2 Cent Saturday

 

Some days I can do three loads of laundry, make a pancake breakfast, and get a week’s worth of writing done all before nine a.m.

Some days I find myself huddled in the corner of the bathroom with a bucket of Nutella attempting to scarf it down as fast as I possibly can without the offspring locating my whereabouts.

It’s all about balance you see. It’s about having the ability to discover what kind of day you’re going to have before it has even started. Will it be an “I am Wonder-Mom” kind of day? Or, more likely, will it be a pajama pants because you can’t even bring yourself to squeeze into the yoga pants kind of day? It’s about accepting the plight that is parenthood and giving into it gracefully.

Because when it comes down to the nitty gritty we can’t do the Wonder-Mom thing every God-damn day. Well not without a vessel of Valium and about thirty-five martinis that is. And you know how the Granola Moms frown upon that these days. So we are left with having to accept that some days we just can’t do it all.

It is either one or the other—slobby do-nothing Mom or Wondrous Wonder-Mom. Black. White.

Or at least that’s what everyone’s been telling me.

There is this strange mentality that I’ve noticed popping up lately and that is that everything seems to have to be all or nothing. Perhaps it has always been like this and I’ve just been too wrapped up in myself or apathetic to notice. But I’m noticing now, and it’s weird and makes me feel uncomfortable.

As parents we seem to categorise ourselves into these sections. Like “hover moms” “free range parenting” “no preservatives” “McDonalds parents” and we hang on to these stereotypes like they were our first born child.

Let’s get real here people. I try my damnedest to feed the Lars and Soph clean healthy food, however when I’m pressed for time or simply having a PJ pants kind of day they are getting a big ole box of KD with extra ketchup. I let my kids play in the backyard unsupervised because I’ve smashed “stranger danger” into the farthest depths of their brains. However I still go and check up on them every single night before I turn in to assure they are breathing. I’ve been doing this for eight consecutive years now and in all honesty I can’t see myself stopping any time soon.

Picture this if you will: me, sneaking into Lars’ apartment when he is 25 years old and stealthily popping my head over his bedside to investigate whether or not he has breath sounds. It will be when I ever so gently place the small mirror I’ve brought (because I like to think ahead) over his mouth to see the breath in question that his girlfriend at the time awakens. Resulting in extreme awkwardness. For them.

Motherhood is weird and poor Lars will never be able to keep a steady relationship with my crazy shenanigans.

I think as a society we need to expel this notion that when it comes to parenting there is only wrong or right. In most cases at least. Obviously some things are just downright wrong and some things are gloriously right. Like Tacos.

Ain’t nobody gone tell me tacos on their wrong list.

Ahem, Oh look once again I’ve been sidetracked by the fabulous thought of tacos.

Anyway, it’s the ego’s downfall that we are constantly at war with each other over issues like which parenting methods are best and what colour a dress on the internet is-I don’t know why I’m still on that, it was like a million years ago.

If we could for one moment set aside those big pulsating ego’s we could see that in most cases there is a middle grounds that we can all come to reside in and be overall contented with. And if there isn’t? Then allow your self-image a few moments of humility and try to see something from another’s point of view. The stubbornness we exhibit does not progress us as a society. We stay stagnant at an impasse because none of us can agree on what’s best.

If we open ourselves up we may learn a thing or two, moving forward into new potentials.

Or, you know, just go sit in the bathroom and consume copious amounts chocolatey Nutella, whateves.

Helping Our Small Humans

Change is great. Change is healthy. Change is good. These are the things I keep telling myself because if I don’t I will spiral into a pool of self-pity and sorrow. Okay perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic, although, our writer-reader relationship has probably evolved to a point where that doesn’t surprise you.

The Brown household has been feeling the pressure of change in these last few weeks and despite my valiant attempts at embracing it all, I find myself withering fast.

Jamie and I are having to work double time at the shop hoping to have it ready for production by early May. However, even that seems to be a long shot now as there continues to be issues popping up left right and center. This in turn leaves the poor children dangling helplessly over the precipice of neglect and abandonment. Again, with the dramatics.

We’ve enrolled them in an afterschool program which I am positive they will love, however it hasn’t started yet. So we’ve been doing what so many Ma and Pop shops have done since the dawn of Ma and Pop shops. We haul our small humans to the Panini factory and they hang out there until we are done our work. Lars definitely has it better as he is in full days of class so it is rare that we need to bring him, but Soph is still in kindergarten which means only half days. Every morning Jamie and I load her and approximately 700 teddy bears into the car to make the journey across town to work.

We then toil away with whatever is on the chopping block that day while Sophie interrupts us every five minutes. She is very good about keeping us in the know when it comes to her hunger or her boredom or when something smells slightly strange in her general vicinity. Occasionally her left toe is bugging her and when it’s not any of that you can be sure that some other peculiar five year old woe has hammered down upon her.
It pains me to say it but we can see the agitation in her everyday life. She is ornery and short tempered. She continues to try haggling with me for mere sport.

“Mom, I will clean my room if you give Sleepy Bear a birthday party tonight. With cake. And presents.”

“Umm first of all that bear has had like ten birthdays already this year and secondly you will clean your room so it doesn’t develop an army of bug creatures from all of the filthy clothes that are peppered around the place.” This is just one example of our bartering conversations.

Oh and the tantrums. How could I forget the tantrums?

There we were in the parking lot of the school while she was screaming louder than I’ve ever heard any human being scream. Her little face was nearing purple while tears streamed down her cheeks.

She was perturbed that her brother had gotten into the car before her.

As the child stomped her feet on the pavement I reimagined the song Hello, by Adele.

 

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As the lyrics swept through my skull I started to think. I knew that these temper tantrums were stemming from somewhere. Sophie wasn’t inherently angry like this—no kid is.

Other Moms were walking past the spectacle side-eyeing my dilemma. In that moment I felt like the worst parent to have ever walked those school grounds. Although I’m sure that most of them just looked at me with a sad pitying kind of stare. Let`s face it, we’ve all been there.

It didn’t take much to realise what the problem was. My daughter was simply missing me. She has never had to share me with a full-time job and that is a big challenge for our little family. So instead of threatening her with no ice cream after dinner. Or pulling out that notorious whisper-demon voice and telling her to get into the car. I wrapped my arms around my little girl and I hugged her hard.

I did say something into her ear as I embraced her, and that was that I loved her. It took a few seconds but she relaxed, melted into my hug and eventually told me she loved me back.

Change is great and change is healthy and it is good too but we must remember that change can only be all of these things if we take the time to help escort the people we love most through the difficult times.

 

The Never Ending Memoir of a Sleep Deprived Mama

“Jamie will you get up with Lars today?” My words float across our queen sized bed listlessly. For a moment I wonder if I actually have said them or if I was only thinking the sentence in my head. No, I’ve definitely spoken aloud as my husband lets out a groan and rolls over.

The garish nightmare that was my reality only several hours before comes raging back to mind. There I was in middle of the night cursing horrendously under my breath as I cleaned up popcorn smelling vomit. Just reliving this for even a moment makes my stomach curl and throat tighten.

Sophie had fallen asleep fast, this should have been my first clue. However I was more concerned about Lars and his “ear ache”. Do you remember six months ago when our darling son stuck that bead in his ear and had to undergo surgery to get it removed? Well it turns out this incident has caused a few psychological issues in the boy wherein he now is paranoid that random objects continue to get lodged in his eardrum.

It was ten o’clock at night and I was brushing my teeth when I heard the sobbing coming from Lars’ top bunk. There he is fanatically pulling at a very bright red earlobe insisting that there is something stuck in it.

“Well did you put something in there?” I asked.

“No but I think I can feel something!” Now if you need to know one thing about Lars it is that the kid is an awful liar. In the extremely unlikely case that he would shove ANOTHER object in his ear, there is no way he could spin a fib about it. So my next guess was that it was either an ear infection or it was all in his head.

