The Crawling Dead

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(Or, Pest Control While Baby is Sleeping and Unable* to Get Raid**)

Ant! On bed!

Killed ant with t-shirt.

Checked shirt a while later, dead ant missing. Did ant come back to life? Wait — there it is! Killed ant again.

What? Is that? What the? That’s an ant. It’s moving. Ew, it’s getting closer. Checked for dead ant, ant missing again! Is same ant? Die undead ant, die! Die!

Theory 1: zombies

Theory 2: ant carcass-retrieving cannibals

Theory 3: I don’t care, just GET THESE MOTHER-EFFING ANTS OFF THIS MOTHER-EFFING BED

*Me, not the baby. Though she could pitch in once in a while.

**I don’t use Raid. Replace with Non-Toxic Natural Eco-Friendly Earth-Hugging Vinegar-Based Solution

Life of the party

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“You’ve been carrying that thing around for a while.”

“I know.

“Why?”

“I like it.”

“You like balloons? Why?”

“I don’t know, I’ve just always liked them.”

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Things Pete Eats

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Last night we were running short on time. We happened to be up at Bloor and Bathurst, so I suggested we have Hero (veggie) burgers. Pete made a slightly funny face, but it didn’t seem like it was one of those times when he was thinking, “Eiko I don’t really feel like that but I can’t think of anything else so I GUESS we’ll go with your weird and healthy suggestion that doesn’t involve any brown food.” (He’s always awfully nice about it, but it happens now and then.) In fact, he looked sort of gleeful, if slightly hesitant.

Not having the energy to tease out whatever conflicted emotions he was experiencing, I strutted away in the direction of soy patties and onion rings.

After dinner, I asked Pete what he’d had for lunch. He made the same face.

“I don’t want to tell you.”

“Did it involve dairy?” (We don’t usually eat dairy.)

He shook his head.

“Wait. Did you eat…meat?”

“No.”

“Just tell me.”

“I had Hero Burger for lunch. With fries.”

“You ate the exact same thing for dinner as you did for lunch? Why didn’t you say anything?”

He shrugged. “You seemed so excited about it.”

I’m not sure why he was so embarrassed; this is a man who once ate twelve (12) Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and two (2) packages of Rice-A-Roni in one sitting.

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The heart that naps broke

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“I can’t wait until Reiden starts napping in her crib!”

“I really have to nap train her soon.”

“I wish I had time to do stuff during the day, but she’s always napping on me.”

“This napping on me thing is killing my back.”

“I heard that sitting all day is as bad as eating like ten Big Macs a day.”

“Err, what do bed sores look like?”

“PLEASE COME BACK AND NAP ON ME AGAIN OMG I MISS YOU SO MUCH OH GOD IT HURTS.”

My heart is broken, and the worst part is I broke it myself. Rei is crazy affectionate but isn’t a sit-still-and-snuggle baby. Napping was our special time.

Solution: breastfeed forever!

(I did the holding her for naps thing for almost six months…my body just couldn’t take it anymore. Stupid body.)

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PS: I know that’s a toy in her crib. I’m right here watching her. In 100 years when I’m okay with leaving the room while she naps, I’ll take it out.

Synchronicity and Japanese Surrealism

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Synchronicity.

I’ve been finding it everywhere, lately.

**

Two Facebook friends who don’t know each other post updates about the weather using the numbers 17 and 19. The posts refer to two very different cities. The posts appear adjacent to each other in my news feed.

**

While reading Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, I note the line, “Something wicked this way comes.” Minutes later, I read a blog post by a good friend, where she has referenced the exact same line.

**

Also while reading 1Q84, I realize something interesting about two of the main characters’ names:

Eriko Fukada
Tengo Kawana

My name is Eiko Kawano. If Eriko took Tengo’s last name, she’d be Eriko Kawana.

Eiko Kawano
Eriko Kawana

One letter is extraneous, and one is different: R and A.

A key theme in the book is mothers and daughters.

My daughter’s initials are R. A.

**

Today I was thinking of getting one of those devices that count the number of steps in a day. This evening, I checked the same friend’s blog, where today she’d posted about getting one of those devices.

