Browsing Posts published in October, 2010

We carved our Halloween pumpkins today and I noticed something troubling from the retail sector.

We seem to be getting ahead of ourselves when it comes to holiday promotion. Halloween hasn’t even  arrived and the Christmas displays are taking over our storefronts. I think I may have seen a small selection of Valentine’s Cards and the Thanksgiving display was labelled 2011.

Ellie designed her pumpkin with tears streaming down his face. She said, he was crying because he was so happy Halloween was finally here. I think the tears are in response to how quickly he’ll be forgotten.

Merry Christmas pumpkins. Lest we forget.

It hadn’t occurred to me that my normal might not be the same as anyone else’s.

For example, when I enter a bathroom, is it normal that I immediately remove the toilet paper from the roll and set it on the counter? Why? Because the baby crawling frantically behind me in a knee race she can never win thrusts her body towards the dangling roll, slaps it with her hands in a reverse donkey-kick which bears the weight of her entire body until the roll resembles a pile of white icing, squeezed from an eleven month old, human, piping bag in a puddle on the floor and I’m left to re-roll five hundred cashmere sheets back into place which ends up looking like I punished her by making her do it because it’s next to impossible to get it back on straight. Also, it’s now ten times thicker than it was when she first took a spin on the prize wheel.

My normal includes washing dishes at the kitchen sink while a baby uses my calves for balance and slaps them like they are two out-of-shape drums in an effort to be lifted up to see what I’m doing. When I eventually cave and pick her up, she adds nothing to the experience in fact she detracts from the task at hand so back she goes to grip at the denim on the back of my legs. This arrangement really doesn’t inconvenience me until I need to put the dishes away, requiring me to move across the room to various over-stocked, over-stuffed shelves and move at a snail’s pace while the baby slides behind. This exercise can take several hours to clean up the dinner dishes alone.

A normal night’s sleep usually involves at least two post-midnight tours of the house to find children sprawled on a couch, in front of a t.v. or in their beds ranting about a deer (thanks Greg) or the scary Shrek Halloween episode we let them watch (again, you know who you are).

Normal is denying my kids candy before Halloween despite teasing them with giant boxes of chocolate bars and gummy dreams, enough to fill the bags of all the children in Canada and then some but then secretly eating it myself and worse, lying to them when they ask why my breath smells like chocolate, peanuts and caramel. Colgate?

On any given day, a normal wardrobe could be any or all of the following; mom-jeans with long-sleeved tee, a typical canvas to be jazzed up with tiaras, hair-clips of varying lengths and colour schemes, Snow White, Cinderella (or a combo) costumes or possibly just fairy wings depending on how much extra Halloween candy I’ve consumed and whether the clasps will close, with stickers as far as the eye can see.

The girls normally head down to Greg’s office to affix a piece of paper with a silly note like “I’m so lazy” on his back or more often just slap him with a piece of tape, panic, giggle and run out of the room.

My normal is replying to Ellie who is explaining to me that her best friend at school was sick with ammonia yesterday or asking for yawn medicine before breakfast and “girl-cheese” sandwiches for lunch.

Our normal t.v. line-up now includes shows like Sonny With A Chance and Imagination Movers. How many times has Greg had to ask me something twice because I’ve become engrossed in a Sonny/Chad exchange that has me rooting for those two crazy kids to just admit they like each other.

I might roll my eyes at the toilet paper, the leg gripping and sleepless nights but when the kids get a little older and no longer need me to act as a tripod, propping them up on their own legs or when they stop being utterly amazed by the simple, soft flutter of white paper magically piling up on the ground in a nest all around them, I’ll miss this normal and wish for it back.

Normal is a moment in time and I hope it lasts.

This year, Hanna said she wanted to be a witch for Halloween and Ellie said she wanted to be a princess. Surely, we have things around the house to pull both of these costumes together but I knew they would turn their noses up at a homemade tin-foil witch hat or use of one of the many, MANY sparkly tiaras we already have kicking around so off I went to source their outfits.

