short and sad.

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RIP Donte Isaiah Smith. September 20, 2004 – July 25, 2013

My cousin Heather’s little boy, Donte, passed away today – just a month and a bit shy of his ninth birthday.

He’s been ill the last few months, so it was kind of expected. The family lives in Barbados, but come up to Toronto every year to visit relatives, grandparents, cousins, etc. Heather seemed to know that this might be Donte’s last trip to Toronto. She hinted as much to me, but never expanded on her hunch. And I didn’t pry.

Donte wasn’t your average nine-year-old; after he was born, he developed an encephaly, which doctors attributed to a possible stroke in-utero some weeks before his birth. It wasn’t even detected at the time, because he looked “normal.” Complications arose a few days later. By then, it was too late to do much to help him. Donte had already suffered massive brain damage, and doctors advised Heather to take him home and love him for a few weeks, as he wasn’t expected to live beyond that, anyway.

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cuter than you.

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Can you believe this is a doll? This is “Aisha,” 🙂 by artist Gudrun Legler. See more of her work here.

The other day, the boy and I were chilling out front with my father when my neighbour’s son rolled through the ‘hood, wife and baby girl in tow. Greg and Jeanne are an interracial couple as well, but the inverse of the boy and I. Greg is black and she’s white. Their daughter, Arianna, is such a sweet pumpkin. I immediately grabbed her, and Jeanne seemed to be happy to have her hands free for a bit.

The boy recently had a dream that we’d had a baby girl, and as I cooed and fussed over five-month-old Arianna, I could feel him watching me. I walked over to where he was sitting. “Was our dream-baby as cute as this one?” I asked quietly, bouncing her in my arms. He smiled at her giggles.

“Hell yeah,” he replied. “Cuter, even.”

“Huh,” I said. I made the “not bad” face.

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weekend wrap-up: bits and bites.

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Bits ‘n’ Bites. My favourite snack as a kid.

weighing in
Yesterday marked the start of my eighth week of pregnancy. According to the pregnancy app, my little one is now about the size of a raspberry, and weighs less than half an ounce.

penny for your thoughts
The boy and I both have a lot going on right now. His recent hernia diagnosis, his impending surgery, this pregnancy and a lack of freelance work coming my way. We’re both stressed and a little testy, but it’s interesting to note how differently we deal with things. He bottles up and boils over, whereas I try not to dwell, because then whatever I’m worried about festers and grows into something much bigger than it is. And he thinks that because I’m not outwardly grumpy (until I’m around him, funny that), it means that I’m not taking things seriously. Worry doesn’t change a damn thing, I told him, so I don’t much care for doing it.

mean but oh, so funny
There’s dog shaming, cat shaming and, really just pet-shaming in general (here and here). However, this one, which is kind of like kid shaming, is the best yet. What started as a blog turned into a viral phenomenon and quickly took off (resonating with parents of toddlers everywhere, no doubt), spawning  this book.

(I could totally see myself doing something like this to my kid. Poor thing).

OT: thoughts on the trayvon martin fiasco
I really haven’t said much about the case over the last few weeks, and now that the verdict has been handed down, I still don’t have much to say. It’s disappointing, but not surprising. It also makes me worry about raising a little boy child in this day and age. If I had a boy, my son would most likely be rather fair-skinned (and perhaps not even immediately recognizable to some as half-black), but there’s a chance he could be closer to brown, like me. And maybe when he’s older, and he’s somewhere, at some time (perhaps the wrong time), something akin to what happened to Trayvon Martin could happen to my him. How would I explain this to a child? Continue reading

battle of the bulge.

I don’t know if it’s just from having a small frame, or being short-waisted or what, but I’m already starting to show. I’m only seven and a half weeks along. This is of some consternation to me, as the boy and I are keeping this all under wraps until I have my first ultrasound, and I’ve still got another four weeks to go.

When I’m lying in bed at night, rubbing the belly, I can feel something there. Kind of like a lump. Not hard, but definitely lump-like. Fetus-like? I dunno; it certainly hasn’t always been there, though. I still haven’t had the appointment with Dr. Freedman. I’ll have to ask her about this thing I feel.

