Saturday, January 17, 2009

Style by Kindergarten

So usually I avoid taking my kids shopping as much as humanly possible, but last week all four of us were at the mall because Adam needed new shoes.

Sweet Jesus, if you ever thought women were picky about shoes you have never shopped with Adam. We have been looking for shoes since before Christmas. We, or He, or his mommy, have been to every shoe store within 4 counties. You know the stereotypical picture of the husband sitting on a bench holding the bags, bored out of his mind while the wife tries on every damn pair of shoes in the store? Ya, that was us, except I was on the bench and Adam was the one repeatedly asking me -How about these? What do you think? Are these too formal? Too casual? Too dark? Too shiny? Too pointy? Too plain? Too elaborate? How do you like them in brown? Too old-fashioned? Does this sole seem funny? Are these laces weird? Is this leather from cows or bison? Are there any that will leave a more masculine imprint in the snow? Anti-microbial inserts? Can I get some in a 9 1/2 wide with speakers in the heels and turbo boosters on the back? While I was the one saying -Uh huh, those ones are great, can we please buy them already? Without actually bothering to look. The difference is that a woman would leave the store with 3 pairs of shoes while we left with nothing.

So finally we were at The Bay (where we'd been before, but hadn't bought the shoes then because Adam had to assure himself that no other store on the planet had the exact same shoes on sale for less) and Adam pointed up at a sign and announced: "Men's Fashions, this way."
"Daddy, what are Fashions?" asked Goober.
"Clothes" answered Adam.
"No Daddy. Not just any clothes. Fashions are cool clothes, like on Style By Jury. Fashion clothes are nicer than regular clothes."
Um, right, OK, so I do watch that show with her. Up until now I kinda thought it was cute when she would sit with me on the couch and exclaim "What is she thinking!?" but now I'm having second thoughts. Am I raising my daughter to be a judgemental snob?

My own wardrobe falls woefully short of anything that could be described as "fashion". My family is pretty much garbed head to toe in hand-me-downs, thrift-store finds and clearance rack specials. Will my influence be enough to teach Goober that cool clothes don't have to have expensive designer labels? My little fashionista is already clothing obsessed. Every day she spends ages putting together the perfect outfit and then acts like I'm ripping out her finger-nails if I suggest something more appropriate for the weather. I am always shocked when I hear about people with kids Goober's age or even older who still select their kids clothing for them each morning. Goober has been choosing her own clothes since she could walk.
On one hand I worry about teaching her that appearance is of the utmost importance and having her judge others by their clothing when she gets older, but on the other hand I want to teach her to develop her own personal sense of style and let her know that it's important for her to dress in a way that makes her feel good about herself. Materialism or individuality? Clothes aren't important, or clothes help you express yourself? It's what's inside that counts, or taking care of yourself on the outside will make you feel more confident? "Wear whatever you like", or "There's no way I'm taking you out in public dressed like that."?

It's just another of the tight-ropes we walk every day as parents. Always wondering how our actions will affect our kids in years to come, always wondering if we are leaning too far to one side or the other.
So, basically, if my kid tells you your shirt isn't very pretty, or that you look like you're trying to dress like a big kid or a grandma, I'm sorry. Feel free to set her straight, if you have some idea as to how.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Winter Wonderland My Ass.

For the past 2 days it has been -29 C. Otherwise known as unbelievably-freaking-skin-blistering-eyeball-freezing-clothing-crunching-lung-seizing-finger-burning-toe-deadening-air sharpening-deadly-damn-cold. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate cold? I'm quite sure I have spent all of my previous lives in warm climates...or possibly I froze to death a few times. There is no other way I could have developed such a deep seated hatred of cold. Some people can't stand heat. I don't get it. How can being sweaty possibly be worse than the bone deep pain caused by cold? The sting of wind on your face. The ache of cold fingers and toes. The squeezing bite of cold air in your lungs that makes you wheeze and gasp to suck in yet more burning cold air. The total body fatigue from continuous shivering. To reiterate: I greatly dislike cold. For some reason I seem to be unable to regulate my own body heat. My feet in particular are simply blocks of ice until some outside heat source (generally the backs of Adam's legs) becomes available for me to steal warmth from.

Mooch seems to share my hatred. Yesterday I bundled her head to toe in a down-filled snowsuit, insulated boots, hat, mitts, the whole shebang for the 5 minute drive to drop Goober off at school. We went directly from the car into the school to drop her off because fuck waiting outside in that for the bell to ring. Then I put Mooch back in the car and went home. She cried and squirmed and wrung her poor red hands for half an hour after we got inside. I ended up cuddling with her on the couch under a blanket for an hour with her icy fingers jammed up inside my shirt before she finally calmed down. When home-time came around I left her with my grandpa rather than risk taking her outside again.

Goober on the other hand, refuses to acknowledge the cold. My girly girl has insisted upon wearing dresses rather than pants. Every damn time we head out the door I have to fight with her to put on her snow pants, then her hat, then her mitts, then to do up her coat, she beat me down on the scarf idea ages ago. Why? Why oh why must there be a battle over the same thing every day?

