Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oh man did I ever have a bad case of the Mondays.

First of all, it was Monday. I always find it hard to get back into the groove of things on Monday. The writing was on the wall at 7:00 a.m. at work when I knocked my coffee grains all over the common kitchen - do you know how hard it is to pick that shit up without a broom? And without a coffee in your system to deal with what just went down?

Work is, well challenging these days, and that Monday proved that challenging would be amped to shitshow. And I'll just leave it at that.

When I went to pick the girls up at daycare I was greeted not with hugs but rather a chorus of awwwws, what's for dinner and general crankiness (I guess kids can get the Mondays as well). Here's where it really gets high drama. Remember how mild it was last Monday? Well, the schoolyard had been cordoned off due to severe slushy conditions. Edie wanted to go play, and I said no. But I didn't say no quickly enough because she ran off into the slushy yonder, which was knee deep for her (yup, knee deep in icy slush) and she promptly lost a boot in it. Grace tried to help, but she also fell victim to the slush. I had to meander out there in my fancy work boots and rescue them. It felt like the last hour of the Titanic, only no cute Leo Dicaprio was helping me out. I had to carry Edie to the minivan, and Grace heroically carried both backpacks and Edie's sopping wet boot.

Could it get worse? You betcha! You know how your trunk allows you a certain amount of clearance so you don't smash your head on it when you stand up (too quickly due to mild rage)? Yeah, well mine decided not to go up all the way up for some reason and my head was punished for all the sins I have committed throughout my life.

So, into the safety of the car. Kids strapped in, check (Edie I suspect is mildly hypothermic at this point but I can easily distract her by shoving a Leapster in her hand....we call it a DS for 4 year olds, heh heh, she doesn't really get the difference yet). Anyhoooo, for all you mini-van drivers out there, did you pimp yours out with a "Magic Button"? The one that open and closes one of the back doors so you don't have to, god forbid, shut it yourself? We did, and loved it for years until the first week of January, when we had our car safetied, and the door was deemed unsafe (it was working fine for us), so we had to fork out much dollars to fix it. Yeah right, fix it. That Monday, when Grace pressed the Magic Button to seal us into our happy place, the door, shut. Then opened. Then shut again, then opened again. It took on a life of its own and seemed to be teasing me "Wanna go home, go ahead, oh! Hold On! Not yet! Now go, haha! Whoops! Not just yet little lady!" When I finally found the master switch and shut the beast of a door down, Grace started to cry a bit, worried that the door would open and expel her onto the road. Then Edie remembered that her foot was cold. Then I remembered that my head hurt and my feet were cold. I kept my tears in (I was close to the edge), reassured Grace (an emergency tootsie pop may have been involved) and drove off.

When we got home, I took a deep breath and ordered everyone out of their wet clothes and into some cozy jammies. Awesome. The worst part of the day was over. Time for bonding over a nice meal and cuddles on the couch. The girls scampered to their rooms and Edie called out to me. She needed help with her jammies. She lay on her bed, froggy style. I leaned over her to tickle her (god I’m an idiot). This kid loves a good tickle and reacts with her whole body. See where I’m going with this? One little poke in her armpit propelled her little tiny feet straight into my teeth up into my nose with the force of Hercules. I was okay, nothing broken, the chicklets felt a little tender, as did the nose, but no long-term damage.

It was at this point I let myself cry.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Who cleans up after you?

I love neat and tidy. I love organized and compartmentalized. Magazines like Style at Home, Dwell and Real Simple are like porn for me. And porn is fantasy, an escape from reality, something to daydream about. Because my house is nothing like the homes in these magazines. And that’s okay. I have kids who have developed a magic potion to multiply Polly Pocket accessories and make them go viral on our floors, in our closets, in our beds. I have a wonderful husband who has a very important collection of baseball caps (whatever) that live in the couch cushions, on my record player, the kitchen counter and the dining room table. And I’m not perfect. While I can never find a hair elastic when I need one, on any given day you can see them scattered under couches (getting humped by dustbunnies).

