I took my smalls on a mini-shopping trip on yesterday. They all had Christmas money that they were desperate to spend. So, at the second store, Pax finds exactly that he’s been looking for and it’s on clearance – bonus! This was our conversation:
P: Mumma, how much is this with tax?
Me: Um, just over $20, maybe?
P (looking impish): Well, I’m going to give her a $20 bill and tell her ‘keep the change’
Me: Hmm. Okay, big spender. Except that $20 isn’t quite enough, so there will be no change for her keep and you’ll owe her a bit more.
P (crestfallen): Well, I’m still going to give her a twenty. I’ll figure out the rest when I get there.
Me: (to self): Where’d this kid even come from? (While picture him wearing a fedora and making it rain in Mastermind Toys one day).
This morning, Pax came down stairs with a croupy-sounding cough and the saddest little face I had seen since he came downstairs yesterday morning. I felt his forehead, checked him over and asked him what he would like for breakfast. This was our exchange:
P: Mummy, do I have to go to school today?
Me: Well, probably Pax. We still have an hour until the bus, so let’s wait and see, okay?
P: (Tears welling up): But I’m really sick. My throat hurts and I’m walking really slowly.
Me: Walking slowly? Oh no! Well, let’s just see how you’re feeling after you’ve been awake for a while, okay?
P: (sniffing): Okay, but I’m pretty sure I’m too sick to go.
Within half an hour, he had eaten, gotten dressed and made no other mention of staying home. Had I just listened to my heart when that sad little face that first appeared in the kitchen, he would have been home today and full of energy and jonesing for fun, while I spent the day trying to confine him to the couch. So glad I remembered to pause and think before blurting out the first thing that popped into my head (which is a bit of a trademark of mine).
Now if only I could do that in other life situations, I just know that I would start to make some serious traction on this adulting gig. As it is, I got the garbage and the recycling to the curb before the truck came, so yeah, I’m already feeling pretty grown up today.
P.S. Immediately after writing that big “I’m winning at being an adult” brag, I spilled my drink down my front and narrowly missed dropping the glass in the process. So, right then, never mind. Still a dork. 🤦🏼♀️
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Kids need to play outside. I mean, fresh air, physical activity, rosy cheeks and bright eyes, right? All good things that help promote healthy mental health (awkward, much?) and all that super popular back-to-nature stuff that I keep seeing posted on Facebook, right?
So, being a ‘good parent,’ my kids are outside. All bundled up and ready to frolic and play in the snow, fight with their siblings until eventually one of them breaks and tears and fists fly. Yes, I can see their mental health getting healthier by the minute outside these four walls.
So, out they go. Except one resister. My nine-year-old. He’s active and full of energy. Brilliant, funny, and cuddly as all get out. Unfortunately (for him) he was not built for winter (just like his mama, so believe me, I feel for him). He finds very little joy in sub-zero temperatures and being outside in the snow, just for the sake of it (again, I get it. I’m sitting bundled up in my kitchen and decidedly NOT outside improving my mental health) and while he won’t be openly defiant about going outside, he will delay the trip as long as possible. Someone else may let it slide and let him stay in. But I’m not that mother. One of the few perks that come with this title, is that I get to toss the kids outside to play every day and they have to do it. It’s in the rules.
So, now that I have (I hope adequately) set the scene, here is the exchange P and I just had at the door.
The exchange: Me: No gloves? Here, at least take this one. I don’t know what you’ve done with the other one, but at least one hand won’t freeze. (Notice how much adulting I’m doing here. It’s breathtaking, yes?)
P: Nah. I don’t need any. I’m just going out to play dead.
Me: Um. Huh. Dead? That doesn’t sound like an awesome game, but okay. Take the glove. (Clearly, this kid is in dire need of outside play time. His mental health needs a boost. It’s okay. I am on it like he’s a cheesecake and I’m, well, me).
P: But I’m going out to play DEAD. I don’t need gloves.
Me: Well, when you decide that you’re not dead anymore, won’t it be nice to have at least one hand not get frozen in the snow trying to get up? (I’m on my June Cleaver game today, people. I’m owing this parenting thing).
P: Fine (taking the glove). But I’m telling you, I’m only going to be lying dead in the snow, Mummy.
Me: Okay, baby. Have so much fun!
