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Poutine, snuck.

If you have been wondering where I have been, I have been hiding behind folding chairs, eating mass quantities of poutine.

See, the thing is that Olive enjoys her food, and when she sees you eating she fixes you with a very intense look and then starts motoring towards you, smacking her lips and grunting. She has very definite ideas about what is fair, and in her mind is decidedly unfair of you not to share your food with her. And if you don’t share, if, for example you are eating the sort of filthy junk food that should not be going into the mouth of a 9 month old (and really, shouldn’t be going into the mouth of a 29 year old, if we want to get right down to it), like poutine or candy or a venti decaf coffee frappucino with almond milk, well you have to hide from the ever-quickening advances of this lip-smacking, grunting, hungry hungry baby lest she catch you and then The Rage begins.

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And guys, she is fast. She crawls like a machine now, and pulls herself up onto anything and everything (sorry, Gus) and then cruises from blunt-force-trauma cornered coffee table to too-far-away couch to hazardous electrical outlets to sharp-edged fireplace tiles. She is fearless and does this all at breakneck speed and you are left in the dust shouting “Olive, no!” and “Where is she?!” and “She was JUST here!” and “Oh god! The stairs!”

I have lost five pounds from pure fear.

So, this is my life, Internets. Terrifying chases after terrifyingly mobile babies, and furtive moments spent squatting behind folding chairs, shoveling poutine into my face as fast as I can.

What have you been up to?

This is the unfortunate side effect of a blog, you see. Everyone in my “real life” gets to keep up with me and my adventures with goats and gypsy summers, crawling babies and beautiful husbands, but it’s so very one sided. None of them call me anymore – you jerks!- and I am tempted just to call the whole thing off – I mean reciprocity you bunch of freeloaders! Start your own blogs or else.

The insanity surrounding Olive’s first birthday continues, I am making my first test cake today, a casein-free, gluten-free, fun-free monstrosity complete with coconut milk frosting. I thought it was quite clever of me to think up this whole “test cake” idea as a handy excuse to eat a different cake every week for the rest of the summer. Thanks for having a birthday, Olive. You have made me so very happy.

As for the cake itself, I’m going for broke on this one. And honestly I really do need test cakes because I am planning a three or four level deal, with a fancy frosting job and maybe a reverse-sprinkled number 1 on top, and a then a single beeswax candle to complete the scene. I honestly can’t wait.

My editor and I (finally) figured out a title for my book, and sh-t is getting real, because now it is onto cover designs and interview questions and author photographs and WHAT? I feel like this is all very hypothetical. Like, there is no part of me that honestly expects to be holding a copy of a book with my name on it, at any time in the near or distant future. It just seems impossible. and also, most of this book was written while in the haze of post-pregnancy newborn care, I mean, is it any good? Do my sentences make sense? Did I even spell check it? I am deep into the self-doubt, fear, oh-god-let’s-just-forget-I-ever-said-anything stage.

Deep breath.

Our gypysing continues. Indefinitely. Sigh. I keep catastrophying, like every few days I have a mini nervous breakdown and am convinced that nothing is ever going to happen and we will never get settled and find our place in the world, we will always be living out of suitcases with out whole lives stuck in rubbermaid bins and cardboard boxes.

Because that it what I do. It is never a few months of transition, it is the End. Of. The World.

It doesn’t help that everyone, out of a well-intentioned sense of kindness and interest, keeps asking what is going on. What’s happening. What the plan is, and it doesn’t help that every time they do ask I get this hitch in my throat and this lump in my heart and I start panicking because I DON’T KNOW! There is no plan! And how those words strike terror into my heart.

NO. PLAN.

(?!?!?!)

In situations such as these, I recommend having a man like Adam around. A hazel-eyed fellow who can look deep into your crazy and tell you it will be fine, even when there are no indications that it will, in fact, be fine because NO PLAN.

And yesterday, mid-catastrophy, Adam looked around at the summer day and the park by the ocean and Olive crawling around eating clover like a little calf and and said, thoughtfully, with the sort of perspective and calm that I would desperately like to have, “I just know that I will never look back and wish that I was working for these past few months. Never.”

