Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Fear of Gas....

Stations, that is.

I have always had this completely irrational fear of gas stations.

I used to drive around for a long time in order to find a full-serve station, as opposed to a self-serve station. Why? Because I always feel like a complete idiot filling my car up with gas.

But when full-serve stations went the way of the VCR, I knew I would have to learn how to fill my car up with gas myself. I got the DVD player and I learned how to pump my own gas.

So I know how to fill up gas now. But, still I feel like the biggest moron at gas stations.

Ok, swipe my credit card. Ok, grab the pump. Ok, open the place (what the heck is it called?) where I put the pump into my car. Ok, hold it down. Ok, don't forget to close up the part where I just stuck the pump. Ok, put the lever down. Ok, did that all work? Ok, am I going to blow up now?

By the time I get my recipet, I'm completey sweating with nerves, thinking, "I'm so glad that's over with!"

I dread filling my gas tank up almost as much as going to the dentist. About two months ago, the fiance actually had to come rescue me, because my car died, because it was out of gas.

He was not happy. "How long has the gas light been on?" he asked.

"Um, about two days. But usually I can get three days out of it," I told him.

"Idiot," he said. (Ok, he didn't say that. But I know that's what he was thinking.)

Anyway, I learned my lesson. As soon as the gas light goes on, I'm supposed to fill up. Because sometimes you can get three days out of it, and sometimes, apparently, you can not.

Here's the thing. Even at full-serve gas stations, I get completely nervous. Yesterday, with my gas light on, I spotted a full serve gas station and pulled up, my heart pounding

Now, literally, I can interview anyone in the world, and not feel as nervous as I do talking to the guy (or gal) who fills up my gas tank.

"What can I do for you today?" the gas man asked me.

"Um, can you, um, please, um, fill it up, um, please, um, with premium," I managed to stutter out. I do not know gas lingo. I feel like an idiot saying, "Filler up please." I am always shocked when the bill comes to $78.

Gas man came back and asked me if I'd like an oil change. To which I responded, blushing, "No thanks."

I'm not sure why the people at gas stations intimidate me so much. But they do. Gas and I do not go well together.

I'm not saying that filling up gas is something the man should do in a relationship. I'm just saying filling up gas is not good for my stress level...

Please share your irrational fears...

Monday, November 27, 2006

I've Been Dumped!

And didn't even know it!

I almost spit up my Special K this morning, when I picked up the Calgary Herald, and saw my named mentioned.

I've been eating Special K, because, apparently, if you eat Special K two meals a day, you'll lose a waist size in like two weeks.

Of course, that would mean I'd need to eat Special K two meals a day, which means I'd have to pack up a bowl, spoon, milk, and my Special K, and bring to the office, which ain't gonna happen. Maybe it will.

Anyway, back to being dumped.

A plug on the front page of the paper caught my attention. It was about friendships between mothers and non-mothers, and how having a baby ruins friendships if your friends have babies and you don't.

So I opened to the Real Life section to read the story, a topic which I find very interesting. I could not give a crap about politics in this province, because it is what it is, but friendships and mothering? Well, of course I'm going to read it.

I almost spit up my Special K when I got to the paragraph where the writer mentioned my name and how she broke up with me when I started writing about Baby Rowan and doing my Mommy Blogger gig in the Globe and Mail.

The writer didn't think we had anything in common anymore because I had Baby Rowan.

It was a really interesting story. The writer mentioned how her friend was pregnant and already there was talk about babies and how she worried her friendship would change. And the writer interviewed a bunch of non-mothers who moaned about changing friendships.

Anyway, first off, I'd like to say, while I love talking about my child, I don't only talk about my child. I also talk about other things, like, um, my Special K diet and why my body has, still after three years, not gone back to the way it was pre-baby.

I also still am obsessed with fashion. I can talk to you about my new Prada winter coat (Which I absolutely needed as it is minus 30 in this city today, and it was a fashion emergency. At least that's what I'm telling myself....It is one warm fucking coat, that's for sure.)

I can talk about my new obsession with Grey's Anatomy, a show I recently got into, so bought the first two seasons on DVD and watched all 32 episodes in a week. I'm in love, along with 23 million other people - not all of whom are mothers - with Dr. McDreamy.

The point is, I can talk about all the mindless things I talked about pre-mother. And they are completely mindless things, which, mind you, I still like to talk about.

I liked the story, even if I was dumped so publicly, without any warning, with someone I didn't even know I had a relationship with!

Here's the truth. The writer is right. Some of your friendships will change. I had this one really good friend and we stopped talking when I got pregnant. I was super busy. She was super busy. Blah blah blah.

