Friday, February 26, 2010

No dog = good table manners??

We were at Ikea the other day and were having supper in the restaurant (resting up at the half-way point).  Both kidlets had the mac and cheese, which they love.  The little one, who is 16 mos old, was about to toss some of his noodles on the floor when his big brother piped up and said, "No, don't throw it, they don't have dogs here!!"

Can you tell that we have a dog?  This dog loves kids especially once they start using highchairs and like to share their snacks with the dog.  She's not a small dog (60lbs) so without much effort her head is basically at tray height.  I'm sure that there has been food held out to the dog, licked by the dog, then taken back and eaten by the kid.  (Now go to your happy place and repeat "Better immune systems" until you get over the whole butt-licking dog germ thing).

This whole "Ikea doesn't have any dogs" episode made me think that perhaps we're a little too lax with our food dropping habits.  The kids will only not drop stuff if they think that they might have to clean it up.  Perhaps as parents we encourage it from an early age... "Baby spit-up on the floor, call the dog she'll clean it up."  then later... " if you drop your cookie the dog gets it" and now " uh oh, Maggie - clean up in aisle 2, cheerios on the floor". 

In our defense as parents we used to have two big dogs when our first son was little and there was no second chance to grab food as the dogs scrambled for it.  To ensure that no little hands got bit we told our older son just to leave it if it fell and basically to step back and watch the show.  Of course that made it into a game  (sigh).  Now we only have one dog, but the game is still there.  I watch my younger son giggle as he tosses cheerios for her and she happily devours them - really who can get upset while listening to a toddler belly laugh.  

Since all kids like to throw stuff from the high chair my parting thought is, "Thank god I wasn't cat person because my dog will eat almost anything as long as it comes from the kids!"  :-)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mabel’s Labels BlogHer ‘10 Contest

Mabel's Labels BlogHer '10 contest :

Write a post on your blog in response to the following hypothetical situation: Electrical storms are going to wipe out the Internet (perhaps forever). You have one day left to write about your passions: what do you want to say to the blogosphere in 300 words or less? 


What?? No more internet?  You might as well be saying no more air to breath or no more chocolate (mmm sweet, sweet chocolate).  How will I survive?  How will I keep in touch with friends in far away places.  How will I display my photos for friends and family?  Wait, I'll actually have to *in-ter-act* with my family (yikes).

I've heard of times like this and vaguely remember them from my obviously deprived childhood.  We may have to get out the candles and sit in the dark... oh wait that's for no electricity.  Okay, then lets sit in a chair with our head down on our knees - nope, wrong again thats for plane crashes.  Lets just take it easy maybe the internet will still work on my blackberry.  Ah, crap, I better be able to get out of my 3 year contract for the darn blackberry!! 

Okay, back to survival plans.  Maybe I should just open a whole bunch or random things and save them to my harddrive.  That might last me a few days, okay maybe 1, well lets be realistic: 2hrs MAX.  Maybe I should just go play a few rounds of Bejeweled on Facebook to take my mind of this.  Nope, must focus.  So help me if this is a hoax I'm not going to be a happy camper... maybe its like Y2K it won't happen. 

Okay internet I guess this is goodbye  (sob).  I'll have to start shopping in person, and instead of looking something up I'll have to talk to another human.  I'll miss the glow and the tan I get from the hours in front of the monitor... I know you'll be back, but we'll both have changed and it will be awkward at first.  Goodbye dear friend, resource, time-waster.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Mommy Olympics...

In honour of the Olympic spirit and since I'll never be an Olympian I create the Mommy Olympics. Mommies everywhere are already in training for these events which I'm sure will be hotly contested. Instead of medals Mommy's are given a "time-out" which is 15 minutes of kid free silence! (ahhh bliss) The torch relay concludes in the lighting of the giant febreeze candle that will cover up the fish for dinner or stinky shoe smells of the entire host city.

First up we have the sock sorting marathon, whomever can find and match all 300 pairs of random sized, white socks first wins! (commentator): This is a tight race, these women have been training all afternoon for this...

Later there will be the vacuum relay, the "where's my favorite toy" hunt, followed by the what's that smell sprint. Tomorrow there will be the "OMG the dog's about to hurl" luge as you have to try to move said beast to the hard floor rather than the new, white carpet.

