Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Curly cues.

If your kid has beautiful, curly locks, I can understand not wanting to get it cut.

I can understand just letting it grow and grow, until you drink in all of the deliciousness that is fine baby hair that twists into golden, shiny, spirals.

However, if the child is not, in fact, a girl, I might refrain from dressing him in androgynous clothing and putting a red clip in his hair to keep it off his face.

Failing this last point, however, I might be a little more forgiving when a well-intentioned stranger compliments him by saying, “she has gorgeous hair.”

Seriously, this couldn’t be the first time the mistake has been made.


I held off on cutting Bart’s hair for the longest time because his curls were so gorgeous. I would have him dressed as a boy, head to toe, and people would still tell him he was a pretty girl. I didn’t care much, because he was pretty and I just loved his hair. It still pains me that those curls got swept up and thrown out. Of course, I kept one for the (non-existent) baby book, but one just isn’t the same as a whole head of them.

*Sigh* without the curls, my baby turned into a boy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In case you thought I was kidding...

Yesterday morning at the bus stop, I realized that I had forgotten to put Bart's show-and-tell in his backpack. He looked very disappointed, so I reached into my pocket to see if there was anything in there. I pulled out my work keys and $0.39. I needed my keys, so I sent my four-year-old off to school with some coins.

He told me that he showed his money at show-and-tell and said it was to buy a Wonka Bar. He said the teacher laughed.

Not the mother of the year, indeed.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Um, yeah. Not today.

I’m normally a bit of a push-over. Actually, I’ll qualify that. I’m not at all a push-over at work. In fact, I’m pretty tough and bold, but kind of nice about it. I’ve been told that I’m one of those people who can tell you to “go to hell” in such a way that you look forward to the trip.

Where I AM a push-over is any time I need to represent myself. Restaurant meal sucks? That’s okay, I won’t make a fuss. Old lady cuts in front of me at the ATM? She probably didn’t realize, no biggie. Cable/phone/repair guy is 4 hours later than he said he would be? I greet him with a smile and thank him for coming at all. Seriously, I’m a wuss.

Apparently, though, I have a breaking point.

On Friday, I slipped out to Old Navy to pick up some sale items, as I had 4 birthday gifts to buy. I dodged all the rude shoppers who took up the whole aisle with their carts while they shopped in a different aisle. I waited patiently for my turn to rifle through the fleece sweaters to find the right size. I helped a grandma pick out a matching camouflage shirt and pants for her grandson.

I picked out my deals and chose one of the eight lines that was open. The line wasn’t too long, I was maybe fourth in line. The woman in front of me had clearly been doing a lot of shopping, as she had 3 giant bags of clothes that she was shuffling along the line. In her hand was one sweater. The woman gets to the front of the line, hauls up one of the giant bags and says, “I would like to return all of these.” Just my luck.

The cashier asks for the receipt and the woman pulls out, I kid you not, a wallet that is 3 inches thick with receipts. We’ve been standing in line for at least 10 minutes, and it didn’t occur to her to pull out the receipt. I share an eye-roll moment with the guy behind me and I patiently waited another 10 minutes for the cashier and the woman to get the whole return thing figured out. Fine, I was just happy that it was now my turn. Not so fast, Lori… not so fast, my friend.

The cashier says to me, “I’m sorry, this line is closing, you’ll have to join another line.”

That, was my breaking point.

“Oh no I will not”, I said. “You will NOT be closing until you ring my purchases and this gentleman’s purchases through.”

“I’m off now”, she protested.

“You’re off after you ring us both through.” Who was this speaking?

“Okay,” she cowered. “Thank you for your patience.”

The guy behind me gave me an approving nod and a thumbs up.

And I felt really good. And powerful. And I just wanted someone else to cross me, because I was on.a.roll.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

If I were a Kate.

There’s been a bit of buzz this week about Internet anonymity, baby names, namer’s remorse and pseudonyms. It all reminds me of my favourite story about my grandmother. It’s a story that I asked to hear about several times when I was young, and one that even her closest friends (and even some younger family members) had not heard until I retold it at her funeral.

My grandmother was born in England in 1915 and given the name Minnie. At the age of 6, she moved to Canada with her family including her older sister. She started school mid-term and immediately felt overwhelmed by all the changes. She was a small, shy child with a very strong British accent. The other kids teased her for her accent and taunted her relentlessly about her name. She was known as Mini Minnie.

Her sister, who was six years older, was pretty and feisty and seemed to adapt to the situation effortlessly. She joined clubs and teams and was extremely popular. My grandmother usually just tagged along with her and her friends.

My grandmother grew to despise her name. She would avoid introducing herself and fantasized about names she wished she had.

When she was 18 years old, she followed her newly-married sister to a small mining town in northern Ontario that was experiencing a gold rush. She had no plans, no work lined up, but felt the need for a fresh start in a new place with her best friend, her sister.

She decided on the train-ride to her new home that Minnie was no more. From that moment on, she would confidently introduce herself as “Jill”. She found herself in this mining town and became actively involved in the community and the church. At 21 she was married and, while she was in the process of changing to her married name, legally changed her first name to “Jillian” .