I took him into the bathroom to get a better look and after a half hour of desperately trying to convince him that there was nothing in there I gave him some children’s Advil and sent him back to his room. This seemed as good of temporary solution as any, and as I lay down to go to sleep I reminded myself to check his ear in the morning before school.

It felt like I had closed my eyes for about two minutes when I heard the wailing of another child across the dark hallway. In a moment of selfishness I attempted to yell back to her, “What’s wrong?” The response was not that of any string of legible words but a dire sounding moan that was enough to shoot me out of bed.

“Mama” she said. It was in the liquid sound of her speech that clued me in to what was about to happen.

NOOO— I thought to myself.  I seemed to be slow motion running into her bedroom when I realized at some point in the last twenty seconds I had also grabbed the bathroom’s garbage can. I dove ever so awkwardly towards her to insert the can under her head. It was too late.

Oh how the scent still lingers at the base of my nose hairs. It tiptoes around that part of the brain that associates moments in time with certain aromas, certain stenches. I shall never eat popcorn again, and it saddens me greatly.

“WUGH!” That is the sound of me dry heaving while I cleaned up my daughters yuck. Last year we were wise enough to get our flu shots before the start of the sick season. Therefore the entirety of sickness in our home over last winter involved one bout of croup and a bead in the ear. This year however I dropped the ball and now as I was cleaning up half digested popcorn (why out of all things did I have to feed her popcorn the night before!) I was beginning to feel a sore throat coming on myself.

After I had fixed Soph up and put her to bed I checked the time. 1:30am. I fell asleep fast, but again was woken up by the distinct sound of yakking three more times during the night.

“Babe I need you to get Lars off to school this morning.” I say as I keep one ear open for the sounds of Sophie in the next room. Finally it seems she is sleeping soundly.

“Sure sweetie, everything okay?” I half hear him but am already falling fast into dreamland. I should tell Jamie to check Lars’ ear I think. Instead I allow sleep to take me. Somewhere in the far corner of my brain I know soon, “Mom” will once again be summoned, and so will continue the memoirs of a sleep deprived Mama.

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I am a garbage picker

As it happens, each year around this time of the Great Melt, a plethora of garbage and litter become painstakingly evident along our walks, green spaces and lots. It is the devastating reveal after a long and heavy snow-covered winter. And it gets me in the same soft spot every year.

I am a garbage picker. My mother is a garbage picker. And I’m sure her mother was too. We willingly choose, as crazy and outlandish as it may seem, to pick up haplessly strewn garbage when seeing it lying on the earth. Gasp.

“Um you do know that there are town workers for that kind of thing.” A woman informed me the other day on one of my cleansing missions. I held a rather fat grocery bag of sodden waste dripping from my left hand at the time.

I am aware, to be clear, that town workers get out with their poky sticks at a certain time of the year and in the more travelled areas of town, stab a few pieces of eyesore up and outta there. If you ask me, I would much prefer my tax money going towards a more lofty cause- something I’m not able to easily rectify myself perhaps. What I was not aware of was that it is truly that offensive to want to clean up this place that I live on my own accord.

The war on litter and waste would be a hell of a lot easier to rein in if every resident of planet Earth would be a little more considerate. The toxins from a cigarette butt ill fatedly flicked onto the grass, for example, will undoubtedly seep into our earth and water. Now think about what the areas outside your local bar looks like. Piled with butts and garbage, I bet, and each one of those little chemical stubs will eventually infiltrate our land and lakes.

But we all know that don’t we? You don’t have to be a scientist to conclude that litter and excess waste is bad for the environment. We hear about filling landfills and floating garbage islands every day.  So instead let’s look at it from a different angle- one that people from around my neck of the woods may understand a bit better. Money.

The amount of money we spend in taxes for pointless waste removal from our beach and walking paths is heinous. If each one of us picked up ten pieces of garbage on our walk to work, or the dog park, or wherever our little ol’ feet want to carry us, we wouldn’t be in need of paying these employees to do such for our own lazy and apathetic asses.

Even better, why not stop littering all together? Instead of watching that Wendy’s bag float out of your car like a thumb-up-your-butt-asshole, go and grab it, and shove it in a garbage can.

Our municipal government has passed a bylaw this summer to allow mobile food vendors into our town. Many a tourist passes through these parts in the summer months and I’m sure will be in seventh heaven when hitting up the convenience of some delicious to-go grub.  Of course some of the more environmentally conscious individuals found this worrisome because of the amount of disposable food containers that will be being pumped out of these specific areas. Obviously with this in mind, the fear of even more litter accosting our beach and parks is palpable. The town council put this matter to rest quickly and with ease stating that of course they would be adding additional garbage cans to the areas where the vendors will be present.

I find this a laughable conclusion to come to seeing as how there is already a surfeit of garbage cans around the downtown core, due to excess foot traffic, and still, the good people of town and abroad choose to flip their butts and toss their trash aimlessly to the land.  I’ve seen it many times first hand, our town looks like a dumpsite in the early hours of the morning during those busy summer weeks, sandwich wrappers, juice containers, and pop bottles all sully the ground. However eventually, before the tourists pile in, we pay unnecessary wages to multiple town workers to prettify something we, humanity, should do out of a deep-seated knowledge of simple mindfulness. Yet regrettably that notion has slipped away from many people nowadays.

There is a huge need surfacing, and not only in my meager town. It is the education of the earth and how we must stop mistreating this home we live on, for her sake and ours.

I for one will do as my mother did and teach my children how to recycle and sort as well as how to use a garbage can instead of the ground. It is painfully simple really. I will teach them how utterly despicable it is to allow a piece of their own trash to flit off their person and onto earthen soil; not once thinking about the consequences. And I will teach them there is no harm in picking up a few pieces of rouge garbage as they pass it by, how could there be?

Let’s create a generation of garbage pickers, and clean this mother up.

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Spring Cleaning

A miniature green and yellow triceratops greets me when I open my eyes. He is plopped on top of my chaotic bedside table and for some reason, upon waking, my eyes move automatically to him. “Well good morning small play thing.” I say, but not loud enough to give my husband a reason to commit me. Dino tells me he is there to remind me of the shambles in which my house resides.

“No, surely you are mistaken dinosaur.” I say calmly- coolly even.

He informs me that I am the one who is mistaken. Even though I did stay up until the wee hours of 10 pm tidying up the crumbs from the counters, the dishes in the sink and the toys from the floor- little dinosaur speaks of a different kind of cleaning this early morning.

Spring-cleaning.

I groan deeply (and not the good kind of groan) in my bed where I lay and I think about the dreadfulness that is spring-cleaning. I think about the undersides of the living room couch cushions and shudder. I think about the cutlery drawer and all of the crumbs and junk that manages to find its way in there and a wave of nausea overcomes me. I think about the awful amounts of dust that would perhaps asphyxiate my pink colored blinds if they had breathing capabilities and a single tear rolls down my cheek.

Each year this moment of realization comes, usually in some surprising and creative way, and each year I’ve learned to fight it vigorously. Spring-cleaning can only lead to heartache and woe.

Let me tell you about it…

A few years back, when spring cleaning didn’t have the same sickening ring to it as it does now; I decided to clean my closet. This was a time when Lars was beginning to potty train. It was a time before I became neurotic about my loathing for all things potty training. I am clearing away the shoes and purses that are stuffed in the back of my closet when I begin to smell something familiar. What could it be? What could that darn smell be that makes me want to stuff tampons up my nostrils. I grab for one of my purses and feel the pleather (I’m classy like that) is sodden and stinky. I immediately become conscious of the smell- later in my potty training quest; I will undoubtedly be able to distinguish it from miles away. Urine- hello old friend. At the time I had thought, due to the dry pull-ups, that small Lars had been proficient in his toilet training endeavors but instead he had simply been using my closet as his own personal pee place.

In later years of spring-cleaning, I would come to discover more unbearable surprises, each year the grossness gauge rising. One time it was poo streaked Thomas the Tank Engine undies stashed discreetly under the bathroom sink. The next year it was curdled milk bottles hidden away in secret corners for later consumption. Apple cores in heat registers. Bread crusts in the Tupperware drawer. My children are obviously terrified that one day I will stop feeding them and they have come to realize they must keep reserves.

