Act Naturally

Ever since Whirlwind was a baby, people have been telling us to “get that kid an agent”. I was always skeptical of doing that because a) most children are cute and precocious and b) I didn’t want him to feel forced into “work” at such a young age. I’m a big believer in letting a child be a child.

The remarks from strangers wherever we go are easy to ignore. It’s to the point now where we think “yeah, yeah – he’s a cute kid” or “yeah, yeah – he certainly does have a cute Kirk Douglas chin (this one usually comes from the older women, if you cannot tell from the age of the actor). My personal favourite remark has to be the woman that asked Fuzz what ancestry his wife was because Whirlwind looks nothing like him….followed up by “oh, mixed race kids are always the cutest”. Complete strangers always say the funniest things.

What we are now finding harder to ignore, is that Whirlwind now says that he wants to be an actor. More specifically, he wants to act in dinosaur films. Fuzz rented him Jurassic Park a few mornings ago. I was hesitant because I didn’t want to give him another reason to run in our room at night. However, the opposite happened. He wasn’t scared; he now has a frame of reference on how to react to a dinosaur attack. We went to a corn maze later that day and he was pretending that a dinosaur was coming through the corn stalks. Of course, he acted appropriately – shaking, screaming and running.

Whirlwind will also do anything for a laugh. Since he is just a budding comedy actor, he doesn’t quite know what will successfully garner a laugh from someone. Once he does get a laugh though, watch out! He will do that thing over and over again. He even re-enacts when he gets hurt – physical comedy! We are now trying to teach him that doing the same thing over and over again is not as funny as the first couple of times. What he has learned though is that he just has to make his Dad laugh while he is getting in trouble and the trouble is forgotten. Good thing Mommy is a tougher cookie.

I was out shopping for greeting cards the other day and the store was giving away two free key chains to their shoppers. I chose one for each of my kid’s birthdays. Here is Whirlwind’s key chain:

Image

How coincidental is that? Maybe his penchant for acting comes from a combination of things:

– his birth date

– his cleft chin because I’ve also heard from the random admirers that those with clefts like to be in the spotlight

– the town we live in (maybe it’s something in our water?!) as two very famous comedic actors were born here

– a healthy dose of self esteem from always hearing how he’s cute enough for movies

Now we have Sunshine. She was also born with Fuzz’s chin. If she’s also inherited her Dad’s singing voice, we may have another Adele or Demi Lovato on our hands.

Oy says the girl that would rather be in a library than a spotlight!

Baamaapii.

Native Girl Problems

I happen to be very proud to be a Anishinaabe girl. Yes, a girl more accurately describes me because my taste and humour tend to be too crude to fit the modern definition of a woman.

I’ve recently taken back to running. I love running because it gets a sweat going but I also need to lose some weight. Nobody wants sugar diabetes (as Mama would say). After a run this morning, I was laying on the mat stretching. Looking at my ankles it occurred to me that I always lose weight from ankles first….then from my butt. My butt is the last place I want to lose weight – do you know how many squats I have to do just to keep a few inches there? Even with my few extra inches there, Fuzz still affectionately refers to it as my bannock butt. So that got me thinking about other Native girl problems. A few of my problems had me chuckling in the shower, so I thought I would share:

– Never knowing my pant size because the pants that actually fit my wide hips, flat butt and skinny legs cause an enormous muffin explosion. Try everything on!

– My bathroom storage overflowing with razor refills because I get a new package in every Christmas stocking but have no body hair to shave

– In a related note, having eyebrows in M.A.C. eye shadow “Night Maneuvers” because my eye brows need help to be seen

– Having to stand when I go to get a trim because my hair is too long for the hairdresser to reach even when the chair is as high as it can go

– Getting fish blood out from under my nails is next to impossible

– Having a long line of “pick-up artists” following and smiling at me in Bass Pro Shop because of my brown skin and scent of smudge

– Grease stained shirts because oil from the fry bread pan keeps splashing on them

– Having non-Natives guessing my background: Hawaiian, East Indian, Polynesian, Samoan, or Asian; followed by my smug satisfaction when I can say Native and they look fearful

– Getting bruises when my cousins laugh and hit my arm or when I fall off the bed backwards from throwing my head back in laughter

– Tanning of the skin happens unimaginably fast. Almost too fast (case in point).

For those not familiar with Native humour, these “problems” are done in jest; it is certainly undeniable how awesome Native girls are. Just ask Fuzz.

Baamaapii.

A Few of my Favourite Things – Fall Edition

I was always a huge fan of summer until I moved here where it’s too humid to enjoy anything. Now I’m a fan of fall. To celebrate the arrival of my new season of choice, I thought I would share a few of my favourite things.

