Archive for January, 2009

If Baryshnikov Were A Vertically-Challenged Vaudevillian…

January 29, 2009

… who was given to hitting the bottle before performances, it would probably look something like this:

I make no apologies. I mean, what are babies for?


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The First Cut

January 27, 2009

Here’s something that I had planned to never blog about: my son’s penis. Not about the novelty of having a baby with a penis (because, really: contrary to all expectation, the novelty wears off. A baby penis is just a little version of the appendage that you’ve seen before, and once you get accustomed to the risk of being sprayed during diaper changes, there’s really nothing particularly complicated about its care and maintenance), not about the differences between be-penised babies and be-vulvaed babies (there’ll be plenty of opportunity to reflect upon gender differences as these pertain to my son and daughter without considering their genitalia) and certainly not about our decision whether or not to make that all-too-significant snip. Circumcision, above all else, was not something that I was going to blog about. Too personal. Too controversial. Nothing to say about it.

I changed my mind. I still regard the topic as dangerously personal and controversial, but I do, as it turns out, have something to say about it.

My husband and I agonized over whether or not to circumcise Jasper. Actually, that’s not true: I agonized over whether or not to circumcise Jasper. My husband was pretty certain that he wanted to not circumcise – it’s not my place to explain his reasons, but I will say that he (my husband) is circumcised, and that he does not practice a religion that encourages circumcision – and although my inclination was to give my husband decision-making authority on this issue – he, after all, knows penises better than I do – I was, for some time, torn. I had never seen an uncircumsised penis. I had no idea – beyond the most rudimentary, high-school sex-ed posterboard kind of understanding – what might be the implications of circumcising or not circumcising. I was all, what’s a foreskin? And: why cut it off? But also: but doesn’t everyone cut it off? And: if everyone else cuts it off, there must be a reason. But then again: cutting. I was very confused, and more than a little uncomfortable about the whole subject.

The only thing that I knew for certain was this: circumcision meant that someone would bring a very sharp object very close to a very delicate part of my very little baby, and I didn’t like that idea one bit.

I read every article, medical and otherwise, that I could get my virtual hands on. I read anti-circumcision articles and pro-circumcision articles. I read about how circumcision might reduce rates of certain kinds of infections, and about how such reductions were most likely statistically irrelevant in North America. I read many personal essays by parents who are pro-circumcision, and many by parents who are anti-circumcision. I saw many comparisons to female genital mutilation, which I dismissed intellectually, but which haunted me nonetheless. I resisted being haunted. I worried about resisting being haunted. I worried about the ethics of making such a decision for my child: what would my boy want, if he were able to ask himself the question? I asked my husband; he knew his own answer. I wasn’t sure that that was enough.

I worried about how much I was worrying over the issue.

I read more articles.

I read that the pediatric associations of both the United States and of Canada recommended against circumcision. They were circumspect about it, to be sure: they fall all over themselves assuring concerned parents that it’s a personal decision, a decision that only the family can make. But they still get their message across: there’s no medical reason for a child to be circumcised.

That, however, was not the reason that I decided that I did not want Jasper to be circumcised. I decided that I did not want Jasper to be circumcised, simply, because I could not bear to allow anything to happen to him that would cause him unnecessary hurt. I could not bear the idea of the flash of a blade near his little body, the slice that would cause him to cry out in pain.

This was – this is – an intensely personal decision. In a way, it was a selfish decision: I made (and my husband supported) a decision based upon my feelings, my fears. It is Jasper, however, who will live with this decision. If I chose, I could weave a story, a philosophy, about how decisions such as these demand that we consider most seriously the passive option – that we do nothing that takes away from the individual that our child will become, that we do nothing that constrains that individual, that robs that individual of anything, literally or figuratively – but that would be bullshit. As parents, we make decisions every day – every hour – that shape our childrens’ futures with little conscious regard for whether or not our children, looking back, would want us to consider those decisions differently. We take away little pieces of potential futures for our children with every step that we take – and with every step that we take, every decision that we make, we also add pieces, we also build possibilities into those futures. Obviously, in an ideal world, we would make all the right decisions, and our children would one day congratulate us for caring for them and protecting their interests perfectly. But ours is not an ideal world, and we make decisions under imperfect conditions, and we can be assured only that we will, as parents, achieve imperfect results.

