Dear Pegasus – Fear of Cults

Dear Baby Pegasus,

You are on your way and I’m both excited and nervous. I wrote about my anxieties in my previous letter but I left one out.

I’m terrified because you are a perfect target for cults. When your Gramma was young, she joined a cult. They separated people from their families, fed them little, sleep deprived them, and made them believe that the central figure was faultless if not deific.

When I was young I noticed similar behaviour in school. In this case, it was a teacher with bad intentions who used all the same tricks to turn the class into his own private cult and he took advantage of select people. Even when he was caught, there were elements of the conditioning left in the class to make people want him to return.

You are growing up in a different age than your Gramma or I, and in some ways it’s wondrous. The entirety of human knowledge is available to you with little to no effort. As is the entirety of misinformation and hate that we as a race are capable of. It means that cults today don’t need a compound, they don’t need their old tricks. They have direct access to you through multiple channels and they prey on your fear, distrust, hurt, and pride.

Modern digital cults are cults of hate. They’re not new but they are much more far reaching. I’m scared I won’t have the ability to save you from them; I’m scared I won’t be able to prepare you to defend against them; and I’m scared they will steal you before you know what’s going on.

Your Mum and I do, and will do, our best to raise you and your sister to think rationally. To look at the evidence, opposing views, and make a critical decision based on that and your values.

I just hope it’s enough. I hope that in your darkest moments where you consider joining or participating in these things that you know you always have us to talk to.

I love you so much and I’ve yet to meet you,

Your Papa

P.S. This article explains a lot better what could happen.

Dragon at Comiccon 2019

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

This was Dragon’s third Comiccon and she had a blast! (Read about last year here)

She spent this year playing with her new (they were actually her mum’s) Fisher Price Little People, hanging out with Vic, Aunt Lindsay, Modryb Sonia, and all the other wonderful people who vend around us.

Her favourite thing to do was stand on the cooler and “help” me sell coffee. Other things she enjoyed include:

  • Playing in the wagon
  • Hanging out with Vic, Lindsay, S. M. Carrière, Madona Skaff, and Grannie.
  • Walking around the Con floor
  • Fries
  • Pepperoni Sticks
  • Saying hello to everyone
  • Getting her face painted by Paint Me Playful – Face and Body Painting

The two big highlights for her were Daleks and amazing cosplayers. (Tinkerbell by Princess of the North, Sailors Moon and Venus by Mysticfae, and Rapunzel and Eugene by East Coast Speedster)

Dragon had another great year at Ottawa ComicCon.

Thank you to everyone who interacted with her and helped us this year.

Éric

Marinette and Adrien (and an overwhelmed Wasp)

Our little Wasp is a HUGE fan of Adrien Agreste from Miraculous Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir. So much so that she shut down completely when she met his Cat Noir persona at Holiday Edition this past November. So a smile and standing approximately near Adrien is a huge step up for her.

Dear Pegasus – Being a Man

Dear Baby Pegasus,

As a parent, my goal is to help you be the best version of yourself you can be. That’s the goal, but on a daily basis I’m usually just trying to make sure you and your sister survive with limited trauma.

You’re on your way, two months now before you get here and I’m terrified. I feel like I just got used to having three members of the family. I have no idea what you’ll be like, or how you’ll get along with your sister and it scares me.

I also harbour a strange fear. I’m not sure how to raise a boy. I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by girls and when I made friends with boys it almost always ended poorly. I often have no idea what to say or how to act around other males. I can count on one hand the men I’m close to and feel comfortable with.

Gender is a social construct, but with it comes social constructs on behaviour and shared truths. I feel like I missed the “male” seminar and that means in groups of men I often feel like I’m missing something. Some subtext that I just don’t follow.

Yes I’m empathic, yes I’m a writer, and yes I am a man. But those are despite my anxieties, not because of them.

All that to say I have no idea how to raise you to be a good, great, or any sort of a man. Sorry.

What I do know is that I’m going to do my best to raise you as a caring, intelligent, and good person. It means I’m going to try and ask myself if I treat you differently than your sister and if it’s because you’re a boy. I want to make sure you don’t just respect others but have genuine compassion.

No matter what, know that your Mum and I love you and want what’s best for you,

Your Papa

Blush: GDM

GDM, or Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, has taken over my life.

