Browsing Posts published in August, 2010

I took the three girls to Chapters today with Hanna’s birthday gift card. We were on a mission to find a couple of books of Hanna’s choosing that she would own, take care of and read until the covers were so well-loved they’d barely be held together by their binding.

Unfortunately, Chapters offers more than just books and it was nearly impossible to drag the kids away from the toys, the bookmarks, puppet theatres, train sets and piggy banks to change their focus back to book buying.

We had a second problem. Ellie did not have a gift card but felt totally left out of the shopping experience that her sister was absolutely loving. I made the mistake of telling Ellie, she too could choose something and in being distracted for a split second by the baby, neglected to tell her to select a very small item.

The first thing Ellie chose was an Inuit inspired key cover. I couldn’t figure out why she would ever need or want a key cover given she doesn’t own a set of keys, we have keyless entry into our home and our Inuit relatives haven’t talked to us since…I don’t know when. It was only $3 so I thought I best agree to the key cover. She tried to trade up to a pink headband which I allowed, all the while trying to steer her towards looking at the books. A crazy thought—books in a bookstore. Continue reading “Chapters….” »

I’ll find time to write another day. Today was all about hosting a seventh birthday party.

Kid’s parties really haven’t changed much in the last thirty years. Gifts now come in bags rather than in boxes wrapped in paper with ribbons. Entire closets are dedicated to saving this collection of gently used bags and I suspect have prompted at least one gift-bag-home-reno-weekend. While re-bagging isn’t quite as offensive as re-gifting, it’s getting to be a close second.

The birthday cake has been replaced with chocolate pudding and gummy worms (at least in our house as Hanna has decided she doesn’t like cake or ice-cream).

As hosts, we still serve platters of fruit, veggies and healthy alternatives to the chip table, all of which are thrown out in their entirety while the chip bowls are being licked clean of crumbs.

We can organize games, relays, water balloon tosses, but the kids will still find their own fun exploring a backyard fort or visiting the chip tray four hundred times.

Children emerge from the bushes covered in bug bites but today we have Afterbite cream to instantly remove the sting.

A small paper-cut is wrapped in a Little Mermaid Bandaid and the child is returned to the chip table to enjoy the rest of the licking party.

The hired magician entertains the children while scaring the parents at the same time.

The boys who have been invited to a girl’s birthday party refuse to drink out of a polly pocket paper cup, eat off of a Barbie paper plate or use a Littlest Pet Shop napkin.

The girls refuse to drink white lemonade and insist on pink. They will not drink out of a green cup as the green cups were clearly brought out for the first boy who refused the polly pocket cup and therefore, green cups equal boys.

Loot bags are wizard satchels filled with magic tricks in keeping with the two party themes; magic and chips. This choice to send the kids home with something that would last longer than the car ride home only provokes this question to be asked while chip crumbs angrily fly, “Where are the real loot bags with the candy?”

It hadn’t really occurred to me that I wasn’t in any of our family photos until a friend who is involved in all things social media, asked that I send her a picture of myself and after spending several minutes scouring files labelled “family trip to the beach,” “summer 2008,” “birthday, 2009” I quickly realized, I am the family photographer and never the subject.

I was able to find a pic of myself, at least half of my face, or, the shadow of half of my face, hiding behind Ellie’s third birthday cake and I wondered how I set up the tri-pod to capture that moment as I am the sole picture taker in our family (aside from Ellie and all of her pics are of the Tim Horton’s drive-thru staff. It would be tough to convince them that is my hair-net or pocketless uniform pants).

Growing up as a middle child, I was also left out of any individual photo ops and not unlike Ellie’s third birthday, ironically, the first picture of me from birth to age three that is independent of several boys waving Superman capes and dangling crayfish or frogs in the background was on my third birthday. My parents will argue there are pics of me in my crib as an infant but I recognize those big-boy Wrestle-mania pyjamas anywhere.

On the plus side, there will be no scrapbook, documenting my attempt at curly hair, my massive weight-gains with each pregnancy or my genuine interest in denim overalls. Perhaps being the photographer isn’t the worst thing in the world.

The only downside is when your children ask if you actually joined them for any of the fun day-trips they’ve been re-living through pictorial travel-logs, you have no proof, it’s as though you were never there. Thank God for digital photography. I’ve been able to super-impose myself into just about anyone’s family holidays.

Finally that pic “baby girl age three” has come in handy.

 

I’m finding myself on the edge of my bed these days, wondering what limb I’m going to find wedged in between the crib bars when Chloe makes it known she has awakened from her slumber.

