Friday, February 25, 2011

Last night’s lesson.

Dinner last night was horrendous. Not the meal itself, if was actually quite enjoyable (lemon butter chicken served on a bed of whole wheat couscous yum!) It was those damn children wreaking all kinds of havoc at the table. I had literally finished my meal, (and I’m a chew each mouthful a billion times before swallowing kind of gal) and they had not even put a dent in their meal due to goofing off, teasing each other, blowing bubbles in their milk and other nonsense that makes razors pop out of my knuckles, claws grow out of my toes and pop a new wrinkle out. This was not an isolated incident; in fact, it has become the norm lately with Jo and I getting angrier and angrier at the table (well, not AT the table, the table didn’t do anything wrong, just we feel angry whilst sitting at the table witnessing our offspring acting like feral beasts). So the scenario has become I slave away in the kitchen to make a nice meal, can’t enjoy it because the kids make me angry, then waste time sitting at the table in negotiations with them while I could be cleaning up and moving on with the evening. Funnnnnnn.

Last night, instead of losing my shit and freaking out, I quietly got up, cleared my dishes, went to my happy couch and picked up my magazine (new Rolling Stone with Justin Bieber on the front – interesting article on the Clash fyi). I also put on my headphones and completely tuned out the cacophony (haha I said caca) going on at the table.

Of course this action raised the eyebrows of the nine and under crowd. They HATE it when I ignore them. I simply stated that I had no desire to dine with them if they could not behave in an appropriate manner (I have to admit, I said it in the most condescending way possible) and when they could prove that they could meet my dining expectations, (I listed them again, even though they know perfectly well what they are) I would consider re-joining them. There were protests, tears (Edie, obviously) and “give us one more chance!” begging. Uh uh. Headphones back on, return to reading article. I didn’t put my music on as I wanted to hear the ensuing conversation. Grace eventually asked Edie about her bus ride that day, Edie replied. They conversed. They ate. They called me every two minutes asking if I would re-join them. I declined, as I had already finished my meal, and told them to focus on their own. When they were finished, they cleared their dishes without being asked. It worked.

I always forget that a bit of tough love works. It is a lot of work, you have to put up with a lot of shit, and if you are like me, made to feel soooo guilty about laying down the law (Edie has no problem accusing me of breaking her heart and screeching “you don’t even love me if you do dat!”). I am not going to lie, that shit works on me, she’s got me figured out. Grace pulls the old “all my friends are allowed to stay up late/watch this show/get Fruit by the Foot in their lunches” – again, sometimes this works. Pretty weak, right?

I was reading a great post by RudeCactus (Feb. 24 post) the other day and it really hit a nerve with me. I don’t want coddled, spoiled kids who don’t ever have consequences to their actions. I have been lazy lately in this department, and it is way too easy to become complacent and give them whatever they want, whenever they want, and let them win.

I’m putting on my suit of armour and putting an impenetrable cage around my heart. Meanoldmommy is back in town.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Letter to Grace on her 9th

My sweet, what a year. The year of electronics. The year we said good bye to toys and hello to iPods, DS’s and Wii’s. The year we finally let go and let you go on sleep-overs. The year we let you walk to your friends’ house all on your own. The year you stopped complaining and even started enjoying meals created for the family, and didn’t require a separate menu at dinner time. The year you became content to read to yourself at bedtime, proving yourself to be a voracious reader. The year I’m pretty sure I saw a boy flirting with you, not just playing with you – there was something more there, and your shy smile back at him makes me think you realize this as well. The year you didn’t necessarily want me volunteering every Friday at lunch time - the thrill of Mom popping in for a midday visit obviously disappearing.

With your impending move towards independence I have to make an effort to stay in the loop. Having a nine year old is easier in many ways – you are happy to go to the basement and play Mario Cart – but I have to get my butt down there more often and giggle with you and play Just Dance with you so you can see that I can have fun too. The other night you shyly asked me to read to you – I was taken aback but so happy you still wanted me. You are also slowly culling all of my skull accessories – my hats, socks, t-shirts – I love that you like this little part of me. You make me proud of the company you keep – so far oblivious to Girl Drama that can occur at this age.

