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Category — PARENTHOOD

GRADUATION DAY

It’s June, and therefore, for those with children of almost any school age, it’s Graduation Season.

Whether from pre-school to elementary, middle to high school, or university and beyond we have all been told, repeatedly, that it is a BIG DEAL. Growing up, wasn’t it just high school that was a big deal? Prom, corsage, limo? And university – duh – but pre?? Like the trophies and the medals – it’s graduation for everyone!

For my junior high “graduation” – our grade performed a musical version of the creation story.  I was one of 3 angels who wore flapper-style fringed dresses and sang a doo-wop song about being in Heaven. No joke. Another friend was the MC. And those were good parts. Some kids had to be “dancers” – in the dark, under black lights with white gloves doing jazz hands.

We’ve come a long way. In some ways.

When my eldest “graduated” from nursery it was kind of cute. Basically it was a photo-op situation where the parents (mostly moms) gushed about how fast time was flying. Some were saddened by it. I was relieved.

Then there was the big switch from pre-school/early years to Grade 1. For my kids, it wasn’t all that different. They went from an all-day Senior Kindergarten play-based classroom to an-day Grade One “big boy” class. Photos were, of course, adorable but the kids’ situation didn’t change all that much.

For the Elementary to Middle School jump, the kids (and parents) had an orientation so we could all understand how it would work. It felt scary. It felt serious.  Ultimately, for our family, it was still the same kids and the same school, but it was indeed different. Different teachers teaching different classes in different rooms. For a kid who didn’t like to sit in one place, it was a godsend. For one who thought a particular teacher hated him, it was a miracle. And the best part? They had lockers.

Lockers. Some of the girls had mini carpets and teeny tiny chandeliers in their lockers. The boys had magnets and shelves…for magnets. A kid with a locker was a Big Kid. Or so it seemed to the children in grade 6. To those finishing Grade 8, the once mighty locker became just another place to put their stuff.

At about halfway through the first term of Grade 8, talk of “Grad” began. I didn’t get it. At all. Graduation from Grade 8 – for me – was not “Grad”. “Real” graduation was from high school. Or university. Suddenly I found myself discussing Prom, breakfasts, pre-parties, post-parties. The kids were barely involved. There was a parent party, a parent poem, a photo collage made by – of course – the parents for their young graduates. Decor, menus, venues – the emails were flying. Even though I was on the planning committee, I felt like quite an imposter – I didn’t buy in. Not to any of it.

And now as the big day approaches, I cannot help but think about what it really means for my boy to be heading off to high school in September. He’s excited to be going to school with all of his friends even though, as I like to tell him (frequently), he probably hasn’t even met his friends yet! Up to now, it’s been all-childhood, all the time. I know his pals, their parents, his teachers.  Now, he’s entering his own phase. New friends. New experiences that have absolutely nothing to do with us. We won’t really know where he is, what he’s doing, or with whom. I’m well aware that it’s been my job to get him to this place, and I can only hope that he makes the right choices. I have total confidence in this young person but still – it terrifies me.

I am thrilled and scared. Happy and devastated. I know what I was up to in high school. I both laugh and cringe when I think about it. When I look at this boy, with whom I have such a special relationship, and I picture him leaving me out of his high school life – because that is exactly what he is supposed to do – I get teary. Not too many teenagers are coming home to discuss what’s going on with their mommies. Some do, sometimes, but not a lot. While my son and I are truly sympatico, I am not his best friend, nor is he mine. I don’t expect him to tell me everything, and as he enters these totally impactful high school years I’ll be happy if/when he tells me anything! This is his time. He’ll be making new memories and really carving out he who is. All exciting stuff, invigorating and, hopefully, not too traumatizing.

So much of who we become is etched upon us in high school. The music we’re into. The friends we find. The mistakes we make. High school is a place of freedom and excitement, but also a place where it can be so hard to figure out who we are. We get boxed in. Left out. Egged on. Some part of us never leaves high school.

And now that’s where he’s heading.

So as we enter his final week of middle school, with the parties and the ceremonies and the goodbyes, I know that it is “only grade 8”. And that in 4 short years when he (hopefully!) graduates from high school I will think back to this with fondness and smiles.

But for today I will wish my young graduate the fortitude to make the right decisions. To be his own person.  To stay kind, funny, compassionate and smart. There will be wounds in the teenage world of social warfare, and challenges he’ll think he can never possibly surpass. Life will be the best. And the worst. And we will be there for him whether he wants us or not.

And whether we want to or not, we will set him free and watch him fly…..

