Browsing Posts published in June, 2011

Typically I don’t buy into the gift buying for passing. I guess I want my kids to know passing is something we just expect and rewarding it with a mountain of presents seems (at least to me) to send a message that there were moments of doubt they would ever get to this point. I don’t remember being given anything other than a ride to gymnastics after passing and being rewarded with cold, outdoor, early morning, summer swimming lessons—yippee!

I did consider the idea of buying them each a book. Something age appropriate at their reading level, especially for my seven year old who seems to really love to read.  Maybe a chapter book she could read quietly to herself throughout the summer and make that a special annual prize. Please refrain from suggesting I donate a goat to a family in need, we’ll look into that for the holiday season.

After our bike ride and skipping routine tonight, Ellie (age five) asked if she could run into the house and bring out a juice box. Juice boxes (though 100% juice) are considered a treat in our house, mostly because it’s far cheaper to drink a glass from the larger, plastic (BPA free) container and water it down to really stretch your pennies and save your kids teeth in the process.

Tonight, she returned with a can of Fruitopia. Typically, I would wonder where it came from but this time, I knew where it came from. I saw Fruitopia in a large display rack at the grocery store for $5/case and having never bought it, I planned to tuck it away for that famous, annual backyard neighbourhood bbq we always threaten to host.

She cracked it open before I could tell her she wasn’t allowed and I let it go. It was the end of the school year, maybe this would be her graduation present. She said (eyes bulging from the sugar rush), “Mommy, this tastes great! Is it good for you?” I replied, “No honey, it’s full of junk.”

Ellie: Oh, like alcohol? (as she took what appeared to be a hopeful swig)

Hanna then emerged from the car, returning from her last music lesson. She claimed to have been tested both on paper and on keyboard and received a grade of 93. As neither one of us have a musical background, we have yet to determine (and may never know) what that mark is out of so we hugged her what we thought was an appropriate amount.

She waved her hands in a Z pattern and snapped several times in her little sister’s face while sticking her neck out in a repeated bobbing duck motion.

My book suggestions have become painfully obvious.

For Ellie, “The Bartenders Guide to Summer Fruit Drinks,” for Hanna, anything with the words “Oh No You Di’in’t” in the title.

Congratulations for passing.

Returning from a short holiday you learn to appreciate how much work is actually involved in keeping a house from being taken over by the Fairy Princess monarchy that still holds a very vocal minority government.

You take for granted that everything moves along as it should, following some semblance of order and routine unlike when you are away and do foolish things like watch the 9:00pm screening of Hangover 2 as opposed to the 6:55pm like responsible parents would.

You eat meals at 8pm as opposed to banging your fork on the table at 4:59pm alongside the kids, prompting Daddy to take a break from work and sit down with his family for a late lunch meal.

You spritz on some sunscreen but you’re not a fanatic about it and you certainly don’t re-apply, you’re on vacation! You throw caution to the wind and leave your hat in the clearly marked hat drawer, exposing your scalp to some dangerous, unforgiving rays.

You drink a ruby red with tonic poolside mid-afternoon and don’t even think about having to drive anyone to swimming lessons. It’s just you, some fresh lime and a pool noodle.

Then you walk in the door and little people who seem to evoke more power than all of the adults combined within 100 miles (excepting of course the staff at an airline that is anything but Direct) start waving pages of colourful drawings, flapping craft projects in various stages of completion and shouting something about being thirsty (for juice water, not ruby red vodka), wanting a snack, needing a Band-Aid, wanting a hug, needing to find a missing rogue bead from a homemade bracelet and you wonder how you stayed on top of these details in such a militant fashion before you left for 72 hours.

Some things will be different when you get home. For example, you might find your baby napping naked simulating some sort of potential Dr. Seuss crime scene. Her diaper is wet and appears to be rolled in a ball but still in the crib. Did she pee, decide she didn’t like the feeling of a wet diaper and roll the soiled Huggies the way she’d seen me at least four million times and her Dad (a generous)seven times in which case potty training here we come! Or is she like a territorial cat playing games with our minds as punishment for leaving? How she removed her dress is anyone’s guess and Hand Hand Fingers Thumb a favourite text that had been missing for 24 hours has suddenly reappeared next to the sleeping, naked baby’s head. We might enlist the help of some junior CSI’s for this one. Do the Mini-Pops make house calls?

My five year old said she wanted to wear her t-shirt “overneath” her dress. Is she trying to mess with me or is this kid about to take the fashion world by storm?

These changes have a broader reach than just at our home. My parents who babysat said when they returned home their kettle wouldn’t work. This can only be from neglect. It was used to being plugged in from the moment they woke until the moment they fell asleep at night. The poor thing died from failure to perform.

