No one told me that somehow when you grow a human being in your uterus, the physical changes are not just stretch marks, extra-belly skin, sagging breasts and dark circles. They are also extra laugh lines, and somehow a weird physiological change that somehow makes your tear-ducts more sensitive.
My husband (then my boyfriend) once commented on my lack of emotion, pointing out that I don't cry at sad movies. For the record, I have known my husband almost 17 years and have NEVER seen him cry, so the whole "people who live in glass houses..." (BTW - after being together 17 years I now am ofter called "crazy" "dramatic" and "overly-emotional" so I have lost my tough-as-nails reputation.)
Besides, I argued, I did cry when I watched Black Beauty. Remember at the end when the boy is riding the cart by the field? And the horse recognizes him even though he is all grown up? And the old horse starts running as fast as he can to catch the boy (now a man) and get is attention? Totally cried!
But as a mother, something has changed in me, and now I can cry anytime, anywhere. Technically, I should consider acting 'cause there is no need for fake tears for me.
Things that make me cry now, as a mom, that didn't affect me at all before include (but are definitely not limited to):
Terry Fox. Just thinking about him makes me cry. I don't know if it is in amazement at his story, his courage, his strength or that he didn't finish his run but we all remember him and know what he did for cancer. Every September when the kids come home from school and talk about Terry Fox, I open up one of our books and start reading about him and just cry and cry. Silent hot tears thinking about him. Summer of 2009 when we drove up to Thunder Bay, we saw where he ran his last mile and had to stop. OK. Tears starting....
Remembrance Day. Starting in high school I bought and wore poppies because I took the subway to school and had to walk by those veterans every day. My school was right near Queens Park, and for a few years when I was in the choir I actually sang at one of the government buildings. I can still sing, "In Flanders Fields" and "Abide with me." Now, I want to cry when I see an aging veteran, so few of them around, their hands shaking as they want to pin your poppy to your coat, right over your heart. I think about everything that they went through, and wonder how they don't cry every time they put a poppy on some stranger's jacket.
Now don't even get me started on our Highway of Heros and the repatriation ceremonies.
Finally, a few weeks ago I sat mesmerized with the rest of the world watching the Chilean Miners. 69 days! Trapped underground. I was just so happy that they were all OK and all finally out. Tears of relief and joy for them and their families. And when their kids saw their dads?
The latest was this morning, watching this video on YouTube . OK. I didn't actually know that Rick Mercer and Mark Tewksbury were Gay.
There are so many things that touch me now as a mom that I think I just didn't notice before. It is like being a mother is an open wound, susceptible to all of the pain, hurt, love and joy that others feel. Like a major empathy nerve.
Here is a story that can also make me cry - to all of the moms out there who always have a Kleenex shoved up their sleeve:
"Mom, why are you crying?" he asked his mom.
"Because I'm a woman" she told him.
"I don't understand," he said.
His mom just hugged him and said, "and you never will." Later the little boy asked his father, "Why does mother seem to cry for no reason?"
"All women cry for no reason" was all his dad could say.
The little boy grew up and became a man, still wondering why women cry.
Finally he put in a call to GOD. When GOD got on the phone the man said, "GOD, why do women cry so easily?"
"When I made women she had to be special. I made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world; yet, gentle enough to give comfort.
I gave her an inner strength to endure childbirth and the rejection that many times comes from her children.
I gave her a hardness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up and take care of her family through sickness and fatigue without complaining.
I gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances, even when her child has hurt her very badly. This same sensitivity helps her to make a child's boo-boo feel better and shares in her teenagers anxieties and fears.
I gave her strength to carry her husband through his faults and fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart.
I gave her wisdom to know that a good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him unfaltering.
I gave her a tear to shed, it's hers exclusively to use whenever it is needed. It's her only weakness; it's a tear for mankind."
--- Author Unknown ---
This weekend was a wonderful Thanksgiving for me and my family. As life gets faster and busier, I like to focus on family time and appreciating each of my children more and more. And appreciating Husband more, too.
Daughter, starting JK, has become such a little girl! But a big, little girl. She has outgrown her size three clothes, grabbing her snack and backpack and heading out the door with her big brothers each morning. She is still the little delicious girl, small enough to carry everywhere! And now also getting big enough to be more independent.
A few weeks ago, on one of the rainy morning before school, I dropped all three of them off at the gate. It was Daughter's first school day with rain, and I asked her brothers to introduce her to the rain-day-protocol (through the main doors, to your classroom before the bell). The two boys BOTH offered to take her to her class, shared the responsibility (one holding her hand, the other carrying her backpack) and off the three of them went. That was a teary mom moment for me, realizing my good kids, how the three of them have one another to rely on when they need to.
Son Two has entered Grade One this year. He takes school more seriously than Son One, but doesn't say much. Bringing home his perfect spelling test each week, I marvel at his beautiful printing. He is quiet and reserved, but is going through a phase where Dad and I are actually allowed to hug and cuddle him lots. I am so lucky!
Son One is in Grade Three. According to him, he is quite "famous." You see, Son Two is in a spit, so the Grade Twos want to hang out with his big brother, thus making Son One think he is famous. Love it! I actually like him developing some self-confidence as he has a tendency to get down on himself a little too easily.
I am so thankful for my three wonderful children. Yes, they are definitely not perfect. But I adore them anyway, and they mean the world to me. Happy Thanksgiving!
I've fallen in love a few times this summer. No, this isn't a secret from my Husband. He knows that I am a hopeless romantic, and fall in and out of love with the seasons.
This summer, I have fallen in love twice.
First, I fell in love with knitting. There is something amazing about creating something beautiful and wearable with my own two hands. I have my Nana to thank for teaching me to knit 31 years ago. I was probably a lousy student, but I have that desire to create and so I came back to knitting, and now am spending far too much time planning future projects. So far this summer I have knit a scarf (yes, summer...) a baby blanket, and two hats (yes, summer! I know, I know...)
Unfortunately, not only have I fallen for knitting, but I have fallen for purchasing yarn online. KnitPicks. I've learned that there is knitter slang, "SABLE: Stash Amassed Beyond Life Expectancy." Stash, for those of you who can't guess, is the yarn. Yes, this actually means that you have so much yarn, and so many projects planned, that you couldn't possibly finish them all before you die... Pleasant thought.
My other new summer love is tea. But not just any tea. Life Long Oolong from David's Tea. Again, in the spring if you would have told me that I would amass a stash of tea that I may not be able to drink before death (or before it goes bad) I wouldn't have believed you. In fact, I didn't even own a kettle a month ago. Seriously!
But now it is tea and knitting, knitting and tea. Iced tea. Hot tea.
Tea whilst knitting.
Currently, I am using some "stash" to make a dress for Daughter. For the record, because I tend to be a "loose" knitter (no comments, please!) it took me no fewer than 9 tries to get going on the dress! Now I am finally on my way. She wants me to finish so she can wear it to the first day of school. Hate to tell her, but it may not happen...
Ah, summer love. Question - will you still be there for me when the leaves start to fall and the sky turns grey?
Last week I took Son Two and Daughter for an eye check-up. This was Daughter's first, and Son Two's second, and I thought it would be something good for her to do before starting school, and for Son Two to be ready for reading off the board in Grade One.
Neither Husband nor I wear glasses (I had a brief stint with lenses when I was a consultant, but I think it was more staring at laptop screen for 14 hours a day that caused eye fatigue) so I assume that my children won't need them; heredity, right?
Both of our moms do wear glasses, and all four of our sisters, too (though both of Husband's sisters and my mom have now had surgery to correct their vision.)
Most moms have heard that newborns have notoriously bad eyesight (I've heard as bad as 20/200). That is why breastfeeding is great because they can focus 12 - 18 inches from their faces, and high contrast images, like black and white, also help babies focus.
Moms also have vision changes during pregnancy and breast feeding, as the hormone changes can soften the cornea and change your vision.
Daughter is Four, and her vision was about 20/30; this is considered normal for her age and will likely improve to 20/20 by the time she is six.
Son Two was tested and had 20/15 vision, though it is possibly better just we didn't test further.
20/20 vision is a sort of baseline. It means that what a "normal" person can read on an eye chart at 20 feet. Therefor, son's 20/15 means that what a person with "normal" vision can read on an eye chart at 15 feet, he can read a 20 feet.
Son Two tried to help me, whose vision is worsening with age according to my Optometrist. He was yelling out the answers, like "D! Mom! It is a D!" Lucky for me our optometrist also has sons his age and wasn't too perturbed by the disturbance.
My vision, while still 20/20, is worsening. The Dr. told me to come back in 5 years for reading glasses and asked if I was finding it harder to drive and see at night... HMMMM...
Can someone please explain to me why every time I take my children to the park, I have to witness two or three other children PEEING in the bushes????
Am I the only one who finds this disgusting?
I know that parents will try to tell me that it is "natural" "convenient" or "well - they really had to go!" but today I witnesses two children peeing mere steps away from public washrooms! Yes, in one case the public bathroom wasn't pristine, but it was clean, bright and well stocked, and in the other case it was less than 15 feet from the doors of a very nice community centre.
Yes, I know that boys can just whip it out and pee anyway, but that doesn't mean that they have to, right? I mean, in a MODERN, CIVILIZED SOCIETY we have toilets for a reason.
I've had playdates pee in my backyard. Seriously parents? Of course I blame the parents! Someone has told and/or modeled that it is OK to pee anywhere, anytime.
Maybe I don't understand, not having the parts and the freedom. And yes, I am sure that my boys have, on occasion, peed against a tree.
But in public parks? Near playgrounds? Yuck! Not to mention the creeps hanging out in the trees around the playground watching your little ones "wee" (yes, they do!)
PLEASE parents, show some consideration for others. Teach you children about privacy, civil rules, common decency and proper bathroom briquette. And stop grossing the rest of us out.
Today Daughter pointed and yelled, "LOOK AT THAT BOY PEEING OVER THERE!" Neither mother nor child looked at all chagrined.
Just picked up this book, and can't put it down! I am torn between wanting to read it as quickly as possible to find out the story, and reading and savouring every beautiful word and phrase.
Little Bee is a rare gem. I hadn't heard anything about this book, but picked it up on a whim when visiting Chapters on Saturday. I was intrigued by the lack of story information about the book, and thought that the only way to get in on the secret was to read it. Apparently I have missed all of the media attention.
The last book that has pulled my like this was, The Book Thief.
I keep putting Little Bee down just to absorb! Amazing.
I don't want to let you know what happens. I want to you to read this book, and experience if for yourself. Already there have been tears, and I am just starting... WOW.
I am lying in bed, sad for myself. After you read this, I give you permission to feel sorry for me, too.
I was putting Son Two to sleep. He is slightly feverish and has a cold, and asked that I lay down with him. No problem, sweetheart.
Unfortunately, he has watched Degrassi with me, and has lots of questions about Adam/Gracie Torres and the boy/girl. Of course, I had to explain. You see, we are all born the way we are. We are all different. We don't get to choose things about ourselves, like eye colour, height, hair colour. Some boys like boys, and some boys like girls. And some girls like girls. So you can't pick on someone because of the way that they are, because they didn't choose that. Except if they are mean, because you choose to be mean. But we have to appreciate people for who they are and what they can do. Some people are smart, some people are athletic. Some people are really good friends. (By the way, if you could follow all of the tangents of this discussion, then I assume that you have some experience explaining complicated and sensitive topics to a six year old who may or may not really care, or may just be asking questions to postpone falling asleep.)
I pointed out to Son Two things about him that he "just is," like smart, and great with numbers, and athletic - a good lacrosse player and an amazing hockey player.
Then I made a mistake. I asked Son Two what he thinks Mommy is good at, expecting answers like reading (I am world-class consumer of fiction), baking (cakes and cookies), knitting, even driving.
Son Two: Ummm... I don't know anything that you are good at.
Silence. Too shocked to respond. Good at nothing? Really? He has known me for 6 1/2 years and can't think of a single thing? Come on! He could have at least said something lame (yet sweet) like, "You are a good mommy!"
He notices my silence, and realizes that his answer may not have been exactly what I was looking for. He tries again.
Son Two: Well, I haven't seen you do everything yet.
Thanks honey. I bet if I asked him what Daddy is good at, he would have lots of things to tell me about. Unfortunately, he has fallen asleep and I am on my own to list good things about myself.
Daughter is talking about babies. She loves them, and as one of her aunts is due any minutes with baby number four (yes, some people don't know when to stop - JOKE!) it is all daughter can talk about.
Actually conversation on the ride home from dropping her brother off at camp: Daughter: This baby is either going to be a girl or a boy baby, right? Me: Correct. Daughter: So it will be a she or a he. Me: Right. Daughter: I know where babies come out. Me: (concerned that I have to have this conversation with a four year old. I a mean - it is not even 9 am yet! Urgh!) Where do babies come out? (Yes, I had to ask.)
Daughter: Babies come out of the hospital! That's where you got us, right? Me: (too shocked and relieved to do anything but laugh!) Daughter: Mommy? Why are you laughing?
OK, now I know that I should correct her assumption that I just went and somehow picked her up at the hospital, but I really feel like I've dodged a bullet with this one, and I haven't had breakfast yet so I didn't want to get into the talk anyway. I know that next time I won't be so lucky.
As previously noted, I am not the gardener in the family. However, earlier this summer, while walking through Rona's I was inspired to actually garden. Is that a verb?
While away, the garden became a little overgrown. On my way out to grocery shop, I peeked at my vegetables and found an edible cucumber! Really, are you as impressed as I am that I was able to grow something that we can eat?
Note: I placed the measuring tape beside the cucumber for scale. Impressed yet? I think we spent roughly $100 on plants, a hoe, soil and fertilizer... I had dreams of homemade tomato sauce, bruschetta and crisp salad vegetables. So far, we have a cucumber... YAY! But I am sure that there are weeks more to go in our harvest, right?
Today I weeded the garden. Possibly the first time weeding a garden in my life since I was a child and paid a penny per weed by my Nana. Lots of bugs in the garden. Have I ever mentioned my loathing of bugs?
Then, I staked three tomato plants. Before you jump to the conclusion that I did a half-assed job, let me remind you that I had only planted three tomato plants. I thought that they were Roma Tomatoes, but turns out now that I see the tomatoes growing, I have only one Roma plant and two Beefsteak tomato plants, and of course the Roma is the smallest.
There are also both of the cucumber plants still thriving, the vines tangles with some purple flowers that my neighbour planted, one pepper plant (that had a new green pepper on it when I started my weeding, but it got knocked off... and no more flowers!) and a lemon basil plant. The watermelon didn't make it.
The truly sad thing about my garden is its comparison to my neighbour's garden (we affectionately refer to her as the "Old Lady who Lives Next Door" because we have been here for 10 years and it seems to late to ask her for her name!). She is 87, and I think she survives the winters off the bounty of her harvest.
I finally finished knitting a sock for Son Two last night. Blue, with green heel and toe. It is custom made, and an almost perfect fit. How do I explain? The right length, but maybe a little on the loose size in the girth?
I decided to try sock knitting because it seemed like it would be a lot quicker than the traditional sweater knitting. You see, sweaters take a really, really long time (up to 6 weeks) whereas socks take one to five days. Quicker finished product means that I am less likely to get bored and give up. Plus, everyone needs socks, right? Yes, I know you can buy them at Walmart and Zellers for $2 a pair, but where is the skill and talent in that?
Last night I finished the sock after Son Two had gone to sleep. Son One tried it on for me - and it didn't fit! Sure, it fit around his foot, but it was too short. Thus a perfectly made sock for Son Two.
Son Two tried it on this morning, and I expected him to be impressed and excited. Instead I got, "I need two, you know!" Gee, really? Yes, I seem to recall when I get birth to you that they mentioned ten figures and ten toes - and I did assume that those ten toes were divided evenly on two feet.
This morning I started on the second sock. Now that I know what I am doing, I hope to be finished by the end of the week. Then Son One wants a pair; then Daughter; and then I have to move on to hats and scarves if I want them to be ready by Christmas. Yes, those are my long range knitting goals. Hats and scarves for Christmas - YAY!
My children are Catholic. I know, I know... I should whisper it or something. Maybe apologize. Hide the bibles and crosses when company comes over. But I won't.
Eight years ago, Husband and I discussed Baptizing Son One, and decided to, much to the disbelief of many of my friends.
Husband and I come from an interfaith marriage. Yes, some people comment that we look so alike we could be brother and sister (YUCK!) but we come from different faiths. Husband, raised on a farm outside of Toronto, is United. Actually, I think that he is the first United person I had ever met in my life.
I grew up with Catholics and Protestants. Really, may as well have been in Ireland. (Except that many of my Catholic friends were in fact Ukrainian Catholic...) I was raised mostly Ukrainian Catholic, with Roman Catholicism thrown in during my teenage years. I attempted to turn Wiccan in university, to find a goddess-based faith comfortable with my feminism, but learned that my Catholicism was more a part of my foundation than I realized.
For the record, Ukrainian Catholic Priest can marry and have families. I think the loophole is something like they have to be married first and then called to the priesthood. This is one of the best-kept secrets at the Vatican. I still have Roman Catholic friends who swear this is not so.
All of my children were Baptized Ukrainian Catholic, where they follow the Eastern Rites and are Confirmed with their Baptisms. The boys attend Catholic school, and Daughter will be starting there in September.
To be Catholic in this time and place means that you have to defend your faith whenever it comes up. Yes, the church has some evil secrets that are now out in the open. Yes, it sucks to be a woman in the Catholic Church. Yes, the Church's views of abortion, birth control and other issues are more than a little backward. Plus I believe the argument that more wars are fought over religion than anything else.
Yet I am choosing to raise my children with faith. Why? Because I like the comforts of having a belief system in place, and I want my children to grow up with that. I feel relaxed and at home when I enter a church, with the rituals and images. My children may learn about God, but more importantly they learning about the golden rule (treat everyone as you would like to be treated), virtues, and yes, sin.
Religion, to me, is about the myths and stories that provide life lessons, values, and a foundation to why the world works the way it does, and our place in the world. At Catholic school I learned about the Bible as Myth, and compared our myths to those of other backgrounds finding more similarities than differences.
Son One has attended Catholic School for the past four years, and so far my only complaint is that I find the school a little too academic.
But we are Canadian, and Hell is dead. Didn't you know? In our country is OK to bash Catholics, but not any other religion, though Canadians are still mostly Catholic. And though we may not be attending our churches with the same zeal of the Americans, we still believe. In Ontario, we still have a government funded Catholic School System that parallels the public. And while those of us living in Toronto sometimes question this amongst our city of many faiths, we have to remember that we are less than 10% of the country here. A country where our last census found over 45% Catholic, and our Prime Minister who attends mass every Sunday but doesn't praise God in his work.
I love being Canadian. But I am also Catholic, and I want my children to grow up knowing Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. That is my choice. And if you don't like it, too bad.
There is something primal about being a mother. I am feeling that urge to growl and bat someone's head off with a mighty swipe of my paw. Mother bear - I relate completely to acting aggressively to protect my young cubs.
Of course this is all just fantasy. In the real world we don't get to deal with people who are mean or insult our children like that. But it would be nice, wouldn't it?
Yesterday someone insulted my first born - flesh of my body, bone of my bone, etc. I have vicious visions of tearing them limb from limb and loading them into the wood chipper, a la Fargo. But that isn't going to happen. Instead, and I quote my actually response, "I need to go to my purse now." Seriously!
The problem is that there are people in this world. Ignorant, rude, mean, vocal people who are somehow completely lacking in social graces, and mistakenly believe that their "brutally honest" opinions are somehow facts. Didn't anyone ever tell them if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all? Are these the bullies from our childhood is their immature adult forms?
Unfortunately, we, the 80-95% rest of the population (also referred to as "normal people") have to deal daily with these rude jerks who talk but don't listen.
Were they raised by wolves?
See, in the wild that mama bear would kick that wolf's A$$ for raising her cubs with such ill manners. GROWL!
Do you know how many Facebook friends you have? I have no clue. It is like asking me what my odometer reads... still no clue! Are you supposed to know how many friends you have? I think people who count their Facebook friends are shallow misers. But enough about you, we're talking about me and my Facebook experience, right?
I like Facebook, but am not addicted. I like hearing little bits about the lives of people I know, without actually having to see and talk to them. It is sort of like running into an old friend at the supermarket. You spend 3 minutes catching up before your ice cream melts. PERFECT! See you around. No need for coffee plans.
If you have more than 500 friends on Facebook, that is too many. You can't possible care about that many people. And if you don't care about them, why do you want them as your friend? Heck - I think if you have more than 200 you are pushing the boundaries. Pare down. Unfriend that kid from your second grade class who picked his nose and ate it. Add that guy that you used to work with whom everyone secretly hated. Unfriend your mother-in-law while you are at it (JUST KIDDING!)
I have unfriended people. Yes, I admit it. Does that make me evil? There are certain types of people who I don't love being friends with. Go ahead - see if you are in one of the categories:
People who tell you EVERYTHING about themselves, every minute of the day. Really, I would be following you on Twitter if I wanted to know that your grilled chicken sandwich and diet pepsi were worth only a 6 out of 10. Get a life!
People I didn't like when I knew them. If I didn't talk to you when I knew you, why would I friend you on facebook? Note: this makes up about 20% of my current friends, but I am too polite to ditch them.
People who don't have anything to do with their Facebook accounts. They sign up, add a few friends, and then never check them again. Just unjoin - you won't be missed.
People who are constantly streaming videos and linking to articles. Sure, once in a while is OK, but not daily. Trust me, we don't all share your opinion on everything.
Look, I like to go to Facebook and find out that you had a baby, or a really bad day. I like hearing the odd opinion on Glee, and anything that will make me laugh. I also like using it to keep in touch with friends whose emails I can't find, or plan big family parties.
I wish that I was one of those people who was good and wishing all of their friends a "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" on their wall on their birthday, but since I don't need a computer daily for work, I just don't have the free time to be that friendly and thoughtful.
Are you addicted to Facebook? Really? Why?
If you have more than 200 friends, you may be an addict.
If you check you Facebook from your cell phone, you may be an addict.
If you check Facebook without being dressed, you may be an addict.
If you play Facebook games, you may be an addict.
If you troll for friends once a week or more, you may be an addict.
If you have ever published what you just ate, and wasn't a warning because you ended up in the ER, you may be an addict.
If you only talk to your friends on Facebook, but don't actually see them anymore, you may be an addict.
If you are a Facebook addict, shut off the damn computer and get outside. There are weeds than need pulled.
Hello! This is my first official entry from my brand new MacBook Pro (bought it myself - not an apple ad!) It came with a free itouch, that the kids are now fighting over.
Now I can write and let you know that my kids are annoying me while hiding in my bedroom with a laptop. Doesn't that sound like fun? In fact, it comes with a light-up keyboard so I could even be hiding in my closet when they get really torturous.
Lately it has been a huge pain to get on the computer. As soon as I would sit down and turn it on, I'd have another set of hands on the mouse and at the keyboard (namely Daughter) telling me that they just want to type their name.
So this is MOMMY'S LAPTOP. Except that the kids just want to try it. We'll see how this all works out. But for now, I am thrilled.
Husband and I will be celebrating our Tenth Wedding Anniversary this June.
Back when we were young, naive and childless, and romantically wandering around on our honeymoon, we said that we would go to Italy for our 10th Anniversary.
I never actually believed it would happen once our lives became full of family and commitments, but we just returned Sunday.
Italy was AMAZING! We flew into Venice, which I LOVED, then took the train to Rome, then to Sorrento. Loved it!
And the sleep we had! 14 hours one night. Another night 12 hours and actually slept through the 11 am end of breakfast.
Husband and I were glued at the hip, and it was nice. We haven't spent this much time together since our honeymoon.
But it wasn't a "second honeymoon." You only get one honeymoon... luckily for us, ours was perfect. To us this was a trip that we wanted to take, that would have been too difficult to do with the kids.
But now we have returned, and I feel in a fog. My head is full of clouds, and the caffeine isn't clearing them. Weeks I planned and prepared for the trip. My mother, who moved in to take care of the kids, got a detailed itinerary of who goes where when and what they need. God Bless that woman, but when she asked it I would prioritize the events, I had to say, "just make it to what you can!" The kids made it to almost everything, and it was vomiting that kept them away. (NOTE: Murphy's Law - when you go away without your children, at least one of them will vomit.)
I should have planned out this week as well, because I seem to have lost my ability to think, and a 12 page itinerary would be really nice right about now.
We missed the kids, but after day two actually got passed talking about them every minute. Sure they missed us, but they were well taken care of.
Now, for our 15th... I think we are planning something with the entire family. Because after all, isn't that what a marriage really celebrates? The creation of a new family? Even it is always just a family of two... ours now five.
According to Husband, our next trip away without the kids will be our 25th anniversary. What a romantic!
Daughter's favourite movie, by a landslide, is "Mamma Mia." She loves Sophie, and can most of the songs with accuracy of words, if not lyrics.
So when I heard that Mamma Mia, the musical, was returning to Toronto, I thought it would be a great way to celebrate Mother's Day with my Daughter and Mom, and her first ever musical...
Look, when it comes to musical theater, I am gay man in a woman's body. Really. I love it! All of it. I can't ever remember seeing musical I didn't love, though I have my favourites (Les Mis, Wicked, Spring Awakening and Joseph). This is also why I rush to download the latest Glee songs from itunes every Wednesday morning (this week it is Jessie's Girl on my playlist).
I can't sing, and I am not much of a dancer (despite the year of ballet I am just completing.) My dream would be to sing and dance on Broadway, except as a realist I just have to enjoy myself from the audience.
Perhaps Daughter will inherit her father's voice and have a shot at fulfilling my dream, but I won't hold my breath. At least she loves the music as much as I do, and I am now glad to say that I will never again have to drag husband to a performance.
Yesterday we sat, three in a row, in the nosebleed section at the Princess of Wales Theater, along with school groups and senior bus tours, to watch Mamma Mia. It was great! Was it the best production I have ever seen? Nope. But who doesn't love Abba and some slightly scandalous raunchiness on a Wednesday afternoon?
The big bonus was Jack, as in Jack and Jennifer from Days of Our Lives as Bill Anderson. LOVE HIM!
Daughter enjoyed her first ever musical. Though I have to be honest - I think she still prefers the movie. She came home and put on the DVD immediately to sing and dance along!
To my friend - I am sorry that your Mother's Day sucked. You are the best mom that I know. Your kids are obviously ungrateful punks, but you rock. The good news - guess whose Father's Day is going to be miserable next month? Yep!
