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Tag Archives: Things that *could* push me over the edge

The Frozen Wasteland of Parenting

Oh Friends…

It has been a trying time of late here in our house.  Darling Daughter – who was 19months on Monday – has taken to screaming.  And when I say ‘screaming’ I mean screaming.  Like: horror flick, virgin girl screaming.  And I’m understanding that it has more to do with her lack of control over really anything in her life.  Honestly though, understanding will only get you so far.

screeching child

After that, it’s up to your good friends and alcohol.

And then, once the friends are gone home and you’ve slept off all the gin you drank (~ahem.  Hypothetically of course.  <cough>) and you wake up to the cherubic sounds of more god damned screaming you start to loose your mind a little bit.  I did what many have done in such circumstances: I asked facebook for help.

And you know what?  Facebook helped.  In a matter of 5 minutes – at 7:00 in the morning, mind – I had responses from several people.  They were all saying, “Chin up, it gets easier, it’s a phase, ignore it, you can do it” and so on.  It didn’t stop the screeching, I’m sad to say, but it did help.

It reminded me that I am not alone in this frozen wasteland of parenting.  And today, that’s all I needed.

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Posted by on January 29, 2014 in Family, Raising Kids, Vexations

 

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On Shopping for Shoes

I just came back from a couple of days State-side.  The 5 of us, plus 3 more from my side of the clan, all loaded into our modes of transport and headed south of the boarder to celebrate a friend’s nuptials.  Yes, the wedding was lovely, and the weather was great.  The kids did really well on our journey – thank you for asking!

This post however, is not about any of those details.

This post is about shopping for shoes.

We spent some time in a local mall on the day of the wedding, not wanting to be too far from where we needed to be that evening.  And they had a couple of my favourite shoe shopping places.  And really – when does a girl *not* need a pair of shoes?  Exactly.  Never.  So of course, I went in along with my sister, my Mom, my niece and my daughter.

While I was perusing the aisles for the illusive basic, black, everyday shoe that I’ve been looking for on-again, off-again for the past 2 years, I was struck by how my 20 year old self would be dying of embarrassment over the shoes I was looking for.  Actually, that didn’t occur to me until I was pondering whether or not a shoe like this is what I was wanting:

It's nice, right?  I mean, for an older, middle aged woman.  Oh crap: I fit both criteria!

It’s nice, right? I mean, for an older, middle aged woman. Oh crap: I fit both criteria!

Don’t get me wrong: I still think this shoe looks like it would fit the bill perfectly for me.  My 20 year old self though…  well, it’s not like I rocked stilettos or anything in my youth; I surely did not.

This was more my style:

Yeah bitches, combat boots!

Yeah bitches, combat boots!

Okay, that was in my late teens.  You’re right: in my 20’s it was more like this:

This looks almost exactly like mine.  Except my favourite ones were square toe.  LOVED them!

This looks almost exactly like mine. Except my favourite ones were square toe. LOVED them!

I “came of age” in the grunge era.  I wore mismatched flannel shirts with dirty jeans.  I wore long johns and worker socks and baggy sweaters.  And yeah, I had some heels, but they were more like this:

I think I had this exact pair!  Except they were black, of course.

I think I had this exact pair! Except they were black, of course.

Cute, right?  I know.  So anyway, in my 20’s I thought I had style with an edge.  I listened to Oasis, I drank G&T’s or Guinness; some times both on the same night!  I went to bars like Velvet Underground or (s)Lime Light for the retro 80’s night.  I lived in an awesome city and when I met people my age who lived in the surrounding suburbs, I would say to them, “Oh – I’m so sorry!” and laugh and laugh…

Which brings me back to my shoe quest.  Which, it turns out, is probably more about me making peace with being a subrurban-dwelling, mini van-driving, stay-at-home-mom than it is really about the shoe.

I guess the combat boots just kicked the shit outta my urban self when my arches fell?  Yeah, let’s go with that.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Randomness

 

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Should Have Known

When I woke up this morning in a neutral mood, and MOMD left the house without saying good bye and I noticed that – before coffee, even – I should have known.

