Monday, December 22, 2008

The elusive holiday card photo

-Oh, you girls look so cute! Go stand in front of the Christmas tree for a minute so I can take your picture.

-Please? Just for a second.

-Do it and I'll give you ice cream?

-Look over here.

-Hi, Eden! Look at Mommy, Baby! Moochie, Moochie! BABABABABA, wheeeehooo! (blow raspberry) say cheese!

-No, just hold still for one second, please?

-Thumb out of your mouth.

-Come on, please?

-Get your fingers out of her nose!

-Please stop crying?

-Look! Look! See the pretty bell?

-Santa's not bringing any presents unless you quit whining!

-Ah, Fuck it.

Merry Christmas to All!

Shit, how do I turn it right side up?

Meh, you get the idea.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I like to talk about myself.

Ok, so why bother thinking up something to write when you can just do a survey?

1. Who was your FIRST prom date? Adam, first at his school, then mine.

2. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink? Probably Baby Duck, cause we're white trash

3. What was your FIRST job? Newspaper route

4. What was your FIRST car? Grand AM, it was black, lasted a whole year.

5. Who was the FIRST person to text you today? Don't do texts.

6. Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning? Mooch, hoping she would stay asleep just a little longer

7. Who was your FIRST grade teacher? Mlle Tavascia (no idea if I spelled that right)

8. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane? Florida, I was 6

9. Who was your FIRST best friend, and are you still friends with him / her? Kristin, and yes, I am

10. Who was your FIRST kiss? Adam, I really am a loser

11. Who was the FIRST person you talked to today?Adam

12. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning? blew my nose

13. What was the FIRST concert you ever went to?Dolly Parton, I was 3, thanks mom!

14. What was your FIRST tattoo or piercing? piercing=ears, tattoo=dragon on shoulder blade.

15. What was the FIRST foreign country you went to? Foreign? like America?

16. What was the FIRST movie you saw in the theater? First ones I remember were The Little Mermaid (was scared of Ursula) and Earnest Scared Stupid (was scared to sleep on bottom bunk for YEARS because it was like under the troll tree) I was such a wuss.

17. When was your FIRST detention? uum, I don't think I ever had a detention. I know I know: a loser, a wuss and now a browner, gee this is fun!

18. What was the FIRST state you lived in? Ah hem, Ontario.

19. Who was the FIRST person to really break your heart? Remember that part about the first guy I kissed and my prom date? Ya, still with him.

20. With whom was your FIRST date? see 19.

21. What was your FIRST pet? cats= Tigger, Zipper, Bobby and MoeMoe, they were around before me.

22. Who was your FIRST roommate?Adam again, jeeze

23. Who was your FIRST love?This is just getting redundant

24. What was your FIRST screen name? thepowersthatbe (Buffy reference, I was 12)

25. When did you have your FIRST baby?September 20, 2003. I was 18

And now for a picture of the obvious star of this survey, because Look at ME I got a new camera!~And also: My kids are cute!

Christmas give-away = free junk for anyone willing to brave the Cave of Doom to dig it out.

A couple of months ago we moved from a reasonable sized house to a small apartment. In order to make this work we took multiple loads of junk to the dump, filled an entire moving truck with slightly less junky junk to donate, and rented a good sized storage shed. Still, I knew that having a family of four in this space would require a strict regime of tidiness and organization. Sadly, I suck at both of those things.

We have this tiny bedroom that we decided to use as a walk-in closet, since the master bedroom has no closet at all (it was taken out to extend the bathroom) But as we continued to open boxes, look into them and think -where the hell am I going to put that? More and more stuff has ended up in my fabulously huge closet. Today it looks like this:

Ya, there is no walking-in to this closet. There is also no door to hide this behind. There is simply a wall to wall, floor to ceiling, avalanche prone, black hole of stuff. I believe new life forms may be evolving in the sub-levels. Now, while this is irritating for many reasons, the most pressing one is that fact that in this room is a wooden wardrobe (see it there in the far left hand corner? No, didn't think so) and in this wardrobe are the Christmas presents. Of course by "in" I mean "in the general vicinity of" because as the room got more and more stuffed I eventually ended up standing in the doorway and simply heaving my lovingly selected gifts towards the wardrobe one by one as I brought them home, counting on the sheer magnitude of the disarray to camouflage them from sight. This system has worked remarkably well, until this morning when.. I snarled with a sneer; next week is Christmas. It's practically here! DAMMIT!

Not only does this mean I have a hell of a lot of digging to do, it also illustrates how disgustingly bogged down with material things we have become. We tried to purge ourselves when we moved, really we did, but still we are quite literally up to our necks in stuff and here comes Christmas to bury us completely. Spirit of giving, Good will towards men, Peace on Earth and so on and so forth are all well and good, but I simply haven't been able to tell my kids that Santa's not bringing any toys this year because Mommy has no freaking place to put them!

So, to anybody out there still looking for a last minute gift for us : Send money, we need a bigger house.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm thankful for...

Every other blogger has a post up about Thanksgiving, well I'm not feeling tremendously creative just now so I'm going to write about how I spent my Thanksgiving, here in Canada, a couple of months ago.

We did brunch with my family in the morning, then headed straight to Adam's family's place for dinner. Our callous disregard for nap time in between actually paid off when Mooch slept through dinner and I was able to eat without her squirming on my knee, throwing food off the table, whining to get down, or any of the other joys that come when dining with toddlers. We spent the rest of the day attempting to take one photograph of 8 children, no mean feat when the eldest is 8 and the rest include 2 babies, 3 three year-olds, a sick 6 year old, and Goober.

