Sunday, November 8, 2009

That's what sisters are for

Overheard via the baby monitor after putting my 6 and 2 year old girls to bed:

thump thump thump...

Eden: My want snuggle, Sky'yer.

Skylar: OK, get in. I'll tell you a story.

aww, how sweet!

Skylar: You know, when you're four I won't let you sleep with me anymore. Well, not all the time. Maybe when you're scared.

Eden: My not scared.

Skylar: I know you're not scared right now, but someday you might get scared that there's monsters under your bed.

Eden: Monsters? In my bed?

Uh Oh

Big Sisters: Always there to comfort you...but probably the reason you were scared in the first place.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Terrible Two-year-old Terrifies Thoughtless Tmama (best I could do, I'm still recovering)

When I put Eden down for her nap this afternoon I was sure she'd sleep for a good two hours or more, because she's a kick-ass napper. I knew I had plenty of time to go next door to my mom's place for a cup of tea. Our apartments are connected through an upstairs bathroom and Eden's room is right above my mom's kitchen, so I would be able to hear her if she woke up. But of course she didn't make a sound. I knew she was still asleep when I went back to my side an hour later.

I began to suspect she was not asleep when I saw the sofa, covered with disassembled tampons. My suspicion grew stronger when I found the cat's water dish filled with a congealed mass of kitty litter and biscuits (stirred with yet another tampon) and this theory was proven correct when I looked in her bed and found it vacant. So where the hell was she? Did she crawl into my bed? Yes, I could tell because my bed was covered in kitty litter (and tampons!) but she wasn't there anymore. Was she in the toy room? Of course not. Who wants to play with toys when there's kitty litter and tampons available? The storage room? No. The laundry room? No. I called my mom and asked if Eden had gone down the stairs to her place, but no. So now the both of us are searching, calling Eden's name, checking under beds and inside closets. No kid.

I'm getting desperate now. There's no way she could have opened the doors and gotten outside right? The screen doors, yes, but certainly not the big heavy wooden doors that adults have to slam with their shoulders to shove through their swollen frames, right? Please God?
So she's got to be in the house. But we've been yelling and shoving furniture and slamming doors and yelling louder for fifteen interminable minutes now and she hasn't made a sound. If you're playing hide and seek child I'm going to kill you. But shit, what if she crawled under a bed and choked on a marble? Omygodomygod!

I'm running around frantically now, rechecking places I've already checked twice, when I see two little legs hanging out the door of an old wardrobe shoved back in the corner of the storage room. Not moving. Not so much as a twitch when I called her name or crashed through the boxes in the middle of the room. OMYGODOMYGODOMYGOD She was climbing the shelves and she fell and broke her neck and when I pull back this door her face is going to be purple and I was sitting downstairs doing a crossword puzzle and drinking tea and why didn't I take the monitor over and ohmyfuckinggod she's dead! I yanked back the door, while reviewing CPR steps in my head (shit, is she an infant or a child?) and there she was, out cold on the floor of the wardrobe, head pillowed on an old bridesmaid dress. Her eyes popped open and she mumbled "Mama, I seepin' in da dra'wer." And I picked her up and ran to tell my mom that I'd found her, and hugged her and then put her on time out for playing in the kitty litter, 'cause that shit's gross and should be corrected, no matter how glad I am that she's alive.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Giddy Up!

Skylar has been talking about her sixth birthday party since the second her fifth birthday party ended. Over the past year she has invited several hundred classmates, team mates, relatives of friends, vague acquaintances and random strangers to this party and every time she has told them it was going to be a "Cowgirl" party. Her non-stop party gibber-jabber drove me to the edge of insanity until the day that I finally snapped and forbade her to mention The Party again for the next nine months. This didn't actually work, but at least it took the round-the-clock badgering down to a more manageable tendency to mention it only when attending someone else's birthday party, seeing a party in a book or on TV, viewing a toy commercial or meeting a new friend (which happens to my child any time she is allowed out of the house)

So you can see how I could totally have forgotten to plan her a birthday party. 'Cause I suck.

OK, maybe I didn't forget. Maybe I just procrastinated due to my total lack of social skills and my inability to organize and my horror at the thought of having to communicate with other parents and my even greater horror at the thought of exposing my tiny, dingy home to those other parents and the depredations of their sugar-crazed offspring.

In the end I punked out. I just couldn't stand the thought of playing hostess and planning asinine games and decorating with a suitable "Cowgirl" theme. No way, we had to take this show on the road.

Me- So Goober, do you still want a Cowgirl Birthday Party?


Me- Do you think we should go ride some real horses?

Skylar- Holyfuckingcrap, YES! (not exactly, but that's definitely what she meant to say)

So I embarked on a quest to find a horse.
-Hell no, I don't want you to bring horses to my house!
-Not available until November?
-How much!!!??

And eventually we found a place where we could rent a couple of horses (and a matching set of handlers) for an hour and then eat some cake in a barn. Whoo Hoo! The only down-side was that it was a 45 minute drive away.

We sent out invitations. I forced Skylar to pare down her guest list ruthlessly. I told her that since she was turning 6 she could invite 6 kids (That's it, just six. 1 2 3 4 5 6, and nooooo kindergarten!) Every single one RSVP'd in the affirmative, saying that such and such a child would be thrilled to attend, but no, the parents had no desire to come along, thanks. So with Skylar and Eden and a couple of cousins we had 10 little girls to transport. Skylar picked out an ice cream cake. We got loot bags and Hannah Montana plates and paper hats. Then Skylar told me she'd changed her mind. She thought maybe she didn't want horseback rides after all. What the hell, child? There are starving children in Africa who would give their left nut for a cowgirl birthday party and you are getting fucking pony rides and you will bloody well like it! But it turned out she had just remembered that she wanted a pinata, which had to hang from a certain tree in the yard, which would mean we would have to stay home. So we got a pinata (do you have any idea how much pinatas cost? Too much to smash with a freaking bat, that's how much) and promised to do that once we got back to the house but before the parents came to collect their kids. The spoiled, spoiled little princess was appeased and the plans went forward.

On the day of the party (a week after the real birthday, because again, I'm a slacker) the kids began to trickle in and we collected gifts and booster seats and loaded up the two vans we had commandeered for the occasion while the screaming little psychopaths ran wild after the cats. Did you know that three booster seats will not fit on the rear bench of a mini van? We didn't. We do now. Shit. We would need a third vehicle, dammit. Then at the last minute we were saved by our good friend alcohol. It turns out one mom had spent the previous night at a much more grown-up party and had completely forgotten to bring her daughters over thanks to her mind-numbing hangover. We would be two kids short, which is sad for boozy mom's kids but hella convenient for us because we could now dispense with the third vehicle.

If you can possibly avoid it you should never let yourself be trapped in a car full of six year old girls. The shrieking. The squealing. The endless bathroom humour. That road has never been so long.

We collected helmets and signed waivers on behalf of other people's children and herded them into a barn. The first two kids were mounted onto bored looking ponies and the rest were subdued with cheese and crackers. Then the handlers led those two kids outside to walk around the yard. Except as they were leaving the barn the ginormous sliding door took a homicidal plunge downward and attempted to decapitate one of the Emilys. Funny, this scenario never occurred to me while I was signing those waivers. Luckily, the kid shook it off and declined to get off of the horse, so I hopefully won't be hearing from her parent's lawyers.

We rotated all the girls through their pony rides, but the highlight of the day was the big ass pile of hay. They seriously enjoyed that hay. If you're planning a birthday party you should probably just get a big pile of hay. They'll be talking about it for years. They'll probably also be picking hay out of their ears and ass cracks for years.

We had ice cream cake, because Skylar will not eat non-ice-cream cake. Some kid decided the time had come to tell us that she was allergic to dairy and was not allowed to have milk, ice cream or cheese. Surely if this was serious her mother would have SAID SOMETHING? Meh, the child was still alive and showing no signs of distress when I handed her over and it became officially not my problem.

We got everyone home and survived the pinata and present unwrapping ceremonies without injury or loss of life and the parents arrived to whisk their sugar filled, hay covered, horsey-smelling daughters home for dinner. Good luck with that.

Basically, it was a great day. Lots of fun, lots of laughs. Almost no tears (except for that poor kid who almost got her head cut off and that's a reasonable excuse) and no mess at all in my house. Nice.

