Monthly Archives: February 2015

Parenting induced insanity the sequel….

 

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9.) Bathrooms:

This is an area that I thought I was prepared for….the trouble with bathrooms is that the level of issues simply change with the changing ages of the children in the home. So, there are always any number of things to push you over the brink. Wet towels are a constant. Mountains of wet towels. I don’t know why one preteen needs four towels for every shower, but apparently they do. I also wonder if my big kids are running a secret dog grooming service that I am unaware of. The amount of hair left behind when they finish in there is terrifying. For some reason, whenever hands are washed (if hands are washed) some sort of flood happens and the area surrounding the sink looks like something out of natural disaster footage on the 6 o’clock news. Oh, and someone will always place a full roll of toilet paper directly in the flood waters. This means that the next time you reach for some, you will be met with a lovely pile of mush. Potions will be made out of half full bottles of shampoo, sculptures will be carved out of bars of soap and no matter how much you beg, plead and threaten, things that should be in the toilet will be found on the outside of the toilet and things that should not be in the toilet will regularily be a cause for some emergency amateur plumbing. And it won’t matter how often you clean that bathroom. Within two minutes of you leaving triumphantly with your cleaning supplies in hand, that room will look like the nasty truck stop bathrooms you once refused to use.

 

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10.) Car trips:

This may be the only other area of parenting that can rival the family portrait for causing a typically mild mannered parent to completely and absolutely lose their mind. Family trips always seem like such a wonderful idea. Until you actually set foot in the car. If you already have children, and those children travel well, you are my hero. My children do not….at all…even a little. There is a brief window of time when your infant sleeps peacefully in a car seat while you embark on a six hour road trip with the occasional nursing stop. When this period ends, so does life as you know it in a car. There are an assortment of travel types. The barfer, the crier, the “are we there yet?” and the kid who is always sooooooooooooo bored. Someone will always be hungry, thirsty, nauseous, or need to pee. No amount of pre-planning, snack packing, gravol dosing or activity providing, will prevent any of this. At some point in the trip a fight will break out in the back of the mini-van that will rival that of a professional cage match, someone will spill something that won’t be found until it starts to smell, and a diaper blow-out will leave you on the side of the highway trying desperately to clean up and air out. By the hundreth “are we there yet?” your husband will ask that you book the van in to have privacy glass installed behind the front seats. The memories made once you arrive at your destination will make this hell on wheels all worth it, but when heading out, maybe dose yourself with some gravol, and perhaps invest in some ear plugs.

 

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11.) Gum:

Kids LOVE gum!!!!! In our house it has always been a rite of passage.  A sign that one has now matured enough to be trusted with not swallowing this mouthful of chewy joy.  But not swallowing gum is merely the tip of the ice berg in gum induced insanity. Somehow the gum rarely stays in the child’s mouth.  I don’t know how but they seem to manage to leave chewed gum everywhere.  Under the couch in the rec room, by the bathtub,  on nightstands, beside the garbage can but not actually in the garbage, in hair, on clothes and on the floor of the minivan…..My husband outlawed gum in the van after this discovery in what we now refer to as “The Great Gum Prohibition of 2014”.  However the ban was lifted when he recalled the few minutes of silence that could be purchased when offering gum on those fateful road trips.  Parents are shameless back trackers and hypocrites when it comes to trying not to lose their minds.

 

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12.) Homework:

Have you done any grade four math lately? Open some wine and brace yourself when that time rolls around.   How about a family tree when every single person in the tree has been divorced and remarried more than once? Did I mention you are also required to give this project pizazz and it’s grade two, so you need to find a way to explain why there are so many folks on the tree without paying for a lifetime of therapy?   Or, my personal favorite, the research project on the Canadian Beaver?  When your turn comes I have two of those Beaver projects in my basement.  Just let me know….it will cost you a bottle of wine.

