Category Archives: mommy blog

a mommy blog post

If these walls could talk: moving on

It’s a really odd feeling spending our last night “home” before it’s “our old home.” These walls, that have been the backdrop of our lives for the past ten years, will no longer be ours. We will no longer climb 37 stairs to get from our kitchen to our bedroom. This quirky but awesome house will not be the place that welcomes us home each day. I know we’re off to somewhere new that we will consider home eventually. But right now we’re caught in “house-purgatory;” not quite here, not quite there.

With mixed emotions we move on to a new beginning. We are so thankful that we’ll be near enough all our people that they will remain a huge part of our lives.

I will post again in the future about all the wonderful things about the new house, but today I mourn the separation from our past. With a bittersweet heart, I reminisce about all the milestones and memories we’ve had in the last decade. Marriages, births and deaths. School, jobs and daycares. This is the house where the limo picked me up to bring me to where I married the most unbelievably fantastic man in the world. These were the steps I carried my newborn babies up when I brought them home from the hospital. These walls watched me transform from a young woman into a wife and a mother. They’ve radiated with the love of our friends and families. They’ve seen so much laughter and so many tears. We’ve had so many great times that I will treasure fondly until the end of my days. We love this home. It will always be a part of us.

So as we pass on the proverbial torch, I wish for the new owner that his life will unfold as incredibly as ours has while living here. I hope he has the same good fortune we had while living in an awesome area with really fricken cool neighbours.

Goodbye house. You will be missed.

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Lucky Boots?

About a month ago, we brought the kids to the store to pick out their costumes for Halloween. My son wanted to be a Pilot, and my daughter chose a Cowgirl outfit. She was very excited about her costume, and has danced around saying “yeehaw” and “giddy up” all month long.

Something very strange happened the weekend before Halloween. During our renovations (which you can read about here, if you’re interested) we knocked down a few walls. Literally 5 days before Halloween, we stumbled across this inside a wall:

At first, it was just plain old funny. Boots inside the wall, what an odd thing to find. But then we realized, hmmm, that’s strange, our girl is going to be a cowgirl this week, that’s awfully coincidental. But it really blew our minds when we realized that these boots were EXACTLY the RIGHT SIZE! Seriously, what are the odds?!?

A few people mentioned that perhaps they were haunted. I’ve chosen to believe that they will be her lucky boots.

Haunted House

When we moved in 9 years ago, we were excited that it would be our first Halloween with our very own front door. As the night unfolded, we learned quickly that our neighbours were big into Halloween too. Their daughter’s birthday fell on that day, so it was a great excuse to make a big thing out of it. R would get the biggest pumpkin he could find, and hook up a microphone and amp. The tradition was “the talking pumpkin.” It always got all the kids in the neighbourhood excited!

My husband and R got into reminiscing about past Halloweens. When my husband was a kid, his dad used to make this big, long tunnel through the front yard to the front door. Little did I know, this conversation was going to map out the Halloween tradition that we’ve held ever since.

For the last 8 years, there has in fact been a haunted tunnel at our house. Some years it’s been really long, and snaked around corners. Other years, a little more modest. But nevertheless, it has happened every year. I have to say, it really makes for a fun night!

This year, amidst a huge downpour, and despite the renovations we’ve been working through all week, we kept the tradition alive.

I’m really proud of my husband, and his ability to map the whole thing out. He put a lot of work into this one-day-set-up-and-take-down haunted house. He puts the walls up, and anyone else who has time to spare jumps in and decorates it. (On which note I send out a huge thank you to my awesome neighbours!)

The tunnel is filled with smoke and black lights, and random halloween props. I have to say, the biggest disappointment of the whole thing is the fact that you can’t really get a good picture of the thing. The whole scary factor of it relies on the fact that it’s dark in there.

On the outside, we’ve got a graveyard, and a crypt and our pumpkins and such.

And of course, Halloween sound effects loud enough for the whole neighbourhood to hear. Whether your celebrate Halloween or not, you just can’t ignore it around here!

In the past, we’ve had some scary-costumed grown-ups “haunting” the tunnel. I dressed up scary this year, but after seeing the absolutely horrified reaction of my own young children, I opted out of the make-up… we kept it pretty PG this year. I can’t wait for the kids to be teenagers, so we can scare the heck out of them on purpose!

