Browsing Posts published in April, 2012

Ellie was invited to “bring a friend” day at a cheerleading practice and I wanted to do something meaningful with Hanna that could bond the two of us for life. What better way to bond than with actual bonding cream and cuticle softener?

I took Hanna to the nail salon because she has been working at not biting her nails. I remember how difficult it was for me to stop biting my nails as a kid and thought it would be a nice reward for her to highlight her progress.

After a quick examination, the woman assigned to Hanna’s case suggested there was no real manicure that could fix whatever Hanna had going on but she would gladly just paint the nine or so nubs she could find.

I told Hanna to select a colour, or colours and we would get started.

 “I’ll just take whatever’s cheapest.”

Um, what?

So now this lovely mother-daughter outing has a hint of “I’ll get you my pretty if you spend all of my money” which I can assure you was never my intent nor was price ever mentioned. In fact the conversation en route was positively delightful.

We talked about things that were on Hanna’s mind.

“Mommy, you know those ancient times pictures of you and your brothers at Grandma’s house?”

Ah yes, the ones done in black and white.

She discussed how nice it would be if when Greg and I die and after she has claimed the “big” ring as she is the oldest and has therefore called dibs on the “big” ring leaving her sisters with my Band-Aid collection and pictures of me done in ancient times, “Wouldn’t it be nice if when we die, our alien bodies go up to God-land and we eat cotton candy all day in the clouds?”

Yes it would honey. Yes it would.

Our manicures began and Hanna immediately tuned into the several t.v. screens overhead and started watching some crime show on in the background. The dialogue was quite vulgar hence the “viewer discretion is advised” notice. It doesn’t take a genius to know there should be no “viewer discretion” programming of any kind being showcased during the hours of 12—3pm at a nail salon next to the movie theatre at the local mall. I am using my discretion in not painting my fingers a bright yellow but I have no control over the t.v. remote.

“That bitch will burn in hell!”

Bitch was typed in bold letters across the bottom of the screen so those who were unable to hear could read the closed captioning.

Hanna continuously whispered, then giggled, then whispered some more every time the actors swore.

Viewer discretion Hanna, viewer discretion.

There was a lovely Armenian woman two seats down very interested in talking to me about her day, her potential interest in becoming an Accountant, the pros and cons of leasing vs. purchasing her vehicle outright. After telling her some of my deepest and darkest secrets, I told her that my daughter and I had come out today because my daughter is trying to stop biting her nails. She thought the 20 year old on the other side of me was my daughter.  She looked at the young woman and then at me. “Wow, you must have had her young. You could totally pass for mid-thirties”

So, exactly my age then swell.

Did I say lovely woman? I meant bitch.

I guess on a positive note, Hanna noticed the girl sprayed something on her nails labelled “alcohol” and has refused to put her nails in her mouth because that would be illegal.

Ellie told me she had written a song, “in my head” and asked that I type up the lyrics for her.

Done.

Please note every time she sings “be nice” in her special singing voice, it sounds a lot like “be an ass.”

Does it really matter how we walk down the street? Does it? Yeah does it?

Or does it really matter if we’re a good person? Yeah Yeah Yeah

So I think the meaning is, don’t be a bully, be nice

Don’t be a bully, be nice

Don’t be a bully, be nice

Don’t be a bully, be nice

Cause if we’re all a good person, then people can have more friends and everything good can happen—Yeah!

Hey everybody let’s look and see, everyone here is nice I hope

Never be a bully just be nice

Never be a bully just be nice

Never be a bully just be nice

Howdy!

Stage note: When Ellie sings “Howdy!” at the end, she will be wearing a cowboy hat and will throw it into the audience.

Stage note amended: Ellie will still throw the hat but it will be one she doesn’t really like because after she throws it, she’s going to let them keep it.

There was a spider on the ceiling this morning and two of three girls went crazy causing the third to blow a sphincter.

I would have had NO problem smacking the spider with a book and killing it but when the kids are in the room, I have to do my best to escort him outside and they expect proof of life, weekly updates on his whereabouts/health progress and monthly flowers sent to his family apologizing for forcing him out of our home.

The problem this morning was that the spider was on the family room ceiling. The only way I could remove him from the ceiling was to fling him with a paperback book and send him flying thirty feet away.

The girls squealed and cried because they were afraid of the spider and wanted him gone.

