This may be one reason why I get so little done in a day

Generally, I am in constant (non-aerobic, because I’m mostly a sloth) motion and do “stuff” from the time that I rise in the morning until the moment I burrow back into bed at night. It has recently started to bother me just how much more there is always left to do at the end of the day, and then this thing happened (more on that below) and it occurred to me that I may have discovered one of the reasons why I spend so much time doing many things but am never actually done.

One day last week, I had this whole super-snazzy Instagram post typed up and (almost) ready to go, when one of my kids asked to use my phone for some school-related task. Although I should have known better, and in fact, I do know better, I handed over the phone without first copying my post into a Note, and saving it for later. I don’t suppose I need to tell you what happened, but I will anyway (since that’s pretty much what I do around here). As it happened, upon the return of my phone, when I double-clicked the Home button to pull up IG again, yes, you guessed it, IG acted like it was our first time seeing each other that day. UGH. Double Ugh. Ghosted by my own phone. So typical.

That one act of parental selflessness, as a result of a single moment of (play-acting at) adult responsibility, all of my witty musings, my twenty minutes of tapping away on my phone, and what was likely destined to be my IG equivalent of my pièce de résistance, was forever lost. For what was this sacrifice made, you ask? Well my friends, not surprisingly I’m sure, it was for not less than the eleventy-billionth picture of our cat, Lucky, refusing to look at the camera or pose nicely, or do anything remotely cooperative. So yes, I suppose the (absolutely imagined and fictional) loss suffered by the literary and social media worlds is nothing when compared to glory that is this picture of our grumpy cat in the snow: 

Captivating image of Lucky vs. the snow, yes?

I am left wondering, however, for which class my eleventh grader needed a current photograph of our cat, and for what purpose? I mean, has the eleventh grade changed that much since I was in high school? Oh wait, yes, yes, it totally has. We didn’t have cell phones, smart phones, the internet or virtual learning. If we wanted to show off pictures of our pets, we had to actually carry printed photographs around with us, and well, frankly, I’m pretty sure any kids who did that were immediately decimated and jammed inside a locker for the rest of the day. Or maybe I just went to a particularly intolerant high school and I was part of the problem? Ugh (although, and for the record, I never stuffed anyone in a locker, nor ordered anyone else to do it on my behalf, so there is that, right?).

Thus, in my typical wordy fashion, a short story made way-too-long, I’m almost certain that the reason that I spend so much time getting so few things done is that I’m basically crap at adulting. And I have also need to work on my feelings of gratitude for having such a prize cat instead of slagging her off for being grumpy (I mean, look at her role model, right?). And also, I’m pretty sure that I have now completely lost my previous (crazy) train of thought, and cannot re-create my lost post. But take me at my word, it was going to be pure magic. Sigh.

All I can hope for is that he uses his talents for the greater good one day.

Paxton is now at that stage of development when all of his baby teeth seem to fall out at once. Case in point? He has lost four teeth in the past three or so weeks and most of those have been lost in the past week.

These newly liberated chiclets have been conspicuously absent from his bedtime routine though. Turns out that Pax has a theory. He theorizes that the more teeth he antes up the more cash he will net per tooth. So, he has purposely been saving them up in the hopes of a large windfall.

But, like happens with most of the best laid plans, disaster struck. He lost the fourth tooth at the after school program earlier this week and forgot to bring it home with him (this was not a surprise). Staff, thinking it was just a wad of bloody Kleenex left on the table (go figure!), they tossed it out during clean up (the staff remain blameless and still candidates for sainthood because ewwww – kids can be gross!).

So, last night, having only three teeth, not the missing four, to offer up to the Tooth Fairy, Pax got to thinking.

Not to be deterred by his predicament, really rather not interested in suffering potential financial hardship, and completely unable to accept that it may be the result of unfortunate (albeit avoidable) circumstance, Pax decided to make the Tooth Fairy a card to explain the situation and make his pitch for mercy (and money).

He probably could have spent a bit more time, but he was on a mission to write the actual message inside.
Only this kid would show up without the goods and ask for MORE compensation in return. Lol.

Generally the children who board here receive $2 per tooth. I wonder if Paxton’s strategy worked? And if it did, maybe it’s one that I should explore further… (in some other way that does not involve losing my teeth!)

P.S. Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Also, please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it.

Is that WEED?

Ugh. So, this is 2020?

I spend a fair amount (read: half) of my life driving my people from place to place, mediating arguments and pulling over to allow any number of body functions to happen outside of my minivan. In other words, kids are fairly gross and my life is the definition of dazzling glamour. Don’t hate. Someone has to do it.

