Lessons From a 7 Year Old

Sometimes it’s the big bombs that kids drop very haphazardly, infused with candor and innocence followed immediately with a fart joke or fart noise which obviously sets off a stream of belly laughs. I suppose my kids might get that part from us, recalling a certain conversation late Saturday night about body part slangs that had myself in uncontrollable giggles.

But there’s something about a kids resiliency that has sparked todays post. It’s been a long time since I felt I had something to say. I didn’t want to sound all Debbie Downer all the time so I’ve taken a bit of a self imposed hiatus, but I think it’s OK to talk about this now.

THE BACK STORY

For … shit, 2 years? 3? Both my ‘rents have been battling the big ‘C’, Dad is in a semi remission, I guess, with residual chemo to keep the animal at bay, but it will never be cured. Mom had an operation after radiation, last April, which eradicated her nasal tumour. But with the awesomeness of this disease if gives 2 fucks about whether you’ve had enough. This spring, things changed with an extremely aggressive mass in her nose and throat which had grown back with such force and speed that, if left untreated, provided a 3 month timeline.

She is attempting chemo now, which is a painstaking battle, but we will encourage and hope that it will manage the beast and give us more time. It’s this whole ‘time’ thing which is the kicker. Time is a funny thing for me right now. When people ask about my summer and what ‘fun’ things I have planned with the kids, what day camps I’m doing, what holidays I’ve planned, I reply with ‘weellllll, it’s May 30th today and that’s as far as I can manage, so nope, I got nothin’.

I don’t even want to plan anything, in fact, I find it hard to even think about planning something without feeling massive exhaustion. At this point you are thinking: but how does this jump back to the kids? I’m getting there, I promise :)

PRESENT DAY

So jumping back to this morning, I mentioned to the kidlets that I wasn’t feeling 100% and if that is the case then we have to delay the trek to yonder Ottawa to visit Nana in a few days. Wren is too little, but it’s Finn, that I look to for explanations. I know he is listening even when he’s fused to the TV. He’s zoned into minecraft but tandemly aware of the shift in our family dynamic.

The mini breakdowns and hushed conversations with Troy in the kitchen. The extra long hugs and puffy eyes that you try to hide with sunglasses. He’s only 7, but he’s watching me very closely. I battled with telling him anything, but in the end, he is already watching and the confusion was evident.

He began acting out, stomping, yelling, melting down, spewing self deprecating statements (‘I AM A BLACK HOLE!! was one of my favourites which I tried really hard not to laugh at), hitting his sister … VERY unlike Finn. I sat him down one day to explain in a high level way what was happening, and he cried. He cried in a doubled over, wailing type way which lasted about 5 minutes. We hugged it out and within 10 more minutes he was watching TV with a large weight off his shoulders. He just released, told me his fears, and yup, he was up and back at life.

So this morning when I mentioned we might have to delay the trip, Finn’s response was very matter of fact. It was ‘yup cause Nana has cancer and we can’t catch that but she can get sick from us. So hopefully you feel better mom and then we will go!’ and then he’s back to the animal alphabet game.

This has been a big lesson for me as an adult, as we brave face it up, hold it together for the sake of not making others uncomfortable. That’s just not me, and I think most of you know that by now. I’m a talker … I know, big shock with my reclusive nature, extreme dislike of crowds and people in general, but when I am with friends and family, I like to get it all out. Talking about things is the way I deal best, so never be afraid to ask me anything about my parents health.

But as I watch my kids, and their open expressions, and simple explanations to serious subjects, I am taking a lesson from them. They wear their hearts on their sleeves, they play each one of their cards, and then dust themselves off and move forward … and then try to make a fart sound from their arm pits … I mean, that’s ALWAYS funny. Regardless they accept and move on with their life.

As adults, we stress over a mountain of expectation. Scoring a great job, making buckets of cash, being super mom (or dad) all while looking good, keeping fit, having a nice house and hosting amazing parties. It’s fucking exhausting.

