Browsing Posts published in March, 2010

 This past weekend, we had some friends come to visit the baby that we haven’t seen for far too long. My daughters were excited that an older girl (8 years old) was coming over to play with them. Ellie chased her around the house trying to hold her hand and came to me asking if “girl kid” would come down to the basement to play with her and if I could help her find “boy kid” in their game of hide and seek. I laughed at her easy way of addressing her new friends and how well it translated to everyone in the room. Who needs a name when you could be called girl or boy and your title based on age. Brilliant. Afterwards, I told Ellie that I am always so glad when people say that she looks just like me. She explained that we really didn’t look much alike at all. “Our boobs are different and so are our clothes.” True, she has been wearing a lot of graphic tees lately.

I had a laugh this summer when I was in the backyard with the kids and I heard our rear neighbour screaming at her son to get in the house, “Owen Funkenhauzer!” she yelled. I burst out laughing. I decided in that moment that under no circumstances would I allow my daughters to marry Owen Funkenhauzer (who happens to be a nice, young boy) because the potential of hyphenating Schlotzhauer-Funkenhauzer is too much for a parent to bear.

Perhaps my favourite mispronunciation to-date was three days after our new baby was born. I was waiting in the hospital lobby for a nurse to call our name to go for some blood work. Maybe it was my hormones running rampant, maybe it was the sheer exhaustion but after waiting a full hour to be called, I was fit to be tied. When a nurse appeared and called, “Hornsour” I didn’t flinch.

Hornsour? I heard a second time and glanced around at an almost empty waiting room. The nurse, now frustrated, looking at her clipboard called out, “Chloe Hornsour?” I looked at her and with a soft voice said, “Did you mean, Schlotzhauer?” “Oh, is that how you pronounce it?” I wondered if she had just glanced at her list, saw some random letters and decided to throw them together in an alphabet stew and see what came out of her mouth. We have since nick-named our children Hornsour, named a cat and a snowman Hornsour and plan to change our answering machine to, “Thank you for calling the Hornsour residence.” All thanks to my meeting at the hospital Nov. 23, 2009.

I made a conscious effort when we had our children to teach them how to spell the name, but how? I didn’t want my kids sobbing in kindergarten because Jill Hill could spell her name forwards and backwards while the Schlotzhauer in the class wished the day away. I made up a song to sing the letters, S-C-H pause L-O-T pause Z-H-A-U-E-R. I figured if they could learn to sing the twenty-six letters in the alphabet, surely they could sing their last name and at two years old, they were singing the Schlotzhauer song at every family function, to people in the grocery store and anyone who would listen.

I was sitting in the waiting room at my family Doctor’s office this morning for Chloe’s two month check-up. I heard someone snicker when I announced to the receptionist that I had arrived with Chloe Schlotzhauer for her appointment. It is a reaction I often get whenever I say Schlotzhauer aloud. I remember a moment last year when we were at a hotel for Easter weekend. Hanna had skipped ahead down a very long hallway and I worried that I might lose track of her. I yelled, “Hanna Schlotzhauer!” and two women who were walking towards me looked at each other as if to ask, “did she just swear?”

I didn’t change my name from Hastings to Schlotzhauer when Greg and I got married. When we were dating, I used to clip all of the mis-spelled mail he would receive and post it on our fridge. We had a huge variety of spellings, most commonly, Greg Schlotzhauzer or Greg Schlotzenhauzer. People seem to want to add extra letters to an already impossibly long name. Some of my favourites were letters addressed to Greg Hazer, Greg Hlotzhauer, Greg Sholtzhauer. I actually turned my cut and pasting project into a bet with Greg that if we went an entire week with all of his mail addressed correctly that I would change my name when we got married, knowing full well it was a bet I couldn’t lose and that Elizabeth Schlotzhauer would likely never fit on any legal documents so it likely wasn’t going to happen.

My in-laws are retired high school teachers and both admit that the students over the years had difficulty spelling their name. My father-in-law used to offer a bonus point on a test for spelling his name right. His favourite misspelling was when a failing student who knew she had no chance of passing his course spelled his name Mr. Schlotzenfuckenhauer. My mother-in-law had a similar incident with a student and found atop one of her test papers; Mrs. Slutwhore. Ah if only they could have used their creativity for good instead of evil they might have actually passed their semester.

 

I continue to attempt to write. Today for example, I wrote an email to my mother. It was actually in response to an earlier email she had written to me asking if I was feeling tired these days. Moments after the breakfast incident, it seemed appropriate to let her know that yes, I was in fact tired and that I was actually admitting it in writing. While I don’t feel unable to function as so many women do with a baby just a few weeks old, I guess I am just going through the motions of life as opposed to actually living. I feel happy which I think negates some of the exhaustion. I’m happy that my baby appears to be healthy. I feel excited when the baby smiles at me, holds my hand and looks to me for all of her answers. I feel proud of my daughter in grade one for handling the role of big sister x2 so well and I feel delighted that my relationship with Ellie has remained strong despite losing so much of our one-on-one time together. All of that aside, am I tired? You bet. So tired in fact that this morning I poured oatmeal into two bowls for Greg and I (the girls don’t appreciate fibre the same way we do), added slivered almonds and sprinkled cinnamon on top. This is the same breakfast I have been making for at least three years and perhaps longer. I unplugged the kettle and began to pour the boiling water over the first bowl of oats. I stared at the bowl quizzically, wondering why it had the appearance of something other than oatmeal. It turns out, it was something other than oatmeal. It was flour. I had carefully measured two bowls of flour, added almonds, cinnamon and almost poured boiling water onto it. My pantry cupboard houses all of my baking supplies. My oatmeal and flour bags stand on the top shelf side by side. They are both large, one is white and the other is bright yellow so I can’t pretend that I don’t know the difference between the two from the shells of their outer appearance. While I am confessing, I have also blamed the children for hiding the convertor, only to find that I had placed it (carefully of course) on top of some frozen blueberries in the freezer. I have skipped whole paragraphs out of books at bedtime because I fear I am going to start drooling on the girls covers in my state of half-sleep. I have driven Ellie to pre-school and not remembered a single detail about the drive there. I have driven to an event expecting to find some signage only to discover I had the wrong day, wrong week, wrong month! Yes Mother, I am tired. I will sleep when I have written a book.

