Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Monster and the Skunk

One Halloween night, a skunk and a monster got dressed to go Trick or Treating for the first time.

At first the monster was not impressed with the lurid green outfit his mother had chosen for him. He roared at her in protest as she tried to wrestle the costume onto his body. In the end an agreement was reached, whereby the monster would receive candy before dinner in exchange for putting on the costume.

The skunk and the monster set off down the road, ringing the neighbour's bells and yelling "Twick or Tweet!".

The monster was not yet versed in Halloween candy collecting etiquette, and so at each house, he shoved his paw into the bowls of goodies asking "Nother one?" and "More?" while his parents hastily told him "Just one candy sweetie!"

The monster thanked the candy givers and then added "You're welcome." for extra politeness.

By the time the monster and the skunk arrived back home, their loot was overflowing with chocolatey goodness.

And so no dinner was had.

And later, while the wild animals slept peacefully in their beds, their evil parents ate all their candy and cackled to themselves. (Just kidding, we left them some.)



Happy Halloween.
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

This is what happens when you move to the suburbs and have kids.

Something strange has happened to me.

Five years ago I definitely would not have laid eyes on a white ceramic bowl with black polka dots and a black cat centerpiece and thought I must have that bowl or all hell will break loose in this store.

Instead I would have snickered and wondered what kind of bizarre world a person must live in where that kind of thing would be desirable.

But here it is, on my table, along with orange napkins and mini pumpkin arrangements.


So what the hell happened?

Lately, and especially now that my toddler is aware of holidays and events, I've been filled with an urge to embrace seasonal paraphernalia.

Weird.

When I was pregnant I saw this cookie jar in a kitchen store and thought that will be a perfect cookie jar that my kids will grow up to remember as the cookie jar that was always filled with delicious baked treats. It's Yellow and red, for god sake. And, again with the polka dots.


Five years ago my idea of decorating for Halloween would have involved an orange martini. Now it's kid-friendly painted wooden ornaments perched in random corners of the house.


And wooden vegetables in baskets. I repeat: wooden vegetables.


Cupcakes. That I made. It's a miracle with frosting and jelly beans.


And witch silhouettes. That I downloaded from the Martha Stewart web site and cut out by hand.


And, worst of all, don't laugh - an inflatable spider.


It's all for the kids, I swear!

I don't know how, or when it happened. But somewhere in between thinking about babies and becoming an seasoned mother of two, I became a suburban person with Christmas hand towels and dishcloths.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Too tired to tweet

Sleep deprivation is going to kill me. Or, if it doesn't kill me, it's going to deprive me of the ability to make sense of ordinary things. Soon I won't be able to form a sentence that sense makes. And would no one then able be to blog my read. And that suck would.

I had an inkling I was over tired when I caught myself singing "I'm so tired, but that's okay 'cause so are you." to myself in the mirror this morning.

And then I found my lost keys in the dish washer. And though it was nice to have sparkly clean keys, I decided this was not the behaviour of an alert, awake person.

And then I started calling the dog by the kid's names, the kids by my husband's name, my husband by the dog's name. It was all a bit confusing.

And when a charity called to arrange the details of a clothing pick up, I had to check my front door to make sure I was giving her the right house number.

And while on the phone, I watched as my toddler squeezed the juice from half a grapefruit onto the sofa and lick it off exclaiming "delicious!" and did nothing about it. Because I hadn't yet had my coffee.



I admit, it's partially my own fault. I gave up on sleep training because I wanted to hang on to the sweet baby cuddles. Because soon the sweet baby will be a stubborn toddler. And there may be no more babies or baby cuddles. And so, my brilliant plan of ditching the sleep training completely botched any hope of sleeping through the night.

Even coffee - my morning vice, my luva in a cuppa - isn't as effective any more. After two or three cups my head is still foggy and I still cannot think lucidly.

But at least I won't need a mask for Halloween this year. The bags and wrinkles will suffice.


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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is that a stiletto or are you just happy to see me?

First there was the vibrating sex-toy-in-disguise mascara.

And when I laid my (plain old mascara stick painted) eyes on the vibrating wand I was delighted by its silliness. And then, to take the silliness to new heights I created my own vibrating mascara wand with added features. Which was definitely way more cool than the plain vibrating one. Mine had Twitter and a Starbucks card so, no competition really.