I can’t help but compare myself to you at the this age – you are so much stronger than I was – unafraid to question things, more confident and more persevering. I could use negative words here – to question things could be misread as disrespectful; your confidence could be misconstrued as cocky and your perseverance mistaken as stubborn. It can be challenging at times to deal with these traits, but I honestly believe, for a girl, these are valuable traits that will get you far and I never want to discourage your voice from being heard.

I love you Gracie, happy birthday.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Not the singer. The food sillies.

Last night I made a meatloaf. When it was cooking it smelled oh-so-good. I was also roasting some sweet potatoes alongside. Really, the humble bungalow smelled like an honest to goodness leave it beaver 1960's home. There should have been a scratch and sniff sticker of my house - it smelled that good. I even had an apron on and playfully tousled the children's hair whilst they quietly did their homework at the kitchen table *ahem*.

Anyhooo, come dinner time you'd think I'd served up bowl of arsenic with a bit of ketchup when I presented the kiddies with their dinner. The barrage of complaints BEFORE THEY EVEN TASTED IT would have made Stephen Harper cry. I'm pretty tough and used of the abuse so I let them get it out of their ungrateful little systems before letting them know I didn't give a damn what their pathetically underdeveloped palates thought, this was what for dinner so deal with it and whipped off my apron to let them know crazy-mom was back. They ate it. Grudgingly. They cleared their dishes. Grudgingly. Then I tried it. Ummmm, not so good. It's not that it was bad, but it seriously lacked any, ummm, what's that word....oh yeah, flavour. And the oats in it did make it kind of ugly.

Now, I've had good meat loaf before. I've just never made a good one. I don't remember my Mom making meatloaf, so I can't go to her for a long loved family recipe.

This is where I need you. Please send me your tried and true, delicious, comforting, kid-friendly (well, in my house, I'll take kid-tolerated-won't-cause-them-to-dramatically-gag-and-pretend-to-die-which-leads-to-them-trying-to-outdo-each other-over-who-is-dying-the-most-agonizing-death meat loaf recipe. We are also a vegetarian friendly* household, so feel free to provide me with your best lentil loaf, quinoa-based, TVP recipe if it tastes good.

*well, they don't really know we are vegetarian friendly. I use so much meat substitute in my recipes, they have no frickin' idea. Ha.

Monday, February 07, 2011

After hours of analysing a stoopid boring spreadsheet for work the other day, I started to daydream about what it would be like to get paid for work I actually enjoy doing. Thus my official list of Things I Wish I Got Paid to Do:

1) I would like to get paid for the good two minutes I spend at night hovering over the girls' heads when they are sleeping Jedi-Mind trick like, in an attempt to wake them. I just like it when they open their eyes and sleepily smile or mutter something incoherent. I'm also a head smeller. It would be nice to get paid for that. Re-reading this I would like to get paid for writing run-on sentences.

2) Practising the "if I were famous this is the surprise face I would make" in the mirror (there are variations). I don't do this often, usually only after watching TMZ, and if Jo is out for the night (kind of embarrassing).

3) Building snow forts. I spent about three hours yesterday building one, kept on going long after the girls lost interest, revelling in comments from the folks walking by (I just realized their smiles may have been ones of pity, not admiration).

4) Colour coding my closet, and debating with myself whether I should organize it by length of garment, colour of garment or type of garment (current status is by type AND colour. It's working quite well thank you!)

5) Organizing my record album. Same issues apply as above, should it be organized by genre or alphabetical order? I should also get paid for time spent thinking about it. Like professional planning fees. I should also like to get paid for time spend wondering why I bought a certain album (The O-Jays come to mind).

6) Lighting candles. It currently looks like a candle factory barfed in my house because candles make me feel warmer. But it takes a long time light all these damn candles (especially when Edie follows me around and blows them out as I light them - hysterical game).

7) Time spent setting up Wii games. Not my forte. Don't actually enjoy this job. Should demand overtime.

8) Facebooking. I'm pretty good at it.

9) Taking shit away. This weekend I confiscated gum, a DS, and an episode of Max and Ruby. I wish I could say I don't enjoy this job, but I feel so f*&^ing powerful when I take stuff away. They just look at me like I'm God.

10) Counting Canada Goose coats. Did everyone get one for Christmas this year?????