And please don’t even get me started on the basement conditions!

So instead of getting out of bed I lay there stock-still and silent. Maybe, just maybe, if I try hard I can forget that the prophesized time of spring-cleaning is closing in. I had hit the snooze button when the dinosaur began his talk with me this morning and now once again my time has ran out and the bleep, bleep, bleep of the device is scratching at my ears.

I roll over to push snooze once more when the dinosaur catches my eye again. He stands on the bedside table with a half drunk water bottle, a bottle of hand lotion, a used sting of floss, and a decorative box that holds all sorts o knick knacks in it. To be truthful I’m not even sure what the contents in that box are.

Again, the prehistoric plaything reminds me about my cleaning quest. I tell him to shut it because it’s my house and it really isn’t as bad as he is making it out to be.

The dinosaur begrudgingly agrees and I feel accomplished for winning a battle of wits with a small inanimate object.

But then the Barbie reminds me, as I step on her head while moving towards the bathroom, that Spring-cleaning probably wouldn’t seem so terrible if I was an overall better housekeeper in the first place.

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Shut it Barbie- what do you know anyways.

Walking on Thin Ice

Sophie 2 editAlthough ‘walking on thin ice’ may be the more readily used phrase, this winter I’ve come to the conclusion that any kind of ice walking is a dodgy endeavor. I think back to a time when I could spritely move across the slippery substance with a cool self-confidence. In light of recent events, I’ve come to discover, sadly, my children have not inherited this trait. And no longer can I myself glide to a sought out destination- I am much too fragile for that in present day.

The children and I decided to take the dog for a walk yesterday. The sun shone its rays of warmth down for us to catch on the ends of our rosy noses. A chinook wind urged us to keep on as we made our way to a local park to play. The beauty of the day was certainly not lost on me and I reveled in the togetherness that I had with my kids and yes, even the dog. As soon as the four of us stepped out of our front door, I could tell it was going to be a great day.

We walked upon a path that lead almost straight from our home to the park. It was mid afternoon so the sun had been shining on it for the better half of the day, which left it sodden but free of slips. It was one of those good refreshing kind of walks.

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We arrived at the park and the children had their play. I read a little on the bench, because yes, I am one of those mothers who read on the bench instead of participating on the adult death trap they call playground equipment. Plus, who would have looked after the dog?

When it was time to leave I spontaneously thought, hey let’s have an adventure and explore a different route home. Amazing. Ingenious. Spectacular!

Stupid.

I didn’t stop to realize that the road less traveled was also shaded by large buildings and trees. It also didn’t occur to me that there was a surplus of construction projects yielding a loss of travelable sidewalk on this particular route. Moreover, logical reasoning seemed to slither away when I managed to forget the difficulties that occur when trying to do anything at all with two small humans and a sometimes-ornery shih tzu.

“OH MY GOSH- this is ridiculous!” Were my overtly censored feelings as I tiptoed gingerly across the uneven surface. At this exact moment I was holding on to Sophie by the underarm- basically dragging the child along because as it seems she is extremely challenged when it comes to keeping herself upright on said slippery surfaces. I hold the dog leash in my alternative hand but even the canine is having troubles keeping himself vertical.  Lars holds tightly onto the back of my jacket and I am positive he is doing absolutely no legwork (literally) to assist our cause. Instead, he holds his grasp tightly and slides upon his grip-less boots from the propellant of my efforts.

We fall about half a dozen times within a half block radius and I am about to say, “Screw it” and risk the oncoming traffic to make the rest of our journey when I see an escape. There in front of us, as though a beautiful mirage in the middle of a heat stricken desert- is sidewalk. And to titivate the situation even more, it is clean of ice and slips.

I feel like a football coach in the ending minutes of the big game. I am cheering my people on, in a we-can-do-this kind of attitude!

“Okay guys, see- we just have to get to that sidewalk, walk carefully, we’re almost there…” Sophie has begun crying for no reason other than she is “bored” of walking on the ice. Lars still slides eagerly behind me but I can feel the sloppiness in his stature, which isn’t helping my balancing act. We are 3 feet from sanctuary when it happens- he sticks his foot out and it lands between my shuffling fur-lined boots. I trip. We all fall. Sophie screams. Lars begins crying. I say a string of curse words I shall never repeat.

These days it seems that when it comes to winter roving, choosing the path more travelled is by far the much safer choice. As for the rest of our trip; we ended up making it, but just by the hairs of our fur-lined boots.

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Virtuousness

To the kids-

To the boys and girls of this world,

To the small human beings

Who today play pretend in make believe dresses

Playing trucks, flinging rocks, miss-matched socks

Ponies, and care-free essence.

To the children whose hair flows freely, without suspicions of messes

To the girls who don’t concern themselves

With mascara stresses.

To each and every one of these

Small and striking personalities

Stay true to this you, for it is just so beautiful.

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Tell Your Tale- Guest Post #001

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Taste Hitch– I’m a Bangkok based British blogger who has an almost spiritual love of craft beer, fine food and alliteration. My blog is an offbeat look at living in Thailand as well as commenting on what it’s like to be a dad in the land of smiles. Sometimes people laugh at my jokes. Once, someone said I was witty and I hadn’t even paid them. 

The Tripple Whammy

My dad is a nurse and almost every day he saves a life. I’ve always admired his choice of profession. His actions help people in a real and tangible way, more so than any businessman could ever say.

It is a job that I didn’t think I could do.

If I’m honest, it wasn’t the stress or the hard work that made me doubt my suitability. It was the idea dealing with the bodily excretions of other people.

I’m not overly squeamish but the thought of having to clear up another person’s vomit filled me with a deep-seated repugnance.

And then I had a baby.

The other day I’d noticed a sour smell in my classroom. I’d assumed that it was just one of the many potent and unpleasant odours that Bangkok throws our way – often a heady mix of deep fried chicken, car pollution and an open sewer.

It was only at lunchtime that I realised that the boy had deposited a small nugget of vomit in my shirt pocket.

Six months ago there would have been histrionics if a baby had been sick on me, let alone if I’d been carrying around a fun-sized portion of it all day.

Now, I just straight up don’t care. I have developed a ‘whatever’ approach to the various discharges that emanate from my boy, regardless of origin.

I think I know the point at which my aversion was truly broken.

A month or two back I got home from work later than normal and raced upstairs to the boy’s room to say goodnight. His mother was running him a bath and so I lay down and stood him on my chest.

He threw up. Down my neck. As I lifted him away he decided that his bowels were full and defecated on my trousers. Knowing that, due to incapacitating and howling laughter, the wife would be of no help whatsoever, I held him over my head to stop him spreading any of his bodily evacuations around the room.

And that’s when he decided to pee.

Once you’ve lived through the triple-whammy, fretting about clearing up the more disgusting aspects of humanity seems almost churlish.

And whilst I still couldn’t clear up the bodily fluids of others like my nursing father, having the boy has given me a Zen-like appreciation of something deeply profound.

The purest love of all isn’t measured in gold or gifts; it’s measured in how much poop you’re willing to clear up.

 For more Taste Hitch tales click here!

My Daughter The Drama Queen

There Sophie was insistently slamming her hand down over and over on the Hideout Hut. You may be asking yourself now what in fact a ‘hideout hut’ is and why was I allowing my daughter to beat it. Have patience people and read on!

We were at the park and my darling daughter was attempting to wriggle her way in to some other children’s play.

“Hey! Hey kid! I’ll have an ice cream sandwich…Did you hear me kid?! An ice cream sandwich!” Yes this is what she was saying. And the tone you are imagining it in right now…Exactly the tone she was using. I’m her mother and even I felt it was pretty unappealing.

The other children were indeed doing their best at ignoring my girl which made me want to throat punch them all but I knew that would be a bad idea. Hey, I had a lot of conflicting emotions happening in that moment. It was a confusing time.

