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Home Sweet Home

I’m ba-a-a-a-a-ck. Yep, after 10 days of enduring – I mean, enjoying – a vacation up at the family cottage I’m home….And now I’m ready for a real holiday.

I remember the day we left, getting ready to pack up the car… My Man looked at me adoringly and asked, “Are you excited?”

I stared dumbly back.

He continued. “For our vacation?”

I stared some more.

“Vaycay my ass!!!” I yelled.

OK, I didn’t really. Didn’t even come close. But I thought it. And added many expletives to that thought. And then I gazed back and replied, “Can’t wait, lover”.

Don’t get me wrong, a good time was had by all. It was a special time. A precious time. A time of bonding. And, in many ways, a time of bondage. For me anyway. Y’see, when I think summer vacation, I think fun in the sun. And sure, we had that. Lots of it. But I also think relaxation. The only exertion being one of choice. Y’know, like an activity. Hike, bike, swim (or, in my case, sleep, eat, hang). It’s easy math: Summer + Holiday = lazy days. But throw the family into that equation and what do you get? Work.

Work work, work….doesn’t anybody, ahem, lounge anymore?

The answer is a whopping no. As an unemployed mother, being on a family vacation at the family cottage is basically exactly like being at home. Only there’s no daycare, no programs, no nanny. Just the whole gang, the parents of the gang, and the friends and relatives and neighbours of the gang. All rip roarin’ ready for a damn fine time.

That said, I’ve got it good. I know many a fool who plans every detail and then…SURPRISE! Their parents, their parents’ friends, their parents’ friends’ kids and all manner of hangers on descend upon them. In our case, we chose the revolving door method. In with one group, out with another, and so on. So while it was kind exhausting with lots of mouths to feed, we made ’em all sing for their supper. They came. They cooked. They cleaned. We were all comrades, slaving – I mean, caring – for each other’s kiddies as if they were our own. Hell, if we weren’t having a vacation, no one else was either.

In retrospect, it was great. I’m recovered now. And it’s easier said with the rose-coloured specs and all that. But maybe that’s the design for life when it comes to the vacance en famille. In the old days I’d go on vacation and come back refreshed but also a little depressed. Now, I’ve returned from time away with the brood and couldn’t be happier to be home…In my own space… Where I can plan a real holiday…


Anonymous said…

That is a lie…we didn’t cook anything! We were graciously spoiled by our hosts. Thanks for letting us in on the family vacance. Photos to come…

8:53 PM

JoJo said…

I’ll bet every cottager reading this would agree with you! Next time arrange for a Nanny to help you or as we used to call them during the summer” A Mother”s Helper” “L’ aide de la Mere” or “Au Paire” or “Oh Help!!!”
Ten Days? Try 2 months!!!! You get used to it. Going home after that was like a trip to Siberia!!!!!!
Then for the next 3 months after we returned the kids only wanted the “helper”…… would only listen to the helper… where was she? Why just for the summer?
Why not forever????? ” HELP SWEET HELP”

6:26 AM

Mother of all Mavens said…

We were lucky this time – everyone pitched in (whether they realized it or not). This ensures the repeat invite! As for the mother’s helpers, that’s how we put our guests to work!


August 16, 2006   No Comments


Crocs, Crocs and More Crocs

I’ve never been so popular. Never. Who knew a post about Crocs could cause such an uproar? Arouse such passions? Pull so many opinionated folks out of the woodwork? Not I.

Fair readers, you only get to see the comments the brave and the brazen post on the blogsite. But trust me, I’ve had other emails and calls too. There’s a war going on and the folks are up in arms. But not about the Middle East. About Crocs.

So here’s what we know: they start in kids’ size 8/9 in Canada, but you can find falsies that are smaller – now that’s not something you hear too often, is it?! There are knock offs on just about every corner and, rumour has it they even have Croc kiosks at airports popular with holidaymakers. Like, er, Boston. We also know it ain’t the shoe that’s stinky. Sorry kids, but my sources have found that it’s not the wear, it’s the wearer!

So yeah, every kid and their father seem to have Crocs. A friend of mine who swore she’d never succumb to peer pressure did just that – and her whole family’s Crocified. One of my candy mags even had a pic of my Man’s man Jack wearing them. Navy ones. The caption? “This trend must end”. I guess Mr. Nicholson is where fashion trends go to die. Tho’ it doesn’t seem so.

