Monday, 19 March 2012

deodorant on a bookshelf

Ok, so it's confession time.  I absolutely cannot keep a house clean.  Just can't do it.  Mind you I can clean a house until you could eat off any surface it contains.  But keeping it that way, regularly?  Waaaay beyond my skills.  I don't know how, but even after a mega purge, or even better, a move, I still find the top of my fridge piled with everything from bills to T4's to half-eaten lollipops.  The single seat is always piled with crap accumulated after any kind of shopping trip, or just socks, scarves, hats, shoes, jackets, chucked there after a trip outside.  The desktop is constantly covered with papers, hair ties, coffee cups, video games, game systems, old ink cartridges... RIGHT NEXT TO A GARBAGE CAN...

Truly, it's the utter innappropriateness of the clutter is what gets to me.  There hasn't been a meal served on my dining table in months, but rather it is the home of The Other Half's RC helicopter collection.  The laundry baskets are toy receptacles, linen storage, and occasionally comfy reading hideouts (when the picked-over socks, and t-shirts it has housed for the last three weeks are clean, anyway).

My kitchen counters serve triple duty after their intended purpose as medicine cabinet, knife storage, bread basket and recycling bag.  My inherited desk with my lovely displays has become a catch all and currently houses every single of Anna's DVD's (loose >.<), a bottle of screen cleaner, a bottle of contact solution, a bowl full of playdough shape cutters, and no less than two notebooks.

Now, I'm sure those of you reading this can relate in some way, and even have your own horror stories, and let me just say I LOVE to hear them!  To a certain extent I need to hear that my unique brand of clutter isn't as unheard of as I think it is.  Especially having grown up in a hoarder's household.

Yes, that is what makes this so damn scary.  When I was growing up, I literally thought I was a completely separate species from the well-groomed, happy, sweet-smelling creatures I attended school with.  I thought I lived in the only house on the planet that had thousands of books, architectural magazines from the 70's, a fully functioning eight track player (complete with a collection of eight tracks--country mostly), a record-cassette combo player, and a dress-up chest containing peach prom dresses and white vinyl platform boots that, had they had survived in good condition, would probably be worth money today.  My first ever game system was an original Atari that I shared with my brother (when he was in a good enough mood to let me in his room), complete with two joysticks and around forty games.  My day-to-day existence involved dodging stacks of Psychology Today's, and towers of old tobacco containers.  Towers that regularly could be stacked to well-above my own height and often the heights of anyone who had the misfortune of seeing them.  I remember playing on piles of lumber, and making a playhouse out of tree trunk rounds destined for the woodstove, and old plywood and particle board.

My childhood home could have been the blueprint for a hedge maze, there were that many little paths through the junk.  It was an adventure to sneak into my mother's bedroom when she wasn't home to look through the little drawers, and toolboxes, and nuts and bolts organizers.  Do you know how many pairs of clip-on earrings a tackle box can hold?  A frickin lot.  My mother had built her never-used double bed up on a loft, so to maximize the storage space beneath.  She stored pens and pencils, and old stationary in a desk-like structure at the back, with an old institutional mail box mounted above it.  You remember those walls of cubbies for each teacher back in school, where other teachers put memos and notes?  One of those.  I remember rearranging it's contents a couple times to suit my own sense of organization--pens with pens, sharpeners with sharpeners.  Three hole punches with three hole punches.  Yes, there was more than one of those in my home.  I don't know if it's funny or sad that she never noticed.

That bedroom was home to some truly incredible vintage dresses and shoes, and I squirreled away so much costume jewelry, I could have had the best eclectic style ever seen in a small-town high school...had I the courage the go through with the outlandish outfits I put together.  She kept perfume, and lipstick on a lovely corner shelf in beautiful little boxes made of shells, and inlaid with semi-precious stones.  She was a fan of turquoise.  As the youngest child, I had the privilege of being allowed to use makeup far earlier than my sister, just because my mom thought my combinations using her fuschia lipsticks, and bright blue and green eyeshadows were 'well executed.'  Lol. Yeah.

