday, June 26, 2008
The proverbial they say to expect crotchetiness and full-fledged misery when your kid begins teething with molars, but I only half pay attention to that sort of stuff because if I actually listened to all the information out there about when to expect my child to be miserable then I’m pretty sure that I would have to force myself to take up a drinking habit.

But they seem to be right this time because we’ve been worriedly struggling to keep Nate’s fever below 102°F for two days straight. Mix in some stubborn irritability and an unearthly amount of mystery diarrhea that magically manifested itself out of what amounts to about three bites of food over the past several days and then a sudden temperature spike to 103.6°F, I decided to take him to the doctors yesterday.

And lo, it’s the molars.

And also Nate’s first ear infection.

They also say that the eyes are the window to the soul and even though Nate’s eyes have cried enough tears to fill a saltwater ocean since he's been born, I think this is the first time they've so clearly registered so much emotion and discomfort.

Seeing him be so expressively in pain breaks my heart a little bit, but it also makes me hopeful.

Hopeful that there's an end in sight to my parental duty as perpetual cutter of food into itty bitty pieces.


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What happened in Vegas
by Karla ° Friday, June 20, 2008
I was so born in the wrong climate region. Even at 40°C (105°F), the dry desert heat was sheer bliss. We keep telling our families that we're going to move somewhere warm because we don't like the freezing cold Canadian winters and breath-hindering high humidity-soaked summers, and they’re all, oh, you would miss the snow eventually. And I’m all, yeah, that’s exactly what I’ll be thinking about when I’m 60 and lying on a beach somewhere not perpetually encased in a stiff snow suit and shivering in sub zero temperatures.

We didn’t end up staying up all night like we thought we would. After a couple of drinks with dinner I’d pretty much fall asleep in my salad plate. I’m still trying to figure out if that’s nature's way of protecting sleep starved parents or if it’s because I spent the day drinking my body weight in alcohol at the pool.

I’m not sure how he managed to muster the energy, but while I slept, Mark would rise with the sun and go jogging along the strip in the morning. One day, because half the people in Vegas have not gone to bed by 6:00 a.m., Mark passed a group of young guys who were still out partying and when they saw him running they were all, dude, are you seriously jogging? And Mark was all, no man, I’m just trying to hurry back to the hotel before my wife wakes up and realizes I’ve been gone all night.

In all seriousness though, this trip was hands down the best vacation we’ve ever had. Better than our honeymoon even. This was our first vacation that did not involve awkward disagreements around procreation sex or fleeting attempts to escape the devastation of loss.

This time around was nothing but laid back fun in the sun, mind-blowing entertainment and hand holding under twilight skies. And everything else that happened in Vegas will stay between me and Mark and the privacy-enhancing tinted glass of a floor to ceiling window.

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by Karla ° Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Seven nights, two hotels, several wickedly awesome shows and three time zones later, we’re home. Mostly just in body though, because my spirit is still perched on a sun-warmed chaise and resting inside a billowy pool cabana.

I gambled zero dollars, slept from here to infinity and back again in a bed that completely devoured me in its comfort, and spent the entire time trying to understand why a muffin the size of my head costs the same amount of money as one perfectly polished red apple.

All that unnecessary thinking while on vacation is probably why I may need a day or two to figure out how my son grew several inches and seemingly left toddlerhood behind while we were gone. It also must be why I can't seem to remember how to tap into the writing center of my brain, but feel free to check out a few of my incredibly typical vacation photos while some serious recuperating takes place here at chez Cadeau.


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Canadian, Eh?
by Karla ° Friday, June 13, 2008
While exploring this desert oasis of urban-infused glitter, Mark and I struck up a conversation with a Vegas local who, before even hearing our accents, pegged us as Canadian. He even identified the province that I was born in (Alberta). Stunned, I asked how he could have possibly known that, and he just laughed and said that after seeing as many people as he does, it’s very easy to identify characteristics and features.

Although I totally planned wear my tuque in this sweltering desert heat, apparently I forgot to pack it while I was busy putting my pants on inside out. And since we reluctantly left our toboggan at home, too, my question is this: what possibly could have so clearly identified us as Canadian on a street bustling with exotic multiculturalism, eh?