What does it meannnn? Are she and I in a parallel universe?* Should I go see how many moons are in the sky?

PS: If you haven’t read 1Q84, I highly recommend it. Sure, the prose has been criticized for being a bit boring and repetitious at times, but there’s something about surrealist Japanese fiction in translation that’s awesome. And clearly, the reading of it has transported me to another universe. So far it’s pretty fun.

PPS: The Artist’s Way talks a lot about synchronicity, how when you stop to look, there are coincidences everywhere. I do find that I “see” much more during times of heightened creativity. I guess it also means TURN OFF THE INTERNET EIKO AND WORK ON YOUR NOVEL.

*No really, are we? You’d tell me, right?

Update:

This morning, the same friend who posted about the weather in coincidence #1 just posted this:

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DUN DUN DUN.

(Okay, it’s possible she read my blog, and it made her think of Murakami and thereby inspired her post. But I didn’t share this post on FB and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know this blog exists.)

Pete Strikes Again

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Pete: “If you had to choose the theme song from 30 Rock, Community or Parks & Rec, which would you pick?”

Eiko: “Um–”

Pete: “Trick question! They’re all great!”

Slightly less existential than last time.

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Some days.

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I wrote this on Sunday and didn’t post it. I didn’t want anyone to worry — I’m feeling good, great, and thankful every day that I don’t have PPD.

But lately, I’ve been inspired by several brave women who are willing to talk about their struggles with depression. Like this one.

And I’ve been thinking how it’s amazing that someone, friend or stranger, can make a difference just by being honest.

So, here’s how I was feeling on Sunday.

***

Some days are perfect. They can be full of sucky things like bad sleeps and screwed up naps and diaper blow-outs and spit-up everywhere, but they are perfect because Reiden smiles or laughs or does something funny and erases everything else. Not just some days. Most.

But other days. The same smiles, laughs, the something funny but still I’m left with some kind of Sunday melancholy, trying to get back to happy.

I might just be eating too much sugar? Not enough vitamin D?

I know it’s not depression. But still, there’s a flicker. A something.

It’ll go away tomorrow, just in time for Peter to go into the office. Yay me for ruining our Sunday.

The best part about Peter is, if I ask him, he’ll say the day turned out pretty well. I think Reiden would say the same thing, if she could talk.

It’s just me who gets lost sometimes, in the little hollow in my brain. The place that stores the memories of much sadder Sundays, dreaded weekends, clock watching, loneliness.

I know I am incredibly lucky, to only have to live with memories.

For me, depression was never just in the moments I was clawing my way through the mud, but in all the memories of other dark times; everything adding up, compounding, colluding.

And always, and still, the threat that it might come back. That’s why these occasional Sunday glimmers scare me. That’s why, even when I’m feeling the opposite of sad, I make sure to remember what Peter would always say to me, when things were really bad:

“It’s not all the time, and it always passes.”

And then I remind myself, “Just because it hasn’t come back doesn’t mean it will.”

That was one of the hardest things about living with depression: even the good days were tainted because I knew there were bad days waiting to pounce.

That’s a sad way to look at life. Over the years I’ve worked hard to flip that around, to look at it like Peter does. To see that the bad days are numbered, because the good ones are waiting to pounce.

This little one sure helps.

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Why?

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Last night we were talking about how Reiden is quite, err, precocious. This kid has never sat still since she was about six weeks old. The only times she does sit still, we’ve accidentally left the TV or a computer screen on (I know, we will lose this battle eventually), someone new is holding her (anyone want to come over?) or she’s pooping.

She wants to be bounced, sung to, walked around, entertained all the time. She will sit by herself and play, and she’s willing to let us eat dinner while she sits in her bouncy chair, but there’s a short time limit on everything. She’s smart and wriggly and impatient and we would not have her any other way. She rarely cries, but she protests a LOT. She’s an amazing kid. It’s all good, all of it.

“Wait til she’s older. She’s going to run circles around us,” I said. “She’ll ask why about everything.” We talked about how we won’t always be able to answer her questions, like why don’t the rich people just give more money to the poor people? But we’ll try to set a really good example by doing things like volunteering.