We fear death and the unknown. We like to control things, ‘handle’ things. We don’t like to show weakness, appear like we don’t have our shit together, and what I have learned many times over in the last few years from my own as well as my friends’ experiences with pain and loss, is that WE DON’T CONTROL A DAMN THING. Life is not in our hands, not really, it never has been and it never will be. You might think you have a good thing going and then boom, there goes that rug from under your feet.

Our fate is sealed in some other envelope that we will never see, and we can only control how we react to our stresses. Kids don’t think like us yet, thank god, they hear something shitty, they cry, they accept it, they might dwell a little, but then they up and run around a sprinkler in their underwear because that is all you can do.

I just re- read this post and I’m thinking – does this make me sound like a hippy dippy douche? I hope not. I’m not saying you have to be all serene and calm about your stress, but wouldn’t it be a better idea to be real about your feelings, don’t pretend you DIY all the things you post on pinterest, or that you family is a god damned miracle on facebook. No one believes you. No one even likes you when you do that.

I mean the bottom line in is this: you get some shit news, a crappy shitty fucky hand, you cry about it, talk about it, hug it out and then you have a hot dog and ice cream and say fuck, who’s gonna tell me a dirty joke and make me laugh?

I thought I’d include some snaps of my fav kids being goofy doing what they do best.

Let’s just lay in the freezing snow – it’s always a good time!

IMG_0054

So Wren likes to shove animals in her pants. Yup, there’s that.

IMG_0182

The king of expressions.

IMG_1127

My mom’s 70th birthday moustache breakfast … and yes Troy’s is fake.

IMG_1295

What could be more amazing then orange pants for communion? NOTHING.

IMG_1352

Mom and Wren at her mother’s day tea at school. Nana is the shit according to my kids. She can do no wrong :) xoxo to you mum.

IMG_1568

Ice-Apocalypse

It’s rare lately that I get a chance to write a post. Not that I don’t want to, but this spring has been a kicker in terms of work projects that haven’t given me time to write a thing. That being said, I felt the need to write about this past weekend in order to preserve the memory and share the good times with ya’ll (watching too much Nashville, sorry).

Hind sight is the most amazing thing really. When Troy came home Wednesday night last week, we thought our only issue was convincing Finn that the new kitchen table would be just as good as the old.

He joked about the impending storm and that the kids would probably be home from school on Thursday. I laughed that a March storm was not going to stop me from driving them in the morning even though the buses were indeed cancelled. I mean I could have driven them I suppose, but the rain would not let up, mixed with ice and snow and I thought to myself: Self…perhaps you had better stay home today with the kids. Foresight is amazing too …

Our afternoon trip to Sobeys solidified that thought when I had to navigate a cart in a foot of slush while the ice pelted our faces, kids screaming and running wild. I also could not get the trunk open so instead piled all my goods in and around the kids in the backseat of the car. Needless to say I was more then happy when Troy was home early to save me from carting them all in by myself. He ALSO went to the liquor store on his way home, which could have enhanced my excitement.

Could have.

It’s so rare we eat early on a long weekend but for some reason we did, yay us!, and when the power flickered and ended around 6:30 we laughed as the kids strolled out to the kitchen wondering why it was dark. Power is a strange concept to kids. Wren kept flicking the light in the bathroom, WHY ISN’T THE LIGHT ON? No power. WHY IS THE TV OFF? No power. WHY IS THERE NO WI-FI? No power. The blank looks after each answer were enough for me to see that we need a lesson in the power grid.

As in any good power outage you scramble for candles and people come over to drink beer and talk about the darkness for hours. You also have to make a vat of coleslaw in the dark because for sure all your family will still come for dinner on Good Friday, so you had best be prepared.