Make up your minds girls. Make. Up. Your. Minds.

“Mommy, don’t kill him!!!!” I heard over and over.

“I won’t kill him, but I can’t reach him on the ceiling unless I stand on the arm of the couch and swipe him with a book. I will just relocate him, it won’t hurt.”

Whack!

Hanna and Ellie searched the carpet frantically for the little guy. I really had no idea where he went but Chloe, my two year old, had the best line of all.

“Mommy! You hit him with my book! Now he’s too scared to read!”

Yesterday was one of those special days when it was just Chloe and I—no interruptions.

We spent a disproportionate amount of time playing her new favourite game “Hide and Seek.” The game tends to work better when her two older sisters also participate and invite Chloe to join them while hiding as well as being their special helper when they are seeking.

When it’s just the two year old and I, the game takes on a different feel.

Chloe: Mommy, can you count to thirdee?

I’m not sure as it’s not a number I’m familiar with. The truth is, the first round, I counted to thirty which for Chloe to concentrate on anything for a half a minute is a lifetime so I decided she likely meant counting to thirteen would be sufficient.

Chloe: Mommy, did you count to thirdee?

Me: Yes (I think so).

Chloe: Okay. Can you help me into the basket? (pointing to the basket of clean clothes that have not yet found their way into any clean clothes drawers—and perhaps never will).

Me: Okay (hoisting her into the basket)

Chloe: Ready Mommy!

After a few more rounds of me helping her into her various hiding spots including draping a towel over her in the middle of the bathroom floor and on top of her change table which was an impressive climb to watch, it became increasingly more difficult to act surprised when it came time to “find” her.

 It was time to attempt the potty once more.

It occurred to me, I have yet to bribe her with anything as yet (rookie mistake) and thought I might break yet another rule from children 1 & 2 and offer up a chocolate almond for results of any kind.

Though she wasn’t able to deliver, I’m pretty sure she blew a sphincter trying to get to the chocolate prize and before you ask if it’s possible to blow a sphincter, I happen to know, it is.

Next we drove to the library and en route, we passed a transport truck. Chloe was quick to point out, “That’s a big truck. He’s carrying monitors.”

Monitors or farm animals, it was just nice to hear where she stands on local transport, a conversation we wouldn’t have had if there had been a car full of kids.

Chloe: Mommy, can I comb your eye bras?

Me: Absolutely, as soon as I google “eye bras” to see if that is in fact part of the human anatomy.

Me (before nap time): Chloe, do you want me to sing Twinkle Twinkle?

Chloe: No, you don’t have to. Bye.

Another great day with another hidden gem.

Yesterday after hanging one of my six year olds art masterpieces on the wall, it brought a huge smile to my face.

I remembered how great the little things in life can be, how much joy they can bring us if we take the time to let them and how we should never take them for granted.

Here are a few others that brought a smile to my face.

  1. Watching my eight year old model and laugh while trying on hats for “Crazy Hat Day” at school. Then sleeping in the one she chose.
  2. Hearing my two year old just before falling asleep in her crib, “Mommy, I don’t need rest. It’s obvious.”
  3. Eating a bowl of caramel-cashew-toffee-crunch ice cream (President’s Choice) and not because I was celebrating something….just because.
  4. Having a “Who can draw the best Lorax?” contest with my six year old who won handily. I am still waiting to hear the results of my formal protest as the panel of judges (Daddy) seemed awfully biased.
  5. Hanna randomly guessing the correct answer on her math homework question (division) and beaming from ear to ear.
  6. Playing the card game “war” with Ellie and having her still refer to the two jokers as “jogos.”
  7. Picking up Hanna from school and watching her twirl her baby sister around before excitedly saying, “Oh Mom, you have GOT to hear this!”
  8. Making a huge circle on the driveway with sidewalk chalk and filling it all in with colour.
  9. Watching the girls react to a “Spring” weather report knowing this means they can soon start making lawn signs that say, “Slow down! Turtle Crossing.”

I’m leaving #10 blank.

What are some of your favourite “littles” that make you smile?

Greg has been encouraging me to have my eyes checked for years—three to be exact. That is when I had my last eye exam and I found the experience rather awful and quite frankly, unnecessary!

The Optometrist had suggested I come back to determine if there has been any change in my vision since 2009—there hasn’t.  This is the same year I last had blood work done as well. Try to catch me.

