metro mama

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

She Loves Me, She Really Loves Me

Friends, you’ve heard me whine many times about how cold Cakes is. Well, I’m excited to tell you, she is finally starting to show me some affection. We were sitting on the couch watching the news the other night and she voluntarily came and sat in my lap. She rested her head against my chest and snuggled in and my heart swelled.

You're not so bad mama.


I am always amazed at how observant Cakes is. I’m a bear in the morning, and I reach for my coffee even before I get Cakes her milk (awful, I know—but it’s like they tell you on the plane: put the mask on yourself first). Anyway, the other day, McHotty had morning duty. When I awoke, three hours later than he and Cakes, I stopped by her room, where they were playing, to say a quick good morning before I headed for the coffee pot. As soon as Cakes saw me, she scrambled to her table, retrieved her toy teapot and poured me a beverage. Ah, that’s my girl.


In addition to being nicer to me, Cakes is becoming very affectionate with her toys. She makes them cuddle together. She has several toys in her crib--sometimes when I come to her in the morning, she has them all lined up, side by side (I am making her wait a little longer each morning, trying to teach her to play by herself until a reasonable hour). She’s also sharing her friends with us a little more generously:

Oh, do I love her.

Monday, February 26, 2007


There are many theories about what makes us laugh. There’s the theory of incongruity; for example, when Olive breaks into a stripper routine during the beauty pageant. There's the position of safety theory: busting a gut while Johnny Knoxville writhes in pain. Then there is the theory of superiority: laughing at Elaine making an ass of herself dancing at the company Christmas party. There are many types of humour: satire, irony, exaggeration, direct insults, irreverence.

Humour is extremely subjective. I liked Letterman’s Oscar hosting. I also have a sick sense of humour and I love black humour—I thought Very Bad Things was hilarious. We have very different ideas of what is funny.

I love to laugh, and there are many of you out there who make me cackle. So, when Christina said she needed to find a new home for the ROFL awards, the wonderful Mrs. Chicky and I were happy to oblige. Starting next month, we will be co-hosting the awards and linking to your favourite funny posts.

So next time you read something that makes you titter, share it with us: send you nomination to We need more funny in our lives.


Despite my best intentions, I broke down and watched the Oscars last night (tho' I simultaneously blogged, drank wine, ate cheese, alphabetized the CDs, painted my nails and read parenting books). Here’s my take:

The good: Ellen Degeneres, Mark Wahlberg, Penelope Cruz, Naomi Watts.

The bad: The opening montage; starting the night with two hours of boring awards, without even Supporting categories to break the monotony; Celine Dion.

The ugly: Jennifer Hudson’s jacket. She'll poke your eye out with that thing.

For best dressed I’d say Cate Blanchette. Who’s your choice?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Perfect Date

My extraordinary in-laws were here for a couple of days. Cakes’ Grandma arrived on the train Thursday, with her backpack. She walked from Union Station to St. Lawrence Market to buy some nice cheeses for us, then hopped on the streetcar to our place. She took Cakes for the entire day yesterday allowing us to catch up on errands (Ikea, Home Depot, Loblaws) and have a blissfully uninterrupted nap. Grandpa joined us yesterday afternoon and they sent McHotty and I out for a nice dinner on them. Pretty facking sweet.

We went to the new-ish addition to the Danforth, the Globe Bistro. The place is gorgeous – vaulted ceilings, extravagant glass chandeliers, massive art on the walls. It’s sleek and showy. The wine list is huge with some good reasonably priced options. We had a Porta 2005 Chilean Merlot that was very tasty. The food was excellent. We started with crab empanada and our main course was the Farmer’s Plate (the daily chef’s special, fresh from a local farm), which was lamb with an amazing sauce of salsify, accompanied by pickled salsify and fingerling potatoes.

The service was smooth and polished, but not stuffy. When McHotty went to the washroom, leaving his napkin in a bundle on the table, our server stopped, shook it out with a flourish and folded it neatly. I couldn’t help but giggle at this (I’m goofy that way) and he laughed right back. When we tasted the wine, we asked him how often people sent it back. He said that more than once he’s had people who thought the purpose of the exercise was to see if they liked the wine, and they responded to the taste with “sorry, I don’t really like this one”. Isn’t that funny!

Though the servers were not pretentious, some of our fellow diners seemed so. The man to our right brought his own wine. When the server went to take the empty bottle away, he curtly stopped him (McHotty thinks he wanted to return it and get his ten cents*). At first I thought the women on our left would be fodder for making fun because of their effusive compliments to the owners of the restaurant (who were making the rounds the entire time we were there). However, after dinner, they must have noticed me “surreptitiously” checking out their desserts. One of them asked for a second spoon, which she used to offer me a taste of her crème brûlée (which I of course accepted). The two of us, a rather tipsy pair by then, enjoyed a little conversation. As Jane Austen tells us most eloquently, first impressions can be deceiving, can’t they?