Did I mention Skylar is six? SIX. Not a baby or a toddler or a preschooler or a kindergartner or anything but a full fledged six year old, full time schooling, gymnastics taking, eye-rolling, smart-talking, joke-telling, big-sistering, breakfast-making, book reading, brilliant, awesome kid. Wow.
*sigh* well I almost made it through this post without getting sentimental. Happy Birthday, Goober.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The end of my summer, condensed.

It has been pointed out to me that I have not written in a while. Whoo hoo, somebody noticed!
Sooo...let's see:

I went on vacation! It was great. I drank wine and climbed mountains (fine, I rode up a mountain in a gondola-like-tram-thing, I'm not a super-hero here) I shopped and took pictures and caught up with friends I haven't seen in years and drank more wine and splashed in the ocean (ish) and fell in love with the scenery and rode ferries and skybusses and other exotic forms of transportation. I'd tell you all about it, but in all honestly there's only like three people who actually read this and two of you were there. I'd like to thank you both for your organization, hospitality, entertainment, and all around awesomeness as well as for your patience with my public transit retardation (I totally failed to follow even your most basic written instructions) and for the phrase "Gear down, Big Rig." best delivered with a Scottish brogue. To the other one: Sorry, you shoulda been. It was boss.

I worked, but I don't get paid enough to deal with shit like this:
Stupid Kid:What can I get for this? dumping a hand full of coins on my counter and waiting expectantly.
Me: I can't do this with you today. I've got a line-up. You're going to have to count it yourself and figure out what you want. translation: you're not cute enough to get away with this bullshit.
Stupid Kid: How much would it be for a Froster and a Skittles and a Rollo and a Push-Pop?
Me: What size Froster?
Stupid Kid: What's the biggest I can get for this much money?
Me: How much money do you have?
Stupid Kid: uuuuuuhhh...less than three dollars?
Me: You can't get all that stuff.
Stupid Kid: How much is a large Froster and a bag of Skittles with tax?
Me: Around 3 dollars.
Stupid Kid: How much exactly?
Me: Here's a calculator if you'd like to figure it out.
Stupid Kid: Huh? can't you just scan it all in?
Me: No, because I only get the taxes included if I push it in as a sale and total it and then I'd have to cancel it and do it again a dozen times as you fuck around trying to spend every last penny and every time I void a sale I have to print a receipt and write the reason WHY and I can only do that so many times a day and I'm not wasting them all on you AGAIN. Do you see the line of people I'm dealing with here? Do you think this stack of porn is going to price and shelf itself? Guess what kid, porn doesn't just happen. It's my JOB. "No."
Stupid Kid: UUh...what do I do?
Me: Jesus, this twit has got to be 13 years old, what the hell do they teach them in school these days? Add the prices of the Froster and the Skittles together. 1.69+0.99.
Me, to another customer: That's $1.34, Sir. Debit?
Stupid Kid: A dollar thirty four plus what?
Me: No, not you.
Stupid Kid: Then what?
Me: multiply by 0.12 for the tax.
Stupid Kid: Divide by what?
Me, to another customer: Sorry, only the bags of milk are on sale, not the jugs.
Stupid Kid: Is that all?
Me: No, add that number to your original total.
Stupid Kid: A dollar sixty-nine?
Me: No, the Skittles and the Froster together.
Stupid Kid: I forget that.
we repeat the process, step by step, between serving customers, making coffee and pricing chocolate bars.
Stupid Kid: I got a hundred and forty-two dollars and seventy-three cents.
Me: Yes, that's exactly right.

My kid started school. Grade school. Real, 5 day a week, no longer any kind of pre-school school. Where the big kids go. Every day.
In first grade there is homework. We get a book at the beginning of the week. This week it was "Feet." On Monday we're supposed to talk about the pictures. On Tuesday I'm supposed to read the book to her. On Wednesday she's supposed to pick out a few words and so on and so forth until we're so sick of "Feet" we could just puke. Finally she's supposed to answer an asinine question about "Feet." each day. That's the procedure anyway. Except my kid read the book to me on the first day without assistance and her answer to the question "I wonder..." was:
"I wonder why I can't read a properly written book? Who says 'I keep my feet warm. I wear socks'? Why wouldn't you just say 'I wear socks to keep my feet warm? And who cares about feet anyway?"
Well done, my child.

I got a dog. Skylar has been begging for a dog for years and my response has always been: When we get a bigger house. It doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon, but that didn't stop her from telling everyone she meets that we are going to be getting a dog. A three year old dog, with curly ears, to be specific. So I started reading adds and searching shelters and signing up for Internet dating type services where you are matched up with the pet of your dreams based on age, race, interests and astrological signs. Have you tried to adopt a dog lately? I'm not trying to adopt a baby from China here people, do we seriously need to know about my obedience philosophies, nutrition plans, household income, the lives and deaths of all my past and present pets, and so on and so forth? I'm not even exaggerating here. They wanted to interview every member of my family and come over for a house check, from Toronto, not for free either. They require references and an account with a veterinarian. And it's still around $300-$400. I was bitching about all this while my mom was on the phone ('cause I'm considerate like that) and her friend had a friend of hers in the background and she said she was looking for a home for her dog. He's a three year old Cocker Spaniel (read: curly ears) and he's free. The next day we had a dog.

More on that later.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lil Rainbow Rides Again!

I remember the day I got Lil Rainbow.
I remember bouncing with excitement as she was assembled.
I remember being awed by her perfect purple rainbowey girlishness.
I remember my Grandpa holding on to the hoop at the back of the big banana seat to steady me.
I remember riding down the road calling out to my neighbours that I had to wear this skating helmet because it was my first time riding a two wheeler.
I remember putting beads on her spokes to hear them tinkle as the wheels spun.
I remember my cousin learning to ride on her too.
I remember racing kids from school down the street when I was far too big for her and my knees bumped my elbows.
I remember pulling her out of the shed to teach the little girl I babysat in junior high.
I remember refusing to allow her to be sold at a yard sale, despite the fact that I obviously couldn't ride her anymore.

Now I get to remember this:

"Mommy, I think this bike really is magic!"

Yes, yes it is.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I have nothing entertaining to say. Luckily I have a 5 year old who never stops talking. Ever.

"She lives over there. You can tell by her going that way."

"*sigh* Would you please take this seriously Eden? We're surrounded by monsters here!"

"I had an adult dream last night. I don't think it was appropriate for my age. It was just a bunch of stupid grown-up stuff. You probably would have thought it was funny, but I didn't really get it."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

beware: sentimentality and TMI ahead.

So like I said, my baby is 2. She is not, in fact, a baby anymore. Gone is the floppy squooshyness, the immobility, the need to remain in the vicinity of my boobs at all times, the sling sleeping, the quiet complacency, the gummy smile, the chubby thighs and the soft bald head. These things have been replaced by skinned knees, long, skinny arms and legs, dirty fingernails, scruffy hair, a chipped tooth, a rapidly growing and increasingly hilarious vocabulary and some world-class hugging and cuddling skills. She is well on her way to being a real person. The second amazingly complete and perfect person to be hacked together from pieces of me and Adam.
Two human beings seems like a pretty staggering accomplishment to me, so we're done...I think.
Another baby is just not feasible for us. We're broke. We are crammed into a tiny apartment, quite literally on top of each other most of the time. I want to go back to school. Adam wants a better job. We want to travel. We want to boot our kids out of the house by the time we're in our early 40's...

Still, permanent measures seem a bit extreme. We're young and practical enough to know that we're not ready for the big snip. If anything should happen to me, Adam would likely find a new chick who still wanted kids, etc. So last week I went to get a Mirena IUD installed (implanted? inserted? there's really no good way to say it.)

Do you know one of the worst things about small town life? It's not the lack of amenities, the isolation, the inconvenience or even the smell; it's the fact that you only have one doctor. People in cities have pediatricians, family doctors, podiatrists and chiropractors. They have proctologists, naturopaths, obstetricians and dermatologists. Most importantly, they have gynecologists. In small towns the doctor who treated your croup when you were three is very likely the same doctor who gives you a pap smear. You have to talk to the same guy about your kid's foot fungus who told your mom you had Mono.