– the return of the pumpkin spice latte to Starbucks (although it’s been a decaf, soy, no whip latte this year – the baby is sensitive to caffeine and cow’s milk and I’d like to dream that no whip cream will help me lose this weight quicker)

– going to bed with the windows open

– outdoor exercise with exertion sweat rather than humidity sauna sweat

– changing colours on the trees

– the smell of crisp air in the morning

– the return of my favourite television shows (Parenthood and Grey’s Anatomy)

– Halloween! Raiding Whirlwind’s candy loot and parties with friends

– wearing that outfit I bought last spring and was only able to wear a few times before spring decided to stay for three days and it became blistering hot

– being able to visit our favourite public places (museums, the zoo, the malls) during the week and it’s quiet because school’s back in session

– the return of hoodies

– gaining an extra hour of sleep when the clocks fall back

– apple picking and apple cider

– Thanksgiving meals: turkey, stuffing, gravy, pumpkin and pecan pies

What would make your list?

Baamaapii.

It’s Not the Indian Way

Whirlwind has taken to waking up a couple of times during the night.  He runs in our room, sometimes slamming his bedroom door and our bedroom door behind him.  Buddy Blanket, his trusty companion, in tow.  While this was not a problem a couple of weeks before Sunshine was born, the slamming doors now wake Sunshine sleeping in the bassinet beside our bed.

He never wants to climb in our bed despite my occasional pleading because sleep has become precious. It also does not take a lot to get him back to sleep.  It is usually just a walk back across the hall and another tuck in to make him “comfy cozy”.  The good news for me is that he most often asks for Dada to do this. 

Fuzz has become a walking zombie because he wakes up when both kids awake in the night.  We have been trying all the advice offered to us.  We have been reading books and magazines.  We have researched on the Interweb.

We put a sticker reward chart up on a wall in his room.  The intent was to get a sticker for each night that he stayed in his bed.  One sticker would be small gift, 3 stickers would be another, 5 would be another and 10 whole stickers would be something cool of his choosing.   We had one night of success, however, it was also the same night that we had smudged his room to get rid of the “scaries”.  It was a poorly designed experiment because the cleansing became a confounding factor (that’s geek speak for not knowing whether the successful night was attributable to the reward or the smudging).

To try to answer the question, I did do another smudge in his presence.  He was pointing out all these areas of his room that needed to be smudged – behind the door, under his night stand table, behind the curtain.  I was beginning to wonder if he was seeing something that I wasn’t – ha!  He did get up that night but I intercepted him before he left the room.

Last night he woke up before we went to sleep.  Fuzz automatically went upstairs to put him back to bed…but he came back down because Whirlwind was asking for Mama.  I went up.  I tucked him in and sat on the side of the bed, like all the recommendations made to us.   While sitting there I remembered something my Mama (my Dad’s mom) said to me.  She said told me to never let my baby cry, it’s not the Indian way.  It’s my job to teach by modeling not forcing.  Good behaviour will follow.    

With that advice in mind, I remembered that Whirlwind would not be young forever.  There will come a day when he won’t want me to even step one foot in his room.  So I laid my head beside him and snuggled in.  I knew that this was the right choice when he reached his warm little hand and placed it on my cheek before falling asleep.

Baamaapii.

No TV and Beer makes Fuzz go Something Something

Fuzz grew up in the sticks.  He didn’t have TV, except for a few local channels broadcast to an aerial antenna.  I can somewhat relate because my reserve didn’t have cable when I first moved there.  Needless to say, one of the happiest days of my life was when they ran television cable across the bridge to the reserve.  I no longer had to watch nature shows on TVO with my Grandpops or listen to country music radio.

I did, however, live in the city for the first part of my life.  We had television.  I watched a lot of it.  Much Music (the Canadian equivalent of MTV for my American readers).  The New Micky Mouse Club with young JT and Ryan Gosling (who would think that such talent existed in those prepubescent boys?).  Saturday Night Live.  The Simpsons.

Fuzz totally missed out on all this.  Can you imagine how terrible it is trying to discuss music videos with some one who can’t relate?  He doesn’t even know one of the best videos of all time:  Take On Me by A-Ha.  For serious. 

Fuzz does, however, make up for a lot of TV that he did miss.  He watches a whole shit load of The Simpsons and Much Music.  You know the channel that you turn on just to have noise in the background?  His choice is Much Music.

He left it on (again!) when he left for work this morning.  I must be getting up there in age because I do not know any of those kids on there – except One Direction.  It’s kinda hard to avoid them these days.  I suppose I’m not going to know any of them until Sunshine is old enough to be obsessed with the music sensation of the moment.  Perhaps, I’m not going to have to know much at all because Fuzz will probably still be watching Much Music next to her.