So I didn’t choose to not circumcise my son because I was perfectly convinced that it was right thing to do, because I believed that it was the thing that he, someday, would thank me for doing. I didn’t make the choice that I did because I think that all parents should make that choice. I didn’t choose to not circumcise because I came to the conclusion that it was the only choice that a good mother could make. I did it only because I didn’t want to cut him.

It was the only thing that I could do, the only choice that I could make, for me. I can only hope that I did right, that I chose right, by him.

(I’ve not yet drawn a name for the Motozine from last week’s giveaway; I’ll do so at first opportunity and post the winner by Thursday. In the meantime, thank you all so very, very much for sharing your generosity of spirit in the comments, and, as always for your love and support.)

Grace In Small (Imaginary) Things: Day 1/375

January 26, 2009

I don’t know what any of these things are, but they sound wonderful:

1) Pretty sauce;

2) Honey Jolly Balls;

3) Lollipop juice.

Together, I think that they’d make an awesome meal. Hold the meatballs, though.

(Learn more about Grace In Small Things here. Thanks, Schmutzie.)

Eat More Pie

January 24, 2009

Yesterday was a bad day. Another in a long stretch of days following nights without sleep, another with a teething baby who prefers nips to teething rings, another with a three-year old who is determined to seize control of this household and turn it into a socialist preschooler dictatorship in which all members of the household are equals but some certain very small members are more equal than others.

Also, it was National Pie Day yesterday, and I missed it and I was totally bummed about that until I realized that, um, hello, I’m Canadian, and National Pie Day does not apply to me. So not only do I not have a new, cool president, I do not have Pie Day. Which, you know, sucks.


So I took the day off of the Internet and did restorative things like get my eyebrows waxed and buy teething rings for the baby.

Oh, and I also set up this new project. Please go check it out. It’s a work in progress, but I hope that you’ll read all about it and consider taking part. If karma works the way that I understand it to work, participating will mean that we’ll all of us, at some point, get more pie.

(And, thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who left such heartwarming and encouraging comments to my last post, the post about Tanner. I read every single comment, and my heart was touched by each one. I’ll make sure that Tanner gets those messages, so that his heart can be touched, too.)

The Invisible Boy

January 21, 2009

He wants to be invisible, she tells me. When we’re out he clings to me and turns his face into my side and it’s like he wants the the whole world to look in the other direction, away from him and his weakness and his wheelchair.

She sighs. Your sister told me, when they got back from DisneyWorld, that he was unhappy in the crowds, that he was embarrassed when they couldn’t get him onto the rides, that he just wanted to hang behind everyone else and hide.

He knows, now. My mother chokes on her words. He sees himself. He sees what he thinks everyone else sees. And he hates it.

I have no response. We whisper our I love yous and hang up the phone. I have no response. I just cry.

When Tanner was diagnosed with the condition that will kill him, he was four years old. He was a boisterous preschooler with a big smile and a habit of barreling at you at top speed and knocking you down, the better to wrap his little arms around your neck and wet your cheeks with slobbery kisses. His gait was a little funny – he walked on his toes, like a wannabe ballet dancer, and lost his balance, a little, sometimes, going up stairs. But nothing that made him seem anything other than the adorable cyclone of a four-year old that he was.

But then it became clear that he wasn’t walking as well as other kids his age. A caregiver commented on the unusual shape of his calves. He continued walking on his toes. A physiotherapist was consulted. Then a doctor. Then the geneticists. And then, one evening, I got a phone call from my mother, telling me that they’d finally gotten the results of the tests and that Tanner had something called Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. What’s that? I asked. And then my mom burst into tears, and said something incoherent about muscles and dying and I felt a chill roll down my back, I felt it run like a stream of cold water from the base of my skull and down along my spine and, with the phone tucked between my ear and my shoulder and my mother’s cries echoing across the wire, I brought my fingers to my keyboard and Googled Muscular Dystrophy, Duchennes and the chill turned to ice. He would die. His muscles would disintegrate and he would die.

No cure. No hope.

For the first year, it was easy to wrap ourselves in platitudes like live for the moment and seize the day and rejoice in the time that you have because Tanner didn’t change much, not at first. His walking got a little more awkward, but he was still a rough and tumble force of a little boy who loved nothing more than fierce hugs and cuddle-wrestling. To anyone who didn’t know him, he was just another ordinary child. No clock ticking over his head, no enemy within. Just a boy. But then he started undergoing steroid treatments, which affected his behaviour, and his physical condition deteriorated and continued deteroriating and word started getting out among neighbours and school-peers that he was sick. Disabled, obviously, but not only that: disabled, and marked for death. Some children started teasing him, and he began to understand.