So here I am, waiting for this guy to come in and insert some hardware up my hoo-ha. Hoping to God there will be no chitchat, while the nurse does the preliminary work on which the doctor doesn't waste his valuable time. Inevitably she asks:

"When was your last menstrual period?"
"First week of June."
"Uum, Honey? Do you know what day it is."
"Yes, yes it's the middle of July, I know. But really, this is totally normal for me. 6ish weeks is my usual."
"It's more like 8ish."
"...(mental math) hmm. Still...I really don't think..."
"You're supposed to get these in the first week after."
"Someone should probably have told me that. Anyway, Doc was on vacation. Can you run a quick test?"
"Sure, but if you got pregnant in the last week or two it won't show up yet. I'm not sure if the Doc will do it at this point."
"I really don't think..."
"Is it at all possible?"
"Well...there's always a slight possibility."

I waited, they conferred. Questions were asked on all sides and in the end we decided to go ahead with the procedure and if Aunt Flo didn't come to visit in the next week or two I was to get me to the nearest drug store for a test and if need be we'd yank out the IUD. Because while I'm all about the prevention, I'm not interested in killing anyone who might already be living in there, nor yet causing any strange and terrible mutations by having hypothetical Junior develop with a hormonal IUD clenched in his little fist. Finally I was bare arsed and be-stirruped and staring at the ceiling in the attitude of nonchalant mortification common to women the world over. Then it was done.

I went home. I waited. I thought. I got to visit the same damn Doctor 3 days later when I took my mom to the ER after she threw out her back.

I hoped, for two completely different things:

-I can barely handle the two kids I have sometimes, I don't want more!
-A boy might be nice, for a change.
-We can't afford it.
-People make do with less, and you already have most of the baby stuff.
-I want to dedicate my attention to the girls I already have.
-Never again to feel the liquid acrobatics of a baby in your belly?
-What right do we have to keep bringing people into this uncertain world?
-Tiny, fuzzy head nuzzled, sleeping on your chest.
-There's no room in this house.
-No more first baths? First steps? First giggles?
-I want to go back to school.
-A tiny little bottom that fits perfectly in the palm of your hand?
-I'll be working at fucking Macs forever!
-Shopping for tiny onesies, fluffy diapers and wee little shoes?
-Putting three children through school?
-Seeing the world through completely new eyes again?
-The crying, The whining.
-The toothless smiles, the totally unrestrained laughs?
-The contentment on a tiny face feeding at your breast while a small hand plays idly with your hair?
-The very real fear of insanity and depression?
-The chance to pick out the perfect name?
-I'm not a good enough mother. I don't deserve any more.
-The chance to watch a new person grow?

For a week I waited. And finally it happened. I am NOT pregnant. And, for the most part, I'm glad. We're done. For the next 5 years anyway. By which time my kids will be 7 and fucking 10(!!!) years old. And I most definitely won't want to start over with all the baby crap then right? Right?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The most amazing 2 years of my life.

Shortly after midnight, July 16 2007.

Shortly after midnight, July 16 2009

Happy Birthday Eden Ariana.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Evil genius in training.

We were playing in the front yard when the phone rang.
"Goober, could you watch your sister for a sec? Just make sure she stays right here on the porch, OK?"
"Yep, I sure can."
"I'll be right back."
A minute later I came back outside to find Skylar quietly skooting around in a ride-on car and Eden...nowhere.
"Skylar, where's Eden?"
"She went that way." *pointing down the sidewalk beyond our house*
Note- Five years is too young to babysit. Who knew?
Ah, yes. That way. The way that leads to the park. The way that leads to the pool where my not quite two year old likes to jump off the diving board. The way that leads to Main Street.
I leaped across the lawn to the sidewalk and saw her nearing the end of the block.
She turned around and looked at me. Then squealed with delight before charging blindly across a residential street. Now she's running as fast as her pigeon toed little baby feet will take her, arms waving erratically in the air, towards the only really busy street in town. But I'm running too, and my legs are longer. She looks back over her shoulder and realizes she doesn't stand a chance.
Oh, shit. Here comes Mom and she looks pissed. What to do? What to do? I've got it!
She stops dead and turns toward me. Then she opens her blue eyes to their full round capacity and spreads her little arms up in the air as she calls out:
I defy anyone to spank that.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

mini vaycay

HI! It's been a while, I know. Been busy. Lots to do. Also, I'm lazy and easily distracted.

Sooo...where were we? Father's day. Right. On that day we dumped our adorable children at Adam's parents place to celebrate with their Papa and we hightailed it to Niagara Falls.

It had occurred to us (Me) that not once in seven years had the two of us gone away for a weekend. We've gone to visit friends or camp out with old buddies or gone our separate ways for a few days now and then, but never actually spent a child-free weekend alone together. I felt it was time to remedy this omission, if only out of morbid curiosity as to whether or not we still had the capacity to get along without the prop of day-to-day life.

So, yes. Niagara Falls, where we enjoyed the most fantastical hotel room our poor, lower-class eyes had ever beheld. With floor to ceiling windows around two walls overlooking both the Canadian and American falls, a king sized bed which we tried out within minutes of walking through the doors and a jacuzzi big enough for the two of us and a bottle of wine.

Fireworks at Niagara Falls. I was going to delete this picture, cause it's boring, but Adam said not to because:
"Look at all those Orbs!"
"You know, that's how ghosts look in photographs."
"Uum, we're at Niagara freaking Falls. I think that's caller Water."
"Maybe lots of ghosts decide to come here before they cross over."
"Unfortunate to come on a fireworks night then. Just imagine! Hey, don't go towards the lights! They buuurrnnnn!"

The next day we went to Wonderland and rode the kick-ass new roller coaster: Behemoth ( I highly recommend it, as a roller coaster aficionado) and generally had all the fun that theme parks can provide when you don't bring along kids to whine and complain about standing in line, and get tired and throw fits when they're too short to get on the good rides, and throw more fits because they want some over-priced crap that you'll then have to carry around for the rest of the day, and fall asleep, and slather with sunscreen, and demand to be carried, and beg for ice cream, and throw up the ice cream, and why the hell do they allow children in amusement parks anyway?

We spent that night at what turned out to be a university residence rented out as a hotel for the summer. Less grand yes, but dude, we had a microwave!

Then off to Wasaga Beach for relaxing in the sun. Which was pretty much all we could do there since the water was frigid and filled with some nasty yellow plant-life or sewage spill residue (we debated which it might be and decided we didn't really want to swim anyway) and the entire tourist district burned down a year or two ago and hasn't quite been rebuilt yet.

Then we came home, collected our offspring and enjoyed the first week of summer vacation by: Attending swimming lessons with Skylar. Going to work. Babysitting a crippled dog. Turning 24 and 26, respectively. Playing the wii my mom got us for our birthdays (thanks Mom! p.s. my mom doesn't read this). Filling a kiddie pool in the back yard. Trying to find a teenage babysitter (no luck whatsoever, know anyone?) and going to see UP, which I found hilarious but my kid found by turns terrifying and sad, except for the part about the squirrel, that she liked.

Fun in our own backyard. Happy Canada Day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Father's Day

"What's your daddy's name?"

"I don't have a daddy."

"Did he die?"

"No, I just don't have one."

"Well, if he didn't die then you must have one. Everyone does."

"Well, I don't."

I had this conversation a few times when I was a kid. Not many, mind you. I was never teased or ostracized or anything old-fashioned like that. But every once in a while someone would ask.

Of course everyone does have a father, mine's name was Tom. He was a liar and a drunk and my mom left him when I was just a few months old, because it was best for me. But she never stopped loving him. She missed him. She never dated anyone else while I was growing up. Maybe because she didn't want me getting attached to someone who might not stick around, maybe because she was afraid of getting hurt, maybe because she simply wasn't interested in male companionship. Whatever the reason, she raised me alone and she did a damn fine job. I never wanted a father, never felt I lacked for anything, never blamed him for leaving. I was perfectly happy in my place at the center of the universe with all of my mom's attention focused squarely on me.