Growing up, I don't remember ever seeing a floor meet the wall.  Probably why I have such a thing for negative space nowadays.  Heck, for that matter, I only remember three unadorned walls ever having been in our home.  And those were all in my own and my sister's bedrooms.  Every wall from the living room through the hallway to the kitchen, laundry room, even the tiny nook where the sink was located had a book shelf mounted on it.  I remember my first taste of adult literature being the romances my older sister had collected in her room.  The old Woman's Day and Chatelaine's my mom had collected were ruthlessly cannibalized for posterboard-sized collages of eyes.  Being an actress at heart, I've always somehow been comfortable with the idea of thousands of eyes being pointed in my direction.  The books that were purloined away to my own room were the books closest to my heart.  The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need.  It's reached legendary status in my family both for the discussions over it and a cup of coffee, enjoyed by myself, my sister, mother and my brother's future wife, and for the way Mom and I fought over possession of it.  Had it not burned, I am sure it would be on my own bookshelf (SINGULAR) even today.  I remember finding a book of Egyptian gods after watching The Mummy, and keeping it on my own bookshelf, for the scholarly status I imagined it endowed me with.  Eventually my personal bookshelf would expand to include science fiction, astrology handbooks, a couple medical thrillers, crime fiction, Mom's ENTIRE Mercedes Lackey collection (also a hotly contested item in our household), some dry out-of-date literature on subjects that vaguely interested me... mostly science, religion and mythology, past and present--as well as my own young adult fiction, and later issues of CosmoGirl, and TigerBeat.  Yes, books were the currency of my mother's kingdom; the measure and quality of her love was determined by how engaged you could get her in conversation, with source material to back up your conclusions.

As an adult with a reasonable grasp of the English language and a thirst to read about all things-- truly a drive to know as much as I can before I die -- this is really the area of my Mom's illness I can forgive the easiest, and truly value as an integral part of my formation as a human being.  If there is one thing a person must hoard, information should be it.  It is truly a credit to her that she allowed me access to occasionally explicit, adult material to explore in the privacy of my own mind.

I guess, what I am trying to say here, is that having grown up in the dusty, unkempt, colourfuly infinite world of  hoarding, I can both appreciate having the things you need and the things you want, and yet enough space to enjoy them in.  When you see a day's worth of dirty dishes, you see a job.  When I see it, I see a choice.  To become that horrible, entempered, shy, possessive, loving, intelligent, generous, beloved woman.  Or not.  To become myself.

So, when you come over, and I apologize for the dust, the lack of a place to put your coffee, or the smell of three baskets of neglected dirty laundry, please understand that I am apologizing for her as well.  I am apologizing for the time spent teaching me the wonders of the world, rather than how to clean an oven.  And if you give me enough time to prepare, I can provide you with a lovely, clean, restful place to speak your mind, and grow.  I, as my mother-in-law once worried, am NOT a clean freak.  But if I get the chance, it's how I'd prefer you see me.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

a letter to the toybox

Just finished reading a post on baby showers by a lovely lady who's been around the blogosphere long enough to know how to write a post that gets one thinking!  One thing that struck me, as I commented is how my own views towards materialism have just about turned 180 degrees in terms of priorities.

Stuff is one of those pervasively ubiquitous categories in life, at least for us in the industrialized world.  Lucky us.  >.<  It begins for us, over a bowl of cheerios, interrupting the stories on that magic box, the ones our parents might read to us if the power goes out, but have come alive through the mediums we call network tv.  A flash of colour.  A catchy tune.   Little girls with a toy so captivating, it causes her peers to gravitate in her direction, as though--almost--against their will.  In the thirty second lifetime of that ad, our children are hooked. Not chemically.  Not physically, though the craving and nagging are a certain common physical symptoms of this addiction.  No, this is more insidious.  They are hooked emotionally, and even instinctively.

We are told, in our formative years, that we NEED this, or we HAVE to have it. Why?  Because our friends will love us for it.  We are told during the practice stage, as we shakily attempt those mysterious grown up rituals, that this will ATTRACT, this will ENERGIZE, this will secure our place in the group.  We are told as adults, as mothers and fathers, that we SHOULD get this, or we OUGHT to have that.  Because it's good for our family.  And those of us that believe the promises on the screen, share one fundamental thing.  I believe, if asked to sum up their immediate thoughts and feelings into one succinct word, very few shopaholics would say first, "I am happy."  They might admit to inadequacy, or anxiety.  Depending on the number of bags in their hands, perhaps multiplied by the level of social distinction conveyed by the names blazoned across them, you find one or two shoppers who feel "GREAT! CHARGED! READY TO GO!"  That would make sense, given the levels of dopamine their brains are releasing because of what they carry in their hands.