If you came here looking for sweet stories about my kids, or if you are my mother, please stop reading now.

We recently moved back to the town where I grew up. The house where I grew up, in fact, and where my mom still lives, because we are failures. The up side to this arrangement is that Grandma is always handy and perfectly willing to babysit...if the children are sleeping.

Another nice feature is the proximity to the nature trail. The main trail was once a train track and small walking trails have webbed out from it over the years to cover a good chunk of land featuring pretty hills, bush and streams which makes a lovely setting for ... uum..."becoming one with nature" if you get my meaning. This is where I had my first kiss, when I was 16 ( yes sixteen, and it was with Adam too, sad I know). We followed it up with another big first out there several months later. So, we decided to make use of the unusually warm evening to welcome ourselves back to the old place.

We asked my mom to listen for the girls and were about to head out for a "walk" when Adam told me to wait, he had a present for me. Yay presents! I like presents. Was it chocolate? No, it was not. It was purple and rubbery and shaped like a dolphin and it had straps and a remote. Now, having been with the same guy for 7 years and 2 kids, I'm not about to turn my back on a new experience, so I put on some loose pants and strapped the thing to my thighs and off we went. Once we were on the trail Adam flicked the ON switch and...nothing happened. Bit of a disappointment really, Stag Shop return policies being what they are and all. But we continued walking, resigned to entertaining ourselves the old fashioned way.

There was a bright full moon, but we decided to be unusually bold and make use of a bench quite near the main trail. Operations were well under way when I heard the crackling. We paused to listen but decided it was probably the dry fall leaves rustling in the Indian summer breeze and went about our business. Then I heard it again. This time definitely not wind, someone was coming. There followed a silent flurry of activity in the darkness as we tried to get ourselves decent (pants, pants, where are my PANTS!) But we were sitting nonchalantly side by side on the bench when our visitor appeared. A deer. A big beautiful deer walked within 10 feet of us, shimmering silver in the moonlight. She stood still and stared at us for several minutes as we tried not to make a sound and startle her away. At that moment the damned dolphin (which was still in place) decided to come to life, scaring the bejesus out of me and causing me to jump. The deer snapped out of her trance and went on her way, followed by a friend or fawn. We finished up and walked home, having passed a very pleasant Thanksgiving all around.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I know I aced that exam...but still

Goober just came out of her bedroom crying.

"There's something wrong with my head!"

"What is it, Baby?"

"I can't sleep. I can't make everything go back to normal!"

"What do you mean?"

"I keep having thoughts that everything is pretend and not real."

"That's right, nightmares aren't real..."

"NO! I'm not having nightmares. I just keep looking around and thinking that nothing is really real. Like everything around us isn't real!" (sweeping arm expansively to take in the house and world in general)

"Give yourself a little pinch, that's how you know you're real and awake because..."

"NO! I know I'm real, but how do I know if everything else in the world is real? Maybe everything is just pretend except for me!"

Seriously? Existential philosophy from a 5 year old? What am I supposed to say to that? 'hang on a minute while I consult my old university Phil 101 textbook' ? Do I tell her 'Of course everything is real'? Or say 'that's a very interesting question, you know according to Plato...' or do I say "Jeez, I don't know. Do I come and bother you when I can't sleep? Go back to bed."

Sorry kid, I can't make everything go back to normal, once you start having intelligent thoughts it's almost impossible to go back.


When I was little, maybe 6 or 7, my class went on a walking trip to some place I don't remember. What I DO remember is the sky cracking when we got back to school.

We were crossing the school yard towards our classroom, all in a line like good little sheep. I was trailing along at the end in some day dream when I happened to look up, and what I saw froze me in my tracks. The whole sky was covered with billions of black rod shaped things that glowed around the edges, all of them spinning around each other in a huge intricate pattern that filled the sky to every horizon. They disappeared a few seconds later and one of the supervisors called for me to hurry up. I stared at her dumbly for a minute, wondering if it was possible that she really hadn't seen that. Then suddenly I was reminded of watching Star Trek with my mom, the times when they would go to the holo-deck and worlds would appear and disappear in a small dark room. Sometimes the holograms would malfunction and they would see flashes of those checkered walls within the projected reality. That's when I hatched my first conspiracy theory. The woman had seen it all, she was rushing me into the classroom because she knew the Sky Simulator was on the fritz and she wanted me indoors before I saw any more. Was this world really real? Why were we here? What was outside?

Apparently I still don't have the answers.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fortunately, Goober Set That Bar High

Oh happy day. My sweet tempered baby has learned to throw a tantrum! I'm so proud.

Ever since Mooch was born I have been shocked by how easy she was to get along with. After the whirlwind of shrieking rage that was Goober, Mooch's infancy has been a vacation. She started sleeping 5-6 hours a night at birth and by 7 or 8 weeks she was down for 12 hours, oh yes TWELVE HOURS. She nursed perfectly and had no problem with solids whatsoever. She cried, of course, but only for short periods and only when something was actually wrong and then when you fixed it, miracle of miracles, she stopped. As opposed to Goobers penchant for screaming unholy murder for hours no matter what you did. The kind label for Goobers' disposition was "Spirited" Mooch, on the other hand, could not be described as anything but "Easy" It's entirely possible that my recollection has been skewed by the fact that when Goober was small I was a mess and I should definitely have been seeking some PPD help, but I know for a fact that Goober was throwing Grade A-dive for cover tantrums before she was a year old and by 18 months she had graduated to full blown Door -slamming-fist pounding-"IIII HHAAAAAAAAAATE YOUUUU!"-hours long- marathon tantrums of the type normally reserved for puberty or demonic possession. Mooch's first tantrum attempts at 16 months have been downright cute by comparison.