As y’all know I had trouble tracking them down. (And thanks to everyone with their tips, spottings and sightings. How ridiculous is this? For shoes? Hideous shoes?) When I finally tracked down a couple of pairs of honest-to-goodness eyesores I was shocked. Talk about a feeding frenzy! And it was all about the butchy navy Crocs. Everyone was after them. I snagged a couple of pairs – for boys big and small – and proudly made my way home. Triumphant.

My Man wears his – but is very selfconscious about it. Not only because they’re the summer Ugg, but because duh, they’re the summer ugly. He’s no trendoid so he was a little tense. Until we went walking and it rained and they were so comfortable – wet AND dry blah blah blah. But my boy – he ain’t convinced. Like his mama, he knows the good from the bad and the ugly. And he refuses to put them on his feet. Not even 3 years old and already a shoe snob. That’s my baby!!

Ladies, please, trust me. Ditch the Crocs unless you’re gardening. DO try them at home – but not in public. If your teenage daughters want them, by all means, encourage it. Hell, buy ’em two pairs. They’re so unsexy, they’re prophylactic. Again, let’s remind ourselves: they’re cute and comfy and useful. FOR CHILDREN. AND MEN. No woman really wants a purely “useful” shoe. It’s like getting cleaning gear for Mother’s Day. And who the hell wants THAT?!


Anonymous said…

I love love your blogs,I hate the crocs but they seem not to make your feet smell, a very important issue as you age.

12:13 AM

Anonymous said…

As the person who succumed and bought her fam (not me) crocs, I just want to say that I think they suck. Having been througha tornadoa nd waltzing around debris, I decided to borrow my husband’s pair. Those little stupid wholes let every piece of crap in and never let them out. I was constantly stpeeing on little stones and twigs and had to keep removing my shoes. I decided to fuck it and put my flip-flops back on. At least the refuse has a way of getting out.


August 1, 2006   No Comments


Can You Repeat the Question?

I was getting cawfees with an out of town pal yesterday, when I bumped into a long lost cousin. One of those people you’ve known throughout your life and you know they’re kinda related but you don’t actually see them as cousins…That kind of cousin. Anyhoo, we started chatting and after covering the basics – how are you, where are you, what are you – we went our separate ways.

On no, wait. After a small prompt, he told me all that he was doing, ending the soliloquay with “single, no kids”. I said I was married, two kids. And then the conversation kinda stopped. In fact, it was less a convo than me asking the how’s, where’s and what’s. Is it just me? Answer, answer, answer…Doesn’t anybody ask anymore?

I started doing a bit of research. A teeny, tiny, bit. And it’s not just me at all. Apparently there are several factors to the non-question convo.

There’s the dud conversationalist. You all know ’em, you’ve all been ’em. For whatever reason, they – or you – have pas de interest. ’nuff said.

There’s the cover up. Either you really couldn’t give a rat’s ass (see above) or perhaps you’re kinda curious but cannot for the life of you remember who this person is or how you know them and so you refrain from asking. AFter all, you don’t want to bust yourself. In this case, one often overcompensates by rambling about oneself, convinced it’s a convo rather than a speech. Then one takes off. Fast. It happens. Or maybe one just wanted to boast. That happens too.

There’s the don’t-want-to-be-rude non-asker. You don’t want to pry. ‘Cuz you think it’s rude. Yep, there are folks out there who feel it’s rude to ask too many questions. They think they’re stepping over some imaginary line. Or they don’t want to potentially embarrass the unemployed. Actually, many underemployed cats I know would give their left arm to tell you about all the things they aren’t doing. Which is maybe why no one wants to ask. Fair enough to some extent, but you gotta ask something. Me, I think it’s rude not to. Show an interest, people. Or at least fake it. No one’s asking how much you’re earning or how much your bag costs (besides, if you have to ask…)

And then….there’s the mom thing. This is the worst. And, worryingly, it’s quite common. Once someone hears you’re a mom they kinda clam up. Have no interest in parenting? Who does unless it has to do with your own issues??!! Few are the ladies who will open up about their sleeping/feeding/toilet issues to someone who ain’t in the same boat (unless of course that’s the question being asked – then the floodgates have been opened. Open ’em at your own risk!) But come on – you can still ask about the rest of the life!