After dinner we went to our favourite local spot for a nightcap, Barrio. A perfect end to a perfect evening.

What is your idea of a perfect date?

For the Torontonians, which restaurant are you most dying to try?

* Ontario has recently introduced a program to return empty wine bottles for a refund. We can clean out our garage to put Cakes through college.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Alpha Babe

Some of Cakes’ behaviour is a growing cause for concern. I used to be able to go to our drop-in and ignore her relax and chat with the other moms. As long as I was in her sights, she would happily play with toys and needed little supervision. I spend a lot of time down on the floor playing with her at home, so I feel no guilt about a little benign neglect when we’re out. Lately, however, I’ve been having to watch her like a hawk. She plays great with older kids and used to stick with them and ignore the little ones. But she’s started to also be interested in children who are younger, and/or smaller (especially ones that are whiny sensitive) and she zeros in on them and shoves them around. Her shoves are sometimes enough to make the kid cry and always enough to make me cringe with embarrassment.

At first I thought Cakes was just going through another asshole phase, but this has been going on for some time now. I spoke to one of the workers at my drop-in and she thinks the problem is that she wants to play with the other children and doesn’t know how to ask. This makes sense to me—she is very outgoing (like I am) but she doesn’t have many (recognizable) words yet (that’s another post). So, she does the thing she knows will get attention, be it positive or negative. What I need to do is watch her more closely, recognize when it’s about to happen and try to avoid the behaviour by giving her words:

“Oh, you want to help Johnny play with his train?”

“Hi Johnny, I’m Jane. Wanna play?”

Needless to say, there will be far less coffee drinking and chatting for me for the next little while.

Anyone else going through/gone through this?

My neighbour and I are finding the girls a little challenging right now and were wondering if things will get easier or harder. What do you think wise mothers of older children? What age was the hardest for you?


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Love is Having to Say You're Sorry

I had been a little annoyed with McHotty for a few days. It started with his shopping for Valentine’s Day at the grocery store for the second year in a row. My irritation increased when McH forgot the toys on our trip up North on the weekend. So, yesterday, when I asked him if he noticed he had a huge pile of dirty laundry, though Cakes’ and mine was all washed and put away (perhaps there was a connection between this and the pile of his clean laundry, washed last week but hitherto not put away) he realized I was getting downright pissy.

He went out to get us some Stilton for the soup (yes, the soup book is still rocking) and came home with these:

And this:

Yesterday also happened to be Wednesday. Coincidence?


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Shopping About Town: Bloor West Village

I loathe malls and find shopping in them a chore. They're so stuffy and crowded. Each mall is the same as the next--I’d much rather shop in one of the city’s many neighbourhoods and make it a fun outing.

Bloor West Village is a great place to spend an afternoon. It is definitely a baby friendly neighbourhood (you will be negotiating your stroller around many others) and most of the shops are family friendly.

Start at Bloor and Jane at Smart Kids Toybox. Brands carried include Lamaze, Manhattan, Brio and Tiny Love. Let the kids play while the friendly staff help you find what you’re looking for. [read on]

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Save the Date

Dudes, it’s time for Toronto Bloggers to once again gather, drink and be merry. Mark March 9 on your calendars and book your babysitters now. It’s Something Blue’s birthday and we are going to par-tay.

Deets are coming soon.


Good Parents Pay

The Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services has a new website, Good Parents Pay where they post the pictures and personal information on deadbeat dads who’ve gone AWOL in the hopes they will shame them into crawling out of the woodwork.

I think it’s a great idea.


Amazing Race All Star

I’m very stoked about Amazing Race All Star. The teams are pretty fab. They’re brought back some of the most annoying, like Myrna and Shmirna, and Teri and Ian, as well as some of my favourites: David and Mary, Uchenna and Joyce, Ozwald and Danila, the beauty queens, and my very favourite reality whores (and pick to win) Rob and Amber.

Spoiler alert! I am so disappointed John Vito and Jill bit the dust already. I love those two and thought they’d be great competition for Rob and Amber.

Who do you want to win? Think will win?


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Take Off to the Great White North

We’re home after a fabulous weekend in the Great White North, with T and M as well as crazymumma and her wonderful family.

