Friday, November 23, 2012

Out of Order

I am not one of those parents that has to follow a very strict routine.  I for one don’t believe that life revolves around any one person’s schedule.  If you stick too close to set times that life has to be lived in or you are inflexible with your children’s routines than you set them up for a world of anxiety and bewilderment.  I know that I’ve argued with several people that disagree with me and say the only way to provide stability in a child’s mind is to have that set repetition of daily order.  I am also not talking about children with a disability.  I’ve worked in the industry long enough that I know some people just don’t possess the capability of dealing with changes and uncertainty.  I know that providing those people with as much predictability as possible in the day helps them to cope with the world.

Time is a man-made device used to aid us in setting goals, ensure we make deadlines and appointments on time and to help us judge when the sun is going to rise and set.  It has also however become such a major factor in our lives we sometimes forget that it is not natural.  I mean sure it is extremely certain that the sun will set and rise again in the morning but it’s not an absolute that we will be here to witness it.  Even the sun cycle, one day in the hopefully very very distant future, will come to an end.  All we can be completely sure of is that in this moment we are here.

We spend so much of our time reliving memories in our past and trying to predict the future that we don’t realize that the moment we are in right now is in fact the only moment that is real.  While using the past to attempt to learn from our mistakes can aid us in making the right decisions and shape those moments for tomorrow it is important not to “live” in those moments because they don’t exist yet or anymore.  It’s pretty hard to do that when setting a timeline for yourself and your kids to follow constantly.  How are you supposed to explore new places or enjoy all life has to offer when you refuse to break your routines.

Life also isn’t going to follow your routine.  Even those who need that predictability have a curve ball thrown at them more often than not.  You never know what is going to happen or what opportunity is going to present itself but if your schedule doesn’t allow for this type of shenanigans then you and your children will miss out on so much of what the world has to offer.  You don’t even have to be a hippy, begin meditating or be a yoga guru to find that inner happiness.  You just have to let the construct of time stop running your life.  Use it for the tool it is and don’t get wrapped up completely in its web.

I am lucky enough that neither of my children have shown any signs that they can’t cope with changes.  My son is a little more reluctant to the process but it doesn’t take him much to enjoy himself when he’s there for the ride.   I am actually a little hypocritical here.  I need to remember to follow my own advice.  I often find myself being easily dominated by the clock. I am not to the point where I have set days of the week that I do my cleaning or set times that the kids have to have a nap, eat a meal or go to bed.  I just find myself stressed when there are things that have to be done in a certain timeline.  I think it’s in my nature. That’s where I’m really lucky to have my husband in my life.  He is amazing at running on his own schedule. 

Although a lot of people are not usually impressed that he is always late or canceling plans last minute, I used to be one of them, I’m now starting to see the merit in it.  My husband has this amazing knack of getting complete enjoyment out of the moment and not worrying so much about the schedule.  It sometimes comes across as being selfish or disrespectful.  For me that is usually a hard pill to swallow because I’m such a people pleaser.  I want everyone in the crowd to be happy. Putting someone like my husband in a room with people that dominate their lives by the watch makes for some tension and uneasiness.  It’s really good that my husband is also such a likeable guy that most people forgive him for it and my concern is unfounded.

I am so glad that my kids have his influences in their lives.  I think that we make a good team and the kids are going to grow up in a diverse and exciting world.  I hope that by not providing a very strict routine we can somewhat prepare them for the real world, allow them to enjoy the moments that come and go, discover that life is full of opportunity and fun if you’re just willing to let it happen.  Our lives might be out of order but it’s so exciting to sit back and enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oh Happy Day!


I am being spoiled.  Life is so incredibly different when there are other adults sharing in the tasks of helping with children.  The past couple days my husband has been back from work and my mom came over today to help with the kids while we went to our very first Parent/Teacher interview.  It’s been very blissful and I get this giddy feeling every time there is a bum to be changed that I am not in charge of.

Yesterday we spent the day shopping in the city for articles of clothing (mainly swim suits for me) and brought the children.  On a normal day I would never dream of doing such crazy and foolish things.  The hubby however was in a spectacular mood and entertained the children while I squeezed my booty into several bikinis.  The kids were for the most part being really well behaved and we had a very good day and I found several bathing suits that fit (I didn’t even need to take anti-depressants to go!)

Today my husband and I recruited the help of my mother so we could attend our very first Parent/Teacher interview of her progress at preschool.  My mom and I were discussing how amusing society is becoming when it’s necessary to have a sit down with the teachers for kids that have really just mastered the skill of not shitting in their pants.  None the less I was really excited for the opportunity and even more excited to find out she is doing really great.

Not that I don’t think my daughter is smart or wonderful but it’s always nerve wracking to see how your kids hold up on other people’s scales.  I thought that I might be getting some comments on her busy nature or how she is very stubborn.  There were of course a few things they mentioned such as how she sometimes displays a lack of paying attention to the task at hand.  I knew that was coming.  I mean this is the kid who can get distracted from a piece of fluff on her bed for a full half an hour when trying to coerce her into getting into her pajamas.  Apparently the culprit today was the babies that are in the other day care class who share the same building; they were keeping her from getting into her outside play clothing so she could play in the playground.

I am however proud to say she is far exceeded the normal standards in sequences, alphabet and number recognition, arts and crafts and independent play.  She loves theatrics (no kidding) and is really well developed in her social skills.   These are all great to hear from the professionals.  I can’t really be more thankful that there are some seriously patient people in this world willing to teach 24 screaming children at a time with a smile on their face, these people should be paid way more than hockey players or politicians.