When – at 8:45AM – I was saying to my kids, “I have a very little amount of patience today.  And what you are doing right now has spent almost all of it.  I haven’t been out of bed for 2 hours, and I am all ready at the end of my rope.

“Excellent Behaviour is required today.”  I should have known; they should have known.

When we were traipsing through stores purchasing what we need for next week’s camping foray and I almost bought a metric ton of chocolate in each store, I should have known.

When we got home and I made lunch, and the kids didn’t come when I called them, and I didn’t call them again but rather put it on the table and left, I should have known.

When my (newly) 5yo said, “Ellie’s crying,” and I responded with , “I don’t care,” (yes, I really did. *guilt*) I should have known.  I think the kids knew at that point.

When I started wondering, “Why am I not drunk yet?” at 11AM, I probably had an inkling, but c’mon, I shoulda known!

And when I went to pilfer that same 5yo’s chocolate only to discover the entire bar – the WHOLE THING – was gone and I called MOMD to accuse him of theft and causing “a watershed moment” (my actual words) I was grateful that I had figured it all out.

Because man: these kinds of hormonal swings and shifts are exhausting.  It’s tough being a woman.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Oversharing

 

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Excitement, Exhaustion and Terror All in One!

This is me these days, people.  Excited because one of my dearest friends in the known Universe is getting married in 4 days (YAY!) in her adopted home of Nyack, New York.  I’m so happy for her, not in the least because I love and adore the person she’s chosen for the honour of sharing her life.  I’m excited too because this is our first “Family Vacation” since becoming a family of 5.

This also exhausts me.

Because: getting ready to leave the country with 5 people for 4 nights is a lot of work!  Thank God we’re travelling with my Mom and sister, because we’ve shared up the work that can be shared between us.  Thanks again, Amanda for sorting our the who-needs-a-passport thingy! (The answer is only people over the age of 18, if you’re entering the U.S. by car, just in case you too need to know.)  MOMD brought up the suitcases this weekend and put them in respective rooms so that the bigger kids could begin packing their belongings (which inevitably means either he or I have to unpack the cases to make sure that everything that’s needed is there, but whatever: they’re excited too).  He’s also made a list of what to pack, and cleaned the van inside and out so that we’re ready to tackle the Open Road like he and his family did.

Did you catch that part?  “…like he and his family did.”  Yeah, that right there, that is critical.

See, MOMD grew up in the heart of “The Big Land” as they like to call it.  I myself call it it the tip of an iceberg surrounded by vast amounts of nothingness.  I’m talking about Labrador City.  And while yes, technically there is another town (Wabush) close by, they are really one city.  And then there’s nothing else for like 750km’s on the Trans Canada Highway.  So while saying he grew up on an iceberg is not technically correct, he did grow up in the heart of nowhere.  What this meant is that he and his family spent a lot of time on the road, driving to places.  They would go back to the Island (what island?  THE Island: Newfoundland!) for vacations, and they’d go to Prince Edward Island, they even came to Toronto once, on a trip that’s best not talked about.  And all of this was done in a car.

Me, on the other hand…  well, I grew up in Toronto.  Unlike many of my friends, my parents had a trailer in the country; near a little town called Roseneath.  So I too spent my summers driving to destination.  The main difference is that my car trips were generally 90-120 minutes in length, where his were 2-3 day adventures.  Sadly, I am not one who enjoys spending endless time in a car.

Which is really funny given the traffic that I face often enough here in the GTA; but I digress.

When MOMD and I met (almost 15 years ago now!  WOW!) the longest I could really stomach to travel in total was 2.5 hours.  Seriously: that was my limit.  I go a little stir crazy, which coupled with my usual crazy is too much crazy.  One day remind me to tell you about our move to Halifax where we spent 2 solid days on the road.  It was…  gah.  I can’t even go there.

The trip to Nyack is just under 800km’s.  It’s certainly true that in the intervening years I have gotten better at longer stretches of travel, I approach the thought of a long car ride with trepidation.

And then you throw in 3 kids – one of whom is totally the poster child for Active Lifestyles – and I go directly to terror.  Do not stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200.  TERROR!