Deep down, no mother wants their daughter to dress like a witch. It simply isn’t cute. They want to wear black make-up, a curly, grey wig and be draped in crappy, black fabric made of a combination of thinned-out lycra and cheese cloth, with less staying power than any homemade tin-foil garment. It’s neither cozy nor cute but this is the first year a request to be a witch has been tabled so I had to be on board. Also, we can strain veggies with it before throwing it out the day after Halloween.

When kids are bigger than a size 4T, manufacturers no longer make the cuddly, warm, fuzzy tiger costumes. I guess size fivers don’t get cold? Or is it because when you’re older than five you have more decision making power over your costume and can finally choose something a little more provocative? I saw some pretty shameful costumes on my travels. The slutty nurse costume with the large breasted woman in a low-cut white uniform in a size 6X. In retrospect, maybe the X meant something entirely different than sizing. I also saw several versions of the “Dead Cheerleader.” Why do they have to be dead? Maybe I will consider posting that “candy is for the living” sign on the front door after all.

Ellie’s princess costume is white with gold detailing and her eyes lit up with delight when she first saw it.

Ellie: Mommy, is this a bride princess costume?

Me: Why yes it is



I spent the next several days convincing her that just because the dress is white, it does not necessarily mean it must be worn by a bride exclusively.

She finally agreed to wear the dress today and things were going fine until a neighbour asked her on the driveway if she was a bride and she glared at me with more hatred than the black make-up and grey straggles dangling from the x-rated, “rehab” wig on the dead witch costume.

The good news is, finding the costumes at Liquidation World on a day they were selling all Hallowe’en related items for 90% off made my purchase less than $1 per costume.

That’s an entire roll of tin-foil on reserve for next year: look out Tin Surfer 2011.

At 2:02am I heard the sound of tiny footsteps walking down the hall. It wasn’t the sound of heavy boots, spiked heels or blood suckers so I had no reason to sound the alarm. In fact, the pitter patter of small feet likely hypnotized me into an even deeper sleep.

Something at 2:14am had me questioning whether I had heard the little footsteps at all and if so, why had I not heard them return to their miniature resting place?

At 2:22am, my curiosity got the better of me, I really wasn’t doing much and I decided to tour the house for clues.

My first stop was Hanna’s room and as I had suspected, she was not in her bed.

I found her with all of the lights on in the family room and kitchen, watching t.v. as though it was the middle of the day and she was wondering what was holding up breakfast service.

She was smothering a two pack of Littlest Pet Shops that must have been delivered to her by the Tooth Fairy or her husband (according to Ellie), the Sandman.

Her tooth was knocked out of her mouth by Greg just before 8pm while squeezing her cheeks the way one would the family dog while repeating, “You’re so cute!” The tooth fell, Hanna became enraged and rightfully so. This was the second knock-out at the hands of her Dad. The first was just before brushing her teeth a couple of loose teeth ago when he flicked her chin and the tooth spun out of her mouth, somersaulting toward the ceiling. She was not amused then, she was less amused last night and I suspect was entranced in deep thought over how to keep her teeth in her mouth until they have reached their full dental destiny while watching an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place in the wee hours of the morning.

I explained it was the middle of the night and that she had to return to her bed. She did have an important day at a bird sanctuary today and the birds expect an alert crowd, otherwise, they’ll flap off stage, not before flipping everyone the bird and their show is simply a waste of everyone’s time.

She agreed to follow me but repeated, “I’m not tired.” I think I mumbled something about beet salad in my half sleep but what I meant to say was that I was tired and I needed her to stay in her bed and try to rest.

Greg woke at 6am and found Hanna back in the family room watching t.v. He told her she was up earlier than usual and she picked up her portable bed, stocked with two pillows a comforter and bath-robe and crept her way back to her room.

At 6:35am I went into her room and could NOT wake a very tired, toothless, little girl.

Look out birds, someone woke up on the wrong side of the nest.

