Browsing Posts published in December, 2011

1. Don’t promise to lose fifty lbs this year. Putting a number on it will only make things harder if you’re not at your “goal” weight at the halfway point. Promise to work on losing some weight or better still, becoming healthier and you’ll be much happier with even the smallest victory.
2. Do swear you won’t eat a whole Fruit ‘N Nut bar every day but don’t cut it out entirely. Perhaps as a resolution you could say, Liz, I will not eat any portion of a Fruit ‘N Nut bar Jan. 1st, 2012 and really stick to your guns. Baby steps. This also gives you something to look forward to Jan. 2nd.

3. Don’t promise to exercise more if you only exercised six times this year. Try to park a little farther away from the grocery store entrance which will add a few extra steps to your journey towards the Fruit ‘N Nut aisle.

4. Do promise to do nice things like read more books, watch less t.v., spend more quality time with your family, because these promises don’t really hurt anybody. Though being a stay-at-home mom, there’s not much more time I can spend with them. Right, quality.

5. Don’t say you’re going to clean the grout in the corners of your shower if you have no intention of doing so. Everyone knows your shower head doesn’t have enough pressure to hit those corners even if you do invest in the proper supplies so don’t torture yourself. Just plan to come down really hard on the cleaning lady if she doesn’t make those corners sparkle.

6. Do work on staying true to your word when you tell your baby, “You snuggle into your bed and Mommy will be right back to check on you” when you have no intention of returning until you know she’s sound asleep. Setting up these early abandonment issues will lead to future eating disorders. Okay, I have no proof of this but most eating disorders can be blamed on someone’s mother’s early lies, I’m almost certain.

7. Do travel more. Period. I didn’t say with kids. Too late.

Over Christmas we headed south and I realized there is a disproportionate number of seniors who after introducing themselves and the dogs they are pushing in strollers around the block, want to first tell you when their spouse passed away, often sharing the same name as the baby in the cart and second of their personal injuries. Travel while you can still enjoy it together and before it becomes too difficult physically.

8. Reserve a little extra “Me Time” whenever possible. Do send me suggestions on how to achieve this….for an article. Does Kijiji sell shares in Me time?

The time is now 1:46pm. The baby usually goes down for her nap at approximately 12:15pm, give or take three minutes. Today has been one of those strange days. She’s fighting a cold, her timing is off, she’s so tired she’s delirious, the excitement of Christmas and new toys/books is still causing her to shout “WOW!” and dance wildly every time something fairly new enters the scene.

Today, she ate her normal lunch, half of Daddy’s sandwich, ignoring the carrots, grapes and wrap on her own plate and then we headed for story time followed by a nap. Except the nap has been refused in as many forms as she could come up with including; climbing out of her crib, demandiing she sleep in her sister’s bed only to flop onto the floor screaming she wanted to sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s bed. When I set up the nest of blankets and pillows on our bed, she looked at me as though I was either deaf or crazy because what she really wanted was to nap on the couch.

Any of you who are asking yourselves, “Who’s in charge at your house Liz?” might want to consider going to eff yourselves. I am beside myself trying to get this kid to take a much needed rest and admittedly am breaking every rule you’ve ever read about and perhaps, dare I even suggest it, defied yourselves.

Now on the couch she appears to have exhausted both herself and her available options for sleeping. There are however a few problems.

1. I am on the computer at the kitchen table in front of her. If I move anything other than my quiet, typing fingers, she will likely snap out of the nappy coma she appears to be falling into and I’ll be back to round one, the crib, thus, this post could very likely drone on for several thousand pages as I’m stuck here for as long as she is. Also, if I stop and start again, there’s an inconsistency in my finger pattern she’ll pick up on and it will distract her from the sheep counting task at hand.

2. The dishwasher is aggressively scrubbing pots and pans on what I like to call the sonic boom cycle. It’s fine because it’s consistent but any second, it may switch to a quiet rinsing hum before firing back into jet engine mode. Again, this hurts my chances at having a well rested baby.

3. I would really like to have a cup of tea.

If I move–she’ll wake up

If I slide my chair back, it will drag on the floor and risk vibrating against the current of the dishwasher and I’ll have a baby flopping onto the floor, laying down just long enough to make me think she’s hurt so she can run over and punch me.

The kettle clicks when it’s boiling. Not cool Betty Crocker, not cool.

Oh and I’m about to sneeze.

We took the kids on a mini-vacation over our holidays. Sometimes it’s a struggle balancing Chloe’s nap time while trying to pack in all the big-kid fun Hanna, Ellie and Greg (the biggest kid of all) can handle during that 1.5 hour window.

