Taking Dolly and Mr. Unicorn for a stroll and stopping to smell the flowers along the way. Asha thinks to smell flowers you have to blow on them and then afterwards she makes an exaggeratedly loud “Aaaaaah” sound, much like you do when you take a deep drink of something extremely thirst-quenching after you’ve been thirsty for a while. Then she says, “Mommy too” or, “That was close” or, “Where’s my tail.” Asha’s missing tail is never far from the brain and indeed seems to lead the charge of her thoughts. That and rainbow ice cream. Everything that matters.
This bathing suit is the only other bathing suit Asha will wear after her baby shark swimsuit which is her favourite. When Asha first saw the mermaid bathing suit she was excited but immediately asked where was the tail. I guess on one of her shows Asha’s learned that mermaids have tails. She said, “Where’s my tail?” When I explained to her that it was just a swimsuit and that there was no tail, Asha cried. Then, in Hawaii, Asha wore her mermaid swimsuit with pride, assured as she was, for some reason, that she would find her mermaid tail at the beach or in the water. I’d say, “Off to the beach!” and Asha’d say, “Find my tail!” I didn’t have the heart to tell Asha that she probably wouldn’t find her tail there, but it was just nice to have her happy and not complaining and looking forward to something. Later, Asha still had her missing mermaid tail on the brain. She looked for it all around the place where we stayed and said, “No, not under bed!” and, “No, not under stool!” and “No, not under chair!” So precious and I was glad that Asha was happy searching for the tail instead of being upset to learn that it wasn’t there.
Hawaii was so much fun and it’s good to be back. The dogs lost their minds with excitement when we got in. Asha is still crazy jet lagged, these pictures show what state she was in as late as noon on Tuesday. I had to get her ready for school all while she was basically unconscious. She was probably fast asleep all afternoon at school, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn she spent the day slumped over in the corner or sprawled on the floor asleep. Asha sleeps as hard as she rages when she’s awake, which is to say deeply, seriously and a lot. On Wednesday the jet lag was worse, poor girl woke up, threw up, passed out again, threw up again, it wasn’t a great start. I thought about keeping Asha home from school but she had already missed so many days while we were away in Hawaii, we didn’t get back until late Monday evening, there are parent-teacher Zoom conference calls Thursday and Friday, so Asha only had two days of school this week and I didn’t want her to miss a whole second week. I asked Asha if she wanted to stay home and sleep or go to school and Asha said, “Go school.” And so we took her to school and I guess she spent the day sleeping. When I went to pick her up, Asha exited the building like a zombie, hand in hand with the teacher’s aid, looking glum and confused. I was concerned. The teacher’s aide said I should monitor her as she could barely stay awake. I said it was the jet lag. Guess I should have just kept the girl home after all. Can’t win them all. Yesterday at 1 PM we had our first parent-teacher Zoom call. I was dying to know what the teachers would say about Asha and I was not let down. They told us hilarious things Asha did in class and we had a good laugh. As expected, Asha pretty much ignores her classmates and hangs with the teachers all day. They are both Asian women so Asha says, “Mommy sister” and calls them both Auntie.