Rarely mentioned causes of parenting insanity…

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Parenthood….it’s amazing, magical and fulfilling in ways that you never imagined possible. However, it is also more than a little exhausting and chaotic at times…or all the time…..As parents there are a lot of little details about this that we like to keep to ourselves. I mean let’s be honest. If we share all of the things that make this journey challenging, no one else is ever going to join our little club of crazy. Children are simply incredible. Watching little people that you created with your own body as they grow and learn and develop their own personalities and interests is nothing short of miraculous. Every day brings a new skill, or giggle, or facial expression that sends all of us parents into a state of complete joy. However, with all the miracles of development come the frustrations. Those things that babies, toddlers, preschoolers simply do not understand yet. They have a completely different set of logic than we do. You will notice I left out preteens….that’s because they lack logic completely. Or so I’ve decided…It’s these breakdowns in communication or lack of understanding that send all of us as parents to the brink of total insanity at least once a day. At least. We all know about lack of sleep and the impact it has on our sanity and our ability to function so I’m going to skip that completely. It’s common knowledge. Let’s cover some of the other sanity crushing moments in parenthood:

1.) Color Changing Dinky Cars:

I don’t know if they even make these anymore, but for my nine year old son they were a really big deal when he was little. I hated them then as well. My two year old stumbled across one the other day. Turns out he only likes the color of the car when it is cold….try explaining to a two year old clutching a dinky car in his hot little hands, why it won’t stay the same color it is when you run it under cold water. Try explaining this for hours….

I believe that the inventors of this “technology” should be punished. They should be given a bucket of color changing cars in cold water and placed in a Nursery School class. Then, take the bucket away and leave the cars with the children. Good luck to you sir…good luck.

2.) Voice Automated Phone Systems:

Have you ever tried to call your bank, hydro company or a government office while home with children? Most of these places have hours that require you to call when all or at least most of your children are in the house, and awake. “For customer service, press or say one.” “Mommy!!!!!! Red truck please!” “We are sorry. We did not understand your response. For customer service, press or say one.” “Mommy!!!! Red truck! Mommy!!!” “We are sorry. We did not understand your response. For customer service, press or say one.” “Mommy!!! Mommy!!!! MOMMY!!!!!” “We are sorry. We did not understand your response. For customer service, press or say one.” But at this point you have already given up. And I know what you are thinking, just take the phone into another room and shut the door. It won’t matter. Somehow those systems are designed to process the voice of a child, while you are on a different floor, in another room, with the door shut tight. I am pretty sure they are designed to prevent anyone with children from bothering them.

3.) The Family Portrait:

Sigh….will any single attempt at anything in this world cause a parent to morph from a logical, mild mannered adult into a fire breathing, foaming at the mouth, raging lunatic faster than the family portrait? Usually you have paid someone to take this photo for you. So, time is of the essence. Suprise! Toddlers have no sense of time and zero interest in the fact that you are paying the photographer by the hour. Interestingly enough, neither do preteens. Toddlers also have no interest in personal hygiene. Imagine you have just bathed a group of puppies and you need to get them to a dog show, but on the way to that dog show is a large puddle and a cotton candy factory. It may also start to rain chocolate at some point in the journey. This is essentially the same thing as trying to keep a group of children, in their lovely new clothing, clean long enough to take a decent family portrait. If you do manage to get that group of children in front of the photographer while still clean, brace yourself. They will not, at any point in time all look at the camera at the same time. Nor will they all smile together. Every family portrait we have shows two parents with extremely forced smiles on their faces, one child smiling at the camera, one child trying to run away while I am holding them from behind, one child scowling and looking at their feet and another child, looking back at the rest of us. If you are brave enough to attempt a family portrait, put something strong in that coffee cup….you are going to need it.

4.) The Pantry:

Every family has the cupboard that houses all the snacks. They are not out on display like the fruit bowl, because children will bug relentlessly for a package of cookies, not an apple. For little ones, once they see their older siblings taking delicious, usually forbidden treats from this magical cupboard then it’s game over for mommy. You will resort to insane threats to keep your older children from getting busted by the little ones. Things like, “If they see you, you will lose your electronics FOREVER!” Or, “Honestly I will sell you to a travelling band of gypsies!” This same cupboard brings up the issue of trying to keep snacks available for school lunches. If I didn’t have to buy a steady supply of convenient and school safe snacks for my kids lunches I am pretty sure I would be a millionaire by now. So, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to threaten them within an inch of their lives for constantly ( with ninja like stealth) cleaning those snacks clear out of the pantry. In fact, if it wouldn’t increase our hydro bill I would rig up some electric fencing around the pantry. It’s my only logical solution.

