Noodle Wrangling

If you were my breast, you'd have seen a lot of this today.

If you were my breast, you’d have seen a lot of this today.

It seems that since embarking on the journey of homeschooling my two daughters, I have forgotten how to take care of my son. He’s now an active and very willful toddler, and I’m learning how little time we actually get to spend together. I’m learning this because when we are together, I think I suck at being the parent I want to be.

I started this week with what I thought was a great plan. It’s March break, so the girls are in a camp, hopefully making lots of local friends. I figured that since we have finally nailed the sleeping thing with Noodle, and since I would be hanging with the little dude all week, I could try to start moving towards weaning him. I wanted to start a meal strategy that I read about in a book called ‘The New Basics’ by a pediatrician named Michel Cohen. Cohen suggests limiting meals to four times a day with breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. I thought this made sense so I decided I would start to tell Noah that he could only nurse at those times. I have a love/hate relationship with this book, so no real surprise when my baby boy thought this idea was bullshit.

Noah’s still getting teeth, and the big ones are coming in now. For those of you who don’t know, breast-feeding releases delicious chemicals that help to relieve pain. There was much screaming and many tears as I tried to make this transition to regularly scheduled feeding times today. I tried clove oil, and it didn’t seem to work one bit, though we’ve had success with it in the past. I caved. I couldn’t hold out, and everyone around me seemed to think it was a bad idea too. Especially Noah.  The result – an entire day of a baby on my breast, and some very tingly clove oil marinated nipples. I’d like to wean Noah by the summer time, but I honestly don’t know how anyone has the resolve. Feel free to post some advice, you mammas and dads who have lived through this.

Getting Noah to eat lunch was just as impossible as getting him to stop dive-bombing into my shirt. For the sake of transparency, I will admit to plunking down with him in front of our TV, then using the remote to bait him with his favourite show. For each bite, the program was un-paused. We’re supposed to be TV-free this month, but this technique was working so well. At least that’s what I thought until I realized he was taking bites, then waiting until I hit play to subtly turn his back to me and deposit the entire mushy mouthful of goo on our hand-woven carpet.

I’m in the PMS zone this week, so I was really trying to take this in stride, but was starting to feel a bit harried. I freely admit that I often sweat the small stuff. Then I attempted a poopy diaper change and realized that the nursing/feeding thing was a cakewalk compared to what I shall call the shit-flinging bucking bronco ride. He screamed, kicked and punched until Daddy came from the other room to lend a hand. Even when I tried to give him a toy to play with (read my iPhone) he tossed it aside and tried to roll away. He didn’t want to get changed, he wanted to nurse. As I’m typing this, I remember a great Mamma S strategy that involves pinning him down beneath my leg. Hind sight. (See what I did there?)

I’m not sure why he’s wanted to nurse all day. He’s not sick. Maybe it’s because it’s so novel to have me all to himself? Maybe it’s because I’m boring, and like a bad boyfriend, playing with my tits is all he can think to do to have some fun with me? Maybe it’s because every time he walked away, I was furiously trying to bang out this blog post. I’m feeling like I need a lot more practice with Noodle-wrangling. I’m also feeling like I need a two-hour nap. How does my nearly seventy-year-old mother keep up with him?

Dear readers, I welcome any and all suggestions for amusing a seventeen-month-old, without the television. I want this week to be fun, and I want it to be the bonding experience I was hoping for.  I advise you to expect minimal posting from me this week.

Although, the girls are home now and all three kids are playing delightfully in the family room as I ‘hide’ in the classroom.

Hmmm….I wonder how much writing I can do?

Ask Playboy Mommy

Tug of War

Tug of War

Dear Mommy,

I’m in a fairly new polyamorous relationship with my husband and my lesbian partner. Do you have couples nights? I feel like I am walking a tight rope trying to keep both partners happy and if one of them isn’t annoyed with me the other one is! I had an emotional meltdown the other night and really hope you can help.



Dearest M,

I remember the early days of my relationship with my partners. We were all so excited and fond of each other that none of us wanted to impose any formal rules, and boundaries felt like a rude barrier to our organic love fest. We wanted things to flow freely, but instead we created was a shit storm of weird feelings and jealousy that haunts us all to this day.

Make no mistake; turning the conventional relationship model on its ear will challenge the nerves of even the steeliest soul. We are doing everything differently than the relationship models we grew up with. I don’t think this means we shouldn’t challenge convention to make our lives richer, but I do think it means we ought to be realistic about what we expect of each other and ourselves.

At some point in a polyamorous relationship, everyone is going to feel jealous. Anyone who tells you they haven’t felt that way is lying to you. We are conditioned to feel jealousy from our very early days in our culture that constantly encourages us to focus on what we don’t have. The media perpetually reminds us that we aren’t enough. Throw the dynamics of your family of origin into that special sauce and we are easily turned into green-eyed monsters. Jealousy will happen. Be patient and forgiving with yourself and your lovers. Let those jealous feelings come, but don’t wallow in them. When you feel them, find something you love to do and do it immediately. Force yourself to reflect on all of the abundance in your life; after all you have TWO people who adore you! You must be awesome. (Do share that idea with your partners too so they don’t have to feel bad about jealousy).

