Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Embarrassment...

I remember fondly the time another mom came to our door to drop off her son for his first play date at our house.  Before I could even say hello, my son informed her that his little brother had bitten everyone in the house that day, including him.  "That's FIVE times!"  he concluded emphatically.  "And it really hurt, and I have bite marks.  See?" 

Shoving my son behind the door (gently, of course), I laughed nervously, "Ha, ha - yes, Ryan is in a little tiny biting phase...I'm sure it will all be over, you know, soon.  Please - feel free to leave your child here.  Everything's fine.  Your son is going to wear his snowsuit the whole time, though, right?"

It wasn't as bad as the time my toddler started singing a line from a Johnny Cash song, and of all the lines in all the songs Johnny Cash has sung, of course it was the "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die" line.  And he came out with it as clear as a bell.  Oh, sure, when he tells me he loves me it's a bit garbled, but he got the 'just to watch him die' part right on target.  I was so proud.  "I'm a great mother, honestly.  I don't let them watch any violence on TV.  But, hey - if it's in a song, I'm all for it.  Isn't everyone?"

One really embarrassing moment was when I took my son to another child's house for the first time and I didn't know the mom at all.  Right when she opened the door, my son ran around behind me and started slapping my butt, and yelling, "Drum roll please!"  I was in shock.  I hoped I was dreaming.  I shut my eyes but - surprisingly - it didn't help.  When I opened them I was still in the same moment!  Before I left, I said modestly, "I've always taught my son to make a good first impression.  So...I'll drop him off same time next week?"

The other day we were in a dressing room in a hockey arena.  Another parent was escorting his hockey player out the door.  Before he left he said kindly to my three year old daughter about the stuffed animal she was clutching, "You take good care of your bear, dear!"   She sat there for a second, nonplussed, and then yelled after him, "It's a BABY MONKEY!"  She didn't say it, but the 'DUMMY' was clearly implied.  The poor man will probably never be nice to a three year old again.

I was observing in my son's classroom the other day, and the teacher complimented one boy on his homework.  He told her nonchalantly, "Oh, I didn't do that work.  My mom did all of it.  I was watching TV while she did it all."  Hopefully the mom gets an A on it; that may help her recover from the embarrassment.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Aging Gracefully....or Not

Okay, I've got a glass of wine beside me.  I'm ready.  Let's get right into it.  Getting older.

One day you're the youngest person at work and you're trying to convince your clients that you're mature and that even though you have relatively little experience, you are still competent and are perfectly able to assist them professionally.

And then, the people you work with are suddenly many years younger than you, and talk about bars they go to that you've never heard of, and have words in their vocabulary that you don't know.  (They say, "Oh, I just BBM'd that person."  And you nod seriously, as if you understand completely, and then say, "You....what?")  And your student has to teach you how to text.  How does that happen?

And when did I become my parents?  You swear you're not going to make the same mistakes as your parents, and then either you do or you make other ones.  And the day comes when you realize it's inevitable and maybe even good to make mistakes, but it still is a bit hard to swallow sometimes.

Sometimes aging creeps up on you and other times it hits you in the head with a hammer.  Like that day a year or so ago. 

My husband and I were outside in our backyard and it was a bright and sunny day.  We were chatting, and all of a sudden he stopped me.  "Honey,"  he began, "I'm going to tell you this because I love you dearly."

Uh oh.  Nothing that starts that way can be good.  He should have poured me a glass of wine or something first.  And put a chair behind me with a blankie on it.  But no, he just kept going relentlessly.  "You have the most gray in your hair I have ever seen!  I've never noticed it before!  Look at it!"

I'd like to say I took it well.  That I laughed it off, and said, "Oh, gray.  That's the new brown, you know.  It's on all the runways.  Lucky me! Yay!"  But what actually happened next...well, it wasn't pretty.  I always hoped I would age gracefully (see above re: making mistakes).  I ran to the mirror.  Then I ran to the phone and made a hair appointment.  Then I got in the car and drove straight to Tim Hortons and had a doughnut.  (I couldn't remember the last time I had a doughnut.)  After that I drove home and had a mojito.  A double, I believe, but the details are all a bit hazy.  Like I said, not pretty.  I'm not completely sure, but there may have been a mention of my husband's thinning hair....I'm not proud of it, okay?

