My kids are annoyed they’ve never been to Canada’s Wonderland.

Greg reminds me this is a first world problem as is the fact I was annoyed with him for putting the leftover hamburger patties from dinner, inside the leftover buns so when I try to microwave a burger for lunch tomorrow, I end up with a first-hot, then rock-hard bun. Why can’t he just wrap the patties and buns separately?

First world problem.

Or when the kids informed me after being forced to wear rash-guard t-shirts in the pool to avoid getting a sunburn on their shoulders, “This is the worst day ever!”

Ellie has been offered the chance to go to Wonderland with a friend and Hanna has spent her time crafting careful instructions for how Ellie is permitted to spend her time at the theme park.

Hanna: Ellie, you can’t go on any upside down roller coasters without me.

That doesn’t sound fair at all.

Ellie: I have to go on if my friend and her Mom want me to.

Hanna: You probably shouldn’t bring a bathing suit. It would be too much for you to try to fit in the water park and the rides all in the same day. You wouldn’t be able to enjoy anything if you’re too rushed.

Interesting strategy.

Ellie: I have to Hanna, they’re both on my bucket list.

Hanna storms off.

Ellie: Don’t worry if you don’t get to Wonderland now, you can always take your kids one day.

Hanna yelling from the other room, “My job might take me away and I won’t live close enough to go.”

I love it when she mentions future employment.

Ellie: Mom, I’m going to live right down the street.

Ah, the bum kisser hasn’t lost her touch.

Hanna: My job is going to be in California and I’ll never get to Wonderland.

First world problems.

Hanna and I were hanging some clothes out on the line yesterday after lunch and I used the opportunity to have a quiet conversation with her.

I explained that my back was sore from something I had done the night before (trying to jog when I thought no one was looking and then when I realized someone was looking, trying to sprint because I’m obviously a child–trapped in a young boy’s body).

I asked given the slight twinge in my back if she could put forth her best effort for the rest of the afternoon and try to get along with her sisters.

Her response, “Why did you have kids then?”

And it shocked me a little.

Obviously we had kids to help with laundry, duh.

I remember asking my own Mom the same thing but in a completely different scenario. My thinking was totally justified, “Are you kidding me you won’t buy me that Cabbage Patch doll? Well why did you have kids then???!!!” Then I snapped my leg warmers and stormed away.

It’s a reminder for me that kids don’t see us as flawed individuals despite having too many flaws to list.

Do you have a sore back? We’re supposed to deal with it and move on.

Have you ever wanted a quiet moment to yourself? Why did you have kids if you ever wanted to have a second alone?

Why did you have kids if you wanted to close the bathroom door?

I think I had kids so I could buy a Cabbage Patch doll.

The new school year is just a week away.

We are trying to get the girls back into something resembling a routine by putting them to bed a little earlier and having them eat all of their soggy meals out of overstuffed lunch sacks at tables facing each other.

I asked the girls last night before bed, “Tell me three exciting things about school starting.”

Ellie: Here are the three things I’m not excited about 1) getting up early, 2) going to bed early, 3) seeing my friends… wait, I am excited about seeing my friends.

Hanna: 1) the swim season is starting, 2) that’s all.

Chloe: 1) Wearing a purse everyday (no), 2) Wearing make-up every day (no), 3) Being a mermaid.

I did the ice bucket challenge in support of those suffering from ALS after being nominated by a hateful, torture-loving, ex-friend.

My husband happily volunteered to do the dumping of the ice water after giving up the chance to videotape for fear the kids might miss a drop of water or a rogue cube might not hit my head as squarely as intended.

Here is the video evidence.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10154564720950232&set=vb.705845231&type=2&theater

Visit als.ca to donate

I was driving behind a very slow garbage truck yesterday.

It was one of those old, mostly metal, heavy, dirty, dusty looking trucks that carry waste to landfills.

I said aloud, “Please don’t turn, please don’t turn, please don’t turn” and then let out a sigh when his right blinker went on a second before mine.

Hanna asked, “Why don’t you want him to turn Mom?” and I asked her, “Why do you think I might not want him to turn where I’m about to turn. There are two reasons.”

“Because he’ll be really slow?”

