Saturday, March 27, 2010

Playing Chicken...

Remember being teens or younger and seeing how long you could outlast your friends while doing something stupid??  I don't think that goes away... ever.  It just evolves to new levels. 

Once you're a parent you use it to be lazy rather than stupid.  DS #2 wakes up from his nap and is making noise, intermittently, in his crib.  Both of us wait as long as we can supposedly to make sure he's actually ready to get up.  Really we're just hoping that the other one will make a move first, thus allowing the winner to continue doing whatever it was that we had been doing.

There are several strategies to this.  You could pretend not to hear the kid: such as at night when you're both woken up, but one parent pretends to still be asleep.  (I won't name names, but one of us is a master at this!{cough *Dave* cough}   Another strategy is all of a sudden being on your way to do something very important, "uh can you get the kid? I'm busy sorting the cutlery..."  (or whatever!)

I can give you many reasons why parents try to avoid being the one to go get the kid from the crib.  Its not that we don't want to see them its more that we don't want to have to deal with the diaper... which after a nap or full night's sleep has a high probability of being a stinker! 

Even when the kids awake and it happens its very likely that there will be some sort of pass-off maneuver attempted in order to avoid the stinky diaper.  In our house it can be as juvenile as carrying him to the other parent passing him over and then saying, "You touched him last,"  as you dance out  of range.  Or there is convincing the kid to go find Daddy/mommy in a different room and hoping that they notice and change the diaper! (I may or may not have tried that...)  Since I'm home all day with the kids I pull the, "I've already changed X diapers today so its your turn!"  Its almost indisputable, unfortunately for me most diaper changes happen when I 'm home with the kids alone so I don't have an out.

I do have to say that I am looking forward to potty training and finally being rid of diapers!  Although then you have to deal with accidents and pretty much feel like you're tied to the house for fear of accidents.   For now I'll just work on my super power of subliminally influencing my hubby to get up before I have to...  OK, I just poke him until he moves!  Soon I'll be the parenting "chicken" champ!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

All the world's a jungle gym....

I'm an Engineer so I will admit that I have never studied English Literature at all in University.  So reaching way back to my high school English classes (way, way back) I remember Shakespeare once said/wrote, "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players..." (don't ask me which work this came from or even the rest of the quote, as I said I'm an engineer).  I think that this needs to be reworked to fit my current life with a toddler who likes to climb stuff.  Really the toddler version of this should read, "All the world's a jungle gym and all the parents merely there to kiss the owies that I get from falling off stuff."

 My first child wasn't a climber.  I never caught him on the kitchen table or up on the counter top or balanced precariously on anything.  I had friends who had climbers and I admit that I just thought their kids didn't listen well or were more mischievous than my angel!  I was wrong, their kids just had the climbing bug!

Apparently the climbing bug is unstoppable in my younger son who is only 17 months old.  As soon as he could walk (which he did earlier than I was ready for @ 10.5 months) he started to try and climb things.  I would come into the kitchen to see him balanced on a wobbling plastic kiddie chair.  The first time it happened I just about had a heart attack!  I watched this baby who wasn't even a year old standing so proud on the chair as it rocked slightly.  The chairs had to go.  The stools that my older son used to help at the kitchen counter were next. 

Now he can get up onto regular chairs, his highchair (if the tray is off), the couches, tables everything.  Even the slide attached to the swing-set outside is no longer an obstacle.  If he can get a knee up on something he's unstoppable.  Actually, he doesn't even need that I've seen him haul his body up onto a kitchen chair that didn't even have a cross rail.  (Wish I had that kind of upper body strength!)

This boy isn't slowing down with his climbing in fact he's incredibly proud of it.  Today he was climbing up on the chairs at our dining table then standing up, raising his hands over his head and saying "Ta-da" in triumph.  Perhaps we'll just have to accept that he is a climber and give him the right place to climb... new project for the summer could be a kiddie climbing wall in the back yard.  Its either that or shackle a weight to his ankle to help keep his feet on the ground!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mis-sung lyrics.

My 3 year old son may watch too much TV or maybe just has an exceptional ability to remember songs from kids shows. (I'm going with option B)  Lately he's been been singing the "Bob the Builder" and "Thomas" title songs... non-stop.  Its pretty cute really!  The cutest part is he mixes up the lyrics because he mis-hears them or doesn't know what word they are trying to use.   In the Thomas song, which is playing in my head on a continuous loop, the lyrics go "... shunting trucks and hauling freight.."  he cheerfully sings "... shutting trucks and falling freight...".  Explaining to him the real lyrics does not help since he is a stubborn boy, like his mother, and is confident that is the way it should be sang.  

