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Clothes Minded

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Mouldable mini human

There came a time when the mouldable mini human I had been dressing up like a Gap ad (FYI, that’s not slang for my vagina) became a five-year-old fashionista with his own terrible ideas of what to wear.

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Wrongatello

A style that changed my “honey, I shrunk the hipster” aesthetic to something more like “honey, our kid is a homeless midget.” Joan Rivers would have a field day with Max’s wardrobe, if she wasn’t in a field.

Unless I want to fight over something as superficial as dumb stupid clothes, or bribe him into wearing what I want him to wear and thereby make me a shitty parent, I have to just let him be.

I have to let him step out into the big, cruel world in his Batman shirt and black, pleather pants that are an inch too short – that I meant to destroy 17 piles of laundry ago (damn it). I have to let him, because he’s not just dressing up like the caped crusader. In this outfit, he is Michael fucking Keaton, looking out from his bat cave all mysterious like in his leather-look clamdiggers, waiting for the flood that will threaten to wipe out all of Gotham City. But that flood will fail because the Dork Knight has a plan germinating somewhere in that mystical area where his pants end and his sneakers begin… WHERE SUPER LIVES. Basically, he loves this outfit. So I guess I love it too. FUCK.

And I have to let him wear this outfit EVERY SINGLE DAY. Because it’s still clean, and because “wearing the same outfit two days in a row is not socially acceptable” sounds really fucking stupid.

And when he asks me if Batman “sometimes wears really dark grey” because his black pants are suddenly missing (la la la whistle whistle) and he has these here grey ones, I say “yes, he sure does”, with a sigh. Because Batman does wear grey sometimes. The Lego Movie says so, which we’ve watched a thousand million times. And if I say he doesn’t, Max will know I am a lying bitch face. I mean of course I’m a liar, I’m the freakin’ tooth fairy for god’s sake, but let’s not use up the bullshit quota on this small time crappola.

And when he asks me to make a cape and sew it to the back of his Batman shirt to really complete the picture of the vigilante superhero whose cape seems pretty useless actually since he doesn’t even fly but somehow he’d be super lame without, I say “sure, son, I’ll get right on that.” Because consider the alternative: he could be asking me to make a human skin suit.

And when the bat apparel has finally vanished into the night and it’s time for a little colour in my super son’s super life, I have to let him wear his red pants and red shirt – and neon orange socks because he doesn’t have any red socks and these are the closest thing. Because in this get-up, he is THE FLASH. The scarlet speedster he’s been drawing non-stop for a year and has every red Crayola marker within a 10-mile radius dried up like Adam West’s yam bag.

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Flasher

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So much variety.

And I have to grin and bear it at the birthday party where I know the other little boys will be in J. Crew khakis and button-up shirts, but my special guy wants to wear his green safari shirt (because today he’s Indiana Jones) with his navy sweatpants (because they’re fluffy and warm), making him less like Indy and more like the star of a 1986 episode of Land and Sea where Clyde shows us around the fish plant. Dab a little ketchup in the corners of his mouth and Max is rocking this party right.

All this, while in his closet snappy stonewash jeans, crisp cotton shirts, and knitted vests lie in wait, forever.

But hey, it’s all good. It’s wonderful, even. He’s showing the first signs of self-expression, making his own choices and not giving a shit what anyone else thinks as long as he feels super duper. If I don’t let him be who he is now, expressed with clothes and art and music and such, one day it’ll be his turn to say to me, from inside his cozy human skin suit, “Hey mom, what in the actual fuck.”

And then I throw myself down a well.

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X-Box Detox

Herein lies my debut video on CBC.ca just as I always imagined — with my spectacular oak cabinets in the background. When I die of carpel tunnel from too much typing and chronic masturbating, I want someone to take these cupboards and make a casket out of them for me. And then I want you to burn it. And then burn it again.

This video was inspired by my junkie son, Max. I love him deeply, but if he doesn’t stop nagging to play the X-Box I’m sending him back to my uterus.

Click here to watch my first of many (sorry, sumabitch trolls) video commentaries on parenting. Because hey, parenting ain’t easy. Which is why my advice is always truly horrific.

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Wookiee Bush

This has been my favourite vaginism since a baby came out of my furry co-pilot. (I am the magnificent Millennium Falcon.)

I said it out loud on CBC radio last year when I was interviewed about my book, MotherFumbler. I woke a few nans up that morning. Smashed a few teacups like it ain’t no thing. The term was timely because Max was just getting into Star Wars. My only regret is that I didn’t work  “Princess Lay-Ya,” “Hands Solo,” and “Sith on my face” into the conversation somehow. Damn it to hell.