But like I said to him, I'm not one of those women who change their hair colour as often as they change their underwear.  In fact, I had never coloured my hair.  And I have pretty long hair.  I felt that this was the end of something, that it was a huge turning point after which I would never have my normal hair colour again.

Luckily I only have to dye the roots and not my whole head...but I'll get back to you when that happens.

My next birthday is the big 40.

I have options. I could stay in bed with a pile of chocolate and cry.  Or I could go out and enjoy a good party. 

Here's to a celebration!  Who's bringing the mojitos?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Things I Never Thought I Would Say

Today I said something to my sons that I will add to my ever-growing list of 'Things I Never Thought I Would Say As A Parent':

"Instead of taping yourself to the kitchen chair, how about doing something SLIGHTLY more constructive?  I mean, I'm not talking about designing a rocket or anything.  Just....not taping yourself to the kitchen chair!"

Others on my list:

"We do not step on our brother."

"We do not pretend our penis is a fire hose."

"We do not pee in the backyard in full view of the neighbours and all the friends they have over for their party."

There are many more things on my list but I can't remember any of them right now because I'm too tired.  Last night I tried to take out my contacts three times before I realized I wasn't wearing any.

I'll update this list after I have a good night's sleep. least by next month, then!

Birthday Breakdowns

We just had my oldest son's 8th birthday party and I have lived to tell about it!  The boys played road hockey and we did a Lego hunt and build.

It made me think of the party I had for Colin when he was four years old.  It was the morning of his party and I was running around quickly with the vacuum when suddenly I smelled burning rubber.  I noticed a long plume of thick smoke pouring out of the side of the vacuum.  This is the thought that instantly raced through my head: "Oh no, the house is going to burn down before we can have the party!"

(Notice that I didn't seem to care much about the house burning down, I just thought that it would be bad timing.  Hmmmm.  Anyway, moving on.)

Luckily the house didn't burn down and I had a great excuse to stop vacuuming, so - so far, so good.

I was taking a shower and Colin, who was very excited, kept messing around with my makeup on the bathroom counter.  He finally announced, "Mommy!  I have a great idea! I'm going to take pictures with my camera."  He had a little disposable camera.  I thought, 'That IS a great idea.  I can finish getting ready in peace, and it will keep Colin occupied.  He can take pictures of the balloons, and the cake, and the pinata.'  I said enthusiastically, "Great plan, honey!"  I heard him running off. 

I sighed happily.  Finally, a moment of calm.  I could just take a deep breath and prepare for the coming party.  Suddenly I heard the shower curtain being swept back and a little voice yelling, "SAY CHEESE, MOMMY!" 

I screamed in shock, and then tried to swipe at the curtain, yelling frantically, "Just my head!  Just take a picture of my head!"  (I think I burned that particular roll of film.)

After that excitement, the party went pretty well.  It was utter chaos, of course, but reasonably well-controlled.  No one was injured or had a nervous breakdown.  (You have to set your standards low.)  I didn't do too much - I only had some play stations with crafts, and lots of food.

I had looked up ideas online before the party, and I read one woman's account of how she and her husband had done a Thomas the Train party.  They both dressed up as train engineers and re-created the entire Island of Sodor in their backyard.  In one 'scene' it was snowing, and her husband stood on a ladder and shook boxes of white Styrofoam peanuts over the children.  I felt like posting this comment: "Did you get divorced before, during, or after the party?"

Celebrations are such fun, aren't they?  Pass the wine!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Road2Hope Half Marathon

It was a cold but beautiful day for the 2010 Road2Hope Half Marathon.  I loved running down the Red Hill.  It was a beautiful view, and it's not often you get to run down an expressway like that.

Recently I did the Run for the Toad 25K, and my knee/IT band hurt for the last 8 K, so afterward I swore to myself I would take some time off running and let my IT band heal.  Instead, I signed up for the Road2Hope 21 K for one month later!  So of course I had to train.