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June 19, 2017   5 Comments

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LOST& FOUND

We have a new rule in our house – if you’re not ready to leave when it’s time to go, you take the bus. Unless you’re 7 years old. Then you just get to school late. But for the 10.5 and 12 year old? Hop on the bus, Gus.

So far, we haven’t had to put said plan into action for the older boys. But that all changed last week when my middle guy could. not. get. out. of. bed. Just couldn’t. So I left him behind. When he called me at 8:28AM and told me he was ready to take the bus, I tried my best to be casual – and find him another lift to school. But no, he was ready, he said. He knew the way, he said. He’d be taking the bus.

So we went thought the route, step-by-step.

  1. Right at the end of our street to the bus stop.
  2. Ask driver for the stop by name.
  3. Look out the window for the school building.
  4. Call from the office when you get to school.

Simple, right? And, just in case, I emailed the school asking them to let me know when he arrived.

About 45 minutes of radio silence later I called my husband to see if he’d been home and seen our kid. He hadn’t. I was getting a bit worried. He wasn’t. I called the school. They too weren’t worried and presumed B had called me on his own. I explained that he didn’t have a cel phone. Ummmm….I was getting a little clammy… They reassured me that he must be at school since he hadn’t been marked absent. I asked them for visual confirmation and to call me back.

I was now sweating.

My phone rang from an unknown number a few minutes later. Sure enough, it was my boy, sobbing hysterically.

“Mommy!!! I’m lost” he wailed.

“Lost?? Where are you? Whose phone is this?” I demanded.

“I’m at a Starbucks. At Yonge and Lawrence”.

WTF?!?!

“Mommy’s coming!”I yelled, turning into Wonder Woman in my mind and hopping into my invisible plane/visible SUV.

For those local, let me explain:he was supposed to go a handful of stops down Bathurst. But was calling me from Yonge and Lawrence. This was not on the route. Not even close.

I sped over to pick him up, heart racing nearly as fast as my wheels. I parked illegally and ran into Starbucks. There he was, drinking a glass of water. He told me the baristas had been so nice – offering him cake pops and hot chocolate. When I went over to thank them, however, they glared at me as though I was the worst parent on the planet. “Guess that experiment didn’t work?” I joked, lamely. They were having none of it. Just judgey McJudging me and my parenting. I grabbed my child and slunk away under their icy stares.

As we drove back to school, B explained that he did, indeed get on the bus. And when he asked the driver for his stop, the man told him he’d “never heard of it”. And it all went south – and east – from there. You see, we’d forgotten that there was more than one bus! And the driver didn’t think to mention that to this 10 year old either. So as the bus turned left unexpectedly (for him), my son figured they were on a detour. And when they passed a local hockey arena, he figured he wasn’t that far off. But as it continued to chug along (down Chaplin, locals), he knew something was very, very wrong.

The bus pulled into the final stop: Davisville subway station. B piled off with the rest of the passengers. Most headed into the depths of the subway. Luckily, B did not. He spotted the Yonge Street sign and started started walking. And walking. And walking. Walking north, on the longest street in the world.

Rather than ask a stranger to use their phone (“they all looked like robbers”), he figured he’d find a safe place. Like a bank. And when he couldn’t find our bank, he went for second best: Starbucks. Not noticing the handful of Starbucks on the opposite side of the street, my boy walked from 2.1km. From Yonge and Davisville to Yonge and Craighurst. That’s the one across from Sporting Life, friends. A long, long walk away.

Every time I retell the story I get a little sweaty, share a bit of nervous laughter. But mostly I am grateful for what we all learned:

  1. No, he didn’t need a cel phone (or cash) because he figured it out.
  2. He’ll never be late again.
  3. He was way more resilient and street smart than we had pegged him.
  4. My guy really found himself by getting lost….

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April 4, 2016   6 Comments

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THE TRUTH FAIRY

My nearly nine year old son asked me to join him in private conversation the other day. He needed to speak to me about life, friends, his homework and…the tooth fairy. Yes, he still believed. Despite many queries and doubts, my children were staunch believers in the magic of the tooth fairy. My Man and I swore blindly (fingers crossed) that of course we weren’t the tooth fairy. How could that be? And while other kids in other houses may get cash, books, prizes and even jewelry (I know, crazy, right?), chez nous the tooth fairy always left a toonie. And always left a note.

It was the note that sealed the deal. Written in spidery ink, in a tiny envelope, it was the proof that the TF was the real deal. No parent could possibly print like that, my boy reasoned, not even his own. And so it went. Until last night.