I am typically happy sitting with a cup of green tea, doing a little writing and enjoying an hour and a half of the quiet snores from a baby in the distance which is so much sweeter than, “Mommy wh’are you? Get up here now! Mommy, quiet, NOW!”

Greg and the girls decided to go swimming at a local pool so my quiet time was minutes from becoming a reality. After packing towels, suits, goggles, coordinating spare keys, moving the stroller from the van, inside, swapping shoes, finding hats, packing water and snacks, the swim team was heading out and nappers were nestled all snug in their beds.

Minutes later, Greg emailed to inform me he had forgotten his suit. I suspect this is my fault as I was responsible for getting the girls their hats, goggles, towels, cover-ups, bathing suits, shoes, books and snacks and he was responsible for the one item.

The email however did not reach my computer before I heard a quiet knock on my door. I assumed the knock was on the unit next door and paid no attention.

A moment later, I heard someone’s keys being inserted into the lock on my door and the door knob turning to open. My heart pounded once and then stopped. I had no idea how I was going to defend myself against this attacker given all of the swimming goggles/slingshots I had moments earlier were no longer at my disposal.

Of course I was relieved to see Greg but to be fair, I was going to be angry at whoever it was coming in the door unexpectedly because it cost me three years of my life.

I decided to check the email to verify Greg’s message and indeed, he had attempted to warn me of his break and enter attempt.

I kept my email on and received the following three notes almost immediately after Greg and the girls headed out again, this time with all of the necessary items they would need for a successful outing.

Unread–Forgot my suit.

Greg: Chlorine levels are too high.

Greg: Pool is closed.

Greg: Coming home now.

I guess paranoia had gotten the better of me. How could I be sure these messages were even from Greg?

Greg: Please bring washroom key.

Identity verified.

The weather has been surprisingly mild for December in Canada.

The girls and I decided to venture down the street for a winter walk not intending to find hidden treasures, just wanting some fresh air and long overdue dose/overdose of vitamin D.

When we reached an open space, the girls ran ahead and I stayed back with Chloe while she explored things like her laces, the rubber tip of her boot and wrestled with her gloves that as tough as she is, could not tear from the string connecting them from behind the sleeves of her coat.

I heard Hanna shout while examining something on the ground, “Hey! A bottle of perfume with lots of perfume still in it!”

I was quick to shout, “Don’t touch it!” before she got as close as possible with her face so as not to touch it, arms behind her back to illustrate her point. She might have nudged it with her nose and/or licked it, but she was not going to touch it–at least not with her hands.

Ellie suggested a unicorn may have dropped it there but soon remembered unicorns only live in Australia so that would be absurd.

Chloe was eager to move in on the find. She wanted a close inspection, a feel, a taste, a full examination of the unicorn’s perfume bottle.

Based on our geography, I knew odds were against the object being a unicorn’s perfume bottle but the wonderment in the girl’s eyes certainly had me wanting to believe. Why wouldn’t a unicorn want to store his/her perfume in this particular spot at this particular time. This patch is as good as any.

Of course I didn’t want to explain to the girls based on the pile of cigarette butts surrounding the magical object, while yes it did still have fluid and it was a translucent blue with an interesting looking nozel on the top, ideal for unicorn hooves to use as a mister, what they were actually looking at was a junkie’s blue lighter with a human girl’s DNA in the form of a nose print smeared all over it.

‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except Hanna who was sobbing into her pillow rather loudly.

I remember Christmas Eve when I was a kid. I would try to do anything possible to stay awake to catch a glimpse of Santa. I would take multiple baths to remain alert, I would eat hidden candy with a higher than necessary caffeine content leftover from Halloween, Coffee-crisps stacked in a “Do not touch until Christmas Eve” pile.

Then when I started to crash, from the sugar, water logged and from utter exhaustion, I would try desperately to fall asleep so the morning would hurry up and arrive. Except, as hard as I tried, I could not fall asleep.

I would squeal and toss and turn under my covers. I would giggle but on high speed and then stop and listen just in case I missed the sound of sleigh bells while positively giddy with anticipation.

I guess I expected my children to have a similar Christmas Eve experience. The baby was asleep with a pile of books in her crib–normal. Ellie was asleep and soaked with sweat with just a sheet covering her–normal.

When I heard Hanna, I assumed she was delightedly laughing at the possibility of the morning haul. Never did I anticipate the following conversation.

Me: Hanna, why are you crying?

Hanna: I’m on the naughty list. I know it. I’m not getting any presents.

Gulp.

Hanna: I haven’t been nice to Ellie all year, sometimes I’m really mean to her. I wanted to change but I ran out of time.

It was tough consoling her but I finally decided to tell her the truth.