Greg and I took a short end of school year vacation alone to gear up for the family version of the end of school year vacation beginning later this week.

We flew with an airline claiming to be Direct; in their name, their slogan and their bargain basement pricing but not in their cryptic way of communicating delays to their customers.

They were anything but direct. In fact, we chose this airline specifically for convenience, to quickly arrive at our sunny destination without the headache of changing planes, running out of snacks, layovers and a longer than necessary journey.

Upon arriving at this “airport” we were greeted with a message over a loud speaker that said this Direct airline was delayed and that no further details were known. So we waited, noting this was the first flight of the day and already delayed. How? We watched families squirrel through their daily snack allotments in the first hour of connected bench row seating in the airport waiting room and I was thankful to become fully engrossed in the live coverage of the Casey Anthony trial being broadcast on the only television in the building. Sadly, the volume was set at a generous 2 so if I squinted, turned my head and did my best to read lips on the statuesque row of zombie travelers reflected by the t.v., I could almost decipher if the witnesses’ tears were lies to help the case for the defence or the prosecution.

I didn’t have to take anyone to the bathroom, pretend to enjoy pointing out lines (and counting them) on the tarmac, guys wearing brightly coloured vests, pylons and very little other barely visually stimulating scenery to get me through the morning.

We finally boarded the Direct flight to our destination and were told we would be flying instead to Myrtle Beach. Different state altogether but really, what did I care? I didn’t have to siphon off droppers filled with 5mL’s of apple juice to have enough to get my kids through the flight and to show them liquid evidence the rations were being fairly distributed.

In Myrtle we walked to a second plane, waited once again and questioned the different layout. We were unaffected, assigned seats A and B but anyone with a D on their boarding pass, sorry, there were no “D’s” on this plane, you will have to shamefully hide your now useless piece of paper and find any seat that is available.

And so began a long, narrow, pissed off sweaty game of musical chairs with people jockeying for position, especially those with young families who hoped to sit together. I cracked open the first book I’ve started in the better part of two years, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and made it three hundred pages before arriving at our final destination. Sadly, the next three hundred will have to wait another two years.

What should have been a simple 2.5 hour flight ended up an all day affair but I learned a few things along the way.

  1. Don’t pay to check a bag. It seemed we were the only ones who weren’t prepared to wheel our bag on board, steady it above our heads and ram it into an already overstuffed overhead compartment, bursting at the latch, eagerly anticipating falling on someone’s unsuspecting head as they pass the 300 page mark on their first book in eons.
  2. Don’t travel with children. It’s too risky, it takes too long and you’re only permitted three ounces of liquids in your carry on. It’s simply not enough apple juice to get them through a full day of unplanned plane change travel.
  3. Snacks. Greg laughs at me when I pack a bag of almonds or a couple of granola bars if we are traveling alone but guess who was nosing around my knapsack at the three hour mark looking for a fix.
  4. When you rent a vehicle upon arrival, be specific about what their definition of a mid-size is. We were assigned the Nissan Versa which was quickly and affectionately nicknamed Lab-Rat for the duration of our stay. Someone actually stopped us and said, “Nice car,” which was confusing since neither of us was a sixteen year old girl in clown school with a horn to match.

  1. Multiple choice exams
  2. Moustaches
  3. Anticipating my Mother’s reaction to this list as being “mean spirited”
  4. Having to apologize for being mean spirited
  5. Forgetting to plant new bulbs in the fall
  6. Forgetting to plant new bulbs in the spring
  7. Weeds AND not knowing if a plant is a weed or a beautiful plant
  8. Trampolines with exposed rusty springs
  9. Starting to make muffins and realizing you’re out of eggs
  10. Someone who makes their handshake wimpy for fear they’ll break my delicate lady bones
  11. Liver & onions
  12. The smell of cauliflower simmering on the stove
  13. Bouncy castles that are not tethered down
  14. Newborns with piercings—ouch
  15. Day 5 of breastfeeding through painful scabs
  16. Relying on a groundhog to determine how many more days I will be a hermit
  17. Kids who say, “Oh gross!” at the dinner table
  18. Needles
  19. People feeding babies fast food at 9am
  20. One missing puzzle piece
  21. Surveys
  22. Wood slivers

  1. Exams
  2. People selling imitation Persian rugs door to door
  3. School fundraisers
  4. Chaffing thighs
  5. Smelly feet
  6. Out of order
  7. Jehovah Witness
  8. Parenting advice from people who have never had children
  9. People who bring their pets over for a visit
  10. Drop in visitors
  11. Cobwebs in unreachable places
  12. Power outages
  13. Shark movies
  14. Bat in the house
  15. Mold
  16. When the phone wakes the baby from her nap
  17. Smoke detector that goes off for no reason and there are no witnesses
  18. UPS guy seeing you hide behind the door while he peeks through your window
  19. Potty training
  20. Hangnails
  21. Roots showing
  22. Getting a bad hair-cut and being too afraid to ask Edward Scissorhands what the hell he’s doing
  23. Flickering light-bulbs
  24. Size OO
  25. Richard Simmons