But now there's a new one.

Lash stiletto mascara.


Hurray for new silliness to make fun of!

So - lash stilettos.

As in... Your lashes will look like stilettos.

As in... You will look as though you faceplanted a stiletto and couldn't remove it.

As in... Your lashes will be so thick you won't be able to see through them.

As in... People will begin to call you shoe face.

Because clearly, plain old lashes with mascara are no longer good enough. Even falsies loaded up with black goo don't cut it any more. You see, these days, unless there's a chance your lashes could be mistaken for stilettos? Forget it. You're so yesterday.


What do you think the mascara people will come up with next? I'm thinking multi-coloured glow sticks for lashes. Or, eyelashes that double as chop sticks. Or, hedgehogs.
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

The office that love forgot

When we renovated our basement last year, we added several extra rooms downstairs - a playroom, a laundry room, a utility room, a guest room, a bathroom and an office.

An office designated to be my office.

Because next year - in two months (um what?), in January (eh?), I'm going to (gawd) start working (crap) from home (wheeze), in this office.

The problem? Over the past nine months, this "future" office - that had no foreseeable prospect of actually becoming an office - became a poor, unloved dumping zone for junk with no other home.

- Gift bags that I hoard like an old lady with cats.
- Random craft materials I buy in the hopes of becoming crafty but which never even see a stick of glue.
- Paperwork that really belongs in the filing cabinet that's currently located in a wardrobe in my son's bedroom and that no one can get into.
- Holiday decorations, wrapping and ribbons.
- Christmas presents that are yet to find a secret hiding place.
- General crap with no name or identity.

This office. You see? This one?

So, yeah.

This is my desk. Where all the, em, brilliant creative stuff is going to happen.


See the problem?


You'd think, with two kids under the age of three, and all the constant laundry, cleaning, tidying and organizing I'm faced with on an ordinary day, I'd be undeterred by a bit of clutter. Nope. The office - I can't face it. It's been too long. And there's too much crap. So I'm considering the alternatives:
a) demolish office and dig out pit for swimming pool.
b) lock door of office and pretend it's like a room in Wuthering Heights. And tell kids it's haunted for dramatic effect.
c) continue to use room as dumping ground and run business from laptop on sofa.

Of course I'm kidding. Hahaha. Haha. Ha. Kind of.

My real plan (that I just made up five minutes ago) involves transforming this pig shack into a beautiful, serene work space where I can go and sit and be inspired.

In a few months I shall unveil an amazing transformation. That will look something like this.


Or this. (Replace golden retriever with Australian Shepherd)


Or this lemony mellow place of happiness.


(Images from www.theestateofthings.com)

Or, swimming pool...? It's tempting.


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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Glad we're on the same page.

Last night I peered around the bathroom wall in between brushes, to casually ask J a question through a mouthful of toothpaste.

"We've been married six years, right?"

"Um.... yeah...." J said, not at all convincingly.

For a moment we stared at each other quizzically. The truth is neither of us can remember how many years we've been married. Because in between then and now there have been many moves, a house purchase, a new country, new jobs, new friends, renovations, a dog and two babies. That's a bloody lot of adventures in six, five or seven years or whatever it is.

"I can't believe you don't remember!" I said accusingly.

"Oh sure. Like you remembered." He said, eyebrow raised.

"Obviously I know how long we've been married. I was just confirming."

He snickered at my pathetic attempt to gain higher ground.

Some people are super organized and write important dates in their diary at the beginning of the year. Me? Not only do I not have important dates written in my diary, I don't have a diary. I ditched it.

Okay I lost it.

There were too many - paper diaries and online diaries - and in the end it all became a jumbled mess of confusion. So I ditched/lost them. Now I go by what's in my brain and therefore I have no clue what day it even is.

Oh oh - good opportunity to apologize for missed events! Here goes: I'm sorry to those friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who's birthdays I've missed. I'm sorry If I forgot your kids' birthdays too. And if I forgot your wedding anniversaries, but really who remembers those anyway? And I'm sorry, Mr dentist, if I've made appointments with your nice receptionist and not turned up. But actually I don't really like you and your tools of torture very much anyway... But still, I suck.

