The Imperfect Parenting Advocate

Everyday we are all inundated with tales of perfect children being perfectly parented by pristine, perfect parents. As much as I may wish that I could claim even one of those stories of perfection as my own, alas, perfection in any form was not my destiny.

Tonight was a typical Tuesday evening. The kids and I tumbled out of the house juggling Thumb Chucks, bouncy balls, keys, sweaters and whatever else they managed to smuggle into the van and off we headed for an appointment with the foot doctor for one of the boys.

We navigated our way through town and got there with two minutes to spare. Everyone piled into building and the kids all gathered around the water cooler. Moments later, we filed into the examination room and everyone crowded around the patient chair. The kids bickered over who got to sit in the other chair, who got to play with the skeletal model foot until the one kid who was actually there to be examined said “everybody stop looking at my foot!” and the foot doctor kicked the offending three out into the waiting room so that she could continue her job in relative peace.

Once back in the waiting room, two of the boys started to wrestle, so I stepped out and tell them to take it outside. Conveniently, “outside” just happened to be completely visible from the examination room windows, so we were all treated to a shoving match, some screaming, and a tongue-out-spitting finale. Sweet.

Then, my youngest son decided to share this with us: ” ‘K, so at school, I had this plan to get out of doing work.” He pulled up his sleeve to expose a previously skinned elbow and continued. “I was going to pick the scab and make it bleed so that I could go to the office and get a band aid. Buuuuuut Madame had band aids in the classroom.” He shrugged.  “So my plan didn’t work.” He shrugged again and smiled sweetly, clearly having no idea how devious the plan he just shared might sound to the average listener. The foot doctor and I looked at each other and I could tell that she was unsure how I was processing this admission of attempted deception. As usual, wherever possible, I chose to laugh. Because I try to refrain from crying in public. It tends makes people feel uncomfortable and then things are just awkward. And today was one of the few days that I remembered to wear mascara.

Our lovely foot doctor had now been witness to a bar-style brawl in her parking lot and heard a thwarted, yet diabolical plan of a third-grader to avoid doing his school work, and this only represented 3/5 of my children.

Time to head home, our work there was done. I re-arranged the bodies in the minivan for the ride home with the idea of limiting the opportunity for further brother-on-brother violence. This time, I was mostly successful. Only one primal scream for the entire eight minute drive home. #winning.

Needless to say, by the time we pulled into the driveway I was 88 years-old and they were back to laughing and being ridiculous. Good times. Always good times.

And that, my friends, is how a typical half-hour outing goes with my crew. Please form the line up to babysit my babies on the left…

Kid conversations. Or, Being schooled using a banana analogy

So, this conversation happened at my house tonight:

10 year-old: UGH! This banana has a HUGE bruise! Blech! *insert lots of gagging noises*

6 year-old: *insert hand gestures and adult tone of voice* Okay. I’ll tell you the story of how I ate my bruised banana. Ready? I opened my banana. It was bruised. I just it ate through it and didn’t say a thing about it. Not a word. And that’s how I got through it. Just eat through it. See?

My six-year-old is wiser than me again. You’d think that I’d be used to this humbling truth, but the fact is, I am not. It takes these moments in time, these overheard conversations to remind me that for as much as I think that I’m teaching them about life, it is they who are teaching me.

Because Miss Moon’s banana story is a lot like life. Sometimes, you just have to keep moving forward, not complaining about anything, and just get through it. Sometimes, it really is okay.

Like Miss Moon and Shia say, sometimes, you just have to do it.

If you say ‘Excuse me’ it won’t stink and other sound bytes from my minion army

I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but I love my kids. I may have even given them their own hashtag (or pound sign, as I still insist on thinking of it) – #LoveMySmalls. They say the most profound, funny, thought-provoking and twisted things. I wish that I thought and spoke more like they do – I’d be a sensation, I just know it. I’ve been trying to jot down little exchanges as they occur and these are a few them:

*child farts*
*other child looking disgusted and really pissed off at farter* “UGH! Say excuse me! If you say ‘excuse me’ it won’t STINK!”
I never thought of that. But it makes perfect sense why he would believe that ‘excuse me’ is a natural air freshener. A little bit weird, a little bit genius (although please note, it did not actually work. It still stunk).

*in the car, pondering the weather and the dark clouds looming overhead*
Mas “I think it’s going to rain. A tornado of rain!”
Me: “Um, I don’t think it will. I’m sure the radio report would have mentioned if there was a tornado watch in effect. I think it’s just going to rain soon.”
“Well, they wouldn’t know. THEY aren’t even here, they’re in Toronto or something, so they can’t know what is happening here!”
*Deacon interjects* “Yeah, but Mas, I think that they have satellites in the sky that tell them the weather and stuff.”
*Mas snorts and quips* “Oh, yeah. Yeah. I knew that.”
*Deacon just shakes his head*

Pax – When you grow up, you have to take care of and help the people who helped you when you were little. That’s just the way it is. Right, Mummy?