The first few days in Hawaii Asha kept wanting to go home. She said, “Go home” repeatedly and then cried when it didn’t happen. She even got all strapped into her stroller and sat in it for about an hour waiting for me to stroll her home. We flew the girl halfway across the world to somewhere new and beautiful and all she wanted was to be home. There is a pool and Asha doesn’t want to swim as the water’s too cold. Instead she likes to circle the pool crouching alongside it and “do laundry.” Doing laundry consists of taking the yellow fly swatter and flicking the water forward. There is a green fly swatter that Asha gives to me and says, “Mommy too.” And so I “do laundry” as well and flick water with Asha. Karina gave us water guns that work like syringes and Asha loves when I squirt the water far and high. There are plastic parts in different colours and shapes for making sculptures in the sand. Asha gathered them all up and said, “Go sandbox.” Asha calls the beach sandbox. We’re a ten minute walk from the ocean and using Google Maps I was able to figure out how to get us there. Asha was in heaven but appeared more thoughtful than exuberant. She was wary of the ocean, intimidated by its largeness and the size and strength of the waves. Eventually she took my hand and edged us closer and closer until we stood in the water about knee deep for her. The waves came crashing in, the bigger ones got Asha excited and she’d joyfully squeal whenever the waves crashed high and hard. The waves crashing in was Asha’s favourite part. Then we gazed at the ocean horizon in silence seated close together and afterward I tried and failed to make Asha a sandcastle. The next day the first thing Asha said was, “Go sandbox.” After our beach visits Asha says, “Bye bye waves, bye bye ocean, bye bye sandbox” when it’s time to leave. Yesterday Asha walked around with her Hello Kitty backpack on, strapped herself in the stroller and waited for me to take her to school. She said, “Go school,” cried when I didn’t take her and then, still strapped in the stroller, she fell asleep. Poor thing just wants to get back to normal life and isn’t at a point yet where she likes vacations.
We were a full half hour early for our doctor appointment so I thought we might kill the time by browsing in the pharmacy next door. Then I remembered that Asha is obsessed with shopping and now that we made the mistake of entering it would be difficult to get her to leave. Regardless I did some casual browsing while Asha beelined with hectic purposefulness toward all manner of possible items to purchase. I was gazing at some concealers and foundations and musing about make up and when I looked to see what Asha was doing I saw her standing before me wild and intense clutching as many items from the shop as her little arms could handle. She had items that were plucked from the shelves as randomly as she was very purposeful in choosing and finding. I hid a smile wondering what she was thinking clutching all that stuff, like what does a 2 year old desperately need to buy from a pharmacy. Asha presented me with some of the items, I made like I was blown away and then discreetly placed the thing on some shelf somewhere. Next thing you know, Asha scooped up a magazine rack and was using it as a shopping basket. She went marching around the shop making loud figuring and considering sounds before tossing items confidently into the magazine rack. At the counter I motioned to the clerk to play along and act like we were gonna buy whatever stuff Asha had in her “basket” when of course we wouldn’t buy any of it. I got a concealer and a couple nice pairs of false eyelashes. When I made ready for us to leave, Asha threw the predictable tantrum and fought with all her might. Finally I bought her a pack of gummy worms and that chilled her out a bit. That girl sure loves to go shopping. She shops with great energy and enthusiasm and is as wanton as she is selective. The girl loves to shop, especially when she doesn’t have any money and when there’s nothing she needs. God only knows where she got it from.
Auditioning some new eyebrows. Think these ones are keepers. They’re the right size and shape and positioned and weighted well. Let me tell you it’s not easy creating and maintaining eyebrows that are right for you. It’s taken me my whole life. Ever since I made the adolescent error of shaving off my real eyebrows. Ever since I’ve had to draw the damn things in and this can take time. Sometimes one side is better than the other, sometimes they just don’t work out no matter how hard or carefully you try, sometimes they need constant maintenance and fixing throughout the day, sometimes hats or the bangs from wigs wipe them right off. This is an ongoing story, this perpetual struggle of eyebrows. When I look at pictures of some of my past work, when I was younger and far less astute, I’m embarrassed, taken aback, aghast. Like who let me leave the house looking like that. It’s like, guys, what the fuck. Makes me wonder who the hell I thought I was back then, and who the hell my friends were. Motherfuckers supposed to have my back, seeing as I was clearly incompetent and incapable of assessing things properly for my own self. I guess live and learn, right. Christ.
Last day of school before spring break. Ironically Asha is probably going to be so upset that there won’t be school for the rest of the month. I foresee a lot of trips to the pool and the park and the library. Asha will probably demand to go to school every day and I’m going to have to explain to her that school is over for a little while. Asha will rant and rave and cry until I take her someplace else that suffices to delight. My sweet school loving baby. My marvelous rambunctious angel girl. Ready, steady, go!
