Browsing Posts published in September, 2010

I’ve been watching with great interest to see what colour car-seat baby’s hair is going to be.  There are days when it appears strawberry blonde, others when it seems light brown, in the direct sunlight, a brighter, brassy blonde.

It appears to be matted down at the front towards her forehead which makes guessing her natural colour a challenge. I knew the clump had to be dealt with and have been avoiding it for months. Dragging a comb over an oily scalp to remove skin flakes ranks among one of the grosser things a parent has to do but it’s a necessary evil.

At first, she enjoyed the scalp massage when she wasn’t trying to wrestle the bottle, the cap or the cloth from my hands. She wanted desperately to chew on the comb but moments from now, that would make her a cannibal so I simply couldn’t let her make contact.

Oiled up, let the scraping commence.

Again, she enjoyed the first couple of times I dragged the comb across her head, pulling tufts of hair from the sticky scalp and I felt some resistance so I eased off. This was disgusting. I worried she was going to peel back her bald cap exposing Rapunzel’s locks or a series of dreads.

Within three minutes she went from being nearly bald to having two waist length braids. I almost couldn’t believe the before and after pics.

Mind Games……

We received a memo on the first day of school and it seems the teacher is already trying to mess with us.

Our teacher is a known food dictator and perhaps for good reason. She insists on healthy snacks/lunches, has no tolerance for sweets and has a reputation for sending notes home asking parents to be mindful of the parallels between a nutritious diet and a child’s ability to learn.

The memo suggests visiting various websites, includes examples from the four food groups and discourages processed, sugar-based snacks. She refers to “party foods” and how they do not provide the nutrition a child needs to do his/her best. Agreed.

While I agree with everything listed in the memo and I actually think it’s a good reminder for parents to start the year off right, knowing from time to time, we might be inclined to throw in a treat or “party food” if it’s a matter of being ill-prepared or based on the child’s insistence.

I am not insulted by these suggestions. I do not take offense to being reminded that a child’s energy level, concentration and ability to learn are directly related to the foods they consume.

Here’s my issue…..

The paragraph immediately following the eat well or fail blurb includes the following, next to an asterisk;

“Don’t Throw These Out! Our class will be needing….

*LARGE CARDBOARD PRINGLES CYLINDRICAL POTATO CHIP CONTAINERS WITH LIDS

Try as I might, I could not find the Pringles aisle anywhere in the health food store.

We arrived at the school parking lot this morning to accept our sentencing. Posted on the front wall of the school was Hanna’s class assignment for the year and like all kids and parents, we jockeyed for position in front of the lists, first scouring to find our child’s name, followed by the teacher and next to identify any recognizable friends, then known trouble makers. For some reason, the class assignments never seem good enough, thoroughly planned or acceptable to any of the parents or kids upon arrival.

There are never quite enough “best friends” in your child’s class to seem fair.

If the “Time Out King” is on your list, you immediately assume your class is heavily weighted towards bad asses, tattoo artists and pot smokers.

If Brainy-Smurf is in your class does this mean your child is also bright and they’ve grouped like minds with like or is it the contrast the school is after? Does the presence of Smarty-Pants mean someone to the left or right might not be familiar with their left or right?

The Athlete. Will math and computer time suffer because the teacher’s focus shifts to what the children are most inclined to be interested and achieve in?

When I was a kid we had cars and t.v. Ellie, but my school had just one class for each grade so we knew years in advance who our grade five teacher was going to be failing a maternity leave or nervous breakdown.

I asked Ellie if she had seen enough schoolyard drama for one day.

Ellie: You are correctly right Mom.

Writing the book will have to wait. Today is the first day of school.

We’ve made it through JK, SK, grade one (aka anatomy of bitchy six year old girls) and today is another day of great beginnings…..starting with, the school lunch.