Plus I'm quite tired. You know, from not sleeping more than three hours at a time for NINE MONTHS. That's a pretty good reason to be forgetful/unorganized, right?

But thankfully J and I are equally bad at this remembering important dates thing, so neither one can blame the other when we forget.

Even if it is the number of years we've been married.

Interesting fact to end post:
Six years is iron. IRON. What kind of rubbish is this? What - six years is not long enough to warrant something as good as diamonds or emeralds? Imagine: Thanks honey for this iron griddle, it's just what I've been wanting! Bah.



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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Baby faces

Our baby is nine months. It's such an enjoyable time - this transformation from infant to toddler, in which he's eager to move, exploring every corner of the house, learning so fast I can hardly catch my breath. We've made it through the difficult early months and emerged at the other end (alive). Six teeth are through. The nights are better. A routine is in place for eating, napping, bathing, playing.



And we could never, ever have anticipated this child who's rarely still for more than a second, already climbing onto furniture, tugging at sleeves and pants, grabbing objects at every chance, lunging forward fearless and with no regard for where he might land, chuckling sweetly all the while. His energy and luminosity is contagious. His smile is so wide, so bright, it's almost alarming.


There's no better thing in life than his brother. With a glint of determination in his eye, he'll propel himself across the room, over toys, over dog, over whatever is in the way, to get to Matthew. To be a part of whatever he's doing.


And on his face, a twinkle, a spark, a look of mischief that's always present. Something that suggests he's in the throws of something. Good, bad, trouble - something.



Rarely stationary. Which, though he seems to love the camera, can make picture taking a challenge.


God I love this boy.



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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What Not to Buy for Baby

I know, it's so much fun - sweeping through the aisles of XYZ Baby Store with the cart just millimeters from your protruding belly, excitedly flinging every miscellaneous thing into the cart because really, you have no clue what you need, but it all looks pretty impressive.

But listen carefully new parents. As I sit here, years, and hundreds, possibly (gulp) thousands of dollars later, and I look around at the endless piles of absolutely essential will for sure die without baby gear, I'm going to tell you something.

Some of it is good. Much of it is crap.

So.

Step away from the piles of attractive but useless baby stuff. Put your wallet back in that pocket. Don't listen to the voices telling you yes yes you must immediately purchase that special new burp cloth with the extra pockets that catch the burp spit. You know why? Because you're currently in a state of sweaty delirium fueled by pre-baby madness and super savvy baby product marketers who are very talented at hyping you up into a consumerist tizz.

These are just my opinions. Okay? I'm just sayin'. If I were to have another baby, these are the things I would not purchase.

Diaper Genie
Ooh great! This is just what I need! you think as you picture the numerous diapers that will be stacked tidily and odourlessly away in the Genie. Great. But guess what? In a few days, you have no choice but to open the container and face the horror of all the poopy diapers that are now amassed into a diaper sausage! A sausage of poopy diapers. Poop sausage. Yuck. I used mine for about two months and couldn't bare it any more. For the love of gawd, simply take the rotten stinky diapers outside one by one as needed to save yourself the plight of the diaper sausage.

Pee-pee hat
What the hell is this madness? A penis hat? A pee preventer? This is all kinds of uselessness wrapped into a little profit making package. Basically, it's a square of fabric taped together to form a cone. That people buy. With money. Hmmm. Instead, here is what you do: move like a race horse - one diaper off, one on. Before any, um, leaks are sprung. No pee hats needed. Gawd.

Preformed swaddling blanket (the ones with all the fancy flaps and buttons and ties)
Here's an idea. Instead of forking out fifty dollars for a swanky bit of fabric with bells and whistles, spend five on a regular receiving blanket and fold it around your baby. Just as good. In fact better, in my experience. Folding instructions can be found here.

Wipes warmer
What? A what warmer? May I ask - what on earth did folks do before these things existed? How did they survive? Are they rolling around in their graves wailing "Oh golly gosh if only I had lived to own a wipes warmer. My life would surely have been immeasurably better. Why God Why?"