She suggested I come in for new pictures of the back of my eyeballs, she suggested she drop more yellow goo in my eyes and then she suggested she would flash bright lights at me and ask me if the letter “E” on the screen was fuzzier in film four than film seventy-three.

That is irrelevant.

She suggested all of this to Greg in an attempt to lure me back to the office where she sweetly chatted to me while she pretended the probe that actually touched my eyeball did so unintentionally, until she did it to the second eye. Fooled me twice.

 I really just see the office as an architectural feature holding up my drug store located conveniently next door.

I agreed to her terms but only because the pressure from Greg to have my eyes checked had become all consuming. It had nothing to do with him thinking I had a vision problem though, ever since his Lasik surgery, he does like to challenge the woman who has never worn glasses in “Who can read the street sign first” competitions and I ALWAYS WIN.

He and the Doctor agreed having good eye health is important—sure it is, if you think you have a problem, which I do not.

They also agreed I should own a decent pair of sunglasses which I also disagree with. I have about twelve pair of Old Navy/Winners/Marshall’s/mostly Winners, totally fashionable, affordable, covered in crumbs and smudges sunglasses and I have no physical attachment to them whatsoever. If I remove any one of them from the top of my head while trying on a t-shirt and forget them in a change room, I simply reach for a $9 back-up and never look back. I guess if I did look back, I wouldn’t lose quite so many.

This nagging was growing old and I conceded to a visit to the Doctor provided she and Greg agreed to my terms and also agreed to stop having these private meetings where my retinas and pupils were the focus.

“Will there be any drops shot into my eyeballs?”

Greg: No, they didn’t do that to me so NO, THERE WILL ABSOLUTELY UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES BE ANY DROPS FORCED INTO YOUR EYEBALLS.

Me: Hi Dr.—Greg told me you wouldn’t be using any drops today?
Dr: We do have to use some drops to check bla bla bla

Liars–both of them.

I felt a little queasy when she decided it was important I look at the pictures of the veins behind my eyeballs. Why this was important will remain a mystery. She could have been showing me a series of entwined garden hoses, provided they were meant to look like that, I really just saw this exchange as gross.

After the drops—dear God, the drops, the slide show, the click-the-joy-stick-when-the-fuzzy-thing-appears game, we agreed to hit the shelves for a decent pair of sunglasses.

It should be noted, of the dozen pair currently in my van, my purse or on the kitchen counter the retail value might total somewhere in the neighbourhood of $100—for all twelve.

Imagine Greg’s surprise when I came into the house wearing a new pair of Maui Jim sunglasses that didn’t look any different (at least to me) from the scuffed pairs I was quite happy wearing up until Operation “Spy-Wear Eye-Wear” he and Dr. Evil set in motion.

“Holy F%$#!!!! You spent $225 on a pair of sunglasses?”

That should show him.

My kids are surrounded by divorce this year. A number of students in their classrooms and extracurricular activities have families dealing with divorce, a sensitive issue for those involved and a confusing one for those who are not.

The kids have had a lot of questions, all of which Greg and I are happy to answer to the best of our abilities based on our own experience which is…..zero.

They’ve decided if our family is ever faced with this very difficult situation, there are some strategies they can implement to help them cope.

  1. When you win two copies of the same Scooby-Doo movie from your school Read-A-Thon, don’t offer the duplicate too hastily to someone you think might enjoy it. Keep one for Mommy’s house and one for Daddy’s house. You may not have doubles of everything, but you’ll always have Scooby Doo.
  2. Use divorce as an opportunity to redecorate your existing room and choose the paint colour of your new room. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Jack got to pick the new wall colour for his bedroom. Can you guys get a divorce already?”
  3. Wrap your body in a full cast.

This one threw me until the girls showed me the taped t.v. show that depicted a girl having a full body cast put on so she could distract her parents from fighting. The focus would be on her health and they would forget about what they were arguing about.

I found it comical when I called Greg bitching sweetly suggesting he might consider pre-heating the oven next time instead of just throwing the pizza in as the food and appliance warm up simultaneously and I saw Hanna and Ellie reach for the paper towel and paste to begin their homegrown cast factory.

 Chloe dragged the DVD player, the spare copy of Scooby Doo and some purple paint samples to the door.