Weekends we do the big de-clutter. Jo calls them whirlwinds. Everything gets put back where it belongs. Children are placed in their rooms to put things away (which usually results in them taking more things out – on Saturday Edie re-discovered her bucket of 1000+ melt beads…..yayyyyy). And the house looks amazing.

But. Oh yes, there is a but. It lacks that pinesol smell. That one chemical smell I like because it means things have been scrubbed, sanitized, purified and cleaned. That smell has be lacking for a few weeks now as we have lost yet another cleaning service. I have gone through so many cleaning people throughout the years, after our last one left us (you know who you are) we have decided enough with it, we can do it on our own. Or can we? Growing up, I always had a cleaning lady. Her name was Doris. Her cleaning days were called Doris Day, haha, get it? So Doris came every Wednesday, she scrubbed and laundered, while I daydreamed and resented her for occupying the t.v. in the afternoon because she watched her soaps while she ironed. So I blame my childhood, which has resulted in me being so adverse to cleaning, and generally sucking at it.

And so, Jo and I are going to start doing it on our own. But cleaning a whole house at once is a daunting task. Our house isn’t big, but there seems to be a lot of space to clean. And so dear reader, I ask you, what is your strategy in cleaning? Do you tackle a room a day? Do you suck it up for 4 hours a week and just give ‘er? Or do you just fork out cold hard cash to someone to do it for you?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

When you were a kid did you ever stick pantyhose on your head, flip it around and pretend it was long hair?

Did you ever fashion a paper clip into a retainer and stick it in your mouth and pretend you had orthodontics?

Did you ever convince yourself that your dolls and teddy bears actually did move out of the corner of your eye?

Sigh. While Grace was explaining the world of rhombus (rhombiis???) octogons, hectagons and some other gons during homework time, I was daydreaming about the above.

I looked hot with long (pantyhose) hair.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I’d never done a de-lurking thing before. I’m so glad I did – I’m not sure why it feels so good knowing that people are reading me, but it does! I’ve never been one who needs too much in the way of affirmation/accolades, but your comments made me feel really, really good. I have this great memory of my Nana, who would love nothing more than receive a letter from someone. When she received a letter, she would read it and reread it, relishing every word, read between the lines, and just really revel in the details of the letter. I feel that way – a keen appreciation for all the comments you left. Thank you.

This weekend I saw the damage that we have inflicted on Edie being the baby of the family. We decided this year is the year that the Meanie’s ski. All of us. Gracie is in her third year of skiing, and Edie in her first. Grace is in group lessons, Edie, being a 4-year old Mariah Carey, has been enrolled in private lessons. Last week was the first week, and there weren’t enough instructors, so Jo and I had to instruct Mariah ourselves. Little Miss Thing held on to our poles as we dragged her to the magic carpet to go up the bunny hill (god forbid she attempt to get here herself yo). We then helped her down the hill whatever way we could, pizza pie from the front, from the back. We employed hula hoops, ski poles, hand holding….you get the picture. So this week, there was an instructor, Carl (he’s French, how do you say Carl in French? Try it, it’s really hard). Carl is pretty much too cool for school. I fretted to him that Ms. Mariah had never skied on her own before. He was non-plussed. And so the lesson began. Carl said “Let’s go” to Edie and didn’t even offer a pole for her to hand on to! He made Mariah glide all the way to the Magic Carpet….and she did it! When Jo and I were on the chair lift, we looked down at the bunny hill to see what trick he was employing to help Edie ski down the hill. From the looks of things he said “and now you ski”. There she was, pizza pie-ing down the hill with no help at all! God only knows how many runs they did – once Jo and I saw that things were going well we scooted off and got a few runs in ourselves. At the end of the lesson, we picked up Edie. Carl said she did great and next week “we practice turns” and off he went. Jo and I looked at Edie, who morphed back into Mariah, held our her little hand and said “drag me”. And we did.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Who are you?

