Browsing Posts published in February, 2011

Sometimes the kids borrow my camera without my knowledge and I find pictures they’ve taken while downloading my own.

It pleases me to see Barbie and Polly Pocket have gotten over their differences.

We went for a family skate despite the nipply weather.

Our seven year old was asking our five year old if she wanted to be taught how to stop while skating.

The five year old motioned for me to bend over so she could look me in the eye and explain that she already knows how to stop when skating.

Ellie: I already know how to stop when I’m skating. I just stop skating.

We have now been told a second time that our five year old is not bringing enough food to school in her lunch.

The first time, we questioned how a child who takes one hour to eat two almonds could possibly eat the cream cheese bagel, container of fruit, container of vegetables, cheese, yogurt and applesauce during the brief snacking window allotted– not for lack of appetite but for lack of time.

I started adding a few extras in her lunch fully expecting them to be returned unopened.

Today, Greg was informed we haven’t supplied enough food in her lunch once again and she was given an apple from the free-for-all bowl in front of the office presumably to keep her from fainting.

Get ready kindergarten class. Here come the meatball subs.

I decided to create an instruction manual of sorts for some of the gadgets around the house should a babysitter ever need to know how anything works.

When it came time to describe how to turn on the t.v. even I threw the convertor and picked up a book instead.


First press the satellite button (top left) SAT. This button has been worn from use so you may require a magnifying glass to find the remnants of the bottom of the letter “A” and a small dot where the “T” used to be. The “S” has been smudged off permanently.

Then press the RED Power button (top centre).

You should now see a blue light on the Bell box to the left of the t.v. (second shelf of t.v. related equipment) indicating the satellite is on. If you do not see the blue light, repeat steps one and two being careful not to remove what little print is left on the “A” and “T”.

Next, press TV (the grey one at the top in between the line-dot-smear button and Power buttons) not the red button below the power button that is also labelled tv, followed by Power.

You should hear a click on the t.v. If you don’t hear a click, hit TV (don’t hit the t.v.) followed by Power again. (Grey TV, not red TV). It doesn’t always work the first time, you must be pointing the convertor at the t.v. in order to make the connection. Sometimes you will be pointing the convertor at the t.v. and repeat these steps up to twelve times angrily until you hear the click. This is normal.

Third step—press AUX (top right) followed by Power this will give you sound.

TV should now be on. Celebrate with a glass of wine.

My advice at this point is to simply enjoy the fact that the t.v. is on with sound and never mind what channel it’s stuck on. I apologize if Treehouse is not your favourite network but isn’t it better than a screen that flashes “NO SIGNAL” while you try to enjoy your novel?

To change the channel, first press smudge-line-dot, followed by Guide (blue button on right side). Our stations start at 200 and go up into the 800’s. You will find everything you need between channels 200 and 300. The kids watch channels 556, 557, CNN is 500, CP 24 is 503. Sports stations are in the low 400’s and I think Leafs t.v. is 422 but no one is watching them anymore anyway.

To turn off, repeat the steps you used to turn it on, in reverse—having this helpful guide will be a welcome reminder, trust me. The older kids can help but sometimes become frustrated and forget to check for the blue light. This usually results in some stomping. Again, perfectly normal. If at any time the baby is holding the convertor, you are in trouble. She may order movies, she might set up the Wii. Nobody knows how she does it, what she presses or how to get back to square one. Best to keep it away from her and if she does press something, turn it all off and then on again.

Let me know how the book wraps up. I’ll be looking for new material the next big show night.

At what point should women re-set their expectations for their ideal/achievable weight? Fifteen years after University? Thirty?

I have been saying I need to lose 10 lbs for several months, fixated on a number I’m meant to reach and more importantly maintain.

A friend and I had a conversation about weight and like most women we have a pre-pregnancy weight (target) and a post-baby weight (reality) that taunt each other from opposite ends of the scale.

At what point do we drop the “I just had a baby” as our go-to excuse, accepting that some of us have children who are ten years old.

Wouldn’t life be wonderful if nobody felt they needed to lose that last five or ten pounds and instead just said, “I’m the weight I’m supposed to be” and enjoyed who they are in the moment?

“Hey you look great!”

“Thanks for noticing. It’s because I’m perfectly content with my current weight.”

I’ve never met a woman who was content with their current body weight. It’s as if the Dove campaign for real beauty never happened. When the first goal is met, a second (usually unattainable) is quickly set and action is taken to chase the impossible dream.

