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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.

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July 26, 2010   1 Comment

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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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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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Beauty is in The Eye of The Beholder

A few weeks ago, my eldest son looked up at me and told me I was ugly.

Suddenly I flashed back 30 years, when I met my father’s then-girlfriend for the first time. I came home and told my mom all about her, stressing that while the girlfriend was much prettier, my mom was much nicer. As if that were a god thing! How could I have been so dense? And so blind? As it was, this chick wasn’t nearly as attractive as my mom. And I’m not just saying that in hindsight. (Or because she’s my mom. And there’s a family resemblance.) No, I’m saying it now because it’s true. The girlfriend’s long gone now, but memories of her tiny mouse-like face and curling-ironed hair still remain…

As does the fact that my 5-and-a-half year old thinks I’m ugly. UGLY!!!!!! I may not be a supermodel but I’ve been known to turn a head or two. And with 3 babes and 40 years under my belt I may not be at my peak but I can say with certainty that I am not, I repeat, NOT ugly.

Or at least I wasn’t…..

Maybe this is some kind of intergenerational, cosmic payback. According to my eldest, I’m a hag. What the f&ck?!?!?!?! Aren’t your children supposed to see you as the epitome of all that is good and beautiful in the whole wide world? When my second son socked him for insulting me (yeah, he does that), my bigger boy explained through his tears that I looked ugly because my skin looked a little bit green. Green!

Now I know I’m coming out of a pasty-faced winter, but I tend to be more peaches and cream…OK, white… rather than green. Hence the sunburns. If I were green…olive… I’d bronze like a goddess. Or my husband. But no, according to my five and a half year old, I was green. Ish. That said, he did watch the Wizard of Oz recently….

Coincidence?

Perhaps. Or not. Maybe I am green. Maybe I do look the wicked witch of the west. Or maybe I’m just, gulp, getting old?

There’s been a lot of talk about aging lately. “Lately” meaning I’m the one talking about it with my people. Is that what happens when you enter your 40’s? Suddenly, I find myself checking out the surgercized chicks with more wonder than cynicism. I’ve been contemplating growing out my bangs but think that maybe now’s the time to keep ’em. That or botox. I’ve become invisible at the cheap ‘n trendy shops, yet a star in the pricey ones. All these older women keep checking me out. Or are they older at all?!? I notice that I don’t often spot people my own age in the streets and on the town….because maybe, just maybe, all those oldsters ARE my own age?

YIKES!

But it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right?

Right?!

Luckily for me, my second son thinks I am all that. He likes my toes – painted or plain. Doesn’t mind me in glasses, and likes pony tails. And when I wear red. Which I never ever do, but that’s what he says. I’m thinking it’s ‘cuz Elmo is red, but I’ll take it. Anyhoo, he tells me I’m beautiful. Daily. And that he’s going to marry me when he grows up. OK, so maybe he’s the kinky one, but still. They all seem to know what they like. Or like what they know. Whatever. My biggest boy cried when I got my hair cut (“you don’t look like my mommy anymore!”) My middle one likes jewellery. The more the better. Even my 9-month baby seems to have a fetish for high heels. Literally. He sits in my cupboard and sucks on them. So the particulars and preferences obviously start young. And they tell it like it is.

Which can be a god thing too…Because I got all spiffed to go out the other night and both of my big boys looked at me like I was a movie star. They actually gasped. Told me I looked nice. Reeeeeally nice. A princess-y dress would be better, but in bad-guy, Darth Vader black, I was beautiful. It made my night. Even coming from the under-6 crowd, hearing you look good never gets old.

Unlike the rest of me….

2 comments:

Anonymous said…

The boys told me the other day I looked like a boy. I said, why because my hair is short and I don’t wear dresses? They said yah! Then we talked about all the girlsthey like – and well, none of them wore dresses or were girlie girls. I guess that’s something, but ihit me wear it hurts. I have always secretly thought I looked like a boy!!!

7:19 PM

Anonymous said…

time does wonders for the mind…
fantasticasalways

April 18, 2008   No Comments

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Scoop on Poop

You think it’s all about Idol, right? Wrong! See, just when you think you know someone, I can still whip out a surprise or two.

I’m talking sh&t. Poo. Bowel Movements.

