My parents have been out of town since Friday morning, and while I am happy as a clam in their absence, it does mean that there are more things for me to do before my day is done. I’ve been having lots of adventures, but between cooking, cleaning up the cooking and Blake’s Potty-Training Blowout, I haven’t given myself much time to journal. So, in brief:
Met Rob for lunch on the patio at Future Bakery with Blake in tow; could barely converse in complete sentences before my child did something to require my attention. Highlights: lying full-length on the ground and discovering used gum; eating some bread I had just thrown to the birds; and subtly trying to walk away.
After lunch I headed to Andrea’s house, where a Baby Club was just ending. Andrea rushed out the door after putting K8rs to bed; I fell asleep with Blake on the guest bed but woke with a guilty start a half-hour later. Babysitters don’t sleep on the job! When the toddlers were awake and Andrea had returned, we decided to avoid the rain by driving to the outdoor organic market. This would have gone a lot more smoothly if we hadn’t left the house in opposite directions, and if I hadn’t left my car keys on the kitchen counter. (Irony alert: my keys were out of my bag because Andrea had borrowed them to check for safety latches. Determining that my car was too crummy for modern safety, we decided to go in separate cars.) By the time I figured out that my keys were inside, she was already gone from the back garage. D'oh. We sat on the porch; Blake made friends with Maury Chaykin’s cat and a snail while I tried to figure out what to do.
I knocked on a few doors, hoping to find someone with Andrea's cellphone number, and ended up borrowing a stroller from the woman across the street so that I could walk to the park. (Again with the irony.) By the time I got to the park, it was hot, steamy and raining. Andrea was about to leave.
We spent a goodly chunk of hours in the rain, letting the kids get dirtier and dirtier. I was supposed to do my veggie shopping, but I just couldn’t concentrate, so I ate a big roti & bought my favourite olives instead. Like most visits to this organic market, it was extremely primal and oddly satisfying. And Blake learned how to fetch a thrown stick from K8rs’ example, so there was intellectual activity as well. I don’t mean to suggest that I was above any of these muddy messes: my floor-length skirt started to pick up mud along the hemline and wick up the rain, so we were all filthy by the time we packed it up.
When we came back to the house to pack up our stuff before going home, Blake cried unashamedly. I wish we lived closer to our friends, and I wish I was able to make closer friends. It breaks my heart to see him pulled back into isolation because of his mother’s poor social skills.
The beginning of Blake’s Potty Training Blowout. On a tip from various sources, I took off his diaper and let him roam the backyard with no bottoms. This is the kind of thing I need to do when my parents are gone, because my dad can’t even handle the sight of an empty-bladdered Blake in his Bob the Builder underpants, let alone the thought of Blake pooping up the backyard. Progress is slow, although he is interested in the chart we started this day, which records successful potty visits with the same foil stars my 10 Spikes fought for last semester. (Well, not exactly the same ones; those are long gone. But the same package.)
I keep thinking that I missed my window, but I suppose that’s a common fear for parents in this process. I also think that I’m being competitive: K3nt0n & K8rs are way ahead of Blake, who is happy to sit in his own waste. Here come the Type A traits, right on schedule. Sigh.
Outing! Outing in Toronto! Outing in Toronto with Dirk!
Yes, Dirk; the man who’s been on sick leave for most of the past year had enough energy to both suggest a family-friendly venue and stroll around at a local street festival. So stroll we did.
It was raining lightly when we left Dirk’s house, but we were all wearing hats so we decided to stick it out. It didn’t start to really rain until we were at the festival, so we ducked into booths and made friends with the artisans. My favourite items were the pocketbooks (old books made into purses); my favourite vendors were the photographers who let us stay with them during the heaviest rains and laughed with us when Blake found the deepest puddle and began to dance. We bought a sock monkey for Blake and to keep knitted Hank Rollins company; the monkey is electric blue with hot pink skulls and crossbones, pink eyes and pink eyelashes and detail stitching. He has since named her Maggie.
We had lunch in a new restaurant called Café Taste. It was just us four and the hostess, who was also the cook. As our meals took a while, we roamed through the dining room for a long time, drinking our juices, chatting, and reading the newspaper to Blake. The rain got worse and worse, but the smell drifting in from the open door to the street was heavenly and the pounding rain only made us feel cozier. The food was fantastic; we all shared bites and I could barely stand to give anything back. For dessert, Dirk had a “Heart of Darkness,” which is port in dark chocolate cups. Considering my history with port, I got a cup that had been drained already. Lovely.
In the afternoon I also got some great little buttons from The Sweetiepie Press: think more, read more, write more (for my classes); knit till you die (for me); and a hypnochick for Blake. I love these buttons, and I’m starting quite the collection on my batpurse strap. I wish it didn’t feel so 15 years old to collect one inch buttons, but I can always wait out popular fashion. I’ve done it in the past and I can do it again.
We went home when everyone needed a nap.
Church. Cooking. Lethargy. Groceries.
This brings us to today. Really on our own for the first time in forever, Blake & I tried to sleep through most of the day. Well, actually, I did; he was normal. We hung out laundry, put in some more “naked and unashamed” time in the back yard (his new cover-up is the Nick Cave t-shirt that has always been too small for me), built a straw tower at the EYC, and got some thread at the soon-to-be local Fabricland (as the current contender will be closed at the end of the summer). I also buckled to pressure and bought sandals, as I’m tired of wearing my mom’s grubby sneakers every place I don’t want to risk my vogs.
I think I’m enjoying myself, despite being “on” all day. It’s nice to be fully committed to something, to raise Blake without the temptation of letting my parents take him for an indefinite period of time. We’re enjoying ourselves together; despite our Potty Training Stalemate, we seem to have a lot in common. I finished his Jumblie yesterday in honour of finding the book at the library, and he can hold this new toy and recite big chunks of the original text. (We’re also reading “Doodleflute,” a Pinkwater treatise on the basic idea that nothing of worth can be bought or bartered.) And just in case you thought he was about to take the world by storm, I should mention that his new best friend is a clean, empty babyfood jar, which he calls “Jar Jar.” (I helped with the name.) I’ve heard him talk to the jar, and simulate a voice in return.
Yeah. He’s a weird one. I love him.
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Don't make me send out the Blake. He doesn't listen to *anyone.*