Tag Archives: parenting

Wading Pool.

This is something that happened this summer.  I’m not proud of it.  But it happened, so I’ll put it out there.

I pretended I wasn’t Pippi’s parent the other day.  Only for just a brief moment.  Not exactly my shining moment as a parent.  Well to be more exact.  Parenting FAIL.

It all started at a park this summer.  I was there to meet a group of girlfriends.  Only none of us realized the park had a wading pool.

Said pool opened an hour after we got to the park.  Pool warden “Mr. Frown” took his job very seriously.  The rules: No kids in pool whilst filling. (yelling at children)

No feet in pool whilst filling. (yelling at children)

No throwing rocks in pool whilst filling. (yelling at children. specific children. children crying now.)

No smiling/laughing/screaming/looking at or near the pool, whilst filling. (more yelling)

It took 45min to fill the damn 1/2ft pool.  Surrounded by 48 kids under 3, and their scrambling mothers. To keep them all out. of. the. pool. (yup you guessed it…more Mr. Frown yelling.)

Then they were allowed in.  But more rules from Mr. Frown.  And his now whistle (and yelling).

We got to play for a total of 30min.  Which included the stripping down of wet clothes to underwear. (Had to try and dry them before jamming them in a carseat.  And the underwear was a last minute, group effort of all girlfriends following the herd mentality: Mr. Frown can’t kick all our kids out of the pool if everyone is in their skivvies – right?)

Only just as we were leaving, Pippi slid down a slide.  In her white underwear.  The “top of the nature trail, down the dirt path to the wading pool area” slide.  And ended up with mud on her behind.

I coyly mentioned maybe she should go for one last dip in the pool before we go.

Mr. Frown (again) began to yell at the children, a child, my child.  I turned around to see my diligent daughter in the pool, her underwear off and now in the water, and not covering her bum.  I continued to turn and face my girlfriends.  We were all horrified. (Not sure if I was more horrified that it was my child in the nude, or that Mr. Frown was yelling like a banshee again.)

Then he began yelling at her to show him her “momma”.  Dear Lord. And I was singled out as I ran over to my daughter, who was more angry at this mean, large, loud, power-tripped man than she was scared. As a matter of fact, I was SCARED of this mean, large, loud, power-tripped man.  When we got out of there Pippi spoke.

“That man was RUDE Mom.  He shouldn’t talk to people that way.  He isn’t nice to kids AT ALL.”  I agreed with her.

Parent fail.  Child win.  Way to go Pippi.  My heart sings for this child who has a true north within herself that guides us both some days (nude or not).

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Bananas.

Today was bananas.

I awoke at 5:30am to calls (read shouts) beconing me.  More leg pain from growing pains.  Medicine administered with a silent prayer (to a God that I may or may not believe in, but was really hoping for this morning) that both kids now awake from the yelling, would silently retreat back to slumberland.

No God today. (Maybe sleeping?)

So up we got. And my son immediately pointed to his mouth.  He gets sign language. In that way that a terrorist gets a bomb: Point to trigger, deploy device and BAM! The pointing to the mouth indicates hunger. IMMEDIATE. LIFE THREATENING HUNGER. Once the finger points I have .2 seconds to disarm the device or BAM.

Bananas work well for this.

Only today, it wasn’t just one, but two hairpin trigger devices I was working against.  (Usually it’s just the one…the other one has somehow had a patience delay for the last year or so.) But not this morning.

Thank god for bananas.

Or so I thought. (Remember the god part earlier…) She didn’t want HER banana, she wanted HIS banana.  This is the red wire/ green wire situation where no matter how much training you have you just don’t know which to cut.  Do I take his away? Try for a swap? Maybe he won’t notice half go missing?  I went with the half theory, successfully.  Only then the demander had raised the stakes.

“NO, not his half banana, I want my own banana!!”

In the background, mentally I start to go bananas.

I pass her a whole one back.  Fingers, toes and eyes crossed that this last attempt will work.

And it did.

Phew. Crisis averted.

Go bananas!

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Screamers.

Somedays I am a rockstar.  I feel like I should have a fan club of adoring people who love ME.

Today was NOT one of those days.

Somedays I feel like I should share my genetics with the world.  Because they are just THAT good.  You know, when your kids are rockstars and everyone wants their kids to be just like yours…

Today was also NOT one of those days.

Today was the kind of day where I wish I could feign illness at work half way through the day.  I would have faked a fever for today.  Or made myself vomit all over the floor, just for quarantine alone time in my room.  But nobody was here but me.  Me and the screamers.  No point in naming them.  Hushing and loving and hugging didn’t change them.  Yelling and time outs didn’t fix them.  They just wanted to be next to me.  And scream.  For hours.  Not consecutively though.  It was intermittent screaming for hours today.  Between the diaper rash and the meltdowns due to lack of sleep, lack of timely food, lack of nap, and lack of motherly patience after hour 4, I wanted to escape.