There it is, the screaming that isn't actually crying, the flailing limbs, the falling to the floor...
"Wow, she's really mad isn't she?" Adam noted, actually smiling a little at the novelty of it. But then it was over, just like that, less than 2 minutes from when it began. Oh well. I'm sure she'll get better with practice.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

You had to be there

Mooch was running around the house all baby commando for a while today and, inevitably, she peed on the floor. I noticed her standing in a wet spot and I asked idiotically: "Uh oh, did you go pee pee on the floor?" (because having kids turns your brain to mush and that kind of drivel really does come out of your mouth no matter how much you try to fight it.) She looked down at her wet socks and then up at me with a confused look on fer face. She made the 'change diaper' hand sign, then bent over in an attempt to look into her own crotch, muttering "dih-ter? dih-ter?" then raised both arms in her 'where?' attitude and grinned a huge grin at me before announcing "all gone!" and doing a happy little stomping dance in her puddle.
People without kids will find this story gross, but if you'd been there you would seriously think it was cute and funny. Well, I did. Sorry.
We took the girls tobogganing at the park this afternoon, for some good old fashioned Turn-that-TV-off-and-get-your-snow-pants-on-right-now-because-we-are-going-to-play-outside-and-you're-going-to-have-fun-if-I-have-to-drag-you-out-kicking-and-screaming-dammit! Family togetherness time. Which went really well once the initial hurdle of leaving the house was surmounted. As we headed towards home Goober shouted:
"Look! Boys! There are neighbours out there. Can I play with them, PLEEEEESE?"
There were indeed 3 boys playing in the snow on our street, but they were 4 or 5 houses down from us and on the opposite side of the road.
"You can say hi, but it's time to go home for supper." I answered.
She ran towards them and chatted for a minute and then dragged her feet after us down the block. When we were back in our own yard she sat down in a pile of snow and stared forlornly down the street.
Before we moved here in October, Goober played with the 2 boys next door all the time; hardly a day went by that those boys didn't kick the shit out of our back door to ask me sweetly if Goober would like to come out and play. If they didn't, Goober went to them. The 3 of them, and sometimes the girl from the next house beyond theirs, would play outside for hours at a time, running freely across our combined yards. I trusted their parents and we all knew that if the kids were out of our own sight, they were within each other's, and they were never out of shouting range. They had the freedom to play and explore and it was a beautiful thing.
Since we've moved, Goober has been desperate for playmates. Unfortunately, we live on a corner lot and neither of the houses bordering us contains any kids. Goober begs to bring friends home from school, but the combination of my awkwardness with meeting other parents and the fact that I can't imagine adding another shrieking child to the congestion in this tiny apartment has thus far prevented me from acceding to her requests.
So when I looked down at her, sitting there in the snow, not yelling or whining, but just staring sadly at those boys down the street, I gave in. The distance was beyond my comfort range, and I didn't know their parents at all, and it required crossing the street, and it was beginning to get dark, but I looked at Goober and said:
"You want to go play with those boys don't you?"
She nodded, with tears in her eyes.
"OK, let's go."
She sprang up and beamed at me with a happy yell. I walked her across the street and watched as she ran over to ask if she could play. I stood around feeling dumb for a while, then took a breath and made the decision to give her back a bit of the freedom she was missing so badly. I told her I'd be watching from home and that she was not to go anywhere else, including into the house and that she was not to cross the road by herself. Then I left my daughter unsupervised with strangers for 20 minutes. She was fine. When I came back for her she pouted.
"Not yet! I didn't have any time!" But it was getting dark, and I couldn't see her from home anymore, and I can only handle so much progress in one day.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

TV warps the minds of our children.

Goober: Mommy, I need to discuss something with you.

Me: This sounds serious

Goober: Yes, once you get mutated, you start to eat different things right?

Me: Mutated?

Goober: Yes, like if you turn into a giant monster spider you might not really care about eating flies anymore like a little spider. You might just see some big animal that's just a bit smaller than you, and decide it looks good to eat even if you're really used to just eating bugs. Right?

Me: Uh well, I guess if you were a giant spider you'd need something more to eat than tiny flies.

Goober: Do you think if a giant spider was eating a cat it would suck out it's blood, or just eat the whole cat?

Me: Depends how long the cat's been stuck in your web I guess.

Goober: Giant mutant spiders don't need webs.

Me: Of course not, silly me.

In other news, Mooch CLIMBED OUT OF HER CRIB yesterday. Dammit I'm not ready for this! I know Goober was doing it at this age, but I was really hoping I'd be able to keep Mooch locked up a bit longer, because now I have to baby-proof the bathroom adjoining her room, put up a baby gate at the top of the stairs, install the thingamajig that converts the crib to a toddler bed to prevent her from breaking her head falling off of the crib bars....gah!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Writing about my hair, feel free to skip ahead.

I got my hair cut yesterday. My baby may never forgive me.

Until yesterday my hair was a little longer than shoulder length, brown, wavy, damaged, unkempt, and generally styled so as to scream 'I've given up!' to the world. But Mooch loved it.
When I held her she would take a lock of hair and gently stroke it across her cheek over and over; I was her blankie. At more active moments she would notice the wayward curls and pull them in front of my eyes, then puff at me to encourage me to blow the hair up off of my face. When I would lay her down for a diaper change she would shake her head violently from side to side to get me to lean over her and shake my hair all over her face and belly, this was apparently hilarious, or it tickled, either way.