In keeping with the litterless, no nuts, no bananas, no sweetened juices, no foods causing hyper-activity, nothing too hard to open, nothing with food colouring, nothing time consuming to eat, nothing that can be eaten too quickly introducing awkward desk time, nothing that will still be frozen at noon or chill below room temperature if in a thermos, nothing that leaks, nothing with leeks, nothing that can’t be hidden easily if said food item is no longer cool, nothing that is so appealing it’s worth risking an attempt to trade, nothing that lacks the appeal of a trade to at least one other eater, nothing over-produced, over-ripe, overly smelly, overly sensitive to a brisk wind or a cruel joke, nothing without a thick-skin, nothing that can’t withstand the test of time, nothing with Dora the Explorer, nothing that exactly mirrors the lunch one bag over, nothing canker causing, nothing cancer causing, nothing too spicy, nothing alive…..

At this point, we have a note from Mommy and a copy of Canada’s Food Guide.

The girls were bickering over what to do on a rainy day and Hanna suggested they play a game of cards.

Ellie: Let’s play war because nobody fights in war and there are no winners or losers.

I had planned to clean out all cupboards, closets and drawers in the entire house this summer. Two months have passed and I finally came to terms with the fact I had not only dismissed weed pulling but also tackling any cupboards, closets or drawers. My cleaning lady must have felt sorry for me as she took it upon herself to re-jig and re-fold everything in my linen closet. One for 234, a terrible record.

My interest in the kid’s craft cupboard was twofold. 1) I wanted a place for after school activities that was organized with supplies that were easy to access. 2) I needed to find the source of the muffled, Chinese barking emanating from a child’s toy phone, buried somewhere beneath the rubble, screaming to be saved from the play-doh quake.

I anticipated the removal of all supplies, crafts in various stages of completion, activity books, stickers and stacks of construction paper, followed by a thorough wipe-down and re-shelving would take about thirty minutes. Once again, I was wrong. Two and a half hours later, I realized this was more like a two week, full-time project requiring several qualified staff.

As quickly as something made it into the recycling bin, one of the children had scooped it out, now dirtier than before and re-introduced it to the pile.

Greg, sensing my frustration decided to take the girls outside to play. By “the girls” he meant, the two oldest, leaving me in the house with the baby, the equivalent of the cartoon boxing kangaroo, on speed for a cleaning partner. Her hands move at impressive speeds when removing markers from a plastic container, sadly, she does not have a reverse button.

Play dates, end of summer, learning to ride a bike wipe-outs, it was inevitable.

The girls had a morning play date with some friends and I heard four words that made me throw up in my mouth just a little.

“I lost my scab.” Barf.

I don’t know what it is about the word “scab” that makes  it one of the uglier words in the English language but the idea of a clump of someone’s dried blood, lost, in my house, now that’s gross.

The poor kid who lost his scab was suffering both from the loss but also from the wound he was now re-living, twice scarred. Maybe it was the missing scab exposing an open wound and therefore fresh blood or the unnecessary repetition of the word scab, but I was beginning to feel woozy.

I feel this way when someone asks me to wipe their child’s nose or change their baby’s dirty diaper. When it’s not your brand, it’s just plain disgusting.

I can’t recite the words to Fiona Lewis’s Keep Bleeding nor can I jump into a conversation the girls are having involving death because they always come back to someone bleeding out and while they have no problem carrying on with their game of Connect Four, I have to excuse myself to take a few deep breaths into a paper bag.

Tonight on our family walk/bike ride, Ellie stopped to have a moment of silence for a dead frog at the side of the road. She asked me to move him off the road so another car wouldn’t hit him and there was no way I could say no to those intensely sympathetic blue eyes.

I found a leaf or, what I thought was a leaf but turned out to be the torn piece of a plastic bag, presumably, someone’s dog poop bag and I attempted to flick the frog off to the side of the road. Yuck. I looked to Ellie for strength and I pushed the frog with the feces bag.

His head fell off, body stuck to the hot pavement. This day just keeps getting better.

The girls have had a lot of questions lately surrounding the idea of one day being home owners and not always living with Greg and me.

It’s a tough concept for children ages seven and four to grasp. It’s also a sad one for all involved.