I think of this story so often and I wonder about how difficult it must have been to tell her parents and her old friends. How bold it was to make that choice in the 1930’s.

I too fantasize about changing my name. Lori, to me, screams 1970’s and I wish I had a more timeless, classic name like Kate or Jill. I’m not about to change it, mostly because my parents still love the name and I would never do anything to hurt or insult them. But still, a girl can dream.

Do you like your own name? Do you think it suits you? What would be a better name for you?

Monday, November 19, 2007

The big fight.

We don’t fight that often, but when we do, it always turns into so much more than it needed to. I blame him (of course) and he blames me. I think what’s really going on is that we have incompatible fighting styles.

He just can’t let it go. I only want to let it go.

He wants to talk it out to death. I want to remain silent and never revisit it again.

He prefers to yell and talk over me. I prefer to talk low, make sarcastic remarks and pretend like I’m on the “no yelling” high road.

He can stay mad for days. I can stay mad for about 30 seconds.

He likes to tell me what I’m thinking. I like to tell him he’s wrong.

He’ll fight anywhere (Santa Claus parade, hello?) I’ll fight at home only.

He’ll use words like “always” and “never”. I’ll say things like “what’s wrong with you?” and “you need help”.

He’ll resort to name-calling. I’ll pretend to be wounded.

He apologizes, but always expects an apology in return. I stand by the “love means never having to say I’m sorry” rule.

He can be bought out of anger with SwissChalet. I silently declare victory.

How about you? How do you fight?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

When the mighty fall.

Okay, so I’m not exactly mighty, but I don’t get sick. I really don’t. I get sick so infrequently (and by sick I mean chills, nausea, extreme fatigue, aches – believe me, I’ve had my fair share of the sniffles, and more than my fair share of migraines, but those don’t usually bring me to my knees)… anyway, I get sick so infrequently that I can remember almost every time:

There was the time when I was one of a 5-person committee making a multi-million dollar, 10-year contract decision for the university between the two major soft drink companies. One was presenting all morning, the other all afternoon. The presenters included the Canadian Presidents and VP’s and the set-up was elaborate and expensive. During the morning presentation, I started to feel a little shaky. At the break, I went to the washroom to splash my face and then immediately threw up. I excused myself two more times during the first presentation. One of the VP’s commented that I had the smallest bladder he had ever come across. Instead of doing lunch with the committee, I went to my car in the hotel parking lot and slept for an hour, thinking I just needed a little rest and I would be fine. During the afternoon presentation, I had to leave the room no less than 8 times. Yes, I kept going back in! I honestly thought that each time was the last time. After that, I was sick at home for the next three days.

Then there was the time that I was sick for 8 days straight, but never missed a full day of work. I dragged my butt in there everyday thinking I could just shake it off. Several times I fell asleep at my desk (luckily I was in an office with a door). Then, I would go back home at about 10:30 and sleep the rest of the day, only to repeat the madness the next day. I am not a heart surgeon. It really doesn’t matter that much if I skip a couple of days here and there to be sick.

In my first year of university, I missed my economics exam due to “acute influenza” (that’s what they wrote on my doctor’s note when I dragged myself in to infect the school health clinic’s entire waiting room). Do you know what you don’t want to do? Write an economics exam at the end of January when you learned all the material Sept-Nov.

I didn’t miss any school in elementary or high school for real illness. In elementary school, they would give out arm bars (little patches that my mom dutifully sewed onto a pillow for me) for things like winning sports teams you were on, citizenship, and yes, attendance. I got a lot of different badges every year (I was a total joiner), but always got the attendance badge. In high school I took some “sick days”, but they were really more mental health days.

As the human race goes, I’m fairly inexperienced with being sick. When I am sick, I’m fairly certain that’s it for me… that some super-bug has broken through my immunity barrier and will spell my demise.

So it was with my most recent bout of flu(?? – I’m assuming that’s what it was) I was certain I would die, Homer was making my final arrangements (not really, but he was more attentive than usual), the kids were learning to be self-sufficient. But, alas, I’m back. The bug has been banished, the sheets have been changed and I am catching up on everything I missed. Hopefully it will be several years before I have to deal with all that unpleasantness again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

When mom gets sick…

  • Tables do not get cleared.
  • Dishes do not get done.
  • Children do not get dressed.
  • Children’s hair does not get brushed.
  • Dinners consist of Happy Meals and pizza.
  • Baby gets 3 diaper changes a day.
  • Toys do not get put away.
  • Cushion forts do not get torn down.
  • Children’s teeth do not get brushed.
  • Children are stimulated by Elmo, Dora and Diego.
  • Garbage gets taken to the curb, but not the recycling.
  • Dad is exhausted from taking care of everything.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Kids are amazing.

Last night Lisa's friend's mom picked her up from our house after a playdate. This is the deaf mom.

I watched in amazement as my little girl had a full conversation with her. In sign language. Sign language that she learned while playing at her house.