He comes by these lyric confusions honestly.  I am famous for them.  When I was in elementary school we were taught Oh Canada.  I proudly came home from school and sang earnestly about "true pastry love" when the lyrics actually go "true patriot love".  Maybe I'm just patriotic for pastry.  Although I was only 6 or 7 yrs old at the time, I have yet to live this down.  My father still reminds me of this more than 20 years later. (oh man, I'm getting old!)

I'd like to say that once I got older I got better with song lyrics, but this just isn't the case.  Fast forward 15 or more years and I'm singing along with the Gypsy Kings while driving with my boyfriend of a couple months.  He looks at me and asks what I'm singing with a look of confusion.  Puzzled, I reply that I'm singing " The millennium... "... uh he says the song is called "Bamboleo" and its sung in Spanish.  Are you sure, I say, doubting his knowledge of the CD that he owns.  He gives me the "you're crazy" look.  I try to listen more carefully, but to me they are still singing about the millennium and then switching into spanish... of course since I don't speak Spanish "millennium" could be the same in both languages.  In order to not make a further fool of myself I switch to singing along under my breath.  Happily, my mishearing lyrics must've been an endearing trait since we have now been married for 7-1/2 years.

There are countless songs which are commonly misheard.  I've seen the funny emails circulated and here is a website with the top 100 misheard lyrics.  

Which lyrics have you misheard and/or mis-sung?? 

Friday, March 19, 2010

I take credit for my kid's hair colour... Thankyou very much!

I have a son who has red hair.  I love it, think its the cutest thing ever!  Best part ever is that I get attention for it.  Thank god because if I were out without them I would be basically invisible.

My youngest was born with a full head of red hair.  Bright red.  This is him in the hospital with all that hair.  As new nurses would come on duty the nurse assigned to us would call them over to come look a the baby with all the red hair.  I have to say that neither my husband nor I have red hair (what a surprise!).  Both of us had a great grand parent with red hair and both of our fathers had red beards.  Apparently red hair is a recessive gene and has to come from both parents... much like blue eyes.

I literally have people stop me on the street to discuss his hair colour and reminisce about their own previously red hair or someone else they know who has red hair.  The most random time was when I was at Home Depot buying some stain for my deck.  I had both kids in the cart and a lady stopped to compliment my son's hair and then proceeded to tell me that red heads do not accept dental freezing very well.  WTF, he didn't even have any teeth at this point!  (Apparently there had been a recent article in one of the local papers about that, but talk about random!)

The only downside is that his older brother does not have red hair.  He has blonde hair and basically gets ignored as the well meaning people come up to gawk at and touch the shiny red tresses of his brother.  I try to reassure him that one day his little bro might not be getting the positive attention.  I can see it now 10-15 years down the road and the two of them are getting into some mischief... bystanders will be saying, "Well there was that red-headed kid and a few others..."

Along with the red hair has come the quick temper (which may or may not come from his Mamma).  When he was about 14 months old he was over tired and a little cranky.   He tripped and bumped into the kiddie table which had chairs stacked on it to prevent my little monkey from climbing up on them and standing on the wobbly chairs.  Rather than just getting up and going on with what ever he was doing he proceeded to start screeching at the chairs and try to push them onto the floor.  It reminded me a bit of a drunken brawl.  According to my husband those chairs had had it coming for a long time and were asking for it... yeah right!

Today I was grocery shopping and once again a lady came up to me to complement my son's hair.  Thanks, I say proudly, beaming like an idiot.  What the hell am I going to do when my kids are no longer cute and young.... I'll be back to being invisible once again. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Man's work vs women's work...

Today I did what I consider "Man's" work.  I took the cardboard to the recycling depot which happens to be at the city landfill... or the dump.  I went to Canadian Tire once a mecca of the Canadian male who wished to purchase things for their cars, including tires, but now more of a all purpose yard/car/sports-gear/housewares type of place.  To round off the day I mowed the lawn (or rather moss) for the first time of the season.  

Why do we consider this mans work.  Its not as if my husband doesn't do inside cleaning (he's very liberated that way and has a lower dirt tolerance than I do!).  In fact we share most of the household duties fairly equally with the exception of the kids.  I get the most of that work simply because I'm the one home with them!  We have a great system: I cook - he cleans, one does washrooms - one vacuums.  (Back off ladies, you'll have to find your own fantastic guy!!)