Look child, see all that white shit blowing around out there, lying in drifts 3 times as tall as you? It's called snow, and it's a sure sign that it is, in fact, still winter and thus bloody cold out! You have worn a coat every day for the past 4 months, and will continue to do so for another 3. Why would today be different? I admire the indomitable spirit of hope you are exhibiting with this but please, for the sake of Mommy's tenuous hold on sanity, give it up. Yes, you have to wear a hat. I don't care which hat. There is a big ass box of hats for you to choose from. Same goes for mitts. Just like yesterday. Where are your new slippers? The ones you promised you'd wear if I bought them last week. Your feet are turning blue. I can tell this because you are also not wearing socks. No, you cannot wear your Cinderella dress and nothing else. It is practically made of tissue paper. You need a sweater over your t-shirt. Yes, I can see that it is a pretty shirt, put a sweater on anyway. And so on and so forth.

It would be one thing if she had some sort of sensory integration disorder and couldn't stand certain clothes, but this is not the case. She's just stubborn.

I was planning to write more tonight, but my traitorous cat has abandoned my lap and her warm spot is disappearing. Also my feet are completely asleep because they are curled under me rather than on the cold floor. Also my fingers are becoming stiff and unresponsive on the keyboard. I need hot chocolate, preferably with Kahlua in it. I'll be back in the spring.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

She Speaks!

Stop what you're doing. Big news right here. Eden's first sentence, uttered at 10:30 this morning:

"Kitty in shoe."

Yes! Brilliant! All the more so because it was entirely correct. There was, in fact, a Littlest PetShop giant-headed mutant cat figurine in her shoe.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Baby Does Tricks!

Aren't children amazing? Their fantastic little brains are like sponges, thirstily sucking up knowledge from the world around them. Why, just last night my 17 month old proved herself to be every bit as intelligent as a shih-tzu!

We went to my Grandpa's house and the girls immediately set to digging for cookies and candy. The moment we walk through the door Mooch makes a b-line for the cupboard where cookies are likely to be found, while Goober begins a more intensive search, delving into shopping bags, peeking behind chairs and nosing through my mom's purse. I take no responsibility for this despicable behaviour, it is entirely my mother's fault.

After taking a cookie, Mooch settled down to the next stage of her routine: bugging the dog. She takes his toys, throws balls for him to chase, and feeds him hundreds of cookies. After cookie number 15 or so it was suggested that Mordy the dog should "Sit" if he wanted another. And thus Mordy's entire repertoire of tricks was exhausted. Goober decided that the dog had been in the spot-light for far too long (upwards of 7 seconds) and people should start paying attention to her again.

Goober-"Pretend I'm a dog! What trick should I do?"

Mom-"Shake Paw"

Goober accomplished this feat. I was ever so proud.

Mom-"Good Doggie! Here's a cookie for you!"

At this point Mooch's treat radar went off and she came barreling over to get in on this action.

Mom- "You want a cookie too? OK, Shake Paw"

Mooch shook her paw.

Mom- Good Puppy! Here's your cookie! What else can you do?

In this fashion my baby learned to Sit, Speak, Play Dead, Roll-Over and, most useful of all: Go Fetch. Alas, she's still not house broken. Her performance was so convincing that when she later climbed up onto a chair Goober yelled "Look, she's sitting up just like a people!"

Training your children like dogs provides entertainment for the whole family, but I can't help wondering if Mooch will spend the rest of her life feeling strangely disappointed whenever she meets someone new if she shakes their hand and they fail to immediately stick a cookie in her mouth.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the...

Excerpt from a conversation I had with Adam, inspired by another conversation I had with a friend...who is basically the only person who reads this blog, enjoy!

Me- Well, I realize I'm not the easiest person to get along with.

Adam- You do?

Me- Oh ya, I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with Me. I wouldn't put up with half the shit from Me that you do.

Adam- So, you know you're doing horrible things to me and yet you do them anyways?! 'Cause it's one thing if you just don't realize, but you're telling me you're actually aware of this....

Me- Well, not usually until after the know, in hindsight I realize I've done something crappy.

Adam- And then you do nothing?

Me- Um, well I usually try to make it up to you somehow...without debasing myself so far as to admit that I'm wrong or apologize or anything crazy like that.

Adam- Uh huh, so you make it up to me how?

Me- I dunno, I just try to be extra nice for a little while so I can mentally balance out the bad things on my little internal karma scale.

Adam-.....Wait...holyshit, is this where blow jobs come from?!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Holidays are over, YESSS!

Goober goes back to school tomorrow! Whoo hoo! Is there any booze left-over for a toast? No, damn. It's not that I don't enjoy my daughter's company, really. It's just that...uumm...I appreciate it more when there's less of it?..No, that still sounds mean. Meh, whatever, I'm mean then.
I know, I know "Treasure these moments, for they are fleeting" and "They grow up so fast and you'll miss these days when they're gone" and so on and so forth, but the truth is I can only stand so much. I am not cut out to be a full time mom. I look forward to my children growing older and gaining more independence. I'm impatient and selfish and I would rather read a book than play Barbies. The idea of homeschooling is laughable for me. It's been more than 2 weeks since school has been out and bad weather has forced us to spend most of it indoors in our very small house in our very small town. Goober is the kind of person who needs large spaces. There is simply too much of her to be contained. Too much energy, too much imagination, too much emotion, too much volume. I don't want to stifle her. I believe in the idea of self expression and acceptance, but in practice.....fucking sit still and shut up for 2 god damned minutes! The child is simply incapable of silence.