I had a great Mother's Day. Breakfast in bed (at 8:20 AM!) But then I stayed in bed until 11:40. Just Because. It was Mother's Day, and I was tired. So there!
Then, my sister and her family came over for lunch, and I went shopping with my mom and sister. And spent a little bit of money on myself.
Came home to flowers and cards.
I am not this big huge sentimental fool about holidays like Mother's Day or Valentine's Day. Heck, Husband and I don't even make it out for dinner on our anniversary most years. But still, if the day passed unnoticed than it would hurt. 364 days of the year is children's day. One day is for me!
This week we hosted the Year End Hockey Party for my son's select team.
Yes, it was rainy, cold and miserable. However, as eight year old boys don't seem to be detrimentally affected by the weather, they still played outside for most of the time.
When it really started raining hard they spilled into the basement to watch a movie. 10 minutes of arguing (Star Trek vs. Avatar) and getting 16 of them to sit down on the couch (we have a really big couch in the basement), only to have the power shut off. DRAMA! The kids don't care - they ran back outside until the food was ready.
The dads were funny. Ten families and 45 people came. The dads walked in the door, a few with coolers full of beer, sat down in the living room, and stayed until it was time to go. We moms putzed around the kitchen, of course, putting out the food and drinking wine.
The kids' young coach arrived. He is 21, and just loves hockey and kids. He showed up with a few boxes of donuts, and like a non-parent, fed the kids the donuts before we had real food. He is a great guy who then headed into the living room to drink beer and hang with the dads.
When he left, the dads all started talking about him. They were talking about what a responsible, mature, personable young man he was. Then one dad said, "I can just imaging the great sleeps that guy has!"
"He probably just woke up an hour before he got here!"
"I'll bet he doesn't wake up three times a night to go pee."
"He can probably nap anytime he wants!"
This was a shock to me. First of all, obviously these dads are much more middle-aged than I thought. Second of all, of all the things to envy about a hot, young, single, carefree 21 year old - the sleep????
What about the freedom? The great body without working out? Eating what you want? Staying out all night? Not getting hung over? Sleeping with young, equally hot women?
Nope. They envy the sleep.
You can bet that if we women were so inclined as to talk about a hot young women, I don't think we would be envying her sleep. Her high, perky attributes... her freedom, her male companion options (and their hot bodies)... not being able to sleep through the night without getting up to go pee three times. Seriously.
Damn it! I am realizing that my husband, and his friends (fellow dads) are middle aged. That means that I soon will be middle aged!!!! Ugh!
Pretty soon I am going to become envious of the retired folk...
Before I became a mother, I had PMS... but just the bitchy and bloating part, nothing else. My Husband, even before he was my husband, would dismiss bad moods and arguments as PMS, something I adamantly denied even when a few days latter TOM arrived.
Somehow, with nursing and pregnancy, I managed to have about 6 periods in 6 years. Dr. said my cervical cells were starting to look menopausal. The good news was no period, no PMS. Ha ha - Husband - the bitchiness all those years really was because you pissed me off!
Now, post child birthing, I have true PMS, but I still seem to be in denial. Do you actually get worst PMS after having children? Is this another terrible thing that happens that your OB GYN won't mention for fear child we stop reproducing?
PMS is fun. For three days I eat EVERYTHING that I touch and fits into my mouth. My breasts get bloated and really tender. My jeans don't fit. I am tired.
On the best of days I don't suffer fools gladly. But just before my period, I can't stand anyone. Really. And I take everything as a personal insult (like buddy on the subway yesterday. Yes, I was going to sit there! Just because you are 90 or so and have a cane doesn't make you special, you know!)
I find right before my period, all of my friends start conspiring against me. Suddenly my phone doesn't ring and I don't get any emails... PMS can be so lonely! More chocolate? I am almost through all three of the Easter baskets! I find that during PMS I don't really like anyone, and the feeling seems to be mutual.
I shouldn't make decisions during PMS, but here I am going to get my hair cut today... Dangerous!
Husband doesn't bother asking if it is PMS anymore. He just knows. And he is a little bit scared, I think.
Are there any drugs to combat PMS? I think I have two solutions... One is pregnancy, but that brings on a whole host of other problems. Another... I am setting up a red tent in the backyard... Did you read that book? Only other PMSing women are invited to join me.
I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
It is set in the early sixties in Jackson, Mississippi, and is the story of black maids taking care of white families told by the view point of two maids and one young white writer.
I didn't know what to expect before reading this novel, and its recommendation to me was that is was a great read. After finishing the novel, I took a look at some of the reviews online, and I am little surprised by them.
There seems to be this focus on whether or not Ms. Stockett, as a white women, can tell the stories of these black maids. I think that any criticism on this front is a waste.
Personally, I enjoyed the book and found it a quick and easy read. There were no amazing revelations - some maids loved their families and charges, some where well taken care of, some were not.
However, my epiphany with this novel was how we are 50 years later, and nothing has changed.
In my neighbourhood, you could replace "black maid" with "Filippina Nanny" and find yourself in 2010. Some, making barely minimum wage to raise your child (yes, some of admit that there children were raised by the maids, others believed that they were actually raising their children themselves though the maids were doing all of the work.) Doing your laundry, housekeeping and even pulling your weeds and washing your minivan. Leaving their own children to be raised by others so that they can hold these jobs.
Perhaps in Toronto this could be the story of the Filippina nanny in 2010. In other states it may be the story of the Mexican domestic. Removing the backdrop of racial bigotry from The Help, could the same story be told today just exploiting a different bunch of workers?
In the novel, not all maids are treated poorly and unfairly. And many loved the children that they raised. Are we helping our "help" have better lives, or just outsourcing our unloved tasks?
But I am reminded of a day just a few months ago. I sat in my friend's kitchen planning an event while her nanny watched both of our children, getting them snacks and folding laundry while we drank fizzy water and met in the kitchen... This exact scene was repeated so many times throughout the novel.
It raises questions to me... as a feminist about women exploiting other women, or helping them. I just don't have any answers.
I am going to call this the "back-to-school" theory, though a subtitle could be "new-stuff, same-old crap!"
You know when you were a kid and it was late August. You got new clothes, new shoes, a new back-pack, and brand new school supplies. This was going to be your year! You would be well dressed every day, well organized, clean locker, homework done well and on time. Everything would be perfect, just because you bought new school supplies. But by the end of September, you were back to your same old messy procrastinating habits.
As adults, we do the same. New journal and pen because I am going to start journaling! Lasts a week before the entries start coming once or twice a week, and then not at all. New running shoes, exercise clothes, and a gym membership. Month; six weeks tops.
Brand new renovated kitchen - $60 K. Because the reason I didn't cook before was because I didn't have granite counter tops and a travertine floor.
Laundry. I have the tools - great tools. A new front loading washer. A new gas commercial HUGE dryer. Still don't want to do laundry. EVER!
Husband used to take care of all of the laundry - his and mine - before we had kids. It was part of my "match made in heaven" philosophy. He didn't cook - I loved to cook. I didn't clean and do laundry - his jobs!
Now, here we are. I just admitted to myself that after ten years of marriage he doesn't love me as much as he used to, back in the days when he used to take care of the laundry, the garbage (my job) and the housework...
It reminds me of a funny story a friend told me of a newly-wed. Both new husband and wife are coming to this union from their parent's homes, never having lived alone nor together. She asked how things would be negotiated, like, "Who will be making the bed everyone morning?" The new-wife answered, "OH! We talked about that, and we will make it together every morning!" Sweet, unknowing smile.
In the past, I would never had considered myself a detail-oriented person (I also don't consider myself an extrovert, nor type A for the record).
I like the big picture, strategic thinking, plan - not implement kind of thing. I am terrible at completing projects, because though I love to start things, once the minutia starts I am sick of it and onto something else.
Except, I find in this fast paced world of information, I like things to be accurate. This means planning, double checking, and rechecking again. I hate being caught unaware or off guard.
Look, I am not perfect, but I try my best. And I don't expect perfection from everyone in this world, just the people whom I have to deal with regularly.
Take today, for example. We got home a FULL COLOUR PRINTED invitation to Peanut Lacrosse Select Try-outs, BUT THE DATES WHERE WRONG!!!
Really? Come on! You go to the trouble of printing something to hand out to close to 100 people, and you don't double check the dates? Apparently, no one caught that it should have read TUESDAY April 27th. Now I feel like a moron canceling my babysitter at the last minute.
Now, I have 5 schedules to cross reference and co-ordinate. It is hard enough without dealing with inaccurate information.
But I hate to say it. Accuracy of information seems to be more of an issue when there are men in charge.
I don't know how anything has ever gotten done with men running the world for the past 5000 or so years, but I am sure that it could have all been done a lot more efficiently with moms running the planet. Sure, the obelisks, skyscrapers, and other phallic symbols would never have been built, but I could guarantee that everyone would be eating three meals a day and getting plenty of rest. Plus calendars would be accurate. Too much to ask?
I've heard the phrase before, but assumed it was just a phrase. But it is real. I really, really, really can't hear myself think over the noise of the kids! They were playing outside, but all came in for dinner and homework. For some reason, I have a current overwhelming need for peace and quiet contrary to their current needs to yell and bicker.
Tonight my goal will be to get them all into bed EARLY!!! The earlier the better.
Husband has been gone since early, and won't be home until late. He has also informed that it will be his schedule for most of the week.
I am without my minivan - it is getting a new door at Toyota (under warranty, they claim, but I believe they are just trying to stay on their owner's good sides!)
It is a beautiful day out there, and we all played outside after school. Until Daughter fell playing hopscotch and screamed bloody murder.
I think that is what started my need for peace.
Bedtime will certainly not come quickly enough tonight. Too bad the boys can now tell time.
OK. This week has been a great week for me, except for one, small, tiny problem.
I HAVE LOST EVERYTHING!
Here is a list of what I've lost (and what, if anything has been found):
1) My VISA card - do you know how lost I feel without it?
2) My bank card - now I am just poor (actually, this card was found by my mom in her car before I was even aware that it was lost - how WEIRD!)
3) My itouch. Dying without the music in bed, and checking email all the time.
4) My ipod... see about about the music in bed (note - Son One found it in the minivan! now if I could just find the charger)
5) Sunglasses - one pair misplaced, one lost and later found
6) TWO of my favourite lipglosses!
7) My calendar (and the back-up calendar is on my itouch)
8) The sweater that I wanted to wear today.
So I am cold, broke, clueless, and blinded by the sun...
Daughter also has ballet this morning, so we always talk about how Wednesdays are for ballet.
She gets to wear a tiny leotard, pink tights and slippers. I wear the slippers with yoga gear. When I get home, she often demonstrates something that she learned, and asks if I, too, learned it at ballet.
Basically, it is great to know that I am keeping up with my four-year-old. She learns first position (called a pizza slice for the kids) and I learn it! She learns plies (called diamonds) and I learn them. I learn retires - her teacher actually decides to call them retires! (NOTE: All accents are missed in the above paragraph).
People seem shocked, and often laugh at me, when I explain that I am taking beginner ballet. No, I did not take it as a child. Yes, it is for adults. No, I do not have to wear a leotard. Yes, some people do. Yes, it is a good workout. No, I will not have a year-end recital. But we do have live accompaniment in class every week - how cool is that?
I actually like the ballet workout and dancing more than my moms hockey. BUT I LOVE the socializing from hockey (talking isn't allowed in ballet class). Actually, I am sure my hockey coach has asked me once to twice not to talk while he is explaining the drills, but it doesn't seem to be a strict rule.
My Tuesday night hockey is done, but I think ballet keeps going for at least another 8 weeks. My turnout is better, my plies are deeper, but I am not a ballerina. However, like hockey, trying something new gives me so much appreciation for those dancers and hockey players out there, because this stuff is hard!
First, I tried to clean the house up so that eggs could actually be found. I told the kids that if the house was too messy, then the Easter Bunny wouldn't bother setting up a hunt.
I read until the kids were all asleep, and then went downstairs to set things up.
I cursed Husband the ENTIRE TIME! He was fast asleep, and didn't bother helping with the preparations.
Now let's be clear. Somehow, holiday planning leaves me feeling like a single parent. Halloween - I'm in charge of costumes and candy. Christmas - presents, wrapping, presents, wrapping, baking, presents, and more wrapping. Some years I even wrap my own gifts and put them under the tree. Easter - sneaking out to buy the Easter chocolates.
Normally, Husband is by my side on Christmas Eve and Easter Eve, finalizing, setting up Santa stuff, hiding the Easter Eggs, eating Santa's cookies, making bunny prints on the stairs or reindeer prints in the yard...
This Easter Eve - HE SLEPT!!!!
What would have happened if I had fallen asleep as well? No Easter Bunny?
Yes, he was pretty sheepish on Sunday morning as the kids ran around, having a great time. As he sat on the couch, he looked over at me and said, "Great job! High Five!" As I kept my arm tightly folder across my chest, I got 'high-fived' right in the middle of the forehead.
Before I had children, I already hated parents who talked about "quality time" with their kids. To me, it just seemed like more busy, type A over achievers trying to fit too much into their overly crammed lives and justify how they could still be good parents by scheduling time with their kids. (Similarly, I get super annoyed by parents who claim that their children are better raised by people being paid to raise them, versus the parents themselves.) Touchy subject? You bet!
I am not talking about parents who need to work in order to pay the bills. I am talking about those making well north of the 100K mark each, who try to justify it. Look, I have nothing against working, but I also don't feel that everyone needs to be a parent. But we are all adults and all make our choices. I don't know if you can have everything, but I do know that you can't have everything right now.
My judgment extends to their overindulged offspring who have their parents wrapped around their fingers because they can actually count the number of hours they spend with their children each week, and feel the strong need to advocate on their children's behalf constantly to make up for being hopelessly out of touch.
Quality time is a myth. If you have to schedule time to spend with your kids, you probably shouldn't have had them. If you already have them and are finding it hard to fit "playing in the park" in between your business conferences and your marathon training, maybe it is time to re-prioritize.
Our kids are young for such a short period of time. And already I see how my eldest doesn't really need me any more. In another few years I may find myself made redundant, and then I will need to start looking for a real job once again.
Perhaps I am a worse mother for all of the time I spend with my kids. I would guess that I definitely yell more. And my personal activities are an escape allowing me to recharge my sanity. The flip side is that I am on call for my kids practically 24 - 7 - 52.
But if you think that parenting is something that you can fit in between work, the gym, shopping and time with friends, then you are probably giving your kids a disservice.
My kids are actually reaching an age where I can start to look for some work outside of the home. Admittedly, I will NEVER be a homemaker or a housewife. Blech! I am raising a family, not a house! I don't want to micromanage their lives, their homework, their activities, their laundry, their diets, their friendships. But I want them to know where to find me, and that I am there for them.
I've given up a lot to be a mommy, but it doesn't feel like I've actually lost anything.
Today Husband and I are engaging in the dumbest fight ever. However, I am sure that most parents have had this same fight. The weird thing is that we are having this fight NOW - not 8 years ago...
This is the fight: (OK - reading it over it seems like a pretty lame fight. But I am tired and don't like tension.)
Husband: Are you going to sleep all day?
Me: If everyone would let me!
Husband: It would be nice if I could have 5 minutes to myself for a nap.
Me: Go into work late. Nap.
Husband: I can't. How can you possibly be tired?
Me: I've been busy, and I haven't slept well the last two nights.
Husband: I got home late last night and was up until 2:30 am!!!
Me: I know - I waited up for you!
Husband: I can't believe you! You're a piece of work.
Note: there was no thank you for the homemade chicken noodle soup or croque monsieurs that I made for lunch! And the banana bread is almost done baking. or yeah, and I cleaned out the fridge and took out the garbage. gee - what a slacker!
For the record, it is 2 pm and I am still in my pajamas. I am exhausted. My kids are amazing sleepers, but Daughter had some croup Sunday night, and then last night I waited up for Husband who got home really late from work.
I am sure he is tired, I just don't understand why he is fighting with me about whether or not I can be tired, too! Maybe with a little more sleep our brains will be able to figure this out. Can't we both be tired? First, I need a nap.
I just got home from hockey. I emptied my hockey bag of all of my equipment and spread it out all over the living room to "air it out" as my Husband has told me to do on many occasions.
Here's the thing - IT DOESN'T WORK!!!
My equipment is starting to get that gross locker room jock smell. I wash my socks, undershirt, bra and "jill" regularly, but it is the equipment that smells. You know, if women had designed hockey equipment, you could throw it into the washing machine.
My kids equipment smells. I've been told that kids don't start to stink until puberty. What a lie! If they sweat in hockey equipment, they smell (Son One actually came home last week really upset because one father / son in the locker room had commented on his scent. I told him that he must just be working that much harder to sweat more!)
I don't know what to do. My equipment was all brand new less than a year ago, so I can't really justify getting new stuff (Husband would actually leave me if I got new equipment because of a smell). I shower, wear deodorant, wash the inside clothes. "Air it out" as per Husband's expert advice. Still, I stink. (Honestly, I am afraid to venture into the garage. If mine smells this bad after a year, what would Husband's be like? I've known the man 16 years, I he hasn't bought any new equipment.)
Daughter tried Fabreeze on the equipment once when she thought it was smelling up the living room. Then, it just stunk and had a strong scent of lavender or cotton blossoms or something.
I am really starting to love hockey, but if I can't figure out this smelly issue, I may have to switch to knitting or scrapbooking or something.
When I was a teenager and babysitting, I often read Where the Wild Things Are, and when I read the line, "We'll eat you up we love you so!" I thought it was just a silly children's book.
Then, I had son one, and I bought a copy. I understood completely the compulsion to consume something (someone) that you loved so much! I used to nibble on his little toes; take pretend bites from his cheeks; and, steal his nose for a snack. There is a scene from "Friends" where Monica comments on little Emma's feet, and she could just put them into a pita and eat them up. I can relate.
When the kids were younger, after they had fallen asleep I would go and kiss them goodnight. They looked so peaceful! I couldn't resist a little bit of their baby-back ribs, or their chicken legs. I often wondered if they had nightmares where they were being consumed by a giant T-Rex.
Now, when I say eat my children, I don't mean in that gross "Cape Fear" way when Robert Deniro bit a chunk from that woman's cheek and spit it against the wall. That scene still haunts me.
I mean I could eat them up as if they were made of thousands and millions of delicious pieces of candy coated chocolate. Or cookies. Or pastries. Something scrumptious and sweet.
There are lots of theories about why Mommy Mammals sometimes eat their young (rabbits, mice, etc.) I've heard that the Mommies may be missing something in their diet, or scarcity of resources, illness, or death in the litter and they bite to try to revive them. Perhaps this is all true, or perhaps, like me, they just love their little ones so much! And maybe, just maybe, they don't have the self control we humans are capable of...
Last night the boys had showers, I trimmed finger nails and toe nails, flossed teeth, and realizing that I was on a roll, cut Son One's hair.
He let me! This is the main problem. I am NOT a hairdresser. However, I couldn't let this opportunity pass! He was actually ready for a haircut! After 10 months of growing it! Of course, it was 9:30 pm at night, and it could have just been a stalling tactic so that he didn't have to go to bed, but still...
I found my sharp scissors, grabbed a comb and laid a towel out on his brother's bed. Then I wrapped a towel around his shoulders and started.
MAN - his hair was loooooong!
First try - the cut looked like an adorable bob. Chin length, a straight bob, with some wispy bangs. Really, a great and flattering cut. FOR A GIRL!!!! He took one look in the mirror and said, "you make me look like a girl."
OK, Son One, for the record, is GORGEOUS! Boy or girl. He has huge blue eyes fringed with thick, long black lashes. Clear peaches and cream skin. A rose mouth of full, lush lips. And amazing thick, dark blond hair with golden and auburn highlights. However, most moms, and I am sure ALL dads, don't want their seven year old sons to appear slightly androgynous.
So I grabbed the scissors again. I stood him in the bathtub - it was now 10 pm - and started cutting again.
Now he looks like either Zack or Cody (whomever is the trouble making one) from The Suite Life on Family.
Personally, I am pretty impressed by the job that I did. Remember please, everyone, I am an MBA and not a hairdresser by training.
Son One seems pleased. But today at school will be the litmus test. If no one makes fun, we'll be clear. If any mocks it, we will be off to the barbers for a refresher before you can say, "off with your head!"
I am trying my best to get ready for Daughter's Big Birthday Princess Extravaganza tomorrow, however Daughter and Son Two want ATTENTION instead of letting me just get my stuff done.
It is just too damn cold to throw them outside so I can get this place cleaned up. Minus 13 - and what is that wind chill? I am even cold inside thinking about how cold it is outside. Tempted for have a third cup of coffee just to get warm, but want to actually sleep tonight.
I've traced and cut out two dozen cardboard stars so that I can make fairy princess wands for the girls. The glue takes about an hour to dry, so I wanted to finish them today so that the little princesses just have to decorate tomorrow.
Wanted to get the Christmas tree out of the living room, however Husband isn't cooperating. In fact, don't want to complain about him, but half way through my cleaning frenzy he came home from hockey and spread the boys' stuff all over the living room to air out. Is that really fair?
Still no cord for the camera, so I can't download the cake pictures.
But here's a recap:
- 2 hours to bake the cakes
- 4 1/2 hours to decorate
Husband's comment, "hmmmm... It looks like it is missing something."
Daughter's comment, "Where are the princesses?"
I've just spent 4 1/2 hours, on my feet, playing with confectioner's sugar creating a slight skewed Castle cake for Daughter's 4th Princess Birthday party on Sunday. The book swears that it is good for 10 days! I also spent $200 at Walmart today getting stuff for the party, mostly loot-bag stuff. Honestly, it would be cheaper if I just handed each kid in attendance a $20 bill.
Do you think that she will appreciate this? Will it be wrong, down the road when she is a nasty teenager telling me how much she hates me, to bring it up? What currency are we allowed as parents?
I've taken a few pictures of the cake and as soon as Husband located the cable to download from the new camera, I will show you.
Before I do - I just want you to know that regardless of what my cake looks like, it will be delicious!
This year, like every year, Son Two and Daughter's birthday catch me off guard. How did I ever end up with two early January births?
Son Two is easy because he doesn't care. In fact, Husband picked up a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake from Baskin Robbins on Son Two's birthday, and we had a small, family celebration just the five of us. Son Two actually blew out his candles half way through, "Happy Birthday" because he hates being fused over.
Daughter decided that she wanted a party for her birthday. A girl's only princess party - but daddy can come because he is the king. Mommy is obviously the servant girl who cleans the dungeons and works in the kitchen.
Today I went through my cake book and found a perfect Dream Castle cake.
I used to love making cakes. Then I had three kids. Three "helpers" fighting over who gets to break the eggs, pour in the milk, use the mixer and lick the bowl. And they ALL want to help decorate.
With the boys in school, I decided to bake the cakes today as the recipe said that it is best done 4 days in advance, and that the cake can last for 10 days. I'll let you know how it turns out.
I needed three empty cans to bake smaller cakes in for the castle. Of course I read the recipe after I took out the recycling. I noticed that they truck had only done our side of the street... Would it be stealing to take cans out of my neighbours bins?
Actually, probably just sort of gross. Deciding instead to make chilli for dinner - which required one can of tomatoes and two cans of beans. PERFECT!
The cakes are now baked and in the freezer. I baked while the boys were in school so it was only Daughter and I. Two broken eggs (I needed nine for the cake) and lots of teirs (hers). Tomorrow I will make the icing and put it together and decorate. First, I have to clean up the kitchen. Anything for her highness!
This year a friend of mine was organizing a cookie exchange. I've heard a lot about these famous cookie exchanges. You make dozens of the same kind of cookie, then you meet, switch, and suddenly you have a dozen each of lots of different kinds of cookies. So, instead of spending a day or two baking, you spend a few hours and still get loads of fresh, homemade treats.
Sounds great, doesn't it? A real time saver.
So, I said, "Yes! I would LOVE to participate."
First off, when I got the other cookies back, I noticed that my tried and true chocolate chip cookies would pale in comparison to these amazing creations. Beautifully done, decorated, and packaged, the dozen I threw into the zip-lock bags just won't measure up.
But after I got over my insecurities, I started to eat. And eat. And eat. Thus far I am madly and irrevocably in love with the Skor shortbread. Pure genius. Yes, I've had three for breakfast so far today, and I've promised myself that I won't eat lunch or dinner to stay under my daily calorie allotment - the fat is probably over my recommended daily intake. I am actually considering eating the last two just to be done with the dozen (yes, I got them late after hockey on Tuesday night, and 10 are already eaten, ALL BY ME!)
The only problem with that theory, is that I am pretty sure after the Skor Shortbread is done, I will just move onto the ginger cookies. Or maybe the almonds ones. Probably both. Expect that the sugar cookies with sprinkles look pretty good, too.
Sugar, butter, flour... nothing good can come of it.
Please heed my advice before your jeans start to tighten, like mine. Say "No" to the festive Christmas cookie exchange. Your friends may think that it is a little Bah-Humbug, but tell them you are just getting an early start on your New Year's Resolution.
There is a house that I drive by, not daily but often enough, that does a countdown to Christmas with an easel on the front lawn. "13 more sleeps until Christmas"
I hate it. I hate parents who count in "sleeps". I hate the pressure of knowing exactly how many more days I have to finish the million and one things on my list. I am busy and rushed enough without having to feel worse every time I drive by this house.
The past few weeks, I have actually started going different routes just to avoid the house in the neighbourhood with the countdown. How's that for Christmas spirit?
I am about 80% done my present shopping list. Today and tomorrow I have to clean the house to prepare for the purchase of our Christmas Tree (Step One: Remove the 4 sets of hockey equipment airing out in the living room)
Real or fake? Obviously, I love real. Better for the environment; smell better; look better. Husband and I have NEVER had a fake tree. One year we kept our real tree so long, as it hadn't dropped a needle yet in mid-January, that we had to take it somewhere to dump it ourselves - it was too late for the city trucks. We used to go with the longer needled Scotch Pine, until we discovered the Fraser Fir. I've heard that they actually release sap to glue the needles to the branches as they dry out. Plus, I have a slightly neurotic Husband when it comes to watering things, so we stick with real.
Still on my Christmas to do list?
Gifts for Teachers and coaches
Find decorations and stockings
Buy stocking stuffers
Sing a carol, or two
Bake something with ginger or cloves
Find the kids Advent Calendars after they've gone to bed and help them "catch up"
OK, the last thing, 100% true. On December 1st, Daughter tore into her and her brother's advent calendars. He was upset, she didn't understand the whole "waiting and having only one per day" (really, who does? Oh - maybe if I counted in sleeps I could explain waiting to her!)