So this blog started off as way to stay in touch with family and friends from afar, who desperately needed information on my most exciting life as a public servant at large and servant to the under 10 set (and the over-40 set?) And they quickly bored of me and buggered off.

But there are a few out there who I know read me (Hi Alison! Hi Xup! Hi Hannah! Hi Nat! Hi Chantal (not strong in leaving comments, but you show me love on you reading list!)Hi Friendly Anonymous Curator (get yourself a blog), Hi Japanese Spammer (grrrr)!) and I love getting your comments, I really really do! But I'm curious who is else is out there reading, hanging on to every word I type?

It's Delurking Day, a day for those who don't normally comment to leave a comment and let bloggers know that you are reading - so please, let me know and tell me where you are from by leaving a comment! (Except for you robot spammer, you can go make robot love to someone else's blog).


(Ummmm, and if no one leaves a comment, Nat, Alison, Xup, FAC and Hannah, y'know, could you say hi so I can feel good about myself? Shanks.)

Son of a gun, this is good (at 2:05 he says fuck heh heh):

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Make-em laugh…..

Awhile back over breakfast, I had too-quick conversation with the most knowledgeable Maven. I was complaining a little bit about Gracie’s explosive temper and uber-sensitive personality. Grace, though she has dead straight hair, reminds me of that poem by Henry Wadsworth Lonfellow (no I’m not that smart, I had to google it):

“There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.”

Okay, I could never call my child horrid, but when she is unhappy about something, girlfriend can lose her shit like no other.

So, I was s’plaining this to the Maven and she mentioned the book “The Explosive Child”. She summarized the book for me, basically stating we need to lighten up a bit, see the humour, learn to laugh. I’m sure the 200 or so pages of this book goes into more detail, but I took Maven’s little pearl of wisdom and we’ve been applying it.

A case study: Last night Grace lost it because she couldn’t draw a PERFECT three dimensional image of a box containing markers (her homework simply required her to find something shaped like a rectangle in our house and render it on paper. It is Grace who places high expectations on herself and insists on taking it to the next level). So. She freaked out, pushed markers aside, stomped, cried and couldn’t be calmed down. Then she started to turn on her sister. We sent her to her room to calm down. She screamed all the way there, and screamed a bit while in there. We don’t time her out anymore, we just give ask her to go to her room and let her be the judge as to when she should come out.

Now, the old Meanie and Jo would call it a time out, banter back and forth with her, making the situation worse and worse, causing it to last much longer. Now, we simply knock on her door and ask her if she wants to talk. If she does, great, we work it out. If she doesn’t, we wisely walk away. The old us might take away a privilege in the heat of the moment, which really makes it worse. The new us talk it out after the fact, when things have calmed down, when she is in a more reasonable state. Without boring you too much, last night she came out of her room, a little sheepish looking. She mentioned that she screamed so loud her throat hurt. I told her I thought the dogs down the street probably heard it. We smiled, we laughed, we called it a doozy. She went back to her homework, finished it without issue. Later on, I explained that she would have some money docked from her allowance (she said some unacceptable stuff to Edie, who really was just minding her business when the bomb went off). She accepted this (of course she protested, there is no cure for 7 year old).

What is interesting is that since applying this new tactic, she is exploding less frequently, and is recovering more quickly from her outbursts.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Rambling post – I have to get it written before I forget……

As I was drifting off to sleep last night (normally I don’t drift, it’s more of a thud) and a most random memory lurched me awake. About 20 years ago (!) when I was in my OAC year in high school (do OAC’s still exist?) I was a peer counsellor to, well, my peers. I was selected to be a peer counsellor by my own over zealous guidance counsellor. At the time it was one of those experimental programs that schools are always doing, and I was chosen, along with 2 others, to be a counsellor. My mom must have leaked to my guidance counsellor that I had been an extreme fuck-up in my early teens. I suspect she did this for two reasons: 1) because she was proud that I had come so far and 2) so he would see potential danger signs of me fucking up again. This was my fourth, and final high school. The high school I would graduate from.