Anyway, here’s why “wookiee bush” is all that and a bag of chips:

1. It’s neither super soft nor super vulgar. It’s not buttercup and it’s not cunt. It sits smack dab in the middle for everyone to enjoy. It’s like a friendly monster with a soft beard.

2. It’s just plain fun. Say it ten times and tell me it didn’t bring a smile to at least one set of lips. It rhymes with nookie, for god’s sake! It also rhymes with “looky looky,” like when you are about to reveal a special treasure no one has seen before.

3. It flies in the face of the vajazzlers and waxinators who think we should all have eight-year-old twats that sparkle with glitter. You can keep ‘er neat, but bald? Bitch please. Unless your pants are the home of the Mickey Mouse Club, no thanks Hillary Duff ten years ago.

4. I like the idea of my vagina going URRRR ARRR ARRRRGH. (Not to be confused with YES and NO, of course.) I also like the idea of my vagina wearing an ammo belt. I am going to buy it an ammo belt.

Why all this vagina talk? A whole section called “All About the Muff” — really? Yes. YES. Because the whole world is shaped like a dick. The Leaning Tower of Penis, for example. It’s not fair. And let’s not forget our obsession with ASS. For the love of god, it makes poop! Get over it, J-Lo. Jesus. It’s time to bring back the velvet purse — with love, respect, and humour.

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Local Firecrotch Burning Up Silver Screen

Okay, so his hair has tones of blonde and when he was a kid he wanted brown hair like Indiana Jones but FUCK THAT NOISE, we’re claiming Scott McClellan as one of our own and there’s nothing anyone can do about it except sit on it and rotate.

I hereby declare Scott a delicious strawberry sundae and this week’s Top Carrot-Top! Unless you’ve been living in a Bell Island mine, you’ve probably heard about the local film that’s kicking ass all over Atlantic Canada and beyond. It’s called Cast No Shadow (click here for showtimes), and besides the stellar acting (Percy Hynes-White) and storytelling (Joel Thomas Hynes) and directing (Christian Sparkes) and all that juicy jazz, it is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL to look at. Like, even if you stuffed Purity Jam-Jams in your ears and watched it, you’d still be captivated. And the dude responsible for that is the cinematographer — Scott.

In a nutshell, the cinematographer is the one who knows how to use the light to make everything pretty as fuck dans le camera. The light inside a sea cave, for example. Maybe even the light inside the mystical lady cave, who knows. It’s a big job. That’s why there’s an Oscar for cinematography. It’s also sometimes a thankless job, which is why nobody on earth can name a single Oscar-winning cinematographer. Scott is going to take home that naked golden hardware someday and put it up there on the mantle next to his Top Carrot-Top trophy which is less like a trophy and more like these here words you be readin’ on your iPhone on the toilet. But still: Scott McClellan is one firecrotch on fire.

While only 65% redhead, Scott definitely has the streak of mischief that comes with the ginge tinge. When he was in kindergarten, he told every kid in his class to bring their rubber boots to school the next day because they were going on a field trip. Except there was no field trip. The teachers hadn’t planned a thing. But who can disappoint a group of excited children who showed up the next day with their rubber boots and dreams of puddle-jumping and fresh air? Scott and his classmates spent the entire afternoon outside. And THAT, folks, is how you become President of the world.

Scott didn’t have a photo of himself as a kid, unfortunately. Well, he did, but he was so pale in the picture, he’s just not visible. So here he is as a big boy with a widdle tiny tripod.

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Thanks for the “mansplaining,” Rex Murphy. You shouldn’t have. No really, you shouldn’t have.

I know it’s a bit late to reflect on 2014. That is like sooooooo last year already. But there is something that’s still itching me about it, more than the stitches that recently fell out of my mooncup vessel. The irritant this time: Rex Murphy. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of that bald, big-eyed genius. But sometimes his hair-regenerating product penetrates his brain and he comes up with the fuckiest fuckery this side of Texas and the whole country goes WHUUUUUT? Like his year-end column in The National Post on feminism. Murphy seems to think 2014 was a terrible year for women. I seem to think… well, click below and hear what I think. (Typing is hard with a human dangling from my jugs.)

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24 Hours On the Maternity Ward

I gave birth to my baby girl on December 23rd. Luckily, things went well (UNLIKE LAST TIME, AMIRITE?) and I was discharged the next day, just in time to help my five-year-old hang his stocking for Santa.

So my stay on the maternity floor of the Health Sciences lasted the 24-hour minimum, almost to the minute. And since I was placed on a ward instead of in a private room, 24 hours was more than enough.

Below is the commentary I shared on CBC radio yesterday. Beneath that is a transcript of it, with one important addition highlighted in red. I don’t think I was being insensitive by this omission, given the anonymity of my ward-mate (I don’t know her name, I never saw her face). But I was most definitely unclearAs you should know, especially if you’ve seen the video I made a few weeks back (scroll down for Ward in a State), I’m advocating for privacy on the maternity floor largely because of the pain felt by mothers forced to share a space with other mothers and their healthy babies, while their babies receive care in the intensive care unit. I’m sorry I did not communicate that well on the air. Perhaps I can blame my baby brain for my toolishness.