So, I put the calendars high and out of reach. The best part? Son One seems to be the only child to grabs his down every morning for his chocolate. Did I mention that my kids got Lindt Advent Calendars this year? Yes!
I have been busy, but aren't we all? To catch you up - we got report cards, had parent / teacher interviews (lucky me - two geniuses!) had a weekend hockey tournament (YES! They won) started my Christmas shopping (December 4th... not too late) participated in my first ever cookie exchange (now I have 7 dozen cookies to eat) and had Husband diagnosed with pneumonia.
Still have to clean my house, get a tree, and start wrapping.
Yes, Husband is sick. It is amazing what falls apart when he is not on his game. Just goes to show what a vital and important part of this family he really is, in case we forget sometimes. I have been telling him to go to the doctor for weeks. He FINALLY went yesterday - walking pneumonia. The difference between walking-pneumonia and pneumonia? With the other one you aren't still walking around. Oh. Thanks for the cleaver explanation, doctor. Do you go by Dr. Bob, or just Bob?
The Bah-humbugs are starting to drift away. I think it is because I am figuring out what it is that I want for Christmas. And also, I love shopping - it is better to give than receive.
Question to other moms out there - am I the only one who buys herself Christmas presents? Well - some of them aren't exactly Christmas Presents since I am buying them for myself while out shopping, and actually using them right away. But others I do wrap and put under the tree either from Santa or from the kids. And let's be honest - my stocking would be empty if it wasn't for me and my mom!
Hope your holiday plans are coming along. If you want to send me a gift, let me know!
It is hard for me to imagine that just a short six months ago I was just starting out my hockey career. Long over due? Perhaps. But I had never had a desire to play. Why am I am playing, then, you ask? Peer pressure. My friends wanted to, and I like being social.
Here I am six months later, playing twice a week, and loving it. Here is the thing, though. I still don't actually get to play. Yet.
We do drills, powerskating, puck handling etc. Tonight our drills were even almost like scrimmages. However, still not actually playing.
I am OK with that. I don't need to play. I don't really want to play. Honestly? I am afraid to play. Some of these women are pretty tough and I might get hurt. I didn't sign up for hockey to get hurt, you know.
Tonight our coach (instructor?) mentioned that we have only one more week left and then we will scrimmage. Most women cheered. I froze. I am not convinced that I am meant to be a hockey player. I guess we will soon find out.
In the meantime, I am really looking forward to getting out on some of these FREE City Outdoor rinks that are in with my kids, so I can see if my skating has really improved, or if I can even manage not to hurt myself since I can't really justify wearing my equipment for a family skate. Maybe just the hockey pants.
No, I haven't gone to see the new Jim Carrey movie. I am just not in the mood to start getting ready for Christmas.
I have at least 3 dozen people on my list, Christmas baking, cards to be sent, preparing and decorating the home etc, etc, etc.
Really, I would LOVE to take the $5000 + that we spend on Christmas every year and run away to some Island with the Husband and kids. Does that make me a Scrooge? I think that Christmas is so over done. All of the work, money and prep for one day (sort of like those Bridezillas who go over board for one day)
I love the idea of spending time with my friends and family and sharing some Christmas Cheer. I actually love Christmas trees, though I hate the decorating and undecorating (especially the undecorating).
I love watching the kids all excited opening their stockings and gifts on Christmas morning. I hate that a month of shopping and wrapping is over in an hour, and all of the gifts that they wanted and needed are never played with after New Years.
I don't know how to bring Christmas down a notch (or two or three).
Here we are, a month away, and I haven't written my list or bought a single present. In fact, I was still eating the Halloween candy left overs this morning. Bah Humbug.
My seven-year old wants me to explain H1N1, and why it is any different from previous influenzas. I am not a doctor, not a health care worker at all.
My plan was for me and the children to get our flu shots for H1N1 this fall. I am pretty sure that most of us had it in the spring (Daughter's 3 day 105 fever), however I wanted to be safe. I have asthma, and I am pretty sure that Son One has mild, though undiagnosed, asthma.
My plans for the flu shot were thwarted. First off, I don't have three hours to drag my kids to a clinic to wait in line with strangers, some of whom are probably ill. Plus, Son One is not eligible and I am not sure about Son Two since he is 5. I was going to my Dr. for the flu shot Friday AM, but received a call from her office canceling because she was home sick.
At this point, I don't think that we will end up getting the H1N1 shot.
I am pissed off at all of the queue jumpers (like the hospital administrators). My understanding is that women in early thirties are the MOST likely to end up hospitalized with H1N1. Add to that my asthma (ok, so I am little older than early thirties at 35, but close enough!) and you'd think that I would get a shot. The media has highlighted two cases on Ontario, a 10 year old in London and the 13 year old Toronto boy.
I tried to explain to Son One that what is so scary about H1N1 is that normal flus seem to hit the elderly hard, and yes, people do die of the flu every year in Canada (still not sure if H1N1 has a higher or lower mortality rate) HOWEVER, with H1N1 the traditionally hard hit groups are not being hard hit.
I've heard that those seniors, who are front of the line, probably were exposed to a similar illness in the late 60s, and therefor have some natural immunity.
I've also heard criticism of those of us who aren't getting the shot. Come on people! The government never planned on this being a total inoculation program, and you need over 85% immunized in order to get herd immunization benefits. Plus, we are already deep in the first wave of fall flu here in SW Ontario, and the shot takes a few weeks to gain effectiveness.
Wishing that I would have bought stock in Shoppers or Purell this summer, it actually sort of saddens me when I see my Daughter's dance teacher spraying all of their grubby little hands before they go in. Touch would we have had a fairly healthy household so far this fall.
One plus for me that has come from all of this concern is that SICK PEOPLE ARE FINALLY STAYING HOME!!!! YEAH!!!!
BTW - if the flu shot was easy and convenient to get, I would have gotten it and so would my children. However, the last time I went to a flu shot clinic I stood in line for over an hour only to have NONE of us actually receive the shot because the nurse wasn't comfortable giving it to young children and wasn't sure about a lactating mother.
OK. Life is getting crazy. And I am getting lazy. Maybe...
Every time I've sat down to write, I've had Daughter jump onto my lap demanding nursery rhymes on Youtube, or one of the boys wanting to do something with the computer. Really, the computer sits here idle and bored until I try to use it, and then we have line-ups and fights. Oh what fun!
Quick updates - Halloween was fun for the kids. A little problem - they really don't seem to care about all of the candy they worked so hard to collect, so I am eating about 20 pieces a day (ok, let's be honest, maybe a little more). UGH! I so don't need the candy. A friend was telling me about her year without candy. I may give it a try, if only I could go a day without temptation.
Daughter is taking skating. She can't skate. She can't even stand on skates (though she could last spring). Part of me thinks it is a waste of money. Another part of me loves to see watch her smile, laugh, fall, get up, and come of the ice beaming about how super fast she is.
My hockey is going well. I've learned how to do cross-overs! I bought myself a new stick yesterday. The women in both my Monday AM and Tuesday night groups are amazing.
I am starting to really love ballet, and it is a nice leg workout. In my head I am a beautiful and graceful dancer. I just wish that they didn't have the huge floor to ceiling mirrors - the prancing hippo look isn't what I envision.
Son One is preparing for his First Holy Communion. I get to help out at the church. Today was another beautiful Sunday where we walked to church together enjoying the lovely fall day. This was after I yelled at him to get his church homework done. "God Loves You!" "Jesus died so you won't go to hell!" Husband, United and slightly amused by Catholicism, just smiled.
I've been reading. LOVED The 19th Wife, my next book club book. On Friday I picked up a book from the library that I had put on hold over the summer. It was called, Hard and Fast and the cover was borderline pornographic, so I had to grab another book just so I wouldn't be embarrassed about ordering the chick lit. I picked up, The Slap. Read both books already, and returned them to the library on my way to church this morning.
This week I am off to see Michael's movie before Tuesday Night Hockey. I'll let you know how it goes!
Is it just me, or do people seem to be doing a lot of complaining lately? At first I thought it was just a phase that Daughter was going through. She is really demanding and moody (three going on thirteen?) But then I have just come across many, many people that must be having a bad month.
Is it something about October? Are our bodies adjusting to shorter days and longer nights? The rush of school and activities making you crazy?
I find people are complaining, and meddling, and complaining some more. Maybe it is because I am doing more volunteering, and dealing with people are a daily basis with different opinions on how things should run. However, these "suggestions" are often not well thought out, and are really complaints in disguise. Word of advice - if you don't have the time to help and volunteer, don't knock those who are giving time and energy to help you and your kids have fun.
Really - Can't we all just get along? Can't we all be happy?
I often recommend this game of, "Musical Beds" to parents who are having trouble sleeping. It doesn't matter who sleeps where, as long as you get some sleep. Once there are more than two in a bed, the biggest one gets up and leaves to find an empty bed somewhere.
We are a family of five with four beds. Pure mathematics demonstrates that once there are three in any bed, there is at least one empty bed somewhere.
We are a family who loves to sleep. We were all sleeping nicely in our beds until last spring. While visiting Florida, Daughter started sharing a bed. She now believes it to be her God-given right not to have to sleep alone. We have been playing a version of musical beds ever since.
More often then not, it is me whom Daughter wants to sleep with. Husband slept months getting kicked out of our bed (literally, she kicks with her cute little stinky feet until he would leave - he is the biggest one in the bed, after all).
Husband, unimpressed by having to leave the comfort and warms of this nightly cocoon at 4 am, started letting Daughter fall asleep and stay in our bed all night, while he found an empty bed elsewhere. Yes, she is the baby and a little spoiled.
However, I have missed Husband, and I have been working on getting Daughter to stay in her own bed all night. She insists on falling asleep in a certain position, resting on my arm, Yes, spoiled. I have a few options:
Stay with her in her bed until she falls asleep, then leave.
Fall asleep with her in her bed.
Let her fall asleep in our bed, then move her back to her bed.
Let her sleep with me in our bed.
In a way, sleeping with her is like sleeping with a live, warm, cuddly teddy bear. She smells a little nicer than Daddy, and is so soft! She also doesn't move around too much, and really doesn't take up much space.
On the other hand, she does snore. And sometimes I wake up with stinky little girl feet in my face. Daughter talks in her sleep, steels the covers, and kicks. She also has the worse morning breath in the house (actually, I sort of think it is cute!) Husband calls it her dragon breath.
I've been married for 9 years, and never once have I woken up with Husband's feet in my face. He doesn't snore, and he can be a big, warm and cuddly teddy bear, too. As far as musical beds goes, I choose him to be my partner.
Hockey is complex. I actually thought that I would be pretty good by now, with about 20 hours of on ice instruction. But I still suck.
We started this mom's hockey group in the hope that we could make it to the Olympics. Or maybe excel at Masters Women's Hockey. All I seem to have learned to date is how to put on my equipment without pulling a shoulder muscle, how to fall forward to avoid injury, all skates are painful (even the good expensive ones), how to get up using a hockey stick as leverage, and that getting 20 women together to learn something new can actually be pretty fun.
Maybe my skating has improved, but I can't even get Husband to sing my praises. I've realized that my chances of making it through an entire game and actually touching a puck are nil, let alone scoring (there goes my Olympic dream!)
2010 in Vancouver will soon be upon. Last Winter Games I was inspired by the firefighter who just started "luging" at 35 years old, and thought to myself - see, I could still make it to the Olympics! (Duff Gibson, Calgary Firefighter who is the oldest Olympic Gold Medalist) Dare to dream.
Apparently hockey will not be my sport. Maybe I still have a shot with curling.
Poor Falcon. Learning, as Daedalus and Icarus did that if you fly too close to the sun, you are in for trouble!
I must be from another planet, because I swear that I missed the two hours of CNN coverage on the boy. In fact, I did tune in at some point during the afternoon, but horror of horrors! even the story of a six year old boy trapped in a balloon and floating across Colorado wasn't enough to hold my media savvy attention. Really, how sad is that?
Again, like the Gosselins, I feel sorry for the kids. They didn't get to pick their crap parents, and now they are stuck with them.
I'm worried about a culture who treats baby bumps and infants as cool celebrity accessories and where parents pimp their kids to be "famous" is the beginning of Armageddon.
Friday, 5:30 am, I arrived a boot camp for my fit test, weigh-in and measurements. That was my last day of Best Body Bootcamp.
The weigh-in wasn't great. I was up a pound. Measurements were down - specifically about 7 inches between chest, waist and hips!
What amazed me the most was the improvements in my fit test. Definitely stronger. I felt like I could hold the V-sit forever! (Or almost 3 minutes). And added 9 to my push-ups.
It is weird, because I really wanted to slim down. Instead, I found myself excited about being stronger and being able to do more. The squats, the suicides, lunges, mountain climber, crazy monkey, prison-push-ups... The list of things that I tried for the first time, or haven't done since school gym class, goes on and on. Sometimes, it was actually fun.
Yes, it has been done for a few days and I am still sore.
The mornings were far too early for me. I am not someone who can get up at 5 am to exercise.
However, I am seriously considering the 7 am class for next summer. But I think that I would sign up for three months, just to keep up the hard work!
Thanks Eroca, and Best Body Bootcamp. Tomorrow, I will be dreaming instead of running at 6 am, but I will still be thinking about you!
I was trying decide what, if anything, I should do for myself after the boot camp is done. A sort of reward for getting through it. Am I actually not even sure if I am still eligible for a reward since I skipped last Friday.
My first thought was a new pair of Yoga Pants from LuLuLemon. I still have a gift card from my birthday that I could use, so it wouldn't actually cost me anything. Except that I don't do yoga, and I don't think that I ever really will.
Then I thought I could get a massage. I leaning towards this for next week. I figure that it is the perfect reward because I have been in pain for the past month, and it is quiet time to myself. Win-win.
Except what I really want is to just sleep in. No more waking up while the moon is still high and the sky black. I want to be able to roll over in bed, stretch, look at the clock and say, "My! Already 8:15! I really should be getting up now!"
Women's hockey has been on for a few weeks now. I don't think I am getting better, and yesterday my five year old proved I am still slow. He literally skating circles around me. And around most of the other women, too.
Tonight, though, I am excited because we will FINALLY get pucks. Yes, we have just been doing "power skating" for the past four weeks.
We have an amazing group of women, and really I only go to socialize. Can you believe it? I go to something that isn't me, and that I actually don't like, to socialize. I am pretty sure that most of the other moms are there for the same reason, too.
Husband asked the coach what it was like teaching a bunch of women. His answer, "You know you're having a hockey practice? And you finish up a drill? Do you turn and start talking to the other guys about movies? Or friends? Or shopping? Well, they do!"
Really? Guys don't talk between drills? I never realized that men were so anti-social during sports! What about in the locker room? You always hear about locker room talk; is it true, or just a myth? We talk in the locker room. We also found out that they have amazing acoustics and that we can be heard, word for word. Yep, apparently, you should watch what you say...
Tonight I am going, putting on my new (used) Graf skates and my purple, number 18 jersey, and I am going to skate with a stick and a puck! Again, I am wondering what the heck I have gotten myself into.
This week was my third week of Best Body Bootcamp, and I almost missed telling you about it. The reason that I almost didn't tell you about it, was because *CONFESSION* I skipped Friday.
I woke up at 5:20, headed to the bathroom, and at some point decided to crawl back into my warm, comfortable bed. Unfortunately, the guilt the I felt for skipping boot camp kept me awake, and I should have just gone. Lesson learned.
Last week was good (at least Monday and Wednesday). I was actually starting to feel like I was keeping up with the class. Nothing too crazy - and the classes actually seemed to fly by! Really, I should have missed Friday - the GUILT!
It is so dark at 6 am in the park. But at least now that it is cool the bugs are gone! The next session moves in doors. I definitely feel stronger doing the bootcamp. And last week, when I tried a hiphop class (yes, midlife crisis) I could do everything easily! The lunges, the jumps. I am a machine!
Alas, this is my last week of bootcamp. Husband really had to shift his schedule to allow me to wake a 5 am and head out the door, and I don't know if I could make the 6 am class even if he could permanently shift his work. It is just so darn early!
One more session, then the fit check again... Friday. Scales. Measurements. Sprints. YAY!
I have some bad news. I am only going to live until 70. How do I know this? Well, I am currently 35, and have realized that I am having a mid-life crisis.
I didn't realize what was happening to me at first. Suddenly, 20 year old men started looking mighty fine (Zac Efron in 17 Again, Rob Pattinson in Twilight). Come on!
Then, I started working out. Bootcamp was the beginning of my, "let's look better" phase. And Hockey. Never had a desire to play hockey before in my life, but then I went and signed up for something that just isn't me.
On top of that, there is the new, longer darker hair, make-up and skin care. Who exactly am I trying to impress?
Finally, the dancing. First ballet, now hip-hop. Really, what am I thinking? I don't have the body, the talent, the flexibility or the rhythm to be a dancer. I should just give up and go watch FAME.
A few days ago, this older, balding, pot-bellied man who thought he was hot-stuff because he drove a Mercedes started trying to talk me up outside a convenience store. Then I realize, OMG! I am like those middle aged men having a mid-life crisis and trying to hit on young girls! (Except I haven't actually run into Zac or Rob so have yet to have the opportunity to hit on them) How pathetic is this?
I brought my case to Husband. He agreed that I was going through something like a midlife crisis. He mentioned that it could last a dozen years or so, and then I could live past 80. Or I can have another one in 25 years.
Does anyone know if there is a cure for mid-life crises? Or am I doomed to get hair extensions and a convertible?
On Monday I went shopping for new skates. While sitting there in my warm skates, waiting for them to mold to my feet, I got to talking to the young guy who had helped me. Daughter was having a skating lesson on Tuesday, so I asked about the smallest skates which they carry.
"Oh, we carry a size 8. They are so cute and little! You could hang them from a rearview mirror!"
OK. First of all, do I actually look like someone who has something hanging from the rearview mirror of her minivan? Come on! And secondly, who would actually want to hang something sharp and metal about a foot from their face?
* * * * *
Daughter was acting crazy the other night as Husband and I were trying to get her to bed. She sort of teases Daddy. When I am not around, she is a daddy's girl full of affection for him. But when I am around and he tries to kiss her goodnight, she bucks and screams like she is having her leg amputated without anesthesia. Not good. So I said to Husband, "How can something so cute be so annoying?"
"I have been asking myself the same thing for the past 15 years," he answered, pointedly.
I was so excited! "You still think I'm cute!" I smiled. This is the closest to compliment that I have gotten out of Husband in about a decade. He thinks I am cute! YAY ME!
* * * * *
Today I was at the hairdressers for a long overdue appointment. I was telling her about my three bald babies, and how Son One now has so much thick, thick hair, "Well," she answered, "you have really dense hair, too. Fine, but really dense." Hmmm... I think that might be my second compliment of the week! I almost answered that my dense hair matched my dense thighs, but the hairdresser was young and skinny and I don't think that she would have gotten it.
My feet were hurting so much at this morning's hockey, that I actually had to take them off half way through and massage my feet. I've spent $40 on SuperFeet insoles, that just made my feet hurt even more! I tried two different kinds of Dr. Scholls insoles - also a bust. I decided that enough was enough. I was going to buy new skates.
I explained my plan to Husband, pointing out that I go through two new pairs of running shoes a year at $230, and skates should last me about 5 years. He told me that if I spent $1300 on skates he would leave me. Promise, or threat?
I went to Dukes, the hockey mecca for the west end of Toronto. I explained to this lovely young man that I have terrible feet that are really wide, with high arches and a high instep. He measure me and pointed out that the skates I was wearing were the wrong size and shape for me feet. "Wow! You really do have wide feet!" He exclaimed. Thanks, sonny.
I found a pair of Grafs, USED for $120. Not bad, eh? We'll see how comfortable they are tomorrow night. Honestly, I don't think that they could be worse.
When I showed Son One, he said, "Oh! Those are just like mine!"
True enough. He also has 503 Grafs. However, though his were on sale, they still cost over twice what mine did. To be continued after hockey tomorrow night...
I am often pretty impressed with my driving, and really I am the best parallel-parker I know. Two days after we got our mini-van, I parallel-parked it on Bloor Street West in the middle of busy Saturday afternoon traffic.
Today, I was tempted just to pull into a spot in the green P to go to the library, but instead I decided to save myself the 75 cents (since I owed $1.80 on a overdue book) and parallel part on a near-by side street.
I pulled up along side a black Mazda, reversed until I was at a 45 degree angle, then straightened the wheel until I pulled perfectly back in. Viola! Amazing.
I said to Son One, who was sitting in the back of the van "See? Now that, my friend, is a perfect parallel parking job!"
"Yeah," he answered, "but it is a pretty big spot."
Gee! My seven-year-old isn't even impressed. Guess I need to learn a new trick.
This week was my second week of Best Body Bootcamp, and it was a weird sort of "get to know the other participants" kind of week.
For some reason, getting up at 5:20 seemed a lot earlier this week. Friday was my first time even pushing the snooze button and debating with myself if I should really go. Of course, I went. Monday and Wednesday were hot, humid, sticky and gross, while Friday was cool and crisp. The best news is that because it is still so dark in the park, we didn't do suicides this week - YAY!
When I say it was a weird sort of "getting to know you" kind of week, it is because we did some odd moves. The first was on Wednesday, a wheelbarrow push-up. For this, your "partner" had to grab your legs and lift them so that one of your legs was on each hip, while you had to do push-ups. The weird part? The closer to your pelvis that they got, the easier the push-up. Oh yeah. I didn't even know my partner's name.
Friday we did another crazy drill. Everyone had to lie in a row in plank position on their elbows, then the first person jumped up and jumped over everyone like mini-hurdles. Then the next, etc. etc. back and forth. Yes, it is just like grade six gym class, except without the bullies.
We also did partner sit-ups, where you interlock your feet and clap when you come up. 50 of them (25 each side.) Again, felt a little like grade school. I was the loser who didn't have a partner, so I got the instructor. This meant that I couldn't cheat.
While it was much, much tougher this week to force myself from my cozy bed in the pitch black early morning, once I was there the actually camp seemed to fly. Either an indication that I am enjoying it more and doing better, or my brain is on auto-pilot because I am still asleep.
Either way, I am half-way through the four weeks of bootcamp. I am started to get a comment or two about looking better, but I don't believe them. And my pants aren't tight, but they aren't exactly falling off either.
The highlight this week? The cute little raccoon who joined our bootcamp in an attempt to steal the instructor's powerbar breakfast. He was cute, young and small, but apparently our instructor has had a run-in or two with raccoons in the past, and was concerned about their viciousness.
OK. I am excellent driver. Yet twice this week I was almost in an accident. Why? Because two idiots stopped at a green light!
You know those PEDESTRIAN WALK SIGNALS that count down until the light changes? LAZY drivers are now using them to time the lights. Every now and then you get behind someone who stops as it counts down to ONE, instead of actually watching the light.
The problem is that SOMETIMES, a driver, like me, in a slight hurry, may also rely on the WALK SIGNAL, and may actually SPEED UP in an attempt to ensure that we make the light.
Do you see where I am going with this? Bad news.
SO - PLEASE DRIVERS - Watch the LIGHTS, not the pedestrian signals. Those are, by definitely, for pedestrians.
Green light means go - not stop, just in case in case it may change to amber.
People always know me, or at least think that they know me. My standard response when someone asks, "Do I know you?" is always, "Possibly. I really get around." Husband says that I need to revise my answer.
The thing is that with three kids involved all over the place, and with the things that I do for me, I really know lots of people from lots of different places. Last spring I was in an elevator downtown when a girl, fluffing her hair in the mirror, turned and stared at me. "I know you," she said.
"It's possible." I responded, having no idea who she was. The weird thing is that I am actually really good with names and faces. However, since Mommy-Brain (don't believe the myth that it has been disproved) my mind is often blank.
"We went to school together," she continued.
"Where?" I asked. I went to two elementary schools, two high schools, and sort of two universities, plus other miscellaneous classes.
"Huron," she answered. I swear, all this while we were going only 3 floors.
Ah - it clicked into place. I think we only had one class together in the two years I was at Huron. She lived on my floor in first year. After a successful breast reduction, she walked around in a bra all of the time. Now I remember.
"Ah, yes," I answered, "you name is L." (leaving her name out to protect her identity)
"I don't remember your name," she answered, in a tone that said, "and I don't care either," as she went back to checking her hair in the mirror. Really, it was too much hair, but who am I to judge?
Picking up on her tone, I felt like saying, "Hey! You were the one who started talking to me!" Fortunately, the elevator door opened.
I actually have encounters like these all of the time. It is odd, because people always seem to recognize me, but they don't seem to really care if they know me or not. What does that say about me?
Also, I meet people who swear that they know me, but after my, "I get around, do you play hockey? Live near the park? Dance? Soccer? School? T-Ball? etc, etc, etc" we realize that we have never before set eyes on one another. Now I realize that I must have at least two or three doppelgangers out there, impersonating me or something.
If you see me walking down the street, and you swear that you know me, unless you can offer proof (preferable photographic evidence) please don't stop me. My brain just can't take any more of these, "I know you" quizzes, and my, "I get around" line really has to stop.
6:05 AM this morning. I am running through a dark park, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. Remind me why I am doing this again? Oh yeah. The seven pounds I gained this summer. Here's a thought - since it isn't exactly that I want to be athletic, I just want to lose weight and look better, how about if I stop this crazy AM bootcamp workout, and just stop eating. How's that for a plan?
Damn - the bugs were horrible! And it was humid and sticky and gross out. The last official full day of summer. Still dark at 6:30 am.
I brought bug-spray, but it doesn't seem to deter these crazy blood suckers. The woman beside me had a profound thought - we wouldn't hate these mosquitoes quite so much if they were sucking out our fat instead of our blood. Get on that - you genetic engineers - why don't you? That would be useful. Fat sucking mutant mosquitoes. You'd probably have to make them at least the size of a chihuahua before they would make a dent in my hips.
YAY! Because of these flying vermin we get to skip the abs part of the workout. We never skip abs. Sure, I'll do them as soon as I get home...
I just finished my first week of Best Body Bootcamp, and the good news is that I survived.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week, I woke at 5:30 am, got dressed and went to the park with my yoga mat and resistance band to exercise. Monday I was keen, and almost threw-up from my enthusiasm. It was fit test day. First, I stepped on the scale to measure weight and body-fat; not good news, but at 6 am I was too tired to care. Then I was measured - arms, chest, waist, pantsize, hips, and thighs. The only measurements that weren't scary were arms and waist...