One more thing that made today a happy day, I mean yes it even got better.  When I arrived home from the interview with my daughter’s teachers both kids were napping and dinner was made.  My mom not only watched the kids for us so we could go up town solo but she made supper.  It was like winning the lottery.  I could get used to this life, truly!!  Oh happy day!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Yuck.


There is nothing worse than your entire household battling illness. Obviously being sick is not fun for anybody, however being sick with sick children is brutal.

Maybe it wouldn’t seem so bad if when my kids were sick they acted like normal human beings and just lay around feeling sorry for themselves. This way I could do a lot more laying around feeling sorry for myself. So far though in my experience my kids might be battling the symptoms of illness but you’d never know there was anything wrong with them if you were basing it off their activity levels.

We are currently experiencing some tummy issues. I myself have been pretty tired and feel really gross. It’s due for me anyhow because we’re planning on this trip. I always manage to get sick just right before or during a vacation. I’m hoping that I’ll be right as rain by the time we ship out next week. It is however none the less not very fun. I’ve been planning my days around how far away from a toilet I am at any given moment and been trying to keep the food I’m consuming bland to try to settle this queasy feeling.

Unfortunately both my kids seem to be going through the same ailment. My son has gone through about a month’s worth supply of diapers in less than a week and my daughter is trading me off in the bathroom.  I think the only thing worse than having sick kids is having a sick husband too. I mean there is enough documentation out there to prove that when a man gets sick it's a whole new level of pathetic. I am really thankful that my husband is not only home right now to help out with the 10,000 diaper changes a day but that he seems to be feeling great.

I’m really glad that along with this stomach bug it hasn’t included any vomiting. I cannot stand throw-up. I hate everything about it. I would rather deal with poopy diapers and pretty much any other bodily secretion over barf. I myself am a huge wuss when it comes to throwing up. If I’m sick to my stomach I am a complete write off. Once I start it doesn’t go away until there is literally nothing left in my system. Other people’s vomit to me is about as disgusting as it gets.

That being said though, as a mom you frequently have to deal with your kids puking. I’m actually really good with them considering my strong aversion. I think that’s when the maternal instincts kick in and my empathy levels are running on overdrive because I myself hate that feeling more than almost anything.

When kids throw up they don’t do it in style either. It’s usually everywhere because they haven’t quite mastered running to the toilet and doing their business there. If they do vomit it’s usually in their bed, their hair, all over their clothing, furniture and floor. My daughter once woke me up crying in the middle of the night asking me for a bowl. I had no idea what she was talking about and passed it off as maybe some weird dream she was having. One minute later when she threw-up all over me and the bed I understood what she wanted a bowl for. I now know that it would be in my best interest to pay attention to that particular request in the future.

When you are sick and so are your kids the work level increases to almost insanity. You are doing so many extra loads of laundry, you are attempting to cook foods that won’t trigger any more negative reactions, and you are making extra trips to the store to get medicines and supplies. You are wiping noses, wiping bums and wiping down the household with sanitizer to try to prevent more of this germ wreaking havoc on your loved ones.  You are running extra baths, taking temperatures and administering Tylenol. Gone are the days when you just get to lay down and take it easy for a couple days, there are no "take-the-day-off-sick" days when you are a mom.

Well if you excuse me I’m off to the bathroom.

 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I Probably Should Have Taken The Drugs

I’d like to recap on a topic I briefly mentioned in one of my posts earlier this week.  I’ve been going through a slight bout of nostalgia in the past few days.  I’m absolutely sure it’s just because I’m in that lovely stage of the month where your hormones like to screw with your head.  In a few days’ time I’ll be right as rain and back to thinking my children are daemons that have been put specifically on earth to turn my hair grey and not these beautiful, perfect beings that emerged from my uterus.

One thing that really gets me through these brief spells of insanity is reminiscing about how child birth really was.  Oxytocin is a strange chemical.  It’s the hormone produced in the body that ensures our survival by making parents love their babies unconditional and not want to strangle them.  It’s sometimes known as the “love hormone.” It also does other funny things like cloud over the horrors of child birth.  You don’t forget that it happened or that it sucked really, really bad but sort of down-plays the memory to a milder version.  Think along the lines of the “White Diamonds” perfume commercials that Elizabeth Taylor was the head figure for.  You could still make out it was her but they fuzzed enough of her out that you couldn’t quite tell how much she had aged.

I’ve been chatting recently with a few close friends that are expecting right now.  While I’m really excited for them I feel bad when we start getting on the topic of child birth.  I’m not so reluctant to talk about it with the friends that have already had a baby but more the first time moms.  Every person has their own beliefs on how childbirth is going to go and they have several women already shoving down their throats what to expect when you are finally about to push metaphorical watermelon through a hole the size of a lemon.

I have gone through two completely opposite forms of child birth myself.  They couldn’t be much further from each other if they tried to be but they were both awful. 

My daughter was a crazy precipitous birth (just means really quick), from first contraction to fully dilated in less than two hours.  Not only was she coming extremely fast but upside down.  No one was aware that my daughter was also coming out rear end first until I was 10 cm and ready to push.  The results were one nurse with a bruised chin (I was actually throwing punches, but trust me she deserved it), a mom who was put unconscious and a new baby brought into the world by emergency caesarian.   They said that when they knocked me out my doctor had to hold her up inside of me because my body was pushing with or without my permission.

My son was a typical run of the mill labour/delivery.  I had 12 hours of contractions, getting more intense as the time went by.  Once I was given the ok to push it actually took 2 hours to get him out.  It was one of the hardest 2 hours of my life; unlike my daughter who was going to fall out I actually had to give it all I had to bring him into this world.

