Browsing Posts published in May, 2012

While chatting with a few parents at a friendly neighbourhood t-ball game (t-ball being code for “I will get a freezie or maybe two if I swing at this ball on a stand for an hour”) many of us realized we have three children.

One of the mothers said, “Yes, three kids are quite common these days. It’s the new two.”

I may not follow any rules when it comes to fashion but it’s nice to have just one area that I can honestly say I’m on trend.

I wonder if the other Moms let their two year olds meander over to random strangers asking, “Could you give me an underdoggy?”

I think underdogs are the new leg pump.

I was involved in another language lesson in miscommunication during a trip to the mall with Chloe.

As soon as we walked through the entrance, something sparked and she immediately began asking if we could go and see the alligator.

I’m always impressed at how certain objects, logos or signs resonate with kids even as young as two years old. For Hanna, whenever we drove past the giant chicken in front of any Swiss Chalet she would start asking if we could please order French fries with dip. I suspect the alligator was Chloe’s giant chicken. I just couldn’t remember where she might have seen it. To my knowledge, this mall did not have a pet store so I started thinking of stores she might have noticed an alligator. Then I started worrying you could buy an actual alligator in a pet store.

As we walked, Chloe was determined to lead the way. Her stance at times was that of an Olympic skier trying on new ski boots, body parallel to the ground as she marched authoritatively telling me we had to go to see the alligator.

I asked her a couple of times about the alligator. “Was it a garden accessory in the Dollar Store?” “Was the alligator on a t-shirt at a kid’s clothing store?” “Was it a plush toy?” On she marched.

When we came up behind a bench, I noticed some pointy things sticking out the back and a little girl sitting with her grandparents enjoying some sort of mid-morning blood-sugar spike in the form of a hot fudge sundae and I thought maybe the alligator was a bench? Sadly, it was occupied.

On she trudged pulling me, speaking gator-gibberish.

Then I had a light-bulb moment. I wondered if there was an alligator ride you pay your $5 for your child to sit on for fourteen seconds while they lick other children’s melted hot fudge sundae spills off the handles but then I remembered I would never have put her on one of those things.

I tried to coax her away from the path to nowhere she was leading me to but she was so close to her destination, I could sense she was excited to have guided me all the way to the alligator.

We stood staring up at Sport-Chek on the second floor of the mall as she pointed and smiled. She started to tap dance. (Okay, she was actually spasmodically stomping but to a mother, it was an inspired Savion Glover-esque routine.)  I wondered if the store was now using an alligator as their logo as opposed to their trademark check-mark.

Chloe seemed eager to run up and even more excited to take me with her.

But all I saw was an escalator.

I took Chloe and Ellie to the park yesterday.

This was not my idea given the weather report had me convinced the only comfortable clothing we could possibly wear outdoors would be thongs, feather boas and nipple covers—it was a hot one.

I was enjoying a lovely chat with Mason’s Grandmother who had made the mistake of wheeling him via red wagon to the park and the two of them appeared severely dehydrated and weak from a lack of fluids and an unforgiving weather man.

I like chatting with caregivers at the park (well, I used to) and learning about what brought them out on a day the sweat-lodges were clearly all booked up.

Enter Chloe.

Chloe to Mason (who was at least a year her junior and wanted nothing more than to lick the sweat from her cheek): “I don’t really care.”

Stern look from Granny whom I thought was my new friend having bonded over our mutual delirium.

Chloe again: I don’t really give a care. (this time, she had her hands on her hips and appeared at least from my angle to be pecking poor Mason on his face like an angry rooster)

Mason retreating from this strange and unwanted exchange.

Chloe shouting while chasing after him: You’re a Jer!

Once again, she’s used her technique of dropping a key letter or letters off of a word she knows is forbidden, in this case, the letter “k,” thus making it impossible for us to discipline her.

“You’re a jer, you’re a jer” she heckled.

I knelt down to Chloe’s level resting my knee in a puddle of my own juices and tried to explain I was onto her and she was not to call people names.

“That’s stoop.”

Foiled again.

We have scolded the kids for asking one parent a question and then turning to the other when they are unhappy with the first parent’s answer.

Chloe at age two is still too young to fully understand this sneaky technique utilized by her crafty sisters (and siblings for thousands of years) when “no” simply won’t do.

In fairness to Greg, he was in the garage when Chloe asked me to paint her fingernails. Aside from just saying “no,” or, “I’m the boss of you,” I find myself having to come up with a three-fold persuasive argument to justify my answer otherwise she chews me up and spits me out like a Goldfish cracker in my mini-van.

  1. I can’t paint your nails right now because you aren’t able to sit still long enough to keep the polish from smearing all over both of our hands and the handles of the bathroom vanity.
  2. You pick the nail polish off of your fingers before it dries leaving globs of sparkly purple goo all over the furniture.
  3. You are two years old and nail polish is not appropriate for two year olds.
  4. Bonus: What happens if you require emergency surgery and that box that says, you must not have any nail polish on is marked “yes” and they won’t operate on you?