Your relationship with everyone in your life will only be as healthy as your relationship with yourself. This is why I’m a huge proponent of therapy, which is a long process, but the best gift you’ll ever give yourself. There are also some practical measures you can implement to help your poly life flow smoothly.

Make a Schedule

Divide the week like this; time for your man, time for your lady, time for yourself, time for the grown ups, time for the whole family. Before you panic at how insane that seems consider this sample schedule:

Alternate your nights between your two partners. On these nights, you can enjoy a date night out when your budget permits. One of the best things about poly life is that if one pair wants some time out, there’s always a great sitter! Spontaneity comes with what you decide to do with your alone time with your partner.

If possible, and if your space permits, spend at least one night a week on your own. If you can’t spend a night sleeping on your own, make absolutely sure you are carving out time to just have some alone space. If you can afford the space in your home, each adult should have just a little nook to call his or her own.

Spend some time in the evenings with both of your partners doing the things you enjoy, even things as simple as vegging out with your favourite TV show. Encourage your partners to spend time together without you there so they can get to know each other better. Reserve one day on the weekend for family day and chose simple, fun activities to enjoy together. If you have kids, family day should be focused around them and their needs. Keep family ties strong by insisting on family dinners all together, and bed time story and tuck in (if you have kids) with all three partners.

Tend Your Relationships

All of your relationships need tending, and if you haven’t done the math, here’s a breakdown of your relationships and the hierarchy they should be in:

1. Your relationship to yourself  – This one is the most important! You must take care of yourself first, and really understand your own needs and wants. Take care of your heart, your mind, and your body so that you will be a well-oiled love machine.

2. Your relationship to your children. If you have kids, they come next. Some would argue that the adult relationships come first, but I think that’s bullshit. Our kids rely on us wholly, so we owe it to them to be as close to the top of the ladder as possible.

3. Your partners’ relationship to your children. This needs to be strong if your poly family is all under one roof. Some poly parents keep their adult relationships at a distance from their kids, but if you are aiming to be one big happy poly family (like us) you must make sure your partners are getting their own quality time with the kids, and that you’re helping to strengthen their relationships with your support.

4 (a & b) Your relationship to each of your partners. You signed up to love more than one person, so you need to make sure you’re doing that in a fair, balanced way. Be careful not to get too caught up in the glow of a new relationship and thereby neglect your more mature relationship with your first partner. One of those relationships may feel like more work than the other, but I promise you that balance will shift back and forth, so you need to make sure you’re tending both.

5. Your partners’ relationship to each other. True, it’s not your responsibility to manage your partners’ relationship with one another, but it is important that you are clear about how important their good relationship is to you. Remind them that you want them to enjoy each other’s company, buy them tickets to a movie or a game, offer to sit back while they go out and hang on a patio. Make sure they know that you want them both to get along. Don’t get in the middle of things if they don’t get along from time-to-time. This will give you ulcers and/or make you bald. Ask Daddy about that one. All you can do is be an ear, and let them know how you feel about their actions/words/behavior.

Be Okay with Being Selfish

Remember how hard it was to learn to appreciate each other’s needs when you were in the early stages with your first partner? Maybe you haven’t even really figured that out yet. Well, now you’re adding layer upon layer of complexity!

Nobody is going to know what you need and want unless you are comfortable asking for those things. You won’t be comfortable asking for anything until you are spending quality time understanding your own needs. You must not be afraid to speak your mind and ask for what you want, even if those needs and wants are really scary.

The three of us made the mistake of not clearly defining and expressing our needs and it led to huge, devastating imbalance in our lives. We aren’t always able to meet each other’s needs, but at least if we know what they are, we can work towards compromise and harmony.

Make Time to Talk

You need one-on-one time to talk with your partners about your relationships, but you also need to create safe emotional space where the three of you can talk with each other about these needs. Beware the mistake of trying to ‘shelter’ the other person from anything you deem threatening or negative. I think most of us would really just address any elephants who may wander into the bedroom rather than dance around them. They will stomp on your head if you try to ignore them.

Good luck with the adventures ahead, and thanks for reaching out. I hope I’ve helped, and I hope you can carve out some quality time where you can focus on all of the loves of your life, including you!

Kisses on your nose,


Playboy Mommy

Ask Mommy


Dear Mommy,

I have two unrelated questions I have often wondered, so I figure I might as well ask:

1. Was Paris worth it? I get why the urge would be there considering how  uprooted you were at the time. Was it a ‘I found myself’ trip that you are really truly glad you took? worth the debt? Or, now seeing how awesome your life turned out, would you have been better off saving the money? Just curious in hind-sight how you view that trip.

2. How did you meet your family? I’m not asking to be nosy. We are poly & the poly groups we found were kind of meat-markety, same with online groups. Although there was a lot of relationship seeking, it seemed to be a more sexually charged energy than we were hoping. For us, we figure one day maybe something organic will develop through synchronicity. Its so rare to meet another poly family, so when I do, I’m always curious to hear how they met. Love stories we can relate to are always inspiring to hear.