I took Hanna and Ellie to see the Disney nature movie Chimpanzee on the weekend. I would have gone to see this movie alone as my interest in chimps stems way back to a crazy misunderstood neighbourhood lady who kept monkeys as pets.

Before the movie started, in those moments kids are frantically searching the grounds for leftover 3D glasses or the one in a million chance there’s a Werther’s candy in my purse, they showed taped interviews of kids being asked what their parents would do if they came home with a chimpanzee. The reply was unanimously, “My Mom would freak out!”

Not me, I have always secretly wanted a chimp. Not the kind that rip people’s faces off, the kind you dress up like a train engineer in your Cabbage Patch dolls’ striped overalls and tiny baseball cap that climbs up to fetch things from tall shelves and wants to give you long, furry hugs all day.

Here are a few suggestions to the filmmakers from our six year old, resident film critic.

1.       Why don’t the monkeys wear nametags on their backs so we know who they’re talking about? Didn’t the people who made the movie think they all looked the same?

Like a professional sports team with jerseys.

2. Why would monkeys want to hurt other monkeys? Don’t they know they’re all monkeys? If I haven’t said it before, sometimes I wish she was in charge of everything. At the very least, a policy maker.

3. Why can’t the monkeys just share the trees and the food–there’s enough for everyone? It would be better if they used their energy to work together.

I love this utopian society she’s created. Instead, she caught a glimpse of “nature” edited down to 1 hour, twenty minutes and not nearly as raw as it could have been. There were a lot of tears, a lot of burying of heads in my lap, her knees, my purse, followed by a pause hoping she might find one of those giant tubs of buttery popcorn in there.  She would have no luck, just receipts and seventeen pens, one of which works–intermittently.

She shook her hands frantically at one point in what I thought was a coping mechanism from some inner turmoil being depicted between two rival chimpanzee gangs onscreen. When I asked her if she was okay, she said, “Yes, I was sitting on my hands and now they feel like the fizzy water you drink.”

Perrier running through her veins is the modern day “pins and needles.” That works too.

Five stars.

Ellie came home from her new swimming session excited about making two new friends.

She was even more thrilled to have remembered their names because she knew I would ask her.

Ellie: Guess what Mom? I made two new friends in my swimming class and I knew you would ask their names. Do you want to know what they are?

Me: Absolutely!

Ellie: Crusty and Crispy.

I wonder if they’re related to Itchy & Scratchy?

I had an interesting experience at my daughters’ school the other day.

I received a call from the parent of one of my daughter’s friends asking if I would mind picking up her child and that child’s sibling in addition to my own kids at the end of the school day.

No problem.

I am a staple on the school yard with a perfect attendance record for number of consecutive days I’ve picked up my kids from school equalling the exact number of days they have attended school. In other words, my kids have never missed a ride home. I have a small trophy (made by me) to prove it.

I have also been contacted by various neighbours, parents of kids who are otherwise unable to pick up their own kids and will ask if I mind. I don’t. I drive right past their homes, I drive a champagne coloured mini-van I am beyond proud of and as payment I get to eat their lunch leftovers–a fair trade.

So this day didn’t seem different from any other when Greg took a phone call from the mother of a child asking if I would mind (I don’t) if I picked up her two kids and dropped them at home.

The trouble found me when I waited for the older sibling to exit the school and he never did. The three kids I had in my care helped me look on the school bus and one ran back into the school to check his classroom to see if he was lagging behind or wolfing down his lunch crumbs so I wouldn’t have to grab the bag from him while evilly giggling, “You know the drill!”

He wasn’t there.

This is where things became interesting.

The school receptionist told the sibling that her older brother didn’t come to school today.

“Oh yeah, I forgot he’s sick.”

Immediately, I became a suspect in a gruelling twelve minute long investigation. My five year clean record bought me nothing and I was asked to wait while my RFPU (request-for-pick-up) story was verified. The future of my trophy hung in the balance.

In some way, I’m relieved the school cared enough to contact the parent of these children to confirm they were in fact permitted to ride home with me in what could be described as the world’s dirtiest mini-van and in fairness that might really be what this whole misunderstanding was about.

I guess in another way, I was meant to feel insulted by these measures but I absolutely wasn’t. My concern was (as always) the safe arrival of the kids.

And the scrumptious leftovers I look so very forward to.

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