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.