What really frightens me is that, in our society, we have progressed to a point where accumulation of things can be a harmless passion, a career, and a brain-warping disease all at once.  Very few slices of life can claim the same.  Some of us have almost forgotten the kiss of non-recycled air, or the soul-calming effect of a view with neither billboard, nor ad.  There are those of us who would rank the thrill of the deal higher than the true accomplishment of having a quiet, happy home.  As long as we're talking about chemical brain reaction, why not remember instead, the nerves that fire when you hold your infant close, and your very cells recognize her as a part of you. Can a hoarder, or a salesman, or an antique cola bottle collector remember the sound of a song sung just for them?  The flattery of a child who screams with delight as you walk through the door?

The picture of a person reduced to covetous greed is not new at all.  We've seen this before, and all we did was create a much more complex model.  We're good at that. However, we're also pretty good at loving. Says the 7 billionth baby, anyway! ;) So, what say we challenge ourselves?  Can we, as industrialized humans let go of the 'paper or plastic' and focus instead on 'carrots or broccoli;'  'Empty papertowel tube, or box that the Crockpot came in;'  'Go for a walk, or play house'?  Can we place trust in our tiny humans, that they will thrive if they are Disney-less and remember that saying no will not transform our beautiful babies into outcasts, nor must it break them.

I believe we can do it, but it will take strength.  And it will take our greatest strength.  But the important part (the part that would be flashed on the screen a half dozen times were this playing on latenight TV) is that we can do it.

Says Baby 5,079,451,844, !

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

worry wart

There's maybe an inch of snow on the ground, and I'm wondering if today is the day The Other Half doesn't come home because he's gotten himself hospitalized.  Does that seem a little extreme?  Of course it does.  Even to me.  That doesn't mean my mind isn't revolving around the repercussions of a car accident in my family.

If I were a superhero, my name would be Worst-Case Scenario Girl.  If the hijinks I get myself into don't end in one, well my brain is fixated on what would happen if it did... I read internet articles and wonder who around me will eventually axe murder me one day.  I notice the tub needs a cleaning, and wonder what horrible bacterial infection I've given my daughter by making her bathe in it.  I see a beetle scuttle across the floor, and image search cockroaches, and bed bugs, which inevitably leads me to Youtube videos of necrotic spiderbites from across the world, wherein, I take my glass of wine and sit rocking and humming in a corner.  Daily life on this vicious rock can be enough to give a girl the thousand yard stare.

I'll admit it, it's probably stupid.  And 99.8% of the things I worry about will never happen to me, or most of the people I love.  It's that .2% that's left that eats at me...

What's your .2%?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

my apologies for the overshares

I decided to have kids early.  There were many reasons to do so... you can blame it on meeting a guy worth procreating with.  You can blame it on my loneliness for family after my mother's death.  You can give all kinds of reasons why I took the plunge early.  None of them matter anymore.  Fact is, my ladies are here, and this is my life.  I can still do other things with it, they'll just have to wait a couple years.  I'm willing to sacrifice a degree, martinis, and uninterrupted conversation for now...

But unfortunately becoming a young mother has many inherent disadvantages, also.  One of the worst, to my childless friends at least, is the tendency to overshare.  Let me just say, right now: I AM SORRY!  I know you don't care about the consistency of my babies bowel movements, nor does my toddlers accomplishments give you the rush of accomplishment, the way it does for me.  I do try to limit my gushing/complaining/bodily fluid-induced despair, but it is so very hard!  As a human being, we are programmed to reach out, to relate to another.  These moms broadcasting their worries, and joys and opinions are participating in an evolutionarily necessary activity, (and amongst ourselves) we're LOVING it!  The fire we gather around to share what we've learned over the day will always be a cherished, important part of parenthood.

Alright, I'm headed in the direction of a completely different topic.  Focus, Mom!  Perhaps, it would help for one who is horribly guilty of Overshare in the First Degree to break down the elements of the crime, so as to better understand the mental path that leads to statuses about poop. I do this not for the parents out there, because you know already how easy it is to fall into the trap of thinking that people you went to middle school with care about your child's hysterical way of eating pizza. (upside down, natch; i mean really, who does that? My Booger Pile is a unique one! :D)

No, I do this for those of you still blissfully ignorant of the tug of infant smiles. The concern brought about by bowel movements the colour of 80's leg warmers.  The delirious moment that comes in the dead of night after the third wakeup call, at least one load of laundry, and the despair that arises when you realize it's been more than one week since your last shower. These are the people that need to understand the primal urge to share, so strongly felt by those who are too exhausted to properly utilize the more civilized parts of their brain.