Today for the first time in her life Asha actually sat through me reading an entire book to her. She didn’t interrupt. She didn’t shove the book away. She didn’t shout for her iPhone or for her baby bottle or to go swimming. She didn’t try to forcefully turn the pages to skip to other pages or to fasttrack directly to the end. She didn’t keep randomly pointing at some detail on some page and insistently describe just one specific item. Instead, she paid calm and quiet attention. She showed continued interest. And then at the end, she said, “Huh.” Adding, “Yeahhhh” softly and approvingly. She looked at me with a kind of absentminded satisfaction and grinned. The book that managed to capture all of Asha’s attention for the entirety of the story was All By Myself by Mercer Mayer. Catherine, you killed it with that birthday purchase. Asha is loving the other book you got her too, The Best Word Book Ever by Richard Scarry. In that one, she keeps heroically pointing at and announcing the part where it says, “I is for Ice Cream.” I’m stoked. Finally, Asha’s interested in books again, to compete with the abiding allegiance she has to her iPhone, iPads and TV. My baby is growing up. I’m about to watch the grand finale of Drag Race UK versus the World and now that Lemon, Jimbo and Pangina are gone, I barely care who wins. This might be the blandest Top 4 in the history of the show. I guess I’m rooting for Baga Chipz. I’ll probably stop watching the entire franchise if Blu Hydrangea is crowned. At very least I’ll be extremely displeased. I never thought I could so actively dislike a queen. When I picked up Asha from preschool, the teacher’s young assistant approached me looking hassled and harassed. She alerted me to a giant goose egg on Asha’s forehead. Said Asha wouldn’t stop running around and this was the result. Then she said, “And she had a big green booger. Just so you know.” “Oh,” I said. I translated this to mean your child is sick and should probably not have come to school today. She should probably stay home tomorrow too. Gonna suck since Asha loves going to school so much. This morning she sat in her stroller a full hour and a half early all ready to go. Every time I passed by, she would alternate with saying, “Are you ready?” and, “LET’S GO.” I had to strap her in wearing her puffy white unicorn coat and just leave her sitting there in the chair in the sunshine in the backyard while I got us ready, even though school wouldn’t start for another two hours. Tomorrow if Asha misses school I’ll have to entertain her elsewise. Probably the park, the pool and the library, and it’s going to be catastrophic to get her to leave each place. Happy International Women’s Day, everyone. Keep on rockin’ in the free world. All my love to my baby, and to all you bad, bad bitches.
Monday morning Asha was ready for school hours before it was time to go and it was very hard to distract her until it was finally time to leave. About halfway there though I remembered someone mentioning a long weekend so school was probably cancelled. I hoped it wasn’t because Asha was so excited. As we got closer, it was very empty and quiet everywhere and all the shops were closed. I had to tell Asha there wouldn’t be any school. Asha was devastated to the point of being inconsolable. She took a run at the gate thinking her little body would be forceful enough to break it open. I promised Asha all the things she loves in place of going to school but Asha would hear of nothing. She kept saying, “Asha school.” I eventually was able to cheer her up by taking her swimming. At the pool Asha was exuberant. She wanted to go down the slide about a million times. She kept going back and forth excitedly between the hot tub and the pool. Afterward of course I couldn’t get her to go. I only succeeded by promising Asha ice cream and a trip to the library. When we go to the library though we have the same problem as with swimming, Asha is so hyped to be there she doesn’t want to leave. Still, it’s great Asha loves things now that don’t involve a screen. It was Family Day on Monday, that’s why everything was closed. Ironic that I didn’t remember Family Day considering how obsessed I am with family. Ironic as well that Dylan was too busy working to join us. Once Asha went to bed however we took a zombie break. We’re deep into a Korean zombie series called 𝘈𝘭𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘜𝘴 𝘈𝘳𝘦 𝘋𝘦𝘢𝘥. It’s ridiculous and fun and we love it. Such beautiful days we’ve been having, cold and clear and bright. Asha is happy and excited. Monday she was sad there wasn’t school so yesterday and today she went charging in like Usain Bolt. Everyone was impressed. The girl is obsessed. Far cry from those first few days when we took her and she’d be panicking and distraught. Now she wants to go to school all the time. Pictured is Asha in the stroller coming home from the park. I got the sweet smiles by tickling her. Asha loves to be tickled. Tickling is high on the list of things that Asha likes.