It was our first visit to their magnificent new home. The setting is gorgeous, and Cakes loved the house. It is full of stairs and nooks and crannies and cupboards. We loved the seventies red swag carpet--Cakes and I took turns steamrolling each other in it. There is a bar in the rec room with red lights under the counter. Groovy.

Cakes took a little while to get into the idea of playing in the snow:

She eventually came around though…for about half an hour.

McHusband, while re-packing the trunk, left Cakes’ suitcase full of toys on the garage floor.

Whaddya mean you forgot the toys!

Luckily, she found plenty of other amusements…



…remote-control rats…


Crazymumma’s sweet girls did an excellent job entertaining Cakes:

After the little girls went to bed, it was time for the big girls to play. We ate stinky cheese, and talked and talked and sipped a few beverages...

All I can say is, “ow”.

Can’t wait to do it again.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bear Hug

Cakes continues to be the most unaffectionate child I have ever seen, particularly towards her mother. She has found a way to grudgingly admit her love: remember a while back I told you how she throws Dirty Simon where she wants to go? Her latest shtick is to show her fondness by throwing Simon at you. Yes my friends, that’s as good as it gets for me. No kisses, no soft, warm hugs, no snuggles: just bear hugs—a stinky, dirty bear lobbed in my general direction.

I don’t read many parenting books, but I vaguely remember reading somewhere that toddlers often behave better at daycare and with other caregivers than they do when with their mothers. This is because of the trusting relationship they have with their mother—they feel free to let mother see them at their worst because they know they're loved unconditionally. I am going with this theory--how else can I explain how Cakes is an asshole only around me? She behaves perfectly with everyone else, but once we’re alone together…asshole! Yes, we have an attached, trusting relationship indeed.

When she was good, she was very, very good
But when she was bad she was horrid.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Poem for McHotty

* Edited below

On this special day for love and devotion,
I long for a way to display my affection.
I didn’t shop online, or go to the mall-
You’re not fond of trinkets and my budget is small.
My cooking is shoddy, and baking’s a bore,
A BJ will make your day, but I want to do more.

So I’m writing this poem so I may sing your praise:
I’m glad you’re the guy with whom I spend my days.
You’re sweet and you’re smart; sometimes you’re naughty;
Happy Valentine's Day—I love you, McHotty!


For all you men out there...if you forgot about Valentine's Day, it's not too late. You can always give her this:

Thanks for the link, M!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

It's a Good Thing We're All Different

Nomotherearth tagged me for a meme—five weird things about me. Here are some I’m willing to share:

I am freakishly punctual
I am usually the first one to show up for an event, securing the largest and most well located table, only to find everyone else is fashionably late. By the time everyone else arrives I am on my second solo drink, enduring dirty looks from the maitre de.

I like porn movies
I just wish there was more good porn out there. I would love to be a porn producer. Can anyone recommend any decent quality porn?

I am exceptionally self-disciplined
In some respects, anyway. I just finished an essay that isn’t due until the end of the month--I will make myself work on term papers during all of Cakes’ naps, no matter how much I want to blog or watch Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve been watching my budget--I haven’t been to Starbucks in almost a month. I’ve been reading a novel a week (yes, I read even more books than I mention here. I can’t bear to criticize a writer, so I only blog about books I really like).

I can be ridiculously undisciplined in other respects
There are some things I just can’t say no to, like another glass of wine, second helpings, a social event.

I haven’t been to the dentist in almost nine years.
I blogged about this back in August and I am embarrassed to say, nothing has changed.

Anyone else want to share their idiosyncrasies? Be my guest!


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Metro Reco: Mothers and Sons

Mothers and Sons, a new collection of short stories by Colm Toibin, portrays pivotal moments in the lives of sons and mothers to contemplate courage, miscommunication, regret, grief, love and loss.

In “The Name of the Game”, a widow takes charge of her family’s future, keeping her son in the dark, after her husband dies leaving them in debt. A mother reluctantly recalls her promising career as a musician after her son discovers her former band’s old recordings in “Famous Blue Raincoat”. “Three Friends” is the story of a son who has just buried his mother and attends a rave where drugs and desire are an outlet for grief. In the powerful final story, “A Long Winter”, set in the Pyrenees, a son searches for his mother who has probably died trying to escape her domineering husband.

The stories are thoughtful and meditative; sensual and emotional. I plan to go back and reread a few.

Colm Toibin was born in Ireland and lives in Dublin.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Evil Dead Meets Deliverance Meets Carrie

I was glad when Mother Bumper recommended The Descent as we have similar (good) taste in horror films.

