How the eff did that happen? I know from my end, the holidays were a bit of a blur. It went a little something like this: the Big Yam garfing, me sick with food poisoning, the Dotytron's cousin passing away, ICE STORM, xmas with Dotytron's family, then xmas with my family. I don't think we got anything remotely resembling a breather until New Year's Day and even then we basically entertained or visited or had a big outing every day until this past Saturday.
A lot of good things happened, though. We saw friends from near and far, we hosted a rocking New Year's Eve gathering of games and food and friends, we saw movies, we went out to eat, we played insane amounts of Wii U (an xmas present from my brother to my niece and nephew, that easily eclipsed the hockey socks and garters that we dutifully got for them at the behest of my sister), we ate cookies and cake, went tobogganing, and found moments of pleasure amidst the sadness of losing a loved one.
There were also moments that I wasn't proud of. Invariably, no matter how on the ball I am, each year, by the time Christmas Eve rolls around it's a mad dash to the finish with heightened anxiety, snappishness, and simmering anger (all mine). It all came to a head on Monday morning, the day before Christmas Eve when I was dropping off the Big Yam at daycare for the day. I was sad, I was raw, I was in shock from cousin Al's passing, and I was stressed. I couldn't get into the van and had to spend a million hours chipping away the ice just to open the door. Then the Big Yam started up with that particular, keening, 3 year old whine that sounds like an air raid siren but a million times more grating, "I WANT MY CHEEERIOS, YOU SAID! I WANT CHEERIOS! CHEEEEEERRRRRIIIIOOOOS!" and I snapped. I had tears of grief and frustration streaming down my face as I was driving, trying to dodge post-ice storm felled tree branches and navigate the slippery streets and I screamed at the Big Yam like I've never screamed before. Something to the effect of: "I. DON'T. HAVE. ANY. CHEERIOS!!!" You could see the startled shock flash across the Big Yam's face and then he looked me square in the eye and screamed right back, "AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
It was the worst. Then I burst into tears at J's house and she gave me a big hug and patted me on the back and told me everything was going to be fine. Then I drove home and promptly burst into tears again and was wracked with guilt for most of the remaining morning. Then SMckay came over with her can-do attitude and baby-holding abilities and I sorted myself out. I came across this opinion piece that someone on my Facebook posted recently, So, You Would Like to Have Three Children, and usually I don't read that stuff or re-post it but there are two things that stood out for me. One is how the author talks about the commentary you get whenever you leave the house with all three. It's usually either: "You're so brave!" or "You've got your hands full" and both are accompanied by pitying, "better you than me" looks. As the author notes: this is so helpful. LOL. Either take a baby or keep your comments to yourself! Then you have to add the twins variable into the equation. We're basically a travelling freak show to the world at large. The more prescient observation from the article is that you are never, ever, ever alone any more. You have to deal with three individuals who are ALWAYS pestering you to fulfil their needs and wants (which for EACH ONE, are different things), in combination with trying to find a nanosecond to deal with your own needs and wants, like, once every three months.
The Dotytron always tells me that my tension levels unnecessarily ratchet up the anxiety, but when you're the mom, it's at a whole different level than what dad experiences. They don't want Baba, they want YOU. Dad is such a distant second it's not even in the same hemisphere. You have three individuals constantly clamouring for your attention or that you have to keep tabs on and it is under the best of circumstances, exhausting and trying. Add the holidays and trying to grieve and deal with the colossal, capricious, unfairness of life and death on top of it? NO KIDDING YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO WAIT FOR YOUR F**KING CHEERIOS, KID!
So basically, I vowed that next year, I will either be on a beach far, far away, or holed up in a winter cabin with a fireplace and will catch all y'all in the New Year. The morning we left to spend the weekend at my parent's place for Xmas, I told the Dotytron straight up: "It's going to take us 3 hours to leave the house" and he, bless his optimistic heart, laughed at me. Three hours and 15 minutes later, we were all packed in the car and ready to head up to Markham. My life is no joke, people.