Baamaapii (typed just as New Kids on the Block came up on iTunes shuffle – no joke!)

Round is a shape….

…it is just not the shape that I would like to be in.

I gained 36 pounds while pregnant with Sunshine.  I lost all of that weight two weeks ago courtesy of breastfeeding.  However, it is now my sixth postnatal week and the scale has not moved one iota – despite needing to lose an extra 30 pounds I have put on since the initial freshman 15.  The good news is that this is the first week that I can actually get back into a regular exercise routine safely.  My body should be close to, if not totally, healed.

I’ve never wanted to be skinny; I’ve always wanted to be fit and healthy.  I am constantly reading fitness magazines envying the models.  I want to look like that.  I always have excuses though.  Before and after my first pregnancy, I exercised quite a bit and ate clean when at home (keep reading below).  I ran and attended Booty Camp and MissFit classes twice a week but I never did see the results I wanted. I never fully committed because I had it at the back of my mind that I was just going to get pregnant again.  Well, guess what?  That excuse doesn’t work anymore.  I am not going to get pregnant again.  Two kids are enough for this couple.  Now is the time to commit, it’s just been so hard because I need a detox.

I have been eating so much junk lately.  I get super snacky at night and I tend to eat a lot of chips and chocolate.  I was also eating ice cream until I determined that Sunshine’s tummy didn’t like when I consumed cow’s milk.  I had a stash of chocolate in my purse like my Granny <photographic proof>.  She would have had Coffee Crisp in there though.  I need to break this cycle because I feel like a sack of shit at the end of the night.  I’ve been slowly getting back into things though – I’ve been drinking more water and avoiding restaurants and take out.  Restaurants and take out ruined my efforts when I was running and taking classes (see above).  I made the effort to plan my menus and eat clean but I didn’t prepare my meals ahead of time.  I just didn’t feel like making the meals after crawling in the door after my 1.5 hour commute home from work in the city all day.

I’m a planner though so it is easy for me to write out shopping lists, meals, and exercise routines.  I just have to start up my plans again and actually do what is on the paper.  With the two kids now I think I am going to have to prep and/or my meals in one day that Fuzz is off work.  I enjoy cooking so it shouldn’t be a problem. 

I’m also a goal-oriented person though, so I should probably pick something and work toward it.  I would love to finally start running races like my marathon-running parents.  Maybe one day I can conquer my fear of water monsters (yes, like Nessie – don’t judge) to swim in open water to complete a triathalon.

So I’ve put it out in the blogosphere.  I need to start back at it and you can all hold me to it.  If you see me with that chocolate bar, tell me to put it down and back away.

I’m actually feeling rather snacky right now but I will do the right thing and make myself a protein smoothie…with chocolate powder.

Baamaapii. 

 

Raising Kids without the Village

….or husband, for that matter. Fuzz’s job normally has him working long hours for many days. Some days (and nights) when he is at work, I am at wit’s end with the kids, pets, cleaning, laundry, cooking. I have cleaned more fabrics and surfaces of bodily fluids this week than one would normally admit to.

Recently, Fuzz has been working MANDATORY overtime (don’t even get me started on that topic) and if he is not at work, he is sleeping. Therefore, it has essentially just been me with the kids around the clock. I totally give mad props to single parents everywhere because it is the hardest thing ever! I cannot decide if it is easier or harder now that I am a SAHM.

Lately Fuzz has been getting angry hate texts while at work and I’ve been fighting the urge to kick his ass outta bed when he’s home…although that’s not really fair because he is usually not home long enough to even get a decent sleep. However, it is exceptionally irritating to need help or to see the grass growing out of control and he is sleeping upstairs.

Sometimes I am reduced to tears. If you can’t beat them, join them. Except in my case, it’s join the baby while Whirlwind comforts the two of us. As soon as the waterworks begin, he calmly comes over to climb in my lap to hug, kiss and pat my back. It’s somewhat strange to be comforted that way by my two year old but it is even more comforting that he has already learned empathy. I must be doing something right, despite not having help.

I often think that it would be easier just to move closer to home (and my village) but I choose to stay. I choose to stay because I want my kids to know there is life out there (to borrow a line from Reba McEntire). I want them to know that they can do anything because the world and all the choices that come with it are literally at their fingertips here. The north is a beautiful place to live but some options are simply not available there. Maybe I can convince them to spend their summers there and they will learn to love it as much as I do.

But for now, we are here where I grin and bare it….for them. We are building our own village of friends (some of which are ex-northerners so they get it). We found beaches, pow wows, food and other things that I miss from home. We are fortunate to have a lot of visits from Grandma and Papa while Skype fills the time between.

It will be all worth it when I see them accomplish their uninhibited dreams.

Baamaapii.