This was my first time really getting and decorating a tree. Not too shabs, considering. I also spent days hanging lights and decorations and making changes. Got compliments from the neighbours as well as a forceful and sobering lecture from the husband who was outraged by my dodgy outdoor electrical decisions. This year still I did pretty great with both Halloween and Christmas. Asha is my great motivation. I’ve always loved special days but never could get my shit together. With Asha, I get a lot more done well and on time. The girl brings out the best in me. Goodbye, 2023. Let’s go, 2024.
So, Asha has intermittent exotropia, also called wandering eye, which is a type of strabismus (eye misalignment) in which the eyes drift out from time to time. Asha‘s case is a little unique in that she hasn’t had this problem since birth, or, at least, we didn’t notice it until recently, also, it’s not just in one eye, but both eyes. She’s been twice to see an eye specialist and the only way to fix it is through surgery. The doctor will help us decide in two months whether surgery is advised. Thankfully, here in Canada, the surgery is covered. The doctor said surgery is typically a good idea, especially at Asha’s age, because there are a lot of benefits and corrections when young tend to stick. Here is Asha doing a quick photoshoot in the bathroom after one of her appointments with the ophthalmologist. Wandering eyes or no, I still think she’s perfect and sweet and gorgeous.
Can’t believe our angel cupcake turns 4 soon, I blinked and the years disappeared. Asha is terribly excited about her birthday. For the cake and overall theme, she can’t decide between Skye, Elsa, Wednesday, mermaids, rainbows or unicorns. I made Asha an Amazon Wish List so have a look if you want to get her a gift. Asha loves birthdays and shopping and presents, to the point of delirium. In these regards, I have no idea who she resembles.
Recently Asha got her first haircut. Dylan was hoping to go full Samson on her, such that all Asha’s strength and beauty would come from her hair, and her locks would ne’er be shorn, but Asha really wanted a haircut, so I inquired at a salon and the lady said she could do it then and there. It was so sudden, I wasn’t prepared, but we went ahead and Asha was a huge hit, she was preternaturally sweet and calm and still. Asha loves the haircut, everybody loves it, for she doth looketh cute as yonder button.
Potty training is not going well. I thought Asha would start using the toilet effortlessly by age 2. Now she’s almost 4 and she’s still in diapers. What the hell. The girl doesn’t want to go potty. She keeps saying tomorrow. I think she’s resisting because she knows I want her to use it so she doesn’t want to use it. She’s quite oppositional defiant. She doesn’t like being told what to do. I wonder who she got that from. Good thing she’s gorgeous and I love her. I’ve got to figure something out though I don’t wanna be changing her diapers until she’s 30. Here I thought for sure I’d be absolutely raising a genius. Guess that’s what I get for hubris.
One of the main reasons Dylan and I go well together is we’re both black sheep types. People tend to love or hate us, there is no middle ground. Certain members of Dylan’s family haven’t always supported him or approved of his choices. They routinely lecture, nag and criticize him, no matter how hard he works and regardless of his successes. His aunt Marjorie took a special disliking to Dylan for years and this dislike extended to myself. We’d both be criticized or ridiculed for all manner of stuff. For example, we used to be strict vegans but we also smoked. Dylan’s family considered these details to be hypocritical and ridiculous. At holiday meals, if Dylan or I asked for something to be passed to us, aunt Marjorie would say, “The vegan smokers want potatoes,” or, “Here’s your vegan smoker salt.” “We all have our flaws and imperfections,” I said. “Yours is being an extremely unforgiving, self-righteous, cold and judgmental cunt.” This comment was not received well. And, of course, I said no such thing, but maybe I should have. Maybe I should have. By the way, we no longer smoke and we are no longer vegans.
On evening strolls down Commercial Drive Asha brings her Hello Kitty pail filled with toy cars and she offers one to every new friend she meets
This year I went to Shambhala for the first time in 3 years and it was my first time being separated from Asha for more than a few hours. Dylan’s parents flew from Ottawa to Vancouver to housesit for us, take care of the dogs and Asha. It was so exciting to finally go out and party and get amongst it again, but I almost backed out of going because I was scared I’d spend the whole time missing Asha. Also I was worried Asha would miss me so much she’d be difficult to care for and impossible company. I ended up going with Dylan and Ngoc and Dylan’s parents got to bond with their grandchild and with Feather and Daisy. Shambhala was absolutely wonderful and Asha had a great time with grandma and grandpa. She also got to spend time with uncle Max and auntie Heather and with aunt Dianne and uncle John. They took Asha everywhere, to a farm, out hiking, to the beach, to parks and the aquarium. Asha had the time of her life and I got to hang out at our favourite music festival and have fun. I missed Asha so much and never stopped thinking about her but got texted lots of pictures and details of all the fun she was having. Asha also managed to finally stop breastfeeding during this time too. I hadn’t planned on breastfeeding for so long and was struggling with weaning Asha as smoothly and naturally as I could. Being physically fully gone and separated from her for several days made achieving successfully ending nursing straightforward and easy. Everything was so well timed and it all went great. It ended up being a basically perfect five days away. I’m so grateful to have such fantastic relatives and such a wonderful family. Shambhala was magnificent and returning home was beautiful. I love Feather, Daisy and Asha with my whole heart. I love each of my girls so much and I can’t wait to go back to Shambhala again next year.
Oh look I cut myself some bangs. I didn’t mean for them to be so short, I kept trimming and trimming in efforts to get them straight and this is where we landed. A little bit wack but approximately cute? Don’t answer, the question probably is rhetorical.
Told Shlump I have a crush on his girlfriend he said, “Me too.”
So I finally got Covid. I have all of the classic cold/fever/flu symptoms, a sore throat, sweats and chills, mucous, a cough, body aches, a headache. I feel unwell. I thought it was just your regular old cold/fever/flu, but nope, it’s Covid. What a way to finish. Asha’s been giving poor grandma grief ever since we got in, grandma, who has done everything for her this whole past week. Kids, right. You love them so much, so deeply, so achingly, so profoundly, and sometimes you just wanna shake ‘em. And fucking poor me, I feel like death. I’ve been hiding in my bed since we got in. Poor Asha’s trying to cheer me up. I love you guys. Pray for me.
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.