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!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Good Hospital Experience - I know!

So, a few of you have asked how my trip to Cancun was.

It was great....that is, it WAS great, while I was there.

Then I came home....four days later, I was walking home from Pussateri's when I was hit with awful stomach cramps. An hour later, I had a fever, was shaking, and went to bed, crawled into a fetal position, wishing I could die.

The next three days I barely left my house (aside from dropping off and picking up The Dictator from school.)

I, literally, could not leave my house for longer than ten minutes. I needed to be near a toilet.

Not only did I have awful cramps, not the PMS kind, but the kind of stomach ache that felt like I had just done 3000 sit-ups. And the stomach ache was constant. So were the runs.

I thought it was the flu. Although my daughter was completely fine.

By the fourth day, still with the runs and still with horrendous stomach ache, I headed to the doctor, after my family and friends yelled at me, "GO TO THE DOCTOR ALREADY!"

I thought I just had the flu. What could the doctor tell me, except drink lots of water and eat white toast?

Which is kind of what he told me, when I did finally go see one. But, he said, if it got worse, go to the emergency room.

Now, I'm the type of person who hates going to emergency. I always wonder, "Am I sick enough to bother emergency with this?" "Aren't they so overworked with people who actually really are sick?" "I don't want to bother them if this really isn't an emergency."

But, by Saturday morning, I woke up at 6 a.m. barely able to walk. I hadn't eaten in days. I was so dehydrated that I was lightheaded. The cramps were so bad, I felt nauseaus. I couldn't stand up straight.

I knew it wasn't the flu any longer, because I didn't have any other flu like symtoms. No fever, my muscles (aside from my stomach) felt fine. And my daughter was completely fine. And the flu is only supposed to last a few days.

I called a cab and headed over to Mount Sanai, basically crawling into the taxi. I was in so much pain I gave the driver a $20 and told him to keep the change, even though the ride only cost $7.00.

I checked in saying, "I've been sick for a week with diarrehea - non stop. And I'm in so much pain. I just got back from Mexico."

"Hey, I read your book," said the check in person. "I thought I recognized you."

I was soon taken into a room. The doctor came in shortly and I again said, "I'm in so much pain. I have had the runs non-stop for a week. Sometimes up to 20 times a day. I just got back from Mexico."

"And your daughter isn't sick?" the doctor asked. "I read your book."

Now, I'd love to say that people say, "I read your book," to me all the time. They don't. It rarely happens.

And I can't believe it happened twice to the two people I had just told about my bowel problems, one of which asked that I give a stool sample.

I was mortified (Also, because I was in so much pain, I couldn't get out of my pajamas to go to the hospital, so I looked like I had just walked out of a garbage dump and smelled like it too.)

In any case, much like labor, no one tells you the good stories about giving birth. You only hear the awful birthing stories. The same is true for hospitals. You only hear horror stories about emergency rooms and nurses and doctors.

And, I'm sure, the bad stories far outweigh the good ones. But sometimes there are good stories.

I'd like to say that I had a great hospital experience (as great as you can get being in the hospital, that is, with some Mexican stomach bug.)

All the nurses were nice (and not just to me - I could over hear them talking to the other patients) they went out of their way to make everyone feel comfortable.

And the doctor was amazingly kind.

Perhaps the story is that if you have to go to the emergency room, that 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning is a good time to go.

And, if you know someone who works at Mount Sinai, please tell them what a great job they're doing (At least those who were working Saturday.)

They have hard jobs and probably don't get enough kudos. But I give them kudos. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Keep up the good work!

I feel so much better now, after an IV drip of antibiotic. I just wish I just didn't have to tell the two people who had read my book about my, um, runs.

Eeesh..I'm mortified.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Three times in the past week I've dialled the wrong number from my cell.

What can I say? It's hard to press those damn little buttons with gloves on.

Each time, no one picked up and it went straight to their voice mail messages.

I just hung up. I don't leave messages for people I'm not intending to call. I just call the person I had been meaning to call instead.

But, each time, I've gotten a call back from these people I never meant to call in the first place.

"Hello?" they'll say, when I pick up. (Now, as a mother, I usually pick up all calls, just in case it's an "emergency." Even those dreaded "Private" calls, I feel I need to pick up.)

"Hello?" I said back.

"You just called me," they'll say.

I was weirded out the first time.

By the third time I honestly wanted to ask the stranger I had called by mistake why they were calling me back, especially since I didn't leave a message.