Every Sunday my aunts would bring my cousins over to our place and we would play together while the grown-up ladies chatted and played cards. I didn't have any uncles. My cousins were not the ones who asked my daddy's name. Not all of them knew their own. Fathers were an obscure concept. A little frightening, as the unknown always is. And nothing of any real importance anyway. Sure, some people had them, but they certainly weren't necessary. Children belonged to their mothers and it was as simple as that.

When I was eleven my mom started seeing Tom again. I was not supportive. As I said before, I never blamed him for leaving, but boy was I ever pissed with him for coming back. I resented the intrusion. I was a spoiled brat and I hated the thought of sharing my mom's affection with anyone, whether he happened to be my father or not. I barely spoke to him. I stormed off to my room to sulk when he visited. She was happy when it was just the two of us right? Why did he have to come and ruin everything! I hated the sound of his big stupid booming laugh coming up the stairs.

Then he got sick. My mom started spending most of her time at the hospital with him and I was alone a lot. Finally I consented to go see him.

He was more than half delirious and in his more coherent moments he declared he was going to die that night. He wanted a priest. Luckily, hospitals have some of those handy and someone went to fetch one. While we waited I stared at this stranger who was my father. He was shrunken and emaciated, with waxy skin drooping from his wrinkled face. He kept pushing his oxygen mask up onto his forehead, so his fingers were turning purple, yellow and green. He asked my mom to pick him up and shake him. He said he'd be just fine if she would just lift him up and give him a good shake to get everything back in it's proper place. She told him she couldn't. He was too heavy. I thought she was probably wrong about that. She asked me to help her move him instead. She told me to grab the corners of the little sheet he was laying on and we'd slide him up in the bed a bit. I took hold of my side and we started to lift, but as we moved him his blanket started to slip and I could see that his gown was all rucked up around his waist and his bony hip underneath and part of a bedsore and oh my god I did NOT want to see him naked and holy crap he's so light and...I let go and ran out of the room and down the hall to the bathroom. When I came back the priest (minister? padre? whatever, it was a woman with a bible) was there. She asked if I was his granddaughter and I said nothing. My mom choked out that I was his daughter. The woman asked if I was remembering all the good times I'd had with my dad and I continued to say nothing. This time Tom answered for me. "She certainly is not." The man had only the barest grasp of reality at that point, but one thing he was aware of was that I hated him. His eyes rolled around the room and he jammed a finger up his nose to get at the pesky dry itch. Then he reached out to me. "I think he wants to hold your hand" my mom explained, as I stood there dumbly. Are you serious? Did you not just see him picking his nose? I managed to overcome my raging brattishness and took his hand. It was an odd sensation. The skin was hard, calloused and cold, but it felt like warm liquid inside. Like a leather water balloon, half full and squashy. The fingertips were green from lack of oxygen. I was surprised that the overall impression was one of life. It was the first and only time I remember ever holding my father's hand.

"Adam, please call me, or come to my house or something as soon as you get this message, no matter what time it is..."

"What's going on? are you OK?"

"I went to the hospital today and got a test...Adam, it was positive."

"...Well...that makes things...interesting."


Shit. Why did I freak out and tell him? Why couldn't I just keep my damn mouth shut and get an abortion or break up with him and then put it up for adoption. It's none of his business anyway right? This is MY life, not his! Stupid, stupid, stupid!

"Look, I just want you to know that I'm not expecting anything OK? I mean, you can be involved if you want to, but I don't want you to feel obligated or anything. Like, I'm fine on my own, OK?"

"What are you talking about? Of course I'm involved!"

"If that's what you want, fine. But just don't, you know, feel like you have to stay with ME or anything, you know, if you don't really want me..."

"Do you want me to leave?"

"Let's just see how things go, and see what happens."

I finished my senior year of high school and found a prom dress that accommodated my 6 month belly. Adam went to school in Toronto and drove back so visit me every weekend. While my friends prepared for university, I spent the summer renovating the tiny, run-down apartment we would live in. It was the loneliest summer of my life. Adam moved in at the beginning of September, when his course was over, and we had 2 weeks to get accustomed to each other before we became parents.

Despite having tried to push him away, I soon realized how glad I was that he hadn't accepted the offer. I couldn't have done it by myself. I know there are women out there who rock the single mom thing, but I'm not one of them. During those first few crazy months of adjustment, reassessment, sleep deprivation, depression and anxiety, Adam's presence probably saved Skylar's life and my own as well. I was a mess. My self-centered upbringing had left me totally unprepared to dedicate my life to someone else. I was resentful and bitter towards my baby for stealing my freedom. Instead of bonding with her I grew more and more distant. I began to hate breastfeeding her. I would spend her feeding sessions crying and fighting back the nausea that filled me as this big pink parasite sucked me dry. She would cry for what seemed like hours every evening and images started flashing in my head of just how easy it would be to make the screaming STOP. The worst part is that it wasn't any sense of love or decency that prevented me from doing it. It was just a small, bored voice in the back of my mind that told me not to bother, because I'd just end up in jail and I still wouldn't be free. To this day I still feel sick when I think about what might have happened if the screaming had gone on just a bit longer, or louder, and drowned out that voice. I used to think mother's who claimed post-partum depression made them kill their babies were lying monsters, but now I just feel sorry for them. If it wasn't for Adam I might have been one of them. But he was there. He was there pacing the floor for hours on end with an inconsolable baby on his shoulder while I hid uselessly in another room. He was there rubbing my back and telling me it was OK while Skylar nursed. He was there wearing a snuggli and carrying the baby for miles while we explored the countryside together, growing calm and happy with the physical exertion and fresh air. He was there making meals when I couldn't be bothered. He was there holding me at night while I cried myself out, thinking about what an awful, worthless person I was, making me believe that maybe there was someone in the world who wanted me anyway.

I got better. I fell in love with my baby and came to appreciate it all the more because it hadn't come naturally. Time and experience made me a better person, and while I can still be selfish and impatient, I have learned how to put others first. Adam taught me that. It still surprises me that I learned to love a man. I'm still pleasantly shocked every time he holds me in his arms and I realize that I feel completely safe and comfortable and right.

Over the next six years we grew into a real family, as opposed to a couple of scared kids and a baby unfortunate enough to be stuck with them. As a father and a partner Adam has surpassed all of my expectations. He is kind and compassionate, patient and playful, strong and intelligent. He carries the girls on his shoulders, submits to playing Barbies and dress-up. He can be trusted to care for them when I'm not around. He puts up with my shit, whereas I would long ago have punched myself in the mouth. He snuggles. He sees the humor in day to day life. He believes in magic. He packs school lunches and changes cloth diapers. He makes sacrifices for the three of us. Most of all, he loves. He just radiates love unabashedly all around him, towards his daughters, and for some reason I'll never understand, towards me as well.

I just wanted to say that I appreciate it.

Thank you for being you. Thank you for teaching me what fathers can be. Thank you for sticking out the hard times and adding to the good times. Thank you for loving us.
We love you too.

Happy Father's Day.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Twi-hard. It's sad that I even know that word.

It's all Adam's fault.

A month ago he rented Twilight based on "You like vampires, right?" Yes, yes I do. I don't know why, but they make me all tingly in my special place. What can I say? Bloodsuckers are HAWT. My first celebrity crush was on Angel, who should so totally have ended up with Buffy, I mean WTF? They were meant to be together, although Spike was pretty damn nice too and.....But seriously, Twilight? Isn't that some teenybopper angsty pop shit? We watched it. I bitched and commentated and made snide remarks for the first 45 minutes as I am wont to do. It was awkward and melodramatic and predictable..and yet oddly compelling?

The next day was mind numbingly boring at work, and Twilight was right there on the bookshelf, and I'd already seen the movie so why not leaf through a couple pages while I waited for things to pick up? I bought the damn book and finished it that night.

Then I had to go to a book store for the second volume in the series. First I pretended to browse nonchalantly through the aisles, deflecting helpful sales staff in the hopes that I could find it without having to admit to anyone that I was looking for a book meant for 13 year old junior-high girls. When I got to the checkout the smart ass college kid at the till just couldn't shove it in a bag quietly, oh no.

"Ah, Twilight. You got sucked in, huh? I tried to read the first one but I just couldn't take it. They're really not well written at all. I just couldn't get in to it. I can't believe it's surpassed Harry Potter in sales"

Shut up, boy. I know that they're not "well written" I've studied English and Literature and I'm well aware that these books don't qualify as either, except in the loosest possible terms. They're awkward, underdeveloped and lacking in almost every possible literary attribute....but yet...I can't look away.