I snapped a pic to send to the boy today. I don’t usually love pics of myself au naturel, but I thought this was kind of cute. Look at my tummy. Just look at it! I’m not going to be able to keep this a secret much longer. Along with my burgeoning belly, the scale says I weigh 112 pounds. No big deal for normal-sized gals, but I’ve never been this heavy in my life.

I know. Shaddap. No one wants to hear from me.

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There’s more than just air, in there! (Lovely art in background courtesy of the boy).

secrets at summerlicious.

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Crush WIne Bar FTW! I had the potato gnocchi with roasted peppers and spinach in a goat cheese cream. I finished up with this badboy for dessert. Coffee glazed donut. Yum!

I have a group of girlfriends (we call ourselves the BGs – short for Bajan Girls) that I get together with every now and then. I’ve known most of these girls for about 10-plus years. We started out as a fairly large bunch (I think it was 11-deep at its max), but as time wore on and true colours were revealed, the posse has dwindled to a much more manageable five or six.

We meet at each other’s houses to have a few drinks, laugh, and share milestones and offer words of support in difficult times. We celebrate births and birthdays, promotions and, really, just about any excuse at all to see each other. Next to my cousins (whom I will write about soon enough), these girls are my everything. Mush, mush…

It’s Summerlicious in the city, and it’s one of our traditions to meet up for a gourmet meal at a spot we’ve never been to before. Monday was our only mutually free day, so yesterday we met at Crush Wine Bar on King street for a long overdue grub and gab session.

I got downtown about 45 minutes ahead of our 6 pm seating. It was a scorcher of a day, and I had parked about a block away, so I sat in the shelter of my still-cool car before heading to the resto. During that time, my friend Waveney called to get directions. She was on foot, so I told her to walk to my car and then we’d head over together. About 10 minutes later, she was at my passenger side door. As she climbed in, hot and cursing, she blurted, “You know, I had this feeling that you were going to tell us that you’re pregnant.” Continue reading

naming conventions.


Perhaps Phoebe’s on to something…

Long before we decided to become parents, the boy and I talked about names for our children. We figured we should be in agreement before the actual event, so as not to leave our future kid in a nameless purgatory. However, previous discussions found us unable to come up with anything mutually inoffensive.

It is Portuguese custom to name children after relatives (living or dead), and early on I suspected that if we were to have a boy, he would want his son to bear the name of his deceased brother. Far be it from me to be the bitch who denies such a poignant request (more like declaration, but whatevs), I have agreed to this, with a few stipulations. Since I am not Portuguese, and would like my baby to have a first name that my Bajan relatives could say without butchering, we would have to give the boy a relatively Anglo (or at the very least, pronounceable)  first name.

“He could have his own first name, and your brother’s names as the middle ones,” I offered. The boy seemed okay with that, pointing out that we still had to come up with a first name. “I like the name Sonny,” he said, tentatively.

SonnyContinue reading

prohibition.

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And so, we bid a sad adieu to my once-monthly treat of bloody cow flesh and other goodies. Pregnant ladies have no fun.

So, my bloodwork came back from the lab, and now it’s one hundred per cent official. I’m having a bean, and I’m due somewhere around the 28th of February.

After confirming the news and the estimated due date, my doctor gave me a little moms-to-be package to read when I got home, and a quick rundown of all the things I can and cannot do/eat/think/wear/imagine/try now that I am Officially With Child. She also made me my first appointment with an OB GYN. She asked if I wanted a male or female specialist, and to be honest, it really didn’t matter. So she chose Dr. Freedman – “You’ll like her, she’s good,” I was told – and rang up her receptionist to book me for the next month. During the call, she made mention of “patient’s AMA.” When she was done, I asked her what AMA stood for. “Advanced Maternal Age,” came the reply. Doctor-speak for “you’re old and your ovaries are dusty.”

I have a feeling I’m going to be hearing this acronym a lot over the next nine months.

Chez moi, I perused the whack of pamphlets and information that was given to me during my appointment. Continue reading