For the first time in my adult life, I made a decision to take a coupon with me to the grocery store for a deal I thought seemed too good to be true.

While I am a rookie clipper and tried the milk bag snippet, dull tweezers and finally left-handed children’s safety scissors to clip my way to savings, I opted instead to just bring the entire flyer with me saying, “I’m breezy.” It made it seem as though I hadn’t given any advance thought to the products I was ultimately going to purchase but if I saw something on the shelf that was glaring back at me from the front page of the newsprint, like I’d made a match in a game of Memory, I may or may not opt to add the item to my cart. Continue reading “Coupon Clipper……” »

We took the girls ten pin bowling over the weekend and immediately noticed how things had changed.

We played in a lane with bumpers making it impossible to ever get a gutter ball and be laughed out of the alley.

We also played with an apparatus resembling a walker that we called “the helper” where you placed your ball on the top of the metal slide and the ball would roll in the direction of your choosing.

Essentially the game of bowling had been replaced with a huge dose of No-Hard-Feelings-Ball not unlike at the skating rink where you can rent the same walker-type contraption to keep from ever having to actually skate.

Our girls were predictable in their actions at the alley.

With each ball, Ellie jumped just barely off the shellacked floor never getting her vertical over the one inch mark but what she lacked in height, she made up for in enthusiasm and holds the current record for number of jumps before the ball finally gave a gentle caress of an end pin and teetered enough to knock it down followed by a raucous round of cheers and high fives.

With each ball, Hanna’s face grew tense with frustration.  She closed her eyes or turned her back to the pins until she heard the clattering of fallen soldiers behind her. Only then would she take a one-eyed peak at the results of her efforts and would never be happy with anything less than a strike.

Ellie’s up again and she’s squiggling and giggling in her funky shoes.

Hanna is now covering her head with her coat to avoid the let down of a single, standing pin.

Car-seat baby has been promoted to the stroller and angrily squints when any ball slams down on the floor or she catches a whiff of the rented shoes.

Ellie blows on the ball, makes wishes to continue having fun and hoists it to shoulder height like she’s holding the Stanley Cup with her name engraved across the front.

Hanna has turned the double plastic seat into a cot and is using various coats (ours and those of strangers) as blankets, not unlike a homeless person under a pile of mismatched garments lying in the street.

Our scores were not impressive and were clearly those of five strangers to bowling with no appreciation for padded lanes or directional devices.

We walked out of the alley waving to the crowds of people who may have still been playing from the night before and no longer had room on their tiny round tables for one more bottle of beer and headed out the front door.

Ellie yelped, covered her mouth and started to cry on her way to the car.

What’s wrong?

Ellie: Someone’s cigarette smoke got up my nose and now I’m going to die.

I left the room to have a quick shower while Greg and the girls were meant to finish, start or prepare breakfast depending on what stage of wakefulness they were at. I made some suggestions on what car-seat baby might want to eat including; dry cereal, oatmeal, a banana, some yogurt and off I went.

The baby was dressed for the day when I left so I guess I naively assumed she would be covered in what’s that thing called again? Oh, a bib, if she was going to be squeezing banana goo from her highchair tray onto her face, neck and socks, that by the way dries like crusty, brown snot-glue that can tear a human fingernail out from the root while trying to pick it off of infant clothing and not the unassuming, soft, cream coloured fruit it once was.

I returned to everyone still in their jammies and a baby exploring the family room with what appeared to be three plates of spaghetti and meatballs covering her torso and vanilla yogurt holding a spiked tuft of hair in salutation to the ceiling.

Ellie explained she couldn’t get dressed because her crocs had a blood sucker in them. Phew, for a minute I was worried there wasn’t going to be a legitimate reason for them to be lounging, but blood suckers can be crippling.