I can't explain it. Why are these characters so compelling? They are one dimensional and juvenile. They don't swear or go to the bathroom or even have sex until the fourth damned book. But for some reason, I am Bella Swan.

I devoured the second book and asked Adam to pick up the third and fourth volumes on his way home from work the next day. He can escape any embarrassment by claiming they're a gift.

Then I watched the movie again.

Then I started reading magazines when the film's stars were on the covers because although I truly wish I didn't care whether or not the actors portraying Edward and Bella are dating in real life, I do! Oh, how I do!

But wait, it gets worse!

Adam asked me an innocent question about how some element of the movie compared to the book....and we are now reading them aloud to each other every evening. We're a quarter of the way through the last book and I got seriously pissed off at Adam last night for reading ahead while I was at work and I went to bed all moody and refused to read with him anymore if he was going to CHEAT and I shut off the light and curled up in a little ball with my back to him, because obviously; I really am that immature.

It would have been a really good pout too, except for the fact that I am apparently incapable of producing my own body heat. I couldn't sleep because my feet were so cold and Adam knows this about me, so eventually he reached over and voluntarily put my icy toes on his warm leg to heat me up and it's hard to stay angry when confronted by that kind of love.

This has been my confession.

Please excuse me now while I go buy a Robert Pattinson poster for my bedroom.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is there a law against molesting spermophiles?

As I was heading to work the other day I happened to notice a dog turd squirming around under a tree at the edge of my yard. It seemed odd to me that a dog turd would be moving around under it's own power so I went in for a closer look, because I'm a freak.
It was a baby squirrel, all small and blind and helpless, wriggling around like so much cat-bait. I had to get to work so I called Adam out and told him to put it back up in the tree. Then I headed off, filled with the warm glow of a good deed well done, despite the fact that I kind of figured it was as good as dead anyway.

When I passed the tree the next day it was back down again, and this time it was actually on the road. Gotta be dead now, right? No. I leaned closer, because apparently I like to examine roadkill as well as dog shit, and saw that it was still moving. Fuck.

"Adam, come save the baby squirrel....again!"

So Adam came out, but Skylar got there first and immediately picked up the adorable little bundle of rabies. Again, I had to get to work, so I left. Once again secure in the knowledge that I had helped a cute little furry creature...well, you know, not me personally, but still. I assumed Adam would stick it back in the tree. Maybe he would even call the vet or the humane society and find out if some sort of animal rescue person would come and collect the sweet little rodent. Perhaps he would enquire as to the likelyhood of our daughter dying of Squirrel Flu or distemper. Hopefully he would prevent her from dressing it up in Barbie clothes and kissing it.

I did NOT expect to come home to find him googling recipes for "squirrel formula" and feeding our squirrels (yes, squirrels, plural) with a baby medicine dropper.

"Squirrels are surprisingly delicate, you can't feed them cow's milk or they'll die."


"Yeah, and you can't feed them if they're cold, or they'll die."


"Skylar says the black one is named Owen and the brownish one is Cole."

"After the boys across the road?"

"Uh huh. You have to feed them every two to four hours."

"I do?"

"And after you feed them you have to rub their genitals with a warm, wet cotton ball to stimulate them."

"Excuse me? Would you mind clarifying that last part?"

"According to this (gesturing towards the all knowing google search) baby squirrels can't just go on their own. They can't relieve themselves unless their mother stimulates them to do so, and if you don't they'll die of constipation and kidney failure"

"Well, that's just...the dumbest survival trait ever, isn't it? Seriously, this is a flawed species."

"Do you want me to just drown them now?"
"No! I just..."

"It's a little tricky to get them to hold still at first, but after a minute they relax."

"I'll bet."

"Have a nice day, I've gotta go to work."

So then he left. I decided to do my own research, just in case he was just trying to fuck with me and was laughing all the way to work, imagining me spending the day rubbing off infant tree rats.

Turns out it's true. So I fed them, which was freaking adorable, and I rubbed them, which was not. They're boys! Baby squirrels have bigger dingdongs than you'd expect. There, now you've learned something today. You're welcome, you sick freak.

I also made many phone calls. To the vet, who told me to call the OSPCA. To the OSPCA, who are not taking wildlife due to renovations. To the Humane Society, who wouldn't take them because we're out of the region. To the Shady Acres Squirrel Sanctuary, where I tried to leave a message, but was hindered by the fact that I was trying not to laugh hysterically at the mental image conjured up by that title ( A huge estate, run by the Squirrel Lady from Rat Race (wouldja like ta buy a squir'l?) with a sign reading "We're nuts about squirrels!" etc.) And finally, to another Humane society who agreed to take them so long as we dropped them off, since we were once again, out of their region.

Then we drove for over an hour to deliver our spermophiles (Look it up, it's not technically accurate, but isn't it an awesome word? Filthy little nut lovers.) To some experts who told me off for feeding wild animals and suggested I should have just have left them to freeze or be eaten by our cats. Not in so many words, but still.

So ya, that was my day. But doesn't this cuteness pretty much make up for it?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

First Kisses

I was in the first grade. I was playing with some kids in the snowy school yard and one of the other girls told me to lay down so she could make me into a snowball. She rolled me over and over while snowflakes caught in my eyelashes and filled my mouth as I laughed. Suddenly, she stopped and I looked around to find that we had crossed to the other side of the playground and ended up next to another group of kids.

"Josh!" she called out "I brought you another Snow Bunny to kiss!"

Josh came running over as fast as his sodden snow pants would allow and bent down over me. I shoved him. Hard. Then I ran away.


I was in the fourth grade. There was a club for kids who were "going out" with each other. They called themselves NALA (Not A Loner Anymore) and they met behind a tree every recess to see which couple could hold a kiss for the longest. Someone asked me if I wanted to join.

"No way! I like being a Loner, thanks."


I was in the ninth grade. I was camping with cadets. There was a boy there that I really liked and he liked me too. He smuggled some booze onto the bus for us and promised me we'd sneak away some night and have a party. We flirted and hugged and he told me I was beautiful and kissed my hand each night before bed. But there were scary MP's and officers around making nuisances of themselves with all of their No Fraternization! and Anyone Found in Possession of Contraband Will Face Criminal Charges and Possibly be Shot! and At No Time is Anyone Ever Allowed to go Anywhere in Groups of Less Than Four! and the opportunities for intimacy were somewhat limited.


I was sixteen. It was April. Adam and I had met between Christmas and New Years and we'd seen each other a few times since then. First on Valentines Day, then at a mutual friend's birthday and finally for a few one on one visits. He'd stopped by for one such visit and we'd taken a walk down the trail by my house. It was a warm spring day and we were lying on a hill, talking and watching the people who walked by on the trail below us. The shape of the land and the early budding bushes shielded us so that we could see down, but no one could see up, and we were having fun making up stories about the people who passed by us unawares. Adam rolled up over me and I could see that this was it, he was finally going to go in for a kiss. I panicked, just for a second. What am I doing? This is stupid! Holy shit, no one knows I'm out here and I've suddenly noticed that this is not a boy I'm out here with; this is a MAN, He's 18 and he's a lot bigger than me and a hell of a lot stronger and if he wanted to he could...Then I snapped out of it. I felt safe and happy and I wanted him to do it, just hurry up and kiss me already! This is my first kiss and I want to be the KissEE and not the KissER so just hurry up and...and then he kissed me.


"Guess what happened at school today!"

"What, Goober?"

"A boy from the other class kissed me three times!"

*insert moment of maternal panic for 'Ohmygod, are we HERE already?'and 'You are so not MY kid.' Followed swiftly by 'How freaking cute is she, bragging with that huge smile on her face?'

"Which boy?"

"Uuuumm...Hayden, I think?"

"Is Hayden your boyfriend?"

"No. We were rolling and rolling down the hill and then we stopped and got stuck in a pile at the bottom and then he kissed me once and then we rolled again and we pretended to get stuck again and he kissed me two more times and then he said 'Aah I need a cloth' and went to go wash the kiss off"

*insert moment of jealousy for total romantic awesomeness of that story, except for the part about the cloth, maybe.*

"Isn't that funny, Mommy? I thought boys didn't even LIKE girls! Why do you think he did that?"