5.) Valentine Cards:

For any parent out there with a school age child, this is one of those things that require very little explanation. I will admit that I am a huge dork when it comes to holidays. I love any excuse to decorate the house and bake themed cupakes (and eat a jar of icing with a spoon while hiding in the laundry room). However, convincing a small child who cannot sit still, to sit still long enough to “help” write out 25 or more Valentine Cards is pretty close to my definition of hell. Also, this year my toddler is experiencing his first Valentine’s Day celebration in nursery school and he is convinced that I am stealing his Hot Wheels Valentines Cards. He simply does not understand that there will be an exchange of cards. He is determined that I am a Valentine stealing monster and I had to hide them. I can’t even utter the words “Valentine’s Cards.” Should be an interesting party…..

6.) Working From Home:

Seems like a great idea doesn’t it? The best of both worlds. Watching your little angels grow while earning an income all snuggled in your cozy home. Bliss. Picture this if you will: You are on a conference call in your home office (kitchen table). You have Treehouse on the television, fishy crackers in a bowl, all the bases covered to keep little ones busy for a few minutes. Then, just as you are about to contribute your brilliant marketing ideas that are sure to take the company to the next level, you look over to the livingroom. Your two year old is standing at the baby gate, naked, holding a poopy diaper. As you watch, completely helpless, that diaper becomes a lariet, being swung around and around while he squeels with glee, spreading the contents as far as the eye can see. And because you must remain professional, there is nothing you can do about it. Not a damn thing. You will simply use your tears to clean up the poop when the call is over. If that doesn’t push you over the brink, check your pulse. It may be too late.

7.) Family Movie Night:

We are all determined when we become parents that we will never yell and we will certainly never tell our children to shut up…I mean what kind of monster would ever do that? Enter Family Movie Night. We go into these evenings with the best of intentions. A lovely evening with our family together all comfy and enjoying a movie together. Sadly there are very few movies out there that will hold the attention of a preschooler for two hours, the baby couldn’t care less and the fidgety eight year old is determined to get his blanket and position just right while chatting incessantly about what just happened in the movie while asking questions about what happened next because he was talking and missed it. The preteen will constantly scowl and hiss angrily at the eight year old for talking, the preschooler will choose that time to fire up his battery operated guitar, and a fight over the blanket will ensue causing the bowl of freshly popped poporn to hit the floor. If at some point in the evening, you do not reach your breaking point and suggest that everyone just shut up and watch the movie, you are a better parent than I.

8.) Television:

Try and explain to a toddler that their favorite show is over…..I dare you. I will be especially impressed if you attempt this at 3pm when said toddler has not had a nap.

 

Mommy Groups

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Ah mommy groups……I can’t stand them.  It’s not because I don’t enjoy being with other moms.  In fact, we all need to be with other moms.  It’s extremely important to our sanity and I am blessed to have found a small group of fellow moms who also like to keep it real.  The trouble with most mommy groups is that they are supposed to be a safe place.  A place where you can vent, share and feel like you really are doing ok, and you aren’t alone on this crazy journey.  It should be a judgement free zone.  Instead, when you express how worried you are about how little junior is barely speaking at the age of two, there is always some “helpful” member of the group who chooses that moment to announce that their precious angel was fluent in three languages at ten months of age.  Or, the other member of the group who will tell you it’s because you haven’t enrolled junior in a high priced nursery school program where they teach Mandarin and Spanish.  We need to stop this nonsense already.  In my opinion mommy groups should be run more like AA meetings. Everyone sits down and one at a time each mom would stand up and make her declaration:

“Hello, my name is Mary, and I’m a mom.  Last week I used jelly beans to bribe my toddler into silence during a dance recital for her sister.  That’s right, sugary, filled with artificial colour and flavor, jelly beans. I’m not sorry and I’d do it again!”

“Hello, my name is Dana, and I’m a mom.  I let my children watch television.  TELEVISION. There is simply only so much finger painting a woman can stomach in a day.”