EEEEEWWWWW

That said, those boys were pretty crapola last night – Chickezie and the youngster aside – but this is about real poopoos: my 2.5 year old son is toilet training himself.

What??

It started about a month ago. Sounds like no (ahem) biggie but it was. Our eldest refused to go near a toilet until he was well past 3. And even then, it was a negotiation, a struggle, a bloody nightmare. You’d think sitting in your own sh&t would be somewhat, erm, uncomfortable. Apparently not. Puh-lease: don’t try it at home….

But I digress. This isn’t about the first-born. (Strange, but true) Back in January my baby told me he wanted to “make a poo”. I told him to crawl under the table like he usually does, but he was adamant. He wanted la toilette. Who was I to argue? I plopped him down, he plopped one out and we were off to the races.

Except we weren’t.

Seems my boy has picked up the habits of….boys. The sitting around, lounging on the can, taking your sweet-ass time kind of habits. All he needs is a paper and he’s ready for the men’s room. Have you noticed that? Boys have no issue picking up the sports section and heading to the john. They’ll even wave, stop to chat and tell you where they’re going. In public!!! Girls would never. N.E.V.E.R. They’ll wait for the comfort of their own homes. And if they must, they’ll find a hotel. Or, better still, a WC with floor to ceiling doors. In the workplace, repeat flushings, water running, even faux coughs – the ladies stay lady-like in the loo.

Not my boy. Not any boys I know. Announcements made, they saunter off, close the door (or not) and let ‘er rip. My son’s new thing is to take at least half an hour. I worry he’ll get hemorrhoids from sitting so long (unless that’s a myth.) But he will not be moved. And of course the urge to purge comes at the most inopportune moments. Bedtimes, mealtimes, ready-to-walk-out-the-door-times. So far, so good – we’ve been at home. He’s not manly enough to dump in public. Yet. (Thank god. Half an hour in a public bathroom? Pas pour moi.)

I know I should count my blessings – he wants to ditch the diaper and join the big leagues. But when you’re held back by BM’s? That’s just no fun.

Unless of course it’s your own.

Eeeeeewwwwwwww

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

glad you’re back baby.. so CLEVER.. keep it up

February 27, 2008   No Comments

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Great Leap Forward

Before I had kids, I vowed I’d never let them watch tv. Until they were old enough to appreciate it, that is.

TV=bad. TV=fat. TV=ADD.

Until I had a baby. And then another one. Suddenly, there was a new god in town, a new kind of salvation. We called it the television. No, not just because I was home with my pvr every night. No, the tube was a godsend. A babysitter. A drug.

Need a break? TV. A rest? TV. A potential punishment? No TV.

And just when we’d finally got a handle on the TV situation, my older son asked me for a Game Cube.

A game cube? Huh? He’s 4. he barely knows his own address. What does he know from Game Cubes?

No, no, no.

Video games=bad. Video games=fat. Video games=ADD.

Until my boys were old enough, there was no way I was going to succumb.

Erm, until I did.

No, we don’t have a Game Cube. Yet.

We got a Leappad. It was a gift, and I was able to justify it. My neices loved their Leappads when they were little and look how clever and well-behaved they are. Besides, it’s basically reading. But with a stylus. And sounds. So my son was hooked. It’s essentially an interactive book, not a dreaded video game. No harm done.

And then we got a LeapFrog Word Launch. I stared at my husband in terror: A VIDEO GAME. He rubbed his hands with glee. He is, after all, a computer geek and all-round tech-whore.

He ripped open the package and the world as I knew ended. the Word Launch launched us into the video age. Imagine the sheer joy of a kid as he learns this wasn’t just TV, wasn’t just a toy – this was a toy you played on the TV. A real, live video game.

The first day we plugged it in, I fumed. I stamped my feet. I was disgusted – with myself, my husband and of course my kids. It was the end of the innocence. So long 4-year old, hello rated-T-for-teen. It was probably a matter of months before he slunk off to the mall, pants below his crack. God help us all.

But then a funny thing happened – and by funny, I mean funny for us: we plugged the thing in and it asked us….I mean, my son…to spell a word. And the word was “hump”. For those who know my boy, they know he’ll stop, drop and roll on dime. Humping is his thang. Always has been. (Apparently normal…) So to learn to spell it was a highlight for him. And the fact that the first word was, ahem, hump, was a highlight for me.