Baby sleep wedge
This is a piece of foam used to prop a baby onto its side to sleep. I'm sure there are reasons for this. Emmm? Nope, can't think of any. All that comes to mind is, what if someone picked me up and wedged me in between two giant pieces of foam and told me "I think you should sleep like this tonight. No, not on your back. No, not on your front. I'm sorry but I know what's most comfortable for you and I'm in charge. Okay?" Um no.

Baby nail clippers with light (so you can clip your baby's nails while they sleep)
Is it just me? I'm imagining how it must feel to be fast asleep, then suddenly hear a sinister clip, clip, clip, and then have a flashlight shining in your face. Waaaaaa! What the hell mum? Are you out of your freaking mind? I thought a giant monster with a light for a face was trying to kill me with a pair of clippers. I know kids don't love having their nails clipped. That's why I do it either when they first wake up, just before bed, or when they're distracted by something like the TV.

I'm sure there are more. Want to add one to the list? Be my guest!

I realize someone is probably going to write to me claiming that one or all of these inventions are in fact brilliant and extremely useful. These are simply my opinions as an experienced mum with young babies. Glad we good that sorted.
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fancy restaurants and run ragged parents

On Friday night I got ready to go to dinner with J and his step-brother. At 6:30 p.m. with wet hair, rushed makeup and nothing to wear, a small storm erupted in my bedroom as I plowed through my wardrobe, pulling out tops and skirts, scowling and throwing everything on the floor, and finally pulling down a box of old clothes from the top shelf, last worn some time in 2006. At some point J came into the room, looked first at the mess on the floor, then at me, and without a word turned and walked back out. He knows this mood.

By 8 p.m. in something not too smart and not too subtle (and all black of course), I was seated in a leather chair in the restaurant with the warm, fragrant atmosphere wafting around me.

It took me a few minutes to adjust. The smart restaurant with its high ceilings and glass sculpture chandeliers threw me. I was out of place. A mother now - more used to spending hours in the kitchen wearing sweat pants and Ts, hands always in water at the sink, seventy times a day stooping to pick up toys and scraps and half-chewed things from the floor.

But once, a long time ago, I ate out a lot. A weekly meal in a nice restaurant was just an extension of my week of business meetings, suits, black taxi rides across London, whizzing around, dashing, running, phone calls, always making plans. Eating at a fine restaurant was nothing out of the ordinary. Just another moment in a lively week. Another inconsequential dip in our DINK* income.

And then, here I was, years later, staring down at the utensils arranged in front of me, trying to remember which fork was for what on the white tablecloth. The waiter handed me the wine menu and I looked blankly from California to Italy and quickly handed the menu to someone else.

The food tasted particularly good - better than it would have tasted five years ago when dining out was no big deal. I savoured a buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad and a roasted Atlantic salmon with a porcini mushroom crust with a different enthusiasm.

And as I took in the ambience I couldn't resist peering around the restaurant (me: nosy nora), observing the mostly middle-aged people enjoying their fifty dollar tenderloins and laughing casually with the seasoned look of regular patrons.

It'll be a while before this type of thing is normal, or even occasional, for me again. For now it's large pots of chili and roast dinners with the kids around a noisy, messy table. And that's good too.

*Double Income No Kids
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Weird Children

Sometimes kids do strange things. Like hiding in a box in the garage while half of North America holds its breath and watches a helium balloon descend from the sky in trepidation.

And though I didn't ever pull anything quite so stupid daring, I definitely had my own set of peculiarities.

For instance.

I asked the milkman to grant my wishes.
When I learned about the tooth fairy, I began leaving little notes under my pillow for her, asking for all kinds of things - barbies, ponies, care bears, sherbet fountains... I figured, if she could grant me a wish each time I lost a tooth, she was probably fluttering around somewhere close by and therefore wouldn't mind granting me a few wishes in between teeth losses. So, each night, I left little notes asking her politely for all manner of random toys, and I always included the most important one - a set of free wishes.

And then, I figured that if the tooth fairy could grant wishes, then hey - the milkman probably could too. Right? (Those were t'days of milk being delivered).

So one day, I stuffed a rolled-up scrap of paper into an empty milk bottle on the doorstep, onto which was scribbled a LONG list of things that I wanted. And then I waited excitedly for the milkman to grant ALL my wishes.

