Motherhood, Musings

Babes in the wood

Babes in the wood -

It’s almost fall, and the other day Olive said defiantly, “It’s not fair” 

These two things seem unrelated, but they are one and the same, my friends. These two things – the sudden bite in the air in the early morning and late evening, and the rage-fits of a tiny dictator – are markers of the unrelenting marching forward of time. Winter becomes spring becomes summer becomes fall. Swollen bellies become babies become toddlers become hotly sassy almost-three-year-olds who are, by turn, infuriating and inspiring.

The other day Olive asked me while she was peeing, to put my hand in her pee. I started laughing and (obviously, I hope) refused. She was instantly plunged into a deep pit of despair, filled with heartbroken sobs and wails of Whyyyyy, mummy? Whyyyy are you not putting you hand in my pee?

They don’t cover THAT in parenting books. I think. I mean I’m just assuming because I haven’t actually read any parenting books (which may be why I now have a child into pee-games, actually, come to think of it).

My dad and I took Olive on two day hikes this past weekend. It was originally going to be a camping trip, but we took the aforementioned chill at night into consideration and decided it might not be the best idea to have her first camping experience be freezing in a tent. So! We headed out each day for the hills and took this little tyrant adventuring.

The first day was a bit iffy. Fifteen feet after we’d stepped out of the car she looked right into my eyes, “Mummy, I think my feet are tired.” she intoned, ominously. I managed to convince her to continue, and we carried on.

My dad was wearing the pack with our first aid kit, lunch supplies, etc. and thirty minutes into the hike, getting a tad frustrated with our glacial pace, he suggested I pick her up.

“Maddie, how about you just carry her for a bit?”

Oh! Oh, just carry her, you say? Just pick her up and carry her! Sure! I’ll just pick up this THIRTY-SEVEN POUND ball of squirming, stick-mongering, rock-hoarding kinetic energy and just CARRY her! No problem! Have I mentioned I love hiking?

We fared much better the second day. Whether it was a better sleep, a fuller tummy, a better understanding of what we were doing, or just a blessing from above, Olive was a boss on this hike. She walked the whole way herself, she listened intently as my dad pointed out the Indian Paintbrushes, Alberta roses, and thistles,  she eagerly picked her way up rocky inclines and down steep embankments.

I hated these hikes as a teenager. I was sullen, surly, and unappreciative. In response to my dad’s enthusiastic appreciation of the towering mountain range in front of us I once responded, no joke, “Whatever, Dad. It’s just a pile of rocks!”

But this time it was fun – I know.  I don’t even know who I am anymore. The slowed down pace suited me just fine and seeing Olive absorbing all of this information like an eager little sponge was nothing short of incredible. It was a good lesson to re-visit things I think I know about myself. Question them, test them. Allow for the possibility that I’m not the same person (thank god) I was at 15.

Last night I dreamed that I was flossing my teeth and my left front tooth fell out. I stared at it and remember thinking, “Oh fuck, oh fuck. Not again. Not again!” I’ve had these teeth-falling-out dreams a few times before, and they’re always terrible. Sure enough, four more teeth fell out, and I walked around panicked and trying to find help, with the loose teeth clicking around in my mouth like tic-tacs. My family drove me to the States to find a dentist. They were talking and laughing in the front seat while I tried not to get swallowed by my anxiety in the back.

I mean, WHAT? Who the hell has dreams like this?! Dreams like this are called nightmares, and they should be outlawed.  I woke up in a cold sweat and promptly started chugging coffee, hoping to slingshot myself into my day, forget that strange dream space and move on to something better.

These, my friends, are called “coping skills”. I hope you’re taking notes 😉


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  • Reply Deann Haugen August 25, 2015 at 3:05 PM

    When I was younger I used to have a reoccurring dream where I was being chased by a man with REALLY huge teeth (smiling, but nonetheless frightening). After some research into the meaning of dreams I found that when you dream about teeth it tends to mean that someone is not telling you something or you’re not saying something. So there’s some food for thought for your anxiety – either someone’s holding out on you or you just need to really say what’s on your mind. 🙂 Or maybe since you dreamed that your teeth were falling out it means you’re saying too much? Or, better yet, it means nothing. Ha!

    • Reply sweetmadeleine August 26, 2015 at 11:54 AM

      That’s really interesting! I was researching, too, and came across a lot about anxiety and communication too…hmmmm!

  • Reply Kassey August 25, 2015 at 3:28 PM

    I just love your blog and your voice. Thanks.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine August 26, 2015 at 3:04 PM

      Thank you so much, kassey 🙂

  • Reply Francesca August 25, 2015 at 3:53 PM

    “Stick-mongering”! Beyond hilarious.

  • Reply Sam Pereira August 25, 2015 at 4:53 PM

    I used to often, and still do occasionally, dream of my teeth falling out. So awful! I once heard Madonna say in an interview that she had them too… so perhaps we’re in good company? I then moved on to having dreams where something thick gets caught in my throat and I can’t get it out. I can’t decide which is worse!

    • Reply sweetmadeleine August 26, 2015 at 3:05 PM

      Oh god, I had no idea how common this was! Madonna! At least we’re in food company!

  • Reply meganlongman August 25, 2015 at 5:51 PM

    What’s the river in the photos?

    • Reply sweetmadeleine August 26, 2015 at 3:04 PM

      Hey Megan! It’s cataract creek, by Longview, Alberta. 🙂

  • Reply Posie August 25, 2015 at 6:53 PM

    My Dominican grandmother used to say dreaming about losing teeth meant someone would die soon, which always terrified me because it seemed like she was right, hah! as an adult I realized my abuela was right only because that’s what people do, they die. Sorry about the morbid story! your blog is great, I too have a sass bag toddler but wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

  • Reply harriet August 25, 2015 at 9:59 PM

    I too have teeth nightmares – mine are always crumbling in my mouth and I can’t spit them out – it’s horrific. I read that’s it’s a sign of insecurity……though I certainly don’t feel insecure! The trip looks lovely – such a special thing to do with your dad ☺️ X

  • Reply piwozlody August 26, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    I have lost teeth in my dreams before many times. I have read it is related to loss and anxiety

    “Dream interpretation studies show that dreams about losing teeth commonly occur during times of transition where the dreamer experiences a higher level of anxiety than usual. The loss of a tooth or teeth in your dream could be a way to bring symbolically bring to your awareness something you are giving up or feel like you are losing in your waking life.”

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