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November 28, 2008

Nobody said it was easy

6a00c2252669bb604a00e398d582250003-500pi I am all for women voting, working, operating heavy machinery. I'm all for us wearing pants, burning bras, breastfeeding wherever we feel like it. But whoever it was that pushed the idea that we should be able to work full time and raise kids... I'd like a word. Because let me tell you, between us girls, this shit is haard. 

I'm lucky compared to a lot of working moms (yes, I know, all moms are working moms) - I don't have to drop Mads off at daycare at the crack of dawn or scramble to make other arrangements every time she has a runny nose. And I don't have a job that saps me of my will to live. And F thankfully shoulders his fair share of the insanity. But even so, at the end of some days I am physically exhausted. Mentally - wow. Don't even get me started. Last night I ran up to the store after work specifically to pick up some cheese we needed for dinner. I came back 30 minutes later with two frozen Lean Cuisine meals, jelly beans and some Bob the Builder stickers. What the what? 

Remember before kids? No? Me neither. But I have faint recollections of coming home from work and just... doing nothing. Maybe make a little dinner, watch a little tv. Take the dog out if we were feeling particularly motivated. Now it's cooking and tidying and bathtime and the nightly struggle to get food into her tummy. It's brushing teeth and playing tea party and reading books and drawing pictures. It's wiping tears and cleaning spills and soothing tempers and fighting over diaper changes. And then it's crashing into bed only to get up, go to work, and do it all over again. And the thing is, most of the time I love it. And I'm fairly certain I would go out of my mind entirely if I were a stay at home mom. But good god, some days I'm so tired my eyeballs hurt. Literally. 

And after of all this I'm supposed to have the energy to open doors for myself, too? Gotta love progress.
 
Link of the day: If,like me, your craftiness starts and ends with Crayola, click on over to No Time For Flashcards. So many great, easy ideas to do with the kids - complete with step-by-step photos for those of us who are mildly craft-tarded.

November 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Brown-eyed girl

IMG_4217
Wordless Wednesday

November 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 24, 2008

Hola, mi nombre es Confused

Spanish I sat at the dinner table with Mads tonight as she pretended to eat her spaghetti, pushing it around on her plate and separating the ingredients into two distinct categories: "I don't like this" (pasta, mushrooms, green peppers, tomatoes) and "I like this" (parmesan cheese and salt).

We were talking about dessert, which is her favourite thing to talk about while she pretends to eat dinner. Specifically, we were talking about chocolate, which is what I told her she would get if she ate three more bites.

Before I knew it - and long before the three bite threshold was met, might I add - she started freaking out. She was saying something repeatedly, though I had no clue what it was, each time more urgent than the last, each time one step closer to tears. Tears we try hard to avoid around here, because once they start there's no going back. The sobbing turns to fake crying - is there anything that drives you crazier than the fake crying?? - which lasts for what seems to be an eternity.

In the end, after a half dozen or so wrong guesses, I finally got it right. She was telling me to speak in Spanish. Like Dora. Spanish? I grew up in a Canadian suburb. Spanish isn't exactly my mother tongue.

Me: "Say it in Spanish? You want me to speak Spanish?"
Mads: "Yeah, you say it in Spanish."
Me: "Um... I don't know very much Spanish, Mads. Mommy doesn't speak Spanish."
Mads: (singing): "I speak Spanish, and English too. I like them both. How about you?... You say it in Spanish, Mommy."

It's hard not to feel like an idiot when a 2-year-old is disappointed in your language skills. So I told her I would practice and get back to her. That, coupled with the chocolate, seemed to satisfy her. For now.

The alphabet I expected. Simple arithmetic, sure. But mastering entire languages? Motherhood really is a tough gig.

November 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 21, 2008

Bitches

In case the title didn't tip you off, I'm in a mood today. You've been warned.

It was just one of those mornings. I woke up late, was rushing around, nothing was where it should be. So I was already in a funk when, on my way into work I walked by a dog wearing a track suit. It was all frosty pink and silver trim, with pants and a zip-up hoody. That’s right, a hoody. On a dog. She looked like one of the Pink Ladies from Grease. Only she was A DOG. As I passed I swear I could see a desperate plea in her beady little eyes: “Take me with you, please. Take me with you, and we will burn this mid-life crisis inspired track suit together.” I was tempted to snatch her and run. But the dog I’ve already got drives me to drink, so I resisted the urge.