That was over two years ago. That was over two years ago, and Tanner has since learned – we have all learned – to cope with the reality of his illness. That is, we think that we have, until we see Tanner recoil in embarassment from his wheelchair, or refuse to make eye contact with other children. Or tuck his head against his mother’s thigh at DisneyWorld and insist that, no, he doesn’t want to see if they can accommodate him on that ride, or this one.

This, this is a terrible heartbreak. We imagine, we believe, that all sick or disabled (no, he is not differently-abled. He is 8 years old and he can neither run nor play sport with other children. He experiences his condition as a disability, something that prevents him from doing that which he most wants to do) children bear their conditions nobly, and with good spirits. We watch the TV shows and the movies and our hearts are lifted by these brave little souls who carry their fates with dignity. We forget, however, that these are mostly fictions, that however noble are our beloved broken children, they are still children and they hurt like children and they fear like children and they cry like children and is there anything worse, really, for a child, than to be constrained in a chair – embarassed, ashamed – at the happiest place on earth while all the other children race and play with abandon?

Tanner wanted to hide. He wanted to not be seen. He wanted his weakness, his powerlessness, his sickness, his bound-in-a-chairness to be wrapped in a cloak of invisibility. He wanted – in the middle of all of the joy and all of the celebration and all of the hope (and yes, Disney does these things so well, with its spontaneous choruses of dreams really do come true, with its sudden eruptions of dance and sparkles, with its ever-present proclamations of joy, you can almost taste the hope, the magic) – to disappear.

And I don’t even have words to describe the hundred million ways that my heart breaks – that it shatters – to know this. I don’t have the words to describe the force of my wish that this just weren’t true, that this would all just go away, that I could make the disease that is killing him not only invisible, but non-existent. That I could take away everything that makes Tanner want to hide and to bring him out into the sun and say, with conviction, see? there is no darkness here. There is nothing to be afraid of, there is no reason to hide.

There’s a small part of me that wishes, sometimes, darkly, that we could have four-year old Tanner back; that we could go back to those days before the diagnosis when he was a wee bundle of four-year old fury, squeezing us with his round little arms, pummelling us with his joy, living a life of unrestrained happiness, reaching toward a limitless sky. But to have that Tanner back would be turn our backs on the Tanner who lives and loves and pummels us – with the sheer force of his heart – now. And that Tanner – this Tanner – is extraordinary, amazing, beautiful, brave. So, so brave, so, so beautiful. So deserving of being seen. Seen, and included, and loved.

It is not, however, my place to thrust him into the spotlight, to force him to bravely face the crowds and share himself. I can only tell his story, and hope that it gives you – the known and unknown yous who follow his story – some sense of the miracle that he is, this brave little boy who carries this terrible, terrible burden and who nevertheless goes forward, shyly, into the world, hoping to share in its joy. And if it reminds you to make an effort to really see somebody, anybody, who is hiding in a literal or figurative corner, to go over and take their hand and make the effort to let them know that you see them and that you think they are wonderful… well, then, that will have been no small thing.

Do it for Tanner.

Motorola – who sent me on my trip to Disneyworld (which unfortunately couldn’t take place at the same time as Tanner’s trip; one of his biggest wishes has been to someday have a holiday with his cousins, but this is tremendously difficult to arrange, and we were disappointed to miss the opportunity) – has offered me a Motorola Motozine Zn5 camera phone (read about it here; it is awesome) to give away. Which I’m going to do, through a random draw, BUT: in order to be eligible to win, you need to state, in your comment, what you will do to pay your good fortune forward. It can be anything – shovelling the walk of the old lady who lives across the street, or sitting down and having a talk with your kids about being inclusive of kids – like Tanner – who seem different, or making a donation to a charity of your choice (it’ll be honor-system principle whether you follow up or not, but I really hope that you do.) You have until Sunday, midnight.