The film follows six adventure-seeking women, some old friends and some new acquaintances, on a spelunking expedition in the Appalachians. The group includes the fearless and headstrong Juno, as well Sarah (an excellent Shauna Macdonald), who suffered a horrific loss the year before. In the dark depths of the earth, grudges and revelations surface (along with some freaky creepy, slimy, flesh-eating dudes).

The film does a great job of evincing the women’s sense of claustrophobia and panic—it’s scary enough even before the fine slime cannibals make their presence known.

I agree with Mother Bumper, at times it is hard to tell who’s who, especially when they’re wearing gear. But I do like the fact these are no shrieking, weak, helpless women—these are some tough dames.

I do like the un-rated version ending. For those who’ve seen it, which ending did you see and did you like it? (If you’re worried about spoilers, please don’t read the comments).


Tuesday, February 06, 2007


My daughter amazes me. How can a 20-month-old be such a sensitive little soul?

We went to see my family yesterday, bearing a home-cooked meal and moral support. But what was infinitely more beneficial was our effusive, charming, hilarious little girl. She (who rarely embraces anyone) gave her grandmother and great-grandmother perfectly timed hugs; she said “grandpa”. She was a ray of light.

Grandpa died last night. It sounds cold, but I’m glad it happened more quickly than we expected. Now we can spend our energy doing something positive--remembering him for all that he was: devoted husband, father, friend, veteran, loyal Angels fan, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

It must be quite something to know your great-grandchildren, even if only for a couple of years--I'm glad he did.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Product Review: athleticBaby Soccer!

Parent Bloggers NetworkWe don’t have cable and Cakes doesn’t watch TV, but there have been days when we’ve needed a little downtime and I’ve wished I had something worthwhile she could watch. So, when I was asked if I wanted to review athleticBaby Soccer! for The Parent Bloggers, I was happy to do so.

Kids of all ages, from tots to teens, play soccer, warm up, dance, train, and have a good time. Cakes was entertained. Eddie Coker’s original music is catchy and fun--Cakes was bobbing her head and swaying her butt. More importantly, the music didn’t annoy me like most children’s music does.

Criticisms? A couple of the segments are a little too kinetic. There could be a little more ethnic diversity.

Overall, I like it. It encourages activity (we played along with a couple of balls) unlike those awful videos (that shall remain nameless) of toys being manipulated by eerily disembodied limbs. It’s a great introduction to the sport of soccer.

The video emphasizes the joy of sport; there was no emphasis on winning (except, perhaps, one image of a child waving a trophy).

I also like the fact that the company’s founder and CEO, Karen Foster, is a mother of three who founded athleticBaby with the goal of promoting physical activity to children. Soccer! is the fifth instalment in the series which includes Walk, Run and Play, Golf, Basketball, and athelticBaby All-Star.

All in all, thumbs up. However, I won’t be buying a Hockey! version. I plan to encourage sports selectively: I can picture myself on a sunny summer afternoon, sitting by the soccer field on my folding chair with a cold one in my stainless steel coffee mug. I cannot picture myself sitting in a cold ice rink at five am on a Sunday morning.

Find out more about the athleticBaby series at


Sunday, February 04, 2007


We spent the second Saturday night in a row watching Season 2 of Grey’s Anatomy. They just introduced McSteamy—wow. I think he’s even hotter than McDreamy.

McDreamy/McSteamy sandwich anyone? I'll take mine with side of chocolate.

Anyway, the interns have inspired me to give my dear husband a better alias. So, the husband formerly known as Big Papa will now be known as McHotty (when I’m annoyed with him it will be McHusband).


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Metro Reco: Theft

Theft is the newest novel by two-time Booker Prize-winning writer Peter Carey.

The novel’s narrative is shared between the voices of two brothers, Michael and Hugh Bones. Michael is a brilliant painter who is currently “out of style”. He is custodian of his developmentally challenged brother, Hugh. The two brothers’ lives are turned upside down with the entrance of the beautiful, wily Marlene who falls in love with Michael and befriends Hugh.

Moving from rural Australia, to Tokyo, to New York City, Theft is a suspense novel, caper, love story, and critique of the art world. It’s snappy, intriguing, and droll.

Peter Carey is the author of nine novels, including the Booker Prize–winning Oscar and Lucinda and True History of the Kelly Gang. He was born in Australia and now lives in New York City.

What are you all reading right now (or planning to read next)?


I just got home from school. I’m sipping a cold beer and eating chips and unwinding. In my class tonight we were talking about Byron. What a wild dude. The ladies sure did get their knickers in a knot over him. We were trying to think of a contemporary figure who could be considered a Byronic hero and were hard pressed to do so. Any suggestions?


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