After measurements, the fitness test began. V-holds, push-ups, planks, sprints. It is the sprint that almost made me vomit, and that was my first real taste of the bootcamp experience, as the wonderful instructor yelled, "DON'T SIT DOWN! YOU WILL FEEL WORSE! GET UP TANIA! GET UP!" Wow - 6:30 am and she remembered my name...
Her remembering my name is actually the theme of the week - she gets to use it a lot. "TANIA! GET YOUR BUTT DOWN!" "TANIA - KEEP GOING!" "TANIA! GET THOSE KNEES UP! TANIA! FASTER! MOVE IT! MOVE IT!" I think I must have her favourite name or something. Either that, or I need the most pushing in the class.
Wednesday was a little early after Hockey on Tuesday night, but I made it with almost a smile. It was arms day, and my arms were jello before I left. The class starts with a warm up jog, followed by different series of exercises broken up by suicides. I realized that it has been about 20 years since I last ran suicides (we used to call them shuttle runs, I think). It has been more than 20 years since I did jumping jacks.
Every day at bootcamp takes me back to my fitness tests in high school, only without Mrs. Barrett and her whistle. Eroca, our wonderful instructor, pushes everyone to their individual limits, with the right balance of encouragement and kick-in-the-butt. We do abs with every class, and crazy push-ups for fun.
Really. It is hard work, but sort of fun in a weird way. There is also an amazing feeling of satisfaction when you are done.
Friday was really early. I woke and get dressed, and while tying my running shoes, I thought to myself, "Who will care if you skip it this morning and go back to bed?"
Then I answered myself, "COME ON YOU LAZY-BONES!" Was that Eroca's voice in my head? Then I called myself some not-so-nice names for actually thinking of quitting after just two sessions, grabbed my water bottle and headed out the door.
Greeted by mosquitoes, the moon and stars, and Eroca, I got there on time. My body is sore and tired, but it feels good to push myself. I need this. My body will thank me for this, I am sure of it.
Who can do Best Body Bootcamp? Anyone and everyone. The beauty of the program is that it is like having a personal trainer, but in a class of 10. You get pushed to your individual limits, and you get individual attention and correction.
Honestly, I am thankful for the two days off. But I am almost looking forward to Monday. Almost.
Last night I realized why I never did ballet as a child - Ballet is for skinny people.
Really, it is.
Last night was my first adult beginner ballet class. I'd love to be able to tell you that there were men and women of all shapes and sizes, from 18 through 60, but there weren't. There were no men, and the women, though probably range in age from 20 - 45, were all skinny. Or at least very slim. GREAT! Some even wore the leotards and other "Fame" worthy outfits. Me, in my running pants with white T-shirt, just didn't look as cool. Add to that those HUGE mirrors all over the room, it was just not a flattering picture.
The good news? It is really much of a cardio workout (yet) so at least I didn't have to look at myself sweating and beet-red on top of everything else.
The best parts of the class were the amazing and entertaining instructor, and the LIVE accompaniment. Seriously, there was a guy sitting at a keyboard in the corner who played live music for us as we did our exercises. How cool is that? I want to hire him to follow me around.
The worst part (besides feeling like a dancing elephant) was that there was a tap class going on in the studio above us. Seriously! Here we are doing slow, gentle, pretty movements, and it sounds like one heck of a cavalry could fall through the ceiling at any moment.
At the end of the class, you bow to the pianist and to the instructor. They might just turn me into a prima ballerina after all.
OK. I wasn't being completely honest yesterday when I was complaining about exhaustion. Really, I know exactly why I am so tired.
I can't fall asleep, and I am not used to waking up.
Most of the summer I sort of got to sleep in. Now, I have to get up, and get three kids ready and out the door. It isn't that much work, I am just not used to it.
I am also not sleeping well. I'm not sure why. I just can't seem to fall asleep. I stick to 2-3 caffeinated sources a day, and don't drink coffee after 2 pm. Apparently caffeine has an eight hour half-life - who knew?
I have also bitten off an awful lot for September. I have volunteered to help run Son One's house league... Sunday night I inputted 120 names and email addresses. I still have my women's hockey - that started last night. Now I will be going TWICE a week. And then there is my three times a week bootcamp at 6 AM (must have been drunk when I agreed to that one). Oh, and tonight I start Ballet.
I guess this fall I decided instead of over-booking the kids, I would over-book myself. My motivation was the seven summer pounds. Goal - gone my Thanksgiving.
Tonight, after Ballet, I think I may take a gravol to help me fall asleep. Nothing like self-medicating. On the plus side, I am also out of Diet Coke, so maybe if I don't buy anymore, that will help too.
OK. I am not complaining. But I assumed that when the boys went back to school, I would have more time. Time to relax, read a book, get myself organized, clean the house, do laundry, etc. (Yes, in that order.)
I was wrong.
Can't quite figure out what is going on, but I am EXHAUSTED. Yet I can't sleep. I am staying awake at nights thinking about everything that I have to do, and really too tired during the day to get anything done. I know - you hate complainers. We are all too tired. True. I am just surprised. This wasn't the vision I had for myself with the kids in school.
The activities are not even in full swing yet. Still, I am rushed, busy, and my house is a disaster. S.O.S.
I signed up hoping that this is the kick in the pants that I need to get back into my regular workout routine. I've heard great things from friends who have tired it. But I am still worried.
Tomorrow morning I have to step on a scale to be weighed and have my body fat measured, I will have measurement taken and perform a "fit test" to find my fitness starting point. Then, for the next four weeks, I will go Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 am to a bootcamp.
I've always wanted to try one of these "Bootcamp" programs, but I really didn't want to wake up at the crack of dawn, drag my butt somewhere to be yelled at. Apparently, Best Body welcomes people of all fitness levels (I qualify!) to "have fun in a great social setting while working towards your Best Body." Sounds perfect.
Lately I've been slightly obsessed with shows like X-Weighted and Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp. Except in my case, let's be honest, it would have to be "Last 15 Pounds Bootcamp." After Daughter I was in great shape - I ran a half marathon and was svelt. It really helped that she nursed until she was 23 months and I was running 5 times a week. Somehow, I've never managed to find that same intensity with my workouts, yet my meals reflect an activity level that I just haven't achieved...
For the past two weeks, I have been walking and eating very well in an attempt to lose a few of my summer pounds (BBQs, Ice cream, Fudge, etc.) before stepping on the scale. I am down two pounds! Two weeks of work for two pounds! It really wasn't worth it. Last week I had a dream about peanut butter ice cream and pizza.
Can't wait to see how the next four weeks go with this workout. OK, so I am a little scared. And frankly, I am just tired thinking about waking up at 5:30 am 12 times in the next month. But it will be worth it! Tonight, I step into my work-out outfit for a picture and tomorrow morning are measurements. Won't report the success (fingers crossed!) until after the last session. Extreme bravery / results and I will even post the pictures. Deal?
I've been feeling under the weather since Thursday. Sore throat, stuffed nose, low grade fever, burning eyeballs. Just general malaise. I am not sick enough to be stuck in bed, but I also don't feel like doing anything. Unfortunately, Mommies don't get a sick time.
Husband is wonderful. Friday he let me stay in bed in the morning (after I got up to prepare lunches and snacks, get the backpacks packed, and the boys dressed and off to school, of course) and he event went to the drugstore to get me some medication.
But there was no question that he would be going into work, leaving me to keep up all of my chores and jobs.
Sure, I can skip laundry and non-urgent cleaning, but I still need to feed the kids, get them dressed, organize their activities, buy birthday gifts, put them to bed, etc. all the while feeling like what I really want to do it stay in bed with tea and a book.
Another friend had some oral surgery this week. I've been there - all she asked of her husband was to drive her home form the surgery and come home early from work; 8 pm is not early. She had a great line - she told him that 10 years from now work will not remember that he stayed late to finish a report, but she would remember him not coming home to help her when she needed it.
As Moms, we are expected to suck it up and get on with it. But who takes care of us? Maybe when the kids are older we can ask them to be quiet so that we can rest, or feed themselves. But at the age it doesn't work.
I know, I know... I sound like a whinny mommy. But my eyeballs are still burning and I just want my throat to feel better!
Last week we had some fantastic news... The Play-date from Hell people have moved OUT OF PROVINCE!
Son Two is thrilled. He still refers to that neighbour (now, thankfully, ex-neighbour) as the kid who bit me. Husband thought I was harsh by not agreeing to any more play dates. He even said that it was unfriendly Torontonians like me who were probably part of the reason why they moved. If only...
At least I won't have to rush past their home anymore, lest someone come out and try to talk to me. Is that terrible?
As a stay-at-home-mom, I spend a lot of time with my kids. But recently, I've started noticing that the kids, boys especially, need more individual attention. I had always heard it to be true, but at time this summer their acting out was getting bad.
The past few evenings after dinner, I have taken a walk with Son One. I invent something that I need to do - pick up a book at the library, buy waffles, and he and I "sneak" out so that it is just the two of us.
For my biggest trouble maker, he is the sweetest kid in the world. He holds my hand, and talks to me about lots of stuff. At this point mostly insignificant, but last night he noticed a smoker and had lots of questions. We talked about peer pressure and how someday one of his close friends is going to call him chicken for not wanting to smoke. We talked about the black second-hand smokers lungs we tried to pump air into at Science North, and we talked about street people (he thinks if they didn't drink so much coffee they would haven't to beg for money.)
Son Two and I have had some quiet Mommy-Son time the past few days as well. He isn't as obvious about his need to attention, but two nights ago he asked to sleep with me. As husband wakes at 5 am for work, I said sure and kicked Husband to Son Two's twin bed, while I held Son Two's hand and heard a little more about his hockey camp until he feel asleep.
Daughter and I had an amazing morning yesterday. She crawled into my bed half asleep, and we cuddled for almost an hour, until my bladder was screaming at em to hurry up and get myself into the bathroom! Really I wanted to stay cuddled with her forever.
Son One is only 7, yet already I can see that he would rather spend time with friends or playing some sport than with me. They grow up so fast, and I need to keep myself relevant in their lives, as more than the laundress, chauffeur, cook and cleaner.
I don't just love my kids, but I really, really like them, too. They are such cool little people, with crazy fun ideas. I love listening to them - but sometimes the noise and the hustle and bustle of the house is too much.
This school year I am going to keep making an effort with the boys for some one-on-one time with Mommy. And I don't think that taking them to the mall to help me look for shoes will count.
Before I met Husband, I had never watched a hockey game. I had zero interest in hockey. With only sisters, none of us played. My mother used to watch Hockey Night in Canada, though I never understood the appeal. To me, though hockey was our national obsession, it was a bunch of goons with sticks.
I never wanted to date a hockey player. Word around town was that they drank, were aggressive, cheated (slept around) and general treated girls / women poorly.
Then I met Husband. He is the anti-goon. Intelligent, soft spoken, strong but gentle. Even as a large defense, he would get a penalty maybe once every 5 years - and never for fighting. I fell hard for Husband watching him skate, before I even got to know him. The power, speed, agility translated to such grace.
I started attending as many of his games as possible. I really enjoyed watching him play, though I still didn't watch it on TV. With work I got to attend some Leaf Games in the box, but I was really there for the free food.
Husband warmed me up to hockey on TV. We would watch the Olympics - Men and Women, and the Juniors. It was much nicer hockey to watch then the NHL. Now, he will even have me watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, but it was a long road. Heck, last spring we even let the boys stay up late on a school night to watch the finals!
It is funny how much time I now spend thinking about hockey. The boys both play, and select tryouts for both of them are coming up. Daughter wants to play, and Husband just packed up his equipment for his first practice of the season.
Now even I play hockey. I really don't know how that happened. Never in my entire life did I want to even learn to skate, let alone play hockey. This fall, I am talking about playing twice a week! Are you kidding me? Twice a week?
Girls, when I was growing up, didn't play hockey. I still remember lawsuits of girls trying to play in different leagues which were all-boys, and having to go to court to fight for their rights of equality. Ringette - what a crazy sport! Why didn't they just get to play hockey? Not to mention all of the girls who did figure skating just because they wanted to skate, hating the short skirts.
It always makes me laugh when people outside of Canada ask me to clarify our hockey as "ice hockey". Can you imagine boys here playing field hockey? (I once heard that Men's Field Hockey was the only Gold Medal that India has won in the Olympics... fact or fiction?)
Our group is looking to run some daytime hockey in Bloor West on Monday mornings. And I have signed up for the second hour. Huh? How the heck did this happen?
I guess I have the equipment. And since I really suck, maybe the extra hour will help me out. Plus it is sort of fun - at least to socialize...
However, learning to play hockey has made me appreciate it so much more. The skills required to puck handle, skate, and play the game - WOW! My kids made it look too easy. Will I ever be great? Nope. I just hope that this helps me skate a little.
I managed to grow up without hockey in life. Now, hockey is such a major part of my life and my family's. Yes, we are a Canadian family obsessed with hockey - the bug has bitten.
My least favourite are these really ugly, hairy, amazingly fast brown centipedes. Have you seen them? Chances are if you live in Toronto, in an "older" home, you've had these bugs.
Most of the time I see a bug and I kill it. But there is something extra creepy and scary about these bugs - I have to squeal for Husband to come and kill it. I am not a squealer. And I am not a wuss afraid of a little bug. But these ugly, impossible fast bugs just bring out the squealer in me. Maybe it is because I often see them in the bathroom, so I am already in a vulnerable position. Today I saw it run away from me when I picked up the towel after my shower. I don't wear shoes in the shower, so there was nothing to kill it with. Instead I squealed for Husband.
He came running. I got a lecture on how I should reserve that certain, high pitched yell for emergency purposes only. It was an emergency! Plus, I only yell like that when I see one of these particular bugs. He should know that by now.
Husband calls these bugs "sewer bugs" but they are actually called, Scutigera coleoptrata Centipedes. Here is a link if you don't know the terror of finding something like this in your home.
My kids are 3, 5 and 7. I haven't had "the talk" and I am not sure that I ever will. That is what schools are for, right? Just kidding!
I sort of go with the flow of questions when they come up, and try to answer them as honestly and accurately as I can. I give little "bites" of information, and when the questions stop coming, I stop talking believing that I have probably satisfied their curiosity.
Also a realist, I know that Son One has friends with older brothers who will probably spill the beans before I know it. And Son Two will be told the details soon after Son One figures it out.
A friend, and ECE teacher, once explained to me that kids can only absorb and process information appropriate for their age and mental capacity; therefor, you shouldn't fear giving too much information too soon.
A great technique I've heard of to deal with questions, is to ask them what they think. "Mommy, where do babies come from?" "Where do you think babies come from?" This not only allows you to stall, but if gives you insight into what they know and how complicated your answer needs to be to satisfy. It also allows you to clear up any misinformation. Alas, always panic under pressure and forget this option.
Another alternative is the, "I don't know. Let's look it up!" Except that I've had three babies, and would look pretty stupid not knowing at this point.
Finally, you can always fall back on, "I don't know. Ask Daddy." I use this often, mostly to get out of changing batteries in toys.
My kids have questions, and I have answers. I am not answering their questions as a doctor, nor as a peer, but as a parent. This means I get to add my morals and values to the answers... I guess I won't know for at least 10 years what sticks.
When the kids were younger, we had the "privates" talk, and told them that no one was allowed to see them naked until they were 18. We also told them that no one was allowed to touch their privates, and they weren't allowed to touch anyone's privates until they were 18. Extreme? We'll see.
In the past year I've explained "periods" to my kids, mostly because they find the paraphernalia and are curious. That also taught me to start locking the bathroom door.
Last week, Daughter was curious about how babies "got out" of their mother's bellies. In the past, I had been lucky that the boys were satisfied with the, "I went to the hospital and you were cut out" explanation. After three c-sections, I even have the scar to prove it. That had satisfied Daughter for a while, until she decided to ask how her cousin and come out of her aunt's belly - no c-section there, though at over 11 pounds, it probably should have been! "Ummm...." I answered, "He came out the baby-hole. You have a pee-hole, a pooh-hole, and a baby-hole, called a vagina. He came out that hole."
Thank God she asked no more questions!
The other night the boys were asking about babies. Why do these questions always come to me when Husband is at work? I would love to hear his answers!
Son Two: "Mommy? Can Sarah have a baby?"
Me: "Nope. She is too young."
Son One: "How old do you have to be to have a baby?"
Me: "Well, girls can start having babies at around 13, when they get their periods, until about 45. But you don't really want to have a baby until you are 25 or so." (See - here are my values! Wait until at least 25 kids!)
Son One: "Can girls choose when they get pregnant?"
Me: (How the heck to I answer this one?) "Hmmm... Good questions! (stalling technique) Um...sort of, but not really. They can take medicine every day to try to make sure that they don't get pregnant, but you don't really get to pregnant just because you want to. It is a miracle. You can try to plan it, but you can't just make yourself pregnant."
Son Two: "Can you have another baby?"
Me: "Yes, technically I still can, but we love the three of you so much, we want to spend lots of time with you guys and not be distracted by another baby."
Son Two: "I want another brother and two more sisters."
Me: "That's nice. I love you. Go to sleep."
We have returned from all of our summer travels, and we are now going to start focusing on BACK TO SCHOOL!
Except, first I have to deal with the enemy...
Rushing around getting laundry done so that we can take what we want on vacation, now rushing to get everything clean again. Piles are everywhere. Suitcases are half unpacked. I thought that I was pretty good at separating out the clean and dirty laundry while we were away, however now it is all just getting thrown in the dirty clothes pile. YEAH! MORE LAUNDRY!
This week Son One is at hockey camp all day, and Son Two gets half day of tennis, half day of hockey. These leads me a little time between my chauffeur duties to try to get my house in order. Please - no surprise visitors this week.
Two weeks until the boys are back in school, YAY! I can't wait... and I have decided that I am not going to do any back-to-school shopping until they have started and decided what they wanted.
I have bought a new binder and calendar for myself, to help me get organized. And some cool coloured gel pens - for me. I agree with that Staples commercial, "IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!"
I finished knitting the body of Daughter's new sweater, and was starting on the sleeves when I decided to have her try it on.
It didn't fit.
Daughter is a small 3 1/2 year old. I was knitting to the 4 year old pattern, with a 24 inch chest. Daughter's chest is barely 21 inches. Unfortunately, I must knit tight or something because the sweater would not close around her belly. Daughter, playing the diplomat, said, "That's OK. I like it not closing."
I decided to do some complicated math and rewrite the pattern, increasing it by 10%. I started again yesterday, and I am having some success. But I've realized that those people who make up patterns must be geniuses. I swear that I increase each row to make the pattern larger, but here I am half way through the body again, and I am not sure that my increase was enough. Really, though adding lots, I've gone from 84 stitches to 96. Is it enough?
The problem with knitting is that you have to actually get fairly far along in the project before you can try it on.
Hmmm... So far the organic cotton yarn cost $60, the bamboo knitting needles $20, and I have spent over 40 hours with nothing to wear. Assuming that I get minimum wage for my labour, this sweater is going to be worth about $500 by the time I am finished.
The Gap is having a friends and family sale this weekend... I am sure I could have found Daughter a nice sweater there.
It has been 12 days since I fell while running through the park. I haven't run since, but my foot has felt well enough to walk on it for the past week. My ankle still seems to sort of slide to the right, and I get this weird pain, so I've decided that I am not ready to run on it yet.
My hand is broken. I am not much of a hypochondriac, but I am not against self-diagnosis. There is still a bump and swelling on my hand, after 12 days! And it hurts whenever It try to put weight on it, or put in my pocket or something.
I've been trying to get Husband to look at it, because I think that he would have made a good doctor and he is not the alarmist that I am. He claims that he has seen lots of hand fractures like mine from bar fights, and in his experience, they don't do much for them at the hospital. (Husband has spend lots of time in hospitals and emergency rooms, and discourages me from going. Once I had a severe allergic reaction to medication, and he recommended that I take benedryl. I had to call my parents to take me to the ER.)
I am pretty sure that there is some sort of fracture in my hand. Even typing this, my left pinky isn't as strong as it could be, so I am using the ring-finger instead.
Mommies, we are getting to that age where we hurt ourselves with every fall, and we take a long time to heal. I have watched my kids fall dozens of times, much worse falls than mine, and they bounce back up and go on playing. Here I am, two weeks later, still whining and sure that I have a serious hand injury.
I realized that I should have been applauding the author of the article in the Globe&Mail, as she is at least being honest about her experience. This, I hope, will help women see some of the truth of what it means to become a mother, a few of the challenges.
At least she isn't sugar coating it, right? Brava!
Today there was an article in the Globe & Mail, I despise breastfeeding; this was in the facts and arguments section, so really more of an Op Ed (Opinion Editorial).
While I feel for the mother and her struggles, a bigger part of me wants to tell her to suck it up; her issues have little or nothing to do with breastfeeding. I am trying really hard to not be judgmental, but I wonder what she expected having a newborn was like?
Who is spreading this falsehood that newborns sleep for 18 hours a day and nurse every three hours for 15 minutes? And why are new mothers believing it? I think this is what is making her feel so terrible about her experience. I feel for her. It is really, really hard to take complete care of another human being without help and support. But if she isn't eating, no wonder she is having issues feeding! You need some food and sleep to help make milk. Gee - hasn't anyone ever mentioned that to her? What she needs is for her husband to take the baby for a few hours so that she can sleep; and she needs food and snacks in the house that are easy and accessible. And she actually needs to eat them.
Any of us who have breastfed know that sometimes our baby seems to eat literally around the clock. New mothers are all sleep deprived and hormonal. I usually give advice like, "the first three weeks are so hard, you will be so tired and in so much pain that you won't really remember them. Take lots of pictures of the baby. Don't take any pictures of yourself - no matter how good people keep telling you that you look, they are lying. You look like crap." "The next three weeks get better, but you don't actually start functioning until week six or so."
I don't know why issues with newborns, like lack of sleep, are blamed on breastfeeding just being so darn hard. Yes, it may seem easier to just give them a bottle. Was motherhood supposed to be easy? I am not talking about those who have real, medical issues with breastfeeding. I am talking about the lack of education regarding breastfeeding leading to excuses that it is too hard. Lack of sleep and proper nutrition impact your milk supply, leading to an infant that is possibly not getting enough and being cranky and feeding often.
Look, the bottom line is that you don't have to breastfeed to be a mom - you can be a great mom and feed you newborn formula. However, if you choose to breastfeed, you need to get yourself the proper support and information to do it properly. Unfortunately, we have lost generations of women to formula feeding, so we didn't get to grow up watching our mothers, aunts, and every woman around us with a baby breastfeeding. We aren't born with the knowledge of how to "pump" our breasts, or increase our supply, we need to be taught.
I am lucky. Husband grew up on a dairy farm and has lots of knowledge and experience about what makes a good milker. Most of it can be applied. Also, my mother was lucky enough to be neighbours with a La Leche woman when we were growing up, so she had breastfeeding experience to impart and support.
We need to be honest about our exceptions of motherhood, and the realities. Taking care of a newborn is a reality shock for most Canadian mothers. They need support, not platitudes.
Is breast best? We all know that the nutrients in breast milk cannot be matched my formula. However is it best? Definitely not at the expense of the health of you infant, nor of your sanity and well being as a mother.
Last night I went to bed with the beginnings of a headache. This morning I woke up, and it was worse. Luckily, since it is a weekend, I was able to take some migraine medication and go back to bed for a few hours because Daddy is home with the kids.
Migraines are weird. I started getting them in university, and have had them for years now. I assume mine are mostly hormonal, with a weather component, because the entire time I was pregnant and nursing I didn't get a single one! Those were the best years.
They follow the usual pattern. Some are terrible with nausea, noise and light sensitivity. Others are more mild, but I can pin-point where the pain is directly behind my left eye and regular OTC meds just won't take it away.
Years ago I tried chiropractic to help. Not unless I got in the moment I started to feel one coming on did it help, and only then it took the duration down from three days to one.
I've also tried acupuncture. For me the only thing that works are good strong meds and rest in a dark room for a few hours.
This morning it broke my heart to hear Daughter wonder downstairs to Daddy and tell him that "Mommy has a headache." I don't want to be that mom who lies in her bed while her children's lives go on around her. And I don't want my kids to feel like they have some sickly mom because she can't get out of bed on a Saturday morning.
The worst part about migraines is that you feel so helpless. You can't really participate in life without severe pain and discomfort, and even with the best treatments you need hours to yourself. What mom gets hours to herself to deal with her pain?
I have never knit a sweater before, and I am not sure why I thought I should start one today. The good news is that I am knitting it in size four, and I have about four months to finish it before Daughter actually starts wearing sweaters for the winter. That should be enough time, shouldn't it?
I bought beautiful indigo/purple organic cotton yarn, and lovely bamboo knitting needles.
I knit Daughter a hat two years ago; it was the softest alpaca yarn - she never wore it. I know Son Two a hat as well - he loved his. I have crocheted stuff before, too. I am a self-taught knitter, so I am struggling to read the pattern with the help of Google.
Tonight I have already measured Daughter once, and the start of the sweater twice. So far it looks nothing like a sweater, and I am not sure how it is supposed to fit her.
Every now and then I get these ideas into my head. Really, I have read a lot over the past month, and my brain is a little fizzled so I am looking for something new to occupy myself.
While I was trying to figure out the pattern and start knitting - the most exciting part of the project - the boys were asking me to teach them. Son One wanted to crochet, and Son Two wanted to knit. Not easy trying to teach those two anything that takes concentration.
Luckily, they gave up and I had a few hours to start my project. One day down - three months and 29 days to go!
This week is interesting for me. For the first time since becoming a mom, I have actually blocks of time every day to myself. Also, we have a teen girl helping us out with some baby sitting.
It is weird what a little extra alone time has done. My home in neater. My meals are planned. Groceries are purchased fresh daily. A few more days like this, and I may even be on top of my laundry!
It is odd because I can't actually point out what I am doing differently, and between drop offs and pick ups I really only have an hour or two to myself. In that time I am reading, eating breakfast, showering, and getting groceries.
The teen babysitter is a help. She picks up Daughter from her dance camp (since it ends at the same time as the boys' ROM camp downtown, and I haven't figured out how to be two places at once), and walks her home. She then entertains the kids for an hour or so while I clean up after lunch. That's it! And yet my home is neater, meals are homemade and healthy...
I guess all I really need is an hour or two extra each day and I could be super mom!
I decided that since I was on my own this morning, it would be a good opportunity to get back to my running. It has been neglected the past few weeks as different things have distracted me from normal life.
