Friday, January 29, 2010


Outta the mouth of my babe - I love this age!

Running up from downstairs, naked except for underwear and a toy tool belt -"But Mama, I can't SEE with my pants on!"
Dancing through the kitchen - "Mama, don't I feel beautiful today?!"
Oliver: "I would like some of that mama" (pointing to my diet coke). Me: "You don't want this buddy, it's full of caffeine, it'll make you short." Oliver: "I'm short already mama!" Yeesh. I gave the kid a sip.
As if we needed further proof that advertising works, while watching the World Juniors, a Pepsi Max ad came on. The ad showed men doing various silly things like getting electrocuted and falling out of trees and such. And then the punch line was something to the effect of guys will do just about anything except drink diet drinks. Until Pepsi Max. And Oliver, who I thought wasn't paying attention, starts jumping around the room, yelling "I love Pepsi Max! I love Pepsi Max! Pepsi Max is a guy's milk" .  A guy's milk, indeed.
So Lucy is having a bit of a crying jag over dinner, and while Laura and I are trying to calm her, Oliver is also trying very insistently to tell us something.   "Mama! Mama! LUCY DOESN'T LIKE HER PANTS! She's crying because she DOESN'T LIKE HER PANTS!!" Laura and I, after taking a pause for laughing, thought "what the hell?" and took off her pants. She stopped crying immediately. Apparently they were not good pants.
Laura tells Oliver, as he is finishing dinner that it is almost time for his which he answers ever so forlornly, and punctuated by a rather large sigh, "yes, bath and then bed. This is my life."
"Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and HAIRDOS!"
So - we were having a conversation about jobs with Oliver....
And Ollie very proudly says...
"Mommy's a prosecutor!"
When asked what Mama did... Ollie thought for quite awhile, and then he says....
"Mama's the judge!"

What a kid :-)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

the thankful revolution...

Since, as I have already disclosed previously, I am a glass half empty kinda girl, I will take up the challenge issued by a fellow blogger, and commence with Thankful Thursdays. 

Things I am particularly thankful for today...

1.  My boy-o in his footed pajamas being particularly cute and snoogly this morning.

2.  Lucy deciding that she will take a 1/2 nap, instead of her usual 15 minutes!

3.  Good coffee.

4.  Being able to have 5 minutes to blog.

5.  L. will be cooking tonight.  That is, we will be eating out. 

6.  Sparkly diamond snow.

7.  Friends who have reminded me that I am loved.


Monday, January 25, 2010

A germy affair

Last Friday, while at drop-in gymnastics, Oliver and I had stopped at the water fountain to get a much-needed drink of water.  (I am aware that any germ haters in the audience are starting to get a little squirmy here).  After Oliver was done his drink, I found myself starting into the face of a (really cute) silent little urchin (we'll call him Timmy), who seemed to be indicating that he needed me to hold the fountain button for him.  So I asked Timmy (the little imp) if this was indeed the case.   Timmy nodded so dramatically that I thought he must be dying of thirst.  I started to hold the button down. 

Just as little Timmy was bowing his head to drink, I hear from behind me a loud and (I'm not even exaggerating here) prologued:
I turn to see a mother-figure running towards us, practically mowing down little children in her way, a look of total and abject horror on her face.  I, of course stopped what I was doing, afraid that the kid had some deathly allergy to water or something. Breathing heavily, the mother looked at little Timmy sternly:  "we DON'T like water fountains," she said, before leading the little tyke a few feet away.  She then pulled out a bottle of Purell and wiped little Timmy's water fountain-y hands off and gave him a sippy cup to quench his thirst.  But not before looking at me like I was the most stupid and disgusting person ever to walk the planet.  

The subject of germs seems to split parents into two factions.  The ones who care (note here: the ones who care, generally seem to REALLY care), and the ones who are more, well, meh.  You can probably already which camp I fall into.  Meh. 

I feel that I should point out here, that I know that there are germs in water fountains.   Lots of 'em.  Yes, I'm sure you could even get Hepatitis A, or something equally unfun.  But you could also get Hepatitis A from eating in a restaurant.  I like eating in restaurants.  And every now and again, I like to drink from a water fountain.  And so does Oliver. 

While we are on the topic of germs, I also feel compelled to admit that I (and consequently my children) are lackadaisical hand washers.  Yes, I'm trying to teach them to wash their hands after they pee, etc.  But if we're out and about, you won't catch me wiping their hands with a bottle of Purell or diaper wipes. 

I, for one, would rather my kids ingest a little park dirt (even dog poo tinged park dirt) than have them ingest say:  Ethyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Carbomer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Isopropyl Myrisate, which are the main ingredients in Purell.    Or Propylene Glycol,  Methylparaben, Propyl Paraben, Disodium Cocamphodiacetate, Polysorbate 20, and last but not least 2-Bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, which are commonly found ingredients found in baby wipes.

Call me crazy, but I'm feeding my kids dirt and pond scum and yes, even dog poop, before I'm feeding them 2-Bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol.  Because substances with names that have numbers and hyphens and are virtually unpronounceable do not belong in children.   Hell, now that I've taken the time to write all of those ingredients down, I'm quite certain they don't even belong on my kid's asses.   I'll take my chances with the dirt and grime and grossness from nature (and, I will admit somewhat sheepishly, from my house), thank you very much.