In week 24, most OB’s/midwives recommend a blood sugar screening. You go in, drink an orange drink (I’ve heard there are other flavours, but the place I went to only had the one) that tastes like flat Orange Crush with 50 sugar packets added to it, wait an hour, and get your blood taken. They are testing your blood sugar level (at a higher accuracy than a diabetes monitor would be able to).

My results from that test came back at 8.4. The upper limit (to not have GDM) is 7.8.

So my OB had me go and do the whole thing again, but the two hour test this time.

The two hour test is slightly different. It must be a fasting test. They take your blood when you arrive before you drink, one hour in, and at the end of the two hours.

This time, one hour in, my blood sugar was at 12.2.

I had GDM.

Dammit.

Sugar cubes. Image from nytimes.com.

I was told this on April 5th. My appointment at the hospital with the nurse and nutritionist was on April 18th. I was given no further information.

Not wanting to endanger our unborn child more than necessary, we started doing research into how to control my blood sugar, and found the low GI diet.

Fortunately, not only was this very easy to follow (especially since I love veggies) but it ended up being the recommended diet to follow by the nutritionist that I saw two weeks later.

At the meeting with the nurse and nutritionist, I was given a diabetic monitor, test strips, and needles. (and a prescription for more of the latter two – thank goodness for insurance!) I was to prick my finger when I woke up and one hour after every meal (not snack).

Dragon insists on watching me do it and has started “pricking” her finger with a crayon and saying a random number.

I’m seeing the doctor at the hospital today, two weeks after the meeting with the nurse and nutritionist. She will hopefully say that my numbers are okay and I don’t need to go on insulin. We shall see. I’ve had a couple pretty weird readings.

On top of watching my blood sugars and eating a mildly strict diet, I also get to have more ultrasounds. One a month for the next two months, and then one a week until the baby arrives. These are to monitor his growth, to make sure he doesn’t get too big.

One of the biggest risk factors with GDM is the baby growing too large. Another is the risk of the pregnant parent developing type 2 diabetes in the future (ugh, fun).

I’m sure there will be more appointments that I’m not yet aware of. For someone with a toddler who sleeps until 11am and doesn’t have a car (but has awesome parents who give me access to theirs or drives me to the appointments, yes I know I’m very lucky), these extra appointments are very trying.

Let’s hope I don’t need insulin on top of the rest of this.


References

Diabetes Canada
Glycemic Index

Baby Pegasus Tattoo

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Two years ago I got a Baby Dragon Tattoo, in honour of the baby Dragon.

With Pegasus coming, I decided to get another tattoo to match. Again I commissioned the incredibly talented S.M. Carrière to design it and went to Living Colour Tattoo in downtown Ottawa. I requested the same artist Patrick Drouin. He and S.M. worked fantastically on the tattoo and we got a wonderful result.

Here’s what the Dragon Tattoo looked like when I first go it.

Tattoo
Baby Dragon Tattoo Feb 2017

After a few years it has faded a little but still looks great.

The colours faded beautifully.

And without further ado here is the new tattoo.

Fresh Pegasus tattoo

I expect that the colours will fade a little and take on the same pastel hue as the Dragon one has. Here they are together.

Here they are together. Hopefully the kids will work together as well as the tattoos.

I’m extremely happy with them.

What do you think?

Éric

How’s Éric?

Hello My imaginary Friends,

This year has been extremely busy. I’m trying not to fall into old patterns of stress and overwork but it feels hard to avoid sometimes.

I’m surviving and I’ll be okay.

Writing

The past few weeks I’ve written a Ghostship story for July. You’ll get the next instalment in the Sun Speaker Series while we recover from the arrival of baby Pegasus.

Beyond that, I’m going to try and push to continue writing the novels that are calling me. I have two on the go and little to show for my writing this year. But I’m going to start… today even. I hope.

I do have an outline for another novel, which is awesome, but it’ll be a while before I get to it.

Coffee

I’ve been frantically roasting coffee. I’m roasting almost 150 lbs this year which is more than we’ve ever had before. We’ll have 17 flavours available for Ottawa Comic Con.