Throughout both labors I didn’t take any drugs, well except for the whole anesthetics part in my daughter’s birth.  I’m not even sure why.  I’m not a tough girl, or even a girl that thinks she’s tough.  I actually consider myself having a fairly low pain tolerance.  I’m also not against taking drugs during child birth.  I hadn’t planned to be the woman who refused to take drugs because I have a belief one way or the other.  It just sort of happened that way.  All I know is after both kids I was DONE ever having kids again.

Oxytocin or not there is no way I’d want to participate in that type of hell again.  Child birth is Mother Nature’s final kick in the box (so to speak).  I mean as my mom put it so nicely the other day “Women get the shit end of the stick when it comes to human reproduction.”  It’s bad enough that from the time we are young girls we have to start this monthly cycle of hormonal nightmares, cramping, bloating and plain nastiness but we also are the ones that really experience the real depths of hell that child birth is.

A very close friend of mine actually just had her second baby.  We were discussing the differences between our experiences.   She, like me, did not use any drugs for her first birth but in the second went for the epidural.  Even the way she talks about her second birth experience makes it seem like an almost tolerable exploit.  It sounded reasonable and a very calm way to bring in your new miracle of life.

Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t take the drugs because in these brief moments of insanity I’d possibly consider another baby, then again probably not.  We go through enough pain and terror in our lives as it is. If you want to go and experience what childbirth is and all the thrills it has to offer I can’t blame you because I think that might be another silly hormonal trick our minds play with us but coming from experience it’s not going to be pretty.  In my honest opinion I would go back and save myself the trauma, I probably should have taken the drugs. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Toys True Purpose


Commercials on TV are never more deceiving as when they are trying to market kids toys.  Picture almost every single toy commercial that you have ever seen.  I mean this really shouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination since it’s only 7 weeks until Christmas and therefore every channel is blasting full volume the wondrous assortment of crap available out there to buy.  When you watch kids in these advertisements they are always happy, calm and playing so nicely with their brand new toys.  They make it appear that a child will be truly entertained by their product.  They make you want to go out and purchase it right away and have you believing that if you get said object then you will be able to watch your children blissfully leave you alone for at least an hour.

This is however a load of horse manure.  Kids NEVER play with their toys as they are designed to be used.  That’s if they ever play with it at all.  Almost every mother can attest that they’re children always preferred to play with the box the toy came in instead.  I have actually left certain toys in their original boxes and thrown them into the mix of the toy pile.  These toys actually are the most fascinating of all.  My daughter was given a toy train set that stayed in the box for almost 6 months and that was the first thing she went for every time, that is however until I took it out of the box.  Immediately upon removal from its packaging it lost its appeal and got forgotten amidst the ever growing mountain of toys.

My son is currently all about little toy cars.  Granted he does use these to drive all over the walls, the TV (much to my hubby’s worst nightmares) and is obsessed with sticking them into every empty hole he can find (hmmm maybe that’s just a boy thing).   This means that I find his little dinky cars stuck in the most interesting places.  I was however not overly impressed last week when I found myself spending 45 minutes trying to extract a mini yellow sports car of some sorts out of my vacuum hose. 

Anything with a long handle becomes a weapon of mass destruction.  I never allow the kids to have any rigid object longer than a couple inches.  These are not used as a magic fairy wand or a drumstick that is explicitly supposed to be played on a toy drum set; instead they are used to beat on each other, other toys, furniture and walls with.  Could you imagine what they would do to the TV with that kind of power?

Play-dough and crayons aren’t even looked at as a play thing but a gourmet meal.  Meanwhile you can’t get the children to eat their supper but you can barely stop them taking bites out of the rolled out, disgusting tasting neon orange goo.  Both my son and daughter have had some interesting colored poops due to different crayon mixtures mixed in their digestive juices.

There are now millions of toys designed to aid children in walking, crawling, participating in “tummy time,” learning how to develop their coordination.  Although in theory they sound amazing, like “what did we do before the invention of______?”, but most children hate them instantly you have to fight tooth and nail to try to get them to use the thing or need an engineering degree to get the kid in it properly.  The babies depicted in the commercials using these products must be digitally created as I’ve yet to meet one in real life that actually reacts with anything but ear piercing screaming when placed in said devices.   

Toy blocks, Mr. Potato Head, doll houses and their pieces are used as war on your feet.  I have never gone into the play room and seen these toys used for anything other than dangerous decorations spread from one end of the room to the other.  They literally take these items and dump them all over every square inch of floor space.  It not only takes 10,000 hours to clean them up but you usually end up needing medical intervention for  your feet from the damage they cause when you step on one unexpectedly.

Now with Christmas peeking over the horizon people are starting to ask me what the kids need.  I have a hard time answering this question.  Although as parents we always like receiving clothing from people for the kids no one really wants to buy clothes for a kid because then they will become known as the “boring aunt, uncle, grandparent, friend, etc.”  Most of these people want to get the kids toys because that’s what kids want even if they never really do play with them. 

The true purpose of toys are brilliant if you think about it.  It’s a company’s golden ticket during the holiday season.  Just think about the nonsense of “Tickle Me Elmo” dolls in 1996.  Parents were literally getting into fist fights in department store aisles in order to purchase what was probably the most annoying toy in history.  All this in attempt to look like the good guy to your three month old who is probably just going to drool on it or be freaked out and scream bloody murder every time it's taken out of the toybox.  I am pretty sure that none of these dolls actually got played with once they came out of their box anyway and the batteries were never replaced once they were drained.