Oh yeah, and it wouldn’t be Halloween without a few carved pumpkins! Here’s a couple of them close-up…

Happy Halloween everyone!

 

Missing the point

I was reading to my son at bedtime tonight. The story was filled with jokes. The last joke in the book said “what kind of ship never sinks?” “Friendship.”
My son pondered this for a moment than decided that he could make up his own joke. He said “what kind of…” And looked around the room for inspiration. Settling on my face, he continued “eyes…” Uh oh, I think I know where this one is headed, (although he doesn’t yet…)
“What kind of eyes never open?” He thinks for a moment, then chuckles “DEAD EYES!”
Great job buddy. You nailed it.
The riddle part of it anyway.
The part about jokes having to be funny? Overrated.
I had to hide my face in a hug while I quietly burst into laughter, so maybe it was pretty funny after all.
For the right audience.
I apologize in advance to all my parent friends whose children might hear this gem first hand in the coming week.

A quick evening stroll

It’s time to make some changes around here.

All the leisure activities can’t be ONLY about the kids. There needs to be a little room for us to get some exercise too. So we decided to forgo the usual “playing outside after dinner” bit tonight and go for a simple stroll around the block.

In less than thirty seconds, my son was already sitting on the grass pouting about this cruel and unusual punishment. I assured him it would take no more than ten minutes, and we’d be home before he knew it. He assured me that he will go, but he will continue to cry the whole way.

Fine. Be that way. We’re still going.

We spent the first half of the walk explaining why grown-ups bodies need to get exercise too. I didn’t get into the whole “you called me fat, so you can come for a damn walk with me you little brat” reason.

So we get to the midway point, and my precious potty-training-two-year-old declares that she has to go pee.

Of course.

On our ten minute walk, of course you have to go pee. Because going right before we left the house didn’t quite cut it.

Fortunately we learned the bush squat technique last weekend, so we found a nice bush away from anyone’s houses, in a nice secluded spot. Perfect. A big bush, and plenty of privacy.

I kid you not, the moment her panties were down, a running group of about two dozen men and women came jogging by.

Over twenty people on an normally deserted street. What are the odds.

Probably as good as her dropping her “crown” (a headband she’s been wearing as a crown all evening) right into the puddle she just made in the dirt next to the bush.

Great.

Nope, you can’t hold it. It’s okay, mommy will hold it. We need to wash it. (Really, there’s nothing mommy wants more than to carry your pee-soaked headband all the way home.)

Well, we continued on, and got down to the home stretch. Only to have the necessary trip-over-absolutely-nothing-skinning-of-the-knees to conclude our evening stroll.

So I carried the little one home, as she cried “I need an Angry Bird Band-aid” the whole way.

Can’t say it got my heart rate up at all, but at least we were able to provide the local running club with a mid-run chuckle.

Why does my kid keep calling people fat?

When my son was three, on a trip to Seattle, we were at the Olive Garden for lunch. The tables were quite close to each other and he was sitting next to a larger lady.

He tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to her and said “BI-GARM, BI-GARM.” I couldn’t make out what he was saying as two separate words at this point, and asked him to repeat himself.

“Big Arm, Big Arm!”

Great.

I just asked my son to repeat that.

I avoided reacting to what he said and pretended that I still didn’t understand. I really hoped the lady next to us didn’t understand. Because nothing beats getting called fat by a three year old while gorging on carbs at the Olive Garden. Well, I suppose I’ve heard worse, but we’ll touch on that later.

When the couple beside us left, I took the quick moment of having a little personal space as an opportunity to explain why we don’t say things like that.

I said that it’s rude to point people out for things that they might be sensitive about. People are sensitive about the size and shape of their bodies. I understand you wanted to show me what was different about that lady, but people don’t particularly like to be recognized for certain kinds of differences.

I went on to explain that he’d be better off to point people out to me by mentioning the colour of shirt they are wearing, or their hair colour. Keep it simple, right? I was hoping to elaborate more about it later.

The next couple to be seated next to us arrived.

My son pointed and yelled “NO HAIR!”

Mommy fail.