The diaper rash, despite changing immediately after the “grunting face” worsened through the day.  Up to the point that thing 1 was in her room screaming (time out for screaming).  At that point thing 2 was mid diaper change when the legs started flailing and the poop started flying.  Okay not so much flying as: all over mom and the diaper, and the clean up cloth trying to contain said mess.  And more screaming.  So into the tub.  Followed by thing one emerging from the bedroom. And more screaming.

And dinner.  The wrong type apparently. More screaming.

And Mom eating dinner, without Dad.  More screaming.

And baby playing with dinosaurs. More screaming.

More screaming.

More screaming.

More screaming.

The windows in my house were closed today.  Despite HOT temperatures.  Sweltering heat which I’m sure resulted in…you guessed it. More screaming.

At least the neighbours only got a muffled version of what sounded like me murdering my small children.  Slowly.  With dull spoons.

That is all.  There is no happy ending to this story.  Unless you count bedtime.  Shortly after hubby got home at 7:45pm.

Some days suck.  Even for rockstars.  And I am a rockstar.  Minus the drug and alcohol problems.

Tomorrow will be a rockstar day. (Minus the drug and alcohol problems.)

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Road Map.

I love silence.

I love peaceful mornings and sleep.

I like s-p-a-c-e away from other people.

Was I truly meant to be a mother?  In this day and age where everything is a choice I sometimes wonder, reflecting back if I took the right road.  Naivety made me think I could have it all.  No, that’s not what I mean…because I do have it all.  I thought I could DO it all.  And be happy, and at peace.  The doing in the having of the babies, and the keeping up with a career, and maintaining self interests like yoga and running and friendships.  I did it all for a year before my second child was born.  What did I learn? You don’t get more fulfilled.  You get busier.  And in the business, you become more organized, to create more time, for more STUFF.  It’s a never ending spiral.

Forget the rat on the wheel.  Society leads us to believe that we as families can get on the wheel…and it will be fun like the carnival.  What they leave out is that it’s the scary kind with those mean, overly painted masked clowns who pop out from behind hidden doors and walls.  Instead of yelling “Boo!” It becomes: “Dayhome cancelled 6am the day of and you have to be at work in an hour! Figure it out!” or “Wham! Car parts need replacing! Can you figure out the logistics of living without a car while having work and appointments and affording the extra $1000 this month!”

So I quit my career.  And we moved internationally.  And I switched from one carnival ride to another.  This time it was having a second baby.  The rush and excitement of caressing my new little one.  Taking in all the sweetness of the way a baby smells and hearing little sniffles and the soft, soft snuggle of skin to skin. This time it felt like one of those rides that spins.  Slowly at first.  So much fun; feeling the fresh breeze of something new in your face.  Then after a while the dizziness starts to seep into your pores.  Sleep deprivation. The bank of patience is dipped into again and again without ever getting replaced and weeks later you find yourself weeping, just wanting off the damn carnival ride.

But that’s not where I was going with this.  I won’t wallow in self pity. There are still hard days but they are fewer and far between.  Everything is getting better and the patience bank is replenished. It took a year, but life is starting to feel normal.  Equilibrium has been set.  Has my body and mind just adjusted to the ride as normal?  My question now arises from a recent houseguest we had.

Everything about their lives was leading them towards kids.  The kindest, gentlest people filled with hope and love and light.  And despite the wanting, and the trying, and the trying, and the trying. Kids weren’t in the cards.  So why us? Jack and I?  I’m not even really sure Jack was for having kids.  He was on the fence with two feet on the green DINK’s grass (dual income, no kids).  And then it just happened.  We weren’t trying, but we weren’t not trying.  Kind of a funny russian roulette.  And although I wanted kids, I didn’t have a good understanding of what that would mean.  Did I evaluate what type of person I am? Nope.  You see I fear people don’t know me for who I really am.

I am filled to the brim with ego.  Which gets triggered into power struggles with a 3 year old.

I love silence.  Have you been around any kids? Ever?

I like everything in it’s place.  Ummm when was the last time you met a child whose play didn’t include the entire living room with throw cushions and coasters and the winter box of scarves and mittens and toques (in the middle of summer)?

I like everything clean. Mashed avocado on the floor and pasta sauce on the walls isn’t the decor that suits my style.

So why me?  I feel so undoubtedly inadequate.  I feel like I need a parent or a teacher or something to teach me how to do this that is my life now.  I love my children.  More than anything else in this entire universe.  More than I love my own life

and my sense of self

and my yoga

and my running

and my silence

and my cleanliness

and my tidyness

and my sanity.