Then we watched this, and reminded our future selves to remember how full of crap we once were.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Network Sitcoms

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The other day I said to Peter, “Remember when I asked you to choose between Community, 30 Rock and Parks & Recreation, if you had to spend forever in one of them?”

“Yeah.”

“And we decided Community was too zany to be there long-term?”

“Yeah.”

“But what did we say about 30 Rock versus Parks & Rec?”

“Oh,” he said, “that 30 Rock was where we should be, because we’re writers and stuff. But the hours would be too long.”

“No, it wasn’t that.”

“Yeah it was, it was about how that would have been the answer before Reiden, but now we have a different lifestyle.”

“I’m pretty sure it was something else.”

“Why are you asking?”

“It’s bugging me. It was something about how the Parks & Rec people would be more like, comforting if we had to be with them forever. But that wasn’t quite it. Damn, I really want to remember.”

“Why?”

“I want to use it as a blog post. I suppose I could just make something up.”

“It’s not like I’m going to hold you to the truth or anything.”

“I really wish I could remember exactly what we said.”

I did remember, later on. And then I forgot again.

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Ben!

The 30 Day Challenge

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I still check my work email.

I’m on maternity leave, for a whole glorious year. It’s awesome, but holy man do I miss my job.

So, I check email. Just to see what’s going on: mostly birthdays and goodbye emails and reminders to do timesheets, but it’s nice. It gives some structure to the week: reminders about free (and awesome) breakfasts on Mondays, ridiculous emails from the developers on Fridays.

Also, the culture stuff. The company I work for does some pretty cool things to boost morale and help with people’s development-y stuff. Right now, there’s a 30-day challenge going on. You just have to commit to doing something every day for 30 days, or to have achieved something specific in 30 days’ time.

I think. I’m fuzzy on the guidelines. I never said I actually *read* the emails.

I decided to participate from afar. I like the idea of a daily something. I was doing 30 days of yoga when I got pregnant with Rei, so that worked out pretty well.

Here was my short list:

Shower every day

Bad for health, plus gives off impression to work people that I have an issue with showering. Cough. No comment. Am new mom! Leave me alone.

Exercise every day

See: carrying, bouncing, giving horsey rides to, dancing with, singing to, pushing stroller for, rolling around on play mat with a baby. I think I have that one covered.

Pet cat every day 

This is actually a valid goal, because my cat used to be my sun and my moon and now I barely get to hang out with him. I swore I would not be one of those people who stopped loving their pets when they had a baby, and while my love hasn’t changed, my ability to actually show him that love has. Which is pretty much the same as that jerk who kept saying he loved you but still wouldn’t introduce you to his friends.

However, “Pet cat every day” makes me sound like both a disturbed cat lady and someone who is living a very small, very sheltered existence. (Which is true.)

PS: I have two cats. The other one didn’t even get mentioned. I am a monster. Sorry, Ben.

Stop thinking in (possibly racist) accents 

Does anyone else do this? Every now and then, the voice in my head switches from someone that sounds vaguely like me to an angry older Chinese woman with a heavy accent. This tends to happen when I’m telling myself what to do, like I should take more Vitamin D or make that dentist appointment I’ve been putting off. I’m not sure exactly where the voice comes from. Sometimes it’s a man. He’s not as mean as the woman. Weird, right?

The other voice is a sassy black lady. She shows up when I’ve decided I’m going to do something and I’m going to do it now, dammit. Like when I think I deserve to buy myself something nice, but part of me is waffling. She’s the, “You go girl!” part of me. I have Angie from 30 Rock to blame/thank for her.

So now I have admitted to you that: 1. I am probably racist and 2. I hear voices. So you can see why I didn’t use that as my goal.

Write every day (blog or work on novel)

Winner! It’s only been a few days but so far so good. When I get tempted to dick around on Facebook I just remind myself to get to work now! Write book take long time, you work hard finish book, still write crappy book but book be done! And then when I write a scene or finish a blog post, I go to the kitchen and get some chocolate into my own bad self!

So, you can expect more blog posts, is what I’m saying.

You’re welcome.

Ben

Ben!