To tell you the truth, though, even if there were an all natural hand, perfectly edible sanitizer, I'd still probably let my kids eat the dirt.  For one, I'd forget.  I'm awfully absent minded about those sorts of things.  And for another.  I just don't care that much.  And there it is, my dirty little secret (that hopefully won't find me friend divorced!).   My kids get dirty.  They probably eat dirt.  They live in a usually dirty house that hasn't (and won't) see any antibacterial lotions or washes of wipes or sprays).  I hose 'em down occasionally (along with the house).  And you know what?  They're pretty healthy little buggers.  Almost never sick.  So it seems to be working alright.

L's  grandpa used to say "you gotta eat a pound of dirt before you die."   Now that's a philosophy I can get behind.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

road rage

Today in the car,I was dealing with the needs of my wee toddler monster in the back seat.  Who was letting me know that he. had. NEEDS.  While dealing with these NEEDS, I wasn't able to catch the yellow light to make a left hand turn into a busy intersection.   No biggie.  It's not like I blew through a stop sign or anything equally heinous and irresponsible.   I, and everyone behind me, will catch the flashing arrow whence it comes around. 

Apparently a biggie.  A biggie, biggie, biggie to the old dude in the truck behind me.  I caught sight of him in my rearview mirror accidentally, as I was, yet again, checking in with the kid with NEEDS.   And there he was, gesturing wildly (not unlike a flight attendant on speed), practically jumping up and down in his senior citizen seat, making it clear that I should be turning, now, during that brief second where, despite my now having a very red light (insomuch as a light can be very red), that the other lanes of traffic aren't yet moving.  

I wave back.   Oooops.  Yup.  Gotcha.  Shoulda turned when the light was yellow.   But the guy keeps going.  The entirety of the red light.   Bouncing up and down.  Flailing so hard he looked like an octopus. I'm not entirely sure what he wanted me to do, there during the red light, but he is clearly wanting me to do SOMETHING.  He reminds me a bit of a toddler monster with NEEDS.    His truck was practically vibrating and in my bemusement, I started to worry that he might give himself a heart attack, so worked up was he.

Here's the thing old dude, and all the other bad-assed drivers out there like you.  Sorry you're in a hurry.  Sorry I missed the light.  Sorry I'm a little distracted and absent minded sometimes.  The people in my car have NEEDS.  I wasn't driving unsafely - I just missed the yellow.  It happens to the best of us, at least, I think it does. 

I'm sure you'll be able to make up your time driving, well, like you're behaving.  But I've got this cargo in the backseat, you see, that is more precious than your stupid time, your stupid truck, and your stupid temper. 

So in my best clipped mom voice, I'm telling you to Simmer.  Down.  Back.  There. 


Friday, January 22, 2010

boys don't cry...

Oh lady at drop-in gymnastics.  I judge you.  I judge you.  I judge you.

I heard you snapping "Don't.  don't."  before I turned around to see your little boy, 18 months-ish, struggling to hold in some serious sniffles.  And then you had to open your mouth again.  "Don't you cry.  Don't you cry!".  All the parental hairs on the back of my neck were standing at full attention now, as I watched this little kid really trying hard to hold in his eruption of tears.  That ain't right.  We can do all sorts of things as parents, and have all sorts of expectations, but we don't have the right to tell our children how to feel (or in this case, how not to feel).  I hold myself back from throttling you, and begin moving myself and Oliver away, before I am unable to fight the urge to tell you that you are signing your kid up for additional years of therapy down the road, among other things.  Poor little dude. 

And then, just when I think that you couldn't be more of an arse, you say it.  The thing most of us sane folks think died out a generation ago, but clearly didn't.  "Boys don't cry," you say, with a whole lotta snark, to your little dude, whose chest is still heaving trying to hold in his tears.  "Don't you cry.  DON'T cry!  Be a big boy."  I want to grab your son, wrap him up in my arms and tell him to let it all out.  Tell him that he will feel so much better after a good long cry and a snuggle.  We all do.  Those of us who are allowed, I guess. 

Unable to help myself... I glare at you.  And then move to the other side of the gym, before words (and possibly blows) are exchanged.

Lady - I am steaming mad at you on behalf of your son, and mine, and generations of men before them who have been told it's not okay to have feelings.

The world is already full enough with men, with their fingers on the buttons of bombs and other lovely forms of world (or on smaller scales, community and household) anhilation, who don't know how to feel because of those kind of crappy messages - please, don't add another one.   

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

kidlit part II

Another fun, favourite read post (largely because I am too braindead to write anything else at the moment!).  These are the books we have on the go right now (mostly for the 3 + set!)

1.  Charlie Cook's Favourite Book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.  An excellent book about the love of books.  Lots of adventure and fun.  A new favourite.  (by the writers of the Gruffalo, which though also an engaging read, I have question the writers' decision to make EVERY character in the book male.  Charlie Cook is much more balanced this way.)