Luckily no throat punching/jail time occurred. Sophie being the brilliant little lady she is must have realized how irritating she was being and decided to shift her attitude.

She gently approached where the children were playing. I am watching from the picnic table on the outer edge of the playground. My heart is soaring with pride as I imagine her politely asking if she can join them in their juvenile performances. I can see my child growing before my eyes and I am humbled and awed at the wonderful little person she is becoming.

Too bad this all played out in the sanctity of my delirious mind.

In reality Sophie gently approached the kids and began screaming in their faces about ice cream sandwiches and it being rude that they didn’t take her order. I was on my way to diffuse the situation when Lars hopped out of nowhere and into the midst of the kerfuffle.

“Sorry about my sister. Come on Soph let’s go play over here.” Then Sophie’s brother took her by the hand and led her towards the swings.

Whether it was the children taking pity on Sophie or wanting to play with Lars and realizing Sophie was a necessary add-on I’m not sure, but they changed their mind and off the whole gang went to play tag.

It wasn’t even 3 minutes (THREE MINUTES!) later that I hear Sophie screaming bloody murder once again. I run towards their general direction to see what has happened. Once again Lars is leading Sophie away from the group. The girl is huffing and puffing about something and stomping her feet in an ornery way.

“What is wrong now!?” I ask throwing my hands up in a notable fashion.

“Those guys were chasing Yarsy (Lars) and I didn’t like it!” She screamed while alligator tears streamed down her devastated face. For a moment I even felt bad for her, then I was impressed that she could act so well, then I was annoyed that she duped me.

“Sophie we were playing tag, I told you that!” Lars tried to rebut.

We all decided to go home. We didn’t need any more park shenanigans bringing us down.

That night when I asked the children to brush their teeth for bed I received the same response I do every night from Sophie.

“Oh Mama my tummy hurts SOOOO bad!” Even though she was running around half naked with a Barbie in one hand and Pinky Pony in the other claiming she had the fastest pony Barbie flying team in the universe, only milliseconds before.

I responded to this by saying, “Fine don’t brush. See if I care when your teeth all turn moldy and black and fall out of your head and then you will look like a little old lady with no teeth! No big deal right!” And yes, I partnered this with the appropriate facial expressions too.

Finally once bedtime came a single tear rolled ever so swiftly down the girl child’s cheek. I asked what was bothering her.

She instantaneously began bawling reciting all of the woes that had overcome her three year old existence this dreadful day. I attempted to console her, but I too was beginning to get a little teary eyed as she was making it all sound so damn unbearable!

Throughout the whole ordeal she kept grabbing my hand and caressing her face with it. Finally I asked what and why she was doing such a thing.

“Because I want you to feel how big my tears are Mama.”

It was then that I realized my daughter is a drama queen. But I can’t for the life of me figure out where she gets it from…

Stranger Danger

From the time my babes were old enough to waddle around and greet people, they have. It has never mattered to them whether the recipient of their welcoming chatter was a relative, a friend or a random stranger they happen upon on the street.

Whenever I see them engage in this type of behavior, part of me smiles and is happy that my kids are secure and able to talk to anyone they fancy. But when it comes to their greetings of unfamiliar people a small part of me withdrawals. It tells me to pull my babies away from the individual who has all too soon become a vile baby snatcher in my own twisted mind, and it silently screams, STRANGER DANGER, STRANGER DANGER, STRANGER DANGER!

Of course I typically do not act on this small voice that sometimes waylays my mind- as I would surely come off bat shit crazy. Not to mention possibly end up in the local police station for screaming slanderous accusations at the seemingly innocent grandmother who was simply out to feed the birds in the park.

So instead I toil with this inner battle noiselessly.

Each year the humble winter town that my family and I live in is rapidly turned into a bustling summer retreat in the blink of an eye. Folks from near and far flood to our beach front and lake side to soak in the sun and check out the eateries on the strip. And as much as I loved the vacationer hullabaloo in my youthful years, now that I have a brood of my own I would much desire the peace and quiet of small town living.

Today as the kids and I shoved through the throng of people in the grocery store I was overcome with that threatening feeling of stranger danger.  The warm weather is quickly approaching which means soon the streets, bars and stores of all sorts, will be brimming with the out-of-towners.

Lars and Sophie, now too big to ride in the cart, as they have recently self-proclaimed, were running a good few feet ahead of me. I grabbed the backs of their little hooded sweaters and told them to stay put by my side. A usual outing where we will run into several friends or at least a few friendly faces had turned into a sea of strangers. Danger.

The difference with this year and years past is this- my kids are totally and utterly mobile! No strollers, no shopping carts, no leashes (although I was never a huge fan of tethering my child to me). The only stronghold I have at this point is my ability to clutch their sweaty little hands and hold on for dear life. Oh they try to weasel their way out, but always to no avail.

Luckily we get through the checkout quick and painlessly and as I load the groceries and children into the van I decide it is time for the talk.

 “So guys did you notice how busy it was in there?” I say as we pull out of the crowded parking lot.

“Ya!” they yell in unison as though it was the most delightful experience in the world.

“Well I can’t have you guys running ahead of me like you were in there, especially when it is so busy with people.” I explain while trying to keep the franticness out of my voice.

“Why?” Lars asks.

“Well guys, most of those people we don’t know, they are strangers.” DANGER DANGER DANGER “and sometimes we can’t always be sure if strangers are nice people or mean people. So it is always best to stick very close to Mama when we are in a crowded place like that.” I glance into the rear-view mirror to judge how my spiel has taken to them.

Sophie glances nonchalantly out the window not listening to a word I’ve said. Lars although stares back at me through the mirror, eyes wide and filled with questions.

“Some are bad? Like bad guys? What will they do?” His query’s hit me one after another and I am not sure how to answer them.  

“Well Lars it’s scary buddy, but sometimes there are bad guys that steal kids. That’s why you need to stay close to Mom, so I can protect you.”

It was soon after he yelled “WHAT?!” from the backseat and started looking around helplessly at all the ‘strangers’ that filled the streets that I realized I had made a drastic folly.

I try to recover by saying, “But don’t worry man, I will keep you safe. That’s what Moms and Dads jobs are!”

“You’re not always with me though MOM!” He is on the edge of panic and I am speechless. I berate myself for even attempting to talk with my kids about this topic, although Sophie seems not even touched by the conversation. I am trying to find some words, any words to calm my 5 year old down from the idiocy that was my loose tongue, as he continues to implant his face into the vans window gazing suspiciously at all the people who pass by. It is Sophie who finally breaks the unnerved silence.

“Yars (Lars) calm down…If a stranger come to get us, Mama just will kick ass.”

And it was then that we all started laughing and stopped worrying about stranger danger. Although I will have to bring up the topic again in the near future I am happy for the current reprieve.

And for now, I will let their little minds rest at ease knowing Mama will always kick some stranger danger ass if need be.  

A few things no one told me about being a parent

 

1)      How the first cries after birth would be the most relieving sound in the world.

2)      The extreme vexation I would feel when some brazen asshole would tell me my newborn’s smiles were in fact just gas.

3)      How I would become one of those fanatic breastfeeding mothers, and miss it immensely once stopping.

4)      The boundless displeasure I would feel when an individual would not comment on how adorable, cute, perfect, or sweet my baby was.

5)      How indefinably hilarious it could be to be puked on from above.

6)      That feeding a baby solid foods for the first time would be a nerve-racking yet exciting exploit.

7)      How the novelty of feeding a baby solid foods soon wears off.

8)      How listening to the first giggles of my children would be the sweetest sound I would ever hear.

9)      That having kids could make me entirely fearless and desperately fearful at the exact same time.

10)   How finger painting is actually a very enjoyable pastime.

11)   How I would learn home remedies on how to get almost anything out of a carpet.

12)   How the first time I saw my child take his first steps I would think, I could never be prouder.

13)   That each time I saw a milestone reached I would think I could never be prouder.

14)    Always, always being prouder with each momentous occasion, big or small.

15)    That I would not cry on the first day of school, but marvel in the idea of novel beginnings and bright new futures.