If her Uncle Ted received a present every year from Santa then there was no way she was on the naughty list.

She smiled and felt better about her situation.

As a parent, I felt proud of her for having some remorse and acknowledgement for hurting someone else, hoping of course this might be the impetus for change, knowing instead it was really just an allover terror she may not have any brown paper packages tied up with strings under the Christmas tree.

Ellie in her sleep: Hanna, I’ll give you my presents if you don’t get any. (I think she winked at the sky hoping Santa might have been listening)

Good-night bum-kisser.

Ellie (age 5): Mommy! This is the best Christmas ever. Do you know what the two best days of the year are? Christmas and pizza day at school.

I asked Ellie if she could have anything for dinner, what would it be?

She replied, “mashed potatoes, squash, peas and rice.”

I then asked if she could wish for any one item to receive from Santa this year, what would it be?

She replied, “a new crochet hook.”

I had no idea I was going to benefit from having a daughter collecting senior’s discounts this soon.

I’m hoping the music recital will be a new Christmas tradition for our family.
Watching our two oldest perform in front of at least six other show-biz parents anxiously awaiting their child’s turn while someone spills hot apple cider on my lap and I try to align my winces to coincide with whatever instrument and if I’m lucky, note, is being played, is nothing short of a Christmas miracle.
Ellie was up first with her rendition of Jingle Bells on the violin.

I worried terribly all day the sounds that came from her particular violin weren’t those I recognized as violin sounds but rather, sounds I had never heard in my life. If only we could re-name her violin some other more obscure instrument, perhaps the audience would be fooled.

Ellie however was not shy about performing.

At home, she gathered us all into the living room and acted as both her own emcee as well as the leading act.

Ellie: Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, please turn off any cell phones or recording devices.

When she “played” the violin in front of the audience, once again, I found myself getting choked up. Not from the stale cracker platter, from watching my child stand with confidence holding an instrument everyone said she was too young and inexperienced to play and she gave it her best shot. As a parent, that’s always something to be proud of.

Hanna’s class would be performing Deck The Halls on the piano as a group. Each with his/her own keyboard, Hanna had strategically placed herself in the upper row, far corner and given herself plenty of time to switch the volume on the keyboard to “off.” I was also proud of Hanna’s miming act, mostly because I knew she had practiced her song and could play it in her sleep but opted, in the true spirit of giving, not to steal anyone else’s thunder.

This was perhaps a better approach than the student who played the song with sound, as though they were part of a high speed dubbing experiment, finishing three minutes before the rest of the crew had completed the first note.

Ellie (age 5): Mommy, I know EXACTLY where I put my music book. I know EXACTLY where it is. I just can’t find it.

Yesterday, I happened upon a conversation debating the health benefits of butter vs. margarine.

I remembered a time we only used butter growing up, then one day, I can only assume fuelled by a journalist working for the margarine control board of the world, an article smearing butter was published and like that, men in Hazmat uniforms arrived at our door to remove the foil wrapped plague littering our fridge, never to be spoken of again.

We were introduced to margarine as a gradual transition. I guess as a healthy alternative to butter at which time we were told about all of the negative properties of butter, how it comes from animal fat and no amount of de-toxing could cut through those permanent, creamy layers that were already clogging our arteries and possibly even our gizards.

Someone years later wrote an article quipping, “margarine is plastic butter.” which was the end of margarine in our house and our old friend butter was back.

I know I’m not alone in this debate having grown up in a house where eating healthy was held in such high regard, it sometimes trumped going to school if the cafeteria was serving anything with “deep-fried” on the chalk-board.

It got me thinking about those kids who lived in houses where their parents hadn’t read those articles and simply shopped for what they liked both from a taste and aesthetic perspective.

Those that had the following menu items became my instant friends and I would follow them home with a trail of foil butter wrappers behind me.

In no particular order…..

1. Processed cheese slices

2. Kraft Dinner

3. Bologna

4. White Wonder Bread

5. Salt

6. Chewable Vitamins (NOT white Vitamin C tablets)

7. Cereal with added sugar, colour with a marshmallow kicker

8. Alphagetti

9. Hot Dogs

10. Grilled cheese with numbers 1, 4 and unlimited ketchup

11. Skippy peanut butter

12. Cream Soda (pink or orange)

I’m not necessarily proud of this list. It’s just what I thought I always wanted in a pantry cupboard.

If my kids ask for any of the above, I laugh and laugh as I toss the “All Natural” peanut butter into the cart.

Just for the record, we are both a butter and margarine family.

What were some of your favorites when you were a kid? Do you allow your kids to eat them now? Do you eat them now?

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