There is also no way to stop the endless influx of toys.  Unless you turn off all television, keep your kids home from school and never take them shopping they’re always going to want the toy they see on the shelf, the cool doll their friend has, the amazing thing-a-ma-bob they saw in between The Wiggles and Dora the Explorer.  I mean you can always refuse to buy the kids any of these things and enforce a strict no toy policy when suggesting items to all the gift bearers but then you’d look like a total asshole.    I’m telling you they have you check-mated.  So you had better just invest in a really good pair of inside shoes that prevent you needing reconstructive surgery on your feet after stepping on Lego, mount your TV as high on the wall as possible and get over it.   

Thursday, November 15, 2012

To Clean, or Not to Clean


I’m excited that my hubby arrives home tonight.    Although this is his 4th set of days off since we moved to Nova Scotia, this time is going to be a little different than the first three.  This is the first time we can actually spend the time together and (knock-on-wood) in more normal circumstances. 

His first stint home we spent unpacking, shopping for appliances and furniture and getting moved into the new house.  The second one was when my grandmother passed away.  It was a sad and busy time but I was so glad he was here for the support.  We definitely didn’t spend much time together and the mood in the house was no doubt somber.  The last time he was home was spent preparing for and executing a family reunion.  My grandmother specifically requested she did not want a funeral so instead we decided to get her entire family together in her honor.  I think she would’ve loved that because she was first and foremost all about her family.  Although the reunion was a fantastic time, it was still quite a bit of work and the house was a veritable zoo for the entirety of his last days off.

Where I'm going with this preamble is that I’m really looking forward to some peace with my hubby.  In order to ensure that the first couple days go by where we can really just relax and enjoy it I spent the past few days prepping for his return.  It’s not like I did anything in particular out of the ordinary but as I may have hinted before I may be a tad OCD.  What this means for me is I have a hard time relaxing unless things are in their proper order.  I spent the majority of the day cleaning the house so I can just hang out and enjoy some peace of mind that at least one day this week the house was attended to.

During my mom’s birthday celebration last night my Aunt and Uncle came for a visit.  My Aunt always laughs at me because she says that I’m a little too anal.  Last night she said that “You need to learn to lower your cleaning standards.”  She’s completely correct in this observation but trust me I have no idea how.  What makes it worse is that between my kids, my dog and my cats it is nearly impossible to maintain that standard for 10 minutes after it’s been achieved. 

I swear the absolute second that I am done vacuuming, sweeping and mopping the floors the dog chooses that time to shed half a dog worth of hair.  Plus of course after any meal time always results in a necessary full clean of the house.  If you think I’m kidding you should observe this afternoon’s lunch mess.  In fact I’ve included two photos to prove my point.  The first is the chair and floor surrounding my son’s place at the table resulting from just the noon meal (which was ham and cheese sandwiches and carrot sticks).  I have also included a photo of what the dustpan contains after sweeping up.  In this second picture I’d like you to note the amount of dog hair that is interspersed between the carrots and bread crumbs.  Honestly it looks like it’s been a week since I’ve bothered to sweep and not just the four hours since breakfast.  How does one keep up with this nightmare?  You should really see it when we have rice for supper, which I swear is the nastiest food to clean in the world.

I even took some time this week to clean out our mini-van.  The van is a new vehicle that we’ve purchased just in the last year so I feel obligated to attempt to keep it looking decent.  Who ever invented the carpet that they use in the automobile world needs to be drug out of their hole and tortured.  Do you know what I think would be the best punishment for this/these person(s)? Trying to vacuum out German Shepherd hair and Goldfish crumbs from all of the cars their product has been used in and if they’re not successful they lose an appendage.  Let me tell you there would be some limbless carpet weavers abroad.  The bond created between dog hair and this stuff is stronger than crazy glue.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to create a more user friendly product?  I mean I would prefer the bare fiberglass to this. 

I am just now, as I write this, coming to the conclusion that I’ve pretty much wasted my last couple days.  There are still two meals in between now and when the hubby arrives home and I’ve already taken three car rides since I vacuumed out the van. Therefore neither house or vehicle probably don’t look any different than when I started.  I wish I could just “let it go” but I’m pretty sure my property would be deemed condemnable if I failed to clean up after just one day spent at home eating regular meals.   This basically doesn’t solve anything. 

To clean, or not to clean, that is the question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Floors and Carpets of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of dog hair,
And by opposing end them: to sigh, to sweep.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Celebration!


When you are a kid any holiday, birthday, yearly event and special occasions are beyond exciting.  They break routines, allow sugar induced highs and generally involve presents.  As you move from childhood into the teen years they usually involve the same excitement but instead of sugar the highs are induced in other ways.  There are not many changes between the teen years into the early twenties; in fact sometimes I believe we partied quite a bit later into the night.  It’s however moving into your late twenties and your early thirties when these celebrations lose a bit of the luster.  Our society has us believing that aging isn’t a good thing so we start to downplay birthdays and another year gone by.  I think we’re also tired of getting sore cheeks and passing out from blowing up balloons.

It all changes again when you have children.  They breathe new life back into the observations we choose to recognize with cake and streamers.  They also choose to wake you up at 5:30 in the morning on a day you promised them you’d bake a birthday cake for their grandmother.  I’m actually not sure what I was thinking telling my daughter that we A) were celebrating my mom’s birthday the next day or B) that we’d bake a cake for her.  I am usually smarter than that.  I usually wait until that day or the actual even is already happening before I start talking about it.  In retrospect it was my own fault but I was still a little crabbier with her than I normally am in the morning.