I can’t figure out why a bumperless bed is safer for my baby.

Before she falls asleep, she thrashes around the mattress, hitting her head, her face, new teeth up against the bars at least three times before waiting for the bell to ring, ending the round, rolling over and calling it a night. If she’s lucky, she wakes up with just the stripes from the bars indented on her face and no further wounds. I often wonder if she’s going to knock herself out completely but I guess the experts would rather a goose-egg or slight concussion than a fuzzy yellow duck encasing her like a nest made with love. Continue reading “Bumper to bumper……..” »

Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!

You have stopped nursing baby.

You’ve deflated with speed.

You have fallen, sunk deeper with mind numbing ease.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And sadly, it’s you who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down belly, rib cage and hair. About some you’ll say, “I don’t choose to go there.”

With your lump in your bra, you’ll head down towards feet. An unpleasant position, wrapped in defeat.

It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Down there things can happen and frequently do, to nipples as eager and flatbound as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start flattening too.

That training bra demotion was quite the coo for a motivated, belt tucker-inner like you.

With a lift and two inserts, you’ll be on your way up!

Less worry about the former size of your cup.

You’ll come down from the top when night-time has come

Unclasping yourself is not easily done.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear toward a most useless place. The belly.

….for skin just sagging.

Sagging from the stretchy skin or the flab that has been or the rib cage expansion or the wish for a mansion. Sagging from the extra food, the childbirth, the aging, the pillow-top cover that’s become the main staging. Sagging from cuddling up under a blanket and now you’d be better mummy-wrapped in a slanket.

With lace pattern flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Yeah right! For the most part, they’ll rest on your thigh.

No drummers, click-clackers or men with violas. The lack of a send-off for our areolas. Like two cobs of corn, it won’t help to yell louder. They’re still going to end up as dip in your chowder.

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. Like the game where your chest becomes a black hole, and you’re beaten ten times by an expert Whack-a-Mole. You have no appetite, you’re sick with no palate, your breasts now resembling the whack-a-mole mallet.

Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your nipples may leak.

On and on you will sink and I know you’ll sink far, face first into belt loops, wherever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange spanx as you go. So be sure when you fall, fall with care and great tact and remember that bra’s a Great Illusionist’s Act.

Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right cup with your left.

You can flop down with ease when you are trampolining, all thanks to your kids and the time they took weaning.

You’re in the wrong bra, you were once double D, 98 and 3/4 per cent guaranteed…..

Kids! You’re not mountains!

So…..be their names Fun Bags, the Melons or Twinkies, what we have now ladies are two second stair slinkies ….no need for Vogue, Maiden Form, tuck away.

They’re mountains no longer oh….why won’t they stay?

 

After the first bum drop I should have known. I wasn’t ten years old anymore and my wrists couldn’t take the pressure despite landing on a stretchy pad with tons of give.  Something about jumping on that trampoline transported me back to a time when hours flew by as I flopped and flew in the air, a time before canned tuna was the enemy and Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time rocked my world.

I attempted two front flips, suffered a minor case of whiplash and welcome back shin-splints, it’s been a while. I questioned how I could have jumped for more than three seconds without filling my pants as a child let alone an entire Saturday.  Maybe it was birthing three children but the joy of bouncing had definitely passed. I actually considered the possibility that the bouncing might actually cause another one to fall out.

Things had shifted, mostly lowered. I became very aware of my bra and that I too fall into the 99% of women wearing the wrong size category. An unfortunate time for discovery.

On the car ride home, I asked the girls what their favourite part of the day was but not before Hanna asked me how a hen could have a baby everyday if she wasn’t married.

Hanna: Playing with my cousins.

Ellie (age four): The best part was watching Chloe Mom. She really had the time of her life. She’s such a wonderful human bean.

I took the girls to what I consider one of the better toy stores around. The staff are extremely a) knowledgeable about their products and b) helpful. They perform magic tricks for the kids, they explain and demonstrate how the toys work and are known for their unique gift wrapping.

It is not uncommon to walk into Family & Co. and simply state (Soup Nazi style) the sex of the child and age, before being handed an armful of age appropriate toys the recipient will love.

Today, I asked, “girl, age seven?” and the service rep asked me a couple of simple questions, including, “Do you know this girl?” Indeed I do. She is my daughter and she’s standing next to me.

It felt odd to be asking a perfect stranger what I should be buying for Hanna for her birthday but I love getting another person’s perspective, some insight into what toys/crafts kids her age are interested in to see if I am completely off the mark.