My son told me the other kids in his grade 4 class were non-believers. He turned to me, desperate for guidance. He admitted that he wasn’t 100% sure of the TF’s validity, and yet, those notes! He challenged me: why was I smiling? I countered: why was he? And then, another tack: why was I trying NOT to smile? Again, right back atcha, son. He resorted to threats: the next time he lost a tooth, he’d be keeping the news to himself. He’d place the tooth under his pillow and wait. If the tooth fairy showed up – without his having told us the toothless news – then she was real. And if not? He’d know, for sure, the jig was up. He looked pretty proud of himself. Finally, he confessed: he really, really wanted her to be real, even though a part of him had a feeling she was not. “Please” he begged, “just tell me: Are you the tooth fairy?”

I took a deep breath and stared at him in all his beautiful innocence. Of course, this was the moment for me to come clean and fess up. I looked him squarely in the eye and replied: “No. I’m not the tooth fairy” and scurried out of his room.

When I recounted to my Man he was shocked: our son still bought in? How could I not tell him? Ditto our dear friend. He was nearly 9. He swore like a trooper, went to sleepover camp, taught her son dirty songs and still believed in the tooth fairy? Crazy! I had to tell him. The more I thought about it, the more I realized they were probably right. I didn’t want some nasty-ass kid making fun of him for his belief. I’d already had The Sex Talk with him so he’d hear the real version instead of some twisted one. The tooth fairy expose had nothing on where babies come from.

And so I told him. I admitted that yes, I was the tooth fairy. And the look on his face nearly felled me on the spot. Instead of a jubilant “a-ha!” or a triumphant fist pump, his entire demeanor changed. He slumped, utterly defeated, muttering something about having had a feeling but… And at that moment, once it was out there, I wished I’d kept shtum. He could’ve enjoyed a few more weeks of believing. At least until a couple more teeth fell out. But at the rate we were going, with nary a wiggler in sight, it may have been months. Instead, I just robbed him. With the unmasking of the tooth fairy came the end of his childhood as he knew it. The end of the innocence. Slaughtered, by his mother the TF imposter.

Luckily we never had to deal with Santa. Instead we’ve got b-lister Eliyahu at Passover. He still buys into that. Phew.

Daydream believer…..

October 12, 2012   8 Comments

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All Joy, No Fun…

I recently came across a fabulous article entitled “I Love My Children. I Hate my Life.”

I was dumbfounded. Flabbergasted. All those great words that describe that shock ‘n awe feeling…

According to the most recent studies, having kids makes you unhappy. I’m paraphrasing of course, but when I read this, I wanted to refute it at every word. I’m deliriously happy. Except when I’m not. And staying home and being there for my children is completely fulfilling…

OK. Not really. But….How did they know??

I did prefer washing up the dinner to bathing my kids. And of course I’d rather bake something real then pretend cook fake food. Stacking blocks, fitting shapes into holes, doing the simplest of puzzles….No, no and no thank you.

Sure, I could get into playing – I’d build something kinda cool, only to watch one of my guys gleefully knock it down. I loved when my boys helped me with my mini-business in the kitchen. As long as they understood I was totally and utterly in charge and they followed by every direction. Not so fun for them, tho’ raw dough is always a good incentive.

Yes, I confess: I hate the park. Ditto Sportball and other kiddie programs, watching Teletoon, and bro-on-bro (-on-bro) wrestling. We joke that it’s Rated M for Mother. because this mother can’t stand to look.But the park? Stresses me out. Either I’m standing still in the sun, repetitively pushing swings or, even worse, watching my 2-year old clamber up structures much taller than me – with several ill-spaced openings, perfect for falling from. That gut instinct that tells you not to walk off an edge? My son doesn’t have it. Or maybe he does but finds it hilarious seeing me try to figure out which side of said climber he has the least chance of tumbling from. It’s quite a dance we do. I envied my friends whose kids preferred the sandpit. They’d sit for hours and yeah, emerge filthy, dumping sand all over the floor, but my boys did that sans sand. And at least my friends got to shmooze with the other moms in the park. As one person pointed out: that’s not the point. You’re supposed to shmooze with your kids.

Oh.

A lot of my female friends have confessed to not being very good at (ie not really enjoying)”playing”. Maybe because quite often, they’ve got other things to do (dinner, laundry, sorting through old clothes). One friend of mine told me the best day she ever had with her kids at the park was the day she figured she’d let them eat cereal for dinner.

Maybe it’s a girl thing. My Man loves to play with our boys. Maybe they have too much access to me or maybe (gulp) he’s just more fun. Apparently I’m more “talk-y”. Not sure how to take that.