I was hoping my IT band would be okay but I think the combination of the road running (when I'm used to softer trails) and the long downhill took its toll, and I started to feel the twinging of my knee at 3K.  This is very bad when you have 18K left to run, because the twinging turns into stabbing pain, and then my other IT/knee started hurting and pains were shooting up both hips.  This was where my 'This is Easy' mantra turns into 'I Feel No Pain', 'I Feel Great', 'I Am Strong' and occasionally '!#$%^&*' although this last one isn't too helpful and I don't recommend it.  It also makes other runners stare at you.  I think it's true that running a marathon, even a half one, can show you what you are made of.  I'm just not sure yet if I'm made of strong or idiotic stuff.  (Don't answer that.)

I knew I had to run because people had pledged donations, and I wanted to get the pain over as quickly as possible.  Also I felt great, breathing-wise, and I was frustrated I couldn't just take off and have a great run.

I stayed with the 2:15 pace bunny for almost the entire race, and honestly I felt like I was holding back.  But by the time we got to the waterfront trail the pain in my knees was really hard to take, so I had to keep taking walking breaks to recover, and then I would run again.

Those last two kilometres were the longest of my life, but when I finally saw the finish line I sprinted across it because I was so happy to be finished!  I finished in 2 hrs, 19 minutes.  I am very happy with that, especially as I was running with the worst knee pain I have ever had to run with and it was my first half marathon.

However, as I joked with my friends later, "I may not be able to walk anymore, and now both my knees are shot - but hey - I got a GREAT time!  Woo hoo!  Anyone know the name of a good physiotherapist?"

Friday, November 5, 2010


This morning I asked my five year old son to feed the cats.  He answered, "Hmmm, what's that word I'm looking for?  Let me think...  Oh, yeah.  NEVER!" 

I remember the first time he pulled that 'never' thing on me.  He was two, and I was just getting used to his love affair with the word 'no'. 

(You think it's so cute when your children start talking, and then they start saying things like 'NO!'  And 'Mom, just RELAX!'  And 'Mommy, Daddy just said a bad word three times.'  And 'Mommy, the sign says maximum 50 K but you are going 60 K!'  And in case any police officers are reading this, of course my son was mistaken.  I would never speed.  Never!) 

Anyway, we were in the drugstore and my son had started knocking things off shelves so I told him he had to get in the cart.  "NEVER!"  he shrieked.

"Great,"  I thought grimly.  "He's really upping the ante!  Where will it end?"

My husband and I were travelling in Germany, and in an airport we saw an unhappy little German girl.  She was screaming at her parents, "NIEN!"  So apparently it's universal.

However, I've learned a few things since that day in the drugstore.  I wasn't about to let my son get away with refusing to feed the cats.  Two can play this game.  I said to him,  "I have one word for you.  Hmmm, what is that word I'm looking for again?  Let me think...  Oh, yeah.  GROUNDED!"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Happiness

Halloween was great fun this year.  All of my children were able to get into the spirit.  The best part was that my boys carved their own pumpkins and scooped out all the seeds!  Usually this is my job every year, but this time I bought those pumpkin carvers that are safer than knives, and it was definitely worth it.  The boys were happy because they could carve whatever face they wanted, and I was happy because I didn't have to carve four pumpkins.

The boys ran from house to house pretty much without stopping for about two hours.  I think the amount of calories they burned may have helped with the ones they took in immediately upon getting home for the night.  I mean, we're not talking an equal ratio here - but still.  At the end of the night my one son and his friend were so exhausted that they were lying down on someone's lawn, clutching their pillow cases tightly.  (I think my one son slept with his bag of candy, he loved it so much.) 

As we were trick-or-treating, my five year old son said that the only thing he didn't like about Halloween was walking door to door.  Hmmmm.  He's getting free candy!  Tons of it!  For free!  What does he want, to lie on the couch and munch popcorn while people drive the candy to his doorstep?  For them to tiptoe inside so they won't bother him, and deposit the free candy in a bowl beside him while he rests??  I mean, how much better does he want it?  I think that's what they call looking a gift chocolate horse in the mouth.  Although if the Trojans had done so....

As my older son yelled as he ran from one house to another, "Halloween ROCKS!"