It’s that sort of big-picture thinking that everyone talks about having, that pithy, no-regrets lifestyle that I aspire to but can never manage. But I have realized that people, myself included, are all talk. We all know that in the grand scheme of things, a few months absent from work and in the presence of your growing, changing, beautiful clever little girl is an incredible thing. It’s the type of thing many fathers, I think, wish they could have. But yet, we have this feeling, (well, I have this feeling) that we should be moving forward and settling down, and getting on with our lives. Right? So it’s a conflict of the micro (me) versus the macro (him), and in trying to resolve it I come flat against this thing I do, that a lot of people do, I think, where I put our life in Column A, and someone elses life in Column B, and then tally the total sum of our achievements and see who comes out ahead.

This activity, it should go without saying, is completely useless on many levels. It is useless because it’s pointless and frustrating, or ego-feeding and smug-making, but also because it’s so arbitrary – Adam has had the summer off, is that a plus or a minus? Does this gypsy summer count for or against? Each person you ask would have a different answer, each time you tally the votes the total would look different.

So, agreed- useless! But still irresistible.

In the meantime I have continued my poutine-sneaking and baby chasing in Victoria for a girls week, just Olive and I, visiting my mom and my sisters. Shopping, parks, pools and petting zoos. (Plus? Plus?)

Pictures abound.

If you know me in real life, call me, you jerk. (Or – more realistically, email me, because we all know I don’t answer my phone. )

xo

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12 Comments

  • Reply Sara July 31, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    Oooh author photos!!! Is it weird that I think that must be like 10% of the fun of publishing a book? I hope you share your author photos and interviews (when it’s appropriate). I’m also really curious about the title, but of course, I know the publishing industry is a mysterious thing and you might not able to talk about it yet. So exciting!

    I can understand the sense of upheaval and uncertainty. I feel like I’ve lived in a limbo state till I’ve nearly forgotten it’s there at all, but sometimes I wake up at 3 a.m. and wonder where our lives are going. Also the life-comparing thing … I do that way, way too often and it’s one of the major habits I need to stop. But I think Adam’s comment about looking back was very thoughtful and very true.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine July 31, 2013 at 10:57 PM

      I will definitely share author photos- where I try my best to look friendly and approachable, but not smarmy or preachy, smiling sweetly (but not TOO sweetly) and with good hair, lighting, background etc. omg impossible! I’m just going to have Adam draw my portrait.
      I want to hear about your upheaval. Tell your story of life in column b 😉

  • Reply lilymama August 1, 2013 at 4:30 AM

    “But yet, we have this feeling, (well, I have this feeling) that we should be moving forward and settling down, and getting on with our lives.” -The beautiful thing is…you ARE getting on with your life. Every.Single.Day. Make that pro list and read it every time you feel that panic rising – you are in the midst of a glorious period. Remember to breathe, and maybe start to gain some feeling of control by making LITTLE PLANS 🙂

    • Reply sweetmadeleine August 3, 2013 at 12:44 AM

      I think this is fantastic advice. Thank you, Sara!

  • Reply Valerah August 1, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    wait, why do you need author photos taken when you have your glamour shots ready to be used??????????

    also, i was telling my man about your bee post and he was like how many times did they get stung? did the baby get stung?! and i was like WAIT I DONT KNOW….did she/you guys?!

    • Reply sweetmadeleine August 3, 2013 at 12:43 AM

      OH MY GOD the glamour shots!!! Yes! Why didn’t I think of that?!

      And no one got stung! It was a miracle, a bee miracle!

  • Reply Romina August 2, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    When does the book come out, Maddie? So exciting, I still remember when you told me and Andrea you were going to write a book, and here you are! I tend to get anxious during times of transition too but so far, things have always worked out :). Also, I would be quite happy if Maya decides that crawling/walking isn’t that great and waits a bit because if she’s anything like her brother oh.god.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine August 3, 2013 at 12:42 AM

      I think early spring! Eek! I’m going to puke! Maya is so gorgeous, just like her mama 🙂

      • Reply Romina August 3, 2013 at 2:27 PM

        Thanks!

  • Reply To the left, to the left | Sweet Madeleine January 1, 2014 at 2:48 PM

    […] hid behind a chair and ate poutine. Yep. Sounds about […]

  • Reply John April 19, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    It seems only fitting that my daeugthr have fun in Toronto while I have fun at a music symposium at Princeton University..a gorgeous campus, wonderful music and amazing people from all over the world. Say hi to Jessica for me.Have fun darling!!Love Mom

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