The article mentions the “golden age” of child-rearing: when the kids are 6-12. Babies and toddlers are hard, and teenagers are worse. Our guys are 2, 5 and 7. I fear we’ll never be in that golden age. When my youngest turns 6, my oldest will be 12. Little kids, little problems and all that…

Either way, we’re right in thick of it. There’s a lot of “drudgery”. A lot of “chores”. And a lot of counting to 3 (and wondering what you’ll do if you reach the magic number and your kid doesn’t care). And yet, when my very busy baby starts singing “Imma Be”, complete with fist-pumping, I howl. And when my not-so-compliant middle guy joins me on my errands – he doesn’t like to miss a thing – he slays me with love and laughter (cliches be damned) every time. And when my super-sensitive eldest and I went to NYC, just the two of us, there was nothing better. It was like a honeymoon of sorts – but with my kid.

I feel like the “unhappiness” comes less from the kids and more from the loss of freedom that parenting brings. Same thing? Perhaps. Freedom is a luxury that I for one definitely took for granted. Going out wherever, whenever is no longer an option. Thinking solely of myself is impossible. Not because I’m the perfect wife and mother, but because it’s literally impossible. There’s always someone who needs something, somehow, somewhere. Or I get tired. Or distracted. But appreciating it now – is that about parenting? Or just growing up?

The grass is always, always greener. But seeing so many of my own “bad thoughts” put onto paper was quite gratifying. And enlightening. Therapeutic even.

But fleeting.

If you have a chance, grab NY Mag and head for the toilet. And don’t forget to lock the door.

For those for whom this is impossible: check it out on-line.

July 26, 2010   1 Comment

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Top Cops

Yesterday afternoon, our street was a-blazin’. Literally. Another mom had just arrived to pick up her son. She pulled up in front of our house- OK, in front of the hydrant, in front of our house – and started getting her son ready to leave.

Suddenly, we heard sirens. They seemed to be getting closer. And then closer still. We joked that she’d better move her car….Ha ha, hydrant humour….

No joke.

Next thing we knew, there were 5 firetrucks, an ambulance and a handful of cop cars. Our friend was gone like the wind. I, along with the rest of the street, ran outside to check it all out. Massive black smoke clouds billowed out of the house two doors west. Its elderly occupants were outside, watching it burn. A firefighter staggered out of the house, was ushered to a chair and stripped of his equipment. He left in an ambulance soon after.

This ‘hood hasn’t seen so much excitement since, well, ever. The crowds gathered. My phone was ringing – concerned friends and neighbours wanted to make sure it wasn’t our house (not that I could’ve answered if it was – but sentiments were very much appreciated nonetheless).

The entire street was closed off in both directions, so a friend had to ferry my oldest son home, and I had to walk him back from the corner of the road. As we walked passed the house, he asked me what was happening. Having no clue, I stopped to ask a trio of police officers for the scoop.

Let me be clear: the firefighting element of the scene seemed to be over, or at least well under control. There were no flames, no smoke. A lot of official-looking folks from police, fire, and EMS were chatting. As were the neighbours. In other words, we were not interfering.

So we approach the coppers and ask one of them, a lady in gender only as it turned out, what was happening. She looked at me and my 6 year old son and deadpanned “A plane flew into the house”.

I looked at her. She stared back. I replied, calmly, “well, we know that’s not true, is it?” The other officer told us they were waiting for the smoke to clear and an inspection would follow. Blah blah blah – officialspeak for “no clue”.

As we walked home my son turned to me, fear in his eyes, and asked “did a plane REALLY fly into that house, Mommy?” And thus it began. I had to explain that the policewoman was, well, what WAS she doing? Making a joke? Scaring a child? Being a bitch?

The rebuttals came fast and quick – in my mind. I was tempted to go outside and tell her off. Report her to her superiors. Revoke her badge! Who tells a little kid something so stupid? And what if we were somehow affected personally by 9/11? The what-ifs were endless. As were my come-backs. If only I had the guts to use them. In time.

Needless to say, vigilante justice was not to be had. Or even contemplated. I didn’t feel like messing with the police force. Even if our taxes do pay her salary. Luckily, my son slept like a baby….Erm, better actually, as my baby was up all night looking for the firetrucks to come back.

Still, it was a real blow. I took it personally. “Our cops are tops”? Hardly. At least not this one – she was the bottom of the barrel.