So I’ve had several moments like such in my short parenting career. We once came around a corner and nearly bumped into a rather large gentleman (okay, no kidding, the guy must have been four hundred pounds at least.) I smiled and said hi, and noticed out of the corner of my eye that my son’s little finger was lifting into a point, and he was opening his mouth to tell me something. Fortunately I did learn one thing from the Olive Garden experience, and quickly shoved my hand right into his little mouth.

Yep, that’s right. Whatever fingers I could fit in that tiny mouth of his. I was NOT taking any chances. I literally put my hand in his mouth.

And thank goodness I did. When we got to the car, and I was buckling him in, I asked him what he was about to say.

Let’s just say, kids are explicitly honest.

We talked more about the whole body image thing, and it all blew over for a while.

Then my son turned four.

We were at the dinner table one night. My husband was helping himself to a big plate of SALAD. Yes, the healthiest, calorie-free thing you can eat.

My son said “Daddy, don’t eat so much salad or you’re going to get fat like ____!” (our guest.)

F***

Let’s just say our guest has a great sense of humour, and nearly peed their pants along with us.

We talked thoroughly about the inappropriate use of this type of language. Hurtful words. Calling people fat. Being an ass.

I thought maybe the long talk we had about using the word fat may have helped… I thought after this experience, maybe we’d turn a corner.

Nope.

I was tucking the little man into bed the other night, and he told me he was hungry.

I told him what I always tell him. “You need to eat more dinner, you say you’re hungry every night. When it’s dinner time, you have to fill your belly all the way up so it doesn’t grumble for more food until breakfast time.”

“But mommy, if I fill my tummy all the way up, I’m going to get fat like ladies do.”

To confirm my suspicion of who he meant, I asked “what ladies.”

He silently tapped my shoulder.

Great. Thanks pal.

 

Let’s just hope this gets better. Not worse.

Advice?

Grown-up Christmas lists

I just had a very funny conversation with my four-year-old neighbour. His bell for his bicycle was broken so I suggested he put a new one on his Christmas list.
He got into an elaborate story about what he really wants for Christmas, which included pretty much an entire city made out of remote controlled devices. Remote controlled car carriers, planes that really fly, etc.
I told him that sounded so awesome that I wanted to put that on my Christmas list too.
He said “you can’t do that. You’re a grown up.”
I said “oh. Well, what are grown-ups allowed to ask for for Christmas?”
He replied “maybe a toilet……… [pause] for Z” (my toilet training two year old.)

Great. The Christmas countdown is on! Can’t wait for a brand new potty under the tree!

But seriously, if you’re reading this honey, I still think my “stocking filled with art supplies” idea is pretty cool. Just saying.

How I feel about Thirty

I keep getting asked whether I fear the milestone number that’s approaching. And I’ve given it a LOT of thought. In fact, I’ve been thinking about it for years.

Thirty is a good age. In fact, I think it should stick around for a while. Maybe extend the decade a little bit, add in a few more years.

Many people I know who have already crossed the proverbial bridge into their thirties have given me some great insight. I’ve been told over and over again that thirty is the year where you stop questioning who you are, and you finally just KNOW. Yes there is always something more to discover, as there is with anything in life, but it’s more than that. It’s knowing when to trust your instincts. It’s knowing when to stand up for your opinions, and knowing when the battle isn’t worth the fight. It’s knowing that you aren’t perfect, and that you don’t need to strive to be. There’s always going to be room for improvement, and choosing which things to work on will always be a “flavour of the week” thing.  Do what makes you happy.

In the words of a great friend of mine, my twenties were full of life-building experiences. Going to school, getting a career established, getting married, having two beautiful children, and filling my life with some FANTASTIC people. True friends, people I love. Now I have the rest of my life to reap what I’ve sewed. Slowly watch my pension build as I put more countless hours into the daily grind (okay, that one is a little less fun, but necessary nevertheless.) Watching my beautiful children grow, and learn and surprise me with their awesomeness every single day. Spending time with so many remarkable people who I am proud to call my friends. People who accept my absolute insanity, and some who specifically love me FOR it. And being amazed with each passing day that the partner I chose to go through these motions with is becoming more and more incredible with each passing day. Thirty is the time where you get to sit back and watch your flowers grow. Water them and nurture them of course, tend the weeds, allow room for growth and change, but most of all enjoy.