My friend yesterday is a mom. And a very successful book editor (the editrix, remember?!). And she lives abroad. And is totally glamorama. And she told me people often hear the mom part and clam right up. Another friend of mine is on the cusp of something huge – business-wise. She said people have only started asking her questions since she’s told them that yeah, she’s a mom, but also starting this business…Then they’re interested. Or maybe they want discounts. Whatever.

CONVERSATION = communication between two (or more) people. If you don’t want to chat, fine. Wave, smile, kiss, whatever… Move on. Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies. But ask me no questions and think I won’t notice? I will.


Anonymous said…

questions or not – where have the good convos gone? I personally, when working at home for my kids, hate the ‘what are you doing question’ – my own issues. But why is it always about what you do? Where’s the cocktail conversation of days gone by? Why oh why do we reduce everything to how we earn our keep? You make some excellent points, but I think thinsg go even further. And that further is cash. If you ain’t making it, you ain’t interesting. Cynical I know, but tried tested and true! Now PLEASE write something about the stupid losers that are SuperNova!!!! That’s something I want people to ask me about!!!


July 20, 2006   No Comments


Oops I Did It Again

I feel like a terrible mother. In recent days I have caused my child pain. Not you-don’t-get-to-watch-Dora pain. Nor was it too-much-hummous-you’re-paying-later pain. I caused my child pure, preventable pain. And I feel terrible.
The first strike was on Saturday. I went to securely fasten my 10-month old into his stroller and his shirt had ridden up and…..I caught his skin in the buckle. (insert collective cringe here) He went silent, then looked at me and burst into tears. It even left a mark. It kind of looked like a hickey, which isn’t something you want to see on your baby’s tummy.
The next strike was worse. Different day but, alas, same baby. He was on his change table (yup, this is going that way). I had my hand on his stomach – probably on the spot I had disfigured the day before. I bent over to toss out a diaper and I picked up my hand for one split second. And in that one split second, my babe was airborne. I watched him tumble. Down down down. I tried to grab him but only managed to scoop him up the second he landed. Too little, too late. Once again, we shared the moment of silence followed by crazy waterworks.
Luckily his memory isn’t as good as mine and he’s over it. But I of course am mortified. Not only because I caused my child pain, but because these little nasties happened on my watch!!!
It was the same with my first. Fall over and slam head into wooden box (on my watch)? Check. Roll right off the bed (on my watch)? Check. Fall down the babyproofed stairs (on my watch)? Check. The irony is not lost on my husband. Obviously my man would sooner cut off one of his limbs than hurt his children, but he’s somewhat amused by the fact that all these accidents happen – yep, on my watch.
I have gates and latches and locks. I’m peanut-free. I hover – in a good way. I’m not completely insane about the whole thing – babyproofing, feeding or whatever safety issue turns your crank. I’m definitely cautious, careful and common-sensical. Or so I thought. But it seems my own clutzy tendencies don’t end with ass-over-tit tumbles, wipe-outs on sidewalks or bloody falls up stairs. (Yeah bloody. In every sense of the word) . I’m passing this shit on to my kids.
If my man was the one who accidentally screwed up – and left marks no less – he’d rue the day. The guilt may only last a few minutes but he’d be tortured for weeks. Possibly longer. Yep, I’d never let him forget it. My child would probably grow up knowing the one about his dad buckling his belly. But luckily, I think my guy’s memory is even shorter than my kids’. Chalk it up to having a lot on his plate. Or maybe just having a life.
I console myself with the fact that I can only do my best. And that one day we’ll look back and laugh. And of course that no one would even know about these…slips…had I not opened my big yap. Britney – I feel your pain sister. At least my fuck ups happen off camera.
So far.


Anonymous said…

too much, I was thinking you were Britney and then you put it in your blog.

5:35 PM

smithcutler said…

welcome to the world of “normal person”
especially for busy people…. even bloggers!
you are brave to talk and write about it!! ask your readers to share their mishaps with you….. not many will admit …..or maybe they won’t remember them! we all keep moving.