And can you believe it? That miserable bastard... not only did he NOT grant my wishes, but he didn't even write back to me. I never trusted milkmen again after that.


I charged people entry to my "museum".

Maybe I was an eager little capitalist, or maybe I wanted to be a curator - I don't know, but one day I decided to start a museum in my bedroom and charge my family an entry fee. I took random objects from my room and lined them up on makeshift tables. Then I stood at one end, a purse strapped to my hip, with a very curator-ish look on my face and welcomed my visitors.

I convinced my friends to perform my "art".
When I was about seven, I invited a few friends over to my house. The little friends had no idea they were about to be initiated into a singing, dancing, performing group. We huddled around the piano as I prodded the notes and we screeched out songs like "Don't Cry For Me Argentina." Like Glee but, um, not.

Then, when I was ten, I wrote a short play and persuaded my classmates perform it in front of the entire school. Being the bossy little lady that I was, I handed out scripts and had my friends meet up almost every day to rehearse the play. Somewhere there are pictures of kids dressed as ghosts, dancing to Thriller, and also a copy of the program.


...Yes, I was a bit of an odd child. But, you'll be pleased to know I turned out to be perfectly normal in the end.

Ahem.
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Little white lie

When I was pregnant with my second son, people would soberly tell me things like "the first year or two will probably suck" and "oh you're going to be so run ragged". I spent half my pregnancy mentally preparing myself for the worst. And to be honest, the first few months with two children were difficult, to say the least. In fact, yes, they sucked.

Yesterday, at an indoor play centre, I got chatting with another mum. She had an eighteen month-old and was 7 months pregnant with her second. Upon seeing my two kids of an age gap to similar to what hers would be, she was interested to how I found it. Was it okay, with two kids so close together? Was it manageable?

For a brief moment I thought about spilling the still-fresh details of the first few exhausting months - how some days I couldn't tell whether I was coming or going, how I nearly ripped the hair from my head on several (thousand) occasions, how I had wondered if I'd ever sleep for more than an hour at a time again.

And then, instead, I told her it really wasn't all that bad.

Which, okay, in truth was a little bit of a lie.

But you know what? As the pregnant woman waited anxiously for my answer, I decided I wasn't going to tell her what people had told me. I wasn't about to fill her with fear. Because who knows - maybe her new baby will be an "easy" baby (whatever the hell that means) - one that sleeps well, eats well and is generally content. Maybe she won't feel the need to pull her hair out from the roots by the handful or daydream about climbing out the window and running in the direction of the nearest bus station.

And I tell you, when I saw the look of relief on the woman's face as I casually shrugged and told her it really wasn't all that bad, I was glad I chose to tell a white lie.
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Friday, October 9, 2009

You want an accent with those fries?

Every so often I forget I have an accent. A couple of days will go by, I'll be feeling like a genuine Canadian, and then I'll be in the grocery store and the cashier will ask me "Your Co-op number?" And I'll say "###*-008". You know - but like "double oh eight". And then most times the cashier, being friendly, will ask me "Which part of Australia are you from?" And I look at her like she's completely insane, which I suspect she may in fact be.

And I'm once again reminded that I'm an outsider. A foreigner. An alien.

The worst is drive-through. And even without the accent thing, I'm bad at drive-through, apparently. J has noted that I become really loud and pissy at the voice in the box if they don't get my order right first time. Which isn't true at all: I only speak loudly and slowly so they'll understand me. And normally I'm very patient. Normally. Except when the person taking the order ALSO has an accent. And then I might as well be explaining the Russian revolution, in Russian, to someone that doesn't speak Russian.

Me: "I'd like one teen meal.."
Voice: "One kids meal?"
Me: "A teen meal."
Voice: "Kid meal?"
Me: "No. (leaning out the car towards the box) A TEEN meal."
Voice: "Teen burger?"
Me: "A TEEN MEAL. A TEEN MEAL."
Voice: "Okay one teen meal. Anything else?"
Me: "One mozza burger."
Voice: "One Mama burger?"
Me: "No. A MOZZA burger."
Voice: "Papa burger?"
Me: "MOH-TZA burger."
Voice: "Oh! Mozza burger?"
Me: "Yes."
Voice: "You wanna drink with that?"
Me: "A root beer?"
Voice: "Root beer. Anything else?"
Me: "That's all."
Voice: "A what?"
Me: "No I said that's all."
Voice: "Onion rings?"
Me: "THAT. IS. ALL."
Voice: "Okay. Thank you. Please pick up your meal at the first window."