We’re looking at about a 10 hour trip.  TEN hours, people!  It’s time for the Wizards of the world to share Apparrating with us Muggles.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Family, Raising Kids, Vexations

 

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Dinner Conversations

When I was growing up, my family had dinner together every day.  Never with the TV on, usually with music playing in the background, glasses of milk for the kids and water for the adults.  We sat at the table every night and we talked.  Everyone talked about how their days were, what we learned at school, challenges at work, sharing the news about our friends and family; we engaged with each other every day.  On Sundays, the same rules applied except that the food was usually more labour intensive to prepare, and we always ate in the dining room on the fine china.

They say that you will do what you know, and so it’s really no surprise to me that every night we all sit at the table to have dinner.  Although, our fine china is not dishwasher safe like my parents is, so on Sundays we just eat on regular plates.  But I digress.

While I try to engage everyone in discussion about their days, some times that conversational tactic runs out before I’ve even taken my first bite.  On those nights, the kids ask random questions and we do our best to engage in discussion with them.  One night though, over the Christmas break, Connor asked, “So Mom: what is man’s work?”

The feminist in me immediately bristled.  “Where is he getting this from,” I raged internally.  MOMD dropped his fork, his terror shining from his eyes, while he tried desperately to see how I would respond, without looking at me thus to provoke my wrath.  Being in communications, he tried to firmly get control of the question and started sputtering something like, “Well Connor…”

Cooler heads prevailed however, and I interrupted MOMD with the faithful advice given by my OB many, many years ago.  “Well Connor, ” I said, “what do you think man’s work is?”

Connor: “I’m not sure.”
MOMD: “Well, let’s think about the kind of work I do, and the kind of work Mom does.”
Connor: “Oh…  ok.  So like, Dad does the laundry, cleans the bathrooms, washes the floors…  So I guess that’s man’s work.”
Me: “Well, my work is done here.”

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Family, Food, Raising Kids, Traditions

 

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What a Girl Really Needs

Things have been a little stressful – hectic, even – around here for a couple of weeks.  I am feeling the pressure in my business, baby E has been fighting some mysterious virus and just this morning woke up with her first-ever cold.  Connor is forgetting to do his homework, Sam is still trying to find his footing as the middle child.  MOMD has several projects that are all peaking at the same time and his days fly by in a haze of meetings and revisions. So you know, life hasn’t been the idyllic picnic I prefer.

And as you may have guessed when I wrote this whiny complain-y post earlier in the week, I hit the end of my rope.

And I know: my life is pretty amazing.  I want you to know upfront that I know that.  I am grateful for my partner and helpmeet in MOMD, for my hysterically funny children, for my patient and loving family… all of it.

What I am most grateful for though are good great friends.

For as long as I can remember I have been surrounded by peers who I love and adore.  When I was just a little kid, my best friends were my cousins.  And of course my sister.  We were together all the time, getting into all kinds of mischief.  And then in school I made some awesome friends some of whom I continue to share amazing relationships with.

Have you ever come to the point though where you stop making friends?  I don’t mean casual acquaintances like people you work with but never see outside of work, or parents you see at the school but never go for coffee with.  I mean friendships.  Just you and another person or two talking about your day/ife/kids and being together in the spirit of friendship.  I hit that point in my 20’s I think.

I am a mover and a shaker, I am always chatting with people.  In grocery stores, in lineups, on the street, at the park.  If you’re in the same space as I am you can pretty much bet I’m going to say something to you.  I stopped adding people to my life though; I didn’t take it beyond the acquaintance level after like 1998.  I never thought twice about it.  My life was full, there was always someone to hang with in a bar on a Friday night, I was happy.

Once Connor was born in 2004, I wasn’t really looking for people to hang in bars with anymore.  Lucky for me though, my dear friend Jill had her baby 6 weeks before I had Connor, and my sister was pregnant with my niece too.  We were all on maternity leave together, and Jill had a mini-van, and the 3 of us and our babies spent the year together, going where ever our hearts desired.  It was awesome.