And then, get this – the next word was “dump”. I SWEAR! Who needs primetime when we’ve got this? Fun for the whole family! Granted, the words that followed were less thrilling – for us – but I noticed a little something. My son wanted to spell. Not that he knew it. Poor soul thought he was rebelling with his video game. Sure we had some fun spelling out dirty words – look, if given the choice, it’s hard to resist. But for the most part, it was good, clean fun. And now the guy was coming home from school wanting to word launch! Who could argue with that? No annoying characters or songs (Diego tunes aside, o’course), no muss, no fuss, no guns. This game rocked.

And despite all media evidence to the contrary, he’s learning a lot. And listening. And being, well, a good boy. Especially now that I have another “privilege” to dangle over his head.

Thank you, Leap Frog…

Imagine the harmonious house I’ll have when he asks for a Wii!

3 comments:

Anonymous said…

good one – you are funny. I howled outloud. You don’thave to publsih this – just a comment.

2:50 PM

Anonymous said…

guess who programmed those words in… your “all around tech whore”.. next words are “snot” and “poo”

10:44 AM

Anonymous said…

LOVE your blog, and will be back time and time again.

www.milkandmanolos.co.uk

November 27, 2007   No Comments

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Out! Damn Blog Spot

I have been trying to blog for weeks. WEEKS!

About house hunting and toilet training and, of course, American Idol. Not the hopefuls but the guests: Diana Ross as Oprah! Who knew? Lulu as Olivia Newton John! Why? And that Noone fellow… creepy or what? That cringe-worthy dancing!!! Very pedophile-y.

But instead of going on about the Vanjina scandal (He’s a herm! He’s a girl! It’s all fixed!) or singing (ahem) the praises of my fave, Blake such a talent! Such good choices! When did he become attractive?!), I’ve been forced to sit back and wait. Wait until all these subjects, and more, fade out of the collective consciousness. Or at least mine. ‘Til tomorrow.

But I digress….

Which is the point.

Why the long wait, you ask? Why indeed!

Bloody blogspot, that’s why. Wouldn’t open one day. Wouldn’t let me blog the next. And, worst of all, wouldn’t let me publish AFTER I’d written, ranted and raved.

Melinda vs. Kiki? Check. Merits of boys being able to pee outside? (Little boys, not grown men) Check. Understanding your real estate competition? Check, check,check. I’ll give you a tip: the folks with the Prada shoes and shiny BMW will outbid you. Doesn’t matter how optimistic you are. They just will.

But alas, ’twasn’t to be. None of it. Maybe that’s why blogs are becoming so passe. Not only are you, dear readers, getting sick of certain voices (hopefully not mine – is work that busy?!), but no news is, well, no news.There’s nothin coming. Not on my computer(s) anyway.

So for those who’ve asked, and yes, there’ve been a few, thank you very much, that’s where I’ve been. Cursing blogger, yelling at my computer. And now, now that I’ve FINALLY managed to open, write, and hopefully post, what do I have to say for myself? Ermmm.

A whole lotta nothin’. That’s what.

Blogging. You gotta love it….

1 comments:

Kerry said…

I am so glad to hear I wasn’t the only one wondering where you were!! And by the way.. in my new experiences of house hunting in Toronto… I agree. Where are the days of offering 10k LESS than the offering price? What is with this “offer 20k MORE and hope for the best…”??????? Why dont people just ask what they want? Geez.

March 26, 2007   No Comments

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Fight Club

Parental playground question : who’s got it worse – mother of the victim or mother of the perp?

Poor victim. No one wants to see their child hurt. You feel awful, wishing you could absorb your child’s pain. So the victim’s mom gets righteous indignation. Not the perp’s mom. Or Dad. Or Nanny. Or whatever Guardian has to cringe as their charge taunts, teases, or beats the crap out of another small fry. After all, there is only so much you can do to, erm, train your child. Despite your best efforts, at some point, your kid’s gonna be the bad guy.

And how will that make you feel?

Complicated answer.

I remember my older babe had these “friends” who liked to push him around after school. By day, they were all pals. In fact one of them constantly referred to my son as his Best Friend. Well! With friends like these…The second those tots were released into their parent’s charges, mayhem set in. Every afternoon, like clockwork, these two little f&ckers would torture my angel. Push him, poke him, yell, scream, hit. You name it. Oddly enough, they were tiny things compared to my strapping lad. Possibly half his size. Did Napoleonic complex set in at 3? Maybe, Cuz they were like ratty little terriers.