7:40 AM

Anonymous said…

I know exactly what you mean. Mine rolled off the bed when he was about 7 months. It was like it happened in slow motion. He was fine after a 3 minute cry. Took me a few hours to get over it (I still shake my head at the memory of it). Luckily my husband wasn’t there to witness my negligence. One bonus (if there can be a bonus to letting your kid fall), is that the same slip ups don’t happen twice. Different slips yes, but you can bet I never left him alone on the bed again just because he really didn’t move. Murphy’s Law: Your child will have their first full roll over the minute you leave them unattended on a raised surface. Thanks for sharing.

4:50 PM

Anonymous said…

Loved the Brit shout out. Nice ending.

-Litha (I know I clicked anonymous but the use of my alias sort of honors that, right?)


June 27, 2006   No Comments


Mother’s Day – But For Real

Last night I went to one helluva raucous party. People got tanked. Glasses were broken. The decibel level rose waaaay higher than anyone would’ve thought. I even scored a phone number (this girl’s still got it).
Funny thing is, it was all chicks. Even crazier – it was all moms and daughters.

Who would’ve thought that 48 hours after Mother’s Day, 7 sets of moms and their girlies would get together for a big group hug of an evening – and have a blast? Not me, that’s for sure.

When I first heard of the plan, I feigned excitement. My mother was delirious- over the moon with excitement, as I’m sure all the moms were. But as one of the daughters, I thought it would be some kind of pseudo-civilized, non-wedding shower sort o’ thang, a real eye-roller. To top it off, I learned that my own mother, the queen of the mom/daughter love affair, the biggest promoter of parent-offspring bonding EVER, the Maharaja of mothers would not be there. She was devastated. I thought for sure we were doomed… for a night of dud-dom.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The food? Spectacular. The drinks? Fully flowing – as were the convos. People were chatting – and not just to their friends, but their friends’ mothers. And their mother’s friends. We suppposed grown up, sophisticated ladies soon turned into a noisy, rowdy crew. We came, we bonded, we conquered. We ate, we drank and we were all really, really, merry. We even have the photographic evidence to prove it.

I also learned a lot: that Neopolitan cake is not just for Bar Mitzvahs. That butts are the new boobs. That everybody colours their hair. That no one (other than yours truly) watches American Idol. That such a thing as a made-for-ice-cream spoon exists (they’re called ice cream spoons, go figure. That we all lie to our kids – white lies – to protect them. Or keep them from shrieking or doing drugs or whatever undesirable behaviour we wish to curb. That the whole strength from adversity thing isn’t just a pile of shit. It’s true! And mostly I learned that, like it or not, the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree. Whether we like it or not.

Amid the mother/daughter dates, I was the only one flying solo. And each one of the lovely ladies who came to the dinner had some story, some anecdote, something special to say about my mother. And I couldn’t have been prouder. Or missed her more. When I got home, all I wanted to do was call her, to rehash, discuss and laugh. Yup, I was one of those nearby apples. Closer to the tree than I’d ever imagined. But hey – aren’t we all?!


Anonymous said…
I am smiling at your take on the evening. I think we all would agree with your discription… and I am sure we all missed your mother as much as you did! One of those “good apples” you are!
Perhaps we could think of having another one after the summer or before winter sets in! It was really an upper!!!! I would be thrilled to host it! I will start collecting glasses and “Hooch” as soon as I press the send button! guess who?


May 17, 2006   No Comments


Mother’s Day

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone…

And not a minute too soon. Is it just me? Or is this Hallmark holiday kinda tense? What to make, what to buy, where to go… It’s a day-long food fest, gift swap and family fun fair.

My god, it’s the new Christmas!

Think about it: Easter passes and suddenly the retail motifs change from pale yellows and blues to pinks. The ads start, the florists stress and families start discussing – lunch or brunch? Dinner: in or out? Who brings what? Whose house holds everyone? Can we book tables for 20 people? Can we mix it up a little and do a one-stop shop of all the mothers? What if it rains? Blah blah blah.

Look, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for celebrating motherhood. I am a mother, and I have a mother. I also have a couple of grandmothers and a mother-in-law. Plus there’s a common-law-stepmother. That’s a motherload if there ever was one – a load far too great for just one day of celebration.