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At least I wore panties
by Karla ° Thursday, June 12, 2008
I awoke with a jolt to the sound of a blaring bedside alarm at 4:00 a.m. on Monday morning and while still in a highly unstable state uncaffeinated sleepiness, I groggily splashed cold water over my barely open eyes and then fumbled through a darkened closet for a pair of comfortable yoga pants to wear for the four and half hour flight to Vegas.

Before landing, the friendly plane crew thanked us all for not smoking and reminded everyone to wait until they were well inside the airport terminal before lighting up.

Ahh. Welcome to Vegas: an entertainment-saturated city of over the top hotels, exotic boutiques, eclectic style and sizzling nightlife bustling with a cornucopia of sleep-lacking people guided under the influence of barely there rules.

At least that’s the excuse I’m using to explain why I checked into a hotel world renowned for its luxury and opulence with my pants on inside out.


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Be back soon
by Karla ° Monday, June 9, 2008
There are cocktails for tasting, and then there are alcohol-infused drinks for body healing and relaxation. I’m off doing the latter. For an entire week straight. Perhaps in excess.

But there will be pictures. Even if it's a blurry snapshot of a fiendishly fit sun-worshipping hunky adonis blissfully unaware of his intoxicated audience.

Don't worry. Mark won't be wearing a speedo.


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Saccharine sweetness
by Karla ° Sunday, June 8, 2008
While still drifting between islands of sleepy slumber this morning, I made my way over to Nate’s room and there, in the hushed silence of morning shadows, I gazed down at my peacefully sleeping son. Sensing my presence, he stirred, raised his tiny fists above his head to stretch and elongate his sleep-weakened limbs, breathed a delicate whisper of a yawn and then smiled up at me with his piercingly azure baby blues.

God, I’m going to miss him and his saccharine sweetness.

This little family of mine means everything to me. And as much as I love my son with every last fibre of my being, I also know that some one-on-one carefree adult adventures with my sturdy male counterpart will enliven and enrich the very fabric of love this family is built on.


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by Karla ° Friday, June 6, 2008
The house feels eerily quiet this morning. In the background is the gurgle of a brewing pot of coffee and just beyond an open window I can hear the trailing echo of a distant train and a lively orchestrated morning symphony of birds.

The house is quiety today because every Friday Nate goes to daycare, and I'm so happy to say that our new provider, Kristen, has been nothing short of amazing.

I remember how much my heart sank when our first attempt at putting Nate in daycare one day a week ended in an awkward confrontation of me being told that my son was developmentally behind and disruptive to the business. Unlike our last experience however, Kristen is warm and loving and Nate has never come home in an inconsolable state lasting for days. And most importantly, she has never told me not to bring my kid back.

Nate’s been under Kristen’s care since March, and in all this time, she's only mentioned one day where he cried a lot, but that he was easily consoled by plenty of snuggling and his blankie.

Every time I pick Nate up at Kristen's, she excitedly tells me about all the new things he’s learning and how clever he is about interacting with the world around him. Any mention of temper tantrums or periods of fussiness are mentioned more in passing, kind of like ho-hum, normal kid stuff, but here, let me fill you in all of the exciting and new things your ever-evolving child learned today.

Kristen also sends home a report detailing how Nate’s day went, what activities he did, what he ate, when he napped, etc. Totally not something I expect, but a nice touch. And his "report cards" are something that I will treasure forever.

So while I sit here in quiet solitude clutching a mug filled with the wafting aroma of coffee, sounds seem amplified. And without a busy toddler rummaging through a cupboard filled with Tupperware, I swear I can hear the vibrations of nervous energy in my veins, propelling the increasingly loud thump thump thump of my maternal heart at the thought of not seeing my son for nine days while I'm out of the country.

Samson, seemingly sensing my unease, is instincitvely lying at my feet. And I know I should probably say something about what a loyal companion he is, but I just need to stop right here and tell you how comfortable it is to have the entire sofa to myself. Nate is not climbing up and down and down and up and up and down and bouncing and hopping all over the place, and in an unusual fashion, Samson is not trying to mould his great big giant dog body into the last remaining square inch of cushion space.