The nice thing about all the rain here is Asha gets to showcase her weather appropriate rainwear. Also Asha loves going to school now, in the morning she follows me around the house gathering her things and mine, handing each item to me so that I can get us both ready and put everything on. As such, we’re always ready for school way too early and once there, Asha is the first in line to enter. She says, “Asha school” and brims with shyness and excitement. She is only momentarily sad when she sees me leaving, but now she dutifully enters without having a breakdown and calling out for me dejectedly. Then three hours later when I get her, Asha is the first in line to leave. When she sees me, she smiles with all her might, says, “Mommy!” and comes running into my arms. I will never stop enjoying this moment. I hold Asha tight and close and ask her how her day was. Asha says, “Hi, mommy!” and she is radiant. Sometimes the love I feel for Asha, how deeply I cherish her, it’s almost too much for my heart. The terrible twos are terrible mostly because they’re too sweet and too beautiful. The love l feel is so all consuming that it hurts, and happiness and sadness become indistinguishable. In this way love and pain are the same, because you can’t have a rainbow without rain.
I had a major coughing fit in the Uber on my way to the dentist the poor driver was terrified. The more I tried to stifle the cough the harder and more I coughed. I wanted to reassure the driver and yell, “Don’t worry, I don’t have Covid!” but I was coughing too hard to be able to say a thing. I clamped my hand on top of my mask on top of my mouth and tried my best to stop coughing. My body went into seizure mode, my eyes watered, and my nose ran. It probably looked very bad and it probably sounded even worse than that. I was praying for it all to end but it took forever for me to finally stop coughing. “Is this OK,” the driver asked me sadly when we arrived at the dental office. Yes,” I said, but my voice came out as a croak. Dude was so not stoked. Poor guy. And poor me, I’m probably going to get my first zero star rating as a passenger. Me and my anxiety coughs. I chose the wrong day to try to quit taking anxiety meds. I even had lingering coughs and body tremors during my dental appointment and had to stifle more coughing in the Uber ride home. Bodies man, they sure can betray you, and they seem to like to do so at the worst times. God fucking damn. Good thing I wasn’t a Jew hiding in an attic in Nazi Germany, I would’ve given our hiding spot away at once and ruined shit for everyone. They’d put SHIT RUINER on my gravestone.
Off to spend a week with grandma and grandpa for the holidays. Asha is so stoked. She loves a good adventure. She went racing all over the airport and it was next to impossible to keep her still. If we don’t keep an eye on her at all times, that girl would get snatched for sure. Asha was ecstatic to be on a plane, but then she cried actual bloody murder when she discovered she could no longer watch Cry Baby Magic Tears. “Oh no cry baby’s broken!” went the refrain. She made this lamentation on repeat. These words usually are the first thing Asha utters each morning when she wakes. But sometimes she jolts when I approach, looks slowly and sleepily around, grins widely upon seeing me and says, “Good morning, mommy!” That sweet happy greeting is everything. Then I hold and hug her tight, pat her back and I say, “I love you, sweet baby. I love you so much.” And Asha sighs and presses her head down onto my shoulder and snug up against my neck and I hold and hug her for a while. That first hug sets the tone for the whole day.