All that kurfuffling for a lousy burger.



*First digits emitted in case someone tries to highjack my membership number. What? That totally could happen!
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

The unDiet

The problem with the all-or-nothing personality type - i.e. ME - is that, while it can yield great bursts of energy and enthusiasm (think excited puppy on a pogo stick), it can also mean getting bored quickly and ditching the previously-good idea in a minute and moving onto the next amazingly terrific thing.

Take running, for instance. I go through spurts of running three or four (or if I'm particularly manic) five times a week for a few months. Then I get bored and find whiny excuses like oh I don't think I'll go for a run tonight, it's too cold and dark or ohhh I've had a reeeeally long day with the kids and I'm just soooo tired I can't possibly even lift my little toe off the sofa... Etc. You know the drill.

And when it comes to diet, the all-or-nothing personality can be down right troublesome. For instance, I like to be slim, but I like food. No, that's wrong, like is too flimsy. I would write a song about food. There.

Spaghetti Carbonara, you are my Scarlett O'Hara...

Coq au Vin, of yours I'm such a fan...
Spotted dick and custard, you don't go well with mustard...

Okay that's enough of that.

Back to what I was saying.

I'm not the kind of person that can open a bag of chips and just take just a few. If it's open, it's eaten. For me there's no such thing as just taking one or two cookies from a packet of cookies (who the hell does that anyway?). One square of chocolate? Hahahaha. Gone. Inhaled like sugary air.

This is why chocolate, candies, chips and sweets are rarely purchased and kept in our house. I mentioned the Halloween candy problem. This, friends, is why. My husband asks for chocolate - I say no. I'm mean like that. It's all for the sake of my thighs, I remind him.

So, in light of this, I have concocted a new unDiet that fits my personality perfectly. It goes like this.

During the week:
I eat sensibly (except when at playdates, malls or restaurants).
I steer clear of chocolate (oh, except last night, and the night before that, but we won't count them).
I eat in moderation (except when I urgently need a snack at 4 p.m.).
I cut down on carbs (ahem).
I cut out fat (what butter on those pancakes this morning?).

At the weekend:
I basically eat whatever I want. I indulge. I eat. I enjoy. I drink wine.

That's it. Simple. And you know why the unDiet works for me? Because I don't want to be thin. Yes that's right. Not thin. Just slim. I like my curves and they're staying put.

Therefore, if you do the math:

Pretending to eat sensibly some of the time + working out like a maniac = nice curves.

See?
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Not a walk in the park.

Yesterday I experienced a discipline disaster that left me deflated. The day was rolling along smoothly until I decided to do what would seem like a perfectly normal, perfectly achievable thing, but which was actually a huge mistake. I decided to take the boys to the park.

The journey to the park was easy enough, a leisurely stroll - Oliver in the stroller, Matthew walking. (Later I would mentally bash myself over the head for only bringing the single stroller. Doh!) All was fine. Matthew played happily on the climbing frame for about an hour, scrambling up the bars and whizzing down the slides.

Then, almighty horror of deathly horrors, it was time to leave. To soften the blow, I gave Matthew several warnings that we'd soon be leaving.

"Two more minutes and then it's time to go home love."

"One more minute and then we're leaving."

Each time he shook his head reluctantly. "Noooo."

Finally, I told him it was time to go. He ignored me and continued his adventure on the climbing apparatus. So I resorted to bribery.

"Okay sweetie, if you come right now, I'll let you watch Treehouse and have a cookie and some milk, okay?"

Still he ignored me.

"Okay, we're leaving now. Bye bye." The old I'm going to leave you behind trick.

Unsuccessful.

As Matthew came down the slide, I held out my hand and firmly explained to him, "Matthew, we're going right now. Come on, take my hand."

"No." He said with a firmness equal to mine.