Samson also loves human contact, which sounds all cute and adorable, except that 90 lbs of dog torso on your lap is so not comfortable. And whenever we have company spend the night, Samson is faced with the difficult challenge of deciding which human to snuggle with. This usually means that he spends the entire night alternating his bedmates between all the human-filled beds in the house, which also means that nobody ever gets any sleep because one minute Samson is all, hi, want to spoon? And just as the seismic afershocks he created from leaping on the bed begins to taper, he’s off again to visit a different human where he's all, it’s been over two minutes since we last spooned together, so let’s take it slow and start with me sticking my cold dog nose in your ear.

I feel sorry for all of the dogs that Samson will be able to run free and play with at the kennel while we’re away because I know he will not sleep for even two seconds if there are other dogs faces to put inside his great big giant dog mouth.

And because he is too shy to do his business in public, I also know that he will not poop the entire time he is there. God help me if have to give that dog an enema when I get home.

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Unhip and unchic in Las Vegas
by Karla ° Monday, June 2, 2008
While lunching with my girlfriend, Ang, and her cooing baby the other day, the topic of what I planned to wear while vacationing in Vegas came up. And then it hit me. By this time next week I will be lounging by a pristine azure pool on a sun-warmed chaise in the artificially enhanced city of sensuality and sin and my closet is lined with nothing but yoga-inspired clothes and lacklustre cotton.

After never returning to the corporate urban hollows following Ava's death, and then experiencing the dramatic shift of bodily proportions after carrying two full-term babies, I donated all of my dressier business clothes to charity. And of the few trendy pairs of pants that I kept, all but one pair still fit my post-pregnancy body which, oddly, is droopier and thinner than it has ever been.

Ang, a well seasoned traveller, helped me inspect my closet for items potentially suitable for exploring a sun-drenched desert by day and embarking on nocturnal desire-fuelled adventures by night. And let me just say that I am much better equipped to schlep around the Strip in comfortable shorts and casual t-shirts than I am to vamp it up fine dining style.

The only items we managed to salvage from my crumbling wardrobe were several body-hugging camisoles that could be paired with either the last of my boot-cut jeans that fit, or the sole remaining pair of pin-stripped dress pants I own that do not sag and rumple in all the wrong places. We also found one knee-length dress with built in waist-slimming runching which will be perfect for dancing the night away at an überhip club with my awkwardly unhip dance moves.

Still obviously in need of a few new wardrobe accessories, we moved onto shoes next. All that I wear these days are: ballerina flats, a comfortable, yet completely bedraggled pair of six-year old peekaboo sandals and a pair of brand new Saucony runners which were so comfortable on my feet in the store that I was forced to file for divorce from my long-time love affair with Asics.

So after digging through the shadowy storage corners in the basement, I pulled out a giant bag stuffed with strappy shoes of all different colours and heel styles. Also in the bag was a pair of almost knee-high boots that make my calves sweat. And remembering the sheer vastness and distance one walks while exploring the Strip, I decided on a pair of pointy-toed black kitten heels and a pair of mules with reasonable heels and decorative buckles.

Wanting something fresh to wear poolside and something flirty to enhance my running-toned legs while kicking up my heels under the dusky Vegas nightlife skies, I set out to do some shopping last week and if it wasn’t for this pesky thing called a real life, I could have easily blown 17 mortgage payments on new clothes.

I ended up buying a cute mix-and-match belted bikini bottom in fiery orange and a candy-coloured coordinating top with gold hoop emblazoned straps. For evening wear, I absolutely fell in love with an optic white balloon-squirted dress that would look fabulous dining alfresco under a star-strewn sky, but for reasons I don’t quite understand, something about wearing white makes me stain-prone, and as much as I loved that dress, I just knew the inevitable dribbling of red vino on it would totally ruin my night.

Next, I tried on a seductive thigh-high poison-green dress and if wasn’t for the fact that I am a role model to a pint-sized human and a married woman who is mostly opposed to walking around with an amply-panty covered ass peeking out of her clothes, I totally would have bought it.

In the end I settled on a modest, yet simple and chic dress with a tropical turquoise hue. And dammit, if I spill wine that thing, I am so screwed because that dress needs to take me through at least one burlesque style production, a night of electro club mixes and being within intimately close proximity to illusionist titan David Copperfield.

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