This morning I got dressed and heading out to the park, enjoying the cool shade and quiet streets.
My mind was wandering, as it does when I run, when suddenly I tripped and was down. I hurt. My right ankle was definitely twisted. My left knee scraped. My left hip, bruised. Both hands scraped, the right one bleeding. Damn! It stings.
I sat there on the curb, willing my ankle to stop hurting so that I could walk home. I was also breathing deeply to ensure that I wouldn't cry.
This lovely older man, out for a stroll, stopped to make sure that I was OK. He was so sweet! He helped me up, and made sure that I could walk before he left me to continue on his walk.
There are really some amazingly nice and wonderful people in the world, and I wanted to say thanks.
Tonight is our last hockey night of the summer. Last week we had what we called, "Family Night" and Son One came out and played in net for us. It was his first time, and it was great fun. Our scrimmages are getting a little more intense, and some of these women are really, really good!
I still get a little nervous and anxious every time I get ready for hockey - you know that sort of nauseous feeling in your stomach. Far from being a pro, I worry first about injury, and second about making a fool of myself. The first goal is having fun, and I try to keep them in mind (just like with the TimBits! Do you think Sydney Crosby would ever show up to play with us?)
It has been a great ten weeks, and we have the most amazing and fun group of women every! We have already booked ice to start again in the fall. What am I thinking? I swear that hockey was one sport that I never saw myself doing... NEVER. Yet here I am, signing up for another 26 weeks. Crazy?
Yesterday, Husband's cousin gave birth to her daughter at home on the bathroom floor. Congratulations!
I swear this really happened. "How is that possible?" asks every woman who has ever been through the pains of labour. Unlike those women on TLC's new show who don't seem to know that they are even pregnant when they give birth, she knew! I think it may have even been her due date.
She was feeling a little nauseous, and went to go pee when she noticed that the baby's head was coming out. Her husband called 911 and delivered the baby himself (cord wrapped around the neck made for a scare) as the operator talked him through it. Their toddler was home.
They are both doing well today in hospital.
I swear that I if I didn't know them, I would never have believed that someone could give birth without labour. Also, as they live in the Beaches, it is not exactly the roomiest bathroom...
Yesterday I attended a funeral for a young mother. She was 35, and has three children younger than mine.
When I first heard that she had passed away, I couldn't get out of my mind how much of her children's lives she would miss... Her eldest will be doing his First Holy Communion next year, her middle child starts JK in the fall, and her third turns two next week. And for every occasion, there are a million little moments that she will miss for the rest of their lives.
I thought about how, as mothers, we believe that no one can do for our children what we do. Even Daddy isn't us. There is conviction behind every decision that we make for each of our children, no matter how small. When I heard that she had passed away, I cried for her, realizing how much I would miss and how hard it is to know that someone else will be taking care of my kids instead of me. Someone else to wake them every morning, help them dress, and get them out the door. Someone else to make them brush their teeth, put on their pajamas, and kiss them goodnight. And the thousand things that we do for them every day in between.
Then I started to think about her children. They still have their dad, all grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. But loosing their mother changes them, and it will be a void in their lives forever. As much love and support that they will get, and I know that these kids are loved like crazy by so many people, they will still not have their mother's daily love; her hugs and kisses and cuddles to make it all better.
Her eldest will be hit the hardest right now, because he understand the most about what happened and he had the most time with her. Her daughter will notice other mothers and daughters growing up and feel her loss. The youngest will remember her only through the stories and pictures. The saddest yesterday was him asking for Mama, and you wonder how long until he stops asking.
Sad things happen. People die. It just really sucks sometimes.
The funeral yesterday was lovely. The older kids broke down in the church, but really the service was a celebration of her life. At the internment, I noticed many small grave stones near her final resting place. Reading them I was further saddened as they were children - some with the same birth and death rates, most in the first year, the oldest was 13. Perhaps it is by design that the cemetery buries young mothers near children.
She was a beautiful, smart, energetic, strong and sassy woman. She was an amazing mother who was devoted to her children and family; she was their heart. She was loved and adored by many, and will be missed. Offering her family our love and prayers.
As judgmental as we mother's seems to be of one another (breastfeeding, natural child birth, schooling, pacifiers, potty training, discipline, daycare, etc.) I have to say that I have honestly never met a bad mother.
I have met mothers who do things differently then I do. Some very differently. Some I think are ridiculous, or crazy, or neurotic. But they aren't bad. They are, like me, madly in love with their children and just trying to do the best for those children.
I don't know if anyone is born knowing how to be a mother. I am the first to admit that I had better plans, tactics and strategies for parenting long before my first child was born. And then when I was hit with the reality instead of the theory, it all went out the window.
Maybe by having more than one child, I am trying to improve as I go along. Mistakes I made with Son One, I try not to repeat with the others. Poor Son One! I definitely make the most mistakes with him.
When Son One was a baby we tried cloth diapers. Oh yes! As environmentally conscious as that decision was, it tortured my son every night. He would leak through the two cloth diapers, the extra absorbent strip, the plastic cover, his onsie, his sleeper and the sheets. He would wake up to feed, and I would need to change and clean my soaking little bundle of screams, while I woke Husband to change the crib with fresh sheets. This happened at least once a night for weeks! I can't remember when we finally started putting him in disposable diapers at night, but soon after he started sleeping from 11 pm - 7 am. I quit disposables completely when he started solid food - it was really just too gross.
In the past, mothers were judged bases on sacrifices which they made for their children. Some mothers sacrificed everything, including their lives. Luckily, in our time and place we don't have to. Instead for us it often comes down to time, or trading something we want for something they need.
In theory, there is a plan we could follow to raise the perfect child. If we didn't believe that, then there wouldn't be a shelf full of parenting books at Chapters. However, in practice, just as each of us are individuals, so are each of our children. This dictates that each child has different needs, and we have to adapt to fulfill those needs.
The mothers I've met are all different. Some I agree with on some points (I am pretty pro-breastfeeding) and disagree with on the others (I can't see why you would go through the pain of natural child birth if there is no real benefit to you or the baby). However, every mother I have met, and gotten to know, and watched with her children, has one thing in common - we all love our children like crazy. And I think that is the foundation for being a great mom.
I just read, Still Alice by Lisa Genova, Ph. D. Now, of course, I am convinced that I have Early Onset Alzheimer's.
Don't laugh. I also just took a memory test online, and it said that I should consult my physician. And you can have symptoms in your thirties!
OK - so maybe it is a little bit of hypochondria.
But here's some more evidence:
Today I went to the grocery store for ham and buns. $130.27 later, I went to pay and my wallet wasn't in my purse! Of course there was a line-up behind me, and the cash was the only one open (I know! How embarrassing!) I called my Husband, who luckily works nearby, and he came and paid.
I came home and looked for my wallet. Weird part - it was in another purse, one that I haven't used in a few weeks. I used my wallet and my black purse last night. There was no reason I would have moved it to my green purse, and I have no recollection of moving it.
A few weeks ago I lost my driver's license. I remember seeing it in my purse one day, and then a few days later I needed it and *poof* it was gone. Yesterday I finally went to the MTO and got a new one.
I've also lost a brand new pair of socks. Still in the package! I really want to find them, and soon.
And I forgot about Son One's T-Ball game. I checked the calendar last Monday and realized that he had missed a game on Sunday.
Today I forgot that Son One has a doctor's appointment and needs to leave school early. I will now have to call the school since I didn't send a note in.
I used to be so on top of things. I never needed to keep calendars because I always knew when everything was. I never forgot anything! Now I feel like nothing sticks in my head. I've heard that Mommy Brain is a myth. So it must be Alzheimer's.
Last night I went to see The Baby Formula. It opens today at the AMC Dundas, and you should go and see it.
The story is about a married lesbian couple who have sperm created from each other's stem cells and become pregnant, carrying each other's babies - no man needed.
If this was a Hollywood movie, that would be the story. But because we Canadians have more depth and humour, the film is so much more.
It is a mocumentary, and takes your from scenes which are laugh-out-loud funny to sad and poignant. There is a depth and reality to all of the characters which makes you fall in love. It is a film about motherhood, families, and love.
My favourite scene is the ultrasound, where the technician is flirting with Athena (played by Angela Vint) while Lilith (Megan Fahlenbock) lies there on the table trying to get some attention. Both actresses were pregnant during the filming, so it is nice to see real baby bumps instead of those fake ones worn by skinny actresses who don't gain weight anywhere but the belly and the padded bras (so unrealistic as we know!)
Please go and see it. Not one will you be supporting great Canadian cinema, but you will also be cleverly entertained...
Do you spank? Do you think it is child abuse? Or a necessary form of discipline?
B.K. Husband I talked about spanking and both agreed that we would never spank our kids. Both of us were spanked, and neither of us liked it. We read the research, and know that it is not an effective form of discipline, regardless of what pro-spanking parents say. It shows that violence wins, and parents can get away with it because we are bigger and stronger than you.
We really were the best parents before we had our kids, you know. We would be consistent. They would know the rules and follow them. Our kids would have manners. They would respect us and themselves. They would listen. We would use other, more effective forms of discipline. We would never, ever hit our children...
Then we had kids, and our utopia of parenting wasn't exactly realized.
We don't spank our kids as part of a well-thought out disciplining strategy. We have, I admit, swatted our kids on the bum, but it was a result of our own failures and frustrations at the time. I think that many parents have swatted a behind, or grabbed a little too hard when they are at their wits end. It doesn't make it OK, and parents sure don't want to admit that they have done it. Spanking represents failure as a parent. (Husband says that we were anti-spanking until we met Son One... he is the kind of kid that makes you wish you still had a wood-shed out back at times.)
I don't think that spanking is ever effective for anyone but the parent, and it is punishment, not discipline. I don't think that we should be hitting our children. In fact, with our kids, I think that the threat of spanking is actually more effective than spanking (though even "strategy" isn't often tried).
Look - I don't hit my husband when we have a disagreement. It is called assault if you hit anyone, and it is against the law. People are upset when they hear about a dog being hit on the news... but somehow, we allow parents the power to hit their kids, and it is considered "discipline."
Now I actually use two alternatives to help diffuse situations... either I go to my room, or they go to their room, and we stay there until we are calm.
I am not pro-spanking. I hate the idea of anyone, myself included, touching my child in anger. In a perfect world, I would be a perfect parent. My kids deserve a mother who can control her anger. Because in the end, all spanking says is, "I am no longer in control. I can't handle this."
However, I don't blame Kate, nor do I want to vilify her, for spanking her daughter. She is under more pressure and stress than most of us can imagine, though by her own design. I don't think that she is a great mother - I heard somewhere "she's not a mom - she just plays one on TV" (how sad for those kids); but I think that her swatting a bum should be the least of our concerns about her judgment as mother; but it might be the final nail in the coffin of her "reality" show.
I am starting to wonder about sunscreen... should I be slathering up the kids daily? Or letting them fry?
My mother had skin cancer, and with Irish on both sides, I think my pale skinned, fair haired children are in danger. However, I also returned from my annual check-up a few weeks ago to find out that I am vitamin D deficient and I need to start taking a supplement. Oh - and I should lay off the sunscreen and give my skin a chance to absorb some vitamin D for 10 minutes a day.
I never was really part of that contingent that felt like tans were attractive. I tried fake tanning once in university, and found it relaxing in the middle of a frozen February. However, I slathered on 30 sun block and wore a one-piece in the both.
As a child I had a few really bad sun burns; the kind that blistered and peeled. I seemed to start off the summers white and pasty, and without a pool at home, managed to finish them with a natural bronze glow. When I was 17 a woman I played tennis with lost her mother to skin cancer at 53. Tragic.
I go to a dermatologist annual because of my mother's cancer. She doesn't believe that I have my mother's skin, since I have only 5 document moles. Still, every summer I go, get naked, and get checked out head to toe. And since it is late August that I see her, I worry that she will say something about my natural "colour."
I don't sunbathe, but I do spend time outside. For a week or two every summer we go on vacation, and usually there is outdoor swimming involved. I always wear sunblock before sitting by the pool. We head indoors at around 11:30 for lunch followed by a few hours of "quiet time." This keeps us out of the hottest, and sunniest parts of the day.
Today we were up at the farm, and the kids were playing outside. It was sunny, and we put sunscreen on them. The boys are OK, but Daughter is a little pink. However, my niece, who has bad eczema, had a reaction to the sunscreen and ended up with a bad rash. Now I am concerned about the chemicals that we are slathering onto our kids every day in an effort to protect them from something natural and potentially helpful.
I think I will continue with our moderate approach. Days outside, at the beach, a park, or around a pool - sunscreen slathered on. Bike riding around the neighbourhood, playing in the backyard, or going to school, and being outside during non-peak hours - unnecessary.
Last night the kids had sleepovers so that Mommy and Daddy could have a date night for our anniversary. Yes - we will be celebrating nine wonderful years on Wednesday.
The boys went to my in-laws farm for the night, and Daughter went to her cousin's. Two of the three of them were excited for a sleep-over, but Son One was sad and clingy. It was hard to leave him.
Husband and I have had very few nights away from our children. After giving birth to numbers 2 and 3, I even left the hospital early because I missed my other kids so much. Last year was the first time Husband and I went away without our children, and it was for a friend's wedding in Ireland. The first 4 days were great, but after the wedding we sort of wished we had booked an earlier flight home. Both of us really missed the kids.
It is funny, because there are many people who seem to love to go away without their kids, and plan one or two trips a year. I think it is important as parents to focus on yourselves sometimes as a married couple, instead of just as parents. I realize that I probably act as "Mommy" about 99% of the time, leaving me to act as "wife" only 1%. So maybe out balance needs to shift a little, and as our kids get older, it is starting to.
Husband grew up in a family where his parents went away with their friends what seemed like annually to him. Both of his sisters have taken trips regularly with their husbands, even when the kids were quite young. Oddly enough, though my parent's first trip without us kids was their 25th wedding anniversary trip to Aruba, I am the one who pushes for any alone trips we have without the kids, while Husband who grew up in a family who often took trips without the kids, feels like getting away is unnecessary.
I think there is a compromise. I think that for a special event, or a special anniversary, a week away from the kids once every five years is ok. Annually, a weekend or two, no more than three nights, also ok. Anything more seems a little indulgent as a parent, and a little cruel to young kids.
First, there is getting someone else to watch your children for a long period of time, often the grandparents. I know they don't mind a night here or there, but kids are a lot of work. And as much as I am sure all grandparents love their grandkids, when they spend too much time with them they become more parents than grandparents, having to discipline and not indulge.
Then their is dealing with abandonment that kids feel when you leave them. I had an adult, in his late thirties, tell me the other night that the only thing he ever feared as a child was his parents going away, because each time he believed that there weren't coming back. Thirty years later the pain is still fresh.
Yesterday dropping Son One off at the farm almost broke my heart. He was tired, and clingy, and sad. He is seven years old, and even with two c-sections after him and a week in Ireland for a wedding, I have probably only spent 14 nights away from him. Last night he was gone for just 16 hours.
My niece, who was also staying at the farm for a few days, came up to me with tears in her eyes. I picked her up and she buried her face in my neck, clinging to me and crying. I held her for about 10 minutes, just letting her hug. She was telling me she just misses her mommy so much!
All kids are different, and have different levels of attachment. My first born is the most attached to us - no surprise. Dropping them off yesterday, I had to chase Son Two around just to get a kiss good-bye. Daughter goes off with barely a wave, but is always full of hugs, kisses, and "I missed you so much!" when we see her again.
Husband I used to talk about taking a 10-day second honeymoon to Italy for our 10 year anniversary. That was before kids. Now, I am not sure that we could afford it. Nor would we choose to spend that much not to see our kids for 10 days. I don't think either of us could go that long without them. Maybe it will have to be our 20 year anniversary trip. Maybe by the time our kids are teenagers, they will actually love to see us gone.
Or maybe we should just make it a family trip. They travel pretty well. And though we were a couple first, we chose this life, having a busy and big family. It is what we love.
My daughter's dance concert is next week, and this is a whole other world. Blue eye shadow, red lipstick and blush--sparkling hair gel optional. She will be thrilled that she gets to wear make-up.
She is 3 1/2. I don't even think that she really dances, just sort of jumps around. It should be fun, and she loves it! We picked up her costume today. Her group is sort of supposed to be Toto in a Wizard of Oz production. This is a serious thing - we had to confirm that her name was correct for the program months ago. I have tickets for my mother and mother-in-law.
I hope that she doesn't get stage fright! I have to say, I am a bit of a frustrated ballerina myself. Would love to find a decent adult ballet studio in Toronto. Any ideas? Of course, fitting myself in with all of the kids activities would be a challenge. Maybe I should just become a patron of the arts, instead of trying to find a tutu in my size.
OK. False advertising. I didn't score last night. But some of the women did! And I got my first ever hockey assist. Actually, it was probably my first ever assist in any sport. I am officially a hockey mom - that is, a mom who plays hockey!
We started out with the usual drills and fun. For some reason, my feet were really killing me. I tried to loosen my skates, and missed most of the "cat & mouse" warm-up. Darn! However, once I have a puck, I seem to be so focused that I forget about the sore feet.
The best part was when we started the scrimmage. The coaches asked 10 women to stay on the ice, five sky blue and five purple, and the rest of us sat on the bench. The coaches looked over at us and started laughing. What could be so funny about 8 women sitting on a bench? Coach Kyle skated over with the biggest grin on his face.
"You know, ladies, there are actually two benches, one for each team. You don't all have to sit together." Now I know why we are their favourite group to instruct.
Yes, we had all squished onto one bench... blues and purples together! Look, it was a revelation to me last night that you can actually enter and exit the benches by two separate doors.
Unfortunately, we only saved about 10 minutes last night for our scrimmage. But it was fun. I think this is what we wanted out of hockey, and I now understand why our kids like the games and not the practices.
It is hard playing so late at night. I have taken to wearing my pajamas to the arena, so that I can just crawl into bed when I get home. However, I am so wound up that it is hard to sleep!
We have four more weeks left, and then this hockey experience is done. I am trying to nail down some ice time for the fall, but it is nearly impossible in this crazy city.
When I mentioned my fall yesterday, one very astute reader wanted to know about my footwear, obviously implying that some choices may contribute to random falls.
She is correct. I was wearing my favourite new pair of springs shoes. They are my Geox Ruby slippers. I get many compliments on these shoes, especially from men. They are comfortable enough, because of their wedge heel, to wear on walks up to 4 km. At 5 km they seem to start to blister the baby toes. They are shiny and pretty and fun, and can be worn with jeans or other pants. They don't look great with skirts. They have become my daily slip-on-and-get-of-the-house-shoes - no socks required.
These were the shoes I was wearing yesterday when I fell:
Daughter is adorable! She saw me taking pictures of my shoes, and wanted to get in on the fun. She lined up her shoes, and wanted a picture of them. She is a shoe girl! Daughter also has a thing for Geox. Both her sparkly running shoes and her pink Mary Janes are Geox.
Note:All Geox Shoes in this photograph were purchased On Sale.
Has anyone checked out the tab on the left that is called "About Me"? It will tell you a little bit about who I am, and show you some recent pictures of me and the kids. There is also a quote of the month at the top of my page for you to enjoy.
Also, I will soon be welcoming a new Mommy Blogger to my page. I will post an article she wrote when I introduce her in a few days... Be sure to check it out!
AND - if there are any working moms out there who have a different perspective on raising kids in this crazy time, and who would be interested in sharing their stories and experiences, please let me know!
My kids fall all of the time, and get right back up and to run again! Some falls seem like the funniest things in the world (as long as the person isn't hurt).
A few weeks ago Son One had a fall that had Husband and me in stitches for at least 5 minutes! We had just finished dinner on a Friday night, and we were having some ice cream for dessert. The rule is that we eat at the table, and we were actually enjoying a nice family discussion.
Son One decided to take his ice cream and sneak down to the basement to watch TV. He was looking back over his shoulder at us, with one of his mischievous grins, waiting to see if we would call him back to the table. As he was watching us instead of watching where he was going, he stubbed his toe on the baseboard and went down hard on the tile floor.
The funniest is that he lay there, yelling at us! This is a kid who regularly spills water on himself just trying to have a drink, yet he saved his ice cream on this fall, even at the expense of his elbows. He lay there on the floor yelling and calling us names. Husband laughed until the tears came.
Son Two told his brother that God was punishing him for not listening to the rules. Son One was not hurt.
Today, I had a "good" fall. I was taking Daughter to her speech assessment, and I really don't know what I was thinking about, but I wasn't paying attention to where I was walking.
Suddenly, I was on the ground and in pain. I don't know why or how I fell. My sunglasses went flying off, and my purse tried to purge its bloated contents. I lay there for a moment, just feeling the pain. Yep, my left ankle was twisted. Both palms were scrapped. Knees - OK in the jeans. My shoulders felt wretched.
"That was a good fall, Mama," said Daughter, with no concern about my injuries.
I hoisted myself upright, and realized that I had fallen near an awful lot of goose poo. Thank goodness I seemed to miss it all.
I hobbled up the stairs, wondering if my twisted ankle would be a sprain, and sat in the waiting room assessing my sore shoulders, hands and wrists. I went down so fast! I was worried that I may not be able to run for a few days, or even weeks. And how was I going to play hockey tomorrow? I know - it does seem a little odd that my hockey career was flashing before me eyes - just decreased my chances of ever making it into the NHL!
The good news is that I must bounce back almost as quickly as the kids. Two hours later, my right shoulder is a little sore, but everything else seems to be OK.
And I am sure that I provided lots of entertainment for the hundred or so witnesses driving by my accident site.
Last night was our half way point for hockey. YEAH!!! Almost done, and trying to decide what we should do in the fall, if anything.
A little bit of a epiphany last night - I realized that when you give me a puck to skate with, my feet don't hurt! I've also found that skating is becoming more natural. I think about where I need to go, instead of focusing on how to skate. Also, I think I can stop now, which is completely new. Truly a feat without the toe picks! I sort of do a snow plow stop - not one of those fancy side stops with the snow flying everywhere.
Something else that I noticed last night: my hockey equipment is starting to smell like really hockey equipment. Why does all hockey equipment smell the same? I swear that I have "aired" it out after every week, so what gives? Would fabreeze work? Or should I just leave it and feel more like a real hockey player?
Next week we will start scrimmages, without goalies. I think that I am almost over my nerves about getting on the ice and trying stuff out. I am not great, or even good, but I am not making a complete fool of myself either.
I am officially 35! YEAH ME! Daughter doesn't think that it is my real birthday, just a pretend one until we get the cake. Unfortunately, Husband has been working long hours this week and we have barely seen one another, so I don't think we will be doing much celebrating.
Had my annual physical this morning. Not sure why I thought it was a good idea to book it on my birthday; maybe so that I would remember? The Doctor was double booked (a mistake by her office). I offered to come back another day, but she said she would do a quick pap... doesn't that sound like an appealing way to spend your birthday? I know - TMI!
After the doctor's visit I walked up to Kiehls because I had promised my sister I would pick her up some of their lip stuff. Then on to Lululemon to spend my Mother's Day card. Only because it was a gift card could I justify buying myself a $58 running shirt. I had a $100 gift card and ending up spending $177! Two shirts, three unmentionables and a headband. Happy birthday to me!
Then my mother took my children and I out to lunch at East Side Mario's. They were more or less well behaved, except for the argument in the car about how it wasn't my real birthday. I could tell that Son Two completely forgot that today was my birthday... he is his father's son!
Do I feel older? Yes, actually, I really do. I am not saying that 35 is old, or bad. But I do feel different... So far it has been a good birthday. I don't know if Husband will have time to pick up a cake, but I really don't feel like I need one! Tonight I just hope that I can survive our hockey.
Buddha is following me everywhere I go. I think it is the universe sending me a message that I need to get more zen in my life. Of course, I haven't read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse since grade thirteen, so I don't even really remember the Buddhist path to enlightenment except that we each need to follow our own path. Deep, eh?
Yesterday Son One got his soccer jersey, and he is on a team called, "Buddha Foodha." Could there be a better name for a sports team? Much better than State Farm insurance. (Thank you to everyone who sponsors a children's sport team!)
This morning was my first day of Buddha Bootcamp. I ran over to the park for our 6 am meet time (Note: running not very zen-like) and realized that either I live closer to the park than I thought, or I am a faster runner than I thought.
We start the session with a 10 minute meditative walk. For those of you, like myself, unfamiliar with meditation, it is intended to take you from the thinking area of your mind to relaxation and awareness...
Here is a rough idea of what was going through my head during my meditative walk:
I can't believe that I haven't said anything yet! See, I can be quite. Concentrate on breathing. In one, out one. In two, out two. In three, out three. In four, out seven. Out seven? That's not right, you idiot! Can't even count to four. Man these ladies in front of me are slow. Is it bad to pass someone on a meditative walk? Should I leave the path and pass on the left? Isn't Buddha all about finding your own path? Don't step in the mud. A hiking we will go; a hiking we will go. Hi ho the dairy oh a hiking we will go. Why are we on the path anyway? What route should I run home? I don't really want to go up the hill and along Bloor Street. I am still quiet! Haven't said anything yet. Colder than I thought. Are we coming up to the clearing yet? Why are these women so slow. Not good Zen to pass them on the path. Meditate. Meditate. MEDITATE!!! Stop thinking. I hope we don't have to take off our shoes.
Too much thinking, not enough reflecting.
When we got to a clearing, we did half an hour of yoga; still remember the warrior pose. I still hadn't said anything and was actually started feeling pretty Zen, when I noticed a small ant carrying a dead ant on his back walking across my mat. I flicked him away before I thought of what I was doing, and then realized that now I will have bad karma. No longer at one with the universe, my allergies started acting up during the meditation and I couldn't stop sneezing.
I managed to stay silent all the way back to the parking lot. That had to be at least 50 minutes of not talking - might be a record for me. This Buddha Bootcamp runs Tuesdays and Thursday at 6 am for the next four weeks, though I can only attend when Husband isn't working in the mornings... I am sure that I can find the path to enlightenment in four sessions.
My 35th birthday is coming up in a few days, and I already feeling tense.
Kids love their birthdays - there are balloons, cakes, presents, pizza, guests... what's not to love? Plus they feel older, which is a good thing when you are under 21.
Yesterday my oldest friend turned 35. My sister-in-law turned 39, and today another friend turns 45 (sort of my older friend chronologically versus the one that I have known the longest.)
All of these women seemed fairly excited about their birthdays. I think that I have cried for each of my past six birthdays.