16)   How finding places for all of the artwork would be one of my greatest tasks in their young lives.

17)    Feeling the overwhelming angst to punch out a five year old when learning of his bullying towards my child.

18)   Coming to the realization that I cannot punch a five year old.

19)   Learning just how far positive verbal communication can go, and how much I would use it in my parenting career.

20)   The aggravation I would feel when an older kid would try to boss around my daughter.

21)   The relief I would soon after feel when she ignored him and went on her merry way without batting an eyelash.

22)   The awesome respect for my own parents that would hit me like a ton of bricks once beginning in on this child-rearing journey.

23) How I would look forward to play-dates more than the children would. 

24) How watching them grow and mature and become their own little people with their own unique personalities would be the most rewarding thing I will ever do.  

 

And one more thing I was never told about before blindly running into this thing called parenthood, was how much I would mature with them. 

And how much I would come to love the person they have helped me grow into. 

 

A Journey with kids

The sun is finally shining, the birds are chirping their spring time melody and everyone is itching to get outside to enjoy the wonderful weather. Especially the little ones in our lives.

The energy in the Brown household buzzes with anticipation as we prepare ourselves for the first bike ride of the year. I have invited my good friend Janelle and her 9 month old daughter, as well as my sister in law Ashley and her little man who is a ripe 4 months old to join us on our outing.

As Lars and Sophie suit up in their helmets and rubber boots the fleeting thought of whether or not I should put wet pants on them crosses my mind. Nah, I think, they’ll be on their bikes, how wet could they possibly get?

We are out of the house fast and with little to no hitches, which makes me assume it is a sign of good things to come on our journey. But, we all know what happens when one assumes such things.

Our convoy is one of grandeur as my three and five year olds front the procession in their low to the ground plastic tricycles, to which I follow behind and Ashley and Janelle head up the rear with their matching strollers. We look good.

We start out on a wide path which proves to be easy riding.

Our destination is a small restaurant located in the downtown core Sylvan Lake. Which means we will have to traverse through side streets and over the dreaded crosswalk. But, I think, we are mothers we will prevail.

So there we are having a glorious time under the beaming sun when I realize how far ahead of our group Lars is. He is approaching a side street intersection. He doesn’t seem to be slowing down to stop as I have taught him to do over and over and over again.

“Lars.” I yip at the child who is now pile driving strait towards a crossing of doom. He does not hear me over the one inch thick padding that covers his ears from the helmet he wears.

“RUN!” Janelle screams at me which brings me out of my petrified stupor. So I do run, I run hard all the while screaming at the top of my lungs, “STOP LARS, STOP!!!” My strident bellowing resembles that of a banshee, I am waving my arms in the air which is useless as he faces the opposite way. He is now on the road. And he definitely did not look both ways before entering onto it. The sound of hard plastic wheels on pebbled road thunders down the street.

Finally a woman walking out from a nearby store must hear my screams of agony as she merely walks out in front of the boy and stops the bike herself. She points towards me- the crazy woman that is still howling from a few yards behind. She gives me this look that silently shrieks, ‘worst mother in the world! Put on a leash on that kid for God sakes!’ I give a wave of thanks and she carries on her way.

After a great deal of chastising and some ground rules laid down we continue on. This time Lars is only allowed to go ahead to the predetermined landmarks I set out for him.

We make it to the burger house without much of a hassle, aside from my good friends making fun of the show I put on for them moments before. We attract a good amount of attention from the passerby’s of our picnic bench as all of our children are ridiculously adorable. And I think it is safe to say we all revel in the attention of our pride and joys.

The jaunt home is just as eventful as the journey there as my two darling children decide that riding through the foot deep puddles at light speed will be a glorious idea. By the time we finally get home, they are both soaked clean to the bone with dirty winter run off puddle water. They bask in their achievement.

As we unpack I look towards the two babes that sleep peacefully in their strollers, not causing their Mama’s one ounce of issue during the trip. I then glance towards mine who are now wrestling in the front yard soaking wet with mud caked faces.

And I realize I couldn’t have had a more enjoyable time. Because as they say, ‘it’s not the destination, it’s the journey that counts’ And with a three and five year old, one is always in for a wild ride.  

103 daily thoughts of a mother

Q-What really goes through the mind of a stay at home mother on a daily basis? 

1)      Why do my children insist on awaking before the damn sun?

2)      Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee

3)      Did I just pour juice into her Cheerios? Yes, yes I did.

4)      I wonder if I just scoop out the cereal I could still salvage the juice?

5)      I’m so tired and groggy this morning…Dear God I hope I’m not pregnant!

6)      You’re not pregnant, you’re just tired because nobody should be awake at this ungodly hour.

7)      I have to do something productive today.

8)      I will drink coffee and scroll Facebook…Just until I wake up a little more.

9)      Awe So and so is pregnant- Glad it’s not me.

10)   Oh my god what if I’m pregnant.

11)   You’re not pregnant, your tubes are tied.

12)    Have a snuggle with the boy child. 

13)   Oh good lord this kids nails are disgusting.

14)   Ewww, my nails are disgusting.

15)   It’s already 10:30?! You’ve wasted 2 hours on Facebook.

16)   I need to get a life.

17)   This bathroom is nasty.

18)   Just have your shower and get out of here, so you don’t have to look at it.

19)   ‘Aint no party like an S-Club party…’

20)   Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want, 
So tell me what you want, what you really really want, 
I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want, 
So tell me what you want, what you really really want, 
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna really really really wanna zigazig ha.’ 

21)   Backstreets back…’ Who am I kidding I hate those guys.

22)   The kids are screaming so loud I can hear them over the noise of the shower, what is their problem?

23)   Oh man, what was that crashing sound?

24)   Okay okay I’m getting out.

25)   These pants are pretty tight.

26)   Must have shrunk in the dryer.

27)   Yep, that is totally what has happened.

28)   Maybe I should take them to the park to play for the afternoon.

29)   Where the hell is their splash pants?

30)   OH MY GOD WHERE ARE THE SPLASH PANTS!

31)   AHHHHHH DAMN YOU SPLASH PANTS, WHY DO YOU TOY WITH ME SO!

32)   I really need to start making notes of where I leave things.

33)   Maybe I should tell Husband I need a tablet to organize my busy schedule better.

34)   Ahh, the front hall closet. I guess that stands to reason.

35)   Well this is nice, the sun is shining the birds are chirping and I am out walking with my little ones. Life is good.

36)   That dog up ahead looks vicious.

37)   Put the kids behind you just in case.

38)   Is that foam dripping from its mouth? THE DOG IS RABID!

Kid: “Mom, look at the cute little poodle!”

39)   Alright at the park, ready to get our play on.

40)   The girl child is surely too little to climb up that rope ladder by herself.

41)   Nope, she just scuttled right up there didn’t she…?

42)   Ohhh my baby is growing up so fast!

43)   Wait a second, who is that man over there lurking on the outskirts of the playground?

44)   I don’t see a kid with him.

45)   Is he staring at my kids?

46)   SICKO! *Alarm sounds, bells, flashing red lights*

47)   You march over there and let this sick fuck have it!

48)   I’m going to tell this guys off, what a loser hanging out childless at the…

49)   Why is that kid running over to him?

50)   Oh no that poor unsuspecting child, running straight into the arms of a predator!

51)   I need to save that kid!!!!!

52)   ABORT!!! It’s the kid’s Dad. That is definitely the kid’s dad. 1000 times abort.

53)   Oh I hope that man didn’t see me running towards him waving my fists in his general direction and yelling like a banshee to step away from the child.

54)   I’m sure he didn’t.

55)   Oh no. I think he is calling after me.

56)   Just keep walking. Just keep walking.

57)   Time to move on to a different park kids.

58)   Walk briskly.

59)   Well now that the excitement for the day is done, I suppose dinner is in order.

60)   What to make…What. To. Make.

61)   There is no food in this house!

62)   I just went grocery shopping, how is there nothing to make?