We went for our annual visit to church today to attend the local craft and bake sale. One of the Lord’s disciples appeared as if from out of nowhere to guide us into our parking space. I knew he was one of the betrothed by his uniform, a bright, orange vest. He had a tough time understanding my choice in space. Probably because some much stronger force was trying to pull me back out onto the highway. The Lord will forgive my parking indiscretions and this man’s judgement of them.

Our babysitter is an active member in this church and is the only reason we are even allowed in the door without a pass card to be swiped stripe facing down and on the inside. I pray we can all remember this simple set of instructions for future transactions.

She was selling Hallowe’en candy in spooky, decorated bags for the children. All my life, I assumed that organized religion had no tolerance for this holiday. I remember as a kid people who posted notes on their front doors describing why they did not celebrate or worse, those that did celebrate but handed out raisins or toothbrushes.

I’m not sure how she smuggled the bags onto the old wooden table with rounded red metal legs and I certainly won’t be the one to expose her identity. It will have to remain a private discussion between her and her God.

 The carrot cake is the real reason we attend the bazaar. It’s true what they say. Icing is next to Godliness.

Somewhere on the bake sale committee, exists an elderly woman who turns out the moistest cake, chock full of walnuts, pineapple, coconut, raisins and a generous smearing of tangy cream cheese icing. The church charges $8 for large and less for the smaller version though if anyone attempts to buy that size, they should go straight to confession. It must cost this woman at least triple that price to produce these rich, dense treasures but who are we to question God?

For anyone who ever thought God was a man, they haven’t tried her carrot cake.

Why I feel the need to comment on this cocky, gum smacking psychopath, I’m really not sure.

I posed the question the other day about Colonel Russell Williams’ mother.

Knowing very little about this woman other than she and Russell’s father divorced when he was six, I have to assume there were moments over the past forty-six years she was proud of her son.

I picture a woman arriving at her bridge club, raving about her son’s accomplishments in the military, with each promotion becoming increasingly more boastful about the intelligent young man he had become.

She probably had friends. She probably walked out in public, went grocery shopping, did her banking and maybe belonged to a community group or served on a board.

What is she thinking now?

I watched as this man confessed to rapes, murders, human torture and after methodically documenting each of his calculated movements, made a ridiculous (refraining from using the word crazy though I do believe the choices he made are those of a sick person, it lets him off the hook) statement about being ashamed.

You should feel ashamed when you take an extra handful of chips from the bowl when your diet clearly outlines the restrictions you have committed to. You should feel ashamed when you turn your head for a moment and your baby slips because you weren’t holding his hand when you should have been.

To say you are ashamed for plotting, terrorizing and killing innocent people while making a pictorial and video library, destroying evidence connecting you to the crimes, writing letters of condolence on behalf of the Canadian Military to the family of a woman you purposefully murdered is nonsensical.

What you feel Russell is embarrassed that people the world over have seen your monstrous acts and rage that you’ve been stopped.

You probably haven’t thought much about your mother along the way but I can guarantee she hasn’t stopped thinking about you and the acts you should feel ashamed of but don’t.


Fashion seems to be getting ahead of me and I’m slowly walking the plank toward a sea of loneliness wishing maybe some of the surrounding sharks would just start chewing at my current wardrobe tearing off sleeves to meet the current trend demands. It took me months to figure out the simple wrap shirt but today’s shops have me even more baffled.

While shopping, I selected a shirt with long sleeves (for warmth) with the most beautiful detailing over one shoulder. Subtle stitching, muted taupe colour, a shirt for every day, for every mom to be worn on its own in public and under the biggest, bulkiest, cosiest cardigan and bag of popcorn behind closed doors.  

Upon closer inspection, I noticed this particular design appeared to have two sleeves but when I pulled the left side out thinking one of the sleeves was tucked around the back or still pinned together having never been tried on, I realized I was pulling on a pillow case and not a sleeve at all.

Back to the rack to find the same shirt further along the aisle hoping this time, the seamstress didn’t storm out before finishing the second sleeve and sure enough there it was in lavender. Continue reading “With One Hand Tied Behind My Back…..” »

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