On my end – because I’m on a one-woman mission to turn every giveaway that hits the internets into a pay-it-forward giveaway – I’m going to make another donation, in the name of the winner, to the organization (Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy) that my sister ran to raise funds for. (If you haven’t already made a donation, please think about doing so. I know that you have other causes to support, and I’ll understand if you can’t, but please, think about it, and maybe pass the request along.) And then I’m going to send a camera to Tanner, so that even if he feels most comfortable on the sidelines, he can share with us what he sees. So that we might, perhaps, see the world from his side, and look there more often.

(Congratulations to Catherine from PinkAsparagus, who won the draw for the Motozine camera phone! Catherine, please e-mail me so that I can arrange to get the phone to you.)

Dear America: Yes, You Can! (Can We Watch?)

January 19, 2009

It’s Martin Luther King Day today. Well, it is if you’re American. I’m Canadian, so it’s just a regular old Monday for me. Which makes me feel just a teensy bit resentful, if you want to know the truth. And it’s only going to get worse tomorrow, when, fresh from the feel-good high of Martin Luther King Day, all you Americans will converge – in person or in spirit – on your nation’s capitol to celebrate the inauguration of a new president. A new president that most of you seem to actually like.

We don’t get really excited about stuff like that up here in Canada. When a new governing party is sworn into power in our Parliament, most of us are off somewhere else, listening to Leonard Cohen and eating bacon fried in maple syrup. That, or getting our hips replaced. Because that’s the kind of stuff that we celebrate up here in the Great White North: Leonard Cohen, bacon n’ syrup, and universal health care (this might vary by region – Sarah Mclachlan, wild salmon and universal healthcare if you’re on the West Coast; Feist, craft beers and universal health care if you’re in Ontario. Somewhere, in the outback of Alberta, they might celebrate Nickelback, Molson’s and private clinics, but I’m not sure, and I’m too afraid to go find out.)

But we don’t usually get all that worked up – in any positive way – about politics, nor even about public service. But you Americans, wow: your President-elect puts out a call to service for today, asks you to do something to give back to your communities, in memory of Martin Luther King, and you all actually get excited about it. So I am, I confess, a little bit jealous of your community spirit, and of your optimism. This week, you are celebrating yourselves as a nation that is capable of greatness, while we, your neighbours (yeah, we spell that with a ‘u’), are standing back, feeling just a little bit awestruck. And, as I said, maybe just a little bit jealous. We Canadians don’t wrap our politics in narratives of hope and greatness. We wrap our politics in narratives of prudence and restraint. Peace, order and good government is our motto. It’s a bit dull, I know. Nobody ever set off fireworks to celebrate peace, order and good government. It’d kinda be like high-fiving your accountant for arranging an acceptable payment plan for all those federal taxes you owe. I mean, I’m sure he’d appreciate it, but really, that’s his job, right? And if you’re getting excited about tax payment plans (or, to get back to my central point, ‘order and good governance’), you’re not getting out much. Which, you know, is okay: we’re a good country, a nice country, a sweet and sensible country that produces good music and great maple syrup and can usually be counted on to say all the right, generous things when its closest neighbour gets to play around at being awesome.

So, yeah. You’re probably going to be too busy to notice, but we’re over here thinking that you’re lucky to be celebrating such an epic moment in history. We’re thinking that it’s really pretty awesome that you get to identify with and pledge yourselves to an inauguration of hope. We’re happy for you, we really are. But we’re also – or at least I am – a teensy bit jealous.

You’ll forgive us that, right? Good. Because we’re also a little bit – maybe a lot – inspired. And we are – I am – grateful for that.

funny pictures

Happy Martin Luther King Day, and Happy Inauguration. Do something awesome for your community, and then celebrate. HARD.

(Am closing comments – I know, I’m sorry – just because I am so far beyond sleep-deprived that I can’t even be counted on to be able to decipher comments as English, let alone moderate them. Also, I don’t feel like talking about politics – see last statement re: sleep deprivation – and if this post attracts any political opinionation – that is so a word – I don’t want to hear about it. Not up for it, sorry. So, Baby gets the last word.)

Weekend Forecast: Flurries, With A Good Chance Of Poo

January 16, 2009

Hey, baby! Could you look into your little rubber crystal ball and tell us the forecast for the weekend?


What’s that?


35% chance of flurries, 78% chance of spit-up, 100% chance of sleeplessness, 123% chance of productive farts?Align Center
Just as I expected.

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To everyone who has been leaving their condolences for Maria: thank you. You’re helping to spread a little love around a broken heart.