63)   I just want a personal chef okay, is that too much to ask?

64)   And a maid and a nanny too.

65)   And maybe a sexy pool boy for some eye candy during the day.

66)   A paddling pool counts as a pool right?

67)   Maybe I should take the kids swimming tomorrow.

68)   I better make something healthy if I am going to have to wear a bathing suit tomorrow.

69)   I’m sure one meal of healthy eating will do the trick.

70)   Why are the kids screaming so much?

71)   Hmm Sophie is trapped under the mountain of couch cushions they have stacked up in the middle of the living room.

72)   You should really go and help your child.

73)   Oh she figured it out. Man my kid is awesome.

74)   Someone is knocking on the door.

75)   Go peek out the window to see who it is.

76)   Jehovah witnesses. Dammit. They see me peering through the blinds at them.

77)   They are waving at me! Quick kids hit the deck!

78)   They aren’t going away.

79)   Just wait a bit longer…Waaaait…..

80)   Yes! Success, they are leaving.

81)   Okay dinner is served. Pizza- it contains all the food groups in one delicious piece.

82)   Countdown to husband getting home is on. T – 2 hours!

83)   I should really wait until the kids are in bed before pouring a glass of wine for myself. We still need to do stories after they get out of the bath.

84)   But…If I have a glass of wine before story time, it will probably make the stories a lot more interesting for me…

85)   Oh how I love the sound of wine exiting a bottle.

86)   Am I an alcoholic?

87)   Nah…

88)   Wow I was not anticipating Dr. Suess being so difficult to read with a slight buzz.

89)   They won’t realize if I skip a few pages, just make it look like you are turning the page and really turn like 3…No 4 pages at once.

90)   They don’t look like they noticed! Ha! I am a mastermind. 

91)   Now that the children are tucked in I can go finish my wine.

92)   I really hope I’m not pregnant.

93)   When did I get my period last? No, I’m not pregnant.

94)   Desperate Housewives on Netflix here I come.

95)   Man if I lived on Wisteria Lane…The things I could get away with…

96)   There is an odd smell coming from this couch cushion…

97)   Let me just reach my hand down here…

98)   Oh man alive! Why the hell is there an apple core down the back of the damn couch?

99)   I’ve had enough of this day.

100)  I’m not waiting for husband to get home. It’s bedtime.

101)  Oh my god I hate the taste of toothpaste. Maybe if I gag a little and make an odd face that will make me feel better. I am good looking even when I’m not trying. 

102)  Wow, this bed feels good after the day I’ve had.

103)  Well, at least I’m not pregnant.

A- Maybe it would be best to just leave these thoughts to ourselves…

Parenting- A tale to insanity and back again

An inaudible laugh that is small and weak escapes my lips. It is there to remind me that insanity comes in all shapes and sizes. I push it back down to the depths of wherever it came from because for now I have no time for such lunatics.

I wipe the non-existent dust off my pants, take a deep breath, and open the bathroom door. Sometimes I find myself hiding in that place just for a few moments solace. I tell myself that next time I will bring in scrubbing supplies to clean the dastardly habitat, but I never do.

“Maaaaama” the word clings to me and however much I adore the title, now, right here- I simply fear what my summoning is for. I slowly, oh so slowly walk towards the call. “Sister peed her pants again.”

With each word burning into me I can feel the uprising of the insanity once more. It bubbles in a place I can’t quite reckon, yet I know it is there always with me, always ready. The smell hits me as soon as it can, with a vengeance that seems to whisper menacingly in my ear about my failure as a potty trainer.

“I TRIED DAMMIT!  I TRIED!” I want to shout to the world. To the people who have never had to deal with regression and the childless adults who look at me with sideways glances when I enter their vicinity smelling of stale urine. “I TRIED!” Obviously not hard enough… The voice says. I do not let it say another word to me before I stuff it down to the dismal abyss of the same place I hide the insanity.

I scrub the pungent smell out of a stained carpet and think about how easy it would be to allow myself to fall over that teetering edge into the grips of madness.

I no longer daydream of mojitos and sunset beaches. Instead I find myself fantasising of padded cream colored walls, the security of strait jackets and tranquilizers that deem fruity beverages child’s play by comparison.

The girl child walks up to me casually, she does not look to have ill will intentions but asks for a chocolate treat in a singing kind of way. I tell her no, because dinner will soon be served. The look of pure loathing she fires back at me provides a tingle of dread throughout my entire body and I wonder, momentarily if she has the ability to shoot fire from her eyeballs.

The small human being then moves to turn away from me, but before she does, in a voice that is trifling and unnatural says, “I hate you Mama.”

A torrent of emotion sweeps through me. Anger- that I have allowed these words to be spoken in my home. Sadness- despite my knowledge of her uneducated vocabulary. And revenge. But how does one get revenge on a three year old that they love dearly?

My eyeballs quickly fill up with liquid, but again I push them back, deep down to the area I’ve sanctioned off for the insanity and the ominous voices in my head. I cannot let them see me cry. I am stronger, I am brave and I will fight on.

I tell the tiny one, who now runs around pant-less because she has soiled herself yet again to go spend some time in her bedroom. I explain why the words she has spit towards me are unacceptable in this home. She pretends to hear me, but I see her gaze every now and again shift to shiny things around the room. Things that undoubtedly are more interesting than her crazed mother.

I want to move towards the bathroom, my asylum. I want to sit there and cry that ugly uninhibited kind of cry. I want to smuggle in the telephone and call husband who will make things better I am sure of it. But I do none of these things. I am Mother, I am strong.

 

So instead I think about the possibility of parenthood. Possibly at times everyone has these innate feelings of insanity. These impractical notions that everyone they meet is judging them. That palpable sensation of underachievement.

There is a knock on the bathroom door. I don’t know when I made my way back to this place, but I find myself sitting on the toilet pretending to pee. The children and husband walk in. They do not recoil when they see me sitting there and I realize that privacy has become a distant memory.

They hug me. They tell me they love me, and I know that they mean it. It is now that I cannot recall where it is that I’ve placed my troubles, and in its place I remember what the power of unrelenting love can do.

I hug them back, and I wonder why I am in the bathroom in the first place.

Seedlings

The fresh soil has been purchased, the spring seeds meticulously chosen and the trays in which they will begin their life set out methodically.

Yesterday I was planning on starting my seeds for the summer growing season. This has got to be one of my favorite times of the year, as it means that soon, beautiful green foliage as well as fruits and vegetables a plenty will be in full swing.

I wouldn’t call myself a green thumb gardener, my plants are never perfectly flawless, but I do enjoy the practice regardless. Something about watching this small helpless thing grow into a hearty entity helps me realize that we are surrounded by miracles daily.

My seedling development got side tracked though with visits from Lars and Sophie’s cousins yesterday. My brother’s son, Jackson-2 ½ months old, and Hannah- 1 year and 4 months, my sister-in-law Gemma’s little darling decided to pop over.

And as it so happened I ended up babysitting these two babes, taking me away from my original task of planting.

But how could I be mad? Along with Lars and Sophie, I had the 4 most beautiful children I have ever seen amidst my home. I was loving life.

And it got me to thinking about how all of these wee humans have been evolving from the tiny seeds they once were.

Lars sits coolly with Hannah as I begin to prepare dinner. He is playing on his DS (of course) but in the next moment reaches his arm around his younger cousin and leaves it hang over her tiny shoulders. He then begins to explain to her how he is playing his game, and what he will do next.

I remember my first terrified thoughts, when holding my boy for the first time. I wondered so many vast wonders in regards to his life- but mostly I hoped for him to always be kind. And so far in his life, he has exceeded my expectations immensely. For this I couldn’t be prouder.

Sophie gazes at tiny baby Jackson in his bouncer chair. She looks at him with this curious sort of stare and I wonder what she is thinking. In the next tick I find out as she asks me if she can hold the baby. I get her set up on the couch propped with pillows and plunk the babe down on her lap.

