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.