Then when Sam came along in 2008, no one else was having a baby.  I was alone.  MOMD was working a 45km commute from home (which is a fair distance when you live in the economic heart of your country) with a 4 year old and a new born.  I was going stir crazy.  MOMD would get home from work and he would want to take the baby and have bonding time with him, thinking that this was also giving me a break.  Which it was – what I really wanted though was someone to talk to who would talk back to me.  I was starting to become depressed…

Enter the greatest thing to ever happen to me that year (aside from Sam’s birth, of course): MumNet.

I started joining things.  Groups for Moms.  Specifically Mumnet and “Songs by Sally“.  And I mean it: this was the best thing that I ever did.  I established some deep bonds with several women who I would have otherwise never met.  And these women are so important to me now.  Some of them have had other children since 2004, some of them are pregnant now.  Some have returned to work, and some others are staying home.  We really don’t have a connection to each other aside from our kids, but man…  in 2004 these women were literal lifelines for me.  And today, they are just as important.

So like I started to say, it’s not been a great couple of weeks.  MOMD is truly a darling; on Tuesday he called from work to say he wanted to take some vacation time so that I could get the hell outta doge and just rest and recupperate, “Whatever you need to do,” he said.  I had spent time with a couple of these friends I made when Sam was born on Monday and I tell you what: it was a godsend.  They reminded me that it gets better and I don’t have to be the only one to provide comfort; Miss E had a lovely nap on Suzy’s chest.  Tuesday night I met up with another group of women who I collected when Sam was born and man…  I haven’t seen most of those women in a year – one of them more than 2 years – and we picked up like no time had passed at all.  My soul was restored.  I was built up.  I built up others.  We connected, we shared, we drank wine and ate wonderful food and it was…  good.

MOMD can use his vacation days for something else.  It turns out, all this girl really needs is her Girls.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Gratitude, Opinion

 

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Things No One Tells You

So breastfeeding…

It’s great.  It’s fem-affirming, it’s convenient and man-o-man is it ever cheap.

Here’s the thing that I notice most, now that we’re 4-months into this thing, having my 2 previous children on formula by this point: it’s exhausting being the sole source of sustenance for this little person.

And really?  Motherhood is exhausting enough.  Well, motherhood for an infant anyway.  Once the kids are sleeping soundly through the night (yeah, yeah, “6 hours is considered sleeping through the night,” you helpfully point out.  To that I say nuh-uh and you know it too) the exhaustion I experienced was primarily of my own making.

I’m not talking about just the getting-up-at-3/4AM-to-feed-her exhaustion, I’m talking about the feeding every 3 hours, the changing of diapers (some times clothes too), the reading, the singing, the floor time, the chair time, the do-whatever-she-needs time.  I’m talking too – especially today – about the crying times.

What, for the love of all that is good and holy, do you want, sweet child of mine?!?!?

I mean seriously: I hold you, you cry.  I rock you and sing to you, you cry.  I feed you.  You are quiet for a moment but pop off to remind me – through more crying – that this is not going to placate you for ever.  I put you on your floor mat, you cry.  I pick you up, you cry some more.  I put you in your swing: yet more tears.  Car seat, crib, bath, all of it: no dice.

~ahem.

But I digress.  You’ll forgive me, I know, because I am tired.  I am tired of being yelled at all day.  And I’m tired of being the only one who feeds her (yes, I have a pump.  Yes, I use said pump.  And there are 4 bottles in the freezer waiting to be consumed.  But it takes a while to get enough pumped to make a bottle, and MOMD & I are looking at taking some time away so those bottles are reserved gold right now).  I would love love love to take off.  To pick up MOMD from the train one evening and head somewhere… else.  A beloved friend has offered to care for our 3 kids, giving us some time away.  And I want to take her up on it, like…  right now.  Like every thing else though, it takes planning and preparing.

And so, I continue.

To feed (and not just the baby but the whole family), to soothe when possible, to entertain and be entertained.  All the while I must remember to cherish these moments, because as so many helpful people point out, “the moments are fleeting,” or “You’re going to miss this,” or “before you know it they’ll be grown up with children of their own.”  And while at the moment I do not at all appreciate these sentiments, I know they are true.

For she is my last baby.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Family, Raising Kids

 

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