But what kick-started this nagging irritation actually happened yesterday. My mom took Mads to her weekly drop-in preschool, where she usually spends a couple of hours belting out tunes, producing overwhelmingly glitter-y artwork, and ignoring other children. Mads is lovely, she truly is. It’s just that when we’re out her idea of social interaction often seems to start and end at furrowing her brow and staring at people as though they’re about to sprout horns.

Yesterday, though, after many, many months of gentle persuasion and silent prayers, we had a breakthrough. She sidled shyly up to a girl at the craft table and, without bribery or even prompting, offered up a quiet, “Hello.” This other girl, clearly blind to the fact that she was witnessing a miracle akin to the parting of the Red Sea and the push-up bra, looked at Mads, and then shoved her flat on her ass.

Is it possible to hate a 4-year-old? I know it’s not particularly good or kind, but is it possible? Okay, “hate” might be a tiny bit strong, but when I heard about it, I admit I had a flash of loathing for the kid. I’m sure poor Mads now assumes this is the reward for being friendly and is thinking we’re nuts for having recommended it so highly. So I guess it’s back to the drawing board.

Between beauty school dropout Schnauzers and pint-sized bullies, is it any wonder I’m annoyed? TGIF.

Link of the day: Poopsy-Woo's (aka Sarah) inspiration for an amazing kid craft space. Gotta love IKEA!

November 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: The baking gene must skip a generation

November Baking 2 November Baking

Wordless Wednesday

November 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 17, 2008

Liar, liar, control top pantyhose on fire

PinocchioI recently discovered that I am a liar. We all are - you, me, your mom, her mom. We're all a bunch of big, fat liars.

Apparently the average parent tells her kids 3,000 "white lies" during their formative years. My first thought: People are battling cancer and this is what we're studying? My second: Only 3,000? So I decided to put it to the test. 

Here, in no particular order, is today's list of little white lies: 
  • If you kick your train one more time we'll have to give all of your toys away. 
  • We don't have any more Smarties. But we have a banana. 
  • Mommy's cell phone is broken, so we can't play with it. 
  • Dora and Boots want you to be a good girl, too. 
  • Hm, I don't know what happened to your (insanely irritating) Elmo phone. Maybe it's hiding (in the closet, where I put it last night).
  • You don't want to change your diaper? I guess you have to stay home while Mommy and Daddy go out. Bye!
  • No, you don't want to try Mommy's drink (Coke Zero, mm), it tastes sour. Yuck!
  • You know who else loves peas? The Wiggles!
That was just in a single day. Okay, an afternoon. Yikes. 

There were actually many more, but I decided they don't count. Like when she asked me if I saw that big purple dragon and I said, "Whoa! That was a huge one!" I don't count that. Or when she found a tampon in the drawer and asked what it was for and I muttered something about Mommy going pee pee. She's 2.5, am I supposed to explain menstrual cycles and psychotic hormonal shifts? This study also included things like Santa and the Tooth Fairy, which I absolutely don't count. That's not lying, that's called giving your kid a childhood. Lighten up. 

Anyways. I do try to be very forthright with Mads. For example, when she asks where the sun went, as she does every single day, I don't tell her it's sleeping, I say that it's in Australia... yes, with The Wiggles. But when we're in line at Toys R Us and she won't let go of the Yo Gabba Gabba DVD, do I explain that Mommy wants to claw her eyes out at the mere sight of the Yo Gabba Gabba gang, or do I just say that the DVD is broken? I think you probably know the answer. 

So, 'fess up: Have you lied to your kids lately?

November 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 13, 2008

Not-so-random acts of kindness

Kindness_day Turns out today is World Kindness Day. It's also, of course, Guinness World Record Day, so if you've ever wanted to set the new standard for cockroach eating, well... there's no time like the present. And actually, it's National Indian Pudding Day as well, but I'm not quite sure to do with that one.

Back to World Kindness Day. This will be my first year marking the occasion, seeing as how I never knew it existed and all. But I think it is just about the nicest holiday I've ever heard of, and so am jumping in headfirst.