*insert Adam returning home from work*

"Daddy! A boy from the other class kissed me three times!"


"At school."

"That's not what I....never mind."

*insert moment for me giggling uncontrollably and Adam to contemplate' Ohmygod, are we HERE already?' and 'Add 'shotgun' to next shopping list.' *

The moral of the story: My 5 year old has now been kissed by as many men as I have and also her first kiss falls almost exactly 7 years after my own. How fucking sad is that?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter: Lessons in greed.

There are several religious interpretations of Easter, but for us it was pretty much about family and chocolate. Oh, and passing on character lessons about the importance of greed.

Lesson 1: Easter at Adam's Parents. Time is of the essence!

You mean there's going to be chocolate AND blueberry cake?!

This was Eden's first egg hunt. She approached it the way she did with Halloween: Get one candy, open it and enjoy it before moving on to the next. Unfortunately, with 6 older kids around who were more clued in to the massive chocolate hoarding possibilities at stake here, this system left her with a pretty bare basket. Clearly more training was needed.

Screw eggs, there are full sized chocolate bars and flashlights to be had! (no, that's not a dildo in my kid's Easter basket)

Lesson 2: Easter Egg Hunt at the Park. Brain washing en mass.

We got to the small park down the block from our house a little early, in time to see the volunteers scattering plastic eggs about the playground with all the magic and whimsy of a chain gang at work. Skylar stopped in her tracks and went from cheerful and excited to grumpy and uncooperative in a split-second.

"Those are just toy eggs! They're not chocolate at all! This isn't going to be any fun. Let's just go home!"

I stopped her by suggesting that there might be treats at the end. Since her sense of greed is well established, she consented to stay.

The Egg Warden called the assembled townsfolk to order and explained the rules: There's a roped off section for kids 2 and under, the rest of the park is fair game for older kids. Once you get 5 eggs you take them to the Easter Bunny (aka mentally enfeebled lady in a dirty white fur suit from the Halloween clearance bin. Of course, the costume might have been at fault for the mentally enfeebled vibe.) who will give you a special treat!

Skylar took off running because she's 5 and doesn't need me anymore.

I took Eden over to the baby coral and plopped her over the rope into the pen with all the other toddlers and infants, some of whom were barely able to sit unsupported. Then they stared. Parents stood around the pit and blinded them with a thousand camera flashes. Some of the babies cried. Parents pointed wildly at the brightly coloured plastic eggs on the ground and encouraged their munchkins to get them. The babies continued to stare blankly. Eventually one of them picked up an egg, to the wild and frenzied cheers of his family. They began to catch on. They picked up eggs. They offered them to their parents with 'What? Is this what you want?' looks on their faces. They tried to eat the eggs, but alas, as Skylar had already pointed out, they were not chocolate. Older ones tried to stuff eggs in their pockets and got frustrated when they wouldn't fit. Younger ones picked up 2 eggs and got frustrated when they had no more hands. They offered each other eggs and dropped eggs into their neighbour's baskets. This, of course, had to be stopped. "In YOUR basket, Buddy! Put the eggs in YOUR basket!" Then they started stealing eggs out of each others baskets. Much better.

Ha! I'm not the only slacker mom who didn't remember to bring baskets to the egg hunt and had to make do with a plastic bag that was wadded up in my pocket from the last time I took my mom's dog for a walk!

By the time Eden was done here, Skylar had already collected her eggs, waited in line and exchanged them for a book and a ziplock bag full of jellybeans and chocolates from the "Easter Bunny" entirely without assistance. Eden wanted nothing to do with Easter Bunnies or lines for that matter, all she wanted was the free juice box.

Lesson 3. Easter with my Family. When did Easter become Christmas?

My daughters, and other family members who bloody well smile and don't put things in front of their faces when told to say Cheese!

The greed took on a whole new level here. There was no egg hunt at all. Instead there were gifts. Toys and clothes and chocolate bunnies and so on and so forth and holy crap, what am I supposed to do with all the stuffed rabbits?

Quick! She's wearing them! Take the picture now, now, NOW ! Too late.

Check out that tail.

By the time Easter Sunday arrived Eden was a pro. She put the first chocolate egg in her mouth and then carried on looking for more. She knew what she was looking for and where to put them when she found them. Greed training complete. With a little bit more speed and some search and recover skills she'll be a champion egg hunter by next year. As it was, she was still lagging behind Skylar a fair bit, but then Skylar lost her head completely and started pointing eggs out to her baby sister and even depositing a few of her own eggs in Eden's basket. Shit, now we have to re-train that one too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Luckily, he has no idea what a blog is.

My Grandpa is in his 80's. He's the only male parental figure I've ever known and he taught me to ride a bike and fly a kite and build stuff and he took me for walks down the old train tracks where the wildflowers grew. I'm trying hard to remember all that right now.

He's also the one who slapped me across the face once when I was four or five, right in front of all my little friends as we played in the back yard. He yelled that I'd left the garage door unlocked. I wasn't tall enough to reach the latch on that door.

I once read a book by Diana Gabaldon in which an old man is described as "a mule" Not precisely mean, and not precisely stupid, but incredibly stubborn and once he gets an idea in his head it's impossible to shift him off of it without a stout stick between the eyes. She put it better than that of course, but I'm too pissed off to look up the actual quote right now. Anyway, that's my Grandpa.

He's gotten old and belligerent. He can't handle a single element of change. Nothing is ever to be out of it's place and no one is to do anything without his will and consent.

I have kids. Kids equal change and noise and mess and they have a tendency to do unpredictable things at random moments.

Ever since we got here Skylar has been fascinated by the old camping trailer in the backyard. We never took it camping. It has been in the same place since we moved in 20 years ago. When we were little it was the perfect playhouse, complete with child sized appliances, dishes, bunk beds etc. We were in there all the time. Stupidly, I told Skylar as much. She's been desperate to get in there since we arrived last fall. Now the snowbanks are gone and I gave in to the pleading and let her in this morning. She had just met the neighbour boys and wanted something really cool to show them. She nearly burst with excitement as I shoved some plywood out of the way and wrenched open the swollen and distended door. The trailer has been rotting for two decades and it would surely fall to pieces if anyone tried to pull it anywhere now. It's dirty and mouldy and full of old junk we couldn't think of anyplace else to store. Mice have eaten through a seat cushion and the window in the door is broken, but it's still a pretty kick ass place to be if you're 5.

I watched as Skylar and her friends played happily for 15 minutes or so, then I took Eden inside to put her down for her nap. As I got back downstairs I could hear Grandpa bellowing at Skylar.

The little boys ran off so fast it's lucky there were no cars coming as they flew home across the street. Skylar looked stupefied and could only ask "Why?"


Pretty much the same words he said to me when I was her age, right before clouting me across the head. I was outside and between them faster than I would have thought possible.

"It's just old toys in there..." I began.


It's not his, neither is the stuff inside. The kids hadn't gone in unsupervised and they weren't making a mess or bringing anything out. The whole point of the trailer when I was small was as a place to play. But there's no point telling him any of that. He just yells and thunders and turns red. He goes back to the same old arguments about how he owns this house and pays the bills (both of which are NOT true) So we can never argue with him. All we do is try to placate him, no matter how unreasonable he's being. We're always afraid he'll give himself a heart attack or a stroke, or punch someone. He's old, but he's fit and strong. Usually it bugs me, but I behave myself. I can take him yelling at Adam for some ridiculous perceived error in the sorting of the recycling, or yelling at me for somehow clogging up his toilet by supposedly flushing diapers down my toilet (um, what? Even if I did use disposable diapers, which I don't, I wouldn't flush them down a toilet, wtf?) But it took every scrap of my self control to keep my temper after that old grump made my little girl cry.