I found myself wandering around supermarket aisles yesterday getting inspired about a specific decorations and cake pans.  I am not much of a baker myself but my daughter I think would like to be the next “Cake Boss.”  It’s crazy how much the possibility of us eating cake can motivate the kids into behaving for a day.  So now we are in the process today of baking a special cake for the kid’s grandmother.  It’s actually been a lot of fun.  We’re not doing a big party or anything but going to have a little dinner get together. I find that I am not agreeing with society’s take on getting older and don’t swallow the whole “aging is bad” gig.  I am feeling more secure with myself, my position in life and my world then I ever did before.  I think that with age you can learn to appreciate those around you and what you already have instead of always seeking for more and better.  I think that it’s nice the kids have shown me that it’s important to remember to celebrate all these happy times in life.  With so many bad things happening in the world and with so much negativity it doesn’t hurt to shed light on the good times!

Happy Birthday Mommy Dearest we love you to the moon and back!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

There is Only 7 Weeks Left!


I was just going through some flyers today and a big notice on the top said “Don’t wait too long; Christmas is only 7 weeks away!!”  I immediately thought “Holy crap that’s coming up quick.”  Then my next thought was how bizarre of a trick that time really is.

I am at that age group where almost every one of my friends has either just had a baby in the last couple years, is planning on having a baby in the next couple years or is about to have a baby.  Since I’m done with the "planning-on" or" is-about-to-have" stages I’ve been kind of reminiscing.   I want to stop and make it perfectly clear that I in NO way, NO how want another baby.  I love my children to the ends of the earth but I know that part of my life is over.

It however doesn’t stop me from looking back on my pictures of when I was expecting or when the little goobers first popped out.  It reminds me how fast the time really goes by.  Time has been like lightening these past couple years and I can hardly believe that my little girl is going to be 4 soon and my son is already 2. 

All of these nostalgic tendencies are being triggered by talking with some of my friends that are in the expecting stage.  When I think back to my own pregnancies, the uncomfortable size, the morning sickness, the being able to touch your toes or shave your legs, the back problems, the trying to squeeze behind the steering wheel of the car, the millions of doctor appointments that tell you how much weight you’ve gained or sticking their hands in your private areas.  Even after all that I still can’t help but think how cool it really was.  If you would have asked me at that time I would’ve told you I HATED being pregnant, even more so the second time around.  I think I do however miss the baby jumping around inside (as long as it wasn’t 2 am and on your bladder of course).

This is however where time is tricky. If I was pregnant and the heading said “The birth of your baby is only 7 weeks away!”  I would have a completely different reaction.  It would feel like an eternity.  The last 7 or so weeks of being pregnant you feel like a ticking time bomb.  At the end of the pregnancy you know that you are going to go through an excruciating nightmare (I should’ve taken the drugs…but that’s a whole new topic) but that’s not even enough to want to wait any longer.  If anything you just want it to happen so you can move on and get on with your life.

I know that time is just a manmade device and putting too much precedence on it can cause you much suffering, unfortunately though it’s so hard in today’s society not to be ruled by it.  I wish that the 7 weeks till Christmas felt as long as the 7 weeks until your baby comes.  Maybe then I’d be able to get all of the things done in prep for the holiday with lots of time to spare.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Could You Spell That For Me Please??


So I’ve hit that stage of parenthood where everything becomes spelled out loud if we don’t want the kids to know we’re talking about a certain subject.  There are a few problems I’m starting to notice arising from this way of talking.

How do you stop?  I mean really, I spell every ending to almost every sentence I speak now.  The kids might not even be in the same room and I’m spelling.  It’s like I’ve tripped some sort of wire in my brain that taps it into thinking I’ve got to hide everything I say from the kids.

This brings me into the next problem.  How do I spell that?  I used to be a fantastic speller, now I suck at it.  My mother and I actually just had this conversation and we are both finding this to be true.  Since the invention of spell check our spelling skills have dropped substantially.  In fact I have come to rely on it so much I’m starting to wish I had a spell check in my brain.  That way when I’m trying to spell the word, hmmm let’s see, toys.  I start by saying “T- um - O – Y- um - S.”  I mean really.  It’s not like I’m trying to spell onomatopoeia (and yes spell check on my computer thankfully corrected my original guess at this word).  It would be really awesome now if someone could come up with a real “babel fish” that not only translated other languages for us but would include that all important spell check feature.

Whenever I spell things to my hubby he always gives me a blank expression.  It’s not like he can’t spell, he’s actually really smart.  You see he often goes away for weeks at a time and hangs out with a bunch of adults, therefore no real need to spell stuff out.   He’s really not used to it and I always feel silly afterwards.

Another problem with spelling everything is that the kids are starting to pick up on some words.  I think the dog has even come to the conclusion that “W-A-L-K” means we should get all excited and run around.  I mean what the heck are we going to do when the kids can actually spell?  How would you and your partner or you and the grandparents ever going to communicate without the kids knowing what is being said? 

We could maybe start speaking other languages to each other.  I am currently brushing up on my EspaƱol in preparation for a trip my hubby and will be taking, without the kids, to the Caribbean in less than two weeks.  I guess that would be another useful purpose for installing the babel fish, we’ll just take up speaking Spanish to each other, although my daughter knows lots of that too (thanks Dora the Explorer). 

Well I guess it’s time to sign off.  A-D-I-O-S

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cleaning Enigma


I’m always scared to change the sheets in the kid’s beds.  This may sound like something weird to be scared of but I am.  It’s not because there are any boogie monsters (although maybe the odd boogie) hiding under the bed.  It’s not because I’m scared to find surprises in the sheets.  It’s not even because I’m lazy.  It’s because of the children’s ability to sense that once something is cleaned they immediately need to dirty it and the work has to be repeated ASAP. It NEVER fails.  I strip all the beds, change all the sheets in the house and if not one than both of the kids have a night time accident and in the morning it has to be done all over again. 