He trudges outside with his sister who has been waiting patiently for him to get ready and I skip away, into the kitchen to wash pears and marvel at just how obvious it is that I was born to parent. When it dawns on me. “Um, did he just say dead?”
To make a short story long and back to short again, I am making a pig’s ear out of this parenting gig. Pray for my small humans. And someone, please. Start a GoFundMe to cover their future therapy bills. Those clinical hours add up quickly and the bills are going to be astronomical.
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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).
“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.*
As the kids were heading outside to play, two JW’s came walking up our porch.
“MUMMY! People are here!”
“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.
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.
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?”
“It sounds like she’s pretty upset.”
“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, 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.
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It’s only Day 2 of NaBloPoMo and I had already forgotten about it. So comfortable in fact, that I settled into our Saturday routine without a second thought. And then it hit me. I said (only yesterday) that I would try to blog everyday this month and if I do not even open up the page then by definition, I’m not trying. I maybe am thinking about trying, but not I’m actually trying. So, here goes nothing, Day 2.
Actually. That is a word that is thrown around my house with surprising frequency. For example:
“What are you crying for? You actually hit me first and I didn’t even actually do anything to you even after you actually punched me in my back and actually broked my spine. Thanks a lot !” (crying child actually required an ice pack while speaking child did not require a body cast or traction, or actually any type of medical intervention. Hmmmm.)
“No Mummy, him did actually hit me in me tummy for purpose and hurted me.”
“She was actually really bugging me and I wasn’t doing anything at all to her. She’s just crying for no reason.”
“No <insert name>, that’s actuallynot a cool car, it’s just a Sunfire, ha!” (no offence to Sunfire owners, I live with car snobs – they are eight years old and under though, so just about every car is better than what they drive – hee hee hee).
“I’m actually almost 10, only 14 more months.”
“Mummy, I don’t actually like this dinner. It is actually pukey and makes me sick. What’s for dessert?” (Totally didn’t throttle the speaker of this one, but man, it took restraint. Where’s my medal? Oh right, no medal, I’m just a mom).
“Are we actually crazy for not drinking in this madhouse or just kind of crazy?!?” (Me. Often.)
Completely off topic, this nasty little slugs or slimey whatevers were ACTUALLY eating one of my trees last month. Anyone know what they are? Because I hate them. Even though they are living creatures and everything has a right to live and blah blah blah, if they show up again next year, I need to know how to annihilate the legless vultures.
Day two. I think I’ve owned you. Checkmate.
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First, let me say that technically “linguistical” is not a word, but in reality it works. Just to make sure that I was spelling this non-word correctly, I did what any self-respecting cacographer would do and I Googled that shit. And this is what I found:
So, while “not in technical use” it does not flat-out state that you CANNOT use it, just that it is not in use. So now it is, because I just used it. LOVING the Google, as always!
But really, what all of this is leading to is the overheard conversation my three and four-year-olds had in the car the other morning on the way back from swimming.
Paxton (4): Muuuuuuur-and-da! Say ‘swimming suit’ in French!
Miranda (3): Swimming suit in French. Me say it, Mummy! Me say swimming suit in FRENCH!
Paxton (clearly disappointed with the direction the conversation has gone): Oh, Muuur-and-da.
and then, without missing a beat: Do you want to play Big Bad Wolf when we get home?
These miniature people have much to teach me. In that short exchange, they faced with elation, disappointment and frustration and made plans for the future with ZERO conflict. And they did come home, have a snack and play Big Bad Wolf, until Paxton decided that it would be better to play Big Nice Wolf, because it’s not nice to be bad in the game and it would be more fun to be a nice wolf. Of course, Miranda wasn’t interested in being a nice wolf, but they reached a compromised and played ‘going to the beach’ instead. Win-win-win. It is the BEST when any of my kids can reach a Peace Accord without my intervention! 🙂
Summer is swimming along. Camp, swimming lessons, and wolves. Happy kids = Happy Mama. From 42°C heat wave last week to a low of 12°C overnight tonight, one thing is certain, and that is weather is an unpredictable asshole so enjoy what we have today, because there could be a blizzard tomorrow.
Lessons are out there to be learned, people. *Not my photo, but cannot find a source to credit, so we’ll credit “Unknown cat photographer” for this one.
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