“Hello, my name is Anne, and I’m a mom. I bought cupcakes from the store and put them in a container from home to donate to the school bake sale.  I said it, STORE BOUGHT CUPCAKES.  In order to bake I would have to put my six month old down long enough to wash the dishes piled in my kitchen.  It’s just not happening. ”

“Hello, my name is Ellen, and I’m a mom.  I am pretty sure I hit Mary’s mini van in the parking lot before I came in. ”

“Hello, my name is Jamie, and I bed share.  I got tired of nearly dropping my breastfeeding infant on the floor when I fell asleep watching The Late Show.  Now, I take her to bed and we sleep.  We SLEEP. It’s glorious. ”

“Hello, my name is Adrian, and I fed my toddler chicken nuggets and macaroni for dinner every night last week.  Every damn night…..”

And instead of collective gasping , widened eyes, and terribly misguided and judgemental advice, everyone would simply be offered a hug, reassurance that their child or children will be just fine, and then they would serve cookies.  Now THAT is a mommy group that even I would join.

Taco Tuesday….

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Most directions for making tacos read something like this:

1.) Brown 1lb of ground meat in a frying pan with some oil

2.) Add seasoning mix and water

3.) Warm tortillas in microwave and serve with salsa and sour cream.

 

So, when the kids very excitedly asked if we could have “Taco Tuesday” I thought sure, what the heck.  My directions for making tacos would read a little something like this:

1.) Start browning 1lb of ground chicken in a frying pan with some oil.

2.) Open seasoning pouch and attempt to pour into frying pan.

3.) You are completing these directions while balancing a sick baby on your hip and while using the spatula with your right hand even though you are left handed,  because the baby will cry if switched to your right hip.

4.) Because of step 3 you will now flip the spatula out of the frying pan, sending it to the floor along with the seasoning pouch.  The seasoning pouch will be open.

5.) You will now use your foot in a frantic attempt to stop the dog from licking the spatula and eating the seasoning mix off the floor while still balancing the baby.

6.) At this point both of your older children will enter the kitchen in need of something and no it can’t “wait just one bloody second!”

7.)  You will now give up on the mess on the floor and ask the dog if she would like some @#%&* sour cream.

8.)  The smoke alarm will now go off because in all the excitement you forgot to turn the burner down and the meat has scorched in the pan.

9.)  The smoke alarm will upset the baby.

10.)  You will now pull a pizza out of the freezer and inform the house that the next person to utter the words “Taco Tuesday” will lose their electronics for a month.

 

You might be a mom if…….

I recently compiled a list of sorts of the signs that I feel truly define the fact that you have become a parent.  You might be a mom if:

1.)  You don’t recall the last time you sat down to eat anything.  Any food typically served hot is consumed by you when cold, and foods that are supposed to be cold are consumed by you while lukewarm and quite possibly melted.  The last “meal” you had was quite likely part of a chicken nugget with one or two half eaten carrot sticks or the crusts of a grilled cheese sandwich and a leftover apple slice, depending on the time of day.

2.)  You haven’t shaved your legs in weeks because if you actually manage to have a shower, you don’t have time to shave and also wash your hair.  Let’s face it, only so many of us look good in hats but pants look good on everyone.  So, if the choice is between the hair on your head or the hair on your legs , the head wins every time.

3.)  Your definition of a “vacation” now falls under, grocery shopping without the kids.

4.)  There are enough fishy crackers and cheerios on the floor of your mini van to feed a small country.

5.)  You drive a mini van.

6.)  Your idea of success has shifted from getting that big promotion at work to getting everyone out the door in the morning wearing pants….and both shoes.  Both shoes are a true sign of just how high up the ladder you have climbed.

7.)  You can’t find your car keys, however you can locate a red balloon, a green crayon, a bandaid and a piece of bribery gum at a moments notice if required to do so.

8.)  You know what I mean by “bribery gum.”

9.)  Most of the electronics in your home have mysteriously stopped working.  Upon inspection you will find the cause to be foreign objects jammed into places they should not be.  Things such as crayons, cookies, the wing from a toy airplane….and your car keys….

10.)  You are blogging with one hand while a baby is nursing on your lap, which is apparently the only place she can possibly be at all times because she simply could not care less about mommy’s attempts at a writing career.  Or perhaps that’s just me.