"YES." I said, louder, and feeling the rate of my heart increase. "Right. Now." Time to bring out the stern voice.

"No! No. No. Noooo!"

"Fine." I said, sweeping him up in my arms (as much as a huge toddler that's more the size of a 3.5 year-old than a 2.5 year-old, can be swept). Immediately, the screaming and wailing began, as Matthew realized the decision had been forced out of his hands.

I walked the length of the park, holding my roaring, squirming toddler sideways as he thrashed and kicked, silently hoping there were no witnesses to the scene. At the park exit, I lowered Matthew to the ground to let him walk.

Nope.

He turned and ran back into the park. Frig, this boy can run fast. I sprinted after him, grabbed him, scooped him up and again, the screaming started.

Oh my flipping gawd the teeth grinding struggle was just starting.

Then, realizing the whole walking out of the park like reasonable people idea was not going to happen, I decided to strap Matthew into the stroller, and carry Oliver. Not an easy thing, to steer a stroller with one hand with a yelling, writhing toddler, and hold a wriggly baby in the other.

Only a few minutes outside the park and I could feel myself loosing my rag.

One block later, I take Matthew out the stroller since he now wants to walk, and put Oliver back in.

Okay? Good. Off we go. Only another TEN MINUTES until home. We can do it!

Nope.

More fingernail-pulling torture.

Matthew decides to walk into the middle of the road and sit down, and continue his hysterical monologue about PARK PARK ME GO BACK PARK NO NO PARK GO BACK!

Now I am sweating. My blood is beginning to boil in my veins.

I dash to pick my child up from the road, before he is run over by a car, and plonk him back onto the sidewalk.

Now my firm voice has turned to my I'm going to kill someone in a minute voice.

"STAY ON THE SIDEWALK! DO NOT GO IN THE ROAD! IT IS DANGEROUS!"

By this point, all of the things I had read about staying calm, not loosing one's shit, doing all those techniques to prevent the meltdown from erupting - basically evaporated in the steam rising from my head.

Matthew wouldn't get up from the sidewalk. I wait. One minute. Two minutes. Three minutes. Still, I'm asking, in my now squeaky,hissy voice "LET'S GO!"

He won't come.

Ten minutes later. We're still there.

So, on to plan F.0023. I take Oliver out of the stroller, sit him on the sidewalk, and strap Matthew back into the stroller. He is now entering a new level of frenzy.

Oh. My. God.

I stormed home, pushing the stroller with the tempestuous toddler with one hand and clutching the wiggly baby in the other arm.

The minute we were in the door, I put the kids down in front of the telly and locked myself in the bathroom. And actually cried for about five minutes. I felt like a terrible mother. I had failed at maintaining control, at keep my patience, at being able to handle my children.

Yes, I had a little pity party. Me, myself and I.

And then I recovered and poured myself to a large glass of wine.

Later on, when I had resumed my sanity, I realized that yesterday was an experience I must simply learn from. That parenting is sometimes a stumble-around-in-the-dark, learn-as-you go kind of affair. And, that I need to learn to forgive myself for my inefficiencies and move on to better times.

Wine always helps too.
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Monday, October 5, 2009

I love you man.

At first he wasn't sure.

He wondered - who was this squishy little stranger that
mum and dad brought home from the grocery store?
And why didn't they just get cookies?


He tolerated the new boy, because everyone else seemed
to like him, all the while wondering when he'd be going back.


But a few months later, the new boy was still there, and not
so new any more, always hanging around, watching him,
grabbing at his things with sticky fingers. Not cool man.



And then he noticed the one they kept referring to as "your brother"
sitting beside him at the table, drinking from a cup, eating from a bowl.
And he realized, this dude was staying.


And, realizing the "brother" was not going to be returned for a
refund, decided to give him a chance.


He laid down some ground rules: he told his brother
he could touch CERTAIN toys only.


The brother agreed to the terms but secretly had other ideas.


And suddenly the two were mooching around the house
mischievously, taunting the dog, raiding cupboards,
and creating watery messes on the kitchen floor...


And rolling around together, tickling, fighting, playing.


And he decided to let the little dude stay.

But he told the little boy, in no uncertain terms,
that if he EVER touched McQueen, the deal would be off the table.



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