My personal shopper didn’t disappoint and the girls were oblivious to my spree as they were mesmerized by the toy train and the juggling act going on all around them.

I had explained this was a “looking” only trip and that there would be no tolerance for begging, trying to break a toy leaving it somewhat usable but forcing me to pay for it or clinging to the doorframe to remain in the store a little longer. We agreed to these terms and they negotiated permission to identify a toy they would love to one day own and whisper a secret wish to Santa.

They did ask in their most pathetic “Mommy if you love us at all” voices, will you buy us each a $.49 rubber ball? Done.

On our return home, the girls planned rubber ball games, named them “Ogo” and “Coco” and discussed all of the fun the four of them would have together.

We ventured outside with Ogo and Coco the second the van doors were reefed open by two very enthusiastic bouncers. Sadly after Coco’s second hurling, he had vanished.

Re-enacting the toss was a bit like asking an alzheimer’s patient what they ate for breakfast nine months, two days ago.

I scoured the one acre property for a camouflaged ball the size of a dime and came up empty.

Recognizing the price tag of $.49 was appropriate for a toy whose usefulness would only last fifteen seconds, granted the idea of adding a GPS tracking device would increase that half dollar investment significantly, but ask yourself, how much is your time worth? If two hours in, you’re kneeling under peony bushes wondering if you are going to grab a hold of the head of a snake or rise victorious with our dear friend Coco, wouldn’t you rather pay a little more to be sure that ball is exactly where it should be?

Ellie hovered over my shoulder trying to help and asked me questions to keep my brain sharp.

Ellie: Mama, why is it called “Girl Cheese?” Can’t boys eat it?

“It’s called Grill cheese Ellie!” Hanna shouts furiously at her sister. Transference. She’s angry at Coco’s carefree ways, but taking it out on Ellie.

Hanna: It should be called, “shred cheese,” she stormed off in a huff.

Ellie: Mommy look! Ogo is magnetical!

When you think of the worst job in the world, bathroom attendant has to rank at least in the top (or bottom) ten.

On our recent mini-vacation, I hesitantly approached the restrooms at the airport and as I anticipated,  standing next to her mint and tampon cart was a bathroom attendant.

I guess my biggest pet peeve while visiting a public restroom is someone trying to have a conversation with me, while I’m trying to pee.

It’s hard enough on my quads and thighs to hover just over the bowl and that exercise requires my full focus and concentration.

Also, I have had to add, cranking my head up, arms held high, while squatting to be sure my purse isn’t being stolen from the hook on the inside of the stall. Thanks Dateline. In yoga, this position is called, “chair pose.”

One always feels obliged to carry on in idle conversation with the attendant while you worry if you have any money to add to her tip jar.

My life isn’t all that different from being a bathroom attendant. I too find myself in the stall with one and sometimes two others and am expected to wipe their bums. It is not enjoyable. I also stand over a cart with creams, powders and diapers and occasionally get kicked by my client, but you’ll notice the absence of a tip jar.

I hadn’t planned to use this picture for anything other than next year’s certificate to the winner of “Chewy Chicken” a game that encompasses everything great about an impromptu backyard gathering with friends.

Then, this afternoon, two of my daughters were playing a game of ball down our hallway, watching it bounce uncontrollably and hit two framed pictures.

Hanna yelled, “Holy Cock!”

I asked her to repeat herself and she did, as matter-of-factly as the first time.

She looked at me and said, “What? I made it up.”

She knew she would be in trouble if she had said, “Holy Crap” but “Holy Cock” was an innocent, albeit worse, frustrated shout-out than the former.

When our friend leapt in the air, his first attempt to blindly catch a dog’s chewy chicken toy, winning him a thousand dollar bet and the envy of every man drinking beer by the pool that day, I can’t imagine a scream more befitting than “Holy Cock!”

I recently purchased a shower curtain liner after noticing a huge star on the packaging with the following; “Odourless shower curtain.” Into the cart it went. I assume that error of omission by the competition implied their curtain liners must stink. All things being equal, if the curtain liners are made from the same fabric, if one manufacturer states “odourless” and yours does not, as a consumer, I have to assume it smells.

It occurred to me this same logic could be applied to just about every product on the market. Companies could specify things like, “not made with cow dung” or “no baby penguins were injured during the manufacturing of this product” and sales would spike.

I can’t say that I’ve ever noticed an odour emanating from any of our shower curtains or liners other than perhaps from the plastic wrap but I certainly didn’t want to risk the manure smell that might have been smeared on the others.

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