 

Enter Daddy.

Chloe: Daddy, will you polish my nails?

Unprepared, naive, doesn’t-know-I’ve-already-said-no Daddy: Sure squirt! Let’s go!

Off they go to the bathroom to select an array of colourful, soon-to-be-scrubbed-off-the-leather-couch polish.

I heard Greg making every effort to keep Chloe still while he painted. I even heard him turn on the hair dryer to speed up the process but something (as it often does) took a terrible turn. Like a dog being wounded having been hit by a car, the sound of the dryer made Chloe bolt down the hall streaking purple glitter the entire length of the hallway.

The moral of the story is, when your Mom says no, don’t ask your Dad because she will be the one driving him to the emergency room to have the foot from his ass removed.

Unfortunately, they won’t operate on him because the “Are you wearing nail polish?” box has been checked “yes.”

I thought like anything you neglect, it would just take care of itself. I was wrong.

I decided to attack some of our garden beds today but once again, I was defeated. I am simply no match for the weeds.

While dandelions are a nuisance, the more invasive weed is the Murdoch. I’m not sure if it’s even called Murdoch but I sound more like a gardener if I assign a name to it and I have heard Murdoch looks like rhubarb as does this s.o.b. of an intruder.

 Also, Murdoch is a super cool name and having been a member of the A-Team’s fan club long enough to receive a personalized letter from Mr. T encouraging me to “stay in school” it was the obvious name choice.

Beneath the several tons of Murdoch, I found the following items had found refuge in my neglected, overgrown space.

A canoe

Human skull

Remains of an entire T-Rex

My A-Team fan club certificate of authenticity

Dwight Schultz

I really love the summer.

I really hate the cold.

I can’t think of anything more disturbing than this crippling summer cold.

I volunteered in Ellie’s kindergarten class the other day and had a lovely visit with the kids.

I wonder if kids are different when their own parents are in their classroom. For example, when Ellie mounted me as I walked in the door and spent the majority of her morning signing, eye, followed by her heart and kissing me while pointing to my chest, it felt no different from any other day.

“Eye” love you too Ellie but our focus today is to learn about insects.

Though you wouldn’t know it from our lengthy classroom discussion about zebras and their confusing nature or how one little girl has a brother who is seven and can run really, really, REALLY fast.

I watched several children spill their snack items on the sacred “carpet” where stories were told, lessons were taught, naps were taken, head lice were spread only to choose to pick or scoop them up and continue eating with no fear of consuming fibres from a germ-laden rug whose primary job is to absorb spills and head lice.

The volunteers were on site for recess which for me, as a kid, was always the best part of the day. The kids played freeze tag but never stayed frozen long. They argued over who would be “it.” There is a disproportionate amount of time dedicated to the planning and execution of who will be “it,” so much so that in some circles, the game of freeze-tag is never actually played before the bell rings signifying the end of recess.

It takes skill and stamina to either outrun the person who is “it” or quickly fall to the ground feigning injury while being chased in an attempt to get out of being frozen or heaven forbid, “it.”

Who would choose the song that would appoint the person who would eventually be assigned “it?” The person who is finally, cruelly, under the most extreme set of lunch-trading circumstances assigned the role of “it” is always it. No one is ever caught as per above. Lick it. Stick it. Stamp it.

Whoever was selected to sing said song appointing “it” also chose where “T” (time-out) would be which I later learned was irrelevant as it was any time a child was within two feet of being tagged by “it.”

 There were a number of arguments over whether someone had been touched at all. If the runner was foolish enough not to be shouting “T! T! T!” in a chant the entire time they were playing the game, it was impossible to prove to the person who was it they had actually made contact with an article of clothing or skin. If skin was touched, there was an instant injury and the athlete who was now meant to be frozen was far too distraught to participate and was off to the office for ice. If clothing was touched, it was difficult to prove because without a third party witness, how would anyone know other than “it?”

How does one find a witness in a sea of children running for their lives screaming “T!!!!?”

After finally assigning a person to be it, reviewing the rules about freezing, unfreezing, being frozen, mouthing “I love you” to volunteer parents and arbitrarily appointing penalties for misusing “T” the bell had gone.

Somehow, the kids still managed numerous scuffed knees, bonked heads, inappropriate words resulting in hurt feelings and a lot of requests to ice injuries which I am coming to realize is one of the most common practices at our school during recess, even more so than perfecting the “it” assignment.

Mouthing the words “I love you” to your mother makes you invincible in freeze-tag. You can never be “it,” caught or carded for “T” indiscretions and you have unlimited access to ice.

You might however be on the receiving end of another kind of sign language from your classmates.

This morning was Hanna’s track & field meet at school. This is the first year she has been able to participate and after mistakenly sending her in my “lucky socks” last week on the wrong day, they were sufficiently worn-in by today.

Hanna had discussed at great length her disinterest in participating in any kind of running race, anything with the slightest competitive edge, pitting her against her classmates, anything that might make her warm, breathe heavily or ask that she wear her hair in a ponytail (gasp!) or dress in something her mother thought would add some “spring” in her step.

