Friday, July 09, 2004

No peeking, duck

I'm experiencing significant lag this week. In my head, as well as when it comes to posting. As if I'm not getting around to pulling back my skull cap and shaking the debris loose from inside in time. Everything feels stale and musty.

This was almost the post I would live to regret. But lag saved me from that hell. All the anger and resentment were damped down by confusion.

This is the one where I might've written that J-F can be so infuriatingly thick sometimes, and that I wish Helena would shut up and leave me alone for a minute.

But I don't really mean any of that.

J-F was on holiday from work this week, which meant I had a bit of a holiday too. At least, I got to sleep in a little.

Helena spent a night with my mother-in-law this week as well. I missed her terribly. It was achingly difficult. Having decided to look for work, and to make daycare arrangements for Helena (because it's in her best interest, regardless of the outcome of my job search), I'm painfully aware of how much less time together we will have together. Not only do I genuinely want to spend as much time as possible with her now, before there's no time to spare, I feel doubly guilty for not doing so.

However, Helena had a change of pace — she had the run of the house and yard, and even went swimming; I survived the nightmarish pangs regarding leaving her in my mother-in-law's care in the immediate vicinity of a swimming pool; and J-F and I spent a lovely evening out.

A highlight was venturing into a nearby bar, which until now had seemed intimidating, as if we weren't cool enough to cross its threshold. Sad, because it is the bar closest to home. As it turns out, Bar L'Intrus is a very inviting place. Comfortable. An establishment I'm proud to call my neighbourhood bar. (They were even playing some jazzy Polish tunes, among other ethnically flavoured music.) From now on, I will take all my friends there.

Baby stuff I need to note for posterity before it's forgotten forever:

Helena has developed a taste for tabouleh. She even pinches her pita around it to scoop it up. For some reason, I'm very proud of this. (She still makes a face at hummus though.)

Did I ever mention Helena's heart-shaped nostrils? They were decidedly heart-shaped in her early days, a little less so now.

I remember looking at her tiny hands in those first few days after she was born and remarking on the extraordinary length of her life line, trailing off into the folds of her wrist. Of course, at that time all she had ahead of her was unlimited potential life. I suppose our hands, our lines, are shaped by our experience, and she'd had none. I should look into her palms again tomorrow.

I am awed by Helena's colouring technique. She's master of the light stroke, wisping across the page. But she has experimented with aggressive blots of colour, layered into bumps. I've watched her scratch at her art to peel away some mud, revealing bright colours beneath it. Genius, I say.

Helena takes me by the finger and leads me into the closet alongside her and closes the door, so it's just the two of us standing in the closet in the dark for a minute. Sometimes she babbles a bit or knocks on the door, and often I comment on the dark or question her as to her motives. What on Earth is going through her head?

She can spend easily an hour repeatedly depositing the same $4.32 in small change into her piggy bank. Drop it all in, ask mommy to empty it out, drop it in again...

The doll. It's a really ugly doll, but Helena cares for it. Helena props it up or seats it in her chair, she feeds it and gives it a drink, she adorns it with ribbons and teatowels, she cradles it in her arms.

When the fridge door opens, Helena makes a grab for what she can. Inevitably she comes away with the squeeze bottle of French's mustard (which I don't like and J-F rarely uses and neither of us can remember buying). I've learned to choose my battles, and I don't choose this one. Only once did I find a yellow smear on her cheek. J-F fights the good fight, and it's a struggle. Hence the expression in our household, "like taking mustard from a baby."

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