Here are my own personal World Kindness Day vows:

  1. I promise not to swear at people in traffic, not even quietly, to myself, and not even if they deserve it. Which, let's face it, they probably will.
  2. I promise to fill my purse and pockets with change, and to empty them to those who ask for it, or need it (which doesn't include those of you who read this, and then decide to ask me for $100 in quarters and loonies. Nice try.)
  3. I promise to smile at people - including strangers - as I pass them. This one could get a bit awkward seeing as these days smiling at passerby seems to be taken as a sign that you are either insane or a tramp. We all know I'm only one of those things.
  4. I promise to finally return the DVDs which are now almost 2 weeks overdue. What if some toddler out there is desperately waiting to watch Rock & Hop with the Doodlebops? Come to think of it, it would probably be kinder to the parents not to return it and save them an hour of Doodlebops-inflicted torture.
  5. I promise not to lose my patience with Mads, not even when she's hiding under the bed instead of brushing her teeth or smearing handfuls of ketchup on the bottom of the kitchen table. This should be something I strive for every day, I know. But with a two-year-old it's easier said than done, right? 

There are more - to open doors, to say thank you, to not scream like a banshee at the kid who pushes past Mads in the line for the slide - but I think those probably fall under the category of "everyday kindness."

While we're on the topic of kindness... I'm lucky to be the recipient of a whole lot of it, not just today but all the time. I'm not convinced I'm always deserving, but I live blessed life because of the people who are in it: Family who make me remember what matters, friends who are always there with inspiration (and a bottle of wine), colleagues who make the daily grind completely bearable, and all of you who read these nutty ramblings and make me feel like I'm not the only one on the edge. I'll stop now because this is starting to sound like I just won an Oscar or something (First I have to give a shout out to God!). But I've been meaning to thank you, and today seems like a good day to do it.

So... how will you mark World Kindness Day?

(And how many cockroaches can you eat? 37 and you've got the record.)

November 13, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

November Raking 1November Raking 2
Wordless Wednesday

November 12, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 08, 2008

Dear Maddie,

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Yesterday I picked you up when your little legs got tired of walking, when you looked at me with outstretched arms and asked, "Carry you?"

As we walked you told me about dragons and your rubber boots kicked against my legs and it struck me for the hundredth time that you're not a baby anymore.

I realize this every couple of days, it seems: When you stand on tippy toes to reach the light switch, when you find us cooking dinner and ask, "What's going on here, guys?", when you host a tea party and serve Dora and I "rice cookies" and "apricot vanilla tea." I didn't think you even knew the word "apricot."

When we got home from our walk I said, "Sit down, baby, let's take off your boots." You are philisophically opposed to the idea of learning how to dress yourself, by the way, but I I doubt you'll be asking for my help with your wardrobe when you're in highschool so I'm not too worried. Anyways, you laughed and said, "I'm not a baby, Mommy, I'm a little girl!" I wanted to hold on to you, and to promise you that you'll always be my baby. But you're not much for the mushy, sentimental stuff, so I didn't. I did hug you, though, and you even let me for about three seconds, before you wriggled yourself free and said it was "Time to dance!"

So we danced. Well, you danced. You actually speficifically asked me not to dance, as you usually do. I try not to take it personally.

xo

November 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

November 04, 2008

Back away from the chocolate...

Pumpkin_barf-blHalloween is an evil bitch. I’ve eaten my body weight in mini Snickers over the past week and am seriously tempted to hit the fashion fast forward button and just go straight to elastic waist bands right now. I’ve already made the switch to sensible shoes, are stretchy polyester pants really that far of a leap?

You may remember that last Halloween was a particularly horror-filled one for us. I’ll try to sum up the night in one giant, run-on sentence: I sewed Mads a costume which I was very proud of until she threw a hissy and refused to wear it, forcing me to dig up something else at the very last minute so that we could go to a Halloween party where she proceeded to sob hysterically for the entire evening, until she choked on a contraband Tootsie Roll, leading F to perform a mini Heimlich maneuver, at which point Mads vomited all over her cheerleader outfit. And then we called it a night.

So let’s just say I wasn’t expecting any Hallmark moments this time around. But she proved me wrong, my girl. Last year I guess I was trying to force my own excitement on her, clearly without success. But this year she actually “got it.” She decided on her own costume – a black cat, just like Dora (there’s a shocker), happily exclaimed over every single pumpkin, smacked her little lips over each new treat to hit her jack-o-lantern bucket. I’m not saying miracles were performed – more often than not well-meaning candy-givers were treated to the standard semi-hostile stink-eye and her “thank-yous” were reluctant and barely audible whispers – but hey, these things don’t happen overnight. Or over the course of a year, apparently.

Still, this Halloween was a mind-blowingly huge improvement upon the last one, so I’m not complaining.

Time to go. Somewhere there is a tiny box of Smarties calling my name…

So, how was your Halloween? And how is your waistline?

November 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

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"Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don't have the top for." ~Jerry Seinfeld.

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