Ann D. is really truly the nicest woman in the world. And not just because she said really nice things about me. She is possibly too kind, because if you were to read what she wrote HERE, you'd think we enjoyed her lecture, and afterward had a civilized chat about lofty matters over a lovely meal while my enchanting toddler gamboled about delightfully, occasionally enjoying some healthy snacks and playing with homespun crafts.
If you were me, you'd shamefully acknowledge that THIS really happened:
Josephine actually slept in until 7:30, instead of her usual 5:18 wake up. But because I was awake at 5:17, waiting for her to wake up, I had only just fallen back to sleep at 7:27.
So we read our usual bedside books for a bit, and then headed downstairs with Steve to watch Coronation Street. Because I didn't watch the mini episodes during the week, I simply HAD to watch all of it yesterday morning, because I'd be taping the Noon - 2:00 special episodes and was hoping to catch the evening fashion special on real time and my goodness, how else would I ever get time to watch six hours of Coronation Street in one day? And so instead of having two hours to shower, shave (because I'd promised Ann I would) and shine, I was finally ready to being going about the day around 10:00 and found Josephine was ready to nap. So after the time it took to put her down, only to have her wake up rather quickly, it was time for us both to shower, get dressed and eat. I also had to clean the bathroom, because I was going to be getting some lovely smelly bath stuff as my movie contest prize from Ann and I wanted pristine surroundings to use it in.
How did it get to be 12:30? Steve's parents still hadn't arrived, and I had yet to make Josephine's naughty T-shirt that would offend Karen von Hahn (luckily we had a few on standby). I'd even purchased a brand new iron for the transfers we made. THAT was an ordeal - husband, toddler, mall, Saturday afternoon. And not just because as I was compelled to whine endlessly "When did irons become so expensive ?!". My last wonderful iron before I dropped it and the water reservoir no longer held water was MAYBE twenty dollars at Canadian Tire ten years ago. Now the good'uns start at $45 CDN (That's $3.46 U.S.), and average (AVERAGE!)about $70 CDN.(that's $12 U.S.)
(F.I.V.E. U.S. D.O.L.L.A.R.S).
GROSS. It's an iron, not an expresso maker.
Oh, and I was tempted by THIS ONE, which was actually selling for only $25 CDN. at the Bay (that's $3.46 US), because it's all retro and stuff. But really, what a girl needs in an iron is a surge of steam. And so I spent $35 CDN. On a perfectly boring ugly serviceable iron. And as much as I looooooved cool retro iron, it's just like moving beyond sleeping on low thread count sheets. Once you've had a surge of steam, a self-cleaning feature and a soleplate you don't have to polish, you just can't keep a girl down on the farm. As much as we like the vintage aesthetic around here, we do like some progress sometimes too.
I will even forget that Steve did the indefensible - he used my brand new thing before me. That causes me actual physical discomfort. He just whipped it out of the box, plugged it in, turned it on and ironed a transfer onto his T-shirt. He did not read the outside of the box, read all of the pamphlets, fill out the warrantee card, touch all the knobs, fill it with water, iron on a test surface for five minutes to remove any polish or finishes on the soleplate, test the weight and grip, play with the surge of steam and water spray, smell the hot smell, make sure everything worked properly in case it has to go back to the store, or even just admire the brand new shiny appliance. SOME people can just use brand new things willy nilly. I am not one of them. I had to leave the room.
Shoot. I wasn't going to digress in this post.
I couldn't wait for him to trim the transfer for Josie's shirt, and then he had to go to the bank to get some cash for me and I had to eat and make sure the camera battery was charged, wrangle Steve's mum and try to clean the egg, cheese and avocado off Josephine and hopefully put a barrette in her hair in order to minimize the "boy" comments (didn't work). I decided my other ballet flats were cuter, and couldn't find pantyhose which were suddenly needed because it had decided to be cold and rainy outside and so went barelegged. Except for a bright blue band-aid, because the toddler had absconded with the supposedly flesh toned ones and I had cut myself shaving for Ann. I needed one more coat of lipstick and Josephine wouldn't wear her hat and the hurrier I go, the behinder I get. I forgot Dougie, who was in the laundry because he was getting rather, um, funky and Ann might have wanted to touch him and then she'd find out I let my daughter play with sticky toys.