There will be a pairs competition in the dusting dance where mommies bring their children into the competition and try to accomplish something while their kids strive to undo all their hard work. This is a fixed time event so who ever can accomplish the most before the time is up wins because we know that it will never actually be completed. (commentator): It seems that the vancouver mommy who won gold in this event is going to be disqualified in the wake of a kid-doping scandal... thats right folks she bribed them with TV and Candy if they would just let her get stuff done... after kid-gate the sport may never truly recover!

The final event of the 2010 Mommy-olympics will be the shopping-cross. It is a roller derby like event where 4 moms and their kids must complete a course through a grocery store. Mom's get bonus points for getting items that are on their list and lose points for extra items that the kids sneak into their carts. (Commentator): This is a fast course today! Wow look at the move made by the single mom who is late for work... she is definitely the fastest on the course and a favourite for gold. Oh no her 3 year old shoved 5 chocolate bars in her cart at the last moment... will she still have enough of a lead to claim her GOLD??

The medals are all awarded and the closing ceremonies are completed. These local heros will now head back to their home towns and celebrate their victories. What's next you ask? Well like any mommy knows, after a vacation comes laundry, then groceries and vacuuming... no wonder these top athletes perform so well at these games. Their commitment is really admirable!


Other sport ideas:
  • The toy sort
  • The laundry relay
  • for moms of teens:  the caught sneaking in/out of the house biathalon?
Please let me know of any other fun events we could add to future olympiads!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Peer pressure... when does it go away??

When you think of peer pressure you think of punk kids trying to force cigarettes on a geeky, book hugging science ace behind the school gymnasium. You don't think home owner, mother of 2, educated person.

I don't think peer pressure really ends with adolescence it just gets re-channeled into different forms. In your pre-kids day it is about whose clothes are better or whose boyfriend or husband is better looking. It evolves into who has the better car then later who has the better house or apartment. Who has the better furnishings and decor tastes also follows this.

When you have kids it reaches a whole new level. It starts during pregnancy with who has the best or worst pregnancy and labour/delivery. Followed quickly by baby reaching its first milestones earlier and earlier. The best dressed baby or cutest kid also is part of this not to forget who has the fanciest stroller. Then kids start to get into preschool (this is where we are) and it becomes who got into the best program and who has the coolest backpack. I'm sure it will continue on through the elementary, highschool and university years. Whose kids got accepted where and into which program.

I'm wondering if when I am old and decrepit with my walker or scooter I will be trying to compare who has the whitest false teeth or who has the most great-grandkids. Or maybe somewhere in there you will accept that you have no control about what everyone else is doing or the clothes they have or how smart their kids are and just enjoy the simple things in life like a good old fashioned walker-derby or scooter race or cut-throat poker tourney.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I've lost my map...

We all have some sort of map in our minds of where our lives will go. I had one when I was younger. It had 2 parts. Part 1 meet nice guy, get married, buy house, have a couple of kids, live happily ever after, retire in an idealic setting. Part 2 was more of a short term map: Go to university, get degree, get job, earn $$, climb corporate ladder.

There are some holes in my map, I've basically finished all points other than the retire part. Since I'm far too young to retire I need to rethink my map. Also my two maps have somewhat conflicted one another. After the second kid the working part, in particular the climb corporate ladder part does not seem to be that important. In fact the amount of time and energy it takes to pursue that and schlep 2 kids to daycare each morning and deal with it on my own when my husband travels for work is not worth it to me at this point.

Now I'm at the point where I need to re-map my life. No longer am I a student where they have counselors who can sit you down and ask what do you want to be when you grow up?? I have to ask myself all the tough questions. And I have been. Unfortunately I can't just make a unilateral decision because I have a husband and 2 children who rely on me to keep the household running (sad, but true). Most times in my life I had a firm grip of who I was and where I was going. I was flexible to change, but always took comfort in the fact that I had a "PLAN". Today if asked where I will be in 5 years the first thing that pops into my head is that my kids will be 8 and 6 and will be in elementary school. Nothing comes to mind about where SHANNON will be and what she will be doing. Everything in my life is about everyone else and that has got to change.

I am the most indecisive that I have ever been in my life. One day I think I should go back to work as an engineer with a long commute. The next I think that I should have another child and stay home for a few more years. Maybe I'll be a business owner or at least sell one of the direct seller products then I will be independent financially and have some responsibility to others outside of my house.

