Browsing Posts published in January, 2010

Greg gave me a break from Donkey Dodge so that I could sit down and write. In between squeals of laughter and a baby filling her diaper, I really wasn’t able to get much accomplished. Doesn’t he hear the gurgling noises coming from her bouncy chair? She’s closer to him than she is to me and I hear them. How long is he going to let this poor child sit in a soiled diaper? I’m remembering last night’s dinner when I was nursing the baby and the oven beeped. It beeped and beeped and beeped. It beeped nineteen times to be exact. I’m not sure if the timer beeps once a minute or once every thirty seconds when something has completed cooking but I was amazed and astounded that the chicken didn’t catch on fire before he knew to turn the oven off. Correction, he asked me what he should do first before he turned the oven off. I suggested after an appropriate waiting period that Greg consider changing the baby’s diaper and he obliged. For some reason when he changes a diaper it becomes a one act, five person play involving the entire family. The oldest girls feel sorry for him while he stares perplexed at the situation, not quite knowing where he should start. They rally behind him with diapers, wipes, creams, tissues, lotions, potions and it turns into a team sport. Everyone has a job and he is the captain. Until of course, he notices a spot of brown on the front of the baby’s shirt and realizes he has to change his game plan. The entire ensemble has to be removed, an event he is convinced only happens on his watch when in reality, it happens just about every other diaper change and I quickly and efficiently handle at least eleven of those daily.

He manages to slide the onesie over the baby’s head nearly popping her neck and head off with it. Re-dressing? He won’t even attempt it. “What is this, a kimono?” I hear him from the hopefully sold dining room table. I can tell he’s refusing to breathe through his nose because the idea of the diaper beside him sickens him. He says it was a HUGE diarrea. I look over and see the whisper of a brown spot lining the diaper, probably left over from the last one I changed.

We are having too much fun playing Donkey Dodge today, a game my children invented last night involving the donkey from the Shrek movies, to worry about writing a book. The rules of the game are simple. I stand against one of the walls in the basement with one of my daughters while the other chucks the donkey at us and we try to dodge him. If you are hit, which is inevitable as the donkey is the size of an adult’s leg and the wall space we use spans about six feet across, then you become the thrower. When you throw two bodies against the wall and hurl a flying donkey into the mix, someone is undoubtedly getting caught. I prefer these games involving a little bit of creativity, some activity and of course a flying donkey, over the pretend games that Ellie usually rooks me into playing. These typically involve me pretending to be a cat or princess Lagostina while she is the bigger, stronger cat or Queen Paderno or the wicked stepmother. I beg for it to be naptime and she allows it but that requires the cat to lie on the ground with a makeshift pillow made from a rolled up parachute and is over before the cat’s head hits the nylon. The games of make-believe sometimes morph into a game of Frisbee in the backyard or hunting for gemstones in the garden, making “stew” out of leaves, sand and I’m sure cat litter found around the yard, a much better use of my time than being controlled and manipulated by that bitter old queen.

Tomorrow we head to the library for Ellie’s group “Storytime” for the morning. I will undoubtedly find myself sipping my Tim Horton’s tea that I will smuggle in the front door and sit behind a partition so as not to arouse any suspicion with the librarian about whether I have brought any food or drink into the building completely disregarding their handmade note posted on the outer door. There I will sit, surrounded by books. Two of those even happen to have been written by someone I knew when I waitressed as a teenager in Stratford and he waited tables at a sister restaurant. Books written by people I know. Real people, not just a sea of strangers lined up row after row, mocking me before I have even had time to realize that there are two sugars in my tea and not two milks the way I had ordered it. The kids make a conga line and march up and down the three aisles with tiny instruments they have fashioned out of craft supplies, crepe paper and bells. A parade through a library, celebrating books, while I hide in a corner, choking back a syrupy cup of tea, wondering if my name will one day grace those shelves.

