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!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Another Year....

I envy people who don't make New Year's resolutions. At this time of year, I always ask people what their New Year's resolutions are.

I'm always amazed when people answer, "I don't make any." I think these people, for some reason, are just happier than me.

They don't make resolutions and, thus, can never let themselves down. I envy them.

I always make resolutions. Though, if you asked me what my resolutions were last year, I couldn't tell you. I could venture that they had something to do with eating healthy and keeping in shape.

I failed. I always fail.

But it will soon be a new year, and yet again I will make resolutions. I suggested to the fiance last night that we actually write them down and put them in a drawer so we can pull them out and remind ourselves what they were.

But it seems easier to blog about it. That way, it will be there, and whenever I feel like I'm failing, I can just re-read what my resolutions were. I'm sure this is the dumbest thing I'll ever do.

Like, January second when I'm eating french fries from Macdonald's watching re-runs of Grey's Anatomy, I'll be like, "What were my resolutions again?" And then you'll all say, "Duh. You just blogged about them. You said you were going to eat healthy and not watch so much television."

But, hey, it's worth a try. So here are my resolutions. Then you write to me about yours. That way, you can throw my resolutions back in my face, and I can throw yours back in yours. Aren't resolutions so much fun?

1) I am going to eat healthier. This is not to lose weight (Although, I'm always wanting to lose three to five pounds.) It's because I feel like shit every time I eat junk food, which is a lot. I am going to learn to love salads. And soup. Starting in January, I am no longer a burger and fries girl, I am a soup and salad girl.

2) I'm going to work out regularly. This, again, is not to lose weight (Although, I'm always wanting to lose three to five pounds.) This is because I feel better when I do work out and I sleep better. I'm not going to say I'm going to work out 7 days a week, because I know, from experience, this will never happen. But I think four days a week is reasonable and manageable.

3) I'm going to not take on so much. I swear to god, this has been the hardest thing for me since having The Dictator. And you know what? It does feel good to work a lot, but I don't want to work so much anymore. And when I take on too much, everything suffers. So I'm now going to do good work on a couple things, not mediocre work on a lot of things. If that makes sense. Because doing bad work makes me cranky.

4) I'm going to appreciate things. This is another thing I've failed at miserably. I get so caught up in everything that needs to be done, that I don't just sit back and enjoy life. So I'm gonna! I get so caught up in the negatives in my life, that I don't remember all the positives. So I'm gonna!

5) I'm going to send out, to a stranger, once a week a nice e-mail. This will be to an author I like, or a blogger, or someone who I think deserves to hear something nice. No one does this that much. I often read something and think, "Hey, I should send a nice e-mail to that person." But I never do. So I'm going to.

6) I'm going to get back into yoga. Because I love the mindset. I really do. And it makes me feel better.

7) I'm going to spend more time with The Dictator. Because I want to. And I want to always be in a good mood when I do. Which will be easier because of resolution number 3.

8) I'm going to be a better blogger. Not on my blog, but reading other people's blogs.

9) And I'm going to read more books. I love to read, but I'm so usually burnt by the end of the day, that I just watch shitty television. Of course I'll watch Grey's Anatomy. But reality television, good bye! (That will cut down about 18 hours a week.)

10) I think I've managed to get rid of all the toxic people in my life. So this year, now that that's finally accomplished, I'm not going to let anyone in who may be toxic. I'm now at an age where I know who is good for me and who is not. And I'm not going to feel guilty about it.

So, there you have it. Basically, I guess it comes down to less work, more play, appreciating life and spending time with people I enjoy and my family, and overall being a happier person.

Happy New Years all! See you in the New Year. I'll be the one slurping soup and munching on lettuce.

(I am so going to regret this...)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Disturbing Phone Call(s)

I was in Toronto last week for a couple days.

My daughter can finally call me on the phone! Well, she needs Nanny Mimi to dial for her (Rowan, The Dictator, is not some crazy genius) but she liked to call me - and often. I loved it.

But I received a very disturbing phone call, while I was away, from Nanny Mimi one afternoon. "Rowan really likes this hat that she saw on another classmate and she wants it," Nanny Mimi told me.

I immediately felt my stomach drop. I knew it was going to happen, but I didn't think it would happen this soon. I mean, Rowan is only three! She's not thirteen!

I get that 13 year-olds may want to dress like their friends. But a three-year old?

Ok, I admit, I missed Rowan a ton while I was gone and I do, like every mother, want my child to be happy - at any cost. Well, almost any cost.

This did not sit with me well at all. I do not want Rowan to want to wear what other girls wear. Especially not so soon.

But because I had mother guilt for leaving her and apparently Rowan really really wanted this hat and it was only a hat from Old Navy, I told Nanny Mimi to go forth and purchase the hat.