The firemen, on the other hand, were another story altogether. Brave, tall and handsome -even the ones that weren’t, were! Toronto’s finest indeed…

March 11, 2010   No Comments

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What I Did on my Summer Vacation

Looks like summer is officially over. Tomorrow it’s back to school. Back to carpool. Back to chauffeuring. Being a night-before stylist. An enforcer. A chef. And my fave – The Warden.
I had all these grandiose plans for the summer….
Seeing lots of movies. Check.
Exercising. Started off well.
Getting back to Bikram yoga. Got too tense – and had nothing to wear that wouldn’t either constrict in the most unflattering of ways, or flip over my head and blind me if I bent over.
Writing a script. Did a rewrite… okay, a polish… of an existing project. But that kinda counts.
Spending lots of quality time with my kids. I extended their day camp. But we did hang out a lot at the cottage. And I took them to an amusement park by myself, went on loads of rides, ate as much junk as possible, went onstage during a clown performance, AND got stung by a bee and didn’t cry. Yes, I am supermom.
I also saw how enlightening a summer can be, even when you’re 1, 4 and 5-and-a-half years old. While my baby conquered walking and learned to point instead of scream, my big boys picked up all kinds of other equally important stuff this summer.
They are now gaga masters (that’s dodge ball for those of you out of this particular loop). They love archery. They can swim in the deep end and jump off diving boards. They pretty much know the entire Beatles catalogue by heart, and are counting down the days until Beatles Rockband arrives (-2. We pre-ordered). They’ve become terrific bikers, soccer players, and catchers. They can wield a tennis racquet with the best of ’em – and sometimes even hit the ball. Over the net. They know street names, directions, and how to do English accents. They appreciate the BBQ. They’re not afraid of sunscreen, and they like wearing hats. Their phone manner and overall sportsmanship has improved tremendously.
And they can swear like sailors.
It started off innocently enough. Weiners. Balls. Butts ‘n bums.
Jackass. Piss. Crap.
Stupid. Idiot. Stupid idiot.
And then shit happened. “Say shit”… “He said shit”… “You’re a shit!”
Inevitably, they dropped the big bomb. The F-word cruised into our house on a barrel of laughs and blushing cheeks. Apparently, FUCK was one they learned here at home. From their father, God bless him. That they happened to pick it up only when off at camp and yet blame their dad amazes and amuses me. But it’s here to stay (not that it ever left!) And joining the F-word is the B-word (Buck) and the C-word. Everyone gets a little shifty and nervous when they mention the C-word. But – get this – they think it’s Cuck! And so it goes with every letter of the alphabet.
Except L.
The L word is Love. As noted by a 5.5 year old.
So while they stub their toes and scream fuuuuuuck like banshees, and call each other dicks, jackasses, and shits – but only “for pretend until school starts” – I take heart that the L word will stick around, even in grade 1.
Fucks, shits and pisses be damned.
Happy back-to-school… for those who go, those who drive, and those who remember!

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

the father did really teach it to them. notch another one for jack ass. summer lovin!

September 7, 2009   No Comments

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Coloroso for Dummies

SPOILER ALERT: THIS BLOG IS ABOUT PARENTING. NO RANTS, JUST RAVES….

For real.

But if you’re still interested, read on. If not, a bientot….

Now, where was I? Aaaah yes. The trials and tribulations of parenting. The love. The joy. The pain….in the ass. It ain’t easy so I take any help I can get. And then I discard what I don’t need. Or want. I’ve read loads of books, been to a handful of courses. Some last several weeks, others a few hours. I pick ‘n mix and hope against hope that something someone said somewhere will stick by the time I get home. And that I’ll remember what it was and whether it worked. “Siblings Without Rivalry” is an awesome book. Ditto “How to Tame your Spirited Child”. Alyson.ca is good news. And Sarah Chana Radcliffe’s not bad.

And then there’s Babs. (Can I call her Babs?). Talk about a maven!!! Parent. Teacher. Author. Genocide expert. Ex-nun. Comedian.

OK, she’s not officially a comedian but she’s hilarious so I’m taking liberties. It’s my blog.

Last night was different. Different from the other gurus. Different than all other nights. Free coffee and two-bite brownies aside, it was amazing. It was Barbara Coloroso talking about everything from bullying to Rwanda to sibling rivalry. She was smart. She was funny. She was inspiring. I’m not one to prosthelytize – well, perhaps I am (Magic Bullet…American Idol…Piller’s Turkey Bites… oops did I really admit that? Moving on…) – but she was brilliant. I left her lecture feeling moved, energized, and confident. And tempted to shanghai her back to my house to hang out with me ‘n mine for a week or three.

But since that’s illegal, and undoubtedly expensive, I shall humbly attempt to paraphrase some of her better thoughts. Yes, I took notes. And it’s a good thing too. I’ve been asked to pass them on. Yes, the people have asked. And while there are no perfect answers, there are some damn good tips to help find them…

* Tattling vs. Telling…Tattling gets somebody INTO trouble. Telling gets someone OUT OF trouble. When in doubt, discuss.