She called when The Dictator was born. And I kind of yelled at her. It probably was the hormones, but I was kind of pissed too. I spoke my mind, which was something about her not calling me for the nine months I was pregnant.

Flash forward to today, and now we talk all the time. She now has a baby. But that's not the only reason. Friendships are always changing. Sometimes you grow apart. But true friendships last - even after breaks. I'm glad this one did.

Here's another truth. Friendships changing has more to do with aging, then it has to do with having kids. I think, even if I didn't have The Dictator, my friendships would have changed. People are busy with their own lives. People's interests change.

Yes, you have less free time when you have a baby, but I can't imagine that I would now live the life I led when I was in my twenties, now that I'm in my thirties. I mean, who the hell wants to be out at a bar every night? Certainly not me. And that has nothing to do with The Dictator. That's me.

Not that I ever liked to stay out past midnight, but now I rather curl up at home with Dr. McDreamy, then leave my house at 11 p.m. to head to a crowded bar in a tank-top in winter.

I don't really think I'm that different. Sure, I went to two birthday parties for three year olds yesterday and I'm worried about The Dictator who has a cough and I love her so much it hurts.

But I can also talk to you about my Special K diet...If there's a chance I can win you back.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Tell me your secrets....

I'm going to ask you all a personal question, so feel free to respond anonomously...

I don't know, maybe it was about a year ago, but I read this article, I think in the New York Times, about how many husbands and wives do not sleep together in the same room. It was like some big hidden secret happening all over America.

I thought it was pretty fascinating, because I think the number was extremely high. It turns out that all these couples just got a better night sleep if they didn't sleep in the same room as their partners.

Now, I'm not saying their sex lives suffer because of this (You can always get laid and then move rooms, right?)

I just thought it was pretty interesting how many married couple's didn't actually sleep in the same bed, or the same room.

As a very light sleeper, I can totally relate.

But I'm not talking about husbands and wives not sleeping together, because one is a light sleeper and the other snores or gets out of bed to go to the washroom five hundred times a night.

It's just that, for the past couple weeks, I've been sleeping with The Dictator, in her bed, in her room.

So now I'm wondering how many mother's actually sleep with their children, as opposed to their husbands.

I know why I do it. Well, there are a couple reasons.

First, I'm a working mother. So any time I can get with The Dictator, even if she's asleep, I'll take it.

Second, after I put her to bed, I honestly start missing her about 15 minutes later.

Third, I love when I sneak into her bed at midnight and say, 'I love you,' and give her a kiss on the cheek, and she says in her sleepy voice, "I love you too Mommy. Give me huggies."

So I've become addicted to sleeping with her. I know it has to stop. I know I have to move back into the marital bed soon.

But, tell me, do you love sleeping with your toddlers or babies? Please tell me, I'm not the only one...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Three Page Report Card for my Three Year Old

So, yesterday, The Dictator came home from, um, nursery school with her report card. A report card! A "first semester" report card. Who even knew there were semesters in nursery school?

I have mixed feelings about giving out report cards for three year olds. I mean, she just turned three! If I gave her the report card she would have taken her crayons and scribbled all over it. Which I kind of had the urge to do.

The report card was three pages long and let me check....yes, with 50, that's right 5-0 categories she was marked on.

The Dictator cannot even pronounce words like "Language and Emerging Literacy Skills" or "Self-Emotional Development," but apparantly she is sort of being grading on it.

And here I was, thinking that all she did, five mornings a week, for three hours, was colour pictures, sing songs, have story time and play in the playground.

Each category, which were titled everything from, "Shows pride in Jewish Heritage and background," "Understands and respects differences," and "Communicates to resolve conflicts," to "Makes increasingly representational drawings," "runs with control over direction and speed" and "Participates in group discussions," was marked with the words, "Not Yet," "Sometimes" "Frequently" and "Constantly.

Ok, we're talking about a three year old!

Isn't it normal to communicate to resolve conflicts by, um, crying, instead of saying, "I like you, dear, classmate, but it really makes me feel like you don't like me very much when you hit me in the arm. In the future, why don't we just talk it out and communicate our feelings."

As for her making "increasingly representational drawings", again, she's three. Not Jack Bush. She basically scribbles on a piece of paper, and I can tell you that those scribbles are friggen amazing, even though, according to her teacher, she only does this "frequently."

I guess "frequently" is a compliment.

As for showing pride in Jewish History, well, we are paying for her to go to the Calgary Jewish Academy.

My daughter is very shy in class, according to her teacher. I already know this, because I have spied on her from outside the classroom door. I do not think this is a problem. I think, frankly, that some kids are just shy.