When the ice began to pile up and the first large branch came down mere inches from the van, we thought, hmmm maybe this isn’t going to be a simple storm. Thankfully we moved the cars with Troy and our neighbour Chad narrowly escaping a giant fall out from our large maple in the front yard. It was around the time that a city worker came by to inspect said tree, that is about 3 times the size of our house, when a giant CRACK sent him scurrying away from us with a warning to stay inside!

So many drinks later, a whole family in one bed (because there is no way in hell kids will sleep in a dark room on their own), and a lone drifter that made it to our couch, we woke up to a crazy view. Our first statement being: perhaps we should have stayed sober to handle the crisis? Crazy hindsight.

We spent the day hauling branches, lost part of the fence, but really we were very lucky that our only punishment was hauling massive trees, dodging ice rocks falling on our heads while nursing a nasty hangover. The fresh air was much needed, for my head ache but also to keep the bod warm as the temp continued to drop in the house. We got power after 24 hours, which sent us bolting to the showers, but others faired day worse.

So I’d love to share my list on ‘Things I learned during Ice-Apocalypse 2016’:

  1. The kids fared better then adults with no tech – no TV to bribe kids with!
  2. The more the merrier when it comes to a community in trouble. Neighbours banded together to commiserate and haul wood, share showers, share wine and lots of pulled pork sandwiches.
  3. ALWAYS KEEP YOUR PHONE CHARGED (we didn’t)
  4. ALWAYS KEEP YOUR STEREO CHARGED (we did!)
  5. ALWAYS HAVE AN IPOD BECAUSE BLUETOOTH WON’T WORK (we did!)
  6. Our hot tub cover is a champ, losing only about a degree of heat after 24 hours – bravo beachcomber!
  7. It’s pretty sad to see all the fallen trees in town :(
  8. BBQ’s can cook ANYTHING – who needs stoves – pfft …
  9. Easter candies became a 4th food group
  10. Ice storms keep beer cold – side bonus
  11. They also keep fridge food in coolers cold
  12. BUY A BIGGER COOLER
  13. The legion will continue to serve you well into a power outage before you are kicked out
  14. Zehrs doesn’t have generators – like WTF??? Unless they were giving away food for the fun of it?
  15. Our town was amazing on clean up. Yesterday the city workers showed up, chipped all our branches and also trimmed the beast tree in the front so that we could start parking in our driveway again.
  16. Fire pits are mandatory when you have as many trees as our yard.
  17. When I asked the kids how their classmates and teachers fared during the weekend, it was but a flicker on the radar of their world. They responded with a fine, and the weekend excitement was long forgotten.

So in spite of it all, my company arrived, we had great food, a lot of laughs and managed to not let the hiccups set us back. You have to blow through the bad with a smile and a shrug and worry about the clean up after all the wine has been drunk.

 

when we woke up … the van looks so lonely

IMG_1061

our nifty pile …

IMG_20160325_161749

the danger zone

IMG_20160325_161824

our solar globe lanterns lit up the kitchen and bathroom all night

IMG_20160325_161830

I can’t believe the lilac bush lived through it

IMG_20160325_161844

 

The Chore Ratio

So first. I’m going to preface this post with a preamble that states I don’t hate my husband/life/men in general. I’m not bashing guys either, I know a lot of women on the other side of the ratio who need to pick up their shit too. My marriage is also not in the toilet mom (as she asks me that every time I rant). Basically after reading this great article : http://www.thesuburbanjungle.com/can-no-man-remember-trash-day (which was awesome – thank you to Troy for sending me this today with an apology :) written by Jenny Isenman (Jenny from the blog, @SuburbanJungle), it made me realize the balance of jobs and consequence if one of us neglects to perform said job.

I’m getting ahead of myself, or actually, not getting to the point, so here goes…

It started with the garbage. Today is garbage day. It’s always Thursday. Always. It is one of Troy’s jobs.

He forgot.

Again.

Life is busy yes, we all forget shit, yes. But as a very busy woman ushering her two kids out of the house in a mad rush on school days, this isn’t something that can easily be added. My morning is pretty much timed to the minute.