Thirty is when you have lived long enough to see that much of the advice you received growing up actually makes sense. And you are old enough to have the sense to listen to reason (sometimes), instead of stubbornly needing to find everything out for yourself. The most important being “it doesn’t matter what other people think.” We spend so much of our lives trying to live up to these self-created ideals that are actually based on what we THINK other people want to see or hear from us. Well, obviously we all need to make an effort to get along with each other. That’s not really what I mean. What I mean is in the details. What you wear, what you watch, where you go. These things are uniquely your own decisions. It’s no one else’s business what you want to do with your spare time, as long as you’re enjoying it, (and not breaking any laws… cause it would be other people’s business if you picked a hobby like cannibalism or bank heists.)

One more point to make is in regards to a working environment. I feel like age gives your more of a leg to stand on in a professional environment. Heck, I suppose it works in a “parenting” environment too. The conundrum is, no matter your level of ability, people do not see you as being as “good as” the more experienced workers/parents/etc. If you haven’t hit that thirty mark, you’re much less likely to become the boss, because frankly, no one in their thirties or forties or whatever they are at really wants to take orders from a twenty year old. And let’s be doubly honest here. I don’t think I would either. If a completely qualified, fresh from university grad came walking in calling himself or herself my boss, I might do that exact thing that I can’t stand. I might be one of those self-righteous “I’ve-been-through-more-of-the-motions-than-you-so-I-am-more-deserving-despite-your-dougie-howser-ability-to-excel-at-something-at-a-young-age” people. I don’t want to be one of them. I want to accept that people can have a knack for something at whatever age they happen to be. But it happens. We forget what it feels like to be young, and able, and treated like an imbecile for no other reason than the numbers on our birth certificates. We fall right into the pattern, despite our better judgement. So to reiterate, thirty is old enough to be taken seriously, but young enough that people don’t think of you as “past your prime” (which is a whole other battle I’ll have to fight a few decades down the road I’m sure.)

So the answer is this. No. I do not fear the number thirty. I embrace it. I feel young and old in perfect harmony. I am surrounded in the best things in life. Children, family, friends and love.

And if all else fails, my husband is older than me, so I will always feel young next to him 😉

Bike ride

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We’re going to head out for a family bike ride today. My husband is convinced that he’ll be able to get our 4 year old son to cross this bridge. My son absolutely freaks out when he has to cross a train track. I have to stop my bike and practically hold him to get him across.
I can’t blame the kid. He did, in fact, have a near death experience crossing the train tracks on our usual bike route a few months ago. His tire caught the track and he veered right off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic.
Thank goodness my husband was standing on the other side waiting for us. He swooped in like a damn superhero and lifted him back onto the curb before the four cars speeding towards him managed to flatten him. Watching the whole scene was surreal. I singularly screamed his name, and it all happened so fast after that. I ran over and held him for a good long time while he sobbed into my shoulder.
Once we got moving again, he continued to sob the whole way home (we walked our bikes home that day.)
Parenting tips are often learned by really stupid things we do that we learn huge lessons from. My parenting tip of the day happens to be something that was drilled repeatedly into me as a child. Always get off your bike and walk it across the crosswalk/intersection/etc. Yep, now I get it.
Tip number two: as much as your kid is rocking at riding their first pedal bike, you can’t get overconfident on their behalf. That job belongs to them. It’s a mothers job to internally be neurotic about every move they make while outwardly putting on a proud “you can do anything” facade. Be ready for the crash. Just don’t let them know that’s what you’re thinking.
Well, that’s about all my poor little thumbs can take while blogging from my tiny phone. Wish us luck on the trestles!

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Little White Lies – when is lying to your kids okay?

I haven’t quite figured out the criteria for when I should lie to my kid and when to be honest. Everyone has a different perspective of this, and I’m still trying to establish my own opinion.

There was a time when my son asked grandma why the cat died. Grandma explained honestly that the cat died because she was very old. My mind went into panic mode. To my son, a teenager is very old. Not to mention me. Or grandma. I could almost see the little ferret running around in his brain making the connections. He asked “How old?” “I replied “three hundred.” Phew, dodged that bullet. Except, my good friend called me on it. She asked how I could be so insistent on being honest about something like sex, but I can lie about things like death?