Pax – Miranda, when you grow up and have a baby, do you hope that it’s a boy?
Miranda – No, why?
Pax – Because boys run faster and are stronger [editted to mention that we will be discussing this one later!], except that they pee straight up in the air when they’re babies
Miranda – Do girls pee when they’re babies?
Pax – I think so. But you have to be happy with whatever baby you get. If it’s a boy or a girl, you just have to be happy with it. Right, Mummy?

One night as I’m serving dinner:
Paxton: Is that chicken from a farm?
Me: Yes.
Paxton: I don’t want to eat chicken that lives on a farm!  I just want to eat regular chicken!

At Superstore in the seafood section and we see lobster tails:
Paxton:  What?!?!? They cut off their tails?  That isn’t nice! *tears welling up*

As we pull up to the US border customs window in Fort Erie:
Miranda:  (loud whisper) Paxie! We’re getting donuts! (clearly thinking it was one of our rare trips through a drive-thru)
Paxton: (louder whisper and a little disgusted at her faux pas) Ugh! No, we’re not Mur-an-da.

*Driving in the car recently*
Deacon: Well, when we have another baby, we’ll…
Me: Um, I don’t think we’re having another baby, honey. Why would you want another baby? We have lots of people already, don’t we?
Deacon: Yeah, but I want a baby. Because then I would have another little brother or sister. And I want another sibling. And I like babies better. That’s why I always want to sit with Miranda. I don’t really get along so good with Paxton.
Mason: I get along with Paxton but not really with Deacon. And ya, babies are so cute and they don’t hurt you, they’re just so soft and cute and stuff.
Miranda: I get along with everyone! And I LOVE BABIES! If we had a baby she would sleep in my room and I would take care of her with Mummy. Right, Mummy?
Me: Guys, I don’t think we’ll be having another baby. But you’re all right, babies are amazing. And all of you guys were amazing babies and now you’re amazing bigger kids, right?
Deacon: Well, yeeeeeahhhh. But I still want another baby. *pouting*

Earlier this month, at Dufferin Islands Conservation Park in Niagara. The last time we really explored this park, I was five days away from having Miranda, almost exactly five years ago now. #LuckiestMumOf5Ever

Earlier this month, at Dufferin Islands Conservation Park in Niagara. The last time we really explored this park, I was five days away from having Miranda, almost exactly five years ago now. #LuckiestMumOf5Ever

#LoveMySmalls.

P.S.  If you’ have not ‘Liked’ The Keswick Blog on Facebook or ‘Followed’ along on TwitterInstagram or checked out The Keswick Blog on Pinterest, then you’re missing out on micro-blogging that happens when time or circumstances do not allow for a full-blown blog entry 🙂  Come on over and jump on my crazy train!
 

 

March Break Instalment of Things My Kids Say

 MONDAY

We were driving home from Newmarket, after a semi-satisfying lunch at Costco, (for the kids, I behaved and stuck to sipping my Diet Pepsi and pretended not to be hungry) and as usual, we listened to the radio during the drive. “An Angel in Blue Jeans” by Train came on. The kids were listening to the music, talking to each other, singing along, picking their noses, covertly poking each other in the eye – you know, all the usual stuff kids do when you’re powerless to stop them because you’re stuck driving the car. Anyway, all of a sudden, Mason bursts out:

“Miranda! Miranda! Did you hear that? Did you hear what the song said?”

“Nooooo. What’d it say?”

“It said ‘Life is but a dream, I was shot down by Olaf, my angel in blue jeans.’ ”

“Whaaaaat?!?” Miranda says in horror.

*I die laughing, but somehow don’t ditch the van in the process*

“No, guys, it’s ‘I was shot down by your love‘ not ‘shot down by Olaf!” I had to tell them. Because letting Miranda believe that Olaf was a) shooting people and b) an angel in blue jeans just seemed wrong beyond reason. Mas is still skeptical that I am right about the lyrics, but out of his love for his sister and her love for Olaf, he isn’t pushing it. Thanks God. (Also, I should add, that Miranda pronounces ‘Olaf” as ‘O-Love’ which makes me smile every time she utters his name).

TUESDAY

“I know what your favourite thing is Mummy.”

“What’s that, hon?”

“US! Your favourite thing is us.”