Well, i got a phone call back that Old Navy was out of these hats. Nanny Mimi had went and she couldn't find them. She asked me if I would go to Old Navy in Toronto and find this hat.

To which I said, "I so don't have the time." (Really, I barely had time to eat lunch while I was there and there's not an Old Navy just down the street. Anyway.)

I told Nanny Mimi that Rowan doesn't need the same hat as Other Girl in her Nursery school, but she could take Rowan anywere else to buy any hat she wanted. (Which also made me a tad sick, because Rowan already has 8 hats.) But mother guilt. It will kill you.

I got off the phone and thought, "Hmmm. Maybe I should call my mother and ask her to go to the Old Navy near her house and buy Rowan the hat." Then I thought, "NO!!!! This is so not a precedent I want to start. I do not want Rowan thinking this is all ok."

So I forgot about it. Until Nanny Mimi called me again the next day to tell me gleefully that she finally found the hat. "Oh great!" I said.

"Yes, Rowan is so happy," she told me.

"Great!" I said again, thinking, "This is not sitting with me well at all."

Rowan called me later. I asked her if she liked her new hat. And you know what she said to me?

She said, "I love my hat. It's the same one as Rebecca's and Gabriell's at my school."

"Great!" I said, thinking. "Oh, god, no!!!"

Honestly, it's too young for this to all start. It's. Too. Young.

But how do you explain to a three year-old that it's not cool to want something just because her friends have it? I swear, I thought I'd have another 8 years before this all started.

Experienced mothers, please share....

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I Blame Britney...

Everyone and their dog has probably seen the crotch shot of Britney Spears. And everyone is talking about it.

Just this morning, in fact, I was e-mailing with a friend I'm going to meet for drinks next week. I have a party to go to after we meet, as does he (it's that time of year....)

I told him not to worry. I'll just jump in a cab and go from there. He wrote back, "Remember, if you're hopping in and out of cabs all night, wear underwear."

Now, I could go on about how fame totally screws people up, and makes them think that to remain famous they have to go underwear-less and get that crotch shot that went around the world.

But, no. This is about how when I saw the crotch shot of Britney, I immediately was reminded that I needed a bikini wax. I swear, that was my first thought.

Because it's that time of year, most places are booked solid. But I walked by a new spa place the other day. Because they are new, they had openings. I made my appointments.

I was quite enjoying talking to the 26 year-old owner of this new funky spa, while she did my manicure. She was gorgeous and fun and really into fashion. She told me all about her ex boyfriend and the sordid details of their relationship. It was all good.

Until she said, "I have someone else booked to do your waxing." Let's call the waxing girl "Donna." That's not her name, but let's call her that.

Donna walked into the room and the owner said, "Donna, I have booked you to do some waxing."

Donna was very excited and clapped her hands. I knew immediately that she was new. No one gets that excited over waxing someone, unless they rarely have done it. Donna walked out of the room to prepare the waxing room.

I asked the owner if Donna had ever done waxing before. The owner said, "She's new but she's taken all her courses."

I admit, I was worried. I mean, it's one thing to have the Barista at Starbucks be new on the job. Yes, it's annoying to have to wait longer to get your latte, but it's something you deal with. But having someone give you a bikini wax who is new?

I found out it's not a good thing to have a new person do your bikini wax. Let's just say, help was called in. Yes, that's right. Donna had to call in for reinforcement, after the wax got stuck in an area that wax should not be stuck.

I'm pretty good about being naked in front of other woman (That's what years of overnight camp teaches you.) However, my face blushed flaming red as TWO people took scissors to an area where no scissors should be near. EVER.

Don't worry. I was too mortified and scared to even complain. I just smiled a lot and said, "Don't worry. It's just wax. It'll be fine." Donna looked even more embarassed, I'll say that.

Plus, one never wants to make a fuss when someone has a pair of scissors down there. That's for certain.

Will I go back? The scary thing is, probably. But I won't be asking for Donna. I mean, I know she has to practice, but I was already her guinee pig. I'm more than willing to deal with cashiers new on the job, or servers new on the job. But when it comes to my crotch? Nope.

But I don't blame Donna. I blame Britney.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Runny Noses and Nosey Mothers

Let me ask you, all mommies who send their kids to school or day care, how you decide when your child is too sick to go to school or daycare?

Here's what happened. About a week ago, The Dictator caught a cold. And she had a bit of a cough. She had no fever. And she was in great spirits, laughing, playing, you know, happy. Thus, she wasn't THAT sick.