Howdy DA,

Thanks for asking such interesting questions!

1.) I first began this blog just before I ran away to Paris. I had just ended a torrid four-year on-again-off-again relationship and I found myself completely uprooted, as you say. (Readers, you can catch up on that adventure starting with this post.) I had barely any savings at the time, so I put the entire trip on a credit card. This isn’t the most responsible way to indulge in travel, to be sure. I have absolutely no regrets about Paris. Visiting the City of Lights was a life-long dream. A ‘bucket list’ item if you will. Even though I’ve since found such happiness with my wonderful family, I’m still very glad I took the trip. It was a trip that was best taken solo because nobody would have drank in the city the same way, and I think it was very important for me to see how much adventure and risk I was capable of on my own steam. Paris was totally one of those experiences where I often think “If I could do that, I can do anything.” In future, I’d definitely recommend a travel savings account, but I’m a big believer in fulfilling as many of our own dreams as we can when opportunity arises or when we can create opportunity. We really don’t know how much time we have to write our stories, do we?


2.) For those of you who are brand new to this blog, I’m in a committed domestic partnership with two people. Essentially, I have both a husband and a wife, and we are raising our three kids together. Our two eldest daughters are from my partners’ existing relationship, and our newest addition was my biological contribution to our motley crew. If you had told me five years ago when I started this blog that my search for the love and the family I yearned for would end in polyamorous (multiple loves) life, I think I would have laughed at you. It was definitely not something I was looking for.

I met my two partners on the patio of the Cadillac Lounge on the last day of the very first annual Toronto Burlesque Festival. My theatre company was performing in the Tiki Brunch, and I was one of the festival organizers that year. My business partner had cast a new gal (Charity Dawn, for those of you who are fans) and I had never met her, but we had many mutual friends, and a big group of them came to see her (get naked) perform. Nekky and Sarah were in that group. After the show we all stayed and ate and drank for a very, very, very long time. Nekky began to show boat by ordering copious amounts of everything for the table. I thought they were interesting people, but I frankly thought that Nekky was a show off. Ha!

After that epic first encounter, Nekky and Sarah began to turn up at all of our social functions, and the more time we spent together, the more I realized how much we had in common. It was when I first went to their home and met their daughters that I really started to fall in love with their family. I had never met such bright, beautiful, engaged children. Talking and playing with the girls was more interesting than most interactions I had with adults!

We began to spend a lot of time together, and N & S witnessed so many of my failed attempts at finding love, which we used to commiserate about. They knew how badly I wanted a family of my own, and how loud my clock was ticking. The two of them even went so far as to set me up with a good friend from university, with whom I was really smitten. I think one of my great dating failures was my enthusiasm, and I think I scared him off. I was terrible about putting the cart waaay before the horse, and I’d get so excited before really getting to know the people I was dating.

Finally, as I was crying into a cocktail over the latest dating disaster (and trust me, there were a lot of cocktails at that time) Sarah said “Why don’t you just marry us?”. At this point, I will admit that the three of us had definitely begun some (largely cocktail fueled) experimenting that certainly went beyond the traditional definitions of friendship. It was great fun, but nothing I’d considered seriously because, well, because I don’t think many of us would consider a husband and wife team as a serious dating prospect!

When Sarah said those words, some chord was struck deep inside me. All of my attempts at serious relationships were brought into sharp focus, and I realized that joining this family, however unconventional, could be exactly the missing link that would turn the traditional relationship model on it’s ear and make long-term commitment more appealing and less confining for me. Who would ever get bored with both a husband AND a wife?

The deciding factor in pursuing a relationship with Nekky and Sarah wasn’t how it would affect me socially, or how it might impact our extended families. I didn’t worry about how we would affect the children because I knew we were all amazing parents, and would always put their interests first. I didn’t even stop to consider legal  implications (at the time we formed our relationship, living conjugally with more than one person in Canada was illegal. Since then, a B.C. judge ruled that cohabiting with more than one conjugal partner was not in violation of the law, but taking any steps to make that union official can still result in prosecution. This includes having an officiant perform any kind of union ceremony.) I was mostly concerned about being able to have my own biological children some day.

Sarah was unhesitatingly into the idea of another baby, particularly one she didn’t have to birth. Nekky took way, way more convincing, but he eventually came around. Once he said that he would work towards reaching a place where having another baby was an emotional possibility, I made the decision to stop seeing other people. The rest is a complex and rich bit of history, but you’ll have to wait for the book.

I didn’t know much about polyamory before this relationship, and since then, we haven’t found any other families who are poly that we really can relate to. I would agree that any  poly groups we’ve found online seem disorganized and quite sexually charged. The three of us have our hands full, and aren’t looking for any additional partners, just some other families who share our unique perspective.

I have a lot of advice for anyone considering such a relationship model, and I’m happy to answer questions here as best I can, in the hopes that I can help others. Thanks for taking the leap and sending your note, and best of luck in your search. I hope you and your partner find worthy others you can share yourselves with.

Kisses on your nose,

Playboy Mommy