I should be happy. I have a wonderful life - three amazing, funny brilliant and healthy children. A loving and supportive husband. A close and generous family. Amazing friends. My health... and my looks haven't faded that much yet. Yes, there are some greys and a few lines, but I am not at the wrinkle stage.
So why do birthdays hit me so hard? In my mind I am somewhere in the 23-28 age range. Some days I am 18, in my head. That is a HUGE disconnect to my current 34 (2 days away from 35).
I think I have a few missing years - maybe that is what is causing my birthday traumas. Son One was born when I was 27... for the next five years I was pregnant or nursing, or pregnant and nursing... Sleep was sparse and my life wasn't my own. I know in theory I probably aged at least two years for each of those "early" years with my children, but those years feel lost to me.
This Wednesday I will be celebrating 35. Or maybe I won't be celebrating... But I will be 35.
It doesn't fail. I get in the shower, start to relax under the hot water. Put shampoo in my hair, and I get a knock on the door.
"Mommy! I need to pee badly!"
My daughter has great timing. I ask her before I go to jump in the shower, but it doesn't matter. I used to lock the door for some peace, but I decided that it was worse to get out of the shower feeling nice and clean only to have to clean up the puddle on the other side of the bathroom door.
Last time I helped her go pee in the middle of my shower, shampoo stinging my eyes, Daughter had the nerve to complain that my hands were wet. Of course my hands were wet! I was in the shower!
I don't remember the boys ever doing that to me. They would come in and sit on the floor to wait for me, or peak through the curtain to see what was going on.
At what age can little girls climb on and off the toilet without help? Even the bathroom stool doesn't help. And none of my kids have ever used a potty.
Another favourite for Daughter to tell me she needs to go pee is a soon as I sit down to a hot meal. If Husband is home, I look at him and say, "Your daughter needs to go pee." It is exactly like newborns who want to be nursed anytime you sit down to eat. Such a pain, this crazy Pavlovian response.
Husband doesn't normally respond well to these demands. He has close to half a dozen "accidents" on his hands that were really just the result of his slow-moving nature. He doesn't seem to understand the urgency of a toddler who needs to use the bathroom. Yes, we have three children, but he is still figuring it out.
Today I asked Daughter if she could wait until I was done my shower. She said yes. I rinsed the shampoo, put in the conditioner, washed my face, shaved my underarms, rinsed the conditioner, and she still made it on time. Must not have been that urgent in the first place. Maybe I can start locking the door...
Today is my friend Tanya's birthday. I am leaving in a few minutes to go and join them on a patio downtown. It is a little cool and windy, but should be nice.
I got her three books for her birthday (don't worry! She won't be reading this today):
The Book Thief
I am so in love with Edward Cullen right now that if I could figure out how to make myself a fictional character and join him in the story, I would leave my husband. Except that I may not have a shot again Bella...
I know that they are silly teen romances, but at least it is better than Sweet Valley High - which I read as a preteen. The writing isn't strong, but the story is intriguing. And it takes you back to that obsessive, all encompassing first love. Completely unrealistic, but good summer escapist reading.
I am pretty lax when it comes to first aid. As a scout, baby sitter, and now mom, I have taken courses including St. John's Ambulance and CPR often enough that I feel up to speed on minor mishaps. I have dealt at home with bleeding, choking and sprains. However, I don't think that I have given the idea of first aid kits much thought until now.
As a mother, I naively believe that saliva and a Dora or Spiderman bandaid can cure all. However I have a friend who is a little more thoughtful and concerned about first aid than I have ever been. And two incidents recently show me that it isn't a bad idea to have a well stocked first aid kit handy.
The first time that we used the first aid kit was at our women's hockey. This friend brought a first aid kit and we actually needed those ice packs that get cold when you break them when one of our teammate fell and broker her wrist. In our hockey first aid kit we keep a few of those, along with a cell phone, my inhaler, and an emergency contact list for everyone on the ice.
Last night was the second time we used the kit. My son was doing wind sprints across a gravel baseball diamond in the rain. He fell, and got a pretty nice scrape to his knee. Again this mother had her kit handy, with antiseptic wipes, gauze and tape. He was patched up and back on the pitch in minutes!
I recommend that every mom out there put together two first aid kits for herself - one for her home, and one for the car. Some cars and mini-vans come with there own, but check the contents to see what you need to add. Two small Rubbermaid containers are all that you need - you can get the rest of the supplies at any drug store.
Here are some recommendations:
Bandages of assorted sizes
Gauze, tape and scissors
Breakable Ice Packs
Last night was our fourth week of hockey. For me, it was the best week so far. I even had a little fun, some of the time. But I don't exactly love it yet.
We did our usual warm-ups, then started onto some backward skating and passing / shooting drills. I actually nailed a few of the drills' and almost nailed a few of the other women on an errant shot on net. I wasn't sure what to yell. Fore! didn't seem appropriate, so I just yelled, "Watch out!"
I had never seen the coach laugh so hard. He explained to me that I really wasn't shooting hard enough to actually hurt anyone. Gee - thanks!
I also had my first fall last night, and didn't get hurt at all! I guess all of that extra equipment really does serve a purpose. Husband's parting line to me before hockey, each and every week, is always, "Remember to fall forward!" I took those parting words of hockey wisdom to heart, and fell forward. It felt like kneeling into a pillow! Of course, I lay on the ice until everyone had stopped moving. I was concerned that if I tried to get up while someone was skating by I would just get knocked down again.
The key to my success last night was finding a few kindred spirits; other women who want to learn to skate a little better, but really just want to get out, have some laughs, and socialize.
Hello. My name is Tania and I am a diet coke addict.
I don't know when I started drinking diet coke, but I could have litres a day. When I was pregnant with Son One, I gave it up completely. However, after each pregnancy, I went back to it. I can't drink diet pepsi - too sweet! If a restaurant is a pepsi restaurant, I get water.
After the kids, I added coffee to my morning. One or two cups a day.
A few years ago, Son One started becoming interested in the pop that Mommy and Daddy were drinking, so we made a decision not to keep it in the house (except when we have guests - good hosts always ensure to keep their guests happy.)
Last year at my annual physical, my Dr. mentioned that I should limit myself to three caffeine sources a day; this includes coffee, diet coke, and chocolate. I pushed that limit, always failing to calculate the "chocolate" into my daily totals, and drinking the 500 ml bottles of diet coke as one source.
Last Monday I said good-bye to diet coke, just to see if I could. I have been tempted, but still haven't had one. I also said good-bye to coffee and chocolate. I think that my system is caffeine free - and I feel pretty good. For some strange reason, I actually find it easier to get up in the morning.
I added caffeine-free herbal tea when I feel the need for a hot beverage, like on rainy mornings like today. I don't know how long this coffee and diet coke-free me will last. Like any addict, I have to just take things one day at a time.
You how when you are pregnant you suddenly start to notice pregnant women EVERYWHERE? On my walk today it seemed like every second woman I saw was sporting a baby bump of some size or another. I am a little glad to see that pregnancy fashions have evolved over the past few years and at least now most bellies seem to be covered.
A few months ago I lied to the dental hygienist implying that I might have been pregnant to get out of x-rays. Last week I had to come clean that I wasn't actually pregnant, so I had the x-rays done. No cavities!
For sure I am not pregnant, but every way I turned today, another pregnant woman! And if she wasn't pregnant, chances are she was pushing a stroller. Ran into the mother and her kids from Play-date from Hell - baby number four on the way!
Is there a baby boom going on that I don't know about?
B.K. (before kids) I used to get my fair done regularly, at least once every 3 months, more often for special occasions. I am blond, whose hair has darkened over the years for a dark, drab dishwater blond. I was really light as a child, but it started to darken. Now when people ask me where the kids get their blond hair from, I want to scream! Both husband and I are fair, and I assume that any fool knows that kids with blond hair often darken as they age.
I highlight. Not drastic highlights, but enough to give my hair some interest and colour. I go for natural, subtle highlights that really could be mine if I had a pool and spent all day year round sitting out.
The problem is, since kids, that going to hair dresser for 3 or 4 hours to sit through highlights and a cut is just a lot of time. Not to mention money ($200-$300 for highlights and a cut.) My visits have dwindled to just two or three a year. The last time I was there was early November; yes, about 7 months. Husband gets his haircut every month, but it is only $15 a visit and takes about 15 minutes. Maybe I should visit a barber and just ask for the number 2. My hair is now so bad that my "nicer" sister (of course both of my sisters are WONDERFUL, however one insults you then says, "I was just being honest") pointed out that it was time for a visit to the hair salon.
Here is my current debate - do I stay with the highlights? Or should I try a subtle, all-over colour close to my natural shade so that I don't have to worry about upkeep? Note: there is grey now to consider! And the highlights seem to help camouflage it. Also, hairstyle. I need wash and go, but the current, blunt just past the shoulder look isn't really good for anything but a ponytail. I have also been warned by some non-mom friends to be sure to avoid the "mom" haircut - but I am not even sure what that is!
Son One is in grade one. Every Monday he brings home a homework book, and every Friday morning he takes it back complete and has a spelling test.
I was thrown a little this week, as there was no school on Monday. Last night I tried to have him sit down to do his homework for this morning, but he couldn't find it.
A few weeks ago he lost his school library book (still not found). We have thousands of books in our house - I love books, the kids love books. The phrase needle in a haystack is fitting here. Losing things really bothers me, maybe neurotically so. I am not sure why, but it drives me crazy thinking that something is there and I just can't find it. Even worse is losing something outside the house and knowing that it is gone for good.
Still annoyed with Son One about the lost library book, I had him spend 45 minutes looking for his homework book. The kitchen (the usual place for homework), his bedroom, the living room, even the minivan. No luck. I probably snapped at him 5 times about how upset it makes me when he loses things.
He tried, he really did, but no homework book. Then he came to me and said, "Mommy, I don't think that we had homework this week."
I called another mom in his class, who also thought that there was no homework this week.
Hmmmm..... 45 minutes wasted looking for homework that didn't exist - and he STILL didn't find his library book!
Last night was our third night of women's hockey. When I got home I was so sore that I could barely walk up the stairs. Every week I seem to come home hurting in different places. This time it was my calves.
Husband is laughing at me (not with me, a subtle yet distinct difference.) He doesn't understand how I, a non-skater and hater of most team activities, actually believed that I would be able to play hockey after three 1-hour sessions. I just thought that with good coaching, I could do anything. I also seem to have forgotten that I am going to be 35 in a few weeks - not 18. Reality bites.
I cannot skate with the puck. I cannot skate and watch where I am going. I can't shoot. I can't skate backwards. I can't turn. I still can't stop.
The good news is that I haven't yet fallen, yet somehow I am not afraid that I will get hurt. I managed to dress myself last night with minimal help and without pulling any muscles. Also, my equipment is starting to stink, so now I feel like a real hockey player, even if I can't play.
Let's hope that I am at least getting a good workout. Seven more weeks.
Can't write much. Our power was out for HOURS, and now that it is back on I have lots of running around to do. We are going to visit a friend's cottage, so I have to pack, buy cat food, pick up a hostess gift and beer. Perfect May 24 Weekend! As the weather doesn't look like it will cooperate, we may be watching movies and playing board games all weekend.
This is the 6th anniversary of my book club. The book is The Wreckage by Michael Crummey. I am pretty sure that this is only the third book that I haven't finished before meeting. It took four tries to start, and now I am almost getting into it on page 147. Unfortunately the book has 356 pages and I have only 17 minutes left. That is over 12 pages a minute!
Instead I am blogging. On the plus side, tonight I am bringing a Trapuche Broquel Cabernet Sauvignon 2006.
Last night was our second of 10 hockey nights. I was dreading it! Look, I am not a hockey player and I never will be. The only reason I signed up was peer pressure; I love being social and hate missing out on things. These women are a lot of fun, and many of them are really, really great skaters!
Before going last night, I was actually thinking that I could get pregnant again to get out of the remaining sessions without looking like a drop-out.
I think that I only pulled one muscle dressing myself, so an improvement over last week.
On the ice we started with a repeat of last week's drills, and a promise by the coach that he will take our falls more seriously after one mom fell last week and broke her wrist. (I feel so terrible because I convinced her to try it out! At least she had a cool answer when the Doctor asked her how she got hurt!)
I wasn't having fun. My feet hurt, I was sweating, my head was itchy under my helmet, and I am not very good. Plus I somehow got in the "good" row with all of the really fast, really skilled skaters, so I think I just looked worse.
Then we started this drill where you push out and pull in almost making waves all down the ice, and I started to get the hang of it! Later we did a passing drill that my partner and I rocked!
So, by the end, I wasn't completely hating it. But I am buying myself some Dr. Scholls inserts for next week.
The first Christmas Husband and I were together (as university boyfriend/girlfriend) he asked what I wanted for Christmas. I wrote out a short list (about 7 items) and gave it to him. HE BOUGHT ME THE WHOLE LIST! At the time, I made the mistake of telling him that he didn't need to get me everything off of the the list. Young, in-love fool!
Now I give him a list for Christmas every year, and a few suggestions for birthday. My husband is many wonderful things, but buying the right gift often stumps him. I don't agree with the stuff about, "if he really knew me, he would know what I want." Half the time I don't even know what I want! A list works well for us. Sometimes, he does deviate if he sees something that he thinks I would really, really love. Mostly it is the list.
This year I decided to give him a Mother's Day/Birthday list. My birthday is early June, so this gives him some notice.
Here is the list:
Gap Jeans - size, fit and wash details provided
Lululemon gift card
Rest of Twilight Saga books (I actually had ordered them from Chapters online already, and read them when they arrived this week)
Kids to be fed all day, meals planned, kitchen cleaned
Some family activity planned
I reminded my husband that Mother's Day and my birthday both fall before Father's Day and his birthday. So, depending on how well he does, I could be in New York City shopping on Father's Day with a friend.
My mother never expected anything from my father on Mother's Day - she was positively offended when he gave her a gift and would say, "I am not your mother!" Personally, I love the idea of being celebrated for all of the work that I do and the stuff I put up with, at least one day of the year!
This is the pile of laundry in my bedroom. Each child also has his or her own hamper, and there is another one in the laundry room. I should be too embarrassed to show you this, but I am feeling brave that you won't judge me on my laundry. Before the cleaning lady came yesterday, this laundry was actually spread out all over the floor of my bedroom. I am afraid to throw anything else on top lest I topple her amazingly engineered structure.
I need a laundry fairy - someone who miraculously picks up every item of clothing off of the floor, washes it, folds it, and puts it away before I can trip over it.
Any ideas what something like that would cost? I swear - if I didn't have to do laundry, I would be a happier person. Maybe I should invent disposable, biodegradable clothing. You'd just have to watch out in the rain!
You've all been waiting patiently to hear how my hockey went last night, haven't you? Well, I was such a rockstar that the NHL called this morning asking if I could throw my hat into the ring for the next draft. Seriously, I was that good!
Here is me in my hockey gear. This is also the first official photo of me on the website.
OK, all kidding aside, I am not great. But I didn't fall. I think was concentrating so hard that I forgot to relax and have fun.
Here are some things which I learned last night that men don't tell us about hockey:
All of that equipment is really, really hot. This explains why their equipment stinks so much. I was glowing like a pig.
Hockey pants are not flattering. I tried them on over top of my jeans and they fit fine. Last night I could barely get them over my shin guards.
It is really hard to get dresses. We had to help one another. I couldn't bend over to tie my skates! Forget about doing up my own helmet (thanks Coach Kyle!)
It is harder than it looks. So many skills, all at the same time. I have a new found respect for all hockey players.
Communal water bottles. They go from the trunk of the car, to the bench, and back into the garage pausing only to be refilled. No trip to the dishwasher?
I am so sore today! I think I pulled at least two muscles just trying to get into the equipment, and there are definitely little muscles all over my thighs that have never been used before. This is going to be more painful than I thought.
It was a great night! Our coaches were amazing, and the group of women are just the best! Some of them are real rockstars, and can do hockey stops and everything. Last night we worked on stride and side stops. At the end the instructors even let us try to skate with a puck. (However, as I couldn't master the stop or the turn, if I lost my puck I had to just keep going without it.) Honestly, I barely could handle holding onto a hockey stick with my hockey gloves on.
I will improve. I hope. If not, at least I will have fun!
26 hours and counting. Tomorrow, 10:15 pm, I will learn to play hockey.
Today my stomach was so anxious all day it was filled with butterflies. However, that didn't seem to stop me from eating anything that I could fit into my mouth. Nerves.
I am worried about falling. The last time that I slipped on ice and fell I broke my sacrum. I am worried about making a complete fool out of myself. I am claustrophobic about wearing the helmet and the cage. I am worried about being the worst mom hockey player out there! Besides, the hockey pants make my ass look really, really big. What was I thinking?
Tomorrow night, if I can get online, I will let you know how it went. 25 hockey moms learning how to power skate. Should at least be entertaining - for the coaches.
I set my alarm to wake me at least half an hour before anyone else. Sometimes I get dressed, but mostly not, and I come down stairs to make myself a coffee and check my email.
Many of you probably share a similar morning ritual. I don't know how it started, but I like the quiet time before the chaos.
The coffee is definitely part of the ritual, but I came late to coffee. I grew up in a home with tea - we never even had coffee in the house, except for some frozen instant in case a guest was ever insistent. I made it through five years of university without needing the morning caffeine to make the 8 am classes I always ended up in. Then I tried it a few times at mother's coffee mornings after Son One was born, and when I went for walks in the village with other moms. But it didn't become a morning habit until recently.
Some days I don't even get to finish my coffee before everyone is up and demanding breakfast. There are lunches and snacks to be made, school bags to be packed. I try to explain to my kids that if I get just a few minutes to myself every morning, to do what I want, then we would all be happier. They just don't understand.
This morning I got to check emails, write this blog, and relax for almost 30 minutes before anyone else was awake. But now I have to run. Have a great day!
OK, maybe saying that I "raced" is over-stating it just a little. Today I ran - The Toronto Sporting Life 10 K 10th Anniversary Race. Me and 12,800 other people.
If you are in Toronto, it is the spring run. Starting just north of Eglinton, you run down Yonge Street. This year the course went west on Richmond, south on Peter, west on Front, and south on Bathurst to end up at Fort York.
The start was very well done this year. Different colours for different finishing time estimations. The race started at 8 am, but I was in the 8:05 start time, and then walkers could go at 8:10 am. A little early for a Sunday morning, especially with the subways not running until 9:00 am.
The finish was terrible! It took us 20 minutes from crossing the finish line to get out of the finisher's exit. COME ON!!!! I am guessing that they won't finish at Fort York again.
I did come away with a nice finisher's medal. I love it! I come home and Son One says, "did you really win?"
First I lied, "Yes! Yes I really won."
Then he wanted more information. "Really? You were first? Are you sure you weren't second?"
I had to come clean. I was in the 9000s. But I had over 3000 people behind me! I like to run, not race. I couldn't explain to my son that my chances of winning are somewhere between nil and never-gonna-happen. Today I felt good, and isn't that what I want him to get out of sport, too?
Six days and counting until we start our women's hockey. Did I mention that we hired a coach that looks a little like Sidney Crosby? And he is bringing a friend, as our numbers have ballooned. We have 25 women signed up, and a wait list of 3!
I feel a little crazy doing this. All of these women are so enthusiastic, but I have a confession. Never in my life have I wanted to play hockey. Before I met Husband, I hadn't even watched a hockey game. I know it is our national obsession, but I curled in high school - and had an ER visit with that sport.
We watch the figure skaters practicing on the ice beside our sons hockey. I would do that if I could, not hockey. Those cute skirts! Looking graceful leaping around to music. I would like that.
Yesterday I went shopping for hockey equipment. Didn't know that it could be depressing. I could fit into youth XL pants, or men's small. I am not that big (I am not that small, either), but I do have to pull them up over hips! Men don't have hips. I wasn't going to buy men's medium - I just couldn't go there. Then the shoulder pads. Guess what else men don't have? The kid in the store thought that I could fit into a youth large. I read the size on the label - chest size 34 inches. "Who knows their chest size?" the kid asked. Uh... any woman who puts on a bra every morning, you idiot. I am not a 34.
I ended up with men's small pants and shoulder pads. Now I am worried about the helmet. We have a few extra helmets at home so I haven't bought one, but it suddenly struck me last night that I am claustrophobic, and I don't think that I can wear a cage. I need to have easy access to my puffer, just in case.
As we count down the days I oscillate between excitement and terror. I can't really skate, and I have never been on hockey skates before. I don't want to get hurt. I don't want to make a fool out of myself. I am scared.
Anyone know of a nice ballet drop-in studio in the city? I think that is more my thing.
About a month ago I wrote about the crazy pressure we are putting on our kids. Today it is about the pressure we are putting on ourselves.
I live in a neighbourhood with a lot of really hot moms. These women are gorgeous! Thin, coiffed, and wearing heels to pick up their kids at school. Not all of them, but enough that they give the rest of us something to aspire to, or maybe something to hate.
After giving birth these women are hitting the gym to get "back into shape." Others watch everything that they put in their mouths, counting calories or points. They put pressure on themselves to look perfect, in turn putting pressure on the rest of us. Sure, maybe it started out with crazy celebrities that had personal trainers and chefs along with their nannies and baby nurses. But normal women are trying to look like super stars and making the rest of us hate ourselves and feel like dowdy Janes. The competition on the soccer sidelines may be greater than on the field.
Look - if you want to eat well and exercise - GREAT! What could be a better than to model a healthy and active lifestyle. But I don't think that is why these women are doing it.
There is this crazy, unrealistic, ideal splashed on every magazine and every TV screen. I once complained to a single friend about my "mommy tummy" and she said, "yeah, but you've had three kids!" I replied, "Maybe. But I don't want to look like I've had three kids." "Why not?" she asked. Good question!
I remember watching 8mm movies with my mother and sisters when I was a kid. My mother spliced herself pregnant out of the movies because she hated the way that she looked "fat." She was pregnant! My sister was almost 9 1/2 lbs! Of course she was big.
Growing up, my mother ate well, ran and played volleyball with friends. She was also one of the first moms to volunteer to coach our soccer and softball teams. I want to be the active, healthy mom - not the obsessive 'I can't eat that or I won't fit into my jeans' kind of mom.
Plus - I have a daughter. Girls are so susceptible to these body image issues that I am super sensitive. At home we don't comment on good or bad foods, though we do have "occasional" foods. I never say that my kids can't eat if they say they are hungry, though I have tried to recommend fruit as a snack. My kids are all happy, healthy and active. I can tell that at least one of them will struggle more with keeping their weight in check as they become adults, as I do. Not all of my children were blessed with my husband's lucky metabolism. But I want them to be healthy - not perfect looking.
It is hard. Our culture puts so much emphasis on appearance. My daughter has already been told by a female relative that she needs to stop eating if she doesn't want to get "bigger" - Daughter is three! There are also comments to my boys about how good it is that they are slimming down. They are big, solid kids, but healthy.
How can we expect our kids to grow up with healthy attitudes toward food and activity when we mothers are so crazy that we would do anything not to look like women who have given birth? I've lost count of the number of mothers I have spoken to postpartum who are on Weight Watchers before their babies are even a month old. Or the ones who brag about how their gym has great daycare and takes kids as young as 5 weeks! Who needs to go to a gym when their baby is that young?
My mom used to exercise when we were kids as her mental break - her time away from us to recharge her batteries. I run for the same reason, and it helps me feel good. But I am not running to try to recapture my 18 year-old body. And while I know that those yummy mummies on the soccer sidelines may be judging my frumpier mummy-tummy, I am trying to see that it is their problem, not mine.
There are things that we don't like to talk about. Women, and mothers especially, feel so guilty about what we do and what we don't to right. Normally I don't talk about my breasts, but I wanted to share some information that is sort of surprising to me, and I don't know why we don't know it.
Best Age to Reproduce
Breastfeeding Reduces Risk of Breast Cancer
Quality of Breast Milk and Mother's Diet
1. Best Age to Reproduce
Even though teen girls are fertile, the optimal age for human female reproduction is in our twenties. Fertility actually starts to decline by age 31, and is in significant decline by age 35. Your chances of having a baby after age 45 with you own eggs is pretty much nil.
A study of fertility rate by age in women was published in 1957. The study was on a large population that never used birth control. The investigators measured the relationship between the age of the female partner and fertility. This study found:
* By age 30, 7% of couples were infertile
* By age 35, 11% of couples were infertile
* By age 40, 33% of couples were infertile
* At age 45, 87% of couples were infertile
Reference: Tietze C: Reproductive span and rate of conception among Hutterite women. Fertility and Sterility 1957;8:89-97.
But see, by telling you this, I am putting pressure on you to reproduce before you may be ready, so it is unfair to give you this information. Better to keep you in the dark and have you pay through the nose for fertility treatments because no one is telling us why we shouldn't wait. I am not saying everyone is in the position to start reproducing in their 20s, I am just saying it is the way our bodies were designed.
Advanced Fertility dot com
2. Breastfeeding Reduces Breast Cancer Risk
When I had my first, I remember reading a poster on the wall of the maternity ward that said if a woman breastfeed for 6 years, starting in her 20s, she could eliminate her risk of breast cancer. I am not sure how accurate that it, but there are many studies that have looked at why our breast cancer rates are so much higher in the Western world than developing countries. Two factors came out of the study: 1) Western woman have fewer children; and, 2) Western women don't breast feed as long.
Again, by publicizing this information, we may be putting undo pressure on women to have more children, and make women who can't breast feed feel even guiltier. However, if you read these links, you will see that we could halve the number of cases of breast cancer if women just breastfeed six months longer.
3. Quality of Breast Milk and Mother's Diet
It is no surprise to my husband and his family, with their long history in dairy farming, that there are two factors determining milk production and quality: 1) diet; and, 2) genetics. Different cows produce milk with different levels of fat. So do mothers.
What is alarming is that mothers, especially those who seem weight obsessed and diet concerned during breast feeding, could be feeding their babies skim milk. Breast milk can actually range in fat from 2% to 9% depending on the mother's diet. To all of those skinny mummies out there eating non-fat tofu diets - listen up! Your baby might be better off on formula than breast milk if you are not eating enough fat and calories. You are putting your own body image issues and quest for thinness ahead of your child's ability to grow, thrive and develop. Especially as we know how important fat is to the brain development of our children in their first few years of life.
Oh, wait. We aren't supposed to criticize mothers for what they are doing - especially if they are trying to breast feed - which we want to support.