I’d watch, loathe to get involved, as my son would tell them it was enough. He didn’t like that (his emphasis). Part of me was proud. My son chose words. Brain over brawn. Another part of me wondered why the parents of these monsters didn’t remove them, rather than issuing half-hearted warnings amid discussions of Christmas presents. And then there was the other part of me. The one I silenced. The one that secretly wished my son would realize his own strength and just wallop his tormentors once and for all.

One afternoon, as the moms stood around pretending to be pals, I noticed the kids playing one the slide. Together. Nicely. What a relief. Maybe I could make friends with these people. Maybe those boys were my son’s best friends. Maybe….Suddenly a man started yelling about the kid in the red jacket. I pretended not to notice. There were lots of kids with red jackets, right? Then the waterworks started. And they weren’t our brand. I turned to see this Dad holding my son by the hood of his coat. The look of defiance on my son’s face was all I needed to know that he’d gone from victim to perp. He looked me in the eye and told me he hit —-. When I asked why, he said he had to. Before I could respond I was being berated on all sides. He didn’t just hit —-, he kicked him in the head.

Suddenly, my child was the devil. The enemy at the schoolyard gates. I tried consoling the hysterical bully-turned-victim. I tried forcing my child to apologize, but no chance, Lance. I grabbed his hand to take him home, my face blazing with anger. But inside, I was jumping for joy. Atta boy, son! You showed those twerps. At last, he stood up for himself. Granted, he took it a little further than the pushes he’d experienced, but still… His “best friends” never bugged him again.

Yeah, I felt bad. Ish. And my son was punished. Sort of. But the fact is, that kid kind of deserved a swift kick to the head. It’s a pity that my son had to be the one to give it to him. And, yes, it did make me feel guilty. Guilty that he got caught…

February 7, 2007   1 Comment

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The Gift That Keeps on Giving

It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid…

Unless you’re hitting the stores this weekend, ‘cuz ’tis the season to go shopping…

SHOPPING?!

Yeah yeah yeah, I’ve heard it all – peace on earth, spirit of giving, time for family, blah blah blah. Spiritual holiday my ass – it’s all about the shops.

And hey – what’s wrong with that?

I actually don’t do Christmas. Nope, it’s That Other Holiday for me. Eight days of candles, soirees, latkes and, of course, presents. Sure eight days is better than one, but I have Christmas envy all the same. Love the lights/tree/tinsel combo. I can skip a wreath, but a stocking full of treats? Sign me up!

But alas, ’tis not to be. It’s Chanukah or bust chez nous, where the spirit of gifting is out in full force. Nephews, neices, kids and Others: those are the folks on my shopping list. Chanukah’s all about kids and the Others involved with them: teachers, nannies, etc. No husband-wife swapping… Oops! I mean husband-wife GIFT swapping. Not for a lack of trying on my part, but after several years of fighting it, I’ve succumbed, and now Chanukah is just about the kids. OK. Having kids helped.

The big question is, of course, what to buy. And that’s why god created gift cards. I mean really, is there anything better than a gift card? Sure I like to unwrap the big boxes as much as the next gal…Hell, I don’t even mind wrapping them. My mother had a wrapping cupboard – not a Candy Spelling full on room, but a cupboard. And it was awesome. Name your colour, your style, your ribbon – she had it all. I tried to recreate my own giftwrapping cupboard, but it’s turned into a regift space, the only wrapping is old gift bags and stolen tissue paper, ready to be reused.

But back to the gift cards. They’re not for everyone. A young child is still innocent enough to appreciate a toy. And toys for the little ones are still cheap enough to buy. Besides, who doesn’t love roaming the aisles of the toy stores? Sure it’s a pain in the ass in theory, but in practise? Suddenly, everybody’s young and happy and keen and excited. Cutting edge, retro classic, electronic wish listers – toys are fun. And of course they are – they’re toys!!! So for little folks, buying and wrapping is the way to go.