For all of these reasons I considered leaving my hair alone and letting my scruffiness run free, but then I thought 'Hey, am I seriously going to let a 16 month old make my grooming decisions? It's bad enough that I have gone out in public after letting a 4 year old do my make-up . It's time to take back my own appearance! Also, Christmas is coming and I don't want to be mistaken for anyone's second cousin, Lurleen from the trailer park.'

So it's gone! I went short because I'm a lazy ass and I have found that if it's long I will ignore it and go for the 'Meh, good 'nuff' look. But when it's short I am forced to do something with it, or else look deranged.

Today hair, tomorrow a new sweater, next week make-up and perhaps someday I will renew my gym membership! Maybe not, I really am lazy.

P.S. Mooch has yet to notice anything different and I can still do the puffing thing a little so maybe it's OK.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

T'is the season to realize your significant other is a humongous bone head.

We did some Christmas shopping today while Goober was at Kindergarten. The plan here was, obviously, to buy gifts without her knowing. So how could Adam possibly have thought it would be appropriate to bring those gifts right into the god damned house after we picked her up? I mean WTF? Idiot!
"Well, weren't those ones mostly for Mooch anyway?"
Seriously? Like at 5 years old Goober won't notice if Santa brings Mooch the same freaking gifts she saw Daddy carrying a month ago? Guess those ones are from Mommy and Daddy now, huh? Forward your Christmas bonus to the North Pole, Genius.
P.S. I love you and I'd really like an ipod or a new camera for Christmas, thx.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Only Good Thing

Apparently whatever gods we pissed off feel that we have been punished enough; the plagues seem to be coming to an end, or at least pausing to let us catch our breath before the next round of germs follows us home from kindergarten and knocks us all on our asses again. Mooch suffered a nasty stomach bug that kept her out of commission for the past 10 days as a grand finale, but now even that is just about over. Goober has a couple more days of antibiotics to take, Adam's ears have cleared up and my sore throat has faded to a manageable level of scratchiness.
Being sick sucks, and having sick kids sucks worse. The sleeplessness, the whinyness, the irritability, the clingyness, and the simple suckyness of seeing your children miserable and uncomfortable. Seeing my baby tap her little fingertips together and whimper "ouch...ouch" while looking up at me with her lip quivering and her big blue eyes full of tears is definitely harder than wrestling 3 people to the ground to decant medicines into every one of their various head holes (7 holes each for Goober and Mooch and 4 for Adam) especially when her only response to my repeated "Where, baby? Where is the ouchie?" is to cry with frustration because her mother is such an idiot.
But I've gotta say... the snuggling has been great!
Yes, OK, selfish I know. But when they're healthy they are such crazy bundles of energy that physical affection is a matter of a quick hug or a kiss on the head, snatched blindly as they zoom by. They do like to be picked up and they even initiate snuggles on the couch quite frequently, but they rarely last more than 30 seconds (seconds full of squirming and frequent elbow jabs to the boob I might add) before they are off and running again.
On the sickest days I managed to orchestrate family nap time, when I would put Mooch down for her nap and then cuddle up with Goober in my bed for a few stories before falling asleep together for an hour or two. She was happy to get some one on one time and I was happy to get a little extra shut-eye. When she crawls into our bed at night she twitches and squirms and neither one of us sleeps, but for some reason in the afternoon I get to watch her become completely still and quiet before I drift off to sleep myself.
Mooch has not fallen asleep in my arms since she was about 3 months old. My kids just aren't Those Kids, you know? The ones you see sleeping against their daddy's shoulder at the mall or the park. Nor do they sleep in strollers, slings or even car seats unless driven to extremes of exhaustion. They basically sleep in their beds, crazy idea, I know.
So now I have to admit I have really been enjoying the sleepy snuggliness Mooch has been bestowing upon me for the past week and a half. Her warm body relaxing comfortably on my lap, not wiggling or bouncing, just nuzzling her soft, fuzzy head into my neck and occasionally reaching up to run her fingers through my hair or gently tap my face and explain 'nose, eye, ear... etc.' has been like having a newborn again, all sleepy and boneless against my chest, only much heavier.
Since she has been insisting I hold her every waking minute, nothing has gotten done around here all week. It became a fabulous excuse for me: Do dishes? You mean get up and disturb the poor sick baby? Christ, why not just throw her fevered little body out into the snow, you heartless jerk?! Besides, I'm sooo comfy.
I'm happy to see her laughing and playing again now, of course I am, but I will miss the marathon cuddles. I have suddenly realized that she has already grown so much and come so far from the helpless sleeping lump on my shoulder she was a year ago. For a week she was my little baby again, but now she's back to the fast paced toddler life.

Monday, November 17, 2008

16$ for babylegs and huggalugz? I think not.

Here's how you can make your own funky and functional baby leggings instead of making an ass of yourself by paying for the same babylegs everyone else has.

1. Get some woman's knee-high socks. This size fits my baby and my 5 year old equally well.

2. Chop off the heels and toes so that you're left with 2 tubes, one long and one short.

3. Take the shorter tube (formerly the foot) and fold it into itself so that you have a ring 2 layers thick. This would be a great cuff, if only babies didn't have such cute little feet, but since they do: you have to make it tighter if you don't want it falling down over their toes.

4. Cut out a strip about 3/4 of an inch wide, then sew the ring back together. Adjust this depending on how chunky or skinny your baby is.
Once it's sewn back into a ring turn it right side out, so the seam is on the inside.

5. Take the long tube (formerly the leg) and flip it inside out. Then insert the cuff you just made into the cut end so that all the raw edges line up. Now you have a tube 3 layers thick at one end.