The pride in my daughters eyes is engrossing and as she gently strokes the infants belly and leans down to give him a kiss on his bald head, I feel as though I just might melt right there on the spot. I think about how far the girl has come in such a short time. After this summer she will be beginning junior kindergarten and then before I know it she will be graduating her 12 years of school. The milestones just seem to keep whizzing right by me.

It makes me realize how fast the time truly goes in these young years.

I then recall the moment I went to see Hannah for the first time in the hospital. As I held her tiny body two thoughts crossed my mind. Firstly- I was thankful it wasn’t me that had just went through a torturing labour but secondly, more importantly I thought about my instant love for this small girl.

And as I assist her in eating some messy and oh so fun spaghetti I see her personality shining through. She is becoming a little person with her own personality and thoughts. And those first moments in the hospital seems so very far away at this time.

I was honored to be present at the time of baby Jacksons birth, and although it was only a few months prior it feels as though I have known this little man my entire life. He is now rolling over and smiling up a storm. I get to see my brother, and my best friend Ashley in him every day, which continues to make me grateful for all of the close relationships of family in my life.

And as I watch all of these children in my life grow, I smile. Like those seeds I will soon be planting I get the opportunity to watch them develop into anything they want to be. With nurturing, love and tutelage we can all assist our little ones to blossom into anything they desire.

And while sometimes our hands get covered in dirt and grime in the process, in the end it is all so very worth it.

003 wpid-IMAG0861.jpg Lars

 

baby 023 wpid-IMAG0741.jpg Sophie

 

img_7074 1529741_10152272187816068_836276745_o Hannah

 

wpid-IMAG0841.jpg wpid-IMAG0936.jpg Jackson

My 3 year old’s eyes

 A child see’s through eyes of lucidity

Unscathed by opinions of stupidity

When my daughter is serving tea

in her pink polka-dot

Party dress, she will not refuse service

To Mr. Black Bear when he is accompanied

By the brawny Ken doll in overalls

She merely see’s 2 faces, a beautiful place

And happiness.

She sees love in absoluteness, and in all fairness…

If I were to tell her to refuse

The two boys, tea

She would laugh at me

And say that that’s just rudeness.

Because a child see’s through eyes of lucidity

Unscathed by opinions of stupidity

My daughter see’s personality before skin color

And stereotypes mean nothing to her.

My daughter is three years old

And so far, her thoughts in this world

Are the most charismatic Antic’s

I have heard in quite some time.

You see, at three we still believe in unity

The only needed quality for acceptability

Is adaptability to play lovingly with others easily.

And as it seems to me, by these

Standards, the majority of

Population of our adult generation

Has failed miserably.

My daughter does not search for power

By infiltrating innocent houses

My three year old daughter does not

Understand what judgment is

And she doesn’t give a shit what your basis is

Instead she fawns over a loving smile, a helpful hand

The upcoming miles.

She becomes crazed with joy when she meets a new face

Despite its race, sexual preference or place

Despite its religion, origin and background

Or the amount of money it has in its fucking bank account.

She’s just happy for new friends to play

And it is when I see all these traits

That I realize, my three year old girl, has suddenly raised the stakes

She has silently challenged me

To take on what she sees.

Because like a child I want to see

Through eyes of lucidity

Unscathed by opinions of stupidity

And maybe if I can see what she see’s

My fellow adults will follow intentionally

Releasing some of the need for all this greed and brutality

And instead look towards life’s beauty

So as a substitute of constantly teaching your opinion

Of what’s wrong and what’s right

Take a moment to look through a three year olds sight

And as it so happens you just might find

Your vivid eyesight, had been oh so blind.

So all I really want to ask today

Is for you to try to look through eyes of lucidity

Be unscathed by opinions of stupidity

Understand how easily we are fooled by gimmickry

And if we could all participate in this fittingly

Maybe one day, optimistically- We could all live civilly.

20130924-IMG_9909 1

Today Is New

The sounds of their screaming drifts in and out of my psyche. Or maybe it is just me, drifting in and out of consciousness…I can’t quite be sure at this time. My body aches from yesterday, but more so my minds reels with a hopeful notion that today will be better.

Yesterday was a bad day, a difficult day.  I try not to become emerged in the ill feelings of the day before, because that would be unfair. I’m the adult here, I should be the one to make the change. But sometimes, I just feel so tired.

It is time to get up, I can determine that much at least. I heave my body out of my warm and restful haven and trudge to the washroom.

The day has begun and I will do my best to be better today. Today I will scream less, I will listen more and I will love outwards…Today I will improve. Because if yesterday taught me anything it is that I have more than enough room to expand my calling as Mom.

As I brush my teeth I gaze into the haggard face that I sometimes still recognize as my own. I see the doorknob turn from the left corner reflection of the mirror. And not so softly spoken words blare loudly throughout the echo  easy room.

“I’m hungry! I want food!!” Immediately I feel the blood boiling, but I remember that today I will be better, so I gently say;

“You have to be quiet, your Daddy is still sleeping…And I didn’t hear any please and thank-you’s, so you will not be getting anything until you use your words.” I can’t deny that I place a snarky approach to it, but that is purely for myself, because a 3 year old does not pick up on those nuisances.  Do they?

I pick her up, and she feels heavier. When I glance towards her bright eyes I realize it has been awhile since I really noticed her wonder. The guilt rises in me like the upcoming waves of a tempest- fast, sharp and all encompassing. Where have I gone? What has been so important in my life that the beauty of my child has been overlooked? What am I so rushed to get on with?

But once again thoughts of yesterdays downtrodden ways break me. I remember the screaming in a home that wasn’t ours. The sideways looks from adults who had the conclusion I could not…Would not parent the way I should (or that’s how I took it at least).  The temper tantrums that lost control and the tears that I blinked away in an attempt to hide my frustration from the world.

I try to push these bad thoughts away because at this time I think it is the only way to remedy it. I cannot go dwelling over every unfortunate day or  bust of a dinner party. It is not fair to them and it is not fair to me.

But that is not a good enough reason is it? To just let the thought and aggravating memories just flit away as though never there at all…Impossible and you know it.

The idea leaves me as soon as it enters because now, right now I am getting my children breakfast. I groggily grab the cereal that I know has too many additives and is not suitable for breakfast, but I pour anyways. The milk atop it makes every colorful ring swim in a pool of dairy and seeping sugar.

With my eyes still heavy from sleep I carry their food to where they eat. They thank me for getting them their food and for a brief second I do not want to acknowledge their gratitude. I do not want to give them the credit for their good manners. But that moment passes too and I kiss them hard on the forehead and say “you’re welcome”. And again the guilt comes when I realize I am acting as childish as them. But I am 23 years elder to his 5.

I sip my coffee and rather than be drawn to my social media networks as usual in the early daytime hours, I instead sit and watch them. It is not long before they finish eating and make their way into the living room. There they play, perfectly as any child should.

And I wonder how I could be so angry with these two little people as I was yesterday. How their actions and words could have broke me so badly that I dreamt of their misdoings in that place between awake and sleep last night. How I could have possibly overlooked the blatant fact, that they are simply children. And moreover, they are humans. Humans that I am responsible for.

It is in this moment that I recognize that we all have bad days. Even the smallest of people have days that do not go the way they had planned, and as the person who they look to for guidance and comfort I understand that with each day filled with tantrums and toil, with understanding and appropriate reprimand we will can create a good day too.

I walk towards them, and sit down. Without asking, they gravitate towards me and their nearness makes me happy without me even processing it. I tell them that today is a new day, and it will be a good one.

They agree.

And then we play.

And in this moment all is good. Today is new, and how it goes is up to me.

The Diary of A…Bear?

Dearest Diary;

Today was difficult. It was the kind of day where you just want to call it quits and rip out the piss stained stuffing that remains in your torn and tattered body. Oh Diary, how I loathe the existence that is mine. I remember a time when I would simply lay beside her, her not touching me and me obviously returning the favor.

Gone are the days of perched solitude amongst the other dusty toys.