Each time, when they called back, I said, "Sorry. I dialled the wrong number."

They all seemed upset about it.

Why do people call you back when they clearly don't know who it was who was calling them in the first place, and the person didn't leave a message?

If a number appears on my phone that I don't recognize, and the person doesn't leave a message, I don't call that number wondering who it was who called me. If it was that important, they would have left a message, I figure.

Maybe I should leave a message after dialling wrong numbers. "Sorry. I didn't mean to call you. Don't worry about calling me back to check."

It's one of those great technology etiquette questions.

My friend just went through another technology-ish question.

"We used to sign our e-mails with 'xoxo,'" she said to me about one of her other friends. "And now she doesn't. And now I didn't in my last e-mail! What does it mean?"

I've been there. A while ago, I started signing off certain e-mails with 'xoxox.'

The 'xoxo' sign-off takes some thought. You can't just sign off an 'xoxo' for everyone.

There are certain people I've written to that I've really wanted to sign off with the 'xoxox' but I couldn't. Mostly these are professional people (my editors) who I also really like as people. Are they friends? Are they editors?

Or other mothers at my daughter's school who send me Thank You e-mails for the gift I've bought for their kid for their birthday. I want to send back, "Your welcome! xoxox R.")

But who knows? Maybe they'd think I was being a little TOO friendly by signing off with a "xoxox."

I also wanted to sign off an 'xoxo' one e-mail with my daughter's teacher, who kindly helped me out with her skates (buying kid's skates is a whole other post.)

I could sign off xoxox because that would cross the teacher/parent code of some sort. Even though I was really grateful.

In any case, once you start using the "xoxox" sign-off, people expect you to continue using it. They read into it, if they don't receive an "xoxox" in all future e-mails.

Once you're in the "xoxox" circuit of e-mails, you're stuck in there. Once you start using them at the end of e-mails, you've got to continue. Or else people will wonder why they're no longer getting the "xoxo" treatment.

Which is why I don't give out my 'xoxox' to just anybody.

Just a couple random thoughts today...


Monday, November 05, 2007


"Toddlers Gone Wild" is almost wrapped up. I have two more days to really finish it.

The dictator has two days off from school next week.

So, instead of sticking around, I planned a last minut Club Med vacation. Yes, I'm taking the dictator to Cancun, where I'll meet up with another mother friend, who is bringing her two toddlers.

(I call it "C-C-C-Cancun," because my daughter was learning the letter 'C' in class and she's come back with this song that goes something like, 'C-C-C-C-C, the sounds of the castinet. C-C-C-Can you click them faster yet."

I've never gone on a vacation just with a girlfriend and our kids.

And I've never done the whole Club Med thing (neither has my friend.)

It all seems a little complicated to me - memership numbers, credit cards for onsite only, everything included. These kind of places sort of freak me out.

I don't like being told to "HAVE FUN!" Andd that's how I sort of picture the staff at a Club Med, always trying to get you to join circus classes and dance classes....but who know? Maybe I will have the time of my life. Maybe at the end of our trip, I'll knnow how to fly on a trapeez.

This Club Med offers all sorts of kid camp programs. For kids it sounds amazingly fun. (I just have to manage to convince my dictator to go to these camps, which I most definitely will convince her to go.)

One friend I know took her kid to a Club Med and barely saw him all day. She dumped her toddler off at the camp at 9 .m., and came back and picked him up at five. She lay on the beach reading books all day. I mean, that doesn't sound so bad.

Mommy needs some rest time, after all.

It's now been more than 2 months getting her up and to school and picking her up from school, all the while trying to meet my deadline of this book, and doing the odd freelance assignment, while taking her to brithday parties, art classes, and more birthday parties.

Yes, while she's at this camp in Cancun Cluub Med - which is included in the package - hopefully mommy will be on the beach, reading my own manuscript. So for me, it's a working vacation.

I may have to work, but I guess at least I get to work in Cancun, which is better than working at my home office. The view will be better, that's for sure.

Still, have any of you been to a Club Med? Thoughts/advice please?

I still can't believe I'm going to a Club Med - "Hands up, baby hands up, give me your heart, gimme gimme your heart." That's all I really know about Club Med.

So, how were your Club Med getaways?

****Also, thank you all who sent me in your cute toddler quotes. I laughed out loud at almost all of them. They are just too cute! And I will try to include as many as possible. You parents are great! So pass along to any friends to send me their cute toddler quotes!