The overshare, as rationalized in the mind of the offender, is an anecdote, and/or expression of emotion, intended to amuse or inform the recipient of diverse minutiae relating to the daily activities of the offender and their progeny. Topics can range from the unimportant to the wildly personal.  Results include expressions of relateability,  a false sense of approval garnered by rising numbers of "likes" depending on the ratio of parents to the childless among online contacts, and at least one squeamish teenager wincing at the mental picture created by accurate (albeit amusing) descriptions of bodily fluids in motion.  The true master of the overshare is capable of making a victim feel both repulsed, and fascinated, and yet somehow respond in a manner appropriate to the social setting. As if nothing ever happened.

There are three main categories of oversharing.  The first, and least offensive can be characterized as mildly irritating, or could-have-been-interesting-had-it-not-been-so-obnoxious, depending on the topic, and the viewer's opinion of said topic.  A good example is the oversharer who posts multiple statuses about the meal of the day, and caps off with a badly lit digital photo of said meal before it is consumed.  This oversharer does not realize that very few people care so much about what she happens to be eating, nor do they require a visual stimulant of a meal they aren't going to eat.  I plead guilty to multiple charges of this particular crime.  Also, pulled pork is on the menu for today, and it's going to be delicious. Chew on that.

The second category can escalate into true conflict if the participants don't have sufficient self control, or an aptitude for topical debate.  This category involves the status/blog post/tweet about any code of conduct that conflicts with the personal morals of the one reading the status. This category is unique in that it is not the sole dominion of parents.  Posts, involving theological arguments, political leanings, and non-scientific opinion relating to something scientific can all be considered overshare in the second degree, not because it is too much information, but rather it is information that should stay personal for the greater peace of the group. Shalom Bayis, as God's Chosen would say. (those among you who are most guilty of this type of overshare will recognize that last as a mistake on my part; but too bad, I don't know enough Hebrew to say "peace amongst friends".)  A parent can easily identify this type of overshare in the forums with threads containing within the title Montessori, exclusive breast feeding, or Tiger Parenting.

The third, and most serious category of oversharing is also the most obvious.  This is the status with "TMI!" repeated in it's comments.  This is the dreaded poop story.  This is the most controversial of overshares (yes, even over the theological argument!) for many reasons, not the least of which is that so many of us are enamoured of the overshare!  I delight in a great fart story.  I will snort laugh for hours over tales of childish terms for bodily fluids.  And it's not just me!  Websites like Damn You Autocorrect wouldn't be so popular if there wasn't a tiny part of all of us that likes to laugh at dick jokes!

But the fact remains, after all hilarious stories are told, that these are personal stories about small people who don't get a say about what they want people reading about on the internet.  The fundamental issue at stake here is respect.  Respect for our tiny humans who must learn how to respect themselves.  And they can't do that, if we don't show them what that looks like.  And as much as I enjoy a good bath story, I will (I must) reign in my tendency to tell you about my kids and their doings.  They deserve that from me.

In conclusion, I offer my regret, and I wish to make it understood that this is not a victimless crime.  With proper rehabilitation, us parents of young children can return to civilized adult conversation with nary an appearance of poop stories or model comparison of child-rearing techniques.  It will take a community to reform those among us most guilty of this issue.  But it can be done.  And if our pristine, childless peers can't help us heal... there's always the teenage years.

PS: 'To the German Commander: NUTS!'  

Oh Network TV.  How you fill my need for dirty humour without harming my children directly! Oh wait...

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

hands in my pockets ain't gonna find much. maybe a button that fell off my jacket..

Now, most of you out there know how expensive it is to be alive today.  Whether you have kids or not, the cost of living has soared since our parents youth.  Tuition, rent (especially here in BC; whuddup to living across the straight from the most expensive city in Canada in which to buy a home), utilities, gas, food costs even are higher than ever.  In fact, UBC researchers have found that young families today have it harder financially and deal with a standard of living that has declined substantially from the days of the baby boomer.  In fact, they call us, "a squeezed generation."