My mother, who was a teacher, but more importantly raised four children, told me that generally speaking how kids act in nuersery school is how they'll act throughout their entire school existence.

According to the Dictator's teacher, my child likes to observe other kids first.

I was a type-A student, who if I got less than 85% on anything would consider it a failure. But that's just me. I will tell you that no matter how shy my Dictator is, I don't care. If she just wants to observe first, that's fine by me.

Here's what I want for my child inside the classroom. I just want her to be happy, that's it. And safe. Safe and Happy. There should be only one box on a three year olds report card and that is, "Having fun?"

But I will admit to you that I kind of want to take a peek at another kids' report card, to see what the teacher said about them and how they were marked.

Yesterday, after reading her report card, I bent down and gave The Dictator a huge hug and said she is a super star who got all gold stars. She asked me for ice cream and then showed me a piece of paper which she had put one green dot on and told me that was her frog.

I figure, you know, when she's in grade 10 or something, I might start to care about report cards. As for now, I'll let her scribble all over it - and then, as requested, I'll sign it and give it back to the school.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Is there an Ideal Man...anywhere?

This is for the reader who wrote me a personal e-mail asking me about my thoughts on the ideal man, versus the thought that an ideal man does not exist.

With the recent wave of celebrity divorces - Reese Witherspoon and Britney Spears - and this e-mail from the reader who asked me my thoughts on the notion that perhaps an ideal man does not exist, I have been thinkinga a lot about relationships.

I don't actually believe an ideal man does exist. I know, this sounds bad. But does the ideal woman exist either?

I do have a number of single friends, in their 30s, who are still looking for that ideal man. Here's my problem with the people who hold out for that "ideal" man, or who don't believe an "ideal" man exists.

I love my friends. But, truthfully, out of all my single friends, there are only a couple who I'd like to be my wife, if I played that way. If you know what I mean. There are only a couple who I could actually live with day-to-day, without wanting to throw myself out the window.

Do I have an ideal man? Well, he is ideal for me. Together, we work.

Meaning, I am SO not an ideal woman. I am very selfish, I am very self-obsessed, I am extremely moody, and I probably suffer from never-ending depression. I am also very hard on myself and always feel that I'm always failing at my career, as a mother, and a wife. I don't know how to cook. I hate all chores. I leave my wet towels on the floor.

But my man, well, he puts up with it. In fact, he helps me through it all. Often I wonder if I were in his shoes, would I put up with me?

I am ideal for him because I keep him entertained and he likes to take care of me and if anyone ever says a bad word about him, well, I'd beat them up.

He is ideal for me because he's the only man I feel I can tell anything to and he won't judge me. He is my best friend. And if I'm going to be with someone for decades, it should be my best friend.

But he too isn't perfect. I hate that he is always on his blackberry, for example. It drives me fucking crazy. But, as I said before, I'm so far from perfect. So I don't say anything when we are at the movies and he's busy checking his messages. After all, I leave my wet towels on the floor.

So, yes, the ideal man sort of does exist - and that ideal man is the one who can put up with, and love to be with, us women who are so not ideal ourselves.

Once us women can admit we are not ideal ourselves, well, I think it will make finding an ideal man a heck of a lot easier.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The $100 Manicure...

I went to the spa this weekend. It was quite a nice spa, in Scottsdale, Arizona. A bunch of girlfriends went too.

Now, as most of you know, I will spend a hundred dollars on a pair of jeans for my daughter, sometimes. And I recently bought a Jimmy Choo bag. Which I will carry around forever, to make it worth it. I figure if I carry it around for 7 years, every day, it really is only, like, $1 a day.

But that's not to say I don't have a problem with expensive things. Or, as I recently found out, I do have a problem. A big problem.

I really needed a manicure. I've been stressed lately, and have bitten off all my nails. That, along with playing in the sandbox at Adventure zone with The Dictator, well, let's just say my nails were nasty ass.

I made a manicure appointment at this spa. When I walked in, immediately I had to pay, which, you know, I never had to do before. Usually, you get the service first, and then you pay after.

I was also stunned that they had included an 18% tip already. I'm fine with giving an 18% tip - after I get the service, if the person is worth 18%. I mean, what if this manicurist sucked? But, I figured, it was a nice spa, so I'm sure they had good manicurists.

When the dude behind the counter, where I was checking in, asked me my method of payment, and gave me the sheet that had the cost of the manicure, I swear, my heart stopped.

The piece of paper, for the manicure, said it cost (with the added 18% tip) $105. Yes, that's right. One hundred and fucking five dollars for a manicure. And in American dollars.

I handed over my visa and said to the dude, "This is the most expensive manicure I have ever had."

He looked at me blankly, and didn't respond. In fact, he looked at ME like I was the CRAZY one.