Then this morning, over my cup of tea, I realized that this is so true with EVERYTHING in their lives.  Anything that gets cleaned immediately becomes a point of interest and must be dirtied instantly.  I’m absolutely sure that my son can’t poop in anything but a freshly changed diaper.  I’m sure the draw of a freshly cleaned pane of glass is the most tempting canvas for fingerprints.  I am sure the kitchen table has an invisible sign, only seen by children, that says please throw all food as far and wide as possible, bonus points given for rice.  I am sure that clothing, toys and all furniture should just be made to hose down.

I am a little bit of a clean fanatic.  I’ve actually relaxed quite substantially since having kids.  I mean don’t ask my husband to verify this piece of information because he still thinks I’m nuts.  In fact when we’ve discussed getting a house keeper in the past to help he thought that it would be a waste of money because I would probably go along behind them and clean again to my standards.  I think he’s being unreasonable.  I mean I at least have stopped taking a ruler and straightening out the towels accordingly.  I’ll have you know that my towel closet is A) not color coordinated at the moment and B) there are some towels that have crossed over the line of not being folded exactly right.  I wish I was kidding but I’m really not.

Being a clean fanatic with kids is really stressful.  In fact if you don’t let some of the craziness go when you have kids then you’d end up in the loony bin.  I’m especially finding it hard now that we’ve moved to a house of enormous proportions.  I mean it literally needs to be cleaned in stages.  My husband also works away.  He is gone for several weeks at a time.  I’m not sure when it’s harder to clean either.  I always find myself wishing that he was home when I’ve been cleaning all day and am constantly trying to corral the kids into a safe zone, mainly to avoid wrath of mom-in-cleaning-mode and stopping them doing what they do best (dirtying things immediately after).  Then when he is home I find the mess is substantially worse.  He’s almost as bad as one of the kids.

Not much irks me more than someone messing the bathroom up immediately after I’ve just sanitized it.  My husband, much like the kids, immediately has to go mess up the bathroom by shaving, washing his face, brushing his teeth and taking a crap.  You might think that’s typical bathroom behavior until you’ve seen him preform those tasks.  He definitely goes at it just like a person who’s never had to clean a bathroom in his life, which he probably hasn’t.  There is water from one end of the bathroom to the other and spots of toothpaste on the mirror, globs of paste left in the sink and poop stains in the toilet.  Then there is the hair.  Oh my goodness.  All those tiny little hair clippings from the razor get stuck in everything! This all coming from the person who is completely disgusted by finding dust on the dashboard of the vehicle he is driving. 

Maybe I’ve solved the mystery, it’s a genetic thing and NOT from my side of the family.  My mom definitely is still using a ruler to straighten out her towels!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Children Can Make One Question Their Character.


So this topic has been hovering in my brain waves for a couple days but every time I seem to sit and write about it the subject morphs into something different and I end up completely off.  I’ve decided today that I’m going to attempt to stay on point.

Little children have a way of making people do things out of their character.  It’s like the saying I’ve been seeing floating around Facebook recently that goes somewhat along the lines of “Doesn’t matter how tough you are when a 2 year old hands you a pretend phone you answer it.”  The first time I saw this I laughed because it was true.  It then started popping up several times a week on my Facebook page and it got to be one of those redundant once-funny lines that has been read so many times it has lost it’s humor.  Even though it doesn’t seem quite as amusing it has undergone a metamorphosis of sorts in terms of meaning to me.

A really good example is an incident that occurred very recently…thus why I’ve been prompted to address this topic.  I went on a shopping trip with my rowdy children and one-who-shall-not-be-named for legal purposes.   The reason for the trip was a monthly stock-up run at a large warehouse department store.  My children were being a special brand of “crazy bad” for the past 24 hours and looked as though this day was not going to be any better.  Actually to be quite fair it was mainly my daughter. My son was just being typical brand of “kid bad” that day.  Upon arrival to the store one-who-shall-not-be-named and I got a cart each and took one child each to split them up.  When giving one-who-shall-not-be-named the choice of which child they would like for the duration they immediately opted for the less of the two evils that day, my son.

The trip of course coincided with nap time.  We had planned well to feed the children prior to entering the store but unfortunately there is only a small window between lunch and nap.  Once in the store I spent most of my time begging my daughter to behave herself and threating to ground her for life if she didn’t settle down.  More than once I said to one-who-shall-not-be-named and loud enough for the patron that was shopping nearby “Good choice on which kid you picked today.”  All was well until about ¾ ways through the trip when my son started getting the pre-nap whine on.  He began to get fussy but with that heavy lidded, head nod happening.  One-who-shall-not-be-named was first walking around with their hand under his head trying to provide some support so that he could have a nap.  Between navigating the cart and my son starting to increase the fuss level to an actual cry one-who-shall-not-be-named took of their jacket and put it under my son’s head in order to encourage slumber.  It wasn’t enough; the cry was beginning to escalate into a probable scene.  I then offered my jacket, which if you read my last article and for those who know me, is a HUGE sacrifice on my part because I’m always cold.  It still wasn’t enough; we were coming close to a possible melt down.  Then one-who-shall-not-be-named grabbed a large soft housecoat from the clothing section close-by and placed it on top of the all the jackets already existing under his head. My son is insane about his SOFT blankets and without something microfiber soft he is almost impossible to convince to sleep without.  Now that all his sleeping criteria were met he immediately dozed off and was silent. 