Yes, that’s the first.

“Because he’ll throw dirt and stones at our car?”

Very good, that’s the other.

The garbage truck turned very soon after we both journeyed down the same street and in my relief, I started to say, “See ya later S….”

It was a strange moment, me just saying what I was thinking out loud for my kids to hear.

I realized saying “Sucka” didn’t seem appropriate so I stopped myself mid-sentence and changed it to “See ya later Smista” which was meant to sound like mista my made-up slang for mister but sounded a lot more like semester.

I spent the rest of the ride home explaining to the kids what a school semester was.

I took the kids to pick out their new backpacks for school.

I didn’t think there was anything terribly offensive about the backpacks they used the previous school year but it’s tough not to feel obligated to buy new with backpacks dangling from every minivan antennae for miles around.

I figured Ellie would go for something with a lot of swirly, bright colours—check.

Hanna would go for something with animal print or take the sporty-route and Chloe would beg for a backpack despite having had her new back-to-school backpack for over a month and doing a “fashion show” with it every time anyone new walked or drove past the house.

Hanna picked up a backpack that seemed to have a quilted top and within the quilting was a textured pattern of a colourful hamburger, sorry, cheeseburger, enveloping the entire front of the backpack.

“I want this one.”

Sometimes when I’m shopping for an item I let the kids have total control over the choice provided 1) it isn’t ridiculously over-priced and 2) it isn’t a backpack with a hamburger on it.

I told Hanna while I agreed it was totally rad (kids say that right?) it was probably something she would grow tired of and I wasn’t going to buy two backpacks in the same school year unless someone threw up actual hamburgers inside of one of them.

“I won’t get sick of it. This is the one I want.”

The hamburger. Backpack. Is the one you want.
“Yep.”

I explained that there would inevitably be four boys in her class with the burger-pack because it had a bit of a boyish whimsy about it.

She said that made no sense (yup) and that her friend wore a taco costume for Hallowe’en last year and the burger was basically the same.

Wow, we both need to take some courses in negotiating.

The truth is I don’t know why I hated everything about the burger backpack. The tomatoes? The quilted-green lettuce? It had nothing to do with me.

Maybe I was afraid people would think we were Fast Food junkies and would totally miss the irony.

Maybe I worried the 24 hour burger would cause some sort of eating disorder. Not to my daughter but it certainly posed a risk to everyone walking behind her.

Greg and I went away for a few days without the kids this summer as only some of the most hateful, self-centred, inconsiderate parents have been known to do.

When the two of us go away, it is the parenting equivalent of taking 1000 deep breaths except at the end of the exhale, there’s no Rainbow Loom band to fix, no marker-without-a-cap crisis, no “I cracked six eggs on my feet and the goo is all over the kitchen,” just the two of us reading on side-by-side lounge chairs somewhere in the sun.

Thinking about the kids brings only smiles, never frustration. I think of things like, when I get home, we’re going to bake a cake for no reason and I’m not going to care if the flour (and eggs and sugar and salt and how did the chocolate chips even get into this, they’re not part of this recipe?) goes everywhere.

Or I can’t wait to let them paint my nails and I’m totally going to let the nail polish clump and congeal all over my cuticles because it’s adorable when Chloe tries to paint a flower mixing several sparkly pinks.

Or I miss wearing that necklace they made me for Mother’s Day but it’s nice to let the spot on my chest heal where the spiky wires leave pricks in my skin day in and day out like I’m receiving some form of Mommy-shock-treatment.

Or suddenly, those catch phrases like when a four year old squeezes her way in between Greg and me mid-hug and says, “Step away from each other,” become endearing.

It seems there is a belief out there that every second of every day should be spent “as a family” that all trips, restaurant meals, outings, concerts can and should be done as a group. That if it involves the word “babysitter” it somehow means the family unit ceases to exist or someone has dropped the ball.

I know people who have taken newborn babies to sporting events, lengthy plane rides to backpack around Europe with a baguette in one hand and a baby in the other (okay, the baby is safely harnessed in an infant carrier but you get the idea).

“What did you have kids for if you wanted to get away from them?”

I don’t think the intention ever was (or is) to “get away from them.” I think sometimes it’s finding your way back to each other.