Thankfully, today on our way home from our first outing of the year, there was no call to pull over, threaten ejection from the vehicle or any other emotionally taxing and scarring action on my part. Unless, of course we count having to listen and participate in the conversations that occur behind me while I’m navigating our roads in my quest to keep everyone alive (which, incidentally, is how I spend the other half of my life – trying to keep everyone alive – ugh).

This afternoon’s conversation was one of those.
Driving north on Woodbine Avenue:

D13 – Ewwww. What’s that smell?
M15 – I dunno.
M9 – Ugh. It’s probably just from the fields. I don’t even smell anything.
D13 – Well, Mummy smells it.
M9 – D, just because Mummy smells it, doesn’t mean I have to, you know.
D13 – Ugh. Whatever, M.
M9 – Whatever, D.
P11 (appearing to just tune into the conversation) – Wait! Is it WEED? Is that what WEED smells like? I don’t know what WEED smells like – does it smell like this? This smells really bad. Mummy? Mumma?
Me (age withheld) – It is not weed. I am not sure what it is, but I’m actually fairly certain that it is smell is my brain frying combined with bitter regret and the tears of angels.
D13, M15, M9, P11 (in unison) – Oh.

P11 – Do angels really cry, Mama?

And that, my friends, is the sound of the “Mother of the Year” people shredding my entry and striking my name from the eligibility list forevermore.

Happy New Year, from my motley crew to you and yours! May 2020 bring more convoluted conversations, grey hair and teenage eye rolls. Those are a few of my favourite things ever. xo

P.S. Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Also, please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery. I dig it.

My crazy did not beat out my sanity this morning. Everyone won.

“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat…”?

This song. I’ve known it since childhood. I have wonderful memories of singing it in the back of the car with my grandma while my grandpa drove me home on Sunday evenings. It is a good thing that I have those childhood memories though, because this morning I heard this song, no fewer than 300 times between the hours of 7:45 and 8:30. So not even hours but rather, minutes. The song was performed at various tempos, pitches and volumes. Over and over and over again, the singer trailed after me, thisclose to my elbow at all times, crooning away until I was sure that my head would explode and my heart rate was letting me know that my anxiety was reaching critical levels. I needed to get out of my own skin, but there was no escape, there was no hiding.

I wanted to scream, cover my ears and run away, but I did not. Instead, I kept reminding myself that soon, in the near years to come, none of my children will likely sing with such glee, such careless abandon, such enthusiasm and happiness and if they do, it will possibly be something far less innocent than a Christmas carol. So, with that thought reverberating in my mind, I slapped a smile on my face, gritted my teeth and said “lovely, darling!” with enthusiasm after each and every rendition.

I cannot regret my feelings, they came out of nowhere and took root, but I would have regretted very much had I given into those feelings and squashed that innocent and joyful happiness out of one of my children by snapping at them to pipe down or cut it out.

Now, not even an hour later and they are all safely at school. The house is empty and quiet and my anxiety has slunk back into the dark corner of my being where it resides. While I sit here, quietly, I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes and in my heart at the memory of that sweet, smiling little face belting out “Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat! Please drop a penny in the old man’s hat…” ? ? The tears are a mixture pride, shame, happiness, love and sorrow all at once. But mostly of love.

Thus, I have decided to use this moment in time to define myself as a mother today, to remember that for all the mistakes that I make (and I make a lot of mistakes), sometimes I get it right. Most importantly, I will use this morning as a gentle reminder to myself that while the days feel long (oh so very, very long sometimes!) the years are flying past and that fact is easy to lose track of when I’m too busy keeping track of the daily strife and upsets. Really though, in all honesty, what sort of psychopath wants to track those memories anyway? Not this sort, I’ll tell you, No. This sort of psychopath is going to track the singing moments, the smiling moments and the loving moments.

And just in case the song is not already playing, on repeat, in your head, here you go.

You’re welcome.


P.S. Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, and other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including blind rage and mockery.

Today is a good day

As an act of deviation from my usual modus operandi of bitching and moaning and generally wallowing in self-pity (and chocolate), I am here to share that today is a good day.

I am purposely ignoring my scratchy, threatening-to-hurt, throat. I am in denial that my youngest has screeched herself hoarse at her brothers’ every infraction, real and imagined. I have chosen to omit any and all parts of the day that do not fit in with it being ‘a good day.’