I did complete a little writing today. It was in the form of a thank you note to my in-laws from my three year old. They sent a card for her in the mail and when you open it, I think it’s meant to sing but it sounds more like muffled shouting. The animals from the movie Madagascar adorn the cover, wearing Santa suits. Whenever Ellie wants to send emails, make phone calls, write notes to people, I encourage it no matter how lengthy a process a simple two line, multi-sentence piece of correspondence can take. She hoists herself onto the dining room chair using a couch cushion to prop her up high enough to be able to rest her chin on the hopefully soon to be sold table and nose her way around the keyboard. Forty-five minutes later, here is what we came up with. “dear grandma and  grandpa thank you for the card you gave ellie. grandma and grandpa i love the card you gave me. thank you very much for the card. well i really like the singing you gave me inside the card.grandma and grandpa you always do nice stuff for me and hanna and you always give us treats in the kidmobile grandpa and you give us rides on the kidmobile grandpa and its really fun. that’s very nice of you to give us that. i love that and hanna does too. thank you very much. love ellie

The phone rings and I guess I will get some writing done today. Perhaps not a book but definitely a complaint letter.

I recently ordered two calendars from the photo-lab at Shoppers Drug Mart, Christmas gifts for my parents and Grandmother. Every year, I collect photos of the Grandchildren and put them together in the form of a calendar for each of them and had been anxiously awaiting a call saying they were ready to be picked up. As any new mother knows, it’s difficult to pack up three children, especially when one of them is just a few short weeks old but off we went to the store to collect our gifts and planned a time to deliver them to their recipients. Before I handed the young sales clerk my debit card, I began to open the box containing the calendars to double check that the pictures turned out and that there weren’t any duplicates. I guess duplicates would have been better than a cropping job that chopped off the head of my youngest in two pictures on both calendars and the body of my nephew Willliam in another. Hmmmm. I explained the situation to the sales girl who told me she really has no idea how this works. How this works? Here’s how this works. First, as the person working in the photo-lab you apologize to the customer for the inconvenience. Second, you assure said customer that the calendars will be re-printed. Third, you discount the product to acknowledge that the problem was in no way the customer’s fault and to make that customer feel as though their time and energy have not gone unappreciated. A solution I would have been content with. Instead, I was told that she would leave the calendars on the desk for the manager and ask the manager to give me a call the following day. I called the manager instead and asked if she was able to review the problem and find a solution. The manager told me she would contact the company that printed the calendars the following day and get back to me. The chain of people is getting longer as is the length of time this is taking and my hopes of having this problem fixed are becoming slimmer.

I did receive a call back from the store manager today in between frames at the wii alley. With the baby chewing my nipple, she told me the following. “They” are unable to re-print the calendars. The pictures were too big to print in the first place. “They” would like me to pay half price for what they have printed. Why, because they printed half of my children? I explained that wasn’t going to happen and proceeded to think about my complaint letter. Unfortunately, I would have to send something via email as sending snail-mail, while certainly more effective, would require me to pack up my three kids once again and drive to their store to purchase a stamp. I am sensing the irony.  

To make things just a little bit worse, I am pretty sure I sent Hanna to school with a cream cheese bagel in her lunch, minus the cream cheese.

Well the weather outside is frightful. The perfect conditions for skiing but even better conditions for some indoor skiing action on our wii video game. A great way to spend the morning with Ellie. At three, she is responsible for inserting the disc and any set up required to get the game started as I have no idea how to work the machine. The snow swirls past our windows making visibility outside a joke but it gently drifts on the slopes inside while our animated miis glide down camel hump. Actually, I hit more safety fences and ski chalets than mountains but there’s no danger of injury when I’m sitting on the edge of my family room ottoman other than if Ellie clocks me with her flailing right hand when she loses grip of her joy-stick.