I'm not good at repressing. It makes my head ache. That's why I'm here writing this utterly boring story. So please excuse me while I vent some things that I honestly don't mean and would never actually say:

Shut the fuck up old man! You don't own this place and we do pay rent. We're the ones who just finished raking all the leaves and fixing the eaves troughs so don't give me this shit about how we're making the place look like crap because there are a few kids toys around. How dare you make my little girl cry for no damn reason at all? Do you know what she said to me when I found her sobbing on the front steps after she ran away from you? "I miss Grammy, I wish she was here. She would know how to make Grandpa be nice." It's true. My Grandma would do anything in the world for a child and she kept you from being a total bastard all the time. Keep up the crazy talk so we can put you in a home and have some peace around here!*

*I don't mean that, well not all of it anyway. I still love him, after all, he's the one who taught me to ride a bike, and fly a kite, and build stuff, and he took me for walks down the old train tracks where the wildflowers grew.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

An emerald tiara, the book of Amun Ra and my SIN card.

I am not an overly organized person. I accept this about myself and, for the most part, it doesn't bother me. But I loose shit all the time.

I can rarely ever answer simple questions that begin with 'Where is....' Sorry Goober, I have no freaking clue where your princess backpack is. Adam, I haven't the foggiest idea where all your socks are. Have you tried the basket of laundry I washed three weeks ago that you never put away? Mooch, can you tell Mommy where Elmo went? He's big and red and plays loud, annoying music at totally random intervals, how hard can he be to find? This has caused quite a bit of frustration around here because A) I'm impatient and I get bitchy when my plans are delayed by missing objects. C) Whenever I nag my kids to help me find something my requests are met with whining and crying and gnashing of teeth. And C)Regardless of my years of organizational ineptitude everybody STILL asks ME when they can't find something. Why? Seriously people, wtf? I don't know where MY stuff is, how would I know where yours has gone?

So, clearly my family doesn't learn too quickly, and evidently neither do I, because it has taken me five and a half years to stumble upon the magical wonder tool called the Scavenger Hunt. Why did no one tell me about this? Over the past 2 days I've found stuff I never even knew we had, and the best part is that all I have to do is write it on a piece of paper, I don't even have to get up!

Much to my chagrin, I have to thank that whiny little bastard Caillou for this discovery. Skylar saw Caillou go on a scavenger hunt with his babysitter and asked me if we could do that. It seemed like an easy way to keep her out from underfoot for a few minutes, so I scribbled down a list of household objects likely to fit in a shopping bag: a button, a comb, a green crayon, a barbie etc. Then, from a mixture of inspiration and desperation I added -Mommy's cell phone, to the list. Success! She showed up a few minutes later with a bag full of junk and my phone! Done already? How about I write some more things? OK? How about Mommy's blue earrings, my driver's license, a roll of tape, my glasses, your library book, your mittens, my keys, the TV remote, Daddy's T4, the camera and Eden's splash pants? This is awesome!

There are other applications aside from finding lost stuff too. You can list every single thing lying around on the floor and 10 minutes later the room is clean! Or you can make up a slightly more difficult list with items such as dragon scales, invisible mittens, robotic spiders, leprechauns, dinosaur teeth, fairy wings, feline scuba gear, diamonds, ectoplasm, the holy grail and Elvis and not only will your kid be occupied for hours, you'll probably be rich when she's done!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

You are what you...advertise, apparently.

The next Olympics are (is? whatever) happening in Canada. I personally would find it hard to care less about sports, but they've been advertising it on TV for YEARS now, so even I can't pretend I didn't know. Still, all of that is happening on the other side of this rather large country, so I never really thought it would impact me directly. All that changed last night at McDonalds.

There it was on the side of my root beer : YOU COULD BE AN OFFICIAL OLYMPIC TORCH BEARER WITH COCA COLA!

Who? Me? The one sitting on my too lazy to make dinner ass, eating cheeseburgers and fries and drinking pop? The one telling my kids to finish their McNuggets or they can't have a milkshake? You really want me to represent Canada at an event that emphasizes physical fitness? What the fuck do McDonalds and Coke have to do with the Olympics? Did you not see Supersize Me? No amount of exercising in the world is going to make you healthy if you live on this crap.

Then I thought about it and decided that it was brilliant. As previously stated: I have no interest in the Olympics, but even I would tune in to watch some 400lb tub'o' lard lumber along in a Coke tracksuit with The Torch wobbling in one fist and a BigMac clutched in the other. Just in case he had a heart attack and died in a puddle of fry grease just steps from the....whatever it is they run towards. Now that's entertainment.

I've noticed the same hypocritical bullshit at my kid's school. At the beginning of the year, and in every newsletter, they send home a list of forbidden lunch foods and snacks. According to them we can't send any nut products (no matter how healthy they may be) because of allergies, we should never send any kind of candy. No pop, no juice boxes, no granola bars, no fruit snacks, no pastries and so on and so forth. No whole fruits because kids don't finish them and they end up being thrown out, No pre-packaged lunch meals (read: Lunchables) because they're too high in salt. They sent us a sample lunch menu which included hummus on whole grain pitas, sugar free yogurt (in a reusable container of course, nothing should have disposable packaging) grapes (cut in half for kindergartners to prevent choking) soy milk (also in a reusable container) and shredded carrots. Yummy. This same school constantly sends home order forms. How many slices of Pizza would your child like every Tuesday? Hot Dog day is coming, then Grilled Cheese day. Incidentally would you like to buy an Ice Cream Sandwich on Friday? How about Cupcakes on Monday? Don't forget to return your Chocolate Milk tickets. Then there are Candy-grams for Christmas, Valentines, Easter, National Cleavage day (thanks Bloggess) and any other holiday they can dream up. Why is this? Because the school wants money! And no kid in the world is going to eat a chickpea and barley sandwich with avocados even if you paid them !

Look, we try, OK? Adam is a holistic nutritionist. We know about healthy food. We feed the girls fruit and veggies and multi-vitamins disguised as gummy bears and sometimes smoothies with wheat-grass juice hidden in them. We also feed them Mac 'n Cheese and Fishsticks. That's just life. At least we're honest about it instead of praising the virtues of Macrobiotics while slipping our kids Doritos on the side. Kids are picky! More importantly, I'm picky! I simply don't eat things that taste like crap no matter how good they may be for me. Stop the holier than thou preaching unless you're prepared to back it up.

HAHAHA, I was going to write some more, but my baby just came over to me and said
"Mama? Noo-nals? Noo-nals? Night-night?" and signed "Please" Which means she would like me to make her some noodles before her nap, so I'm off to heat up some Chicken Noodle Soup (full sodium!) maybe I'll slip her some apple slices as well.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Do the Potty Wheeze!

*Warning, the following post contains parental content, by which I mean that I am a parent and as such, there are times when I have to talk about my kid's poop. Sorry, that's just the way it is. If you don't want to hear about it, feel free to stop reading now.*

So I'm sick, as I may have mentioned. Yesterday I lost my voice completely and developed a really impressive gasping, painful kind of wheeze that had me propped up with pillows and stealing hits off of an inhaler prescribed for Eden ages ago and never used until now. This morning the breathing is better, but I still nestled my ass firmly on the couch after delivering Skylar to school and let Eden entertain herself by terrorizing the cats and eating handfuls of dry Lucky Charms from the box.

This system worked pretty well for us for an hour or two, until Eden came over to me yelling "Mommy, Mommy. Poop!" and making the "change diaper" sign with her hands. So I dragged my heavy carcass off of the couch and headed upstairs to the change table. I shoved off the cat (who was hiding from Eden) and unsnapped her diaper to find...nothing. It took my fever addled mind a while to process this. WTF child? There is no poop at all, why did you make me get up? Then a totally outlandish idea occurred to me.
"Eden, do you have to poop?" I rasped. "Do you want to poop on the potty?"
She nodded at me in her grave, wide-eyed way.
"OK, OK hang on!" I whispered.

Now, this kid has been utterly uninterested in the whole potty training scene. She has never made the slightest tinkle in the potty and looks rather scandalized and affronted when we suggest it. The potty has been sitting in the bathroom for months, but seeing as how she used to cry at the sight of it, it became more of a secondary towel rack. I flung the towels off of it and sat Eden down.
"OK, big girl" I croaked "Go ahead, make poo poo in the potty"
"Mama potty" She commanded, pointing at the toilet. So I sat.
"No, no pants!" Fine. I'll sit on my potty, you sit on yours. Will you please go poop now?

And she did!

Then she stood up, pointed into the pot and proclaimed "EEEWWW!"

