Motherhood, Natural Living

Spatial reasoning, toddler logic, and my man the artiste

Compass Cardinal Directions by RandomsPrint on Etsy

Today I tried to drive to a grocery store three times, and not ONCE of those times did I actually make it there.

I have tried to blame the city’s layout, too much traffic, and my iPhone’s map function too, but I think it is becoming readily apparent that I lack both an internal compass and the most basic spatial reasoning skills.

I pull up a map on my trusty ole iPhone 4, memorize the directions by muttering them several times under my breath (like a boss) and then I bravely head out into the world like the pioneers of yore. I navigate turns and I merge, I make connections and exit off-ramps and then at a crucial moment in the middle of my muttered directions, I spot a highway sign.

What does that say?

I squint, trying to make it out, wondering if it’s my turn.

Is that my turn?

Is it?

Shit, it is.

That’s my turn!

I can’t get over!

There it is! Ahhhh let me in, let me in!


[expletive deleted] I missed it!

…There it was.

That was my turn.

That was my turn!

Shit! Shitty shit shit!

Now what?

I’ll tell you now what. Now I have to pull over, pull up my map again and redo my route. More memorizing, more muttered directions. Then in pulling back onto the main road I turn the WRONG WAY on the highway. My phone gives me helpful directions like “Make a u-turn on Highway 16”. Oh, you mean this highway? The six lane highway divided by a cement meridian? Fabulous! Here I go!

More pulling over, more iphoning. More muttering.

These shenanigans went on for an embarrassingly long time, in three separate occasions today. It was utterly humiliating and at the end of it, when I went to go pick Adam up at work I threw the keys at him and wailed “YOU drive!”. I was honestly just so frustrated with myself.

I feel that the ability to know where you are in relation to a different location, and make a reasonably successful attempt to get there is sort of a basic life skill. One that I am sorely lacking.

Clearly it’s been easy to ignore this over the past ten years as we have lived in two different small towns with literally one or two main streets. I mean, I’m not going to say I never got lost there (I told you, it’s bad) but at least I had the mountains or the ocean to orient myself. No such luck this time.

As we drove home, Adam patiently explained the various routes and cross streets, where the city centre was in relation to us. As we kept driving, every so often he’d ask me to orient myself by pointing to a location, like “Where do Liam and Kate live?” or “Where’s my work?” and every time, even when he asked which was was North, every time I got it wrong!

So basically I just have no clue where I am, anywhere, ever. If you kidnapped me I wouldn’t even need to be blindfolded, in fact having me describe where I thought I was would probably even buy you some time.


Anyway. Typically Olive and I walk to the grocery store because it’s a nice little outing and when I have the time  I generally prefer to do a few small shops during the week rather than one large one. It means our produce is fresher, we’re only buying what we need and I can carry everything in a stroller rather than needing a car. But this time we were going to a specific grocery store to buy supplies to strip Olive’s cloth diapers which have become horrifically stinky over the last few weeks. I think they are overdue to be stripped, but the hard water here isn’t helping either, and in fact it’s throwing a wrench into  virtually  all of my hippie regimes.

Guys, my shampoo and conditioner is not what it was. Hard water is a bitch! Instead of feeling light, fluffy and bouncy after my baking soda/ACV treatment, it feels heavy and sort of…grimy. I am not exaggerating when I say that I’m heartbroken over this.

There is simply no way that I can abandon it – not now, not five years of loving it, and especially when so many of you have finally tried it and let me know how much you loved it, too! So I am scouring The Internets for a solution, but in the meantime  as I trial and error and error and error, my hair is abominable. There are lots of mom buns going on over here. The moment I find a solution I will share it with you, promise! I mean at least now I know why none of my Alberta friends have taken on the no-poo challenge. I don’t blame you, guys! I promise, that this is NOT what it’s supposed to feel like.