6. Sew the 3 layers together all around the ring. Stretch the fabric as you go to make up for the fact that the small ring is narrower than the long one and to keep it stretchy.

7. Reach into the long tube and pull down the cuff and voila, a legwarmer. Repeat steps 1-7 if your child has 2 legs.

P.S. the cuff you made goes at the bottom, Daddy still has trouble with this part.

The differences between mothers and daughters.

When I was a kid I was "quiet". I always hated being described as "quiet." It was never said in a good way, as in "What a wonderful Quiet girl she is!" Instead it was used as though in explanation of a deficiency "Oh, don't mind her, she's just Quiet."

I knew I didn't fit in, and it didn't bother me. I was an only child and I never longed for siblings, I was perfectly content on my own. At home I was secure and content with my place in the center of my mother's universe but at school I faded at once into obscurity. I would enter role playing games within my mind, they were silent and they would last for days. The words and actions of those around me were simply integrated into the storyline. I would spend recesses alone, pacing around the perimeter of the school grounds, collecting treasures from the bits of childhood detritus that washed constantly out to the perimeter of the playground to become entangled in the fence like flotsam around the edges of a pond. Beating my wings against the bars of my cage.

I once overheard 2 women (my 6 year old mind classified them simply as teachers) discussing whether I might not be a high functioning autistic.

I always felt that I simply didn't belong here, that I was just passing the time until the day when I would find a doorway to Narnia hidden somewhere along that school fence. People would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I would give some dull, rote answer. It was easier than explaining that I didn`t really intend to grow up at all, I was just biding my time until I found my way to Wonderland, Neverland, Terebinthia, Oz, or someplace new, just for me.

I grew up, I realized that this world was pretty amazing in its own right and I started wanting to explore it rather than leave it. Although I still held on to the belief that someday something special would happen to me, to show me what I was meant to do. I was too old for Narnia, but perhaps I could still slip between the standing stones and travel through time, or be abducted by friendly aliens. I made friends, although not very many. I began to be present, rather than zoning out. I learned to share my opinions, rather than simply assuming no one would understand. I learned to be a part of the world, but I never learned to fit in.

Then, when I was 16 I met my first boyfriend, at 17 I was pregnant and at 18 I was a mother, tethered forever to this world by the weight of this person I had brought into it.

My daughter isn't quiet, I don't actually think she's capable of not speaking for more than 20 seconds. Even actuvities that might be considered quiet, like say colouring, are accompanied by a running narative complete with sound effects and periodic senseless screams. She doesn't zone out. From the moment she was born she has been Present. Not only does she actively participate in her environment, she is usually the center of attention. Where I was cripplingly shy, she is recklessly friendly. Where my games were silent and prolonged, her games are noisy and short-lived. Where I would simply accommodate whatever those around me seemed to be doing, she directs everyone around her, making them aware of the role they are to play and the lines they are to say. Where my report cards said 'Needs to be encouraged to participate more' Hers say 'Needs to remember to take turns and let others share the spotlight' Where I was happy to play on my own, she desperately wants kids to play with at all times.

Everyday after school she asks to have friends over. She wants play dates with strangers met 4 minutes ago at the park. I love that making friends is easy for her, but how do I tell her I don't want to have that kid over because the idea of speaking to his mother; with her perfectly styled hair and makeup at 9am on the playground, clutching her Tim Horton's mug in her manicured hand, pushing her 600$ stroller where her baby sleeps wrapped in Baby Gap, makes me feel like I did when I was 6 years old and I had to force myself to interact with people who were so alien from me that I simply have no idea how to relate. And I don't want to feel like that. It has taken me a long time to feel comfortable in my own skin and I hate that it still bothers me to feel judged by others, but I do. For the sake of my outgoing child, I do try. I have learned how to make simple chitchat about the weather, the baby etc. But it's still not something that comes naturally to me.

Not surprisingly I don't have any close Mommy friends. While I was having babies my friends from high school were entering university, our lives and priorities have, understandably, diverged. I still love to get together with them for child-free time occasionally, but sometimes I wish I had a friend with kids. Someone who could relate to me and talk with me about things that actually matter while our kids play together. Someone who finds playgroups nerve wracking and wants more out of life than cooking and keeping house and buying designer clothes.

Will things be easier for Goober? Probably. I am jealous of how easily she makes friends, of how clearly she knows who she is and what she wants. But sometimes I feel a little sad that she isn't a bit more like me. I wonder if she is missing anything by not spending hours quietly looking for fairies under toadstools. I wonder if her imagination will see her through tough times like mine has. I wonder if she will be my friend when she grows up.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

T'is the season to make really stupid decisions

So I have just about come to terms with the fact that we will never be healthy again, and if I continue to stay home and rest until we're all feeling better we will never again leave the house and by God this house is just too small to allow that to happen. So yesterday when my cousin called me up and asked us to come spend the night at her place so we could take our kids to see the Santa Claus Parade in the morning and threw in a few hours of babysitting so Adam and I could get out for a bit, I agreed.

I called Adam at work to ask/tell him about the arrangement and then I began the monumental task of preparing for a night away from home.

"Goober, want to go have a sleepover at K's house?"
"OK. Then go pack up some clothes and jammies."