I was nursing the baby while we tried wii bowling. A little tamer than skiing but I still found myself trying to juggle the baby’s head on my right elbow while doing my best to cream a three year old at her favourite game. No luck, she beats me every time. It’s not really a fair fight, she has her “wii hair” so that she matches her avatar almost exactly.

When Hanna was two, we sat in the Doctor’s waiting room, pouring through dirty, children’s books that were missing several pages, torn and of course, covered in slimy, wet, little kid germs. We started singing little songs we had learned at one of our playgroups. “The cows give us milk, the cows give us milk. The chickens give us eggs, the chickens give us eggs. The ducks give us tape” I paused.

“The ducks give us tape.”

I sat confused.

“Hanna, did you say the ducks give us tape?” and as the words escaped my mouth I remembered Greg was planning to “duct tape” a metal hook that had broken in half earlier and had explained to Hanna how he was going to fix it with duct tape.

Time for a tea break.

Why wouldn’t I have time to write a book? This morning I had loads of free time to quietly, peacefully and in a completely focused state sit down to gather my thoughts and jot down a few ideas. That is, in between, sending one child off to school, taking a second to her first session of swimming lessons with baby in tow, rushing to my Doctor’s appointment for my six week post-pardom check-up with half of my family filling the waiting room, stopping at the poultry market for some lunch and home again, home again jiggety-jig.

The Doctor’s office with Ellie is usually good for a laugh or at least an embarrassing episode and today was no exception. She played well with one of the fifty year old wooden toys where you slide the multi-coloured shapes up and down various twisted wires, all the while collecting every germ and micro-organism that every sick child that has played with it before her has drooled onto it.

She avoids engaging in conversation with the other patients as she knows my feelings on talking to strangers. She has no fear however of talking about them as if they are not one foot away, sharing the same ten by ten foot room. She questions why one man wears a mask. She asks if the man sitting next to me almost sharing my seat is a boy or a girl. I tell her he’s a boy and she follows with, “then why is he wearing an earring?” A fair question Elllie. She asks what language one woman is speaking to her daughter. That would be English Ellie, English with a thick Eastern European accent. And my favourite, when she passed the man with the cane resting against the wall between his seat, she whispered but in a voice that was as loud as any adult’s outdoor voice, “Is he a Wizard Mommy?” No Ellie, the Wizard we search for in the Where’s Waldo books does carry a cane but not all people with canes are Wizards.

Into the bathroom for my urine sample. I’m second guessing my choice to bring two tag-alongs with me. Ellie gives a full play-by-play for the receptionists to listen to through the door that doesn’t lock. “Looks like apple juice Mom.” Yes it does Ellie. “Bet it doesn’t taste like it though.” No, I’m fairly certain it doesn’t. “OH GROSS! IT’S ALL OVER YOUR HAND. OH GROSS!!!!!” Oh God.

In the examination room, she has questions about why I’m undressing, what on earth I’m putting on and why the “robe” is all wet. That would be breast milk dripping all over it. I gave her a magazine to keep her occupied while the Doctor did her exam. At about the most uncomfortable moment of the internal exam, Ellie almost shouts, “OH! MY! GOODNESS GRACIOUS! MOMMY! Can you believe this? A kid with a purse?” Oh my goodness gracious Ellie. No I can’t. Again, “OH! MY! GOODNESS! GRACIOUS! MOMMY! Christmas treats!” She shook her head in disbelief and continued flipping through the pages of Chatelaine while I was poked, prodded and swabbed.

That same trip, I showed a little more skin while enjoying a massage at Hotel Paris across from the Monte Carlo casino where the James Bond movie Casino Royale was filmed. This was Greg’s first time getting a massage and he was a little nervous about the idea of stripping for a stranger and trying to get the utmost satisfaction from being rubbed in all of the right places without being brought to orgasm. At home,  it seemed a gentle breeze or a high five could evoke some explicit physiological reactions so he was going to have to bite his lower lip or figure out another way to remain un-aroused for sixty minutes while still reaping the benefits of a relaxing back rub.