*Bribes and Rewards are THE SAME THING. We’ve become a nation of gold-star earners. Doing The Right Thing shouldn’t be something that you get paid for. It’s something you just DO. It feels good because it is good. And that’s reward enough.

*Natural consequences: if it’s not life-threatening, or moral threatening, let it happen.

*Discipline. Don’t punish. Punishment doesn’t work – it sends ’em underground. Discipline is learning.

*Think in terms of US, OURS & ENOUGH….rather than me, mine and more.

*Teach your children HOW to think, not WHAT to think.

* Save the “no” for when you really mean it. Alternatives include “later”, “let me think about it/give me a minute” and (my fave) “convince me”. There is a time for “no” – used sparingly it’ll actually mean something. “No.” It’s a complete sentence.

*Don’t tell your kids what they already know.

*Mistakes happen. Own it, fix it, learn from it. And move on. Give your kids ways to problem solve while leaving their dignity in tact. And it doesn’t have to hurt.

*1,2,3…timeout. Doesn’t work. However, time out to fix a problem does, whether in a rocker, a room, or a lap. The goal is to calm everyone down and to let your child figure out a solution. Or to teach them how to fix what needs fixing.

*Teasing vs. Taunting: Teasing is two-sided, between friends, and gets both people laughing. Taunting is one-sided, laughing AT someone.

*”I’m sorry” doesn’t make something right. Instead, try fixing it and making sure it doesn’t happen again. Heal with the person you’ve hurt.

* Discpline doesn’t work for the under-3 crowd. Instead try one of her 3 D’s: Distract. Disorient. Disengage.

* Mean what you say and say what you mean.

* Conflict is inevitable. Don’t punish. Don’t rescue. Most of the time kids can sort stuff out on their own. And when they can’t, step in as a backbone, not an enforcer. Or enabler.

* Helping out is not a job. Chores are not paid for. Money is for saving, spending, or giving to others. Not for being a responsible citizen of a household.

* You can’t control someone else’s will.

There. I don’t need to write all this out 99 more times to make it stay in my head….Do I?! I was hoping just this once would get it to stick. Maybe it will. And maybe it won’t. But here’s hoping.

Good luck fellow freaks…..

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

wow! You did get a lot out of it…and took GREAT notes! Thanks for the synopsis, friend. Had I not been there myself, I would now feel that I had been there. I got her book from a friend earlier today…can share with you once I am done.

Good bloggin’ sister!

November 11, 2008   No Comments

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Lulu’s for Lemons

Check out the following statement:

“Look at your cute clogs…I remember when you only wore high heels, were dressed to the nines, and had your hair cut ‘n coloured by that rip-off guy….Now you’re all comfy and relaxed….”

How would you interpret this?

a) that you’re fabulous and chilled; mellowed with age.
b) that the person speaking has a secret ladies’ shoe fetish
c) that you’ve let yourself go

If you said anything other than (c) you’re a moron. Or a man. Same same sometimes. “Comfy”? There’s not a whole lot worse you could call a person, without being straight-out rude! Fact is, lululemon is the best – and worst – thing to happen to a girl since the invention of lycra.

Lulus, and all their knock-off compatriots, have definitely helped the humble sweat pant grow in leaps and bounds. (Excuse the phys ed refs.) But when once they were seen as a somewhat chic way of dressing shlubby (in my mind that is) they’ve now become the ubiquitous uniform for stay at home moms, exercise fanatics, and those of us who need to shed a few.

In other words, they’re the new Fat Pants.

They’re black. They’re flattering. They suck you in in all the right spots. We all wonder how we lived without them…And yet…they let the world know you’re got nothing to wear, something to hide, or both. Outside of the gym, that is. I have one friend who refuses to wear her yoga pants after 12 noon. Another who will only wear them once she’s inside the actual gym. And then there’s me, who (until the clog/relaxed/what happened comment) refused to wear anything but!

Erm, “butt” being the operative word here.

Having a four-month old baby should be excuse enough for kicking back a la lemonata. And yet, it’s not. With my other kids I always knew another pregnancy was on the cards, so never really invested. Sure, I joined a gym (or two) but rarely went. And of course I’m a Weight Watcher lifer. I always got back down to the starting line, give or take 5 lbs. But this time, it’s done. No more babies to be born from this body. It’s time to get back on the horse. The clothes horse that is.