6:15-7:00 – workout (unless it’s a hair wash day then that adds another fecking 20 minutes)

7-7:30 – get ready while fielding wren from stealing my makeup, nail polish or some sort of hair clip

7:30-8 – lunches made and feed kids (AKA fight with kids)

8-8:15 – kids dressed and groomed-ish

8:15-8:25 – dreaded gear up for outside – snow pants, hats, mitts, backpacks ready to go and out the door with sometimes 1-2 minutes to spare to gulp down coffee that was made 70 minutes ago but has yet to enter my mouth and is about to be turned off.

So in a fit of panic to get out the garbage on time, the bag broke in the kitchen (yay), the recycling was so over flowing outside that I had to resort to shoving it into a regular bag and chucking all my enviro Kelly points out the window. I then went to make lunches and someone (???) opened the dishwasher last evening thereby halting the automatic timer to wash in the middle of the night, so yay, no tupperware clean for lunches. While seething under my breath, I then slammed a drawer and effectively chopped my favourite water cup into a million plastic particles which Finn replies ‘ Oh mummy that is so bad, that was your favourite, this is just sad’. Thanks little man.

So let’s do another list – I love my lists. The Troy job vs. Kelly job list:

KELLY //

Make lunches

Cliffords pills + feed (although Finn is supposed to do this but he always forgets … sound familiar?)

Dress kids

Feed kids in morning/after school and dinner time

Make sure the kidlets have all the money for WE day/school show+share crap/book orders/milk orders/hot lunch orders in on time

Get them on and off bus

Laundry (another Finn job which results in him telling me he hates doing it the entire time … familiar?)

Clean house (an all encompassing statement which I won’t detail but it takes a bit of time yes?)

Make beds (which doesn’t always happen, my mom will yell at me for this)

Walk the dog (AKA drag the dog down the street while he limps through the salt)

Buy groceries/meal plan

Pay all bills

Prob a few more things, and I’m not listing all the appointments that I have to usher them too either, but on a day to day basis this covers the basics …

 

TROY //

GARBAGE DAY … THURSDAY … TODAY

Take care of hot tub and all outdoor things (but don’t get me started on the fact that when summer hits, I’m the one who always does the mowing, watering, planting, complaining)

LCBO/Beer Store runs (this is very important and he better be doing one today to get me through the weekend before he takes off with the guys) YES???

The Caller: he calls the people I won’t call – pizza guy, rogers, bank … I’m a hermit, a recluse, I dislike conversing with people I don’t know, which he indulges for me, so this is his task.

I can’t think of another one? So as per the lovely Jenny in her blog, what happens if Troy forgets the LBCO run – well this is pretty important, I had better pick another. What if he forgets to take out the garbage? Good old ball and chain will do it. What if I forget to pick up the kids at the bus? Or feed them? Or put pants on them. Yes child services and bye bye mom. So if any slackers are still reading this, which I am sure you won’t be by now, but if you are, for gods sake buy your partner a bottle of booze and say thank you tonight for all the little things that they are doing that are so important and completely mundane. For everyone else who might see a similar list as mine in their to-do list, I say, drink that bottle of booze, all on your own, and do NOT do anything else tonight – you deserve reprieve.

Rant done. Yes I’m still married mom. No we aren’t splitting up. No I’m not depressed. No I don’t hate Troy. Yes I promise to start making beds every day. Yes I’m giving the kids their vitamins.

xoxo

You Can’t Take it With You

So this conversation was had last night:

Me: (as we are reading our will before signing) So should we like give stuff to certain people or like bequeath stuff?

Troy: I dunno, who wants this stuff anyways? Do we have anything important to will other than our wedding rings?

Me: You’re right, it’s all just stuff.

Which then has me looking around my house. What is important? What would I save in a fire? What do I want passed down to people that are important to me? The answer is slightly morbid but telling.

Not really anything.