My skin, too, is suffering the effects of the move. I wash my hands a ton during the day because I’m doing so many diaper changes and meal/snack preparations for those three adorable blonde toddlers, and my hands actually started bleeding around my cuticles last week because they were so very dry. Coconut oil has been my go to moisturizer for years – a quick massage session after a shower and I’d be set!- but this desert dryness calls for something richer. I am testing a cocoa butter/jojoba oil mix, and I will keep you posted on that, too.


In other news, today Olive asked for a piece of toilet paper so I gave her a piece of toilet paper. Then she threw it in the toilet. Then the indicated that she wanted me to flush the toilet. “Do you want me to flush the toilet?” I asked. “Yes!” she nodded. So I flushed it. Then she opened the lid, saw that the scrap of toilet paper was gone – GONE!- and lost. her. mind.

Is this real life? Was I really like this at one point? Is she actually a demon?I have compiled a helpful diagram of toddler rationale to help those who might not have the good fortune of encountering it’s affront to reason on a daily basis:

Toddler Logic, by


Essentially, toddlers want two entirely different and mutually exclusive realities to occur simultaneously (eg. flushing the toilet paper, and the toilet paper still being in the toilet). The fact that they can’t, (or, in their eyes, we won’t LET them) achieve these two entirely incompatible states of being, enrages them.

The fact that I drew a diagram doesn’t make the tantrums any better – in fact it may make them worse because it took me an embarrassingly long time to do that there drawring and damn it’s midnight already I was supposed to go to bed early tonight for real this time!


In my third and final tangent, Adam spent well over an hour on the custom portrait which I raffled off without his knowledge or consent way back in January (what? JANUARY? god, that’s embarassing.). He let me see the half-finished product and guys, I am seriously impressed!

Legitimately surprised at how much his talents have improved. I don’t want to spoil the whole thing, but here is a sneak peak at Fee’s lovely right eye:




Adam – who knew?!

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Megan Deresti April 18, 2014 at 7:07 AM

    Try lanolin (the suff you use for breastfeeding in those first awful weeks) on cracked spots on your hands. It’s sticky but it works!

  • Reply Lauren White April 18, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    I’ve found lip balm also works very well on super dry, cracked spots on hands – I used Burt’s Bee’s Soothing Lip Balm with Eucalyptus. Your hands will smell like a craft store for a moment though.

  • Reply Tina April 18, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    As a new mom who has recently been researching how to strip diapers, and that also has hard water, I would love to hear what strategy you end up with 🙂 Mine are just starting to get to the point where I think they would benefit.

  • Reply Tina April 18, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    Also, good luck with the dry hands 🙁 I really don’t know much about that. Dr. Bronner’s baby mild soap has seemed to cause the least amount of dryness in my experiences.

  • Reply aneasyworld April 18, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Yeah, I feel your hard water pain, un pooing definitely doesn’t yield the same results. Do you read the blog Almost Exactly? She has lots of advice on hard water and I think the boar bristle brush is key to getting rid of the build up. You can also buy filters either just for your shower head, or for your entire water system, which I’m going to look into. I also think going for longer between washes helps. Mine feels most gross just after washing, but then I don’t wet it again for another week and it improves over time. Hope that helps! X

  • Reply Natasha April 18, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    I found that using one of those soap saving foam dispensers really helped with my dry hands – less soap to dry out your skin. I have the Cusipro one( and I put Dr Bronner’s lavender soap in there – but if yours are particularly bad you could possibly try a liquid olive oil soap, which doesn’t dry out your hands either. I have a whole house filter for our water, but I found the baking soda/apple cider vinegar didn’t do my hair any favours at all 🙁 Very disappointing, because I make my own deodorant out of baking soda, cornflour, and coconut oil and it works amazingly – best deodorant I’ve ever used. The hair thing, not so much. So I went back to shampoo. 🙁

  • Reply Tamara April 18, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    I sympathise about the lack of a sense of direction, I am truly terrible. My husband doesn’t even listen to me if I try and direct him anywhere. Last year we spent a week in Italy and I got us so so lost in the Vatican (that place is huge!), that we missed our guided tour of the Sistine Chapel… I just shouldn’t even try!