The girls almost get to the point where they are sobbing about who they will be stuck marrying, where their houses will be and why they can’t just live here forever. We have created some rules to keep things light and plan ahead for a great future.

  1. The girls will buy homes next door or directly across the street from us.
  2. Hanna and her husband will live with us until said piece of real estate becomes available.
  3. Greg and I will purchase a dog the day Ellie graduates from Veterinary College and she will take care of the puppy.
  4. Ellie will have barbecues at her house where she will serve Greg chicken wings and beer.
  5. Ellie will visit us every day, unless…..she has plans.
  6. Ellie will cancel her plans to care for the dog that has chewed up our furniture, scratched our floors and shed hair everywhere.
  7. Ellie will clean up after the dog eats a package of raw, ground beef.

I was listening to news radio en route to a theme park with the girls and I heard the beginning of a commercial that caught my interest.

It started to describe a product for women thirty-five and older. And just like that, I was old. I knew it was doubtful the rest of the commercial was going to suggest now that I’m thirty-five, I’m awesome and cool. Sure enough, it was promoting a multi-vitamin, offering to do something fabulous for us oldies and I was a little annoyed I was now lumped into a category of people ages thirty-five and older (including ninety-nine year olds) who could all benefit from the same daily dose of some miracle drug.

After paying our admittance fee at the park, I was asked if I wanted to purchase ride tickets now or from the various kiosks around the park. Argh. If you’re going to charge to enter a park, make the rides free. Free entry into the park equals charge me for rides. Please don’t charge for both, I begin to find ways to hate the experience before setting foot inside.

The park was in a battle with itself trying to define exactly what it was supposed to be with no shortage of ways to extract cash from my wallet. There were aspects of Marineland (two seals), a lack lustre petting zoo, a larger than normal pirate ship and climbing area, splash pad, maze encircling a jungle gym which made as little sense as the double billing, because if your child got stuck or injured, you too would have to frantically figure your way to the centre of the maze to get to the play yard through a series of strategically placed chest height driftwood. Almost every area charged to see or do whatever it was they were showcasing and I was wishing my 35 plus magic pill would bring me some peace and tranquility in a moment of frustration.

What irked me most was when Ellie wanted to ride the ferris wheel.  Because she was taller than 42 inches but smaller than 72inches, weighed less than a donkey but more than a chipmunk, I was forced to accompany her on the ride. There was a series of “you go first, no you go first, no you watch the baby, no I’ll watch the baby” and general scrambling so Ellie could jolt around for two barely consecutive loops while I watched with great interest to see if the bolts on the older than thirty-five year old clunker could withstand the weight of a four year old and her aging mother.

When the handsome, young, amusement park ride attendant collected Ellie’s ticket and asked for mine I was ready to throw him off the pirate ship.

I explained that I would not be paying to sit on a ride that his park insisted I ride on, a ride I had no intention of ever getting on and not because I fear heights but because I fear poorly assembled amusement park rides and the people who make a career of running them.

He looked at me as if to suggest this conversation would have gone a lot smoother if I had just popped one of my thirty-five plus happy pills and I wouldn’t be the crotchety old bag refusing to hand over yet another $2 ticket.

We agreed to disagree and with his good eye focusing somewhere around my face, he asked me to purchase a ticket when the ride finished and bring it to him later.

I’ll get right on that. First, I have some vitamins to buy.

Another scorcher outside meant another day of indoor play as car seat baby really can’t cope with this sticky heat.

We decided instead to cool off by cranking up the oven and work for hours colouring two packages of Shrinky Dinks Hanna received for her birthday.

Hanna: Why are they called Shrinky Dinks Mom?

Me: Well, I guess because they shrink.

Ellie: What’s a Dink?

There it was.

Me: It means, double income no kids.

Ellie: Huh.

After loading the oven with the first batch,

Hanna: Wow Mom. Those dinks sure are shrinking!

Ellie: My dink is shrinking the fastest!

My dink was shrivelling in the corner of the pan but there was really no need to verbalize it to the crowd.

In an instant, I was in the middle of the Schwetty balls sketch on SNL.

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