But with an unforgiving, post-partum, 3-baby body it’s easier said than done. Hence the yoga pants. And now it seems they’re no longer an option. Or are they? Sure I remember the days of yore: not necessarily skinny, but definitely stylish. I was the chick who was dressed and blown dry on Sundays. In my apartment. And now? Jeans are my fancy pants. What happened? Have I let myself go? Is the most stylish thing about me my beloved iPhone?

It is pretty stylish…

But I digress. Someone suggested I don’t care as much now about how I look.

WHAT?!?

I straighten my hair for god’s sake. I may colour it myself now, but I still straighten. With products. So I must care. Right?

Let’s set the record straight.

I’M.NOT.GOING.ANYWHERE.

Or anywhere exciting. It’s a short drive from my home to my kids’ schools. Throw in a couple of detours for food ‘n sundries and I’m done. For that I should dress up? How? Back in the day when I did get styley, I was also getting paid. Most of my money went towards feeding my shopping habit. Nowadays, my money isn’t really mine. It’s “ours”. (Well, actually…my money is mine, his money is ours… but I don’t really have any…And that’s another story…) Either way, it’s spoken for.

But not anymore. I’m turning over a new leaf. Or reverting back to an old one. I’m packing up my yoga pants. Putting away my sensible shoes (albeit high-heeled ones). All dressed up with no place to go? That’ll be me. Suited and booted and rarin’ to go. Nowhere. But in style.

At least for this week……

October 30, 2008   No Comments

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting

A funny thing happened on the way to the gyno….

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. You probably have. It’s the one about the pregnant woman? The fat one, who looked like shit and was huuuuuuge….

Sisters, you wouldn’t BELIEVE the things you hear when you’re knocked up.

Too big, too small, too fat, too tall. OK, not really too tall. Although “you’re wearing those shoes” seems to be acceptable. It’s not. Neither is “are you having twins?” Or “your face has changed”. Or “you’re carrying in the back”….

“I liked your hair longer” is never OK. Pregnant or otherwise.

And then there’s the age-old question: “do you know what you’re having?”

I’m guilty of it myself. Sometimes I ask out of genuine curiosity. Or for lack of something else to say. Either way, when asked myself, I couldn’t believe some of the comments. Especially for this last pregnancy. When I knew what I was having. But didn’t tell. It’s kinda funny when someone asks and you know but they don’t know you know. And then they get all cocky ‘cuz they think they know. But they’re wrong. And it’s a fun kind of smugness. Y’know?

Girls don’t steal your beauty. Or make you puke more. And boys don’t make you hairier. Or give you heartburn. Some of ’em do. Some of ’em don’t. It’s all one big crapshoot.

When you have two boys like me, people assume you’re going for girl. And you know what they say about ass-uming, right? I heard it all. And knowing what I had and what I was having, I can tell you people can be downright offensive!

No we did not try for a girl – we tried for a baby. We didn’t think pretty thoughts. No specific timing or tricks were involved. It’s easy to theorize about gender. But you get what you get. And we counted ourselves lucky with our boys. A girl would be great. But so would another boy. I had one stranger tell me it’d be nice to have a girl, “for when you’re old”. Huh? Talk about pressure on that poor daughter. Besides, who needs to have a daughter for when you get old? You can hire someone else’s daughter to wipe your geriatric ass!

The Boy People don’t like girls. They like to tell you mean things about their own daughters. That they’re moody. Or bitches. Or cost a fortune. I heard one freak-show tell me her daughter was hormonal. At 2?? There aren’t too many of these types around -which is a good thing, because they’re rather off-putting.

Chinese horoscopes, ring on a string, mathematical calculations…It all means nothing. Only one thing does: H-E-A-L-T-H-Y B-A-B-Y

So please kids, next time you see that pregnant lady, offer her your seat. Carry her bags. Bring her a sandwich. By all means, ask her what she’s having….but leave it at that. No stats, no verbal makeovers, no presumptions. And never, ever, EVER play the name game. Admit to nothing. You like ’em all. Congratulations are welcome. As are good wishes. May the labour be quick. And the weight loss be quicker. Leave it at that.

As a wise sage once said: Smile ‘n wave, boys; smile and wave.

2 comments:

Anonymous said…

considering how very tired you are.. you do a fantastic job of writng.
i love getting your thoughts o paper

12:56 AM

Anonymous said…

“bring her a sandwich”– you were so spoiled! and not even by your husband! bah-ha!