Because today is a good day. We are on day three of March Break. For the third day in a row, I did not make four lunches before 7:00am. I did not shuffle kids outside, in shifts, to wait for their school busses. I did not have to search through backpacks for notes home, permission slips, agendas and homework. I did not have to fill my dishwasher with countless containers and lids that never fail to fill with (and retain) water during the wash cycle. Today is a good day. My smalls (hardly small at all anymore, but I also refuse to admit that most days) are home with me. We had one friend over for a playdate, another friend invite one of mine to a movie, and there are plans in the works for the other two to meet up with friends over the next couple of days.

We are not on vacation, somewhere warm and wonderful, frolicking in the sun and sand. We are not en route to some crazy adventure (that would most likely end up with me being featured on ‘Fail Army’ – ” You alright, Cory?”). We are not throwing money left and right at our week to keep us occupied and busy. We are home. We are playing with friends, reading, seeing movies (thank you, Cineplex Family Favourites!), running around outside, eating at home, having sibling sleepovers and staying up just a bit past bedtime.

Um, you know what? I’ve changed my mind. Today is not a good day. It is a good life.


P.S. I post more nonsensical blithering and updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s worth ‘Liking’ ‘Following’ or just checking out The Keswick Blog on those sites as well. Because on far too many days right now, micro-blogging is all that I can manage to pull off. Life is good, not perfect ?

Just sitting here raising a big spender, is all. Paxisms

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. ??‍♀️

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…

A conversation with Miss Moon.

“Mumma! It’s beautiful out here! You should have the front door wide open!”

“Yes, baby, it is beautiful. I have the window on the door wide open, but I keep the door closed so that the bugs don’t come inside.”

“Ah. Well, you better close the window at night though. It might storm.”

“Oh, I will. And it’s safer that way too.”

“Yes. From bad guys. And robbers. [pauses to think] Mumma, you should have your purse in your room. And hold on to it!”

“I should, should I? Well, I can put it in my room, but I’m not going to sleep holding onto my purse.”

“Well, okay, but you’d better zip it up and put it under your bed then.” [whispering like we are co-conspirators] ” ’cause, you know. Robbers.”

Then off she skips into the backyard, her head full of blonde curls bouncing joyfully with each step she takes, clearly without a care in the world. And I’m left standing in our foyer, broom in hand, now worrying about home invasions and losing my purse while trying to figure out how my five-year-old is so security conscious and why, when I was five, my main concern was with how to avoid eating the peas at lunchtime without being caught by the daycare Gestapo.

Sometimes my life makes my head hurt.

Getting and having the flu during warm weather is balls.

I cannot believe it. I finally have a house full of healthy kids (woot!) and I wake up yesterday with my throat ON FIRE. But in my usual optimistic way, I decided to ignore it, and will it away. My methodology was flawed. And as a result, I was up most of the night tossing and turning, my head aching, my joints doing a constant dull roar and my throat as fiery as ever. The cherry on top was the continued irritation of the root canal that I had part one of earlier this week.

I am truly having a moment of self-pity and sadness. It’s finally, FINALLY, a gorgeous, sunny, warm day outside, primed for getting all kinds of things done outside and all I want to do is drink copious amounts of tea, take WAY too many drugs and pray that sleep overtakes me until I wake up full of energy and pain-free.

I’ve never been a great sickie. I push through the pain, sure, I do. That’s what maternal units do, isn’t it? I got the kids to swimming lessons this morning, did breakfasts and lunches. I’m about to go and toss a couple of chickens in the oven to roast for dinner, but inside I’m weepy and whiny and feeling oh, so achy and pathetic.

Ok, enough of my pity party. The fat lady (me) has sung, so it’s over. Before I go, I’ll share a bit of happy news – my nest is once again full. All five of my lovely babies are under one roof again.  It’s a temporary thing, a few months probably, but still. It does this mama bear’s heart a whole lot of good being able to see all of my people each and every day.

And finally, I’ll leave you with this tidbit of wonderful from Maya Angelou:

I'm giving the quest to achieve normal and starting the quest achieving a more complete me. Right after this flu fucks off, that is.

That settles it, I’m giving up the quest to achieve normal and starting the quest of achieving a more complete Me. Right after this flu fucks off, that is.

“Ponder it”

Those were Plum’s (17) last words to me last night.  He was clearly frustrated, annoyed and angry but instead of yelling and screaming, he remained outwardly calm and chose instead to walk away.  I was proud of him for that.  But, he is his mother’s son and he couldn’t walk away without getting, or at least trying to get a parting shot or the last word.  “There is nothing that you care about, is there?” he said to me.  I paused, thought for a beat and said “I’m not sure what you mean when you say that” and he said “ponder it a while then” and closed the basement door and returned to his room and world of MSN chat, Facebook status updates and YouTube.