Have you ever looked at pictures of your former-self and thought, wow, I looked thin but at the time, I felt terrible about my body image? Wouldn’t you give anything to go back and slide into that skin again and give your twenty-something head a shake?

Go easy on yourselves ladies. Coming out of hibernation is a sensitive time of year.

Our iron is used for many practical things, none of which involve clothing.

We use it to a) melt beads for craft projects, b) weigh something down c) act as a barrier at the front of a shelf in the laundry room hiding Halloween candy that apparently the kids are very aware of and help themselves to without permission but ironing a shirt hasn’t been one of its duties for years.

We had a system that made sense for us. A sharing of household chores has been divided mommy does everything evenly but ironing was something neither one of us enjoyed and/or did very well so we agreed, to save ourselves from ever having to argue over who would iron the shirts we would instead pay the money to take a stack to the dry cleaners each month and have them professionally cleaned and steamed.

This system has worked for years and prevented arguments along the way until last night.

Greg had dumped three white shirts on the laundry room counter about three months ago and left them for dead. I had asked on numerous occasions what his funeral plans were for the yellowing collars and he told me he would use our various cleaning products to “go at the collars” then have them cleaned and pressed at the dry cleaners so they would once again look crisp and new.

I agreed to the proposed plan and each day as I loaded my pinks into the washing machine, overlooked the three collars, the six sleeves the dozens of buttons I had to fling out of the way to make room for my cleaning ritual–Namaste.

I grew tired of asking him about his timing on the shirts, how he planned to remove the staining and tossed them in with a load of whites and a little bleach. I then hung the shirts, careful not to let them see the iron quivering behind the cupboard door. Its life mission was beading. Weaving in and out of buttons on a shirt could very well cause an anxiety attack…sputtering steam….disaster.

I hung the shirts above the laundry room sink where they dried for going on three weeks. They weren’t really in my way until last night when I needed access to the sink after the baby loaded her socks with one of the ooziest poops on record and I had some serious rinsing and disinfecting to do.

Greg wears a tall, perhaps super-tall or uber-long sized shirt so the sleeves were a distraction to my vinegar/bleach/soap attack on the soiled outfit. How long is this guy’s torso anyway?  I removed the shirts from the laundry room and hung them on a cupboard knob in the kitchen. Surely he would get the hint and either throw them in the dry-cleaning pile or attempt to iron them himself.

I finished up with the baby’s special gift, scraped under my fingernails and returned her clean change-table pad to her bedroom. When I returned, the white shirts were gone. I peeked around the corner and there they were, once again dangling over the laundry room sink as if I had removed a permanent fixture. If you look closely, you can see the outline from where the sun has burned the shadow of three yellow collars on the wall behind.

Me: Greg, what are you doing with these shirts?

Iron-Man: Do you know Hal’s wife irons all of his shirts?

It’s as if he had been waiting to slap me with that one for months but needed the perfect opportunity to present itself.

Me: She sounds delightful.

Iron-Man: Whenever we go away for business trips, he just opens his bag and his shirts have been pressed and folded as if they’re brand new. All he has to do is remove it from the bag without thinking about it.

Me: Did he invite you to his bouncy-castle birthday party or is there a number restriction?

We agree to disagree.

I can accept a lot of things about living in Canada in the winter; the short days, the bitter winds, the malfunctioning snow-blowers, hats that re-define goofy, the recycling bins taking flight in a blizzard never to be filled with crushed diaper boxes again but I draw the line at frozen snot.

We went for a family skate at the local rink. Our outdoor options are limited given the weather, our lack of proper sub-zero attire, the fact we have a baby who is still steadying herself on land and most equipment doesn’t come in 18 month size.

We load everyone into the mini-van with promises of a hot-chocolate thaw within the hour and we toss them onto the ice. The dance music in the background while an excuse to gyrate around the ice like crazy people acts as a warm-up and I’m secretly ecstatic it’s on.

The baby bundled in an extra sweater, socks, fur slippers, snow suit, fur hat with flaps settled in her umbrella stroller is used by first time skaters as a walker to maintain some semblance of balance.

 My pockets are filled with gently used tissues mixed with a few new. You can’t call yourself a Canadian Mother and not have at least a small collection in one or both pockets. In those moments when the children’s noses are dripping through their helmets, it’s irrelevant if I’m wiping the wire cages clean with a pre-dampened Kleenex. It’s been used by some member of our family and for that reason, it should bring the children some snot-smeared comfort.