Now I am a favored, and the favored expire quickly round these parts. I couldn’t listen to the elders when they prophesized about the adorable being chosen foremost…OH NO! I sat there with a smug and smiley look stitched across my mug, thinking rebellion would be the key to greatness in this god forsaken place.

Diary, I was so wrong!

Today she decided that I was to go out onto the frigid snow filled land of the courtyard with her. There she tied me to a post and threw random objects of varying size and weight directly at my downy filled head. The humiliation was palpable but more than that, as I slid slowly down my wooden station I received thick serrated slivers in my posterior.

No one has made any attempts to remove them thus far.

Upon entering back into the living quarters she decided that my comfort was not of her importance and nonchalantly tossed me into her father’s nearby boot. It was dark and terrifying, I could only hear muffled noises from the outside world and it stunk of a smell I still cannot quite make out.

I was wedged there for over 3 hours before the foot in which the boot belonged attempted to shove me even further down into the thing, before grabbing me with an unnecessarily firm grasp and heaving me directly over the kitchen and into the living room…Where the girl was overjoyed to have me in her presence once more. Charming.  

I think I would have preferred the boot.

You would not believe what the child did from there Diary! She was not wearing any pants, as she usually doesn’t because her harebrained mother thinks that when she wears pants she tends to urinate in them (blasphemy, it is called laziness woman deal with it!) Anyways the child pees on the floor and then in a vain attempt not to get caught for her disobedience tries to soak it up with none other than yours truly.

My head was literally being smashed into a puddle of piss. ‘Degrading’ cannot even begin to define how I felt in that instance…

I must leave you now Diary as she is quickly bordering on our living quarters as her allotted bathing time is over.

Now I must look forward to her unfortunate habit of gnawing on my left ear as she hunkers down for dreamland.

It is not easy being Teddy Bear but it is a vocation of the strong willed and hefty of heart.  I will try to write soon dear Diary that is, if I have not have been flushed down their sewer receptacle or worse yet…Lost in the oblivion of what they call their downstairs playroom.

 

With hopes of a next time,

Sleepy Bear

“This Love Is”

 

Thoughts of love have been drifting ever so lightly through my head lately.

It isn’t often that I actually think about love, like really think about how and why I love.  I just simply do. I love my parents, my brother, my husband, my in-laws, my friends and of course my children. But this last one, the children;  this love is different.

It is unconditional.

I loved the babes from the moment I knew of them. And from that point on, my love for them has been ever changing, ever evolving. It does not matter what they do in this lifetime, nothing could make my love for them less.

As angry and tired and frustrated as we all get as parents, this love will always be there- Holding, strong and strident. This love will never falter.

It is that single thought that moves me. It makes me realize that this adoration a Mother and Father have for their progeny is the simple extravagance that keeps the beauty of parenting in motion.

So how to define this prolific love that in my humble opinion keeps the world a turning?

To love like this, is to…

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Offer a helping hand.

Even when you know that hand will not be appreciated in the moment

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This love can sometimes be ugly…

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But the ugliness will never be the moments remembered.

This love breeds beauty.

Making every moment exquisite, if only you allow it to.

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And this love is touching.

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It is a Mothers hold.

It is the caress of fingers on a fevered forehead.

It is the soothing words in which no one else could find.

It is the discipline that you force yourself to go through with.

It is the hard shell you create so not to get hurt, by words they do not mean.

It is the fulfilment you receive in partaking in their existing achievements.

This love, this amazing thing we have embarked on as parents has no definition. It is too grand, to inexplicable to categorize into mere words. And maybe that is because it is not just one emotion, it entails every emotion (most of which we encounter on a daily basis!) And that, is the awesome power of this love.

**On a side note all photo credit on todays post is from The Blogging Mama`s official photographer the outstanding Jen over at Imagine The Image Photography. Please hop on over and take a look at her site, her work is wonderful!

For the Smiles

Once upon a time there was a woman who loved her child dearly. Despite the wretched time she had during pregnancy, she told everyone it was the greatest occasion of her life.  After the horrendous time of labouring, she lied to others about the pain of birth. She told people that the excruciating memory had faded because of the miraculous gift she had got in return for it.

Once bringing home her little bundle of joy she was terrified. Terrified now that she would have to keep a living being alive and well. Terrified that she would not do a sufficient job of raising this babe that seemed so small and helpless.

The woman did not sleep for months. Always in a current state of half awakened hell. She cried in times of exhaustion, and laughed hysterically when laughing would not be viewed as a normal response. The woman, as she saw herself, had lost her once stable mind.

With every move made, every extreme act of foolishness done, she questioned her sanity. And in the back of her mind she wondered if she was fit to raise this child.

Once baby had reached the stage of walking, her stresses only increased. The woman one day, after having to stick her fingers down the child’s throat to remove a penny that had been consumed in a moment of solitude, got down on her hands and knees and attempted to look through the eyes of a one year old.

She crawled around on that floor for over an hour doing her best to baby proof the home she had already thought was proofed enough. By the end of her plight, with aching legs and a dizzy head, she felt she still had not done justice to the sweep, so in the playpen her child stayed until the fear of choking on some unknown object dissipated in her mind.

The toddler years of the child’s life proved even more difficult. When she was not dealing with temper tantrums in the grocery store, whilst other childless adults looked upon her with scorn filled glances, she was cleaning up bodily feces from her futile attempts at potty training.

The child’s adolescents came quickly, before the woman could notice how fast time can truly pass. The child began shouting dreadful things at the woman. The woman felt hurt and bedraggled, feeling that she had failed as a Mother somewhere down the road that landed them at this exact point in time.

The child spent more time with friends and less time with the woman. The child’s grades in school began to slip. The Mother worried in almost every waking moment about her child. She tried to think back upon those first few weeks of the child’s life, she wondered what she had been worried about back then…A time when all seemed so pure, so natural.

Although attempts at straightening out the child were made, they were always in vain. The more attention the woman gave to child, the more ghastly trouble the child would delve into.

The woman knew in the back of her mind, that she must let life’s course run its own way.

The woman went on with her life. She picked up hobbies that had been left by the wayside. She reconnected with friends she had not spoken to in years, she found that her life indeed was not over but just a new chapter beginning.

All the while, keeping a discreet eye on the child. Always watching from a distance.

Some time later, the child finished university. The child had met a significant other in this time, and had news to bring forth to the woman.

The child that once was just a wee babe, in which the woman was terrified of, was going to have a child of her own.

The woman cried tears of joy as she heard the news.

9 months and some weeks later, the child called the woman. The child told the woman between sobs of fatigue that she was scared, tired and asked how the woman did it so many years ago?

The woman told her child,

“How did I do it you ask?

Well at first, I did it because you were helpless. I did it to sustain you, I did it because deep down this instinct surfaced, telling me it was the only thing to do at the time.

Then I did it for your smiles. Each time I was rewarded with a smile, I knew my purpose in life was to do anything I could for you.

I did it with a mothers strength, fueled by a love that is impenetrable.

I did it because I knew that although my love for you was always unconditional, yours for me could fade away.

There were times of stress and anger and anxiety and worry…So much worry. But again that instinct of greater things would come to me, not quite telling me why but simply saying ‘push on, keep going, this is not the end’ and I would listen.

This feeling that you’re having right now, this feeling of inferiority, it will never be done. Always will you wonder if you could have done something more, something wiser.

But know this dear child, you are that child’s mother. You know best. You will strive through, and remember these days with thoughts that are fond. You will one day miss the days of infants and sleepless nights. One day you will crave the sound of toddler feet on the hardwood, school plays and parent teacher interviews. You will wonder where the time went and how fast your child grew to be a teen. You will cherish the once-in-a-while- talks that you indulge in with that teen, because it won’t happen often.  

And then the day will come when your child will call you, tired and broken. Needing advice on how to deal with a cranky newborn, you will smile softly to yourself as you reminisce on the days in which you spent in their current shoes.

I did it for you. I did it out of the foresight I had in regards to your life and the prophetic memories I knew would one day be made.

But the first smile, that is when it all really started. Those first beautiful smiles.”