I’m loving the new roaster and the new method is working great. I’m still getting used to getting the perfect roast, but overall I’m extremely happy with it.

Keladry (Dragon) was helping us package coffee but after an hour got bored and started playing.

Editing

I have the edits for A Case of Synchronicity and will work on those this week. I’m still waiting on the second round of edits for Everdome but they should be here soon.

Gaming

I’ve been playing very few games. Haven’t touched Lego Incredibles in a few months. With most weekends dedicated to roasting, I don’t have as much time.

I have been playing Elder Scroll Blades on my phone. It’s an extremely beautiful game. It’s also repetitive and nearly impossible to do anything without paying. There are chests you can never encounter in the game but you can buy. Overall, it’s very much a micro-payment play-to-win style game.

Pegasus

Preparations for the baby are in full swing. We have a room, it has a bed, we have decorations, and a GIANT pile of clothing.

I got my tattoo this weekend. (More on that in another post.)

Things are feeling more real. I think after comic con, I’m going to quickly transition to impatiently waiting.


So in an eggshell (Easter joke intended) things are going well and I’m busy.

Now lets get to writing… after some breakfast and coffee.

Later Days,

Éric

Top 5 Differences between a baby during pregnancy and after being born.

Hello Baby loving folks,

The way we treat babies inside is slightly different than outside. Here’s a list of the top five differences according to my observations.

5. Input and Output

Oh the joy of not caring when or how a baby eats or poops. While pregnant no one really thinks about it much except for how cool/weird a process it is. But once the baby’s out EVERYONE tells you how to do it and how you’re doing it wrong.

4. Kicking

Sometime soon after birth kicking goes from a joyful, “OMG” moment to an annoyance and eventually a real pain. Tiny toes and fists hurt.

3. Control to Judgement

When the birthing parent is pregnant there are laws, rules, and pressures to make them do specific things. In most cases, it’s to protect the baby. Unfortunately, sometimes they prioritize the baby over the birthing parent instead of protecting both.

However, once the baby is out, the health and mental health of all parents is often ignored or considered secondary to the baby. Resources that would be available before disappear and the laws change completely.

2. Abstract to Concrete

The ultrasound, the kicking, the heartbeat, and even (for some) the growing of the baby is all sort of unreal and abstract. You’re afraid to believe and it all seems like a big prank.

Then the baby arrives and you have a baby… Like it’s there and it needs you to do stuff. Where are this kids parents? Wait, that’s us… And you now that you believe, you’re afraid. It eventually settles back to real from surreal, but it’s always a little bit of a shock.

1. Love

The thing that’s growing has your affection, a deep feeling of attachment, and terror. It’s completely impossibly there. But you don’t Love it yet.

Then it comes out and your heart melts at this tiny, wrinkled, screeching, proof that you don’t know what you’re doing. And sometime between holding them and going home you realize you’d die or kill for them. But you don’t Love them yet.

I’m not sure the exact moment it happens, but sometime after the birth and before the first year, they smile, or wiggle, or something else and you suddenly feel like squishing them or howling in joy, and just like that you love them.


Did I miss anything? What do you think?

Éric

Dear Pegasus – Being Fair

Dear Pegasus,

A lot of people and media will tell you that life isn’t fair. It isn’t always, but your Mum and I will try to be.

We understand that your sister is a strong personality and demands a lot of attention. She’s adorable and uses that to get her way. It’s her strength that makes her both impressive and a little frustrating.

We will try our best to make sure you both get our attention, you both get to do what you love, and most of all, that things are fair for you.

It might not always seem that way. If you need more sleep but refuse to get it, we might give you an earlier bedtime. That will make you feel like it’s not fair, but it would be unfair of us to let you be tired all the time. (Trust your Papa, it’s not fun being tired all time.)

There will be times where one of you demands that you deserve something (bad idea – I don’t like demands) but we’ll try to make things work.

The absolute most important thing is to talk to us. Not yell at us, throw a fit, but actually talk and discuss. I’m sure you’ll hear this a lot (your sister certainly has) but we have reasons for what we do and we will gladly explain.

We want you to have everything you need to make you the wonderful man I know you’ll be, but sometimes you won’t get what you want. You’ll feel it’s unfair but we always have a reason.

I love you Baby Pegasus,

Your Papa