 

Transcript:

When I was admitted in the case room, I put my name on the list for a private room in case one miraculously became available. The nurses chuckled, knowing how difficult securing a private room would be. I had heard the rooms set aside for gynaecology patients were vacant for the holidays, but apparently the doors were all shut – unavailable to obstetrics patients, like new mothers. I’m not sure why.

Sure enough, once I had my baby girl, I was transported to a ward. I was relieved to discover just one other patient in the room, and three empty beds. Small victories. Instead of a noisy, jam-packed ward of mothers, their partners, and their crying babies (which is precisely what I experienced when I had my first child five years ago), I’d be sharing a room with just one woman. I had no idea who she was, but within moments there were no secrets between us. Not because we talked, but because we both had ears. The nurse greeted me and gave me the standard postpartum rundown: “Keep an eye out for blood clots when you use the bathroom,” she said, among other things. And there it was. I had ‘revealed all’ in the case room downstairs (no time for modesty there!) and it was no different here now. Whatever was happening in my “land down under,” anyone within earshot would know about it. My roommate and I each occupied a corner of the room away from the door, our cramped quarters surrounded by thin, bluish-green curtains. I didn’t see her face, but I could hear everything about her situation, and she mine. Her baby was in the NICU, so every three hours a nurse clamoured in – not with her baby, but with a breast pump on wheels. I listened to the sound of her pumping milk every couple of hours, and I presume she listened to me soothe my baby as I struggled to get reacquainted with changing diapers and breastfeeding. I thought about how awful she must feel, to hear me feeding my baby in my arms while she was not yet holding hers.

The noise from the hall was much more disruptive than the noise from my roommate’s bedside. When you’re on a ward, the door to the room is always open . The floor is noisy, with new patients arriving, and babies and medical equipment being wheeled about. It’s like living next to the train tracks. Not great if you have high blood pressure, or if you desperately need rest because you’re being induced in the morning and about to face 20+ hours of labour. Unless you can trick an anesthesiologist into slipping you something, sleep may be a distant dream.

The next day, my roommate and I both had a handful of visitors, but at different times, so the room was never overcrowded. Still, the space inside my curtain was so limited, my mother and aunt could barely find a place to sit comfortably and hold the baby. The truth is, the ward is cramped even when only half occupied. Once the curtain is drawn, you have a couple feet of space around your bed. Add a food tray and a chair and a baby in a plastic crib bassinet and you’re going to have a tough time moving around safely. And don’t forget, you’re pregnant or still look like you are, so chances are your belly is going to reduce that space even more. You probably also have painful stitches which makes moving around uncomfortable in the roomiest of spaces. It’s not safe for you. It’s especially not safe for you to be handling an infant there.

Speaking of small spaces: the bathroom. Hard to believe it was built to be shared by up to four obstetrics patients. Wow. There was a small shelf above the sink on which to lay my things, and having just given birth, boy did I have things. I had things I wish I didn’t. I bled a little on the bathroom floor, so I had to bend down and clean it up for fear my ward-mate or her partner would see it, or, worse, slip on it. I could have notified the staff but I really didn’t want to draw more attention to it than necessary. I shudder at the thought of sharing that bathroom with three other women and their vaginas and their visitors for those 24 hours, let alone several days.

I took a walk down the hall, past the room I had stayed in when my son was born in 2009. The door of the room across from it was sealed off and had a caution sign that read “MOLD.” I wasn’t sure if I should feel grossed out by it, or relieved that they were fixing it. There was something super creepy about seeing a MOLD sign just a few feet from a room full of brand new humans, that’s for sure.

So how was my experience on the maternity ward, in a nutshell? The ward was noisy and cramped, even with just two occupants. Privacy was truly impossible. But it was clean, and the Registered Nurses and doctors were excellent. In fact, I imagine they could deliver an even higher level of care if they had rooms they could actually move around in properly. Rooms in which they could feel proud to care for new mothers and their babies.

Overall my experience on the maternity ward at the Health Sciences was good. Good, because it was brief.

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There’s a Baby Up in My Blog

My blogging and vlogging endeavours have been festering in the diaper pail these last couple of weeks, but for good reason I tell you! I’ve been busy generating new material for said blogging and vlogging material with this wee one right here.

Introducing the babester, Rae Alice Murphy. Born 8:12pm, December 23rd. 8lbs, 8oz of fantastic.

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And if you hurt her, Big Brother Max will open up a can of whoop ass on your face.