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Toronto-area peeps: interested in heading out on the town, sort of? Read this, and let me know.

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And… don’t read this unless you’re up for feeling really, really angry. Or, do read it and then click back here to have another gander at that super cutetastic baby up at the top of the page, to take the edge off of the grrr arrgh that I guarantee you you’re going to feel. Cute babies are good for that, you know.

Little Beaner, Rest In Peace

January 14, 2009
Hi Catherine,

Don’t know if you remember me, but it’s Marie. You helped me with my beautiful baby girl Beaner. I had been wanting to let you know about this, but I know you have your own stuff you are going through and well I didn’t know how to say it… But I just wanted to let you know that my baby girl Mia passed away On Oct 27, 2008 due to SIDS. She was 13 1/2 weeks old and getting so big! Its so hard to believe that its going on 3 months that she’s been gone. I would tell myself, “tell Catherine next week” but next week turned into well this long…. Thanks for all you did for us when I needed people there for me… I just thought you would want to know….

Always,

Marie

I never met Beaner. I never held her hand or touched her cheek. I knew her only through a story that her mother told me, pictures that she sent me, the fragments of a life that she shared and that became, somehow, strangely, briefly, intertwined with my own.

You can read her story here, and here. It’s a beautiful story, the story of a child who was so loved that her mother fought back all of her fear to keep her, for better or for worse, for the sake of a life that she wanted to nurture as her own, on her own terms. Her mother reached out to me, and to you, to all of you, for support and guidance and she drew some of her strength from that and she made the bold step of clasping Beaner to her heart and deciding to never let go and that, that was amazing. Deciding to never let go can be a difficult choice – for some, the wrong choice, an impossible choice – but she made it and she was happy and she kept her Beaner and Beaner was loved.

And now Beaner is gone, and I don’t know, I just don’t know what to say, because this was the story that was supposed to have the happy ending and although I tell myself that Marie had her Beaner for all the time that Beaner had on this earth, and that that is wonderful, that that is a gift, it remains that to have such a precious gift and then to have it snatched away is tragic beyond measure. So I don’t what to say. And it is not, in any case, my place to say. It is not my right, to sing an elegy for Beaner, to wring philosophy from her death. Not my right at all.

I didn’t know Beaner – little Mia Catherine – but she found her way into a corner of my heart, and there she remains, this child I did not know and will never know but do love, a little, from a distance, from – now – a tragic distance, nonetheless. There she remains, and there she is mourned, and there she will be remembered.


Rest in peace, Mia Catherine. You touched more hearts than you could know.

You can leave condolences to Maria in the comments. She’ll be reading, and I know that the support will mean so much to her.

Then – as I insisted last week, not knowing how soon I would be confronted by the demands of my own words – hug your children. And your moms. And anyone whose heart touches yours. And be grateful.

The Story’s The Thing

January 13, 2009

Here’s the thing about maintaining a personal blog: one sometimes forgets that one is not simply maintaining a diary – albeit a carefully thought-out diary, one that is edited for style and for grammar – but publishing, virtually, a sort of memoir or collection of essays or some combination of these. One forgets, sometimes, that one has made, is making, one’s story public.

I forget this all the time.

The primary danger, here, is not that one might unintentionally reveal something that one might later regret. We most of us hesitate with our cursors hovering over the Publish Post button every time that we write, mentally reviewing what we’ve said and how we’ve said it and worrying over how it might be received. The Publish Post button reminds us, in the crucial moment, that we are in fact publishing, making public, our stories, our rants, our confessions. What the Publish Post button does not remind us, however, is that with every post that we publish we are constructing and furthering a narrative that is followed by tens or dozens of readers, tens or dozens of readers who might well want to know what became of that problem, was that issue resolved, what happens next? They follow a narrative, and our blogging platforms don’t provide tools for reminding us that we’re weaving such narratives as we write. And because we are not reminded, we – I – sometimes forget.