And they they turn 10. And suddenly, it’s all about the cash. No 10+ year old is going to instruct a hapless auntie on where to go and what to buy. They will, however, tell their parents. Or tell you which store they like. Saving up for a bearded gecko? Gift card. An ipod massage chair? Gift card. Jeans too expensive for anyone under 30? Gift card. Yep, for the 10 and over set it’s gift card all the way. And yes, I know cash is king, but it often ends up being spent the wrong way. So stick with the gift cards.

And Others? Sure you could go all out and buy the deluxe bath bombs or coffee mug ‘n milk frother sets. Or not. At my son’s school, the parents are banding together to give the gift of choice – a gift card to a mall. Each parent pays less than they would for an impersonal dud gift, and the teachers get to buy what they want, what they really, really want. Everybody wins!

Gift cards…they’re not just for Christmas! New baby? Gift card is the most considerate way to go. Every new mom I know spends the first few months of their baby’s life returning. Come on, people, you know it’s true. Me, I’ve been practically living on giftcards and credit notes for the past 3 years. Birthdays? Showers? Weddings? Ditto, ditto, ditto.

Don’t get all snippy now, I know how impersonal a gift card can be. But let’s be honest here -everyone thinks they have great taste. And, sadly, most people don’t. So unless the recipient is a little kid, or someone you know very very very well, or someone you want to either re-gift or cheap out on, opt for the gift that never disappoints and deck the halls. With loads of giftcards.

Fa la la la laaaaa, la la ka-ching!

3 comments:

Anonymous said…

Gift cards are not the fix all. I recieved one for my childs birthday. He went to the store, picked out a gift and went to pay. The card registered 0. I quickly paid for the item, I did not want to dissapoint the tyke and then went to the manager to investigate the matter further. The manager said it was empty. Maybe is was faulty suprise!Or de-magnitized by somthing etc etc etc. Do I go back to the parent who gave it??? Talk about akward. I let it go. 25 bucks will not break the bank but I am not convienced that all the gift cards in my purse are so great. I forget I have them half the time until its too late.

P.S.

Dont be fooled when it comes to our poverty line paid nursery/pre school teachers “Cash is king”. The card is just a pain in the you know what. Maybe they have to pay a power bill or phone bill or credit card bill from over spending at the holiday season. The most appreciated gift is cash in an envelope. We tip waiters in foo foo restaurants more than we give to our teachers at the holiday!!! Be generous they are doing a little more than serving us a foo foo meal! They are taking care of our kids. What can be more important than that?

12:28 PM

Anonymous said…

There is a draw back to the gift card – they know how much you spent! And that can be brutal if you are a great shopper like me and get really awesome stuff cheap. A gift card looks lame unless it gets up there. It’s like the Bar Mitzvah $10 Sam’s gift certificate. It felt cheap. Believe me, a gift card upward of a C-note is divine. $50 – depending on the place (read Indigo). But $25 or less, you feel like – “what, are you too busy to consider me?” I guess it does owrk for the teens, although, as a teen I loved cash and yes, I spent it the wrong way and that’s why teens are teens. Nice to have you back.

8:16 PM

Mother of all Mavens said…

For those whose giftcards have disappeared…sounds a bit suspicious to me. I’ve one instant of that because the person gave me the wrong card (we discussed). As for the cash. yes, we spent it on the wrong things. That was then. This is now. When the parents BEG you not to give the kids cash, what can you do? As for the teathers…some deserve their weight in gold…others – lead. If that. And some think cash is cheesy – not I, of course, but some. Gift card is the answer. Besides, they can always regift it.

December 14, 2006   No Comments

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Halloween 101

Smash your pumpkins, ‘cuz everyone’s favourite pagan holiday has ended. Christmas Bargains have (already!) replaced Halloween Spooktaculars. I’d say it’s about time for….a Halloween post mortem! Just in case you weren’t sick and tired of all things black ‘n orange, here’s your last chance to sit back and reflect on Halloween’s gone by…Aaaah yes, the olde glance backwards to see what we can learn for – and forget about by – next Hallow’s Eve…

Grab some candy, then read on….

Things have definitely changed since I was a trick-or-treater. Where have all the caramels gone? And when did candy get so pricey? And so puny? Two Hershey’s kisses in a mini pack? That’s just rude. Even the-already tiny Rockets have shrunk into mini versions. It ain’t right.