Forgetting a perky silk scarf meant I was all in inappropriate season frumpy boring black with no relief and would stick out like a turd in a punch bowl amongst all the other styley Springy moms. I hopped into the car with Joan and Josie at exactly the time Ann was beginning her speech, hurtled down the Gardiner and screeched into the the parking lot. We found in a spot that was rather close, because it was in the middle of an ankle deep puddle (thigh deep for Joan, who is maybe 4'6" and eighty pounds!) and I portaged Josie and the stroller and Joan to the door.
Where, harsh blonde woman disparaged my daughter's shirt silently and offered her the boy welcome package. I requsted the girls' with my usual offended look and took the choking hazard/make your own bracelet kit for myself. We asked directions to the parent stage, which happened to be in the Northwest corner (farthest away corner because I was already late) of the room behind the SCARY CLOWN, where I saw the lovely Ann having a conversation with Very Important woman who was obviously important because she was wearing A. Grown up shoes. And B. Svelte Sleek Black outfit, not Frumpy Boring Black outfit and C. did not have avocado on her shoulder.
So of course I interrupted them by announcing breathlessly in that I was completely and thoroughly late and had managed to miss every single word Ann had carefully crafted to present to a rapt and appreciative audience that didn't include someone she was giving a prize to and who had promised to lead the standing ovation for her. Instead of wagging her finger at me and tsking, then taking my daughter away to make a wispy blonde coat out of her as she had every right to do - a golden beam of warmth shone from her and she requested just a few minutes more because she didn't want to toss Elegant Important Woman aside like a used Kleenex just because her new stalker had arrived.
So I busied myself with taking a baby wipe and using it to smear more avocado and white lint over Josephine's black pants, and asking really bored people at their booths who weren't being paid to answer my questions about beverages if there was a place to grab a coffee.
As we walked toward the little restaurant, I desperately hoped that I could behave like a real person, and remembered I'd forgotten to change out of my "Feelin' Lucky" underwear (they're red and say "feelin' lucky" on the front with a pair of dice underneath -- it's not that I was "Feelin' Lucky" in an anticipatory way. I really should take more time to write more clearly. And briefly. By the way, the underwear was a real hit under the big pregnant belly, and that picture was almost the birth announcement.) and that I rarely wear it when I'm out in public because one leg's elastic is loose and it gets all bunched as a partial wedgie, which doesn't require picking but may need the occasional wiggle. So I had to repeat silently to myself "do not pick your bum or do that hop-wiggle-shift" the whole way, which meant a silent walk instead of flitting across the convention centre room chatting carelessly and making casual asides along the way.
I fended off a few flyer snipers with some comments that I hoped were nice, because I certainly couldn't just flip them off or cold shoulder them since after coffee Joan and I were going to have a walk around and we might actually want to order labels or start an RESP or hire a bouncy castle some day. And the world's top parenting expert was right behind me and she mustn't know I teach my daughter bad things (like we spent three days last week learning BUM!)
And so we all carefully made healthy choices in the cafe, even though I saw Ann eyeballing some cookies and I promised her I wouldn't tell. But she didn’t get one, so I can say that. It was too classy a café for there to have been Jello, so I got a fruit cup just to show off and Joan a salad. Although Ann generously offered some of her official has-her-own-self-on-a-box-of-Cheerios Cheerios, the most special ones in the world, to Josephine, I'd already carefully packed some in a container with some Ancient Grain crackers, plain brown rice cakes, arrowroot cookies and Mum Mums. I was pleased when Josephine chose the rice cake first - until she realized that unlike at home, this one was not covered in Nutella and chased with coffee. So she went for a Mum Mum, which led to a conversation where I admitted they were sugar sweetened Styrofoam and I wasn't about to go buy vegetable flavoured Mum Mums for Josephine at Dominion because I never shop there and it's not worth the trip just for vegetable flavoured Styrofoam. Um, I meant to say that we were currently having a collection of Mum Mums hand made by peasants from virgin organic vegetables and angels' breath for Josie because nothing is too good for my daughter.