I don’t always like the person I become after days, weeks, months of the same routine, being exhausted at 8pm, unable to watch a full movie unless it’s over the course of several nights or carry on a meaningful, uninterrupted conversation that doesn’t involve the removal of something sticky from a surface that was never meant to be stuck.

Sometimes when we go away for a weekend, we talk about things like how a bill becomes law or Greg’s work or sometimes we don’t talk at all, unless it’s to say, “Can you believe how quiet it is?”

Sometimes I want to listen to music with no underlying educational value whatsoever.

Sometimes I want to watch a movie without my finger hovering over the mute button fearing someone might just decide to randomly swear or dis Santa or the Tooth Fairy or parents.

The kids benefit from these small breaks from us too.

They bond with their Grandparents and maybe even cousins. They learn to figure things out on their own without our constant refereeing. They learn to enjoy another fresh set of dinner menus and what bedtime is like at someone else’s house and “We get to stay up late to watch movies and eat pigs in a blanket but not the pigs, only the blanket!”

When we come home, I can’t wait to hug my kids. They’ve all grown at least two inches in three days. They look different but they smell the same. Their hugs have been missed and are so welcome and their voices are music to my ears.

It’s like getting the team back together for the next inning or after the halftime show or seventh inning stretch. We’ve regrouped, we’re refreshed, we’ve had time to strategize and come up with a game plan for the second half.

Everyone wins.

I knew when Chloe said, “Mom, can you come here so we can talk about a few stuff?” I was being set up.

Sure Chloe, what would you like to talk about.

“Number one, I love you so much you make my heart pump a lot.”

Wait for it.

“Two, can you bang yourself or walk into something really hard so that you can cry because I’ve never seen you cry before.”

Huh.

“I think I know the sound in my head but I just want to see it for real life.”

Summer for me, is about relaxing, spending time with my kids and finding easy, effective ways to get out of personal grooming.

I have been reading about a product called “Dry Shampoo” and was even told by a friend it was  a “Mommy-must-have” which piqued my interest because in my thirty-nine years, I had only ever experienced shampoo–the wet version.

So when I saw a Dry Shampoo product on the drug store shelf, I knew I was going to buy it. I just had to make the choice between “Cool Breeze” or something to do with fruit/cherries.

I think we would all agree, if you’re trying to come up with ways to trick the world into thinking you’ve washed your hair you definitely want to be both cool and breezy about it. The idea of someone questioning why my hair looked dry and/or dirty coupled with smelling like a strawberry patch was simply too much.

I took the bottle home, wow if this works, I may never shower again.

I raced through the instructions, tore the pony tail holder from my needed-to-be-washed hair and started spraying.

The instructions said to hold the bottle 30cms away from the hair but I couldn’t find a tape measure or willing helper so I eyeballed it and commenced spraying.

At some point in the process, I was bent over upside down.

When I flung my hair back, a la Farrah Fawcett, instead of the young Charlie’s Angel, the  granny staring back at me looked like frail Farah’s Grandmother in her wilting years. The stuff had basically sprayed some grey, albeit ‘cool’ and ‘breezy’ chemical all over my hair and now I just looked stupid.

I will admit, my hair felt cleaner to the touch which is baffling but it had a powdery grey coating that wasn’t coming out with any amount of Farrah-esque flinging.

Washing was the only option.

Sigh.

I took Ellie and Chloe to Winners to look for some back-to-school items and browse the clearance rack for some fun Mommy-finds.

When we reached the toy aisle, Chloe once again pounced on a Princess diary (she has several thousand kicking around with mismatching keys–you haven’t understood pain until you’ve had a princess diary key embedded in your heel, lockets for housing the keys in various states of disrepair, pages torn out with the single word “poop” written over them).

“Mommy, would you please think about buying me this diarrhea?”

I know she’s saying diarrhea because she knows it will make me giggle and a happy Mom is a spending Mom. (Though this might explain the word poop written everywhere)

“I will think about it Chloe.”

She wandered around the store holding the diary asking periodically, “Mommy, have you thought about the diarrhea?” “Do you think you’ll give me the diarrhea?”

Shoppers snickered and distanced themselves.

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