2.  Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox.    A gorgeous book about a boy who helps an old woman get her memories back.  So so sweet. 

3.  Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox.  A beautifully illustrated story, with lots of baby fun for the younger set. 

4.  And the Good Brown Earth by Kathy Henderson.  A lovely book about a young boy and his grandma sharing a love of gardening and the earth.  Gorgeous illustrations, great theme.  Oliver loves it (and so do I!)

5.  The Baby Dragon Tamer by Jan Fearley.  A sweet read (with gorgeous pictures) about a dragon who comes tries to conquer a baby with fierceness only to end up tamed. 

6.  Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller.  This is a fun, cartoon-y and super silly read that still manages to convey great messages about manners and general kindness. 

7.  The Hiccupotomus by Aaron Zenz - a  colourful rhyming book about a hippo with hiccups.  Pure silliness and lots of fun. 

8.  How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers.  Another great one by Oliver Jeffers about a boy who catches his very own star.  Beautiful illustrations and a simple story. 

9.  Hush Little Baby by Syliva Long  (great for small babes and bigger kids alike).  A new rendition of the favourite lullaby that takes the consumerism out of the picture.  Instead of "Mama's gonna buy you _______", instead Long's Mama comforts her baby bunny with lightening bugs, teddy bears, a banjo, the evening sky and the harvest moon. 

10.  Scaredy Squirrel  by Mélanie Watt.  A fun little read about how fear (and complacency) holds us back from living a full life.  Very loveable and kid-relatable squirrely character. 

11.  Your Favorite Seuss: A Baker's Dozen by the One and Only Dr. Seuss  - This a wonderful collection of Seuss, lots of good ones like The Sneetches, Yertle the Turtle and the Lorax.  Also includes sketches and Seuss memorabilia, as well as some short essays by folks who've been touched by Seuss' work.  A definite bookshelf must for Seuss lovers (especially those who love his more politically tinged work). 

In writing this list, I have become quite aware that almost all of the protagonists in these books are male.  While I would like to hope that this is more because L. and I overcompensate for the lack of maleness in Oliver's world, than that there is a dearth of rockin' girl characters in books, I suspect may just be a little of both.   At any rate, my kidlit part I was a little bit more gender balanced.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Sleep deprivation is a form of torture.  I cannot overstate this fact.  Parents, most of them, will totally back me up on this. 

We are currently well into week 3 of Lucy's sleep striking.  She wakes between 6 and 12 times a night.  This is NOT an exaggeration.  Though 12 is her current record, I'm not putting it past her to break it; like her brother, she doesn't believe in doing anything half-assed. 

To say that I am tired doesn't do the feeling justice.  I am an empty shell of a human being, walking around in a mama-suit.  My eyes are bloodshot and the bags underneath them would be considered oversized luggage by most airlines.  I have forgotten my most basic coping skills, and my good parenting skills flew out the window weeks ago.  I shouldn't be allowed to operate a motor vehicle or have the care and control of children, and yet.... occupational hazards, both.    

More than this, sleeplessness messes with your head, and your heart.    I have, in my weaker moments, begged L. to take Lucy to work with her in the mornings and give her away to someone, anyone who wants her.  I was only half-kidding.  I have felt extreme (and completely unwarranted) anger at L. for going off to work and leaving me alone, awake, with the children.  I have wanted to yell at and shake my baby during those long dark nights.  Though I have not done either of those things, she has had a number of f-bombs dropped in her general direction. 

These are not revelations I'm proud of.  But I guess this is what sleep deprivation does to a person.  It makes them forget who they really are, and positive emotions like love, patience, endurance, forgiveness, protectiveness become very distant memories. 

I've read the sleep books looking for solutions.  Let her cry it out, they say.  And I actually might, though this is contrary to my personal belief system, if I did not have a child sleeping in the next bedroom who is such a light sleeper he could be woken by a twig snapping three blocks over.   She is not napping well enough, they say.  Perhaps you are not providing a good enough daytime sleep environment, they say.  Do the writers of these books own toddlers or pre-schoolers?  I'm doing the best I can.  Out the window they go.

This too shall pass.  If I had a dollar for everytime someone said that to me in the past three weeks, I'd be starting a big fat RRSP.  I'm gonna let you in on a little secret.  This really isn't helpful.  I know it's meant to be supportive and all perspective-y.  The first couple-a times I heard it, it even helped a little.  Now, three weeks into sleep hell, with my body slowly succumbing to the inevitable sickness that comes from prolongued lack of sleep,  hearing those four words just makes me want to pop people between the eyes.   (I don't mean to sound ungrateful for the support . . . but there it is.)

Maybe, just maybe, when Lucy and Oliver have gone off to college (or flight school) and I'm madly suffering from empty-nest syndrome, I'll look back and think "Gee, I sure miss being tortured for weeks on end."  Don't get me wrong - in my more lucid moments, I know just exactly how lucky I am to have two marvellous, healthy, and bright-eyed children. 

But in the right here and now, in the midst of this seemingly unending baby bootcamp session, it's a little difficult to grab onto that perspective.