I brought Asha to the preschool that she’ll be attending in early January in the new year and she was so excited. She did that bizarre bended knee with short quick dragging sneaky steps thing that she does when she’s keyed up and giddy. We were there to drop off a cheque for the registration fee and to pay the first and last month’s deposit. The kids were just finishing class and one of the teachers told them all to say hi to Asha so they gathered around and said, “Hi Asha!” and Asha smiled so big. This bodes well for when school will begin, Asha enjoyed being there so much that she didn’t want to leave. She struggled and cried and I had to slowly coax her outside. I’m excited for when school starts, but I’m dreading dropping her off on that first day. Apparently, it’s a hard drop-off, no lingering allowed, I am worried Asha will cry and say, “Where mama,” on repeat the whole time, but I also think she’ll adjust quickly and enjoy herself and be happy. At least I hope. Also, she’s supposed to be mostly potty trained by then, so I really have my work cut out for me. I have to potty train this kid in like two weeks. Lord have mercy.
Tooth pain is one of the leading causes of suicide and I completely understand why. There’s a condition known colloquially as “Suicide Disease” which can present itself as chronic dental pain. I feel terrible for anyone who can’t afford to get what dental procedures they require, or the medication needed to manage the pain. For my part, the pain medication itself is barely helping, and every few hours, the pain reasserts itself almost worse than before. It’s been about a week and the pain I feel is severe. It’s difficult to do anything, including eating and sleeping. It hurts to eat, it hurts just to open my mouth. I wake through the night from pain, take more pain pills, hold ice against my face and feel sorry for myself. I’m supposed to take pain medication every six hours as needed, but I’ve been taking it every three hours, because the pain comes back sooner than six, and it’s a lot, almost too much. I’m not suicidal, but if this pain persists, and if the pain medication is insufficient to manage it, then I can see how suicide might seem to be the best option. Again, I am not suicidal, but I can understand how people dealing with chronic dental pain end up choosing to die.
As for potty training, this skill can be complicated and awkward to either teach or master. Every kid is different, some get it fast, some take longer, some have continued accidents beyond having learned, sometimes for years. There’s different ways and methods to potty train your kid and I guess a combination of these is best. Asha seems to have learned about potties from one of her shows. Whenever I’m in the bathroom, Asha sits on her potty next to me fully clothed and says, “Asha potty too.” Sometimes she sighs. Sometimes she hands me a roll of toilet paper. Sometimes she mimes wiping behind her and finally she stands up abruptly announcing with confidence and satisfaction, “All done!” when of course she hasn’t actually done much. Asha alerts me when she’s got a dirty diaper that needs changing. She’ll say, “Asha poo poo?” and she’ll walk a bit funny or pull at her clothes. Asha calls everything poo poo, she doesn’t distinguish between pee and poop. We got a fancy two part toilet seat with an interior seat for Asha and, once we install this, potty training will really begin. Some say to keep the kid naked and throw them on the potty as soon as they start peeing or pooping. Some say to go to the bathroom in front of your child, explain what’s happening and encourage them to do it like you. Some suggest putting the kid in training underpants, taking them to the bathroom often while saying, “Go potty?” and doing this repeatedly until the child understands. Another approach is to have the kid in training underwear and let them learn the consequences of their actions, ie that it’s disgusting to be walking around covered in shit and piss. They’ll very quickly learn what going to the bathroom is and how and where it should happen. I hope toilet training Asha goes smoothly, with minimal effort required, and with a minimum of complications or accidents. I like to think Asha is a genius and that she’ll just “get it” without needing help. Wouldn’t that be great. Anyway, Asha starts school soon and she’s supposed to be potty trained by then, so I better get teaching and she better start learning. Wish us luck.