August 12, 2008   No Comments

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Nanny Diaries – The Flip Side

Weird things have been coming into my head lately. Lines from movies, books, songs…The latest is the refrain “no brains, no heart, he’s much too shy…But never mind you 3, there’s a wizard as you can see….he’ll fix it 1-2-3…”

Remember that old Wizard of Oz cartoon? You don’t!? Then you’re soooo not my demo. (But you can check it out and fake it ’til you make it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjyv_i0tBSk) (‘K? Read on)

Now is that song stuck in everybody’s head? Are you curious as to why I’d do that to you?

I’ve been looking for a new nanny, that’s why. And it’s been a bloody nightmare. No shows. No return calls. No luck.

No brains, no heart, they’re much too shy….See???

I’d heard the nightmare stories. The whole “good help is hard to find” complaints. But I never believed them. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of duds – at home, back in the olde days of office life, on a production, and even when I was a waitress. Oh no wait… that last one was me.

I had one friend who was in the caregiving business. A nanny pimp, if you will. For a small fee, she’d find you the perfect person. Except after several months of dealing with high maintenance clients on both sides she realized her sanity was worth more than the gig was paying.

Then there was the friend of a friend who, after 4 months of hunting for help, finally gave up and put her kids in daycare instead. Pricey, but apparently worth every penny for the peace of mind. Mind you, apparently she’s now back in the market for a nanny too…..

I’ve had a nanny get sick and die (it was awful, actually). I’ve had the perfect nanny who would’ve bankrupted us ‘cuz she was a fortune. I’ve had the one who, when we said it was time to part ways, said her prayers had been answered – oh, and would I give her a reference. The latest one’s been off sick for weeks and finally admitted that she’s been diagnosed with a heart condition.

Bad luck, Chuck.

I don’t need Mary Poppins. I’m not looking for Maria von Trapp. And I don’t think Mrs. Doubtfire would last the week. But is showing up too much to ask? Is acknowledging my children with a simple hello an outlandish request? My phone’s been ringing off the hook – yet if I call back, they don’t want to talk. Except to ask me about my “offer”. I feel like I’m on-line dating: everyone’s looking to get laid without any commitment. Well, call me old fashioned, but a nanny booty call ain’t what I’m after. Sure, a one day trial’s OK – clean house, change of pace, possibility of escape for an hour or so. But I need the relationship.

And I need the help.

Apparently, I’m somewhat undesirable: 2 kids plus a baby coming any minute now. A dog, a cat, and a man who works late. Oh, and worst of all: I’m home. My old neighbourhood was run by the nanny mob. They knew who to work for, what to ask for, which moms were home. I definitely would’ve had black marks against me. But here in my new hood, we’re one of the smallest clans around. We don’t demand 12-hour work days. And we even pay extra for overtime! Should I pretend otherwise? Pull out the slavedriver routine instead? Treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen?

Who has time? I have no help!!!

I feel like a bit of an ass complaining: after all, all our mothers and grandmothers coped without help….Or so we’re told. But they had each other. And they started younger. Most of ’em didn’t live a freewheelin’ life on the other side of 25ish, so they didn’t know any better. By the time they hit their 40’s, their kids were in school all day long. And were (somewhat) independent – enough to be able to hop on a bus. And, in some cases, drive. Maybe they were on to something, those ladies. Or maybe they weren’t. If I had children with the any of the men from my 20’s, I’d be a very bitter divorcee.

But maybe I’d have a great nanny. Apparently times aren’t the only things that have changed. The nannies of yesteryear -or babysitters, au pairs, mother’s helpers or (cringe!)”help” as they were known by some – were a different breed…. Or so we’re told. Loyal. Lifers. Part of the family. Today’s caregivers want a job. And a life. And that’s fine. Great. All power to ’em.

But I want a life too! And maybe even (gasp!) a job. Not this month, mind you, but one day. And so, call me a princess if you please – whatev. I need some help. Call her an assistant. Or him – I’d take a manny too. Pronto. The TV-as-babysitter novelty is wearing thin, even for my media junkies. And I think my man might lose it soon – happy wife, happy life, right?

So star search continues….

I have someone coming in for a test run this week. It’s reached the point where, if they can understand me, the job’s theirs. All they have to do is show up. Yes, that’s part of the job description.

Is that really too much to ask?!

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

brilliant – right from the bleeding gutt…
anyway, i am the “friend of a friend” and just wanted to add that my return to the nanny market is a bit off the mark (as great as that line was). my son will remain in the fabulous montessori school he’s in now and i will be bringing someone over from hong kong to live in and work for me as a housekeeper and part-time nanny in the fall. the key here is that if she doesn’t show up or work out, i will never be left in a lurch and never be forced back into the trenches… it’s now all about gravy for me. and after the past year, mama’s taking the train load.
good luck

May 31, 2008   No Comments

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