All was fine. Then, a couple days later, Nanny Mimi picked The Dictator up from school. She told me that one of the mothers was quite concerned about The Dictator, telling Nanny Mimi that her husband had dropped of their child a couple days earlier and had mentioned to his wife that "Rowan was coughing. A LOT! A LOT!"

Nanny Mimi kept stressing that this mother kept stressing that her husband had told her how much Rowan was coughing (Rowan is The Dictator, my daughter)

I felt instantly annoyed. I mean, maybe this mother really was concerned about my daughter's cough. But, frankly, and I know I'm lucky, I have a nanny. Which means, even though I have to work, I don't have to send my child to school if I don't want to. She could just hang out with Nanny Mimi all day.

In fact, because I'm a writer, I can pretty much work my own hours. So even if I didn't have a nanny, I wouldn't have to send my child to school, especially if she was sick. I'm lucky that way.

I'm also not a mother who thinks that my child can not miss a day, or three weeks, of nursery school. Come January, we're yanking The Dictator out of school for a couple weeks, so she can learn about life in Maui and the beauty of the ocean and the Four Seasons smoothie.

The point is, I'm not one of those mothers who will send her child to school at any expense, and I certainly wouldn't send my child to school if she was sick.

I soon realized that the only thing more annoying than parents who send their truly sick children to school (come on, we all hate that, just like we hate when people come to the office when they're super sick) is the parent who thinks you're the type of parent to send your child to school when they're sick.

Two days later, just after The Dictator was dropped off at school, and I mean 20 minutes later, I got a call from her teacher, saying that "Rowan was just not herself. She's pale and fell asleep on the floor and was coughing A LOT."

Which I thought was very odd, considering I had just spent an hour laughing with her, playing in her bed (She likes to talk to my finger - Mr. Ticklely worm) and my child did not cough once.

So I was amazed, that in twenty minutes, my child not only fell asleep at school, but was coughing a lot. It takes me 2 hours to get her to go to sleep. And, yes, she's pale. That's what happens when the weather turns to minus 30. We're not exactly getting outside in the sun that much here in balmy Calgary.

In my gut, and sometimes your gut is right, I felt that one of the mother's mentioned something to the teacher about my kid coughing and then the teacher got all concerned because another mother spoke up and complained.

Here's what I think. I think that every time my child coughs, she has me and Nanny Mimi asking her a million times a day, "Are you sick? Poor baby." So The Dictator has learned that she gets attention when she coughs, even fake coughs. Smart kid. If I could get away with that, I would.

But, still, the morning the teacher called, I immediately called our doctor and got her on the phone. "My daughter has been sent home from school. The teacher says she has a bad cough, but I haven't heard it very much."

"Does she have a fever?" The doc, asked.

"Nope. But I need you to come over and check her out."

So, the doctor came over, and checked her lungs, throat, ears. Voila, she had no fever. She was fine (And, as always, adorable, which has nothing to do with this story, but is important to mention.)

I still kept her home from school the next day, not because she wasn't in good spirits, but for fear she'd just be sent home again, or that the teacher wouldn't believe me that she was just fine, or that a mother would be all like, "Your child is coughing all over mine!!! Gaa!!!"

The truth is toddlers get colds, especially in winter, and those colds last forever. And if I kept the Dictator home every time she had a cold, well, she wouldn't be in school for months. Colds last for, like, three weeks, when they are kids.

Why? Because kids carry germs. I swear, the other day The Dictator was playing catch with a little friend of hers, who took the ball and wiped his snotty nose on it, before tossing the ball back to her.

Gross? Yes. But normal? Yes. And I don't freak out about those kind of things, because kids catch colds. In fact, they need to catch colds so they can build up their immune systems. You can't have your kid living in a bubble.

Then again, maybe everyone really was THAT concerned about my child. Maybe I should just shut up and be grateful that so many people seem to care about the health of my child.

But no one knows their own child as much as their mother. If she's sick, I'll be more than happy to have her stay home. I would not send my sick child to school, ever.

I kind of envy the mother who may have complained about my daughter. I mean, I just would never have it in me to complain about another person's child - unless of course it was serious.

I mean, there's this one kid in her class that always is hitting The Dictator. I know, because I've witnessed it. Have I said anything? No. Why? Because, frankly, that's kind of how three year-olds act. I would NEVER say anything to the teacher or mother, mostly becuase I don't think it's that serious. I trust that the mother, who has also seen her kid hitting, knows it's wrong and will deal with it herself. I would never tell on her.

However, my friend whose son keeps coming home from day care with bite marks, that I would complain about. But another kid with a cold? Um, no.

So, when do you keep your kid home from school? And when do you speak up? And when the heck do you just keep your mouth shut, trust that a mother does want the best for her own child, and buy some Kleenex in case your kid catches a cold?

Which they will.