So why is it that the outdoor work is considered mans work.  Is it because you get to use big, loud machines!   Of course men do seem to prefer the bigger, badder tools for the job... I prefer to rake leaves - hubby has a leaf blower/mulcher, first it blows them into place then you turn around and suck them up, chew them to bits and spew it into a bag!  If we needed to wash the house I get out the hose... hubby has a pressure washer for this, sure it does a better job, but its loud!

As I was mowing today I came to a realization... its actually a pretty peaceful thing to do (with the proper hearing protection of course).  Really that's the key... nobody demands anything of you when you're mowing the lawn and if they did you wouldn't be able to hear them!  Ahh.  Bliss.  No whining for snacks, no requests to watch a new video or channel, nothing, but the roar of the equipment.  Not only does it cause you to work up a sweat, but you get to be in a little bubble of alone time as well!  Try to get that while cleaning the kitchen... in my house if you even stand near the cupboard with the snacks in it kids start circling like sharks.

Of course there are some outdoor tasks that I'm not as quick to get involved in:  cleaning the gutters - uh no thanks, hanging xmas lights - sure if we hang them in August rather than November, cleaning the dog run - well only if I really have to!  But from now on maybe I'll volunteer for the tasks that require hearing protection so I can have myself a little peace and quiet!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The whispering mommy... nah I don't think so.

A friend of mine who's child is slightly younger than my youngest called me the "child whisperer" the other day because I managed to trick my older son into napping.  He doesn't nap regularly anymore.  In fact it's a pretty rare occurrence, but he was so over tired and grouchy that all I had to do was make him have a quiet time in his room playing on his bed.  Ahh blissful silence.  No talking-back for like 2 hrs.

However, being called the child whisperer is really far from the truth.  In all honesty I used to have a fair bit of restraint and patience.  Especially when I only had one child.  But something changed when I had a second.  My sweet little angel of a boy hit the terrible twos full steam ahead and I became a yeller.  I suppose I could claim it was a touch of post-partum depression or the remnants of the baby blues.  But that doesn't change the fact that I have been un-able to reclaim my earlier patience with my older son. 

Part of the blame is squarely on me since as soon as the baby was born my older son all of a sudden seemed so old and so grown up.  I expected him to be more grown up.  It was the instant ending of him being a baby (poor kid).  Part of the reason for all the yelling is that my son excels at being naughty and defiant.  Lately he likes to argue for no apparent reason.  If I say up he says down - yes, no - black, white... the list is endless.  It has gotten worse now that his brother is older and is running around and playing with toys.  The fighting has started and the yelling continues! 

I tell myself that this is him striving to have his own independent thoughts and personality.  I comfort myself that this means he (lord help me) won't be still living at home when he is 25 (or worse yet, 30).  I go to my happy place (the bar fridge, er I mean yogic chanting) and let the urge to yell pass.   It still slips out sometimes, but luckily for me he is edging towards 4 yrs old now and occasionally can be reasoned with.

For now I will try to happily enjoy the occasional break in the day from the constant struggle even if it only occurs when he's at preschool, eating or napping.

Really who could yell at this angel face??

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Laziness is the mother of invention...

They say necessity is the mother of invention, but we really know that it is laziness.  People invent stuff so they don't have to move as much or remember as much.