                                                                *                             *                             *

Flash forward about half an hour and several threats to my daughter later and we have just left the store.  We are in the parking lot; it’s really, really cold (especially as we are both jacketless) and we are trying to get the vehicle loaded with our wares.  Upon getting my son out of the car seat one-who-shall-not-be-named realizes that we have inadvertently not paid for said housecoat.  By this time we’re both exhausted, my son is screaming bloody murder due to being woken up early and upon removal of his soft “blanket.”  One-who-shall-not-be-named did something completely and utterly out of character, put the soft housecoat back on my son (who immediately said “Bank, you” and fell back asleep) and said “Whatever let’s just go.”  We are now fugitives from the law. 

My 2 year old son was capable of forcing me to be an accessory to a crime.  If that is not out of my character or one-who-shall-not-be-named’s character than I don’t what is.  Anyhow the mental anguish subsided pretty fast, due partly to the fact that my son stopped that ear-piercing screaming and even my daughter fell asleep shortly after but also because karma has already paid us back.  We shortly discovered the pilfered housecoat will fit absolutely no one that we know of because it’s both too small for the adults and way too big for the kids.  At least in my conscious I know that if we were going to intentionally steal something than at least we’d ensure it fit first.

 

 

 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Coffee and Rebellion


I consider myself an early riser.  I’ve always been the person up at the crack of dawn ready to rock (just ask my mother she’d confirm this detail).  I am also like this naturally.  I don’t drink coffee because the results are somewhat akin to the whole Jekyll/Hyde conundrum but instead of an evil conscious free beast I turn into someone as completely annoying as Jar Jar Binks from the more recently produced Star Wars series.  In fact at one point my husband asked what I would like, while we were waiting in the infamous Tim-Horton’s drive-thru line up, and I responded that “I think I’m going to try a coffee today.”  My husband gave me a look of exasperation and said (to which I’m not kidding) “I’d rather see you drink 10 shots of tequila than a cup of Timmies Coffee!”  Therefore my choice of caffeinated morning drinks is generally a mild tea.

Tea is actually a new development in my choice of morning beverage.  It’s just been since the birth of my son that I really started to notice a dependence on my cup of tea in the morning to get me through.  I also blame it ON the birth of my children that I am turning to chemical substances to give me that perk that has always come to me so effortlessly.  Don’t get me wrong I’d probably still be the type of person to go to bed early and rise early if left to my natural habitat but I’ve also noticed that I’ve got this underlying personality trait I never realized I had, rebellion.

On top of being an early riser I’m also a goody-goody.  Through my teenage years I kept myself out of trouble because of this one concern my mom planted in my brain during my pre-teen childhood stage.  She told me that she hated all teenagers because they were all assholes.  I asked her if she was going to hate me as well, she said “Yeah you’re probably going to be an asshole too.”  Well I’m such a people pleaser that this particular line stuck with me and I always swore to myself that I would NOT become a teenage asshole and I didn’t.  I participated in very limited of the teenage experimentations and was often forced into skipping a day or two of school by my very own mother (I think even she thought I needed to try to act out on more of those turbulent teenage hormones).  It wasn’t until I had my kids did this latent rebellious gene rear its ugly head.

My kids have always been fantastic sleepers.  I think that’s why they survived everything else.  I have several friends who have kids that don’t sleep very well but during the day their kids seem like normal human beings.  I got the flip side.  My kids sleep well at night but during the day they act as they are aliens on a mission to destroy all that we know.  However, as of recent my daughter has started to wake up at the crack of dawn and pull out all weapons in her artillery to ensure that the neighborhood has woken up with her.  This normally would suit me just fine except for this unknown characteristic that’s been emerging.

I am coming to the conclusion that there are three reasons for the lack of pep in my step:

One, this is the first time in my life I find myself without a goal.  I am currently unemployed for the first time since I was 14.  I am not immersed in my employment, planning a wedding, anticipating the birth of a baby, working on the renovations of a house, attempting to buy or sell property, packing or prepping for a move across the country, aiding with the care of a sick loved one or getting geared up to execute a giant family reunion (aka the past 10 years of my life).   I am currently organized, scratched out the bulk of my to-do list and I’m not surrounded by an entire community of people who have kept my life occupied and busy.   I want to stop here though and point out that I’m not complaining about this.  It’s just the fact that lack of a major goal looming on the horizon is a foreign concept to me and so I’m not sure how to react.

Second, I think I might be burnt out and just catching up from all the items listed above.

Thirdly, having the same routine for 10 years straight.  Even though my life seems to have slowed down exponentially I still participate in the usual kids routines.  People say that I’m probably feeling so busy and overwhelmed by the two kids but I’m not so sure if that’s exactly the reason.  I think it might have more to do with the employment I’ve served in the past 10 years.  I worked with mentally disabled adults, and while extremely rewarding and having given me an unprecedented knowledge of life skills, it basically involved me following the exact same routine as I follow now as a parent.  I think it’s lost the luster eons ago. 

Lastly it’s this underlying rebellion emerging.  I don’t want to.  I don’t want to get up when the kids want me to.  This morning is a prime example.  I was actually lying in bed awake for near half an hour before my daughter emerged from her bedroom and came to wake me up.  I instantly shut my eyes, put down the book I was reading and pretended I was sleeping.  I fought with her for nearly 30 minutes basically begging her to let me just lay there for a little while longer.  I mean what was my problem?  It’s not like I wasn’t already awake.  I finally dragged myself up and out of bed when child number two made an appearance screaming for “NOKE” (that’s how he says milk) and if he doesn’t get it first thing in the morning he will continue to scream “PLEEEEEASE NOKE!” indefinitely.  I went into the kitchen, poured the kids their morning elixir and immediately went to my Tassimo machine.  I sat in front of it staring blankly trying to decide whether I should stick with my regular tea or go for a coffee to jolt some life back into my brain.   I know this sounds ridiculous because it’s not like I wasn’t already awake but something about the kids forcing me out of bed makes my brain put on the breaks and pretend it’s really tired.