And that's when things went to shit.
"I want this dress"
"That's a summer dress. We're going to watch a parade, you need warm clothes."
"Did you pack PJ's?"
"I can't find my doggie jammies. I NEED my doggie jammies!"
"Can't you take your kangaroo jammies?"
"Mooch, will you eat something, please?"
"uh un! uh un! UP UP UP UP!"
Are the diapers in the dryer dry? No of course not. Where are the overnight bags? Buried in the storage room. Got butt wipes? Nope, have to make some.
Packing for Adam, boy if you could ever put your laundry in the god damned drawers. No clean socks? When the hell did I last do laundry anyway? like 3 days ago?
"Mommy I can't get my movie to play. Mooch broke the DVDV player."
Oh No, no no no no. How will I ever get anything done without the help of Disney?
Get 2 minute shower with Mooch pounding on the shower stall.
Packing for myself. When was the last time I bought myself clothes? Years. Broken-down jeans and paint-spattered sweatshirt it is.
Pack up traveling drugstore necessary to get us through the night.
Need snowsuits. Where are they? Do they fit? Hats? Mitts? Umbrellas? Blankets? Boots? Stroller? No, Adam fell on the stroller and cracked the bloody wheels off. Sling? over snowsuit, uuum?
Blankies. For the love of all that is good in the world don't forget the blankies!
"What happened?"
"Mooch was too close to me."
"What did you do to her?"
Dinner? Fuck Dinner. McDonalds in the car it is.
Dry Hair? Why bother? It's raining. All attempts at killing the curlfrizz will be futile anyway.
Make-up? To offset my scruff wardrobe and undone hair? Nope.
Change diaper, why the hell did I already pack up all the wipes, diapers, cream etc.?
Enough seats in the van? NO. Dig more out of the garage.
Feed and water cats.
Change Mooch's clothes upon realizing she's dumped out all the cat's water.
Every one in the car? Yes, Good. Shit! No baby bottles or food.
Answer phone. "You're pregnant?!! Are you freaking insane?!"
We did eventually get out the door and picked Adam up from work (2.5 hours after his shift ended, sorry!) got where we were going and even managed to convince Mooch to go to sleep in the playpen.
Then Adam and I headed out to see a movie, only to find all the theaters packed up with some James Bond shit. So we went to a bar and sat and drank and even spoke to each other a little. After a couple hours of this bliss we went back and curled up together in a single bed with a bitchen Dora canopy and attempted to sleep for a few hours next to a restless whiny baby.

Two 5 year olds decided morning had arrived long before sunrise and we started a new day.

While I was driving Adam across town to work I couldn't help but notice that it was pouring rain, but maybe it would stop before the parade? No. We told the little girls that the parade might be cancelled because of the rain.
So we grabbed umbrellas and a poncho or 2 and staked out a place to sit on a soggy blanket and tried to prevent the kids from floating their boots down the stream in the gutter for a couple hours.
"I don't want my hood up!"
"My feet are wrinkly!"
"My hands are cold!"
"But I want to eat the candy cane now!"
"Do you want to go home?" please, please,please...
I spent the last quarter of the parade sitting in the van with Mooch, but the big girls stuck it out to the very end and returned sodden and freezing only after Santa had passed by.
The kids fell asleep in the car and I headed straight home. There to deal with crankiness, tantrums and a little vomiting, just for fun.
Remind me not to leave the house ever again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So basically, they don't know what the hell they're talking about.

One morning last year I set Mooch (aged 3 months) in her bouncy chair and made Goober (aged 4) toast with peanut butter for breakfast. Then, in a fit of selfish negligence, I ran to the bathroom to take advantage of the rare opportunity to pee all by myself. When I returned 45 seconds or so later the baby was smeared head to toe with peanut butter from the slice of toast she held clenched in her fat little fists. She was chewing on it like a starving dog despite her total lack of teeth.

I'm not the type to take the ever changing recommendations of the so-called experts too seriously, but I did think that rice cereal should probably come before toast with peanut butter on the food introduction schedule so I took it away from her, which wasn't easy and resulted in a tiny baby temper tantrum. Then I congratulated Goober on her effort to share with her new sister, but explained that babies aren't supposed to have peanut butter before they're 2, and also she could choke, and also DON'T FEED HER ANYTHING IF MOMMY'S NOT THERE!

Turns out Goober might have been in the right.

According to this exciting new study, children who's parents do not expose them to peanuts during pregnancy, through breast milk or by mouth before the age of 2 in an effort to protect them from deadly peanut allergies, may actually be 10 times more likely to GET the allergy than children who are exposed to peanuts early.

I never really tried to keep peanuts away from my kids, since no one in my family is allergic and I personally love peanuts, and neither of them is allergic. But what a kick in the pants this would be to a mom who religiously abstained from all things peanut for 3 years, only to find out she may actually have increased her child's odds of having an allergy.

Experts are such assholes.

P.S. my 1 year old also eats wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, honey and sugar!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Perhaps I should shut up, lest I jinx us even more and we all get smallpox.

So you know how I was whining about not sleeping because my kids were sick? Ya, now on top of ALL the previous symptoms both kids have a stomach bug, causing Mooch to throw up and Goober to...not throw up...ya, the other one. Also, PINKEYE, just because. Also, that earache that definitely was NOT an ear infection, well now it is, and the baby has one to match. I came home from the doctors today with a ridiculously huge sack of meds including antibiotics, ear drops, eye drops and an inhaler for Mooch's cough. Guess what? Apparently the insurance company never got the paper work concerning Mooch's existence, so she's not covered. Damn.

We should all be dead by the end of the week.