I had no idea that I was going to be the one with the problem. My young, French masseuse opened the door to my spa room and it was hard not to notice. First, the light bamboo inspired furnishings, a couple of green plants, white linens, a pair of slippers and of course, a paper thong reminiscent of the undergarment they dole out in your birthing room at the hospital after you have a baby just to make an unpleasant experience that much worse.  Unlike the rooms I had enjoyed a massage in at home, low lighting, soft music, perhaps the sound of a waterfall, this room was designed to be bright, cheery with lots of natural light drawn from the over-sized, ground-level, curtainless, blindless bay window overlooking the nude sunbathers that laid approximately four feet from my cot and who all had a pool side pass to the prudish Canadian woman who suddenly felt three sizes too big and as hairy as Grover with imperfections that I couldn’t begin to list. I sat on the side of the cot without disrobing and when my masseuse returned expecting me to be laying with nothing but a paper thong and the furry patches that seemed to so ridiculously cover my body compared to the smooth-as-silk French beauties, I asked her if the bathers could see in through the window or if there was some sort of coating on the glass that created the illusion in my mind that they could in fact, see every wrinkled, blotchy ounce of me. She smiled and replied in her very thick, French accent, “If they wave, you just say ‘Hello!’ and encouraged me to get ready as our time was about to start.

Two labour and deliveries, sports teams where I had to change in front of other people had not prepared me for this. I was the person at the local pool who would find the one cubby that had a curtain before I would put on my bathing suit. At the gym, I would wear my yoga clothes in the car on the way there and shower and change when I returned home in private. I can’t have a bowel movement anywhere other than the comfort of my own bathroom so this might just be the death of me.

A few deep breaths and I took a closer look at my audience. Again, they looked fantastic and strangely comfortable with their nudity. They were relaxed, tanned, oozing with unimaginable wealth. I can do this. But how?

I did what any normal, rational-thinking mother of two, vacationing in a place she had no business being with her Old Navy jeans and Birkenstocks would do. I calmly squatted beside the far side of the cot so that my waist and beyond was covered by the trim from the base of the window. I started to unbutton my Winners shirt and kept my beige bra on, breathing deeply and poking my head up over the cot to see if anyone had noticed I was crouching. Unbuttoned my jeans and as I lowered them to my knees, I found myself sitting in an L-shape on the pale, maple floors wondering if my bare ass was now susceptible to some or many communicable diseases like athlete’s foot or warts…fungus. I slid on the thong. Why? It was made of tracing paper and an elastic band and I still don’t know if I had it on backwards. I began my ascent onto the guerney. Like a ninja, I formed my body into a table, bending to match the height of the bed and I shoulder rolled onto the blanket. In record speed, I grabbed at blankets, sheets, mattress covers and buried myself up to my nostrils just in time for Giselle to work her magic.

And I was doing so well. This latest interruption involved my three year old entering the family room where I was typing away while on the L-shaped bench in the corner. She was holding her pyjama pants in her right hand and told me that she wanted to whisper something in my ear. My husband and six year old were watching a borrowed copy of a Hannah Montanna episode in the same room but I’m always the “go-to” person when it comes to well, anything and everything. As she approached me with her sweet little smile, pants dragging on the floor, she said she had tried to turn on the light in the bathroom and had called to me but I dismissed her calls while “working” on my computer. Consequently, by the time she retrieved her stool from her bedroom, likely stopped to see if her clip-on, plastic earrings were still in the Winnie The Pooh box dedicated to her bookmark and jewellery collections, she ran to the bathroom but didn’t make it in time. I thought maybe she was going to tell me her pants were wet from “drips of pee” which had happened once or twice before but instead she opened to the crotch of her pants and explained that a small amount of poop had landed there before she could make it to the toilet and that I should both take care of the mess and find her a clean, dry, fresh smelling pair of p.j. bottoms to wear–pronto. Why haven’t I had time to write a book again?

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