I say have Mother’s Week. Like Reading Week, or Spring Break, but for moms. That way, the mommies really can have it all: time with their kids, time with their parents, and time by themselves. Apparently that’s what most moms really want – time alone. I read it in the paper so it must be true. Yet my mother told me Mother’s Day is more important to her than her birthday. So I guess she’d rather not be alone. And my mother-in-law was thrilled to hang out with the family all together. Grandmothers and great-grandmothers probably spend enough time on their own to add Mother’s Day to the mix – that’s just depressing. But if you devote a whole week to us, imagine: Sunday brunch with your kids, Monday off, Tuesday dinner with the in-laws, Wednesday lunch with your own mother, Thursday out with your friends, Friday….well, you get the picture.

Personally, I’m not so fussed about Mother’s Day. But that could be because it falls in May – the very same month as my birthday and anniversary. Hurray for May! Sure Mother’s day has its perks – my mom actually gives me a gift – she says that it’s because of me that she’s a mother. Who could argue with that? And my husband made a huge fuss on behalf of himself and our kids. That’s not so bad either. Sure my diet went up in smoke the minute the BBQ was lit. And I totally fell off the wagon when the cupcakes came out. But they were pretty damn good. In fact, maybe Mother’s Day wasn’t so bad. See? It should be a week. At least!

This morning I was up changing diapers and making breakfast. Cleaning it up too. Stressing about (lack of) work. Organizing my kids; their plans and mine. Nope, it’s no holiday. If Mother’s Day is the new Christmas, then surely today is Boxing Day. A day off, spent eating leftovers and going shopping – and not just for groceries.

Sure. Maybe next year…


Anonymous said…


5:59 PM

Anonymous said…


6:00 PM

Anonymous said…

As a mother, I think Mother’s Day is a scam. What about just giving your parents a break every once in a while day! Why just one day?There is so much pressure throughout the year – why give everyone more pressure for a fabricated hallmark day. People should take the time to be good to their parents throughout the year. Take them for dinner, a present, whatever. This set day is KILLING me – I never enjoy it. I even had a huge fight this year about it. To think my kids will be dreading this day that supposedly honours me is too brutal for words. I told my husband that I set them free, but they better be really nice to me during the year. And yes, my birthday is in May too.


May 15, 2006   No Comments


Bat Boy

Aaaah, childhood. First steps, first words, first teeth…
When those first teeth appear it’s a relief for everyone – that’s why my angel baby has become the devil. That explains the runny nose/rash/fever and combo platter that medically has nothing to do with teething yet coincidentally always accompanies the cutting of new teeth. And that’s for sure the explanation for the drool fest. We often ask about other babies’ teeth to confirm that our toothless wonders aren’t the only freaks in town. Or, if we’re breastfeeding, to commiserate. Most babes follow the same pattern – a couple bottom teeth, followed by the top two and then, well, who really notices? It’s all about the initial front teeth. And then suddenly the gaps are filled, the bites are real and they’re poppin’ cheerios like nobody’s business.

But something different happened at our house.

Our child grew fangs.

That’s right, fangs. At 6 months, he got his first teeth – two on the bottom. A week later they were bracketed by two more. No top teeth in sight. But still – they were obviously en route. Then he went through hell. Fever. Drool. Rash. Drool. Pain. Drool. More pain. More drool. And then one morning, I spotted them. Full on fangs. Who ever heard of such a thing? Fangs first? I had a nine month old Dracula. A Draculito.

A couple of days passed, and I became obsessed with these little teeth (and lack of more). I’d look at my laughing Bat Boy and think it’s hilarious. I snap pictures, as proof, but the fangs never come out. Maybe he really is a vampire. He’s up at night. Sometimes. And he doesn’t like the sun… We have no crosses to hold up, but he does get a real charge out of his own reflection, so it’s more likely he’s a werewolf. Or maybe he’s just a bit of an oddity. I’m sure the other teeth are coming, but for now, it’s all about those fangs. I show them to everybody. I am constantly trying to make him smile – not because it’s fun for him, but because I want others to see these crazy canines. It’s like the anti-competition: your child walks and talks? Mine has fangs!

We went to see the doctor the other day, nothing dental-related. She noticed his teeth and laughed. It seems I’m not the only mother-of-fang in town. Two of her kids had fangs first too. Dammit. We’re not as special as we thought. See? Try as you might, it’s hard not to compare and contrast your kids with everybody else’s.

They don’t last long, these days of early childhood. Or fangdom. I just spotted a top tooth making it’s way south. Harumph.


May 8, 2006   No Comments