But how on earth did it happen that the universe gave me such a wonderful gift.  To open my eyes.  To open my heart.  And to create a change in my foundation.  When these people that stayed with us were already prepared for it all?  Where  is the fairness in that?

I believe the universe is friendly. Correction. I try to always trust that the universe is friendly.  But it certainly isn’t fair.  And I feel like I’ve won the lottery.  But I don’t deserve it because there were people out there who were hungrier than me.

But what if it isn’t about deserving, or even needing? Maybe it’s not about taking the right road.  Or any road at all.  Maybe it isn’t a choice.  That is just your road. And if we just keep our headlights on, we can see the next few feet.  And if we follow the next few feet again and again it will take us farther until the sun rises and we can look around and see where we have come.  It’s a good place and I am lucky to be here.

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Happy Day.

Today was a good day.  A happy day.  Or maybe it was just an average day on account of all things in comparison to yesterday.   Oh yesterday where I feel like I lost my mind with my three year old intentionally pissing on the newly cleaned floor (3.5 hours after the cleaners had left) for the second time.  There were three “accidents” yesterday.  I sometimes wonder if these accidents aren’t the world’s way of “pop quizzing” us parents to see how far we’ve come with our own control of emotions (or not) and how much we’ve learned in parenting (or not) and which new tools we’ve developed (if any.)  Today was happy.

Maybe it is in light of the recent 3 broad-daylight steal-the-3-year-old-from-his-family kidnapping attempts in the last 24 hours.  I am cherishing my children and holding them extra tight today.

I even tried to impose some education on the eldest of my troop.  The conversation went something like this:

Mommy “Pippi what would you do if a stranger told you to go with them?”

Pippi “Nope.  Not unless they were nice mommy.”

Mommy *sigh* “Okay if anyone EVER tells you to go with them other then Mommy or Daddy you come to us quick so you can ask if it’s okay.”

Pippi “But why Mommy?”

Mommy “Well sometimes they aren’t nice people, and only Mommy and Daddy can tell if they are okay for you to go with.

Pippi “Oh but I know who is nice Mommy.”

Mommy “hmmm.  You have to ask ask before you go with anybody okay.  Always have to come to Mommy and Daddy to ask before going with anyone right?”

Pippi “Yup.  But it’s okay if I go with Susan (neighbour) She’s nice!”

Mommy “No, that isn’t okay.  You always have to ask first, so we know where you are.”

Pippi “Okay.  But Susan is nice.”

Mommy frowning in exasperation

“Okay, so what would you do if somebody told you to come with them in their car?”

Pippi “No way! *big grin* I’d never get in their car.  That’s just silly.  Only if they had a carseat Mommy.  It’s not safe for me in a car without a carseat.”

Mommy (beginning to realize this concept might be out of Pippi’s developmental grasp for the time being) “No honey don’t ever get in a car with anybody either.  Only with Mommy or Daddy okay?”

Pippi “Okay Mommy. But if they have a carseat I’d be safe.  Then if they get in a crash and ask where I am I can say: I am here, safe in my carseat!”

Mommy “No, not even if they have a carseat.  Or if they offer you candy.  You always only get in a car with Mom or Dad okay?”

Pippi “Okay Mommy.  But that’s silly.  Candy is for Halloween, and birthdays only.”

Sigh.  Will keep a close watch on my kids.  And hug them extra tight tonight.  Their cuteness and naivety are only a few of the million reasons they are so special to me.

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Pain In My Ass

We returned from a recent vacation to Maui.  If you don’t know me I will tell you it was a good trip.  If you kinda know me I will say it was exhausting with two kids 3 years and under. And If you really know me well I will tell you all the nitty gritty details.

I do not recommend travel with small children if you have vacation fantasies.  It just does not happen. Period. No I really mean it. Just stop even thinking about it. Now.

Not that there is much to tell.  I’m not sure exactly what made me think packing up our lives, spending thousands of dollars and getting on a 6 hour plane ride (one way) to somewhere hot would make me feel happier and more rested.  I think I was deluded in thoughts and past pre-children memories of lounging by the beach, drink in hand reading a book.  Okay so in the thoughts the kids were there, and likely I’d have to forgo the book to supervise them happily playing in the sand.  But otherwise the image seemed grand.  The lounging, the sun, the drink, the sand.