Look, motherhood is a mine field. We are so judgmental and critical of one another, but then our doctors are afraid to tell us the truth. They want to support our ability to reproduce when we want, but without the facts of our bodies and their limitations. They want us to subject our tender breasts to evil mammogram squishing machines, but are afraid to tell us to have more babies sooner and breast feed longer because we could actually significantly reduce our risks. They want us to breast feed, because breast is best, but don't warn women how our obsessions with diet could have major developmental effects on our baby if our salads aren't giving them enough fat.
I hope after reading this you have a better understanding of how your breasts were designed to work. Appreciate them! They work hard for you and your children. Stop pretending that they are just more toys for your husband.
I am a big fan of Mother Earth. But I have to admit that I abuse her regularly. I use far too much power. I drive when I should walk. I don't turn off the water when I brush my teeth. I leave my computer on. I rewash clean clothes. I leave lots of lights on. I like to be warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. I use disposal diapers.
That being said, our eco-foot-print isn't all bad. We don't commute to work. We have five people who live in 1400 square feet (and we don't even use all of that.) We don't wash our vehicles in the driveway (actually, we don't really wash them at all.) I never, ever, litter. I carry my recycling home if there is nowhere to recycle. I tried cloth diapers. I actually do a little laundry as possible! I don't bathe my kids daily - and when I do, they all go in together. I use public transit often when I need to go downtown. I bring my grocery bags or bins when I go shopping.
OK, OK. I am no angel when it comes to being green. There is so much more I can do. And my kids are now getting to the age when they are starting to point things out. Now I have to tell them about the olden days, when there was no recycling, garbage pickup was every week and there were no limits!
I don't want to leave my kids a big pile of my junk. I don't want to leave them a dirty, smelly planet without tigers and rinos and whales. This Earth Day I will vow to try harder to be a friend, and not an abuser, of Mother Earth. After all, we moms have to stick together.
Today I went to the dentist. I used to wonder why people hated dentists so much; now I know.
I actually like my dentist. However, for the past two plus years I have been putting off going. Claiming to be too busy, I just didn't like the drive out there, the wait, and then the drive home. It got to be a joke in our house now that we have call display - we would hide when the dentist's office called to book our check-ups.
A year and half ago I had some horrific periodontal surgeries which did nothing to increase my comfort of the dentist's chair. I also had braces as a teenager, my wisdom teeth out, and a really painful experience with an extraction at 12.
My kids are great at the dentist. Last week Son One had a cavity filled without any freezing or laughing gas - such a trooper! The kids have such quick, short visits. Counting the teeth. Polish. Floss. Rinse. Fluoride. Dentist comes in - and DONE! Twenty minutes tops, start to finish. And they get to watch Sponge Bob.
Today I watched (but couldn't hear) two Seinfeld episodes; Sponge-Worthy and Movie Phone. The dental hygienist poked and picked at my teeth until my gums bleed. She used some high power water pick and that sucker thing that kept latching onto my cheek. Apparently, when you skip going to the dentist for 2 1/2 years you get a little calcified plaque below the gumline. I'm even a flosser!
I even lied to the dentist. Because it had been so long since my last visit, they wanted some x-rays to look for cavities between the teeth. I sort of hinted that I wasn't sure it was good idea since you never know, I could be pregnant. Before my family reading this has a cow, for the record, I AM SO NOT PREGNANT! But it got me out of x-rays.
Today I felt like a politician being battered to answer questions when they just don't know!
On the subway ride downtown this morning with Son Two, the questions started:
What is the sharpest thing in the word? What is the pointiest? What else is sharp? How sharp is it? What else is sharp? How pointy is it? How sharp is it? What is the sharpest thing in the world? (I swear we made the woman seated beside us a little nervous - she probably thinks he was quizzing me for weapons.) Then the questions changed tangents. Who is the smartest person in the world? What did he do? How do you know? How did Tiger get to be the best golfer in the world? Is he the best? etc. through 10 subway stops.
We went through the "why" stage with all of the kids around two. I think we handled it OK. The easiest was that since they were only two, when you got tired of answering, you could just distract or redirect them. Now, at age 5, Son Two wants detailed answers to everything.
Yesterday it was the tallest building in the world. Where in the world is it? How many floors? Taller than the CN Tower? What used to be the tallest tower? And so on, etc. We were at home, and I had Google and Wikpedia to help me find the answers.
On the walk home, in the pouring rain, he kept going. What is the hardest thing to do in the world? Can everyone do it? Is it climbing the CN Tower? What is the steepest hill? Where is it? What is the smallest hill? How do you measure hills? Where are the steepest roads? Have you been there?
I was cold, wet, and I had had enough. Bad mommy moment:
"Enough. Stop asking me questions. Ask Daddy when we get home."
I try so hard sometimes to be patient, but I think my quota must be around 100 questions a day, and he had reached it by 10:30 am. Plus, it doesn't do a lot for my self-esteem to see how few of his questions I can actually answer before I have to start making stuff up. (I know - the right answer is, "let's look it up when we get home.")
I am glad he is curious and creative. I just needed a break. No more questions, please!
Sometimes I get into these discussions with my daughter that I just won't win. Really, when you argue with a three year-old, remember that you are arguing with a three year-old.
This morning I was trying to open my eyes. Daughter came running to me:
Daughter: I need to go pee! BADLY!
Me: Mumble, mumble, I think you are wearing a diaper. (Note: Normally Daughter sleeps in underwear, but last night she chose a diaper.)
Daughter: I want to pee in the potty NOW!
I take her to the potty, and pull off her diaper. It is soaked. I sit her on the potty.
Daughter: Why is my diaper wet?
Me: You must have peed last night.
Daughter: No I didn't. I didn't pee last night.
Me: Well, how do you think your diaper got wet?
Daughter: You got it wet!
Me: I put a dry diaper on you last night.
Daughter: No you not! You put a wet diaper on me last night. I didn't pee!
Me: Honey, the diaper was dry when I put it on you. (Why am I arguing with a three year-old about pee at 7 am?)
Daughter: You put me in a yucky wet diaper! I DIDN'T PEE!
Me: OK. My mistake. I am sorry.
As much as I hate buying diapers for a girl who should really be using the potty all of the time, I swear that I have never reused diapers. It drives me more than a little crazy to throw out diapers in the morning that were worn, but dry, all night. But reusing wet diapers? I once had this other mom at the wading pool at the park recommend that we re-use the swim diapers by drying them out. I was a little grossed out.
What have I gotten myself into?
I am scared, nervous, and afraid of the pain.
What if it is too hard? What if I can't handle it?
What if I make a fool of myself?
What if it is no fun?
How did this happen?
Hockey. Women's Hockey. What was I thinking?
The truth is that I didn't want to be left out of any plans even a little bit social - God forbid I miss out on fun. And I sort of think that they actually needed me to get everything organized. And watching my sons skate around to hours every week made it look fun, and easy.
I don't skate. I can sort of skate, but I don't. I am not even athletic. Sure, I played tennis and softball in high school, and I run sometimes, but did I mention that I have asthma? And that I am little older than I was in high school?
I used to hate skating. In elementary school (I am sure this will mortify my parents) I used to lie and say that I didn't have skates when the class went skating. Yes, I lied to my teachers to get out of doing something that I really, really didn't want to do.
Now I love watching my husband and the boys skate. They are so powerful and graceful. I keep trying to convince the boys to try figure skating with their sister. They would be beautiful, and she is small. No dice.
Wednesday nights we will take the to ice at 10:15 pm, a time when I am usually in bed. We have a coach. We are ordering jerseys. I will need to get some equipment mostly to protect myself when I fall.
I blame Son One. Before a tournament game, he was missing a glove. I needed to buy him new gloves just to get him on the ice. $65 gloves! I bought the size up because I knew we would find his other glove, and I couldn't justify spending $65 on gloves when he already has great ones that fit. Now I have $65 gloves! I just need a stick, helmet, shoulder pads, shin guards, hockey shorts, and skates. Oh yeah - something called a jill.
Today I sunk to a new low. I wasn't sure when I last did laundry, but I was pretty sure that Son Two had worn his last clean pair for the past two days. I didn't think that I could stretch them for a third.
As we rushed out the door this morning, Husband was getting him dressed. Son Two walked down stairs in his pajama pants. Not acceptable.
I rifled through the hampers, and came up with a navy pair that didn't look too dirty and put them on him.
Tonight I decided I need to get on top of laundry. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, and I wanted him wearing a clean pair of pants to my sister's for Easter dinner. It is always nice to look presentable for holidays.
I emptied all of the hampers and came up with only two pairs of Son Two's pants. Huh? Where could all of his pants be? I am sure that he has more than three pairs of pants (two in the hampers, plus the one I pulled from the hamper that he is still wearing.)
Grabbing some of Son One's and daughter's pants, and my only pair of jeans, I had a full load. After 40 minutes, I went to transfer the pants to the dryer.
Aha! The dryer was full of clean, dry pants belonging to all of the males in the house. I have no idea how long they have been in their, but Son Two had at least three clean pairs.
Next I just need to do a load of socks and underwear, and we could be set for the week.
Last night our book club discussed Barnacle Love by Anthony De Sa and it was the best book club ever.
The book is sort of a collections of short stories, sort of a novel, about Manuel who comes to Canada from the Azores. The story is rich with life, and prose is beautiful. The characters and their emotions are so universal, and it covers heavy themes granting them a levity with humour. We had some great bottles of Portuguese wine with amazing sweet breads and custard tarts, too!
The highlight was that the actually author, Anthony De Sa, attended our discussion. He was open and honest, sharing with us his feelings on the writing process, his experience as a Canadian of Portuguese dissent, and on the Canadian Literary landscape. Anthony (Please - call me Anthony) is a high school English teacher whose first book, Barnacle Love, made it to the short list for the Giller Prize.
I can tell you that Anthony is an amazing story teller. He gave us background on where the characters came from, and how people keep assuming the fiction is fact. It is amazing to discuss a book with the author sitting there, being able to ask why things happened the way they did. Anthony even recommended that we invite authors to future book clubs (some request an honourarium.)
I got home just before midnight, but couldn't sleep as my mind was still buzzing with the excitement of my evening. I love my book club!
This morning I took the subway with the nicest people in the world!
As soon as I walked on with Son Two, a student got up and offered me his seat. It was busy - morning rush hour. I said thank you and sat down, holding onto my son between my knees. A few stops later, a man got on with a cane. I got up and gave him my seat. Then three more men offered me their seats!
I rode the subway downtown when I was 9 months pregnant with Son One. When I was feeling especially tired, I would open my jacket and stick my big belly extra far out (he was 9 lbs, so I had a lot of belly.) Maybe twice I remember being offered a seat.
This morning I was sitting with Son Two on my knee, when he said, "Mommy, I am thirsty. I want some water."
"Sweetheart," I said, "I don't have any, but I can get you some when we get off, OK?"
One of the men who had offered me his seat took an unopened bottle of water from his bag and gave it to my son. I tried to say no thank you, but he insisted and my son was already reaching for it.
I couldn't believe it! Everyone was smiling, helpful and amazing.
Still in my stupor about the wonderfulness of my morning ride, I turned the karma around so it can come back to bite me on the ass later. While walking to the subway after our appointment, a young woman approached me with a hard luck story about losing her TTC Metropass and asking for money. I turned her down.
There are so many reasons why I said no. First, it is my pavlovian response to any request for money. Beyond that there were a number of things I found odd about the request: she was heading away from the subway; and, she looked like a university student (couldn't she ask a friend or classmate?)
Really, I don't like being asked for money by people on the street. As she walked away I felt really bad. I could have given her $3 for the subway. I could have told her I had no tokens, but if she walked with me to the subway I would pay her fare. It would have been a small price for me to repay the kindness of the morning ride.
When you hear stories of Toronto the bad, think of me. I was lucky with generosity and kindness just hours before I shot some girl down for a request of aid. I talk to my kids about being nice and helpful, and then I put my head down and walk on. I guess I sort of suck, and I am sure karma will find me.
Before motherhood, I was a staunch believer of "nurture" over "nature" especially when it cam to girls and boys. I now admit that I was completely wrong!
I came from a family of three girls. We could do anything. Thank goodness we didn't have a brother, because I think my father had just enough chauvinist in him that the inequality would have meant war.
Because of coming from so much estrogen, I was surprised when I had a son. Thrilled, but shocked. My father even said, "But we don't have boys!" Now we do - not only do I have two sons, one sister has a son and the other has three!
Husband wanted a girl. All of his friends had daughters, so it was what he knew. They seemed so sweet, gentle and loving. We had two boys, then a girl. We didn't keep trying for a girl - we knew we wanted three of four kids. After Daughter, it was Husband's decision to stop.
I have heard studies supporting the differences between boys and girls even as infants. Apparently, their little bodies produce their first hormones at around 12 weeks, and it is either estrogen or testosterone - so everything changes after that. The other study I heard is that boys, when they learn to crawl, crawl away from their mothers; girls crawl around them.
Really, I don't know if it is true, but in terms of my relationships with my kids, they are different. The boys love me, I still steal kisses and hold hands, and can sometimes get cuddles, especially when they are sick. However my daughter is like my third limb.
We are attached in a way that the boys never were - sometimes I don't know where I end and she begins. There is an intimacy between us that I find shocking. If I am sitting, she is on my lap. If I am lying down, she is on top of me. She strokes my hair, my cheeks. She wraps her little arms tight around my neck, and wants to fall asleep like that, cheek to cheek. If she wakes up in the night and notices that I am not near her (because I have lifted her to her own bed when she fell asleep), she comes into my room, kicks Daddy out of the bed, and resumes her place intertwined with me.
My daughter is in the bathroom with me every time. Last week she pulled up her little stool and sat there for my entire shower (she thought she was getting a puppet show.) She offers to wipe my bum - I decline. She picks out my clothes and wants to help me get dressed - she wants to fasten my bra. She has "helped" me put on my make-up. I am sure that some anthropologist would have something to say about her imitation being important to her learning how to become a woman.
Daughter treats my stuff like her own, and me as an extension of her. I get enough "I love yous," hugs and kisses every day to know that I am loved by at least one of my children.
Sometimes it gets to be too much. I feel my body reaching, trying to detach, looking for freedom from the little, warm 30 lb lump.
Then I am in the grocery store, and daughter wants to be carried AGAIN. A man looks at me with sadness in his eyes. "My daughter is 13. I wish I could still pick her up and carry her around."
Really? I think. Then would you mind picking up my daughter and carrying her around so that I can get my grocery shopping done?
I was so excited to hear Oprah doing a show on Motherhood. Usually I don't get to watch Oprah, though I love her, however today I had it all planned out.
I brought up three loads of laundry that needed folded and sorted, so that I would have an excuse to "slack" for an hour. After picking up the Son One, I got the three kids a snack and sent them on their way with instructions not to bother me unless someone was bleeding or the house was on fire (I know - more than a little extreme for Oprah!)
Upstairs in my room, I started folding. 3:58 pm. I turned on the TV and set it to channel eight. 4:00 pm: Intro. with Dr. Oz and some other guy? Huh? Blue zones? What the heck?
TODAY IS TUESDAY? But I have been planning on watching Monday's episode for DAYS!
I don't know how I missed it. I had it planned so well. The Oprah episode I wanted to watch was on yesterday. Really, if Oprah cared about mothers, she would run it everyday for a week so that we would be sure to catch it. I know - her viewers in the US all have TiVO.
At my computer, I watched what I could and read the details from her website. But it just wasn't the same! Plus I can't fold the laundry while sitting at the computer, so it was pure indulgence without even the facade of doing housework.
In case you missed it, the message of the show seemed to be that women are ignorant of the truth of motherhood until they have children. It is like this secret club that once you are in, you get. However no one will tell you the gory details of motherhood - you have to learn it for yourself.
Are we secretive? I don't know. I feel like I regularly share a little too much, not just on this blog, but my friends get even more gory details.
If you are a woman thinking of becoming a mom, here are a few of my secret gory details:
Your body will change. Not for the better.
You won't sleep peacefully, for at least 18 years.
Your sex life will change. Not for the better.
You come last.
You have to learn to hold your pee for a very long time, except those muscles are gone 'cause you've had kids.
You will lost all modesty.
You will never eat a hot meal again.
You will wash your hands so much the skin peels off.
You will get every cold and stomach virus that goes around.
Your workload will triple - at least.
You will deal with far too much bodily fluid. If you are brave, you can joke.
You will feel trapped and want to run away at some poin
You may want to hurt your children.
At some point, no matter how wonderful he is, you will hate your husband.
I know there are lots of wonderful things, I just thought I would dwell on the negatives today because the positives are so much harder to state. Besides, they are not nearly as much fun.
I need a new hairstyle. A good friend, whom I love and trust, told me the other night that I need to invest in a quality (ie: expensive) haircut. I haven't had my hair done since November. B.K. (before kids) I had my hair highlighted and cut regularly. Now I don't have the time, the money, or the interest in maintenance. Am I destined to become a frumpy mummy, nominated for some reality show like 10 Years Younger?
Daughter has never had a hair style. I am starting to think that it may be time for a mother / daughter day at the hairdresser.
Any thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas? How young it too young for a style?
Here's some pictures I just took of my little raggamuffin.
Yes, another blow to my week. I have "misplaced" my sunglasses.
Those who know me know I love sunglasses. It is my usual purchase on vacation, especially if I can score a great pair in duty free. Alas, I have a long history of losing or breaking sunglasses.
Favourite pairs of the past include a pair of Vuarnets that were broken on some moguls I had no business trying to ski. Next were the best of all time - a pair of Guccis bought with a signing bonus. Left on the floor by Son One and stepped on by my father. I almost cried. The last pair to go were Versace. Daughter grabbed each of the arms and pulled like a wishbone, "broken!" she announced, proud at age two to get the word right.
Now my Maui Jims. I wore them to take Son One to school this morning, and now I can't find them anywhere.
I have an old pair of Dolce & Gabbana, but honestly they make crap sunglasses.
I hope to find them soon. And I am sort of glad it is supposed to rain tomorrow 'cause I may not miss them quite so much.
*****WARNING - DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE A SENSITIVE STOMACH*****
Remember Son One sick all Saturday night? It wasn't exhaustion nor over exertion, it was the plague. A highly contagious gastrointestinal virus.
He was just starting to heal Monday. Monday night, 8 pm, it struck again. Me.
The main problem was that Monday night I had a delicious dinner - angel hair pasta with smoked salmon and dill, with cheesecake for dessert. It will now go down in my memory as one of the worst meals to see twice.
As I worshiped at the porcelain throne, made by Kohler, I heard Daughter start; first crying, then coughing, then the gag. I couldn't get up! I couldn't help her.
Husband stripped her bed, started the laundry, and sat up with her most of the night while I continued, throwing up every half hour until 6 am. Daughter had the mildest form of the plague - she threw up just three times! I, on the other hand, can't remember when I last felt so sick. I lost count somewhere after the 7th or 8th vomit. It seemed like every half hour or so my stomach would fill with just enough bile and saliva to turn itself inside out and empty again.
Tuesday I was so sore I couldn't get out of bed. Husband took the day off to manage the home. At three pm I was starting to feel a little better, so I left my bed for a banana. Husband took the three children outside for some fresh air. Half way through my banana, I heard a knock on the door.
I went to answer it, and couldn't figure out why Son Two didn't just open it himself; it wasn't locked. I opened the door, Son Two stepped inside, and started throwing up. And throwing up. And throwing up.
I stripped him down and took him upstairs to clean him up, put on his pajamas, and get him into bed. Husband, was yet again, in charge of the nasty clean-up.
Husband has been such a trooper this week. He has been responsible for some of the worst clean-ups this house has ever seen. And so far, he is the only one who hasn't had the plague! He says he is fine, but I think he is going to get it right before our date on Saturday night (anything to get out of dancing.)
Son One lost almost 6 pounds with his illness! Of course, he didn't need to lose any. I, on the other hand, need to lose 10. I lost one. This plague isn't even fair!
I was tempted to make a list of the worse meals to eat before coming down with the stomach flu, but I decided it was gross enough just reading about how ill we have all been. Instead I am going to list my goals for today:
1) Shower the vomit smell out of my hair
2) Air the vomit smell out of my house
3) Find anything that still smells like vomit, and wash it
Last year we spent our earth hour wandering around the neighbourhood enjoying the darkness.
Last night we spent it with every light on in the house, with almost every appliance working, and cleaning up vomit.
Son One started vomiting at 8:00 pm, and continued at roughly 10 minute intervals until 6 am this morning.
Between 8:30 pm and 3:30 am I did four loads of laundry - these are the "bonus" loads that I mentioned on my laundry blog. Son One went through three pairs of pajamas and had two showers. The bed was also changed.
After the first major blow-up, handled completely by Husband as I wasn't home, the rest of the night was gagging, water and bile. Husband said I would have been terrified if I had been home - probably would have called "911." He was sick starting in the downstairs entrance way, up the stairs, through the hall, and into the bathroom. Husband claimed nothing actually made it into the toilet.
Things I learned last night:
Hot dogs take more than 7 hours to digest
Son One needs to eat better
Son One needs to chew his food more
You can continue gagging for 8 hours with nothing in your stomach
I think it hurt me more than Son One to see him so sick. Though however much you love and adore your child, and however bad you feel about their suffering, part of you can still get really, really angry at 3:30 am when they miss the toilet.
I hope no one else in our house gets this stomach bug. I am not even sure it is a stomach bug - he played hockey really hard for hours yesterday, and I almost wonder if it was exhaustion / exertion. Today Son One seems to be feeling much better, but still exhausted. He has already taken a shower and bath this morning, and is back in bed.
I, too, am exhausted. I hope I get a nap this afternoon.
Last night I think we used more energy than any normal Saturday night, with the washing machine and dryer going, lights on to facilitate cleaning of many rooms, showers going, toilets flushing. Next year we'll do better, I promise!
I just had to watch 50 minutes of the National to see the very brief segment on circumcision.
Obviously, our boys are 5 and 7, so we made our decision years ago, with the best information available at the time.
Currently, the Canadian Paediatric Society does not recommend the routine circumcision of new born males. The claim on the National is that they will be reviewing this policy in light of a new editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.
This editorial is based on a study from Uganda that found 25% fewer cases of herpes and 35% less HPV amongst circumcised males.
I am so angry! What is wrong with teaching about condom usage? I know the Pope was just in Africa, and even with the high HIV rates does not want to acknowledge the potential usefulness of sex education and condoms.
But we are not a country ruled by the Pope. Although approximately 45% of Canadian are considered Catholic by our census data, we do not let the church dictate what happens in our bedrooms. I like to think we are too smart to follow everything a church, so obviously lost in the dark ages, preaches.
I attended Catholic school, and received sex education classes where we discussed STD prevention. AIDS was a huge fear, and though the school didn't hand out condoms, we were told where to get them.
I am shocked, horrified, and outraged that we would consider cutting our sons instead of educating them.
If my sons want to undergo elective circumcisions when they become sexual active in order to help decrease their chances of contracting a STD, that will be a decision between them and their doctor. We will help them research the information, and support them.
Until then my husband and I will do our best to raise our children with an understanding of our morals and values, and educate them about risks and responsibilities associated with sexual activity.
This isn't about the movie (I haven't seen yet.) This is about me, and my ideal job. If you know of an opening, please let me know.
I want to sit in a coffee shop and read. At least 8 hours a day. And I would like to make at least $100K a year.
I am a great reader - though Husband claims that the only way I can read as fast as I do is by only reading every fifth word. This is not true, though I do classify my reads into two categories: those books which I read for the prose, savouring the language, and those which I read for the story.
Last week I picked up a book for $2 off the cheap table at Chapters. It was called, Motherhood: Three classic stories celebrating the toughest job you'll ever love.
I had hoped that it might inspire me for this blog when my own well was dry. Turns out it was some kind of erotica by Harlequin Books.
I love to read. Who doesn't? I call myself the most prolific reader ever.
Here is a list of some of my favourite books of all time (in no particular order.) All have been read at least three times to make this list:
1) Not Wanted on the Voyage, Timothy Findley
2) Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3) The Princess Bride, William Goldman
5) Harry Potter (all), J.K. Rowling
6) The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
7) Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
8) The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
9) Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
10) Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, Stephen Leacock
I am currently reading:
1) Brick Lane, Monica Ali
2) The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell
3) Barnacle Love, Anthony De Sa
For fun, I also read Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Cruise (favourite is Faking It), and Marian Keyes.
My preference is fiction. A good love story doesn't hurt. Let me know if you find that reading job for me.
Anyone who knows me at all, knows how much I loathe laundry.
Here are the reasons I hate it:
1) It is never done. Even if you search the entire house, do load after load, everyone gets undressed for bed and you have another pile to sort, wash, dry, fold and put away. It is endless!
2) I am bad at it. Really, I have no laundry skills to speak of. I wash clothes with lots of stuff in the pockets (kleenex is the worst, but I've washed screws, money and toys); I ruin kids t-shirts because I wash them with stickers still on, and I lose socks.
3) I have to go to the basement. I often thought if I had a laundry room on the second floor it wouldn't be so bad. But I have to walk it down two flights of stairs, and then back up again. And if your house is anything like mine, you know that there can be obstacles on the stairs not easily visible when carrying a full laundry basket.
4) Folding. I have never worked at the Gap, and never will. I could be good at folding if I was really anal about it. But I am not. It takes too long. And I don't care that much.
5) Rewashing clothes SUCKS! The kids take something out, decide not to wear it, then throw it in the hamper. I don't know, and wash it all again. This adds to my laundry bulk.
6) Sports uniforms. Try to find the right socks, jersey, ballet tights, and leotards clean on the right day, especially when you never know where they toss the uniforms when they take them off. Last summer I found Son One's T-ball uniform under my daughter's bed.
7) Socks. I always have dozens of extra socks that don't match one another. Husband has started a sock drawer - a drawer full of single socks. Once a quarter we empty this out and match them; the kids help. Unfortunately, because the hampers are never completely empty, we never get rid of the singles.
8) Daughter changes her clothes at least three times a day. And her potty training isn't perfect, but she insists on sleeping in underwear. These are bonus loads.
I can't figure out what my real issue is. Do we have too much clothing? Today's Parent recommends only doing laundry one or two days a week, so it doesn't feel like you are always doing it.
Really? We generate approximately 12 loads of laundry per week (some weeks 14). Even if I did laundry two days a week, that is still 6 loads each day!
In reality I do somewhere in the neighbourhood of 8 loads a week. This puts me 4 loads behind, or 16 loads a month that I have to make up. (I can do math, just not laundry.)