I mean, yes, wedding rings to kids. Maybe my Kitchen Aid mixer for Rhianne as it’s been a long running joke and it’s more for fun then importance. My antique peanut bird dispenser bird thing (I know right) maybe to my dad but he’ll be dead prob when I die. So maybe give it to Rosie as she was with me when I bought it.

Clifford the family dog? Definitely to friends Lisa or Marie cause they hate dogs and that is funny. They will end up giving him to Francis for a chick magnet side kick and that’s how it should be. I mean I’ll be dead, let’s all just have a laugh over my ridiculous life.

When I ventured into the living room, my computer is important but only because of my work, and when I’m dead who gives a crap? My bedroom is devoid of anything but clothes and books really, so nothing there. My Kobo is probably my most valued possession (I’m not joking) and that can be chucked as it’s cracked and wouldn’t mean anything but clutter for anyone I gave it to.

The kids rooms perhaps have the only things I might give away. My creepy doll collection to my sis, our tickle trunk of dress up clothes should definitely go to the Cowans for sentimental reasons, but other then that I have nothing of real importance. Or value.

At all.

And that is perfect.

No people fighting over dumb things. Nothing for my executor to handle. No one wants to live in my small house, so sell it to the neighbors for cheap so they can expand their compound. The cars are crap. Nothing for the kids to fight over, nothing for family to argue about.

I mean, this was an amazing wake up call on what is important in my life. I don’t want to leave a legacy besides security for my kids and that is all I’ve ever focused on. Life insurance up the ass, and boom, spend the rest on trips and books and makeup. I’m happy.

But I think this is a good lesson for myself as well as anyone who might read this: what is truly of value in your life? What is worth putting in your will? I love the idea of a memorandum of fun stuff to give away, THAT will be my legacy. Let’s not be sad. Instead, have a party and here so and so, Kelly wanted you to have the dollar store Halloween crow that has been up for 2 years in her living room…enjoy!

With the holidays around the corner, we all have been guilty of overspending at some point. I mean, why do we attack this commercial crap when it’s going to be thrown out eventually? This time of year is the worst for me. I hate the greed, the commercials that advertise buying diamonds and iPads as normal everyday gifts. It’s not exactly Christmas I hate, it’s the pressure to buy the PERFECT gift which normally translates to lots of money.

A friend of mine had a fantastic suggestion which I have TRIED for years to get my family to follow but no dice. The idea was to give the grandkids ‘experiences’ not presents. Take Finn to LEGOland, Great Wolf Lodge, the zoo, a movie – anything at all. Just do something with them instead of buying stuff that will end up in Goodwill in 6 months.

I still love this idea, and I’m focusing a good chunk of our holiday budget on ski equipment for kids, as well as a ski vacation in February. I don’t care if they like it, they are going to enjoy the good old fashioned family holiday in misery like the rest of us and they will remember it when they are old and grumpy which is more then I can say for half the things in their rooms.

So as I sit here in my kitchen, I feel happy that I ‘think’ I’m doing things right in my life. Enjoying time with friends, having no regrets, not sweating the small stuff or worrying about keeping up with the Jones’. The phrase ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ has never rung more true for me and being on the verge of holiday mayhem I hope I keep up the good attitude and not find myself in Toys R Us in a panic. But if I do, I trust my husband to steer me away…and to a bar.

2390E7EB00000578-2852585-Scrum_down_Customers_push_each_other_out_of_the_way_as_the_crowd-72_1417213372623

This picture makes me want to barf with anxiety over the holidays – lol

 

Pet Frickin’ Peeve Friday

So one of my BIGGEST pet peeves is a literary one, which I am experiencing this week. I read a lot, that is no secret, and one of the most ANNOYING things is when a writer adds in a fake kid character. It’s like how do we give this character more depth? Hey! She should be a hot single mom with a gorgeous and well behaved kid! Or, let’s add in a toddler so that we can show a guy interacting with them and all us girls will swoon over a him being nice to the kid.

Fuck you, this is stupid.