There is no need to recount the entire conversation. I assure you, Ann asked polite and thoughtful questions, conversed with Joan wonderfully and regaled us with her own family stories. She made goo goo eyes at Josephine and didn’t appear to scramble for something nice to say about my crumb covered daughter once. She looked fresh and lovely in Granny Smith apple green and sophisticated black, and was carrying THE PURSE. I detected no hair colouring accidents other than my own (Golden Reddish Brown MY ASS Schwarzkopf!). I, within the first few minutes, managed to offend on many counts. I proudly attested that it is better to have smeared avocado on your shoulder than it is to try to wipe it off with baby wipes and be avocadoey and linty too. I broke a cardinal rule: I mentioned my flabby upper "Bingo" arms without thinking that I might be inadvertently commenting on anyone else's arms. When Ann suggested that we buddy up with the arm exercises, I might have led her to think I might actually do some! (As I said - the weights are there in my living room, but I expect them to work by osmosis.) Hahahaha!
And of course, as she describes, I gave my daughter plastic straws and coffee lids to play with. I pretended I had toys in the bag, and that my clever little girl doesn't want to play with anything she's already seen - but that wasn't true. I know that she loves relish packets and coffee stirrers more than anything I can buy her and that I will pollute and top up landfills by wasting that crap if it keeps her happy long enough for me to shovel warm fruit salad into my craw.
Which I did, at first with a fork which Josephine then acquisitioned. After Ann was nice enough to bring me another fork (my brief eating watermelon off my plastic knife as if I did that ALL the time episode must have turned her stomach), I let Josephine have that fork too and continued with my knife. Ann thought my "juggling" and crafts were clever - and admired the coffee lid and straw bikini top I whipped up for Josephine as if I'd crafted the statue of David. Um, I let my daughter play with cheap plastic forks in front of the continent's top parenting expert.
It became apparent that Josephine was finished with being in her stroller, so I unleashed her on the other patrons. She lurched along the aisle, shrieking at the poor souls who where in there trying to escape hyper children, bouncy rooms and clowns in the other room. I tried to follow her, shouting witty bits over my shoulder and trying to appear like I was supervising without being overprotective. Ann is a champion Peek A Boo player. I did decide that the man in the corner with no children and a camera was someone Josephine shouldn't work her charms on, and so I put her over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes and hauled her back over to the table where the remains of Josephine's entertainment were spread out like a feast for seagulls at Coney Island. It was time to say goodbye, since Ann had to get home to her own family and Joan and I had to go collect free samples and coupons and imprison the toddler in the strolling torture device for a short while longer.
We made the exchange, and I think next time I will wear a spy coat and hat and sunglasses because it felt just so illicitly good. I got a hug, and I promised I'd breathe down her neck at Yorkdale tomorrow. Ann autographed a postcard as a special favour, but would not pull up her skirt and let me write HI MARY on her bum in washable marker and take a picture. Sorry Mary. So we took this picture:
And then, when I came home, it was time to get back to basics. Josephine needed a diaper change, and it seems she'd had the world's largest stink pickle in there for who knows how long - I, for once, hadn't smelled it. Ann, if you detected it, you should have told me. Bad parenting expert. Bad. Bad.
After I put Josie to bed, I was pooped. (Again with poop!) (Steve says he's going to write a template for mommy bloggers: My baby's _____. Poop story here: _______. Very personal secret here: _________ Disparage husband here:___________. Use emoticon here: __ I'm tired/bitchy/angry/ecstatic/_____ because ______ snark.)
I did not get to use my bath stuff Sunday night. I went to sleep soon after Josephine. It was a tiring day. But I did get to fondle my books and other goodies:
I most certainly did get to have a bath tonight. I denied Josephine an afternoon nap so she'd go to sleep by seven-thirty instead of nine and fed my husband leftovers. (Instructions not taken from the Mother of All Toddler Books.) Steve mixed a Manhattan for me and was kind enough to not make porny comments when taking these:
The soap smells heavenly. It matches my bathroom (clean, smells good, soft green accents). Can I say how good it smells? The salts are wonderful. Now I smell good. I mean better. The book, which was opened directly to the discipline chapter, is exactly what's been needed and more and I can't wait to make crayons in my mini muffin tins and pretend I'm one of those moms who make witty comments in boldface.
Everything is perfect and I am grateful.
Be assured that Ann D. is everything you'd think she'd be. Except for her voice - when I read her books, I have a voice in my head that's part Jean Brody and part Roseanne and part Carole Brady.. But when she speaks, it's more soft, enthusiastic, funny and girlish than I'd expected, and sometimes she sounds like...me.