Some of my all time favourite lazy-inducing items include:
  • The TV remote - this is now a necessity since most tv systems are so complicated that without a remote you really can't operate them.
  • The auto-shutoff kettle (cordless is best)
  • The cordless phone.  I'm so addicted to having a cordless phone that I will run to the other room rather than answer the one corded phone in the house!  I love how now they sell multiple phones with one transmitter so you don't have to have an outlet nearby.
  • The light sensor plug-in - who needs to remember to turn on/off the xmas lights this little plugins will switch on at dusk and stay on a set number of hours!
  • My BB -  I mean I don't even have to move to check FB or Twitter!  Of course that implies I haven't left it somewhere or something like that.
There are some that are permanently installed in the house that I am now so dependent on that if I were to move I'd absolutely HAVE to install in a new house.  Here are a few of my faves:
  • The automatic thermostat finally I don't have to even think about adjusting the temperature at night or wake up sweltering because I forgot to turn down the heat.
  • The motion sensor light switch.  This is a fairly new one to me that I just encountered for the first time in my current house where it was installed in the basement bathroom.  I loved it so much that I installed a second switch in the main bathroom so that way when my 3 year old gets up in the wee hours of the morning the light only shines into my room for 5 mins rather than me having to get up and turn it off (thus admitting that I was actually awake).  I've become so used to this that I find myself waving my arm as I enter other rooms trying to trigger the switch (which is not there).
  • The remote controlled ceiling fan.  This is very handy on a vaulted ceiling.
  • The built in vacuum cleaner.  Sadly my current house does not have one and I don't have the energy to try to retrofit the house with one (maybe some day).  I also enjoy having a kick sweep associated with a built in vacuum for sweeping all the kitchen crumbs and dog hair into.  Though I'm not sure it would be so great now that I have kids... can you even imagine what would be put in there (shudder).
Here are a few inventions that I think we need:
  • A homing signal coffee cup.  I always leave my half drank cup of coffee somewhere and then forget where and find it when it is way too cold.  Maybe it could just passively beep if it is warm and hasn't been drunk from in about 5 mins?
  • Sippy cup with homing signal would also be good especially if its filled with milk!  ewwww.
  • An automatic baby changer would also be good, but no good could come from something like that!  Can you imagine if it missed... poop could be everywhere (not to mention the safety concerns)... 

What are your favourite time-saving, laziness encouraging gadgets?

Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's Day

Today is international women's day.  It is also my birthday (29 again!!) .  I feel pretty special to have such a feminist day associated with my birthday (and maybe just a little smug about it!).  I have never considered myself a feminist in the traditional sense.  In many ways I considered myself an ultimate feminist I just do it and don't question that it was not possible even only a generation or two ago.  For instance I am a mechanical engineer.  There were 10 women in my class of 60.  We were treated like equals among our peers and never once felt that we had to justify our existence in the program.

As I once again celebrate my 29th bday I know now that what I have is because of standing on the shoulders of the women who went before.  The ones who got us equal rights, made it so we could vote for our government representation (however inept they are).  The ones who challenged the status quo by taking the unconventional path.  We also are blessed by the ones who took the quiet path and raised families teaching their daughters and sons that all people are equal.  As a mother of two sons it is what I hope to build upon even further with my children.  I want them to be empathetic to those less fortunate than themselves and always try to make their little corner of the earth a better place.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Romance novels... what if it were real life??

I read romance novels.  Yes I'm aware they're not real literature, but they are great escapist fiction.  I do read other novels as well just in case you're worried that I'm going to turn my brain to mush from too much romance.  Lets get this straight... I don't read the harlequin or silhouette ones where the women are pining away for their knight in shining armor (cue fabio with his flowing hair and gleaming muscles).  I like the Nora Roberts ones where the women are smart independent women with successful careers and amazing artistic talents.

Of course these are great escapist works of fiction there aren't kids bugging these women, they all have perfect figures, great clothes, and don't seem to have to do dishes or vacuum endlessly.  Enter studly man they have amazing attraction to.  Its like getting to relive the "new and exciting" parts of a good relationship without having to do any of the pesky dating part.  Since I'm at home with my kids I occasionally try to read while they are playing nicely, like the sweet little angels they are (yeah right).  I get pulled out of my escapist world back to the real world to discuss important things like how a toy car can do some fancy spin or how we NEED to go buy to some new toy car that is exactly the same but a different colour!

Maybe I'm becoming to cynical for these romance novels maybe they should have an epilogue describes their life 5 years later with two little kids.  Here's how it might go. 

Frazzled, formerly, hot mommy greets studly man at door holding her youngest child on her hip, while the preschooler who wanted to be carried is dragging behind with a death grip on her ankle.  There is a smear of something on her shoulder probably from a runny nose, but it could be left-over crumbs from the cookies they had earlier.  The family dog sees an opportunity and runs out the door to freedom.  Studly man goes chasing after, kids begin to cry/whine.   30 minutes later they are at the dinner table eating the partly burnt dinner that got forgotten in the chaos of the dog escape.

Hmm on second thought there is a good reason why the romance novels don't include the minutia of everyday life.  But sometimes I think that I'd like to see these characters have to deal with real life so that we didn't build up expectations that are unreasonable and unattainable.

Now that I've had my rant I have to go finish the latest Nora Roberts novel... yeah I know its sappy, but sometimes that's a good thing!