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Dental Damned

For fear that my next visit to the dentist is unknowingly to one of the 13 Dalhousie Dentistry Dick-smacks, I’ll pull my teeth out with a pair of rusty pliers instead. That’ll be way more fun.

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What I Hear When You Call My Unborn Daughter a “Drama Queen”

“Good luck with the little drama queen,” they say when they find out I’m expecting a girl.

It seems we gals have a rep right out of the womb — as dramatic, irrational whack-jobs. I hear it all around me, from both men and women. I’ve even said it myself. She’s a total psycho. His ex is a crazy bitch. My friend’s mom is nuts. And I’ve been the subject of such comments too, more than I care to remember.

When there’s an incident, nobody seems to need any further information about the other parties involved, because everyone already knows the human with the vagina is the one to point the finger at. Whatever happened, she caused it. She overreacted. ‘Cause she’s crazy. ‘Cause she’s a she.

To the male observer, we womenfolk must seem strange creatures, preoccupied with primping, preening, and obsessing about everything from our weight to our wallpaper. Our weak, shallow female minds can’t cope with the chaos of the real world so we lash out at poor, unsuspecting men. We get mad when they drink too much or flirt too much. We key their cars like Carrie Underwood in her “Before He Cheats” video. We boil their pet bunnies when they dump us like Glen Close in Fatal Attraction. Oh yes, these things happen all the time. We’ve been typecast as lunatics for hundreds of years. For crying out loud, the word “hysteria” comes from the Greek for “uterus.” Because hysteria — nowadays, more commonly called the crazy cakes — was thought to be exclusive to the ones with the wombs. And remember Jane Eyre? We’re all “crazy women in the attic.” Aren’t we lucky.

So, when one of us is assaulted and comes forward, many people instantly think: oh she’s exaggerating, seeking attention or revenge or a payday. It’s a pattern, after all. Obviously the fussing over our bodies is purely about seeking attention and not because we’ve been conditioned to be wholly insecure about ourselves throughout history. And clearly we’re going through daily life like balls of stress because we are imbalanced nut jobs, not because we actually do have a hundred things to do with most of the parenting and household tasks falling to us.

When Jian Ghomeshi was accused of sexual violence a few weeks ago, over a hundred thousand people — many of them women — immediately jumped to support him and his Facebook post claiming it was all the plot of jilted lovers. A male friend of mine heard the news and quipped, “yeah, after five or six times of getting slapped around they decided they didn’t like it anymore.” He said that out loud, without doing an ounce of research or thinking. Because clearly any woman accusing Ghomeshi, or Bill Cosby, or any beloved man, was a crazy bitch bent on revenge. There was no other possibility.

I mean, of course we women are the ones with the reputation as the jealous lovers who’ll go to any length to destroy our rejectors. That makes total sense. It’s not like 85 per cent of domestic abuse in Canada involves men against women, invariably driven by anger and jealously. It’s not like the vast majority of stalking is done by men, targeting women. Someone must have made up the news story about the man who shot his ex, Julianne Hibbs, and her partner in CBS last year with an AK-47. The cops must have got it wrong yesterday when they found the body of Canadian actress Stephanie Moseley, slain by her husband. Maybe some crazy chick invented all these stats to make things go her way. Perhaps some loony seamstress made Big Ears Teddy and planted him in Ghomeshi’s room to frame him for trading her in for a younger model.

How horribly, horribly difficult it is for us to come forward when we’ve been assaulted. No wonder we swallow the pain and go back to our primping and preening and being seen not heard. In some cases, like that of 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons in Nova Scotia who was raped and bullied for months, we see no way out and just can’t live with the pain. We just can’t win, not in this world. Because anything resembling drama — no matter how warranted that drama is, though it may just be the plain and ugly truth — is synonymous with deceit.

There is power in numbers, thankfully, and sadly. When a slew of totally unconnected, respected women share similar accounts of their encounters with Ghomeshi, or Cosby, logic dictates they’re telling the truth. But one average woman’s story is rarely enough. One ordinary woman must certainly be out to ruin the life of a great man when he stops calling, or when she decides she needs some drama in her little, female life. And god forbid she be a prostitute or — dear god no — a woman who likes to have sex. Then nobody listens at all. Because she’s the epitome of crazy, straight from the attic. If she really was assaulted, surely she’s at least partly to blame.

I think the world is changing, slowly, because we’re finally talking about these things, pushing them out into the light and, hopefully, handing down consequences so young people can better understand what’s simply not acceptable. I just hope the world has changed enough by the time my little girl is a young woman, so she can escape the stereotype into which she’ll be born. So she can feel safe and hopeful and equal and brave in the world, no matter how much of a drama queen she is.

 

This article was previously published on The Huffington Post and commented on by a bunch of misogynist a-holes.

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