Is it just me? Do you not all think that $105, American, for a friggen manicure is outrageous?

And the dude didn't even respond! Apparently, there is another world out there, another universe full of people, who don't think $105 for a manicure is outrageous. Because there were a lot of women getting manicures.

I went in thinking, "This better be the best fucking manicure of my life. They better put diamonds on my nails."

And you can bet your ass when they offered me cookies, an apple, and a bottle of water that I took all of them. In fact, I asked for another bottle of water when I was finished.

The manicure was, um, fine. It was nice. It lasted one hour. But, I tell you, when I was living in New York and getting manicures for $12, they were just as good.

And I had already booked, for the next day, a hot stone massage and a facial. I was dreading checking in the next day. I mean, if a manicure cost $105, what would be the cost of a facial and a massage?

I warned the fiance, because, well, I had to put it on our shared credit card, because if I put it on mine, I for sure would have had one of those embarrassing moments when the person says, "I'm really sorry. There seems to be a problem with your card. Do you have another?" (I don't. Except for the fiances, which I'm only allowed to use for our daughter and in case of emergencies.)

And, well, I suppose paying for a facial and massage isn't exactly an "emergency." Because of the 24 hour cancellation policy, I couldn't cancel it. So it turned into a bit of an emergency.

"My manicure cost $105," I told him. "I'm just warning you, because I have a facial and massage tomorrow, so who the hell knows what that will cost."

So I went the next day. I checked in again, before my treatments. The bill for the massage and facial. $585. So, I, of course, had to enjoy myself. I mean, I was paying $585 for two hours to enjoy myself.

But as they did my treatments, all I kept thinking was, "This is costing me $585! How the hell can I relax?" I swear, I was one breath away from having a panic attack.

In any case, I won't be heading back to that spa anytime soon. I mean, for the $700 it cost me, I could have bought the Dictator three pairs of Antik Denim jeans.

But I get why they made me pay first. Because not even the best manicure in the world should cost that much.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Solve This Mystery...

Someone, in Toronto, is going around telling people they are my "assistant."

I feel totally violated, and most of all, want to say to this person who is going around telling people they are my "assistant" that they are doing a totally sucky job!

I had to get my own coffeee this morning! I had to set up my own manicure appointment yesterday! I had to buy my own Halloween candy! I had to book my own airline ticket for tomorrow!

Let me explain...

Yesterday, I was opening my mail at home and there was a letter forwarded to me from The Globe and Mail. It was adressed to: The Assistant of Rebecca Eckler, with that person's name, and it was marked "private and confidential."

I laughed, because, in reality, I don't have an assistant.

I need an assistant, don't get me wrong.

I have 250 unread e-mails, almost 1000 that need to be returned, a photo shoot happening at my house right now - My home will be featured in Canadian House and Home magazine in the Spring - dry cleaning that hasn't been picked up in months, snack day at my daughter's school tomorrow, and I'm supposed to get on a plane tomorrow at 7 a.m.

Not to mention newspaper deadlines, a book in its final editing stages, another book deadline looming, and a couple freelance magazine stories that I need to interview for and write, and a number of requests for people to interview me about various things.

Seriously, I feel as if my life is falling apart, I have so much to do, and my organizational skills, at best, suck.

Anyway, I opened the letter addressed to "Rebecca Eckler's assistant," even though it really wasn't for me. There was another name there, but since I am my own assistant, I didn't feel too badly, even though it was marked "private and confidential." Hey, I am my own assistant and you addressed it to Rebecca Eckler's assistant.

It was a handwritten love/apology letter.

Aparently, my "assistant" had taken someone out and that person (the person writing the letter) got drunk and acted like a "retarded brat."

And then my "assistant" called the letter-writer, but the letter-writer's cell phone died and they couldn't call back because they were at a friend's house. Then the letter-writer tried to call my assistant, but the person's sister hung up on them. Twice.

Anyway, the letter-writer to my "assistant" apologizes profusely and doesn't want to let a dead cell phone or alcohol affect what could possibly be a future relationship. Apparently, my "assistant" did something very nice for this person, that no other person had done before.

This all, apparently, happened around Thanksgiving weekend, when I was in Arizona.

To which I'll say, if you were on a date around that time in Toronto, and the person treated you poorly, well, that person is sorry and is trying to get in touch with you - even if they are apologizing to someone who is going around lying about what they do for a living.

Now that I'm done trying to pass this information on, and getting a love-match going, I'd like to also say, that if you ever meet someone who is telling people they are "Rebecca Eckler's assistant," don't believe them. Or tell them to get to work.

I like non-fat decaf lattes.