  1. People who don’t remove their shoes in your house
  2. Eating something and realizing it was the last thing you ate right before the last time you threw up
  3. Cleaning up vomit at 2am in the winter
  4. Being hungover
  5. Shower games
  6. Barney
  7. Rejection
  8. Humiliation
  9. Paint ball
  10. Being the least successful sibling
  11. Small yards
  12. Kids who show up uninvited, eat your food and never leave
  13. Flat tires
  14. Bad teeth
  15. Dollarama increasing their prices to whatever the hell they want
  16. Being underdressed
  17. Taxable benefits
  18. Weekend and evening work functions
  19. Being forced into a dance circle
  20. Bible camp
  21. Camping
  22. Burning the roof of your mouth with hot pizza sauce
  23. Cold sores
  24. Playdates—see also item #23
  25. Putting a diaper in the washing machine and it exploding

If you are one of the select few who has not heard of or checked out The Book of Awesome, I highly recommend it.

This successful blog was recently published in book form and brings one of life’s awesome tidbits to light on a daily basis.

That being said, I’m not trying to steal anyone’s thunder, nor am I attempting to bring people down. It just got me thinking there are a number of things that bother me that I do not find awesome in a world where I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by too many awesome things to list.

I have dedicated the next four days to 100 Things That Are Not Awesome. Maybe you’ll agree with some or all of them.

  1. Wearing in new shoes
  2. Labour & Delivery
  3. Kids who talk back
  4. Toilet paper stuck to your shoe
  5. Public restrooms
  6. Bathroom line-ups
  7. Nausea
  8. Mosquito bites
  9. Forgetting to take your pill
  10. Running out of propane while bbq’ing
  11. The Liquor store discontinuing Absolut’s Ruby Red vodka
  12. Grade two homework
  13. Call centre employees
  14. Frizzy hair days
  15. Rec centre lockers that eat your first quarter
  16. When your child’s swimming lesson is cancelled due to a fouling in the pool–TWICE
  17. Rained out garage sales
  18. Overpriced clothing
  19. Kids growing up too fast
  20. Kids wearing make-up in grade two
  21. Kids wearing bras in grade one (especially the ones who need the support more than I do)
  22. Playdates—I can’t stress this one enough
  23. Three children’s birthday parties in one weekend
  24. Watching a child pick their nose and eat it
  25. Watching my child pick their nose and eat it

We attempted (unsuccessfully) to go for a family bike ride after dinner last night. Unsuccessful in part because we were missing Daddy, a vital part of our family and also because one of our bikers opted to play the role of tire kicker as opposed to actually participating in the ride.

Our problems started when Hanna’s chain fell off during her warm-up lap around the driveway. With Daddy, our resident chain repairman unavailable to help, it was up to me, or the baby who was finally twisted into her special basket and wrestled into her hard hat was about to scream and sob for the next twenty minutes if she was denied her “bikreed!”

I haven’t been tasked with putting a chain on a bike since my yellow, banana seat broke down en route to the convenience store for a super-sized, paper bag of penny candy, but I couldn’t let the remaining players of our family down, I had to try.

I didn’t care about how much grease I got on my hands, calves, eyelids or otherwise but my efforts seemed to be solely focused on getting as much grease on my person as possible before the chain was rubbed dry with little progress in actually re-attaching it. I was dirty, I was frustrated, I had at least three helmet clad children screaming at me to get this bike in gear when it happened. My Cast Away moment, “I have made a connection!!!”

I did a quick victory lap of my own, nostalgically wishing someone would drive up with a bulging package of Swedish berries and encouraged everyone to follow our five year old up the street. As might have been predicted, the thought of getting back on the horse that bucked her off was a risk Hanna simply wasn’t willing to take.

I had one kid at the top of the hill, the summit of the mountain peak, the crest of the mini-bike ramp, the other, walking cautiously next to a bike that at any moment could spew a chain on the ground and potentially reflect a layer of grease on her severely betrayed, end-of-school-year running shoes.

The baby was indifferent about who was riding, who was walking, giggling when we rode slowly, sometimes yelling “wee” when we rode down a hill, sometimes frozen in fear, giving some insight into the combination of her two sister’s personalities she appears to be developing.

The five year old wiped out showing off as she flew down the ramp. She shouted through a helmet that now covered her face but left a tiny slit between her mouth and dangling chin strap, “I’m okay!”

The seven year old thought a rogue bird feather may have been caught in her spoke and readied herself to toss the bike so she would have a clear patch of grass to faint on.