I was reminded – uncomfortably – of this the other day when I wrote a confused, rambling post that was a variation on another post that I’d written a few months ago. I knew that I had already written on the topic – whether or not I wanted to keep open the possibility of having a third child – and was just trying to sort my feelings out further. It was a post that I wrote for myself, not one that was intended to advance my story, such as that story is. And that pissed at least one reader off, a little: she protested that I was just retreading old ground and that it was frustrating and why didn’t I make more of an effort to let readers know what I was doing to prevent what seemed to be my inevitable slide into whiny insanity – for example, what had I done about the sleep issues? Had I taken any readerly advice? – because, seriously, if I kept this up – and certainly if I made the terrible mistake of committing mental suicide by further childbearing – she, for one, was not going to be able to read me anymore. (She later apologized for articulating herself so harshly, and made clear that she was just frustrated because she is a fan of the blog, and I’m totally comfortable with that, so please don’t smack her in comments.) Which: OUCH.

The comment struck a nerve, because a) I’m sensitive about the possibility that this blog can be, you know, angst-ridden at times, and believe me, my angst bores even me, and b) oh, gawd, I like totally can’t maintain the thread on my own stories, can I? But there’re reasons why I don’t always (read: almost never) maintain a narrative thread: because sometimes doing a follow-up on how nothing has changed and how I’m still angsting out over the same old miscellaneous bullshit seems, I don’t know, tiresome, and because – more often than not – I forget. Some other issue comes up – the girl pours canola oil on the living room sofa, or I become obsessed yet again with the finality of vasectomies – and whatever thread I had begun to weave about sleeplessness or feeding baby or finding long lost siblings gets lost.

Which is fine, in a way: this is my story, and if it’s disjointed, so what? But still: I like a coherent narrative thread, and so far as coherence is possible in personal narratives, why not pursue it? I can’t promise that I’ll follow up on every little issue, but I can promise to make an effort to not just abandon cliffhangers (I laugh even as I write this. Who among you was waiting with bated breath to see if Her Bad Mother would ever sleep again, dun dun dun DUN?!?!?) So, to that end: the first of a series of semi-occasional, whenever-the-hell-I-feel-like-it, will-probably-forget-to-do-this-ever-again updates on stories that you probably don’t care about but this blog is a narrative, dammit, and so the story must go on:

1) Did Her Bad Mother ever sleep again? No, she did not, and probably will not again, ever. She has tried most of the suggestions offered and none, so far have worked. She would just give up and look into becoming a vampire, were it not for the fact that she doesn’t want to eat her baby (I don’t care what Stephenie Meyer implied in Breaking Dawn about mother-love overcoming the temptation to sink one’s teeth into buttery baby butt cheeks; if I were a vampire I would totally eat my baby because, my god, the deliciousness), so she’ll just persist in this lovely and only slightly inconvenient sleep-deprived fugue state.

2) Did Her Bad Baby ever take to solid foods? Yes! He did! He does! But only if they’re, you know, solid. As in, able to withstand the clutch of a chunky little fist. Which is to say, hunks of bread or cereal biscuits or meatballs or whole baby carrots or, for some reason, pickles. Anything mushy, anything on a spoon, anything in a bottle (sigh) is rejected with a swat of a chubby hand.

3) Did Her Bad Mother ever find her long lost brother? Has she made any progress? Not so much. Believe me, you’ll hear about it when – WHEN – anything happens.

4) Whatever happened to the Phallic Lovey? He (Christian name: Toadstool) was tossed aside by the girl – who declared herself to be ‘too big for Toady now’ – a few weeks ago. It was like a sad Toy Story 2 sub-plot, really, and Her Bad Mother got a little weepy. Her Bad Husband, however, rejoiced. And then this happened:


And so it goes.

Any other questions on narrative threads that I may have dropped, recently or, like, eons ago? Fire away in the comments, and I’ll follow up them, someday. And tell me, what are the narrative threads that you’ve dropped? I’m not the only one out here who can’t tell a story, am I?

Also, oh, hai: yesterday was Delurking Day, and I missed it. Feel free to make up for that today.

Sunday Morning Music Show: I’m A Lumberjack Edition

January 11, 2009
Urban Forestry from Her Bad Father on Vimeo.

And if at first you don’t succeed…

Urban Forestry, Part II from Her Bad Mother on Vimeo.

(It’s a toy. DUH.)

(She likes it because Daddy has one. We have a property with a sizable acreage of forest that we tend under the terms of a forest management plan, and that plan involves strategic cutting necessary for the forest’s sustainability, and why am I explaining all this? Emilia likes chainsaws. That’s kind of awesome.)

(Awesome, so long as she doesn’t remain committed to the idea of deforesting schoolyards and parkland.)