This is how the conversation in my head usually goes when faced with this dilemma:

Rational Side: “I should make myself a tea.”

Jar Jar Binks Side: “I don't know. Mesa day startin pretty okee-day with a brisky morning coffay, then BOOM!!”

Rational Side: “I wonder if there is a chance I’ll see anyone I know today.  They could possibly cease to allow me to hang out ever again if they witness me on coffee.  I should stick with the tea.”

Jar Jar Binks Side: “Whatsa wrong with yousa? Hava coffay!”

Rational Side: “Do you remember what happened last time you had a coffee?”

Jar Jar Binks Side: “My forgotten, da Familia will do terrible tings to me. TERRRRRIBLE is me going back der!”

Rational Side: “So a tea it is again, sigh.”

Jar Jar Binks Side: “This is nutsen.”

Rational Side: “Oh shut-up Jar Jar Binks.”

Jar Jar Binks Side: “How wude!

 

You'll be glad to know I picked the tea again. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Things that change.


Only a parent can fully understand the level of sacrifice needed to bring babies from that innocent, vulnerable, defenseless, stage of a human’s life to a stage where they can be somewhat self-sufficient (although I think that stage seems to be quite prolonged now compared to the not-too-distant past).  This sacrifice alone might actually be the one hardest aspects of the entire parenting processes.  When you have a baby a person needs to be prepared that their life will never, ever be quite the same as it was before.  Some people handle that aspect like champs, some people completely lose control and once seemingly decent people (or perhaps moderately seeming decent people) can turn into disasters after bringing a child into this world.  I think whatever the situation a parent can honestly say that there are several things they do now that they would have NEVER have done in the past.

Here are just a few examples of things that change:

Shopping.  You almost never find yourself shopping in a store that interests you because they usually involve a million breakable items that you would be a fool to take your kids near or tiny change rooms the stroller definitely won’t fit in.  When you have to do most of your shopping with the kids you find yourself waiting to go until you’re down to your last cracker, egg, banana and in my house milk (pretty sure we should have gotten our self a Jersey Cow to satisfy my son’s appetite).  I was never a big shopper to begin with but I definitely enjoyed it 10 times more before the kids learned that in big crowds mom probably won’t punish us as harshly.

Traveling:  I’ve always loved to travel, see new sights and explore foreign customs.  As soon as you have kids tagging along traveling becomes more like a new brand of torture.  We thought we got off lucky because my daughter is a really good traveler.  I apparently should have stopped having kids after her if I wanted to continue with the level of traveling that I’ve always dreamed of.  My son is what people refer to as a “homebody.”  We still attempt to take him with us, although on a few trips we considered leaving him behind.  It’s now become this crazy circus like production for us to go anywhere, even if it’s just a weekend trip.  You start to examine amenities such as playgrounds, hotel swimming pools, kid friendly restaurants, stroller accessible accommodations or flight options like a pro-sleuth before daring to book anything.  A place that you would have once avoided like the plague has become the number one pick on your list.  Once you’ve decided you’re going to leave it takes two months of careful planning, packing, re-packing (because they’ve outgrown the pants by two sizes already) and downright insanity to get out the door.  By the time you leave you have your entire house contents somehow crammed into every nook and cranny of your vehicle and you’ll definitely still have forgotten something vital (sometimes one of the children).  For some reason though I never seem to learn.  I have such a draw to go and see the world that I fool myself into thinking this time it’s going to be easier.  I am about to actually embark on my very first adults only trip since I’ve had the kids.  I’m now scared of two things.  One I’m going to miss the little buggers so much I’ll be homesick for the first time in my life or two that I’m going to enjoy myself so much that I’m going to disappear into the jungle to never be found.

Adult time: I’m not sure how many parents reading this will consent but adult time is starting to look like locking the door while going to the bathroom (even if the kids are on the other side of the door knocking and yelling for you), filling your car up with gas because you can’t hear the kids in the car with all the doors shut, the blissful 10 minutes between the time you put your kids to bed and when you go to sleep because you’re too exhausted to stay up past 9:00pm and other such moments.  When I have other people around that will watch the kids for me I’m so grateful to be able to have a shower without children underfoot or to be able to run to the store for supplies.  Going out for a night of dinner and movies with your partner is like a fantastical dream even then however you will find yourself talking about the children all night.  I’m not sure that will ever change now.

There are also several small things that you find yourself doing now that you are a parent but NEVER would have dreamed of doing before:  Watching the absolute worst shows on TV because it keeps your kid quiet for half an hour. Eating the leftovers your children leave on their plate (doesn’t matter if they’ve spit it out because they don’t like it).  Going out of your way to watch a parade (I hate parades, didn’t even like them as a kid, but my kids unfortunately love them). Choosing to eat at a restaurant you don’t like because it’s kid-friendly.  Buying a mini-van for your main family vehicle (hey they’re roomy and still decent on fuel).  I could probably go on forever.

On that note I have not had to yell at my kids to leave me alone for the past 5 sentences. This makes me scared because when you do actually get a moment to yourself and the kids are completely quiet in the background you know that they are probably up to something that may require bringing the pressure washer in to fix.