Life would be boring if we were all the same.

I have lived with this family for about six years previously proudly displayed like the pink, lidded trophy I was at Roots where sales staff went to great lengths to ensure my beak was stacked in perfect alignment with others cut from the same cloth.

Enter the proud mother of a young red headed girl who took me home to protect her freckles from the sun’s harmful rays. From that day forward, I have been treated like crown garbage.

In retrospect, the oldest daughter treated me like a shrine compared to this new one. At nineteen months she has stomped on me more times than I care to remember, tossed me on the mall floor and left me for dead.

Dear Diary—Today Chloe drew on me with washable markers. I knew it would come off it’s the disrespect that irks me and the impending whirl around the soapy washing machine isn’t exactly appealing.

Dear Diary—Today Chloe tossed me out of the stroller, twice. The first time the dirty wheels drove over me leaving brown treads in a criss-cross pattern like I was a piece of grilled chicken. The second time, her oblivious mother didn’t notice I was missing until they were three houses away because she was busy praising the baby for saying “chirps” every time she saw a bird. How about we praise her for calling them “birds” and focus on the hat on the side of the road about to be carried away by a colony of red ants!

Dear Diary—Chloe spilled her mother’s hot tea all over my lid. Yes it scorched but it’s not the scar I’m worried about, it’s the stain. At best, it will drain some of the pale pink colour that has lasted the better part of six years and I’ll be humiliated if there’s ever a hat-trick toss.

Dear Diary—Chloe refused to wear me on a walk today. Her mother likes to force me over her head quickly which makes Chloe angry so of course out of frustration she’s going to yank me off, walk with me in her hand while whipping her arm back and forth trying to hike up the slightest of inclines that her mother treats as high altitude training, chiming to the neighbours about how this bit of exercise will help her nap while some of us get whiplash.  

Dear Diary—Chloe rips me off her head because her bulbous cranium is growing and she’s finding me uncomfortable. How does she think I feel being stretched like that?

Dear Diary—Today Chloe’s mom stopped just shy of a neighbouring house to point out a woman wearing a nice, wide brimmed hat while in her garden in an attempt to give me a complex about the size of my brim. The hat was a home crafting project gone awry with what appeared to be colourful Bingo chips glued around the ball. I’m not here to judge, maybe brimming with envy. A hat is a hat and it helps our industry to continue to promote them. Besides, if I’m going to judge anything it’s the two toilets sitting in plain sight in the backyard.

Dear Diary—Yesterday Chloe left me in the yard overnight. When her mother removed me to be replaced by that hard hat they call a bike helmet I was once again tossed and forgotten. The family is trying to decipher what kind of “hair” has been stuck in bunches all around me. It’s not hair, it is fur. They’ll never guess an angry pack of wolves used me to cart around a cub and wrote baby Wolfy’s name in urine on the tag so it could later be claimed in the lost and found.

I hope for the sake of all involved, they stop at three kids…..but that’s just one lids opinion.

We recently ran into a friend of our five year olds at the grocery store. She had spent the morning playing nicely with her little sister, bike riding, skipping on the driveway but those sweet and savoury memories flew out of the poultry aisle the minute the opportunity for something more up her five year old alley became a possibility.

“Mommy! Can we have a play date right now?”

Ick.

My mind was racing trying to come up with excuses. I hate the play date ambush when I haven’t had at least a walk to the mailbox and back to prepare my list of excuses. The truth is play dates simply don’t work at our house. The older one brings over a friend and Ellie is the third wheel. Ellie brings a friend and the friend wants to play with the older sister. Once again, Ellie is left out. In any scenario, the baby is the family pet.

“We’re busy today.”

“Why-eee!” stomp. Long pause. “Why-eee!” other foot.

Other Mom: It’s okay with me.

Work with me here Mom we’re on the same team. Oh wait, you just earned an afternoon at the spa why wouldn’t you be okay with it?

This particular friend is adventurous and fun and Ellie lives for excitement. This friend however also loves to suggest Ellie should kiss any number of boys which causes Ellie to respond by digging her head in the sand and burying it like an ostrich.

I recently (yesterday)had to scream, “STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!” to Ellie who was shoving her big sister off a swing, thankful once again for the one acre distance between us and the next neighbour, wondering in a quiet moment how I could have done so on a 40’ lot without sounding like an absolute buffoon. I can’t yell like this when we are hosting someone else’s child. They’ll rat me out the minute they return home for dinner with my slimy, mango slices for a snack tucked craftily under their armpits.

The two sisters were fast friends within one minute of the near beheading by swing episode. I guess in part because they know they have to continue living with each other. When a play date goes bad, we’re stuck with a spare kid for another two hours of grudge-holding anguish.

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