Reality somehow didn’t measure up.  It’s true the lounge chairs were there.  I was staring at them as I scurried back and forth from our ground floor condo unit to the pool with extra sunscreen, water, sunhats, snacks, lunch and pool toys (no not THaaaaaaaaT one! The PINK one Mommy!)  I got to be in the sun whilst half my body was submerged in the cold pool (note: I am a sunshine girl, shying away from anything cold.  Including said cold pool; unless on the off chance the sea breeze dies, my icy drink has not been replenished and I happen to break into a sweat while doing nothing, all simultaneously.) But there I was, in the cold pool, getting a great (goose-bumped) arm workout bouncing the babe up and down while he splashed and I stared at the lounge chairs.  Not that bouncing wasn’t fun.  I could eat his little giggles up by the dozen.  But I can eat them up at home.

And as for that damned sand.  We tried the beach.  All I can say is sand + beach + sunscreen + small children is not a math equation which adds up.  Now that they should have taught in grade school math!  I dug sand out of crevasses for days. I’d really rather not talk about it.

Then there were the nights.  Usually with my small children I am up about once a night.  Not in Maui, the ‘away from home-I need water-can’t sleep-awake in a different bed and need mom’ vacation destination.  I averaged getting up 4 times a night.  And few naps.  It was kinda like Mommy jail where sleep deprivation was the choice torture.  Okay bad example, I was in Maui.  I have never been to, nor want to go to jail.  The comparison in real life is not valid in the least.  But it FELT like torture.  Very expensive torture onsite a beautiful location.  I would forgo the naps when we were on the road to get the kids to sleep so they would wake up refreshed at our exciting destinations (mountains, other little areas of the island, the hula dancers etc.)

And the last straw.  My back.  Granted I have a history of a low back injury.  But the combination of the constant carrying of small children, the not so great mattress and fate, my pain came back.  The pain, although a ‘low back injury’ is actually in my sacroilliac joint.  In English: my ass.

So what did I get for paying thousands of dollars, flying two small kids in a small contained area for a total of 12 hours, running myself ragged and being sleep deprived?

A pain in my ass.

Thank god for our fabulous insurance plan and physiotherapy! Note to self: next trip sans kids!

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Toxic.

The happy gloriousness of children, according to my cousin.

So every year around the holiday, ever since my daughter was born, I have this cousin who comes over to me and says “Wow, aren’t they great? Kids? The BEST!  Don’t they just make life worth living? Doesn’t it feel like your life has so much more meaning and purpose.  And how magical is it being a parent?  Betcha never thought it would feel this good hey?  And can’t imagine what your life was even like before having them!”

I force a smile and nod.  My cousin moves on and my thoughts begin to spiral.  Of course I remember what my life was like before kids.  My husband and I had a standing date night at a sushi restaurant which included wine every Tuesday night.  I slept in on weekends while my husband got to catch up on MIT physics lectures (his weird hobby/interest).  I got to go shopping in New York and buy clothes, we took great vacations.  I went for runs with our golden retriever Haley.  There was even a time when Jack and I would get up early and watch the sunrise on runs before work (we lived in Bermuda at the time, the sun rose up over the most perfect aqua blue ocean and our run route was on the south shore where we would overlook the sea from cliffs above.) Yes. That good.

This year when my cousin started up the yearly conversation with something to the effect of “what a blessing, how life changingly amazing children are…” I actually tried something new.  I was completely brutally honest.

“I’m exhausted. Most. of. the. time. My daughter gets up at 6am everyday.  I still get up at night to nurse my son. I can’t remember the last time I slept through a full night.  I’m really not sure I’d do it again.  I say that now that I’m in the thick of things.  I really really really love them. And yes they have changed my life.  But they’ve also infringed upon everything I ever I thought was important to me.  My yoga, my nightlife, my sex life.  Things I never even thought would be affected.  Like daily showers. Or brushing my hair, or teeth.  Yes somedays it is that bad.  Not everyday.  But it’s really really hard.  More than I ever thought.  I feel like there is none of me left in my life.”  My cousin was shocked.  Then other family (mostly moms) also joined in.  How hard it really is.  That nobody really talks about fighting back tears when all your kids are chorusing their screaming together.  The days when the old you has been shoved so far back you never feel like she will re-emerge.

The little voices in my head start up again “You will NEVER get your life back. By the time the kids are old enough to be independent your sense of self will be long gone.  You will be a stranger to yourself, with no current interests, hobbies, friends or life.”  Oh the voices.  So I pack my shit up, and head to the gym.  The kids get dumped at childcare there and I work my ass off for an hour. (Literally, I lost my ass…there is a vast flat area where my ass used to be.  The kids; or pregnanies rather, took that away too.) I get to shower and sauna and get the voices to shut up.  See I did something for myself.  Don’t think I’ll be back again tomorrow.  Five days in a row is enough.  Actually the truth is I don’t think my body can take another day of it.  My levels of lactic acid must be so high they are toxic.   Maybe the toxicity will kill off the voices.  I smile.

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