Still pretty surprised, I made every effort to cheer and praise, but with the state of my voice it probably came out a little more scary and growly and demonic than happy, and it was punctuated with gasping coughing spells. Perhaps this is how people develop anal complexes. She never cracked a smile, just kept saying "Eew" and waving bye bye to her turd as it swirled down the john.

I (rather optimistically) let her run bare until nap time, but there was no repeat performance. Before nap I tried to put a diaper on her and boy was she ever pissed about that! So I went with a pair of training pants and I've resigned myself to changing the sheets when she gets up.

*Sob* my baby's growing up. And I just bought that Blueberry Minky diaper too!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day From Hell

Inevitably, after spending a week wiping 4 noses, I'm sick. Being sick always sucks, but after today it's just freaking unfair.

I spent the morning trying to clean up the magnificent mess that accumulated while I was away most of last week. I realized I felt like crap after I put Eden down for her nap, so I told Skylar to put on a video and laid down on the couch with her. I woke up almost four hours later to find that the baby monitor was unplugged and Eden had been awake and bawling for God only knows how long. I ran upstairs to rescue her and changed her dirty diaper and rinsed it out as per usual. As I headed downstairs I wondered where that running water sound was coming from. Was Skylar playing in the sink? No, there she is on the couch. Then where....? Shit, the bathroom pipe is leaking and water is pouring through the ceiling all over the kitchen floor, the fridge and the stove. I set Eden down in the living room and hopped up on a chair to salvage all the miscellaneous crap that lives on top of the fridge and place bowls under the drips.

While I was thus occupied, Eden climbed up onto the kitchen table and threw a glass down to shatter in the large puddle on the floor. I'm convinced she did this deliberately to get back at me for falling asleep and leaving her trapped in her bed. I probably deserved it. When I heard the crash I spun around and saw Eden's fat little naked pink toes dangling over the shard filled puddle as she prepared to dismount the table. I yelled "NO! Stay there!" and lunged for her. She stayed put. I fell off of my chair. Then I faced the age old conundrum: too wet to sweep it up, too much glass to throw a towel on it, this just sucks.

Then we went to Adam's Dad's birthday party. Nothing spectacularly horrendous happened there, but the ride home was tragic. Normally Adam drives when we're together, but tonight he asked me to because his eyes were sore. So I was driving along all peaceful like,when suddenly there were eyes, and a thump.

Me- OhMyGod! What was that?!

Adam (aka Heartless Country Boy)- Dead.

Me-But what WAS it? Was it already dead before?

Adam- I think it was a rabbit. Looked like it was already on it's back. I'm sure it was already dead.

Me- Are you sure? What if it was a cat? Ooooh I hope it wasn't a cat.

Adam- What are you doing?

Me- We have to go back and see!

Adam- Ah Jeeze. What are you gonna do?

Me- See what it was and make sure it's really dead. And maybe see if it was already dead before.

Adam- And if it's alive?

Me- Take it to a vet!

*silence from Adam as he ponders the prospect of transporting a wounded wild animal towards a hefty vet bill*

Me- OhMyFuckingGod IT'S A CAT!!!

Adam- Well it's clearly dead.

Me- No it's not, it moved!

Adam- No shit, it did. So now what?

Me- Go see! Go see!!

Adam- Alright, alright. OK, it's alive, but it's not going anywhere.

Me- Well, take it up to the house!

Adam- Wha-?


*At this point I will now point out that the cruel jerk did pick up the bloody, squirming kitty with his bare hands and carry it to not one, but 2 farm houses while I sat bawling in the car. I'm sure he thought I'd be happy when he came back and reported that the woman at the second farm thought that it was one of her barn cats and was calling her husband to "see what could be done." He was wrong.*

Me- Who's her husband? Where is he? Can he help it? Is he going to kill it? If it's a barn cat and she's not even sure it's hers, how do we know they'll try to help it? Maybe we should just take it home anyway.

Adam- What are we going to do with a wild cat that likely has broken bones and internal bleeding?

*WTF? Does he not know by now that lying is always the right choice? Seriously, would it have been so hard to say "Yes, it's their cat, and luckily they are veterinary surgeons with their own intensive care unit right there in the barn. They say Fluffy will be right as rain in a couple of days." Even if he WAS actually thinking that the farmer was likely to go over and stomp on the kitty's skull.


Then I made Adam drive the rest of the way home while I cried, because I'm pathetic.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March Break Madness

My arm hurts. So does my back, and my neck, and my side. How did I injure myself? I played 20 minutes of Wii sports.
Apparently bowling without a ball, batting without a bat, swinging without a club and tennising without a racket is hard damn work. Oh, and my fitness age?....80!
Yup, I have all the fitness and coordination of the average octogenarian. Nice.

I'm spending this March break babysitting Adam's sister's kids, and I'm thinking I should NOT have more kids. It's not that they're bad kids or anything. It's just that I now have twice the diapers to change, twice the noses to wipe, twice the mouths to feed (and in one case to remove dead flies from. Jesus, the child is like that nut job in Dracula: Bottle-No, dead bugs-Yes!) Nap-times to orchestrate, hands to wash, boots to find, and so on and so forth. And Eden is siiiiick, and Skylar is boooored, and Evan won't shaaaaare, and Jasmine...has another fucking fly, Dammit! Open, come on, spit it out! and...I'm going to bed.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mother/Daughter time, old-school.

Tomorrow I leave Goober and Mooch with Adam's parents and head off for some good ol' fashioned mother-daughter time, with me reprising my roll as the daughter.
My mom and I are off to Niagara Falls for the weekend. There to sit in a hot-tub, drink some wine, stare at water and NOT do kiddie touristy crap for 2.5 whole days.
The mini-vacation is my mom's somewhat spur of the moment idea (which is one of the reason's I love her) But it has not escaped me that this is the 1 year anniversary of my Grandma's passing and the Falls hold some special memories for us in that regard, so it's likely to be a bit of a bittersweet trip. I'm looking forward to being able to finish whole sentences without interruption, to not planning my day around nap-time, to never having to ask anyone to eat just 2 more bites, and most of all to living 2 whole blessed days without listening to any whining.

Incidentally, did you hear about that guy who survived going over Niagara Falls 2 days ago? Failed suicide attempt. It was on the News. Know what you don't see on the News? All the successful suicide attempts. Two years ago we watched from Table Rock as a body was pulled up from the gorge by a crane. Our friendly tour bus driver told us that it happens 5 or 6 times a year, but it never makes the news because they don't want to encourage people to try to go out with a splash, so to speak. Apparently putting the dead person's name in the paper is like giving in to a toddler's tantrum: It only encourages them. So instead we ignore it. Tourists from all over the world mug for photos (Have you ever noticed that no matter what language people are speaking they ALL say "cheese!" when a camera is pointed at them?) with the Horseshoe falls, or the everlasting rainbow, or the yellow body box suspended by a wire in the background. It's kind of surreal. People crane their necks a little as they walk by, maybe they even put a few coins in the binocular thingies so their kids can get a better look, but then they go about their happy vacations with smiles on their faces and a few more cool photos to show the family when they get home.

Oh, and speaking of death and Niagara Falls (What a happy little trip down memory lane this post is turning out to be!) The most disturbing thing I've ever seen at a family tourist destination is the delightful street exhibit right next to the Dairy Queen on Clifton Hill, where for just 2$ you can push a button and execute a man. Because if anything can keep little kids entertained while waiting in line for ice cream, it's the sight of a very realistic mannequin strapped to an electric chair with a sack over his head, screaming and thrashing around violently, complete with flashing lights and smoking ears. That's good wholesome family fun, well done tourism board, bravo.

Monday, March 9, 2009

My Hero

Eden: Dude, you're upside down. That is the coolest thing I've ever seen.
Skylar: Yes, I rock. Feel free to bask in my glory.

Eden: How is this accomplished? This doesn't seem quite right.
Skylar: Nice try, Idiot.

Skylar: Here, need a little manual assistance?
Eden: Fuckin' A!

Skylar: I'm gonna let go now, try not to break your neck, m'k?
Eden: Best. Day. Ever!

Eden: TA DA! We kick ass.
Skylar: And next I'll let you eat the goldfish crumbs my hair picks up while I'm down here.