*Heart fills with happiness and explodes. Heart too happy.*

WEDNESDAY

As the kids were heading outside to play, two JW’s came walking up our porch.

“MUMMY! People are here!”

“Who?”

“I dunno. People!” (I know, this makes us sound like a remote mountain family, but I promise you, my kids are used to seeing people, almost everyday, in fact).

I open the door, still clad in my classy polar fleece jammie pants and over-sized beat-up house sweater, as two J.W.’s are approaching, literature in hand.

Smiling sweetly (I think) “Oh! Hello.” Then, noticing the literature in the first woman’s hand, I quickly add “Oh, no thank you!”

Looking confused while their eyes take in my homeless housewife-chic attire, one of them says “It’s only an invitation.” (‘because clearly you are in desperate need of help and saving, if not for you, then think of these poor misguided children!’ – This bit remained unspoken and was conveyed in the look of disbelief in their eyes)

“Oh, we’ve had those before. We don’t go. But thank you so much again!” Closing the door slowly as they started to turn and leave.

Mason: “Oh, sure Mom, like you really meant that!”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Mason turns on the falsetto and big smile ” ‘Oh, thank you so much! No thank you!’ Yeah, you didn’t mean that at all, did you?”

Busted again. Oh well. I’m sure the J.W.’s will return and I’ll have another chance to try to decline indoctrination and being saved with more sincerity next time.

THURSDAY

Deacon: “Pineapple, coconut, BIG BANANA!” At the breakfast table while doing a dance indicating which body part is which. I’ll leave that with your and your imagination to sort out. Me? I just tried to pretend that I did not just hear and see my eight-year-old gyrating and gesturing thusly. Focus on his beautiful smile, I told myself. That didn’t really work, no. I’m still traumatized.

SATURDAY

Paxton informed me that he was “practicing kindness” today and that he hoped that he didn’t forget to be good while we were out and about this afternoon. He didn’t forget to be good. He did a great job listening and cooperating. Driving home though, he grabbed a book out of his sister’s hand. She objected. LOUDLY. She was not letting him get away with it. I thought I would help, honestly more to stop the yelling than anything else, but whatever my motivation, I was trying to help.

“Pax, remember you told me that you were practicing kindness today?”

“Oh yeah. I forgot.”

“Well, was it kind to grab that book out of your sister’s hand?”

“No.”

“It sounds like she’s pretty upset.”

“Yeah.”

“So, do you think that maybe you should give it back to her and apologize? Would that be the kind thing to do?”

“I guess so. Here you go, Miranda. So-rry.”

“That’s okay, Paxton. Hey, when we get home, you wanna play spies?”

So, just moments before, Ms. M was screaming and yelling at hearing-damage-gonna-happen volumes because her brother took a book (well, really a free pamphlet about outdoor accessories from Lowes) out of her hand without asking. And so I intervened and did the calm and guiding parent thing and lead Pax to do the right thing, and she’s already over it before he finished saying ‘sorry’? It is times like that when I wonder if I should just let them figure it out on their own. But then I remember the very real feeling of wanting to rip my own ears off to stop the pain of being trapped in a vehicle listening to them bicker, yell, whine and cry, over essentially, nothing, and decide no. Left to their own devices, they will keep that fight alive ALL DAY LONG. It is only when they drag Mom into it that the fight loses all of its shiny new-car appeal. So, by jumping into the middle of these seemingly meaningless arguments I am assuring my own sanity and survival. It’s just like wrestling a crocodile, only different.

For all the arguing, crying, fighting, there's also so much hugging, laughing and loving. That I love my kids is never in question. That they love each other, I often wonder, but they always let me know in little ways that they really do love each other.

For all the arguing, crying, and fighting that goes on around here on any given day, there’s also so much hugging, playing, laughing and loving. That I love my kids is never in question. That they love each other, well I often wonder, but they always find ways to reassure me and each other that they really do love one another.

Lost socks, found socks and the beautiful mind of my five-year-old

My sunshine. That is what I have called Donut (5) since he was a small baby. He was the happiest baby I had ever seen. Big smiles, easy-going, and sweet, sweet, sweet. He’s changed a lot over the years, but the sunshine is still inside him and the innocence and beauty of the way he thinks and the way he expresses himself makes me catch my breath at times from the sheer loveliness of it all.

What does this have to do with socks? Well, Donut never has any. He is forever stealing socks from his brothers, older and younger and telling me “but I don’t HAVE any socks, Mummy!” While I know this is patently false, because I buy him as many, if not more socks than his siblings, I can’t, for the life of me, figure out where they all get to. But today, the mystery was solved.

8 pairs of socks, all happily being washed as I type this *grin*