No gold, sprinkles only

It’s official: Bruno and I went on a date today, and we painted ceramics. It’s almost been three years since our first child was born — and two months since our second arrived — and between the two kids, I think we’ve been on perhaps five or so official dates. One might ask how our relationship is able to survive like this, especially with kids. Perhaps it’s really because we’re both stubborn, and bickering like kids on acid gives us purpose; and my husband keeps my spine in tact through nightly back fat massages and I keep him alive through daily meals. (Jokes aside, the “how” is that we just appreciate little everyday moments together, even when it’s hard.)

Today wasn’t the type of date where we spontaneously left our kids with my parents and ran off for a quick coffee next to their house. It was graceful: we had an activity planned, my parents were aware of babysitting the kids, and we left for a few hours. It worked perfectly, too. Keaton was more independent now, and while Gaia’s breastfeeding, she was fast asleep in her car seat when we dropped her off, so we knew she’d be in a cozy slumber for hours on end. And so we drove off, on our heist and mini adventure.

Painting ceramics was something I’d done a few times when I lived in Montreal, the first time being with my dear friend, the second time being with my sister, and the third experience being with Bruno and his parents. I missed the experience dearly and have been itching to do it again. It’s a fun and relaxing creative outlet, and I enjoy sharing the experience with someone I love, especially when there are plentiful moments of silence between us, which, in essence, is the ultimate presence.

Today’s experience was sublime. We went to Art Haven in Barrhaven, and while I was disappointed by the lack of variety of ceramics there — Ceramic Cafe in Montreal was an oasis — I still found the ceramic I’d wanted to paint: a little lady gnome. I love gnomes, and since I’ve been missing the little girl in me, she was symbolically the perfect choice.

I’m excited to see how she’ll turn out when she exits the kiln, especially the sprinkles on her skin. (I’d indeed chosen a shade of paint with sprinkles for her skin, because at this point in my life, I’m ready to retire as a functional citizen of society and become a unicorn instead.) I’m equally intrigued by how her black and brown highlights, reflecting my own hair colour, will manifest. The final colours will all turn out more bold and vibrant.

Bruno’s mug was intended to be a dragon in a den, but it turned out, in his words, to be a “demonic rabbit.” We were a few hours in to our heist, and he’d pondered whether or not to draw black lines for the wood effect since we knew our daughter might wake up at any moment. (Even on a date, time has a noose around our neck. We were very much aware that we might even have to leave without having finished our projects. Such is parenthood.)

On my end, even if I was constantly aware of the time and felt a pang of worry, on the whole, I felt the most peaceful and relaxed I’ve ever felt in a long time. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this calm. Painting the little gnome ceramic and being in my own bubble, while having a nice time with my husband, was my happy place today. I’m also proud of our little creations.

UPDATE. Here’s how they turned out! Pretty cute. 🙂


As I write about our experience painting ceramics, our daughter is officially over two months old. She was born in mid-December, just in time for the festive holidays.

Much time and many events and milestones have passed since then, and because the moments have gone, as well as their authenticity, I won’t attempt to rehash what’s already dissipated. But I must say that my heart never ceases to swell with happiness having her in our lives. A joke I made with my husband was that if we had a difficult firstborn, then the universe has to give us an easy secondborn. It’s a balance in the universe; it’s the order of things. Lo and behold, I was right.

Gaia is a sweet-tempered and easygoing baby. She’s also very social and adores social interaction and communication. She loves to listen intently, lift her eyebrows with excitement, and smile. She’d started smiling socially even before she turned one month old. I love it most when she waits for lady chats with me before bedtime. She anticipates me sharing my thoughts and feelings with her. She’s a chatty one, our little G.

To me, being a second-time mom is infinitely harder than being a first-time mom. Not just in the basics of juggling to keep two kids alive every day, whilst also tending to their conflicting needs. It’s not just having a split brain every waking moment and feeling like my hip will dislocate and hit the floor running to greener pastures. It’s something more complex and specific to our experience after having a second baby: it’s the pain of stark contrasts, the pain of ignorance, the pain of relief, and the pain of possibilities.

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