I encouraged Hanna to think about how much fun it is to race her sisters (and formerly her mother who without her lucky socks just might soil herself) to the apple tree in the backyard.

I suggested she was missing out on opportunities by deciding before ever trying that something wasn’t going to be enjoyable.

I plied her with the promise of a spaghetti dinner if she would just leave that elastic wrapped around her hair and run just once when the teacher said “go” and further, I promised to submit in writing a request that there be no urine tests should there be a first, second or third placing for at least 48 hours following the race.

When she got on the bus in the morning, she still had her ponytail, my lucky socks and an extra bottle of water but absolutely no enthusiasm about being involved in something that might challenge her in a way she a) wasn’t used to and b) would put her in the spotlight.

I realize there are kids who will never win a ribbon in any sporting even in their lifetime. They will do great things in some other area that interests them and primary school track & field days will never be in their thoughts again.

I think many parents would use track & field day to book Doctor’s appointments for their kids. This way, they’re not going to miss anything of value in the classroom. For me, track & field is one of those days you remember. There have been months of addition, division, trips to the Pioneer village but there are only a couple of days that kids get to run around outside, socialize and Just. Be. Kids.

I rescheduled Hanna’s Orthodontist appointment from today thinking I would rather have her try something new, something outside of her usual box/comfort level, something that might just MIGHT, fingers crossed make her smile (a crooked one until that dental appointment gets rescheduled).

I couldn’t believe the emphasis I was putting on this one day that most kids and parents would have wandered out the door thinking, “Hey is today track & field? Have fun out there.”

Most of the kids ran. There were a few on the sidelines. One pretended to have a sore ankle (invented by me) the others opted not to participate. I wanted to hug them all and whisper my best Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” keeping in mind these kids were coming up with a cure for cancer and running alongside some buddies between the confines of two pylons hardly seemed a worthy distraction from their research.

I wanted Hanna to participate today because it IS fun.

The girls ran in pairs and were timed so no one knew the rankings which were in my mind totally irrelevant after I watched my kid run, smile, try, high five a friend, straighten her ponytail and tug at her ridiculously oversized socks.

When the teacher read out the fifth place winner, then fourth, third, second the girls clapped for each other and there was no sign of a competition. Someone in their class, someone they knew had done something worthy of a ribbon on a sunny May day in grade three.

Hanna won her very first red and gold first place ribbon for the girls 100 m running race.

I cried the whole way home.

We tried to make the long weekend fun for the girls. The pool is not yet ready so we tried to come up with fun activities that did not involve looking at the neighbours cannon-balling into their deep-end, running in slow motion with pool noodles, enjoying popsicles on their deck or ever looking in their direction.

Greg thought of the perfect picnic lunch idea—Egg salad!

We both agreed egg salad had all of the makings to turn this hot mess of a weekend around.

I think when the oven timer on the eggs beeped to signify they were cooked it hit me–I think we’ve tried egg salad with these kids before and it did not end well.

Due to our sometimes enforced rule of no saying, “Oh that’s gross! What do I smell? Did someone fart?” while approaching the table, we saw the following three honest egg salad reactions.

Chloe: What do I smell? Did someone fart?

Hanna: Oh that’s gross!

Ellie silently approached the table, eyes starting to fill with tears. She looked at the bread, tried to smile in my direction, biting her upper lip and choking back tears asked, “What’s for lunch?” Her eyes were so full of liquid, if she had blinked, she would have soaked her sandwich but she stayed strong.

Greg and I reminisced about the egg salad sandwiches of yore. The kind you ate in quarters on white bread with real butter in the basement of a church after a neighbourhood garage sale in the name of raising money for the egg deprived.

The kids looked at their egg sandwiches on whole grain bread with no mayonnaise, no butter, no distinguishable flavour, Ellie whispered to Hanna while her nose was plugged, “I think it’s a scrambled egg sandwich” and they both gagged.

I thought it might take their minds off the eggs and the large empty chlorine-less hole in our backyard if after painting on some canvas sheets that had been in the craft cupboard since Christmas, we baked a rhubarb cake and enjoyed it with some neighbours—not the ones who were refreshed from hours of plunging in and out of their backyard oasis, the other ones dried and dusted like us.

I realized using phrases like, “okay, now toss the flour” and “throw the sugar in the bowl” was not the kind of verbiage you want to mess around with and consequently we looked more dried and dusted than before.

The kids anxiously awaited our masterpiece and when the oven beeped, knelt facing the glass panel to review our delicious group project.

Hanna: What do I smell?

Chloe: Oh that’s gross!

Ellie: Do we have any more of those scrambled egg sandwiches?

Summer has arrived! The smell of pungent, steamy, over-ripe diapers that when you walk into the invisible wall in your garage makes you throw up in your mouth is officially here.

The Guinness Book of Records staff is en route to see if we are finalists again this year for smelliest garage garbage.

The bins were angry that day my friends. So angry in fact, it spit one out.

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