I had a small group of friends. I did not seek out the spotlight and was content to keep my head down, work hard, and graduate with good grades.

So. I was asked to be a peer counsellor. I imagine my counsellor thought that because I had messed up early on and came out on top, maybe I could talk to other “kids” and help them. I took my job pretty seriously. I was laughed at/mocked by some kids when I brought them NA or AA literature. I even brought a couple of kids to NA meetings and helped ship one off to rehab. Some acted too cool for school when we had our “counselling” sessions, but from what I can remember, they always showed up for our after-school appointments.

What lurched me out of near slumber last night was a memory of a certain girl who was appointed to me. I was asked to counsel a just-turned 14 year-old girl who was pregnant. Looking back now, she was so young and soooo vulnerable. When we first started meeting, she was very early on in her pregnancy. Her parents still didn’t know, nor did her boyfriend. We discussed all the options – abortion, adoption, and keeping the baby. Keep in mind that I was just 17 or 18 years old at the time, and I was counselling this girl on life-changing decisions. I don’t remember giving my opinion, one way or another. Abortion wasn’t something she wanted to do. I was with her when she told her boyfriend (oh my God he was so young!). I counselled her on how to tell her parents (what the hell did I know about this stuff!) I was there for her when she told her parents (she was sent packing, but soon after took her back home). I was there for her all throughout her pregnancy (we usually met in the smoking area as we were both smokers). Then one day she was gone. I asked my guidance counsellor about her and he wasn’t allowed to tell me anything. I was so pissed off. I knew more about this girl than anyone else. These adults had placed a HUGE responsibility on me that I took seriously; to counsel this girl throughout a highly stressful situation, and I was shut out.

So I lay awake last night, wondering about that girl (I don’t even remember her name). Did she adopt? Did she keep her baby? Her baby would be about 19-20 years old now. She would be about 34. Huh. I haven’t thought about her for years and years and years.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Gift Card dilemma
Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! As usual, friends and family were generous beyond words, and there was so much love and warm fuzzies around me all Christmas season, I feel truly blessed. That being said, I was tempted to crush the myth of Santa Clause once or twice because “he” brought the girls the Wii, therefore they hold him in much higher esteem than they hold Jo and I. Oh well.

Family members were a little surprised that Grace is still a believer. It’s pretty standard for an almost 8 year to still believe, right?

On to today’s topic.

I wish my mind were as uncluttered as the girls. They received Gift Cards for Christmas. Each received an Old Navy g.c. and a Chapters g.c. In they marched to Chapters and Grace bought the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (and read them ALL in a span of 5 days!) and Edie bought a paper-dog-complete-with-fairy-and-princess-costumes that she has been coveting (there was a day when I wondered to myself “Who buys this shit?” Now I know). At Old Navy, Grace bought some fleece stuff (a little affronted that Old Navy does not specialize in velvet) and Edie bought two sparkly tutu-like skirts (natch) in different colours. Done. Gift Cards spent. Onwards and upwards.

Me? I also received gift cards from Michaels (I’m crafty!) and Pier 1 (I oft get mocked at how much Pier 1 I have in my home). I also have a g.c. from LAST year for Holt Renfrew. I have issues with gift cards. I can’t seem to focus and decide what to buy with them. I literally get stressed out trying to decide what to purchase with them. I pick things up, put them down, break out into a sweat and return home empty handed. It’s like I’m scared that I will make the wrong decision. I’m scared new stock will come in and there will be something even better that I should have bought instead. I’m pretty much handing over my Pier 1 card to my brother to pick out some curtains for me. I have an idea as to what to get at Michaels, but the Holt Renfrew one is throwing me for a loop. It’s for $75, so I can either put it towards a nice something and pay a kajillion dollars to make up the difference, or I can buy some real nice beauty product.

There are a lot of beauty products to choose from. Any recommendations?

I hope all my 2010 problems are this tough.