Greg is the first to complain about his feet being sore and he quickly removes his skates, resting on the bench. This often happens in parallel with two neighbourhood Dads hopping the boards with their NHL jerseys and race around backwards as if they’ve just been given news they have made the travelling all-star team and will be starting line-mates in tonight’s televised game.

I slide over (in my boots) to find the baby parked against one of the boards, abandoned by an older sibling who was first excited to use the baby as an adorable scoocher but grew tired of the additional wheels and parallel parked her the first opportunity she had.

I knelt down with a tissue to dry the baby’s nose but there was nothing to dry. How could a Canadian child on this, the coldest day I can remember not be dripping with booger juice?

Upon closer inspection, the answer was thick but clear. The snot was frozen solid. This I have never seen before. Powdery, cream coloured bits, not to be confused with glued on Cheerio power as seen at the bottom of the box or on our family room carpet. Snot had cycled from a solid to a liquid to ice to an ice powder.

“Hot chocolate time kids!”

Things just got weird.

We have hosted our fair share of dinner parties, wedding/baby showers, backyard bbq’s but hosting a play date has presented us with a brand new set of challenges.

We are not as concerned about the cleanliness of the house (although, it’s nice to welcome kids into some degree of order in disguise). I guess it’s just assumed the mess we clean will inevitably reappear within minutes so surely there’s some other way we could spend our pre-play date prep time.

The menu isn’t necessarily something that will be remembered and shared around the water fountain for weeks to come so mac ‘n cheese, a few raw veggies, fruit and perhaps a homemade baked goodie is all that needs to be considered.

My duties do not involve providing glowing conversation, in fact, my five year old has forbidden me to speak to her play friends other than the most basic welcome because, “you are stealing my friends when you talk to them, now they’re your friends, not mine.”

So, to reiterate, no cleaning, no cooking, no talking with the exception of a standard greeting requiring little to no dialogue exchange from visiting child, moving backwards take their jacket, no eye-contact and walk away, sound simple?

Here are a few new rules I’ve been saddled with as of late:

1. Keep the baby away from us at all times. She ruins everything, she eats our craft projects, steals our play date’s winter hats and hides them in her toy basket.

Rebuttal: But she’s part of our fam…il…..y….(and they’re out of earshot)

2. Keep Daddy away from our friends. He embarrasses us when he sings.

Rebuttal: When does he sing?

Kids: Every morning when we wait for the bus, he shouts as the neighbours march quickly down their driveway, “It’s the Martin and Logan show starring Martin and Logan!”

Hmmm. I just see smiling, happy children who excitedly scurry past a man cheering them onto the bus. Sounds like a greeting of champions to me.

3. If the five year old gets to have a friend over, the seven year old gets to have a friend over. If the five year old’s friend is home and the seven year old’s friend is away all play dates must be re-scheduled until it is fair.

4. If the seven year old’s friend is available but the five year old’s friend is not, too bad five year old, that’s what happens when you are the younger sibling.

5. Candy. We can have treats and candy without asking throughout the duration of the play date and we will find them in places you didn’t know we knew existed. For example, the high shelf above the pantry cupboard in the kitchen where there are half-eaten bags of chips and the laundry room closet where the leftover Hallowe’en candy is hidden behind the iron. Don’t question how we know and we won’t eat it other than during a play date when we will eat so much our teeth will be on the floor before the end of the four hours.

6. We will complain “we’re bored” and “what should we do” the entire time our friends are visiting despite begging to have friends over so we would have something to do. You can call out suggestions from the other room but remember the no eye-contact rule if you do decide to follow the trail of candy wrappers into our secret lair.

7. We reserve the right to remove all toys from baskets, bookshelves and drawers, unwrap new games, make pipe-cleaner streamers, leave glue oozing on the floor, wear make-up and smear it on all countertops and mirrors, try on every article of clothing in every closet in the house without putting any of it away.

8. We can talk about things that are beyond our comprehension and argue over all-things-Bieber.

9. We realize we are not the boss of you Mom but just for the play date when we are trying to be super cool in front of our friends is it okay if we roll our eyes at you and say “Ma-um” every time you open your mouth to speak or chew?

Every couple of years there is a cosmic shift, usually when one of the children falls ill.

This week, almost immediately following Chloe’s tonsillitis diagnosis it happened.

She awoke from an interrupted nap and Mommy could not console her. I tried rocking her in her chair, letting her play with her Scotiabank hockey team collectable bank that sits proudly on her dresser along with a crocheted doll from her Great Grandma and neither of these typically off-limits items now well within her grasp worked.