I have no idea if these people even have kids of their own, I would think no, but if they do then they are living in la la land and certainly not using their literary prowess to create a believable character.

They slot the kids into a formula and it drives me to drink my coffee and baileys from my to-go cup while waiting at the bus stop. Stop lying, you’ve all done this.

The formula goes as such:

  • the kid is adorbs – no goofy, nerdy kids allowed. Long flowing hair, perfect curls. No ratty hair, no attempts at pony tails in which the kid pulls them out within seconds. No fall down freak outs because you asked them to wear a button up shirt. They look perfect down to their perfect angelic faces.
  • the childs only dialogue is to say adorbs phrases which, in reality, no kid ever says and which aren’t all that cute either. They show the adult characters breaking up in fits of laughter over a 5 year old mispronouncing something or pretending to be a bird or a dog or some stupid shit like that. This is not funny to an adult. Not remotely.
  • The toddler is always cool in public. No shitting their pants on the bus, or having a tantrum in the check out line because you refuse to buy yet another ten dollar set of pokemon cards. No crush to the ground weeping because they continued to twirl in a parking lot, even though you told them to watch where the crap they were going, but they instead ignored you and twirled over a stick and fell on their knees.
  • The kid always goes to bed on time and without a fuss. No ultimatums to get them to brush their teeth. No hissy fits because you asked them to pee before bed. Just pee, a simple pee, but no, it’s like you asked them to pour arsenic on their eye balls. No waking up at 5:30 either, they seem to always sleep in until after 8, then wake up rosy and happy asking for pancakes in which the mom always seems to have time to make. From scratch.
  • Taking the kid to a restaurant, movie, or any venue is awesome and stress free. Bullshit. Are the writers not going the same places as everyone else on earth? Are they not seeing kids crawl over booths, chucking food on the floor because they thought they wanted fries but actually they didn’t. Or spilling an entire cup of milk on the table? Or running wild in a mall, pulling down clothes, falling down on their face in a wild rage because you told them that a 100.00 lego kit isn’t something you get on a random Tuesday.

These are just some basic examples but they are the most glaring and annoying. Kids are awesome. But they can also be assholes and no one seems to want to portray that on paper. Some do, I’m sure they do, except I can’t source a single example in which the kid was written in truth.

There is absofuckinglutely nothing real about a perfect kid and there is, most certainly, not a mother out there in this whole frigging world that has NEVER ONCE witnessed her kid act like a douchebag.

Oh and don’t get me started on the adult mom or dad who always looks great, especially naked with nary a stretch mark, an ounce of cellulite, even when they couldn’t possibly find time in their busy life to workout. Oh and certainly not a parent who requires counselling just to make sure they aren’t fucking the kids life up.

So let’s work on some dialogue that is way more realistic shall we?

Mom – “Oh, I have a kid, you OK with th — “
Man – “nope, see you fucking later”

(mom walks kid into grocery store and runs into guy she likes)
Mom (flirty but dressed in stained activewear and no makeup so right away she feels like shit) – “hey, how are y —“ (kid constantly yells at mom to buy corn pops, candy, jumping around like a tit head, knocking into fellow shoppers, knocking glass bottles off the shelf ending with mother threatening little jimmy with no netflix until he is 18)
Man – “nope, see you fucking later”

(mom asks kid to set table)
Mom – “hey, can you set the table?”
Mom – “I said, can you set the table?”
Mom – “Can you stop watching TV for one frickin second and set the frickin table?”
(kid eventually emerges, asking what she wants them to do 14 more times before they start setting the table, but then flips the fuck out and screams on the floor for 15 minutes because their favourite spoon is in the wash)

I think you get the point.

I guess they want to create a perfect fantasy for you to read and get lost in which is fine in some ways but in others I want to reach inside the book and strangle the perfect beautiful mom and her perfect beautiful kid. Real can be cute, it can be endearing, but it can also be funny and I wish I could find that.

OK rant over, proceed with your day.