Husband used to do all of the laundry when we first lived together. This was because he worked weird hours, so when he was off, the laundry room at our apartment was usually empty. He used to go down with all of our laundry, load up all four machines, and be done in a few hours. For fun he would even take the stairs!
That was when there were two of us - and we dry-cleaned most of the work clothes. Now I don't work and I have children who wipe snot, dirty hands and faces on me. And we have three children who insist on wearing clothes (not a nudist in the bunch). Every now and then I find a load of Husband's socks, underwear and undershirts in the dryer - thanks for the help, honey!
I shouldn't complain. There are lots of people in the world who don't even have clothes, or washing machines.
Maybe we should move somewhere hot. Or to a nudist resort.
Most people who know me disagree. However, I have taken the tests multiple times, and I while I sometimes get close to the type A score, I have never been anything but a B. I swear that I am not lying on the tests!
I have also taken the personality tests and have always been an introvert. Again, people who know me don't believe it, but I am sure it is true.
Today I was watching a yoga DVD (thinking of doing it). It was a little slow, so I pressed fast-forward. Surprisingly, yoga DVDs don't look all that fast on fast-forward.
Maybe I need to be retested. I think that anyone who fast-forwards a yoga DVD may actually be type A.
Do your kids appreciate everything you do for them? My guess is no. Did we truly appreciate everything our parents did for us?
We drove back from Florida with Son Two, while Son One and Daughter flew back with Nana. We had been driving for a few hours, not even out of Florida yet, when this conversation took place:
Me: So, what was your favourite part of our vacation?
Son Two: What vacation?
Daddy: The trip we were just on. In Florida? What did you like about it?
Me (thinking to myself - we went to Disney, Universal, swimming daily, air boat ride, mini golf... pick something!)
Son Two: Daddy - you know what?
Son Two: Listen to this... BUUUUURRRRPPPPP!
Seriously - we clothe, feed and drive them around. On top of meeting their needs, we try to make life fun for them. Vacations, museum visits, skating lessons and bike rides. Is it all for nothing?
On one hand, parenting is a thankless job. Who is going to thank you for raising good kids? Not the kids, certainly.
It is one of those jobs where the joy of raising good kids should give us enough satisfaction, knowing that they love us, that they are successful and that they are contributing to the betterment of society.
But would a little thanks every now and then really be so hard?
Opps. Parents of mine - thank you very much for everything over the last 34 1/2 years. I do appreciate so much of what you did for us, the love and support you gave (except the piano lessons - couldn't we have admitted a little earlier that I wasn't musical?)
Love you guys.
Tonight was another successful book club. I am home a little earlier than normal, but with March Break coming up, two of our members were away.
We had read, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It was generally well received by our club. Most of us are unfamiliar with our WW II history, and didn't even know that the Guernsey Islands had been occupied.
Moms out there - if you are not currently in a book club with other moms, you really need to start your own. We meet once a month, and sometimes spend most of our time talking about our husbands and kids and drinking wine. Also, these women in my group always have the most amazing selections of cheese. At home we stick with marble cheddar, so it is always and adventure.
Being the Catholic system, my children are now officially on March Break. Tonight, because they have no school in the morning, they actually waited up for me! I guess a few more years and I will be waiting up for them.
How many of you are going away for March Break? What is the plan, skiing or going south? For those of you staying home, are your kids in camps, or are you hoping to see some of what the city has to offer? Or just staying home and relaxing?
Whatever you choose do you, have a safe and happy March Break!
I woke at 3:30 am with a terrible headache. It felt like a really bad hangover, except that the only alcohol I've had in the past month was a glass of wine a week ago.
In the bathroom, all I could find was Children's Tylenol. Squinting in the half-light, I tried to read the recommended dosage. Multiplying my weight, trying to divide into kilograms, I came up with twelve. That can't be right, I thought.
Usually I take two extra strength tablets, which are 500 something each. The kids ones are 80, so dividing 1000 by 80 I came up with 12.5.
Not bad math for the middle of the night, eh sis? I even checked my answer before overdosing myself. I opened the bottle and there were only two left. Damn. Now I would have to go downstairs to try to find adult tylenol.
But I was too tired, and lazy. And my head really hurt. Instead I went back to bed, only to wake up this morning with the same headache. Now, four extra strength tylenols later, I am on the road to recovering.
Before kids, I never got headaches. Not even hangovers. Now, I miss an hour of two or sleep and I am thrown off for days.
Oh man! I think I must be getting older. Sucks, doesn't it?
Seven years ago right now I was lying in a hospital bed crying.
My water had broken 27 hours earlier, and I was at 4.5 cm. The baby wasn't coming down and was sometimes in distress. I had just thrown up the bile from my empty stomach. I hadn't slept since I went to bed on Friday night and woke up with my water breaking. It was Sunday morning, and I wasn't sure how much more I could take.
My husband left to grab breakfast at McDonalds. Then the nurse came in and informed me that the doctors decided I would need a c-section. When she realized Husband was gone, she said we could wait for him, as long as the baby was OK.
I asked if I could have a gingerale with ice when it was all over. She said of course. I also asked if I needed to be shaved, "down there." She said no. I was exhausted - those were really the only thoughts going through my mind.
When Husband came back, so did my OB, a resident, a medical student, an anaesthetist, and my nurse. They were ready. Husband dressed in scrubs.
They wheeled my into a OR and within minutes delivered a baby boy. 9 lbs 2 oz. He was beautiful. Absolutely perfect. I cried. I was exhausted. I was thrilled. I was a mommy.
Seven years ago today I started this journey into Motherhood. You can't find the words to describe what it means to be a mother, how it changes your life until you first forget who you are, then realize that it doesn't matter because you are someone new.
You understand why mother bears do everything to protect their cubs. You cry when someone looks at your child the wrong way. When you realize that your child is less than perfect, it breaks your heart.
Today is my son's seventh birthday. I can't believe I have a seven-year-old! Really, I look much too young. But here it is. Seven years of bliss, dotted with agonizing moments of pain. I love you, Birthday Boy. Happy Birthday!
The vacation is over. Today we are packing up, and leaving tomorrow. The lucky ones are flying home from Florida - will take them about 7 hours door to door with airport waits and suck. The other three of us are driving.
Yes, I will leave Florida tomorrow morning, I hope by 8 am, and drive home to Toronto. We will stop somewhere overnight, and I definitely won't be in contact until Monday. Try not to miss me too much!
We are still debating the route. I am not sure why - Husband has already made up his mind and no one is changing it. I think he just wants me to disagree with him so that he can be right. So far, I haven't been taking the bait.
24 hours in the van with Husband and Son Two. I read my last book today, so it means I will have to talk to Husband on the way home. Plus we are taking the mountain route home so the radio won't be working. Son Two has a DVD player with movies picked out, a Nintendo DS, books and snacks.
I am tired just thinking about it. And I know it is all in my head, but I have been going to the bathroom every twenty minutes today just because I can.
The packing isn't done. I promised the kids that they could each pick out a treat for trip home tomorrow. And of course, we had the most beautiful day yet today, so I am not sunburned!
Today Daddy took the boys to Universal Islands of Adventure. Later they are supposed to be staying over night with my in-laws. I haven't heard from them yet, so everything must be going OK.
I got to do some shopping, and it was great today. A Gap employee has restored my faith in American retail employees. He searched the entire store for something, held open the bathroom door for my daughter, and looked all around the store for me when I left my sunglasses in the change room - what a guy!
But I miss my boys. I know it has only been about 8 hours, but I miss them. The world seems so quiet, and I have this weird sort of freedom. Except that I have forgotten what it is like to do what I want.
I used to be incredibly decisive. Today I couldn't even decide what I wanted to eat for lunch (the good news is that I just ate Daughter's as she changed her mind.) Actually, it worked out well because it turns out she didn't want the pizza for dinner either, so I had two meals that I didn't have to think about.
A break from the kids is nice. I can relax and be myself again, and appreciate the kids for who they are. I hope the boys miss me, too.
After driving myself mad over this iPod, Son Two just admitted that he had found it when I had left it on the computer, and put it away somewhere. Maybe upstairs, maybe downstairs. He doesn't remember.
But at least I am not crazy. While this expanded my search area to the entire house, it also cut it in half height-wise.
While getting the boys dressed, Son Two reached into his sock drawer. The drawer was almost empty, due to his thorough packing.
And there sat the iPod. Right in the middle.
Both sons are currently taking credit for the find.
I am so tired of winter. Aren't you? Tomorrow we are going away. To Florida for a few days. I hope that I can continue to write from there, but if I go MIA, please note that I will be back soon!
I have about a million things to do before we go. Why does mom always get to pack for everyone? The last time I let Husband pack for himself he ran out of underwear 4 days in and had to buy them for US$18 a pair in Bahamas.
At least in the states, anything you forget you can probably pick up cheaper at Target.
Yes, we are planning on visiting Disney World. I also want Husband to take the boys to Universal one day so that I can shop in peace. For myself I need some new clothes, some shoes, and maybe a new purse or two.
My father will likely be moving in, as he will be feeding the fish and checking the mail. The cat is at my grandmother's house - maybe we will forget to pick him up when we get home.
I like traveling. And the kids are great on holidays. Sometimes it just seems like so much work to prepare, and again so much work when you get home.
I have three empty suitcases waiting to be filled. I also have two suitcases that have been packed by a 3 year old and 5 year old... I may want to check those.
Our flight leaves really late tomorrow night, so I am trying to encourage the kids to wear their pajamas. Who know - maybe I will too!
Look, if you are sick, stay home! Stop thinking you are such a trooper to go into work, or school, because you don't feel that bad. JUST STAY HOME AND STOP GETTING THE REST OF US SICK!!!
Stay home a day or two. Keep your kids home from school for a few days. Rest. Get over it before venturing forth in the world.
That being said - if you were on the subway this morning between 8:45 am and 9:15 am, yes, that was my son coughing and sneezing in your direction, and you are probably now infected with his virus.
Son Two woke up this morning looking a little pale, sounding nasally, and coughing. He had no fever, and had slept well last night, so I didn't think he was that bad. When he sneezed, it was clear and not that gross yellowish green stuff.
He is currently involved in intensive prompt speech therapy that takes him out of school two days a week. The speech pathologist was very clear about keeping him home if he was ever ill. But this was only his second session, and he really didn't seem that bad, so off we went.
We take the subway downtown for fun. I think it was going from the cold outside to the warmth of the train, but the first thing he did was sneeze; a lot of gunk came out. Then he started coughing, and I started thinking, "Gee, he doesn't sound so good." I offered him a cough drop, but he doesn't like Halls.
When we got off the train, we walked underground and passed a pharmacy. I walked in and looked around for some cold medication, more to mask his symptoms to keep from getting in trouble with the speech pathologist. He picked out these strip things for coughs and runny nose. They were perfect, I just couldn't find anywhere on the box where it mentioned age.
I tore one open, and he popped it in his mouth. Then I noticed in small print on the individually packaged strips, "for adults and children aged 12 and up."
Damn. He is 5. Yes, big for 5, but still just 5.
Oh well! Too late now. It has melted away on his tongue already.
Off to speech. First thing Son Two did when we got in the room was cough into the speech pathologist's face. Then he sneezed, and LOTS came out. She then put on some latex gloves.
I apologized. Really, since I am home, I tend to keep my kids home if I suspect anything mostly because they are so young that if they miss a few days of school it doesn't really matter.
However, today I was the bad mother. First I infected a few dozen people on the subway, then I gave him adult medication, then I infected the nice speech pathologist, who is trying really hard to help us. Finally, we infected a dozen or so more people on our subway ride home (oh yeah - if you were on the subway from 10:15 am to 10:45 am - sorry!)
Tomorrow we are on a plane to Florida. I just hope that it doesn't get any worse. Partially because I feel bad about infecting a few hundred people on the plane. Mostly because I know the trouble it could cause for Son's ears if we travel and he is too ill.
Now we are off to hockey. He doesn't get very close to anyone there, and I am hoping that his hockey masks helps him keep his germs to himself.
Coffee. Last night was terrible. I think it was my worst night EVER.
All children were well asleep before Husband came home, but I made the mistake of asking him to move our daughter, who had fallen asleep in one of her brother's beds.
That was at 10:45 pm. She cried and screamed until 3:30 am.
I have forgotten the toll sleep deprivation can take on you. Husband brought her into our bed after about 10 minutes of crying.
She kept crying, "My knee hurts!"
I checked her knee. Nothing. She was kicking and screaming, so it looked fine.
We got her water. We got her a band-aid. We got her water again.
Still, no luck. I was tired. Husband was tired.
I threatened her with medicine. Finally, an hour and half into her tirade, she asked for medicine. I thought she would soon settle down. We got her water, again.
She kept crying. I told Husband we should get rid of her. He thought I meant putting her back into her own bed. I think I actually meant putting her somewhere outside in a basket with a note pinned to her.
Husband left to go sleep in her room. He had to be at work at 7 am this morning, so I couldn't argue.
But I was stuck with this screaming, crying girl. And I was tired. Very tired.
Can three-year-olds get colic for a night? I am really hoping this doesn't ever happen again. With three children I have come to accept the dark circles, but bags? It's just not fair!
At 1:30 am I left to go and sleep with the boys. 20 minutes later she came looking for me.
Now she was crying, I was crying. My nerve endings were electric. I needed to figure out how to get her to sleep! I just needed sleep.
Finally, just after 3:30 am, she fell asleep.
Now, 8 am, she is upstairs, still blissfully snoozing. In a few minutes I am going to have to wake her to take her brothers to school. But I am already planning my afternoon nap.
I am putting my daughter to bed, and singing to her as I rub her back. For some reason tonight, she just won't fall asleep. (Must be because she slept in until almost 10 am.)
Mama Mia is her favourite movie, so I start with "Winner Takes it All". I don't get the verses in the right order, but I would guess that I am close to 90% on the words. She is almost asleep, so I go right into, "Chiquitita."
When I get to the line:
Chiquitita tell me the truth
I'm a shoulder you can rely on
Daughter rolls over and says, "No, that's wrong Mommy. A shoulder you can cry on."
SHE CORRECTS ME!
I see her father in her. When we first started dating, I used to sing along, loudly and largely off-key, with the radio. He often corrected my "interpretations" of the lyrics. Really, I think he found it endearing initially; another quirk for him to love. Now I am sure that it secretly annoys him.
I would definitely bomb that show, "Don't forget the lyrics." No question. I am pretty good at Jeopardy, though, and I really kick butt in Teen Jeopardy.
After I post this, I am going to do some lyrics searches on those ABBA songs. I want to be prepared for tomorrow's bedtime.
Today I have sunk to a new low. I dropped the boys off at school in my pajamas. If only Stacey and Clinton had seen me, I might have gotten a $5000 wardrobe out of it.
It is Friday. And even though it has been a short week thanks to Family Day, it still has been busy.
I need a nice long shower, but was short of time getting everyone ready.
At first I thought I should throw on yesterday's clothes, and then come home and change. Come on! It isn't that gross. I am in the middle of laundry (story of my life) and the pants that I want to wear today are in the dryer.
Then I thought - why add a step? I have a nice long coat. I was just thinking the other day about how attractive my pajamas are - considering even having an outfit made in the same style that I could lounge around it. (Oh my God - am I actually considering lounge wear? Quick - I need a trip to lululemon to be comfortable and stylish!)
I am thinking of writing a proposal for the school to make every Friday Pajama Day. The kids would love it. And I would gladly pay $1 a child to have 10 extra minutes on a Friday morning. Think of the fundraising possibilities.
So today, maybe for the first time in my adult life, I left the house in my pajamas. I actually convinced Daughter to do the same, so out of the four of us, I only had to get two people dressed.
"Isn't this fun wearing out pajamas outside? And with our coats and boots, no one will know!"
She now wants to wear them all day. I may just let her.
I actually like Valentine's Day. I don't consider it a completely Hallmark Holiday. This year, however, it seems to have really snuck up on me. Thus our low key celebrations.
First, I need to tell you I am the bad mother. I didn't get around to doing valentines with the boys for their classmates. For the past few years, we have actually hand made individual valentines for each of the 20 or so students per class, plus teachers, and attached treats. This year - not even the store bought Spiderman ones.
I asked Son One if he was the only one not to hand them out. "No," he answered, "Mark didn't either." (Name changed to protect the innocent). *Mark* is the child in class who doesn't have a hat, mittens or boots on the coldest day of the year, and often has no snack. Gee - now I feel really bad.
Husband also seems to have missed out on the preparations. When I handed him his card and chocolate this morning, his response, "Ah - your present is still at the store." Yes, very romantic. I told him to forget, but he would be in charge of dinner.
I got the kids a card and a small chocolate each. I decided low key is best as these holiday celebrations are getting out of hand.
Tonight our sitter-less plan is this. Husband will order dinner (maybe Indian, but probably pizza), I bought a nice bottle of wine, and we will watch a movie with the kids. I am thinking either The Princess Bride or Lady and The Tramp. For us I have Moulon Rouge as my husband really hates musicals.
Yesterday I went grocery shopping with my daughter. It was the big grocery shop, and the store was fairly empty. We had no place to be for a few hours (though I was dressed and hoping to get in a quick run). At the checkout, daughter picked the self-checkout, and I thought, hey, why not?
Why not? Because she is three and thinks she can do it all by herself! That is why not! Damn husband for not keeping her well enough entertained so she would actually want to stay home with him instead of grocery shopping with me.
She knows how to scan anything with a bar code. I remind her to, "look for the stripes." But self-checkouts at the supermarkets are complicated - you have to have the timing down pat. Scan, bag, repeat. If you try to scan two items in a row without bagging, the system shuts down.
Did I mention that this was my big, weekly grocery shop and I had a full cart, including lots of bar-codeless produce?
The employee overseeing the self checkout was very helpful, and very patient. Over a dozen times he had to refresh the system because she touched the scale, double scanned, or pressed something wrong.
After about 10 minutes, since the three checkout lanes had no customers, we had an audience. Three employees, any of whom could have had us checked out in under three minutes. All were amazed at my daughter's checkout skills; one even commented that she could be a checkout-girl in a few years.
One employee asked if I was a teacher, since I was obviously so patient.
Who me? Patient? Are you kidding me? Microwave popcorn takes too long. Answer your phone after the first ring, for goodness sake! The speed limit is 40 km/h, not 35 you idiot!
Ask my husband. Ask my friends. Ask my family. Especially ask my children. Patient is not a word that anyone who knows me would ever use to describe me.
I smiled. 17 minutes to check ourselves out.
"Well, you know," I said, "we really have no where else to be. And as long as she is having fun, why not?"
Just read an article on Salma Hayek breastfeeding someone else's child on camera. YUCK! Then I actually read the story (Time Magazine version).
She was in Sierra Leone, the country with the highest infant mortality rate in the world. Ms. Hayek was there as a part of a vaccination awareness program, but the subject of breastfeeding arose. The child she nursed was born the same day as her daughter. Apparently in Africa there is a lot of pressure on mothers from their husbands to stop breastfeeding as soon as possible because there is a stigma attached to having sex with a lactating woman.
I originally wanted to comment on how brave and fearless she was. However, as I thought about it, I realized that she was responding to a primal instinct. Salma was faced with a hungry infant, and she had milk. To me what is beautiful is that she didn't think about it, she wasn't trying to make a political or social statement. She just did what needed to be done for the benefit of the child.
Salma Hayek should be our image of Motherhood. Not only is she beautiful, but thoughtful, caring and wise.
Last night my new favourite show was on; Being Erica on CBC, Wednesday at 9:00 pm.
Unfortunately, my husband was working late. After a busy evening, I had the kids in pajamas, teeth brushed and flossed, and reading done at exactly 8:58 pm. But no time to actually put them to bed (we usually lie down with them until they are closer to sleep, talking about their days, etc.) Hmmm... What to do. What to do...
This is what happened:
OK. Everyone grab a pillow, and crawl into mommy's bed and be quiet. If you speak, you will be sent to your own room.
"Mommy! I need a blanket."
"Mommy! I need to go to the bathroom."
OK. So I just missed the first few minutes. The lights are off. They should all be asleep soon.
"Stop kicking your brother."
"Stop kicking your sister."
What did they just say? I hope it wasn't important. Of course it was important!
"Give your brother back his pillow."
"Seriously, I am warning you. One more sound and you will all be in your beds."
"OK. Yes it is a commercial. You can all talk."
"No, I am not changing it to channel 45 during the commercial."
"The commercial is over. Be quiet now."
Finally, one asleep.
"Stop kicking your brother."
"Stop kicking your sister."
OK. What did he say?
Finally. Two asleep.
OK. Maybe I need PVR...
Why do I like Being Erica? I find it so well done. The idea is clever, but really I love Erica (played by Erin Karpluk). The dialogue rings so true, and the show seems so real. It is witty, funny and a little sarcastic.
The show is about a thirty something woman with regrets. Who can't relate to that? It also makes me more than a little thankful for all that I have.
CBC has all of the back episodes online, and you can watch them commercial free (our tax dollars at work.) Try it! You'll like it.
I parked poorly last night. Slid on some ice and went right over one of those cement parking curbs, ending up in a deep trench. Damn that front wheel drive!
I tried to get out, but know it was a lost cause. As the snow melted, I actually sunk deeper getting stuck even worse.
Snow never used to bother me, but last year and this year it has just been so bad! I spent $900 on a new bumper last year because of the frozen snow banks. Curses City of Toronto! Can't you get rid of some of this snow so that I can actually drive down a side street? Or back straight out of my driveway?
Last night it took four very strong, very helpful men to actually lift the front of my car over the curb so that I could safely back out of the space. Thanks again guys!
I also had to bribe the boys not to tell Daddy. So this is our little secret, ok? Because I really am a good driver.
I went for a run this morning with a group of women, most of whom are childless. I gained some valuable insight into why some women don't want to be mothers.
Now I know motherhood isn't for everyone. I even know some mothers who really should have stayed childless, but I think it would be mean to point it out to them now.
The reason these women shirked motherhood was shocking. They were concerned about what pregnancy would do to them physically. Sagging breasts, stretch marks, and widening hips repulse them so much that they don't want to be mothers.
See? Now I know the difference between mothers and non-mothers. I never thought my body was great to begin with, so I never worried about the scars of motherhood (a nice this way of saying stretch marks, sagging breasts and big hips).
As a society we may be in trouble, in theory, because the least perfect of our species are the ones reproducing.
Or society's current obsessions with looks are out of line with evolution.
Either way I figure these women are missing out on a lot just to look "hot" a little longer. Because let's face it, your looks will fade. But motherhood is forever. And plastic surgery is becoming more affordable!
I am a hockey mom. When did that become such a negative? Sarah Palin didn't help matters with her joke about the bulldog and the lipstick. In the past it was the hockey dads that beat up on the coaches and the refs.
COME ON CANADA! There are millions of us "hockey moms" out there. We are the ones ensuring that the kids have eaten and are rested before they get on the ice. We are cleaning their equipment and airing it out. We are dressing and undressing the kids. Cheering for them, win or lose. Sitting in frozen arenas for hours, and driving all around the city.
I have never heard a hockey mom say anything bad about her child, another player, a coach or a ref. The only time I even heard a "hockey mom" yell at the ref, it was her husband and she was trying to draw his attention to an injured child on the ice.
The soul of our country is hockey. It is not an evil sport. The participants are not crazy mutants. It is a fast, fun game involving a lot of skill.
I know my kids won't make it to the NHL. Out of the 400,000 + kids currently playing in the GTA, I think fewer than 7 will ever even make it to a farm team. The same way teaching your child to ride a bike won't get them into the Tour De France, playing hockey isn't just about one day playing for the Leafs.
Don't ask me what I expect my child "to get out of" hockey. They are learning to skate, puck handle, play on a team, and be a good sportsman. It is great exercise, fun, and entertaining. They get to meet kids outside of school and make new friends. I think any organized team sport is a great experience for any child.
Please keep the disgust out of your voice when I tell you that I am taking my kids to hockey. Yes, I am a hockey mom. If you have a problem with that, I just might deck you.
I never had much success with time-outs for the kids. Maybe I wasn't consistent enough (the expert answer when any of their advice fails). I gave them often enough - usually for an offense committed in front of another adult who would surely judge my mothering abilities if I didn't discipline. I just never found time-outs particularly effective.
Until now. Time-outs are the perfect answer for me! When I am stressed and yelling and can tell that I am losing control for no good reason, I tell the kids that, "Mommy needs a time-out" and I go to my room.
I am thirty-four. Therefore, based on traditional time-out calculations, I get 34 minutes to myself to think about my behaviour. So it was 4:30 pm, and I told the kids not to come find me until the clock read 5:00. I climbed into bed and turned on Oprah to decompress.
4 minutes later, Son Two arrived. "I already broke the eggs for my omelette."
Today my daughter had her ballet class. She gets to wear pink tights, a pink leotard, pink ballet slippers, and a pink chiffon skirt. Last week she got a pair of leg warmers. It is adorable! The girls run, jump and dance around to music for 30 minutes. There is nothing sweeter.
I always wanted to dance ballet. I loved the point shoes and the tutus. Ballerinas were so elegant - slim, pretty and graceful. I never asked my mother to sign me up for ballet - I knew my parents would find some way of telling me that I just wasn't "built" for ballet. I wasn't slim. I wasn't graceful. I never wore pink. It wasn't obvious that locked inside was a girl who loved tulle and wanted to dance on a stage en pointe.
In my mind my daughter will be accepted to the National Ballet School, and is on her way to becoming a prima ballerina.
Am I living vicariously through her? Of course! Maybe I should find myself an adult beginner ballet class and follow my own dream.
Or maybe I should just buy myself some pink tights, a leotard and a tutu and dance around the house with my daughter. It might be more fun.
Almost nine years ago, I married the most wonderful man in the world. I was an independent woman, with an MBA, on a career track in a strategy consulting group. Our life was lavish vacations, dinners out, and a chequing account that never ran low.
For our first anniversary we went on a golf vacation. My husband got his first and only hole-in-one, and nine months later we had our first child.
Now I don't work, I can't do grade one math, I eat the left-overs off my kids plates, I am broke, and I don't even get to go to the bathroom alone.
I never wanted to be a mother. Growing up, I never played with dolls, imagined a big, white wedding, or even expected to be married. But I guess the great thing about life is that nothing works out the way you plan. Isn't it wonderful?
I love my children more than anything else in the world. I wouldn't change a thing about my current life (except a full time housekeeper / nanny / chef / personal trainer and a couple of million dollars in the bank). I had three children in less than four years, and become something that I never imagined I would be... A STAY AT HOME MOM!