A completely unrealistic rendering of me, pondering it.

Perhaps I should start somewhere closer to the middle, the beginning would take all year.

I had to make an unscheduled run to Wal-Mart yesterday evening, after tucking all the smalls into bed, to fill a prescription.  Also, we were out of banana and my smalls just don’t start their days right without a banana with their breakfasts 😉  So, while in Wal-Mart my phone rings.  It’s Plum.  After asking me where I was and what was up (um, you called me, remember?!?) he asked if he could go to the gym later on (time of the call was 8:45pm).  Keep in mind, it’s a school night, the first week of a new semester and he is not in his strongest position, school-wise right now.  So, I asked him what time he would be home and he said “oh, 11:45 or 12ish.”  Um, what?  Lemme see here.  It’s a school night, curfew on school nights is 10pm (which I still think is insanely late during the week, but that’s another discussion) but going to the gym is NOT a reason to lift curfew.  I talked with him for a few minutes while pushing my cart through the store.

I was trying to be diplomatic and calm, but it got harder and harder, the more he pushed to get what he wanted.  He couldn’t see why it was a problem since he would be awake until 1 or 2 am anyway.  Or because when he was working he would come home that late or later on school nights (which I reminded him had always been a problem as well).  Or that he was quiet when he came in.  Or it shouldn’t be a problem because he was going somewhere  not just hanging out or “whatever.”  I heard what he had to say, and if you’ve never had to deal with teenager demands, via cellphone, while in Wal-Mart, all I can say is, DON’T.  The conversation went from bad to worse before it ended.  Hanging up, I admit I was annoyed that I had allowed him to get to me, to use ‘that tone’ on me, you may know the one – it’s the one that teenagers use to convey to you that you’re a complete idiot and really shouldn’t be out unsupervised because in your idiotic state, you may forget to breathe.  But, I digress.

My point was and is that I don’t care if you are 7 or 17 or 27.  The house rules are the house rules.  Curfews are set for a reason and turning 18 (yes, Plum is 18 in two weeks) won’t change the curfews or the rules.  If anything, the older my children get, the more I expect of them.  I expect them to do more, to be kinder, more mature, responsible and respectful, show greater consideration for those around them.  My only expectations of Ms. Moon for the past 20 months were that she be adorable.  She has excelled at that, but now, she’s shaking things up and in the last week has decided that her youngest brother is a better chewy toy than playmate, so being on high alert for her baring her pearly whites in his direction has taken on top priority when they are together (which is almost all of the time).

Anyway, I cut my trip to the store short and headed home.  I did some laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, put away the few groceries I had managed to purchased (sale prices only, of course!), and sat down to go through my email and clean out my inbox.  When Plum appeared soon after, and indicated that ‘if he were allowed to go to the gym tonight…'(you can fill the blanks), I took the opportunity to reiterate in shorthand: my house, my rules, curfews are curfews for a reason and while he may not appreciate or understand my position, that on this one, I was not compromising any further.  Not impressed, he stalked out of the room but not without taking his parting shot “”There is nothing that you care about, is there?”  Me: “I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying with that one”  Him:  “Well, ponder it then.”

Did I push his face in at that point?  No.  Was I tempted, yes.  But I didn’t.  I pondered.  And then I it pondered some more.  And what I realized was that this whole thing was his way of throwing a temper tantrum and trying to get me to engage in a full-on war over something that I didn’t need to fight about.  Seven and seventeen have more than just the ‘seven’ in common, you know?  It may be normal behaviour for kids to try whatever they can to get what they want, but unless I remind myself to breathe through these trials, I lose sleep, cry a river of tears, ,get MAD and then feel like the worst mother on the planet.  But, I’m not.  I’m not the greatest ever, but I’m far from the worst, and I am always trying to improve and get better at things – for my family and for myself.  I love my kids.  I do my BEST to take care of their NEEDS and as many of their WANTS as possible, but part of my job as MOM is to be the bad guy and try to teach the hard life lessons sometimes.  It sucks, and nobody told me almost 18 years ago that one day my sweet, beautiful, perfect baby boy would paint me as the enemy on a daily basis, but if they had, being barely older than he is now, I wouldn’t have listened anyway, would I have?

This too shall pass and he will love me again one day (like when his kids are pulling stunts on him, maybe?)

Any temper tantrum stories to share?  Dealt with a difficult teenager?  (and no, my parents are not allowed to share stories of my adolescence.  My blog, my rules *grin* 😉