Now, as the hipster of modern economics (I was poor before it was cool), I've noticed the rest of the Western world returning to financial strategies that were absolute necessity when I was young.  Along with walking to school in the freezing snow, uphill both ways, when I was young, no name brands were always in our cupboards,  second hand books and toys for Christmas were standard, and hand-me-downs the rule.  So seeing these suggestions in internet articles aiming to help me save money really doesn't give me too much of a rise.  That being said, I think there's always room in the Internet for one more list of ways to save money in a depressing economy.

1)  Bottle returns.  I know what you're thinking, it seems kind of obvious... but you'd be surprised how many people either don't care about their own impact on the environment, or do but can't deal with the hassle of bringing them for trade-in.  The way I see it, the deposit is tacked onto the price you pay for the product, so why on earth wouldn't you want to get it back??  Not only does taking in my bottles (and anyone else's who doesn't feel like doing the depot thing, and doesn't mind missing out on the money I get for them) help the environment, and make me a tidy $20-$60 every month or so, but it also nets me a cool two hours of GLORIOUS alone time, driving up to the depot, organizing my recyclables, and going to pick up whatever small groceries I require!  And as a SAHM of two children under three, NO alone time is to be taken for granted!

2)  I'm a woman who has experienced quite a few Christmases and birthdays.  That means I have an overabundance of bath sets in scents I either don't care for or absolutely loathe.  But it's not all bad!  Shower gel that would otherwise sit moldering in some bathroom cabinet has been repurposed in my house as bathroom hand soap!  Since going through my extensive bath product collection almost a year ago, when The Other Half lost his full time job, I haven't bought soap since.  In a pinch, I've even used it as shampoo! (Yes, I was desperate that day. :/)

3)  I admit it...I used to be a speeder.  I loved flying down the highway doing thirty over the limit at best... granted this was when I was working graveyards so there wasn't much traffic at the times I would take these joyrides, but that doesn't make it excusable, or any safer.  As a mom, I slowed down a tad, but thought nothing of punching it when alone in the car, or sometimes just to get through a light.  As a Mom working full time bringing in the only household income, this past year, I learned finally that driving the limit is not only safer, but will save you a bundle on gas costs!  Gladys (my sixteen-year-old white, unassuming Corsica) has always been good on gas, but since adopting this one moronicly simple trick, Gladys has been able to stretch quarter tanks for weeks.  You read that right.  Weeks.  Side bonus for your wallet: you don't get tickets, bank-breaking vehicle impounds, points on your license or insurance premium increases driving the speed limit.

4) Making meals from scratch is a healthy, often cheap alternative to eating out or buying processed, pre-packaged foods.  Making more than you need for one meal yields next day lunches or subsequent meal components.  Buying meat products in bulk and freezing them in bags, one meals worth at a time makes weekday cooking faster.  When your toddler won't eat her dinner, if you're like me you might be tempted to leave her at the table until bedtime, or the dinner is gone, especially if you watched her happily scarf down the exact same meal two weeks before.  Instead of turning dinnertime into an unwinnable battle, simply let her down, and package her meal separately in tupperware for the next day.  When the Booger Pile gets obstinate about her food, I tell her, "You don't have to eat it now, but you do have to eat it."  And then I offer the left overs the next day for lunch.  Combining leftovers with fresh meal and snack components is a healthy, thrifty way to avoid throwing away ANY food. One thing I've found since cutting down our discretionary spending is that an empty fridge right before payday need not be looked negatively.  It means you're wasting nothing that you spent your money on, and isn't that the very definition of value?

5) Consider planting veggies... easy ones to start with include cucumber and tomatoes.  Herbs and spices can cost an arm and a leg for tiny little bottles in the grocery stores, but many widely used herbs grow perfectly happily on the kitchen window sill.  My goal this year is to learn how to preserve foods from my grandmother.  She has multiple fridges and freezers stocked full of frozen berries, preserved vegetables, and a cellar full of canned foods like jam, pickled beets, applesauce, and more.  When you grow and preserve your own food instead of buying it, you can be sure about whats in it.  Who knows, you might be saving yourself a nasty (and expensive, after medication costs, not to mention loss of income from missing work) bout with salmonella, E coli, or some other food bourne illness.

Anyways, those are my best ideas so far for holding onto my pennies in a world that seems bent on taking them away from me.  What are your tricks for saving money today?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

get out of my spot!

I have a confession to make:  I am absolutely the kind of person who will make your car alarm go off if I see you parking in the parent spots without a car seat in the back.  Yes, it's immature.  Yes, it's unnecessary.  I've been told that two wrongs don't make a right.  But sometimes two wrongs make a very pregnant, hormonal woman feel like justice has been done.