    • Reply sweetmadeleine April 20, 2014 at 11:28 PM

      Oh lord. That’s a double whammy of language barrier and foreign country too! Yikes. I can sympathize 🙂

  • Reply Penny April 18, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    Yes that’s it! Nasty, sticky residue left in your hair. Kind of feels like your hair after swimming in the sea only 100 times worse. There must be a solution. I will keep adding other random kitchen ingredients until I find it. Tomorrow I think I’ll try peanut butter…
    P.s. I love your chart. You can actually tell you spent quite a while on it. Bless you.

  • Reply Fee April 19, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    Oh shame about the shampoo!! I hope you find a solution soon. I don’t have any suggestions but I know what’s it’s like. I lived in London and after months of agony I just had to accept my hair would be a dry wirey mess… And that my cups of tea would have weird scales around the cup edge.

    I’m suuuuuuper impressed with the peak at the drawing!!!! I showed my partner and he was like “that’s your eye!!”… It totally looks like it!!! Amazing.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine April 20, 2014 at 11:24 PM

      Ooh I’m so glad you like it! I plan on repeating the beer/Donair bribe this week so maybe it’ll get finished!

  • Reply Sarajdee April 19, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    I feel you about the directions. I live in Victoria, and have been to Edmonton twice, both times in January. The first time I ended up in Dresden looking for my exit, peering through my rental car windshield that I discovered was out of washer fluid after a semi splashed salt slush all over it. I had only a Google map print out. The conference organizers were worried about me by the time I showed up, because they knew I came from a place with flowers in January, not bloody feet of snow. Once, in undergrad, I got lost on one street. Who knew it was possible, but I was looking for a giant Futureshop on Broadway in Vancouver and walked past it three times. Each time, I was looking on the other side of the street or… I don’t even know. I just walked up and down the same five blocks, increasingly more confused, because it’s a huge store, I was sure it was here, isn’t this the street I got off the bus on?! Horrifying. Everyone knows that usually the best thing to do is turn 180 degrees from whichever way I’m sure we should go.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine April 20, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      So you GET it! We are missing something, I think. Maybe instead of a watch we should start wearing a compass 😉

  • Reply Dover April 20, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    I obviously know you are super into the DIY cleaning supplies, but Rockin Green makes a laundry detergent specifically for washing cloth diapers in hard water. Their formula is supposed to be very eco friendly. We don’t have hard water here, so I can’t speak to its effectiveness, but I’ve used the regular Rockin Green detergent for our diapers for years now, and I’ve never had any issues with funkiness or build up or needed to strip them for any reason. I buy it on Amazon.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine April 20, 2014 at 11:21 PM

      I have heard of that! In summer when I can line dry outside I haven’t had issues but lately- yikes! My stripping seems to have worked but I’ll keep my eyes open for rockin green!

  • Reply Madeline Horn April 21, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    I can totally relate to getting lost everywhere. I can easily get lost in my own neighborhood. It used to actually be crippling for me – I would just choose not to go places I had never been. I called them my ant trails. If I had been there before and it was a familiar path I could go there but step off of those paths and I was like an ant off my trail. If I had to go to a new doctor’s office it meant tons of anxiety, possibly a total freak out. Until I got a GPS. I’m not big into technology and gadgets but for me this was life changing. Suddenly I could go anywhere. I now will rent a car in a new city and volunteer to be the group’s driver all week, exploring new and unnecessary places. I can’t get lost. It’s literally impossible. I can make 100 wrong turns (and I still do even with the gps telling me what to do) but it will always reroute and get me where I want to go. No more anxiety! I can focus on my driving and not ever stress about finding my way. It is so liberating. Seriously, consider getting a GPS. It will change your life.

  • Reply Noelle April 26, 2014 at 8:20 AM

    I had the hard water problem too and there is an easy solution! All I do is boil the water first and it has made a huge difference for me. Have you tried this?

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.