Well, that’s why I’m writing this post. I’m putting my thoughts down on paper so that I can try to untangle them.

My mom told me something to the effect that when you have a bright, precocious child, you don’t want to give them so much information that you make them neurotic. Sometimes you can go overboard, and then they go overboard.  Keep it simple.   I felt like this situation fit the criteria. If I told him that the cat was 19 years old and died of age, I think he would go into a full-fledged state of panic.

There are a lot of parenting advice people that say that you need to talk about sex honestly and matter-of-fact with your kids. Answer what they’re asking, but don’t go giving them a bunch of information that they didn’t ask for. I’ve tried to follow this advice, and so far my kids are taking it in like it’s no big deal.

See this video for a perfect example of talking to your kid about sex. (HILARIOUS!) Wait… finish reading, then click on it.

Sex is a real-life thing. I don’t want my kids to learn about it in a way that isn’t sensitive to the feelings involved and the responsibility that goes with it. I feel that it’s my job to prepare them for things like sex, so they don’t learn about it from an uncomfortable teenaged situation that they’re unprepared for. Same with drugs. And alcohol. And social skills. Their friends aren’t going to explain the concept of being in a loving, committed, adult relationship when they explain sex to your child. Your kids will learn the cold, hard, dirty facts. The last thing you want is for your child’s sexual education to come from playboy magazines, and someone’s mom’s copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. Kids asking questions about these things is a golden opportunity for a parent to instill values, ethics, confidence and responsibility into the minds of their children.

By teaching them the facts as they grow up, it’ll be a lot smaller of a pill for them to swallow. You can’t teach values in one conversation, they have to learn it repeatedly, over time. Things they could learn at age one might be a simple thing, like having respect for their bodies by using proper terminology for their bits. A girl should be confident that they have a vagina, not embarrassed by it. Not so confident that they strip down naked in public and flaunt it. That’s where the “respect yourself by keeping some things private” conversation would fit in.

Being honest will teach your kids confidence about the questions they are asking, because you are taking them seriously. Imagine the embarrassment your child would face if they repeated a smart-ass, made-up answer to a serious question to their buddies. (i.e. “other peoples private parts are poisonous unless you marry that person. If you touch them, you will get really sick, and might die.) It’s our duty as parents to be honest about the things that matter.

Over-sharing is the part you have to watch out for though. That’s where the gray area begins. There has to be a point where you say “that’s enough for today, we’ll get into more details about that when you and I both agree that you’re ready for them.” Keep in mind that what you teach your kids, they are going to share with others.

The part where I feel like little white lies are acceptable is with the stuff that doesn’t matter. That’s where I like to have a little fun every once in a while.  Sometimes I forget to filter my smart-ass comments. I forget that I’m talking to a child, for one thing. And I also forget that my kids are likely going to repeat this information to someone.

Sometimes the “stories” I tell my kids aren’t exactly lies, they are just embellishments of the truth. Sometimes they are, in fact, outright lies. I tend to tell “stories” to my kids when they ask me silly questions and I feel like they warrant silly answers. I tend to over-exaggerate the truth when there’s a lesson I can work into the scenario.

Like “why did the ants come into our house.” “Because you left all your toys on the floor and the ants thought you were inviting them over to play.”

“Why does that man have tattoos all over his body?” “For decoration.”

“Why do those clouds look different from the ones over there?” “For decoration.”

“What are you putting on your eyes” “Mascara” “Why?” “For decoration.”

(Remember those two little words people, they are the ticket out of a long drawn-out conversation that you sometimes don’t have time for.)

I told my little one, “If you don’t wear a shirt and shoes, they won’t let you into the restaurant and you’ll have to go home.” This one was followed by my son’s statement that “if my sister doesn’t wear any clothes, she won’t know how to get home, and she’ll stand in the middle of the road, and the cars will squish her.” Miss Sassypants got dressed pretty quick.

Well, I don’t know that I’m completely untangled yet, but I think I’ve said enough for today. I will leave you with one more “too honest” remark I made to my son…

“Mommy, Grandma said her cat is in heaven,” “Okay, do you have questions about that?” “Well, are all cats in heaven?” “No sweetie, only the dead ones.”

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