on the road again

i went 33 years without a car, hard to believe i know, but it's true. i never wanted one either. i never said "if only", or "i wish" with it in mind. it just wasn't part of my consciousness. it doesn't help that i am afraid of them, or i thought i was, or that i didn't even learn how to use one until i was well into my twenties, and even then it was only because everyone told me that the longer i wait, the harder it will be.

all that ended a couple of weeks ago though when marko and i finally bought one. it wasn't something we had been thinking of really, or even something we thought we needed, although we will concede that it occurred to us that at some point in the not too distant future it might be handy, what with our imagined hockey and soccer practices, art classes and music lessons. mostly it just came about through circumstances, a conversation about cars with a co-worker that led to some investigating followed by driving many cars and then finally settling on the one, my first car, a 1995 volvo 850 turbo. i know, i know, how very family of me, but come on, aren't volvos the new macs?

things that my two weeks of driving have taught me so far:

1. life outside of my neighbourhood, although it is great, is better
2. we can be deep in the forest running down trails, or standing skipping rocks on the ocean in less than thirty minutes
3. no matter how loud i play the music it will never drown out the cries of a disgruntled baby that has had enough of the car seat
4. dance music sounds better when in motion (and preferably without anyone crying)
5. the superstore is like a drug, highly addictive and euphoria inducing. i hate shopping, but i love to just wander the aisles and bask in the sheer volume of it all, especially late at night when the kids are sleeping and no one is around. i have been going a couple of nights a week.
6. gas is expensive, no make that really REALLY expensive
7. anything you want is available to you 24 hours a day if you are willing to drive far enough to get it. this is bad, especially when it involves donuts.
8. having a car somehow makes one feel more free, more capable or something bigger, although i have no idea what that is
9. there was nothing to be afraid of after all
10. i shouldn't have waited so long

for those of you that are sheepishly wondering if i am now going to take back my recycling to the depot, the jury is still out, although i did hear a rumour that they were going to judge in favour of lazy. we'll see.



that last post was a bit angry and complainy, so i thought i would offer up a ying to it's yang. this video clocks in at almost 2 minutes, the longest i have ever put here i think, so please feel free to skim it to get the jist. it is cohen eating an ice cream cone for the first time, not to be confused with eating ice cream for the first time. i'm just sayin'.

i'm mad as hell and i'm not going to take it anymore

i read an article recently in the new york times about children and tantrums, i would link you to it, but for me recently usually means sometime in the last 2 months, and i don't much feel like sifting through archives, so you'll have to take my word for it. it was pretty standard fare, as far as articles go, but like most times articles the comments got fairly interesting. there were several high on their horse parents who came right out and said it, my children never have tantrums. some even went so far as to give advice, don't leave the house when it may be close to nap time, or eating time, or i just feel like being a pint size jerk time, because if you don't leave the house then no one will see the tantrum, and if no one sees it, IT DIDN"T HAPPEN. they didn't say that last part, but i am saying it for them, because i don't believe them. there, i said it. i don't. better put is i can't, to believe that it is possible to have a two year old who never, not ever, has a tantrum is to understand that another way is possible and that, well that just seems incredibly depressing.

we were at the park today, the sun was shining, and there were lots of other kids. it was perfect for mingling, cohen's favourite thing to do. he was laughing and running and cheerful. after an hour i asked him if he wanted to go to the thrift store and look for a new toy, to which he promptly replied "new toy!" and started running towards the store. every couple of weeks we go into the mennonite thrift store to have a look, buy a truck or a boat or some other thing that we don't need, and then he holds it contently in the stroller as he hums the whole way home. it makes me happy, it makes him happy, it makes the mennonites happy, and on a good day it doesn't make ada unhappy, so it is a win all around. it wasn't to be today though, oh no, it was not. i could tell shortly after we got in there that it was going to turn south. first it was climbing on riding toys to reach the higher shelf, and then pulling out all those little plastic bags filled with plastic crap and scattering them on the floor. i was right behind him picking then up and putting them away, asking him calmly if he saw something he would like, one thing that we could take home. i don't even think he was aware i was there, every now and again batting towards his ear as though i was a fly that kept landing there, making him itch. go away mom, i am making a ruckus over here and i need space. i would give him the freedom to explore, but those mennonite ladies aren't fond of that, and one of them had already come over and given me a talking to about the mess, she wanted to ensure i was on it and that nothing would be left out where others could hurt themselves. i guess she didn't see me picking things up at the speed of light, nor my negotiation tactics with the small human. so finally i picked him up and tried to talk rationally with him. that bit right there is often where it goes wrong, the rational part. it isn't that he can't understand rational thinking, because thank goodness, he finally can, but i usually attempt to deliver it about 30 seconds after he is capable of it.

so he starts thrashing in my arms, kicking, screaming. it was a doozer, a full out no holds barred spectacle. given the best stunt man and special effects unit i doubt he could have done better. ada, in the stroller, starts screaming too, it is a full man attack, and so i admit defeat and begin the march of shame out of there. the old ladies are scowling, the young punks are teetering and whispering that they are glad they don't have kids, the middle age indian man is shaking his head, it is awful. cohen hasn't stopped for one second, he is actually kicking my leg as hard as he can while i try and hold him, negotiate the stroller with one hand and open the stupid front door that pushes in instead of out. no one came to help, no one felt any sympathy for me, or it didn't feel like it. apparently, like manhattan mother, their kids don't have tantrums.

to be fair to cohen and to myself, he doesn't have tantrums like this very often, but when he does it tests me like nothing else in parenthood has. it is so easy to yell and get angry, it even feels good to do it, but the true test is to be able to take a deep breath, and show understanding in the face of all the commotion, to see that being two is a pretty tough job, and it is. today i did ok. today i was calm. it isn't always the case.

so this is the part where you tell me i am not alone, have any good tantrum stories?