The one thing that I have done for myself is set a short term goal of completing a 10km run. I've taken all the right steps towards that goal by participating in a walk/run program and signing up for the Vancouver Sun Run. So now if you are to ask what I'll be doing in May I can confidently say, "Running the Sun Run". After that I don't know, but I do know that I will be doing what engineers do best and evaluating all the data in a snazzy spreadsheet in order to rewrite my map.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What type of MOM are you???

I firmly believe that everything that has happened in our lives up to this point has had influence on us and has shaped us into what we are. The same is true with what we are like as Moms. Since being a parent is essentially a job perhaps it is our past jobs and education that influences what we are like as.

Have you worked as a waitress? Would this mean that you are able to juggle all the baby paraphernalia (diaper bag, bottle, sippy cup, snack), your purse, the child, your coffee and the car keys... all with a smile and polite interest in what is going on around you?? Or perhaps you can bring enough food for a family of 4 to the table in only one trip and clear the table just as quickly.

Perhaps you're a teacher... everything has a lesson in it even if the kids are not aware that they are learning. Schedules are kept, calendars are made, stickers are given as rewards and to keep track of things.

Perhaps you're a scientist... you are precise with everything and keep meticulous records (kids medical records are all properly filed as well as their important documentation). You are in pursuit of perfection, but are aware that it may take many "experiments" to get there.

But of course you're really made up of a compilation of all the jobs you've done before. For me I've worked as a bistro server, waitress, gas jockey, and plant worker. I have a background in engineering. So I will summarize my skills derived from my previous work experience and education:

I can carry a baby, coffee, diaper bag, snack to the car with only a few drips of coffee and can usually still find my keys when I get there! I'm not afraid to get dirty and do things myself (for me and the kids). I can make 5 different types of sandwiches at the same time. I can still carry 4 plates at once. I work within tolerances, but have high expectations. I give technical explanations if repeatedly asked the same questions... (So you want to know why the sky is blue?? Well the angle of refraction of the sun's rays hitting the stratosphere... ). I research any new baby gear before buying any occasionally make spreadsheets to compare the results (with graphs).

Embrace your past and celebrate your strengths. We are all great moms who have come from varied backgrounds and bring our skills that we've learned into our mom skills. And from there we also take our mom skills back into the workforce. It is good to be MOM.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Olympics are coming...

Do you believe?? That is the slogan by the Canadian TV company that has the broadcast rights for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. It makes me question... do I. I used to love watching the Olympics and cheering for Canada. I was proud to see the athletes representing our nation stepping up on the podium and receiving their medals. I loved to watch the athletes parade in during the opening and closing ceremonies. I loved the magic of the Olympics and the peace and good-natured competition that it represented to me as a child.

Now I'm not so young any more. I'm a property owning, tax-paying, voting adult (how the heck did that happen). I read the news and hear about the cost over runs associated with the Olympic venues, athlete accommodations and the infrastructure improvements. I hear about the concerns of not having enough sponsorship (read money) due to the current economic climate. I hear how there is not enough snow for some of the skiing events due to the record breaking warm January that we enjoyed. I hear tha the "commitee" is suing yet another person/company to protect their brand (read money). All of this is giving me a negative view of the Olympics. I do not believe.

I am planning to reclaim the magic of the Olympics. I am teaching my 3 year old son about the Olympics and telling him about how people from all over the world will be coming to our area to watch the games and compete. We have decorated our front window with Canadian flags and painted non-copyright infringing Olympic rings. Tomorrow the torch is coming to my town. It is the longest torch relay ever performed. I'm going to take my two boys and go watch it.

I'm going to forget about the "politics" of the olympics and focus on the very talented athletes who have dedicated more time and energy to their olympic quests than I have ever given to anything. I'm going to cheer when we win and ignore/avoid the traffic snarls which are sure to make it difficult to get around town.

I'm sure to the outsiders watching to from far away the games will seem like they were well run and problemless. I'm glad that this is the view that they will have and that the TV networks will capture the magic of the games. I will try to believe!

And after the games are over I know that this area will enjoy the legacy that has been left behind with the improved and expanded transit capability and the fantastic world class facilities.

Go Canada eh!