That being said, this seems to be an issue that raises some hackles, both on the sides of tired parents with young children, and on the side of Average Joe Blow, who seems to be sick of not meriting any special treatment.  This blogger wrote a post on this subject and boy did her readers let her have it!   I found this comment particularly venomous:

"This is the dumbest complaint I've ever heard. If the weather is like it is in summer and I have been looking around a carpark for awhile. I'm going to park in that spot.
I hope I never end up so self entitled about procreating/having kids.
It's not the parents god given right to be treated special because they have kids.
I should be upset because there is no "non-kid" parking. See some dumbass kid run in front of my car or have some parent and their latest designer pram scratch my nice car. Isn't that a stupid idea? Thought so.
Many people have had kids and did not need to have pathetic special car parking spots for them. I think parent parking should be given to disabled people. Someone who actually needs it."
Signed, Over Entitled Parents.

First of all, genius, it's all "non-kid" parking.  You can park anywhere you can squeeze your ride in, because there's NOTHING PREVENTING YOU FROM DOING SO.
On the other hand, I'd like enough room in between my car and yours to open the door all the way so my kid can climb in without hurting herself.  I don't like to park next to people who can't center their cars when parking because of this.  And sadly, it's a lot more likely that I'd have to squeeze one of my daughters through a space barely big enough for their tiny bodies out in General Parking than it is in the parents spots.
I mean, lets look at this objectively.  Closest to the entrance of any business are spots for vehicles driven by people with special needs.  These needs range from general handicap spots, to parent parking, to reserved police spots, to loading zones for fricks sake.  Is this guy trying to tell me that it's ok to park in any one of these on a beautiful summer day just because we're all equal?  No, I'm sorry, it doesn't work that way.  There are certain people who have certain parking needs.  You wouldn't expect the guy delivering the cases of Coke to park at the back of the lot, would you?  You wouldn't expect the police officer to walk a shoplifter almost a kilometre through traffic to his cruiser, would you?  You wouldn't expect your grandmother with the wheelchair to have to park hundreds of feet away.  And you wouldn't want your own older children to have to negotiate large, often crowded, above all DANGEROUS parking lots while you struggle with recalcitrant strollers for your younger children... WOULD YOU?  
When it comes right down to it, this is simply ignorance rearing it's ugly head once again.  People who don't have kids, can't understand fully the offense they incur when they callously take a parent reserved parking spot.  It's not their fault.

What is their fault is when they use that ignorance as an excuse to make someone else's day a little more shitty.  And if I can return that favor back to you by kicking your tire, and making you come out and shut off your car alarm, well at least you won't have to walk too far, right?

Monday, 19 December 2011

cleaning baby fists

that's the perfect metaphor for my day so far.  Basic tasks made impossible by little clenched baby hands.

At the moment I'm enduring a blitz attack by all of the Tooty Butt's bodily functions at once.  Trying to get dressed for the day?  She took one look at my cleavage and thought: "You know what those could use?  A little more vomit."  Both the Tooty Butt and Booger Pile decided they were starving at the same time, so while I peeled mandarin as fast as I could (the most obstinate, membrane-filled mandarin ever grown apparently), the Tooty Butt wailed herself into a frenzy, even after I enlisted her big sister to try rocking her calm.  When I was finally able to get to her, she immediately tried to chow down, only to get interrupted by her own bowel movements.  There's nothing more frustrating than when your desperately hungry infant won't nurse until she lets loose two or three butt rumblers in a row. With that job taken care of, she settled down to feed with a look up at me that said, clear as day, "Nothing personal, Mom, I just had to take a megadump first."

Thanks kid.  Thanks.

And lest I feel that the worst was over, as I lifted her onto a fresh diaper, she gave me a beautiful glowing smile--right before farting with her butt pointed directly at my face.  I'm telling you, infant smiles are NOT reactions to your voice, they aren't because they have gas, and they aren't because babies know all the secrets of the universe until they forget everything when they learn to speak.  Beautiful tiny toothless grins are nothing but survival instinct.  Because if I didn't get those little gems everytime I get puked/pooped/farted on, I think I'd take out everyone around me with the hissy fit I'd eventually have.  I'd be like a nuclear bomb... but not powered by uranium.  Powered by poop.