On the way home Goober was asking what all the different kinds of medicine were for. When I got to the part about the eye drops she freaked and started howling that she didn't want any medicine in her eyes. Well you know what I don't want? To be woken up like I was 3 times last night because "My eye is goopy Mommy! Can you wipe it again?" So I tried to talk her down and reassure her that eye drops weren't so bad. I told her we'd do Daddy first (because Daddy has the same thing and I'm not above sharing out my kids prescriptions). When informed of this later, Daddy was less than enthusiastic. Seeing as how sick men are basically great big babies, I should have known that Daddy would blow the scheme by whining that he too did not want any medicine in his eyes. I was about to tell him to put on his big boy pants and suck it up when Goober saved me the trouble by saying "It won't be so bad Daddy, and if you be a good boy and let Mommy do your eye drops I'll let you pick a treat from my Halloween basket"

Eye drops were dispensed all around and no tears were shed.

How to dye wool with kool-aid

I really like cloth diapers (Not in a kinky way you freaks) I especially like bamboo diapers with wool covers, although my stash includes just about every other type of diaper on the market, and for those of you not familiar with the world of cloth diapering that's A LOT.

The best combo for over night is a Bamboozle fitted diaper with an Aristocrats wool cover. Mooch has been sleeping in this set-up since she was about 3 months old. The only problem is this team is pricey: 20$+ for the dipe and 30$ for the cover. Therefor I have exactly 3 diapers and 1 cover that I have used in rotation for the past year. Now, after a year of being used almost every night my Aristocrat was getting decidedly yellowed (why, oh why do they only make them in white anyway?) and the regular Eucalan wash and sunlight treatment just wasn't cutting it anymore. I was scared to use bleach or oxyclean on an expensive cover so I decided to take some kool-aid to it and refresh it that way.

The results:

I think it looks great.

So, here's my method so I can remember it for later:

Get a big pot of room temperature water. Add 2 packets of Kool-aid in your choice of colour, but remember that the colour of the packet does not necessarily represent the colour of the juice. I don't actually drink Kool-aid so I was a little surprised to see red powder come out of the bright blue packet I had picked out but I figured what the hell, red's cool too. Mix until the powder's all dissolved. Do NOT add sugar. Add a bit of vinegar. Put in the wool (or any other natural fabric). Stir until the fabric is saturated to prevent colour pooling. Put the pot on the stove and turn on low heat. Stir every few minutes. Gradually increase to medium-low heat. Heat changes must be gradual in order to prevent felting. Keep stirring occasionally. It's done when all the colour has left the water, or for those lacking patience like myself, whenever you think it looks good or when you're tired of stirring, but remember it will look a bit lighter when dry. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Gently squeeze out excess water and hang or lay flat to dry.

TA-DA looks like new. Better than new if you're not a fan of off-white.

The disappointing part is that I really can't fit Mooch into this size small any more, but hey, it was a learning experience.

Next project: Making Goober's hair purple with the packet she picked out.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rescue me!

Rescue Aid Society.
Heads held high,
Touch the sky
You mean everything to me

Repeat ad infinitum

Of all the stupid damned things to have stuck in my head THIS is the tune I can't stop humming right now!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Let mommy sleep, or everyone dies!

I haven't slept through the night in weeks. I've always been a night owl, but blessed as I was with "good sleepers" for kids I was in the habit of getting a solid 5-6 hours of shut-eye between 1 am and 7am. Not anymore.

It started a few weeks ago when Mooch developed a cough. She'd be fine all day, but cough herself awake 2-3 times a night. We have tried everything from Vicks vapo rub to homeopathic remedies to humidifiers to to honey to baby Triaminic but nothing seems to be helping. As the responsible parent (aka the one who is roused by the slightest sound rather than the one who would not be disturbed by his children screaming bloody murder while the smoke alarm blared, ahem.) I would go to her anytime before 2 am, at which time I was unlikely to be sleeping yet anyway, and viciously kick Daddy in the back for his turn any time later. The system was not perfect, but we were hoping it would be short-lived.

Then Goober got an earache. She took to waking me up at least once between 3-4 am to tell me her ear still hurt and I would dope her with Tylenol and send her back to bed. We went to the doctor, who assured us that she did NOT have an ear infection, just a build up of fluid in her ear. He advised me to spray salt-water up her nose twice a day to help clear it out. Boy does she ever not like this! He did not warn me, however that the result of this action would be to cause snot to come oozing out of her ear after a couple of days to cake in her hair and befoul her pillow. Gross does not begin to describe it.

Then they both caught a cold, on top of the stubborn cough and sore ear. Add stuffy, runny noses to the fact that both sooth themselves to sleep by sucking their thumbs and you can see we have a problem- when your nose is blocked and your mouth is full of thumb you can't breath. So I started spraying the solution up both of their noses, causing fits of combined hysterics, but undeniable results. I tried to reason with them about how it wasn't really that bad, and didn't they feel better all nice and clear after it was done? Eventually they began to get used to it and let me do it without sitting on them and chaining back their arms first.

Then I caught the cold, now I can't breath either. So I sprayed the stuff up my own nose. OH MY FREAKING GOD! That's the most horrible thing anyone has ever experienced in the history of ever! Oh well, more for the kids!

Then my recurrent insomnia kicked in.

Then Mooch started cutting 2 new teeth, including her first molar.

Then Daddy got sick.

Then Goober started having nightmares.

My past weeks sleep schedule has looked something like this:
11:30-12:00= Go to bed and read.
1:30= Try to sleep, toss and turn unsuccessfully.
2:30ish=Drift off.
3:30=Mooch wakes up coughing. Go get her some sort of remedy.
4:30=Goober wakes me up to complain that she "had a bad, scary thought" and needs to sleep in my bed. For the love of God child why do you always have to get in on MY side? Go curl up next to Daddy, he'd never notice!
5:00=Get tired of being kicked and jarred by restless kid who is no more able to sleep here than I am able to sleep with her here so why does she even bother anyway? Put her back in her bed. Return to my own bed and continue to toss and turn because once thoroughly woken up I have to start the whole 2 hour getting to sleep process all over again.
6:00=Mooch wakes up crying. Kick (literally) Daddy out of bed to give her teething tablets.
6:30ish= Finally fall into a deep sleep
7:30= alarm goes off.