We used to go with pillow cases and come back with them overflowing. Sure there were a few duds, the odd, ahem, bad apple, but on the whole, score galore. My own kids didn’t do nearly as well. I don’t know if it’s the new punes, the rising price, or if the competition. My kids don’t care, and I should be grateful – the less they get, the less I steal from them.

I also think in certain ‘hoods (ie, mine), the overcorwding becomes an issue. People spend hundreds on dollars on the candies and then dole ’em out in single servings. The only supersizing going on was at the new infill houses. If you made it up the stairs you were rewarded – big time.

Around the corner is one of THOSE houses – ghouls on the roof, ghosts on the trees, corpses in the garden. The line up goes down the street as people come from miles around to see That Crazy House – or maybe they just want to try to get on tv. Yup, even the cameras are there – I should know, I pimped out my kids to try and make ’em stars. But they were too busy wiping the noses on my shoulder to bother screaming on cue.

That kind of place is a real draw, it is. But we’ve discovered that by going destination shallouting around there, you simply don’t cash in come sorting-out time. It’s the regular streets that are the winners. Even the quieter sides of the traffic-y ones kick candy butt. Choices, reach-ins, multiples. It’s confection porn -and not in a creepy way.

‘Cuz let’s face it, Halloween is kinda creepy. Forget the fact that all the marketing crap has worked.

(aside: North Americans spent almost as much on Halloween as Christmas. I chalk it up, in part, to the fact that all non-Christians can finally get over their Christmas envy by decorating their houses. I know mine subsided a bit when I strung up the fairy lights…I mean, lit up spider web…on my front porch.)

But back to the creep factor. Let’s discuss. Hologram skeletons on doors? Creepy. Grown women dressing up as schoolgirls? Creepy, creepy, creepy. Bunnies, kittens, curves-ahead road costumes? Whatev. I get it. Not for me, but I get it. That’s not creepy. But the schoolgirl fetish stuff? Sorry, it’s creepy. Giver-outters getting a bit wasted? Not so creepy. Trying to include us in their revelry? A little toooo welcoming. Creepy.

And the creepiest of all? The mask factor. I get chills just picturing them. Those who know me know I have mask issues. Big time. But come on people, who doesn’t?! They’re revolting. Those rubberized ones are the worst! I took my son (also mask-phobic) for a test drive of masks. He found most of them creepy, but titillating – the gorilla, the zombie, the werewolf. The scariest? The rubberized blond woman. What happened to makeup? Or that fun face-painting pray? Down with mak! Up with people!

But what have we learned from it all? That candy and costumes go on sale the day before Halloween, but that prices are halved the day after. That crowded streets make for lousy end-of-night paydays. That every girl under 6 dresses up as a Princess. They just do. And every one over 6 goes witch or goes home. That no one makes their own costume anymore.

And, finally, we learned that sometimes the parents get to fish their wish. And not just by eating all the Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and pretending it’s for their children’s health. No, they get lucky by wishing for a shot of something to keep their energy up and then – poof! Finding a house with a couple of blokes dressed as Russian Sailors and handing out, yep, shots of Vodka. Cuz it really happened! Now that makes for a Happy Halloween!

BOO!

4 comments:

Anonymous said…

For the record and on behalf of your huge male crowd – grown women in school girl outfits is sexy as hell.. love live halloween!

submitted by: husband-of-the-mother-of-all-mavens.

2:50 PM

Anonymous said…

Love you MOAM– and you’re right on the money regarding the halloweens of yesteryear. And I know you don’t have a “real” job– i.e. one in the “corporate” world– but if you want some frights, try spending the day of All Hallow’s Eve at “Dunder-Mifflin”. My company planned to bring in pizza and award prizes for scariest, silliest, and most elaborate costumes. What? No “highest concept”? Sorry, then I shall not partake. Sadly, the city announced they were shutting off the water so the party was canceled. I left early so I never saw the email. Imagine if I was suddenly moved by the corporate spirit and threw on my Captain Canada costume? Thankfully I went high concept– I wore jeans and went as “that guy who thinks it’s casual Friday”. Better than the poor soul in telesales who apparently also didn’t see the email– and came to work in full witch regalia. I hope they gave her all the prizes! The corporate world is scary enough. No extra Halloween frights required…please!

3:22 PM

Mother of all Mavens said…

Pedophiles? Creepy

November 3, 2006   No Comments

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