Thursday, May 31, 2007

Blueberries and Fairies

Am so, so delinquent. Have not posted in, like, over a week. Or longer. Am ashamed.

Should have cross-posted this, because, well, it was in honour of this and that sorta counts as a review, no?

But! Have book reviews coming - sort of! Deconstruction of fairy tales! Analysis of garage sales! And a mind-blowing, life-changing report on blueberry juice!

Blueberry juice makes children fly. Consider yourself warned.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pretty. Simple.

I have never wanted to be an Ivory Girl. I've never really been able to pull off that fresh-faced, well-scrubbed, pink-cheeked look, largely because I've spent most of my life dressed in black with my hair dyed several shades darker and redder than it is naturally and cut into a more or less severe bob. Shirley Manson has long been much more my aesthetic speed than Jessica Simpson.

Then I had a baby, and discovered that spit-up really stands out on black and that it's a bit harder to get to Vidal Sassoon for bob upkeep when you're on baby duty 'round the clock. So I had to simplify my look.

So it was that when a representative from Ivory contacted me about doing a quote-unquote makeUNDER as part of their Low Maintenance Revolution promotion (which includes a contest to win a makeunder), I really had to laugh. Really. Like, ha ha ha ha ha ha. Because, really, who needs to be made under less than a new mom? A new mom who rarely pauses to even put on lipstick anymore, and considers herself groomed if she brushed her hair. One's look just doesn't get any more low-maintenance than bare face, unkempt hair and yoga pants.

But they insisted, so I went for it. Hell, I could use a haircut. And if it was going to be a low-maintenance haircut, all the better. I can barely remember how to use the flat iron anymore.

Which is not so good, because after this haircut, I need it more than ever.

To be fair, it's a good haircut. It's still a bob, which is important, because I'm not so good with change, and it's short, which is generally easier to care for, but there's this funky flippy part at the front that I will NEVER be able to reproduce in the comfort of my own bathroom. It's not exactly low-maintenance. Nor was the make-up that they put on me as part of the makeunder - in particular the eyebrow powder (apparently I need to darken my eyebrows for maximum eye impact). It looked really good - if a bit more 'done't han what I'm used - but who has time (and steady hands) to put on eyebrow make-up when a toddler is climbing your leg? (The make-up artist said that the whole routine would take me less than ten minutes, but that assumes that a) I know what I'm doing with an eyebrow brush and b) that I care about the eyebrow brush.)

So it wasn't exactly a makeunder. But it was still pretty cool. And I can totally get behind the idea of reducing one's beauty routine to a few simple steps so as to save time for a totally chilled-out bath or shower. And when I got home that afternoon and ran the bath and poured in, like, a pint of the Ivory WaterLily shower/bath foamy stuff that they gave me... that was nice. Really nice. (WonderBaby, I should say, luuurved - LUUURVED - the WaterLily shower/bath stuff. 'MORE MORE MORE!!!' It pours out like opalescent syrup and pools up in your hand before you suds it up into a fistful of bubbles. Toddler heaven. But she can't have it - it's mine.)

Anyway. What matters is, I look good. And I - and WonderBaby - smell really, really nice. And maybe it's about time I reacquainted myself with that flat iron.

Friday, May 11, 2007

This Mother's Day Moment NOT Brought To You By Hallmark

I've been reading some books, lately, by parents who came to parenthood awkwardly, who donned parenthood like an ill-fitting suit that they belatedly managed to grow into, a suit that they only got comfortable in after many washings and maybe a bit of alteration here and there (letting out where it's snug; taking in where it sags and billows.) They all say the same thing: that it felt strange and awkward and uncomfortably new. Unfamiliar. They didn't know what they were doing. They weren't sure that they were cut out to be parents.

But they were. Of course they were. They're cut out to be parents because, simply, parents are what they are, regardless of how comfortable or uncomfortable that experience of being is. They simply are parents. A parent is what I am. A mother.

And the only criterion for motherhood - for parenthood - is this: LOVE.

My love for this incredible little being is what makes me a mother. Not the tear in my nether regions, not my saggy tits, not my ability to change a diaper on a moving baby in the middle of a playground, not the the fact that I've read every single freaking parenting book ever published. My love is what makes me a mother.

That's all.

And that's all I need. It's all she needs.

This Mother's Day moment is part of the Parent Bloggers Network blog blast, supported by LightIris, which launches on Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Baby IQ Saved My Brain

I love Baby IQ.

I have no interest in using multimedia to boost my child's brainpower. I have no interest in doing anything to boost my child's brainpower, other than love her and engage her and encourage her to be engaged with the world around her. So, DVDs that purport to make my kid smarter? Bah. Not interested.

But Baby IQ is not that DVD. Sure, they bill themselves as educational. Sure, they market themselves to the same sort of aspiring-but-very-possibly-very-lazy competiparent that is Baby Einstein's target market. But they've done a couple of things differently - a couple of things that make all the difference:

1) They've put together a DVD that is lovely to watch and listen to. Zen, even. Gorgeous images, and the Londony Symphony orchestra. No harpsichord. No tinny canned piano. No musical abridgment for little ears. This is real music. This is good.

(I can't emphasize this enough. So much of what is produced musically for children makes my ears bleed. To have a CD or DVD that I can stick in our stereo system and enjoy with WonderBaby is huge. HUGE. I played this DVD over and over again, in place of some of our usual classical music CDs - we enjoyed the music together and named the images as they came on screen and it was pleasant and relaxing and no-one had to punch themselves in the ears at the end of it. Nice.)

2) The Baby IQ organization partners with other organizations - in particular, the UK's National Literacy Trust - to support literacy and early childhood learning.

3) Did I mention that the music is really, really good?

4) Oh, and WonderBaby enjoyed watching it for minutes at a time. Sweet, sweet minutes of a wonderfully still WonderBaby, directing her hoots and hollers to the screen. And! No dancing purple dinosaurs!

5) The music is really good.

Again - I don't care if this DVD boosts WonderBaby's brainpower. I don't expect it to, and frankly, I could stand for her brain to actually slow down a little bit. And, in any case, I don't fish out the DVDs for learnin' - I pull out the DVD's so that we can have a little distraction, a little respite from singing and dancing and playing jungle-gym on the dining room furniture. And Baby IQ does that job beautifully.

And that's all they promise, really - to make your baby smile while not causing your brain to dissolve and ooze out your ears onto your freshly-Swiffered floors. (Okay, so they only claim the 'make your baby smile' part. But isn't 'brain-won't-dissolve' part just as important? They should put that on their promotional literature. Because making my baby smile is the easy part.)

Check out more reviews of Baby IQ through the Parent Bloggers Network over the coming weeks, and check out the Baby IQ website to watch a demo of the DVD.

Friday, May 04, 2007

'Fabulous' Isn't Saying Nearly Enough

You have to go buy this. Buy it HERE. Just do it. Because I said so.