Except, of course, when it's ALL jokes. Like it was when we got to visit with SMckay, and MHui and her family, and my crazy siblings, and Dr. Rei and a heap of people of people on New Year's (when we debated how painful getting hit with a sock full of quarters would be, and also, when Dr. Rei revealed her love of Yazz and unveiled an accompanying dance to a song that is, and I quote, "the epitome of Jeanne Beker getting ready to go to work in the morning" [the dance featured a lot of stuffing stuff into your suit shoulders and slapping Moses Znaimer]), and when we saw our friend I from Montréal and the Roomie and baby T. There were a lot of laughs and love this holiday interspersed with all the yelling and shouting and sadness and that is the crazy cocktail that makes up life, I now know.
Some notable Big Yam moments from the past two weeks:
The Big Yam, lying next to me in the dark as I was putting him to bed, faltering: "Mama? H-ha-ha-happy holidays" (UGH. So cute.)
The Big Yam, finishing up a birthday card for a friend with the Dotytron, upon putting the final sticker on:
*contented sigh* "FAGulous!"
The Big Yam, trying to negotiate a "sleepover" last night (a school night): "Well, Mama. Tomorrow is a school day but today is still the weekend so Baba said maybe, maybe we can, can have a sleepover." Pauses. Spreads his hands out palms up towards me. Another long pause. "What do you think?"
The Big Yam, in the back of the van when I suggested that maybe he would be able to go skating later on in the afternoon with Baba. "No. I don't want to go skating. Baba is going to be so sad." (This is true. The Dotytron has put a lot of stock into teaching the Big Yam how to skate.)
I went with the Roomie and baby T and our friend I to the indoor play space with the Big Yam and the Wonder Twins. Other parents gave me the de rigeur looks of awe/horror. While there, the Big Yam went and played in this little playhouse for a good 15-20 minutes. Later, one of the moms there asked me if the Big Yam was my son. I said yes, and she proceeded to tell me what a good, sweet, kind boy he was and how gentle he had been playing with her 18 month old son inside the playhouse. She was so impressed and so complimentary. It was nice. I mean, neither the Dotytron nor I can take any credit for it. He gets it from his Poppa. He really is such a kind, gentle soul. When the Wonder Twins are crying, he'll go over unprompted and give them kisses and say stuff like, "Don't worry, you'll get some food soon," or "It's okay, Goh-Go [Cantonese for older brothers] is here." It's the most heart-enriching thing you've ever seen.
In Wonder Twins news:
Saturday, December 14th - the Wonder Twins rolled from back to front
Saturday, December 21st - the Wonder Twins started solid food
(Can you tell that I'm using this blog as a holding place for baby-book items until such time as I can actually get my act together and write it down somewhere with all their other baby milestones?) Lindsay, in keeping with his Chris Farley nature is currently all about making the screechiest, screamiest, joygasm sounds when he's happy:
Meanwhile, the Quincess is a Quincess, as you can tell from the videos above. He is the master of the raised eyebrow.
Finally, here's a tiny fraction of what I've been eating lately:
I didn't think a Christmas Cookie plate would happen this year, but during the week I'd do a batch or two of cookies a few times and then before I knew it, I had like, 10 different varieties balled up in the freezer. From left to right, starting at the top row: brown butter financiers, buckeyes with fleur de sel, chocolate brownie cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, gingersnaps, nutella bittersweet chocolate cookies, malted milk chocolate cookies, shortbread, toffee espresso cookies. I'll have to post the recipe for the nutella and the malted milk chocolate ones soon.
Rainbow trout with horseradish mayonnaise, cauliflower-potato mash, a Korean-beet salad from Yummy Market, and quick-pickled cucumber dill salad
Sour cream apple pie. One of my all-time favorites, from this recipe, in my own butter-lard crust. This is an almost-perfect pie. I double the crisp topping and it is craggy, not too sweet, silky, chock full of tart apples, all bound up in a flaky crust. It's exactly what you want to be eating on a cold winter's night.
My new favorite low-carb breakfast: sliced avocado, pinch of crunchy kosher salt, topped with this rainbow trout spread-type thing (poached rainbow trout, crumbled with diced apple, diced cucumber, lemon zest, olive oil, and more kosher salt and pepper - served on fresh baguette slices, it's a nice, light, fresh tasting appetizer), and soft boiled eggs (overcooked in the photo above).
Tonight's dinner was a retreat to Eastern Europe from the record cold snap we're facing: Yummy Market Siberian perogies (pork and veal), pinehedge organic sour cream (the best sour cream I've ever had), roasted Brussels sprouts with lemon zest, pickled beets.
I have a slew of book/movie/restaurant reviews that I'll save for a post tomorrow.