"Go and sit on the stairs! 5 minute time out."
"The time doesn't start until you're quiet."
"You know why you're here, when you're quiet the timer starts."
"I want my blanket!"
"I want my Grandma!"
"I don't like Mommy!"
"I hate my life!"
"How much longer?"
"Five minutes. You haven't been quiet yet so no time has passed."
"How much longer now?"
"Don't let Mooch touch my puppy!"
"I'm Sorrry, I'm sorrrrryy! I looove you. Can I get off now?"
"I don't know HOW to be quiet!"

For the love of God child shut-up. Can you really not shut the hell up for one minute? Apparently not. It's like that scene in Fierce Creatures where Kevin Kline is holding a gun to Michael Palin's head, ordering him to stop talking or die and he just keeps on rambling, while Kevin begins to scream "He would rather speak than live!" and it's hilarious. Goober is like that, only less hilarious.

All Christmas toys and games aside, the best laughs are still produced by rolling around with the girls: swinging them in the air, spinning in circles, flying, flipping, wrestling and such, and that is as it should be. But again, I'm only human, and my endurance runs out long before theirs does. I am left a worn out shell, seeing spots while trying to catch my breath as they fight and whine and cry for more. I lay panting on the couch, thinking about how different they are. Goober is a tightly wound coil of power. Her small frame contains springy muscles and sharp bones. Playing with her hurts. I didn't notice her growing so strong and quick. Long flailing limbs and hard jabbing elbows are all the more apparent when I compare them to Mooch's squishy softness. My baby is so soft and mushy, with chubby padded knees and hands that lull you into a false sense of security. I get swallowed up by her perfect yummy skin and can't resist gobbling her chubby cheeks and round tummy. Then, once she has lulled me into a false sense of security with her harmless ways and clumsy movements and I have dropped all of my carefully built, Goober-proof, self-defence mechanisms...she head-butts me right in the nose with her rock solid forehead. Ouch.

We have played house, had tea-parties, watched movies, played cards, twister, board-games, play-doh, Barbies, School, painting, colouring, dress-up, Store, tobogganing and tag. Not to mention having baked cookies, read stories, made music, put on plays, built forts, given make-overs and played computer games and I'm out of ideas.

So bring on the public school, please God I need a vacation.

Friday, January 2, 2009

And I'm done!

So the holidays have been and gone and we are beginning to resume normalcy, inasmuch as Normal is possible where ever-changing kids are concerned.

High-lights of the season:

-Dec. 21 : Headed to a Christmas party in a blizzard because Canadians (Adam's family in particular) are batshitfucking crazy and don't cancel family gatherings just because of a little snow and ice and wind and OhMyGodIWantToLive! Adam bounced my van off of a guard rail and now our gift to each other is car repairs.

-Dec. 23 : Took the girls to the mall to see Santa. Paid over 20$ for an ornament and a photo of Mooch howling with the sudden realization that her mother is a heartless bitch who wants her to be eaten by a deranged hairy freak in a red suit. Goober asked the freak (who was in fact a fantastic Santa) for a toy that she totally DID NOT put in the letter we sent off weeks ago, forcing me to brave the wilds of Walmart Christmas Madness.

-Dec. 24 : Took Goober skating, remembered I can't skate and have no business teaching anyone else. Watched her develop the oddest form of self propulsion I've ever seen and shout to passing strangers "Look! I'm doing it! I can skate all by myself!" Read my children Christmas stories by candle-light, like my mom did with me every year.

-Dec. 25 : Stayed home. Watched the girls open gifts, took pictures, ate pancakes, assembled toys, watched Christmas specials, ate chocolate, had dinner with family, a perfect day.

-Dec. 26 : Went to Adams parents for the Christmassy chaos that is wrought by eight young children hopped up on candy and drunk on presents.

-Dec. 27 : 7 years from the day I met Adam. Did nothing, said nothing, but it was.

-Dec. 28 : Went to my aunts for the last of the family Christmases and missed my Grandma so much it hurt. This was my first Christmas without her. My resolution for the new year is to try to be more like her when dealing with my kids; no child should have to grow up without my Grandma around.

-Dec. 31 : Went out to celebrate New Years hampered by sucky friends calling in sick and living in a small town with only one bar. Wound up playing board games with Adam's parents rather than dancing in a club but had a pretty good time all the same.

-Jan. 1 : Spent the entire day sorting through the toy room to make room for the new stuff. OK, so I'm a lazy ass and still hadn't entirely unpacked it from when we moved in 3 months ago. But now it's done. You can even see the carpet in spots.

-Jan. 2 : The holiday aftermath has arrived in full force with a full compliment of screwed up eating and sleeping patterns, boredom, whining and fighting. What the hell day of the week is it anyway? Can I send Goober back to school yet?