I thought she might be reacting to the gooey, pink medicine when she threw a fit on the floor, slamming her head down, tears rolling down her cheeks and when she had the opportunity, she attempted to hit my face while yelling, “Mamamamamamamamama!” This, I did not expect.

I called Greg in for back-up as I had never seen this type of behaviour from our kids after consuming antibiotics. If anything, our kids rolled over like tranquilized apes and fell asleep soundly after their first dose.

She shoved me aside and nuzzled into Greg’s chest still convulsing from her tantrum and looked at me in disgust. With each step I inched closer, she groaned and eventually swung her sharp-nailed fingers (why do I always forget to trim them?) swiping my nose and furiously star-fishing her body into a solid block, limbs outstretched, middle fingers too.

She pointed at his iphone. She wanted videos of her sisters dancing at Disney dressed as Cinderella and Jasmine and she wanted them now.

She wanted Daddy to feed her some water. She wanted Daddy to wash her tear-stained face. She wanted Daddy (who has changed her diaper twice in fifteen months) to whisper “everything is going to be okay.”

She wanted Mommy to shove her head in the sand.

It’s not often you hear a parent so elated about a tonsillitis diagnosis. Allow me to explain.

Last night, Sonya Lee (15 months) was a little out of sorts. She moaned a couple of times in her sleep, woke up at 5am as opposed to 7:30 am which is a red flag for Mommy. None of these signs were earth-shattering, no spike in temperature, no inconsolable sobbing, just a little off.

My greatest fear with the long weekend approaching was (and usually is) outwitting an elderly couple to the front door of a walk-in clinic, hand sanitizer at the ready to be the first in a long line to see a Doctor who is pissed about working on family day, knowing, dreading, accepting we would be leaving with new viruses that were never on our radar on the drive there. I would rather go to the mailman for some unsolicited advice or consult my children’s veterinary clinic kit to help with a diagnosis (and a cute flea collar).

You don’t want to go to the well too often. If you arrive unannounced at your Doctor’s office and are told twice consecutively that you are a crazy person whose child has a paper-cut and to go stick your head in the sand you start to get a little gun-shy and the Doctor is less likely to spontaneously point that flashlight microscope in your child’s ear and send you on your way with the coveted, white print-out giving you permission to administer drugs that will selfishly, allow you to sleep tonight (provided you haven’t watched Dateline).

Is she teething? Does she have an ear infection? Throat? Do I give her Tylenol? What if I give her a pain killer and she just wanted to snuggle at 5am, does Children’s Aid frown on those who give their kids drugs in reaction to a guess?

  1. You don’t want to be wrong
  2. You don’t want to waste the Doctor’s time if you are wrong
  3. You don’t want your kid to suffer

Chloe was a trooper, playing in the waiting area with the germ-laden toys, not before filling her pants with the raunchiest smelling poop I’ve ever had the privilege of having her stand-up to clumsily change. In a way, I wanted her to catch something from the wooden balls rolling up and down the wiry obstacle course because at least then the Doctor wouldn’t tell me there was nothing wrong with my child and that I was wrong to come.

I don’t know what it was about the tonsillitis diagnosis that made me happy. On one hand, it’s crushingly deflating to have anything upset your child’s stress-free existence but it was a relief to know I wasn’t crazy and that help was on the way.

I promptly went to the drug store and deposited the prescription in the ever-so-private drop-off kiosk and waited for my buzzer to start vibrating with the news that a pink jug of magic potion was ready to be chugged.

Pharmacist: Mrs. Schlegelmeister? (or some variation thereof)

Me: Yes Pharmacist-meister?

Pharmacist: I don’t think we have Chloe in the system.

Not if you’re looking under Schlegelmeister.

Me: Oh, I thought she had been once before.

The Doctor told me she had been on antibiotics just once before and that was a year ago this April. Oh yes, I remember the bug she picked up while on a family Easter weekend. I guess our nephew throwing up in the hotel pool should have tipped us off there were some germs still looming.

This time, Chloe had been to the babysitters for one hour while I attended a special event at the girl’s school. I’m not saying that’s where she picked up the bug, I’m simply stating she was healthy from April 2010 post swimming-with-bile weekend when she was home with me thru Feb. 2011 when she spent one hour out of my care surrounded by other kids who may or may not have had a contest to see how many of their fingers could fit in my baby’s mouth at the same time.

Following my instincts paid off this time. There’s a gooey bottle of antibiotics front and centre in the fridge and a child sleeping peacefully. Not exactly how I wanted the day to unfold but it sure beats an early morning smackdown at the clinic.

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