Apparently to get yourself set up to be published, you begin by writing query letters to various agencies in the hopes that one of them will see something incredible in that 200 word ass-kissing and want to represent you. I’m not afraid of being rejected as from what I hear, all of the highly successful authors were all rejected at least once before getting their big break. At least, that is what they tell people when being interviewed from their mansions so that those of us with modest incomes will find them that much more endearing and want to spend more money on their next publication.

I finally got myself on the treadmill at 11:00am yesterday morning. A funny time to be exercising but I guess you squeeze it in whenever you can when your life pulls you in every direction imaginable. The apparatus itself was covered with red and black magnets from our playroom, the heart-rate monitor device had a leap frog toy clipped to it and each of the side rails had swinging monkeys with arms far too long even for their monkey bodies to be confused for real monkeys dangling from them. I stripped the machine down and headed for my thirty minute stroll, program four “weight loss” tour of the basement wall. I turned on the television to trick my body into thinking that I was lounging on the couch while walking and like one snap of Hanna’s fingers, I would be done. The movie Bridget Jones was on and I thought it befitting to my writing habits as of late. Jan. 24th—pages written—0, saturated nursing pads—2 pair, variations of “orange you glad I didn’t say banana” knock knock jokes—infinity, cash for life tickets—2, cash for life tickets my husband knows about—0, units of Metamucil—2 tsps, bowel movements—0 (that would be selfish to take five minutes for myself), number of times I held the baby while peeing—2, number of times I held the baby while peeing while at least one other child shoved their fingers under the bathroom door, wriggled them around and asked, “Mommy, can you see me?—also 2.

I awoke this morning to a new and exciting sound. It was the sound of my six year old mastering how to snap her fingers together and had clearly spent the better part of her sleeping hours perfecting it before creeping down the hall, into our room and snapping those fingers together at least a dozen times right in my face before I could focus a partially opened, encrusted eye. She was snapping with such enthusiasm that she actually snapped my eye-lid right open and nearly removed all eyelashes on my left eye. The need to snap has caused her some anxiety as of late. If all of the kids in her class are snapping, why can’t she? It’s been a difficult thing to teach her. No amount of discussing can teach a person how to snap. Perhaps she doesn’t yet have the physical strength to snap. Perhaps her hand-eye coordination just isn’t where it needs to be. Perhaps her timing is two milliseconds off. I explained to her that when I was a kid, there was a girl in my class who could belch on command. She tried to teach me to swallow air. Don’t we swallow air all the time? She told me to chug pop. But I wasn’t allowed to drink pop! I admired her abilities and wanted to be like her. I knew one day I would be able to achieve greatness in belching, maybe even be able to belt out the alphabet like I had seen on television. Dare to dream. I told Hanna I was so proud of her for trying something, practicing and never giving up until she finally figured it out. I told her this of course with one hand over my incredibly sore left eye that I was likely going to spend half the day fashioning together some sort of patch for after icing. People will ask what happened to my eye and I’ll have to explain, snapping accident. It will definitely be worth it to see the smile on her face and to hear the sound of her bones rubbing together for the next eight hours straight. Ellie just wanted me to “splash” her blanket on her. A term the girls have used to describe someone, well, splashing a blanket on them.

 

Writing will have to wait, today I am an explorer. We sent Hanna off to school and with our warmest woollies and Chloe strapped onto my chest in a baby bjorn, we made our way into the backyard for an adventure. Ellie started with a few snow angels, we played snow soccer where I was the goalie until Ellie’s lack of endurance caught up with her and she realized it took less energy to stand in between two cedars while leaning on a fence so we swapped positions. She swung on her swings and begged for under-doggies that when attempted, I nearly knocked Chloe right out of the contraption that took fifteen minutes to get her into and yet seemed she was going to become untangled and catapulted into a snow bank in a matter of seconds. The adventure started when Ellie pointed out the deer tracks running the length of the yard which were actually rabbit tracks. We decided to follow the trail to the rear of the yard, into the prickly, snow covered bushes, across the back, up the side until it happened. We disturbed the bunny in its’ home and it bounced away across the neighbour’s yard. “Mommy, we are the best explorers in the world!” I had to agree. Too bad I couldn’t chase after the bunny like Ellie wanted but the jeans I was wearing, borrowed from my girlfriend who wore them after she had her baby were fitting a little more snugly than I might have liked. I was glad to be able to do them up but they felt more like a second skin and I’m fairly certain that if I had eaten lunch, the denim would have just melted completely into my thighs.

I think today I will write something down. It is my height as measured by Ellie. Today, I am thirty-fifteen. She doesn’t specify if that’s thirty-fifteen cm’s, inches, metres, or Grand Pooba’s, just thirty-fifteen. She measured me with a metal tape after making me stand while nursing the baby and poking me in the eye with the sharp edge of the measuring tape. Shortly afterward, I decided to finally clean up some dishes which apparently interfered with some t.v. watching that was happening in the family room. “Turn off the water, we can’t hear the t.v.!” Hanna shouts at me. I retorted, “Turn off the t.v., I can’t hear the water running!” We agreed to disagree.

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