Why the hell am I writing this during nap time when I should be sleeping?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Here goes nothing

Having left for a brief debate with myself over the merits of writing about my personal life in a public forum I have decided to run with the idea that given the size of the internet, and the relative dullness of my life no one will ever read this anyway. There now, all settled.

Halloween, sure, why not? Possibly it's a little hypocritical to tell kids all year long not to take candy from strangers, then lead them around the neighbourhood to beg in a frenzy of gluttony, but I figure it's like Christmas, a nice opportunity to let them know that people are, by and large, good and generous and not to be feared. Plus free chocolate for me! Score!

I am a big fan of dressing my kids up in ridiculous outfits, any excuse to enhance their already overwhelming cuteness with face paint and cheap fabric is OK by me. Unfortunately, my fun is being spoiled by my 5 year old, Goober (all the cool bloggers have nicknames for their offspring to throw off the stalkers) Goober is a highly opinionated and uncooperative individual with a grossly overestimated concept of her own worth. Some might say she takes after me, although I deny it, because that is my opinion and I will not cooperate with those people who clearly don't realize how great I am. Anyway, she has been refusing my advances with adorable costumes and camera in hand since she was about 18 months old. She has been a princess for 3 years running. I hate princesses; vapid, matrimony obsessed twits that they are. So I was thrilled when she announced that this year she wanted to be something different. We went to Value Village (because I like costumes, but I'm cheap and lazy) and let her peruse the aisles. From time to time I would pull out a costume for her inspection, optimistically pointing out how pretty this zebra was, or how warm that astronaut would be, only to be turned down flatly each time. Suddenly her face lit up and she yanked out the rattiest, most faded homemade felt pumpkin costume I've ever seen. On one hand I was relieved that it wasn't a princess, but on the other hand: eeew.
"I love this costume, Mom!"
"Oh yes! It's perfect. I'm going to be a pumpkin for Halloween!"
Come on kid, not only is it the most uninspired costume since the bed sheet ghost, it's also too small, stained and distinctly urine scented. I'm all about your freedom of expression but unless your plan is to score more candy by virtue of eliciting pity from everyone silly enough to open their door to you on Halloween night, that costume sucks. Now because I know my darling, obstinate, contrary daughter I knew it would be a mistake to refuse point blank to purchase the shitty thing. Such an action would result in a pouting strike on the floor at best and a big hairy meltdown at worst.
So I said "alright, but let's keep looking for something for your sister to wear, hmm?" Luckily, said sister is only 15 months old and still prey to my costuming whims. I crossed my fingers and thanked the pagan gods of Halloween when she caught sight of a bright green caterpillar costume complete with antenna and extra legs supported by string. Admittedly the string was broken on one side, but I was not disposed to be choosy at a time like this.
"Wow! what a cool caterpillar costume! I wish there was one big enough for me!" I raved.
She took the bait. "It will fit me mommy!"
She wore it out of the store, I wasn't taking chances on any more changes of heart.

Halloween rolled around and costuming time was approaching when I realized I couldn't find Mooch's (Mooch being the aforementioned 15 month old) black cat costume. I know a black cat isn't exactly brilliant, but my Grandma had given it to her before she passed away earlier this year and so I wanted her to wear it as a tribute, you know on the night when the dead visit and all. But after ripping the house apart (not that it was "together" to begin with) I had to admit it wasn't to be and raid the tickle chest. A few minutes scavenging found me a ladybug vest, black pants and a red and black bonnet. Success! Not only did I have a suitable costume, I even had an insect theme to make me look like a hardworking, organized mom instead of a slacker who threw something together at the last minute! Goober added a piece de resistance to her caterpillar costume in the form of a pair of wings stolen from a Tinkerbell ensemble, thus transforming into a butterfly, and we set out.

The weather was the best I can remember for a Halloween in Ontario and we even got to skip the trauma of trying to stuff snowsuits on under the costumes. As an old pro, Goober ran up to the first house with her sack in hand and a smile on her face. Mooch on the other hand was a little bewildered when I plunked her down on a strange doorstep in company with a giant insect and a dinosaur, but she got over it when she received her very own bag of chips. She dumped them in the wagon and declined to visit any more houses until she finished them all. Eventually she caught on to the idea that - No way! ALL these people are giving out candy! and started running along after Goober as fast as her little legs could carry her bulky bug suit. She would struggle her way up stairs and run towards the door with her hands outstretched chanting "TA-TA!" determined not to be left out.

Once they had acquired enough candy that I felt comfortable that their daddy and I would be able to steal some without getting caught we headed home and I ruthlessly bundled them off to bed so that I could suit up in my own costume (which included the shortest skirt I've ever worn in my life) and head out for some grown-up fun at a club celebrating the "Feast of Flesh." There to drink and dance and enjoy party favours from the Stag Shop and basically pretend to be a normal 23 year old.

In conclusion, I got the best of both worlds. Sugary trick or treating with the kids followed by a nice buzz with some friends. Halloween kicks ass.


A blog? a journal, or dare I say it? Diary, but instead of locking it up with a cheap gold key and stashing it in my nightstand I leave it lying open for all the world to see? I'm not at all sure about this.