One of our neighbours has a children’s playhouse in their front yard and walking past it Asha dashed up on their lawn straight into the playhouse and wouldn’t leave. She was on cloud 9 million inside that thing, grinning and peaking at me and saying in a hushed excited voice, “Come on, Mommy.” She was so cute and happy inside the playhouse I didn’t want to cut her joy short, but I didn’t want the neighbours to be pissed that we were in their yard in the playhouse trespassing. Eventually I had to drag Asha bodily out and do the fireman’s carry I often have to resort to whenever Asha refuses to yield. The whole neighbourhood was subjected to a lot of flailing, shrieking, wailing and screaming while I maintained pokerface status throughout the tantrum until we were home. The struggle was indeed real. Later I got Asha her own backyard playhouse and my mother-in-law and I took about 50 years to build it even though the instructions said it should take 20 minutes. Our playhouse is cute but small and admittedly not as awesome as the neighbour’s, and of course Asha is only minimally interested. So it goes. Sometimes though, Asha does hang around near it and gets inside, and for a brief moment in time, everything is right with the world, and all are satisfied.
Sometimes I wish Asha could stay two forever even though they call it the terrible twos for a reason. She’s so goddamn cute though I’d venture to say I’d take all of the terrible just to be able to keep enjoying the cute. I hope Asha’s just as cute and sweet and beautiful as she gets older but I hope she doesn’t keep throwing random tantrums still by then lol. You’d never know it from these sweet idyllic shots but the whole stroller ride on the way to the park Asha cried and screamed and said, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” despairingly over and over again at top volume which sounds extra loud in our super chill neighbourhood. She was upset because I took off her favourite gold sequins beige tutu dress that she wears literally every day for like weeks now, she refuses to let me take it off, she wails and cries and screams and struggles whenever I’ve attempted to change her clothes, she even demands to sleep in the thing. She barely lets me take the dress off for showers and then instantly needs to have the dress put back on her fucking ASAP. It was cold on the day of these pictures so I put her in her puffy black snowsuit and took the dress off. Asha was outraged. Once we got to the park she was distracted and had fun but then she saw some soccer nets and wanted to crawl under to go places where she couldn’t reach so she got half stuck with her neck and head in the netting, she shouted and cried until I rescued her. Then when it was time to go Asha screamed and wept and resisted and I had to hoist her fireman’s carry over my shoulders and with a poker face calmly slowly bring her back to the stroller and strap her in. Asha screamed and raged and struggled and I kept neutral and calm while everyone either paid us no mind or gave me sympathetic glances. Terrible twos I tell ya. Of course as soon as we were home I had to put Asha’s dress back on her again. Asha grinned and laughed and clapped her hands in delight, her face wet with tears, and so much joyful relief in her eyes. The drama. She loves that damn dress. She calls it her yes.
I had a moment of serious panic earlier today when I couldn’t find Asha, I checked everywhere and then downstairs and finally outside in the backyard and she wasn’t anywhere, nowhere at all. I took a deep breath and checked the last place I could which was the studio and there she was, thank fucking god. She was safe and relaxed and practising DJing with daddy. Such a real relief to find her and so wonderful to see her calmly DJing and having a ball.
Asha has a thing for dinosaurs, she busts out with a dinosaur act that is so convincing you’d almost believe there was an actual dinosaur in the room. She puts shoes one on each hand and that seems to activate dinosaur mode. Asha approaches stealthily with her shoe hands up and goes, “Roar.” Then she grins widely, holds the pose, and looks at you closely to assess your response. It’s clear she fully expects you to be floored.
Sometimes I worry that I post too many pictures and videos of Asha and then I think so what. The girl is so precious and adorable and sweet who cares if I post about her too relentlessly. She is the loveliest and most lovable creature. I am lucky to have this chance in this life to be the mother of such a little angel. If anyone is maxing out and growing tired of gazing upon her adorableness they can just scroll on by or even unfollow me. Everyone else can have their daily dose of Asha and continue to enjoy their inadvertent membership in the Asha fan club. In my opinion there is no greater club to be a part of.