Awhile ago Swistle talked about the Signing Time series and how good it was. I mentioned it to my mom, who was looking for Christmas suggestions for the kids. If it doesn't turn up under the tree, I will definitely be buying it myself. Because what happened yesterday was just about the coolest thing I've ever seen.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Things that don't suck.

  • Remember my issues with the deaf parents? Well, the kid called Lisa last night herself and between the two of them a playdate for after school today was arranged. No cryptic notes, no attempts at translated phone conversations, just two kids making plans. Awesome.
  • Homer won $200 from Omaha Steaks in an on-line contest, so we now have 2 boxes of steak and one box of assorted fish steaks in our freezer (plus a cookbook called "Meat" and some steak spice). This is good news for my budget shopping.
  • I couldn't find my round brush this morning, so instead of drying my hair straight, I scrunched it up so it's kind of wavy. So far, 3 people have complimented me on my hair today.
  • Dexter was awesome last night (it actually aired Monday night, but we just watched it last night).
  • The pool is closed and the giant maple tree has yet to shed its leaves. Opening the pool in the spring will be much nicer when we don't have to retrieve 300 lbs of wet leaves from the bottom of a 10 ft pool.
  • I got a 30% off card for Tommy Hilfiger in the mail yesterday AND it's for the lowest ticketed price. This is good news for my wardrobe.
  • This morning Maggie said "I la u mom". And that, certainly, does. not. suck.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Fall... finally!

Lisa needed some items from nature for a school project, so while Homer worked on closing the pool, the rest of us took in some beautiful fall weather. There were still lots of trees with lots of green leaves left, but we managed to find some authentic fall colours.

Me, change and a birth story.

Well, you guys are awesome. I felt so much better yesterday reading your supportive and helpful comments. So, thanks.

A very wise woman suggested that it might just be the prospect of change that had me feeling uneasy and that is the same conclusion I had reached by the end of the day myself. I don’t personally have a problem embracing change for myself, but I hate imposing change on my kids. I remember when Lisa was in Jr. Kindergarten and I got a phone call that they were starting a new JK class and that Lisa would be moved to that class. Her best friend would not be moving. I was devastated, feeling sick and swoony and wondering how I could possibly break the news to my child, who was still only 3 years old! Well she, of course, was fine and the whole thing was fine, as will be this new daycare situation.

BUT, an aversion to change isn’t the only thing at work here. Part of it is that, it’s Bart. If you haven’t figured it our from this, or this, or this, or this… Bart is my special little guy. He’s sweet and funny and lives in his own magical little world. I’m overprotective of him, not because I think he’s weak or over-sensitive, but because I think that sometimes the rest of the world doesn’t really understand him. He’s not odd, by any means, but he is unconventional, carefree and a little theatrical, which is different than most of the boys around. It’s not his fault… he was born that way. I thought it might be fun to share his birth story. Don’t worry, it’s short and maybe even a little exciting:

May 28, 2003 (three weeks before expected due date)

5:45 PM – Lisa and I pick up Homer from the train. We decide to stop at the shopping plaza on the way home for a couple of things.

6:00 PM – Drop Homer off at the Wal-Mart door. I’ll find a parking spot and take Lisa with me to the drug store.

6:05 PM – Lift Lisa out of the car seat. My water breaks. Try to call Homer on his cell, which is obviously off.

6:10 PM – Tie my jacket around my waist (because my pants are soaked) and haul Lisa into Wal-Mart, where I ask them to page Homer.

6:15 PM – We’re back in the car heading home.

6:25 PM – We’re back home and I call the hospital. Because my contractions haven’t started yet, they advise me to have a shower, have some dinner and then come in for an assessment.

6:30 PM – After a very brief discussion, Homer and I agree that I should just change my clothes and head to the hospital. He calls the babysitter to let her know we’re on our way.

6:40 PM – We’re back in the car. I’m driving (another story for another day).

6:50 PM – I feel my first contraction. Homer times it. 27 seconds apart. That can’t be right. This time it’s 23 seconds apart.

6:55 PM – We arrive at the babysitters and pretty much throw Lisa out of the car. I can’t drive anymore, so Homer takes over.

7:05 PM – Arrive at Labour & Delivery Ward. They’re surprised to see me, but understand when they see how close my contractions are. I quickly change into a gown and they put me in an assessment room with a medical student.

7:10 PM – The medical student is screaming DON’T PUSH and there’s a lot of frantic activity in the area. A grown-up nurse arrives.

7:12 PM – Bart is born. 9 lbs, 10 oz. 22 inches long.

We were a bit of a novelty on the maternity ward… “oh you’re the one that almost didn’t make it!”

Monday, November 5, 2007

On the ledge.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that my nanny is pregnant. Because she will be a single mom, she’s also moving back to her hometown (far away) and does not plan to return. Two weeks ago, she announced that she would like to finish up with us at the end of November (instead of at Christmas, which was the original plan), which meant I needed to get off my ass and make new arrangements sooner rather than later (and I’m such a later kind of gal). I hate childcare issues. Hate them. Hate them. HATE THEM.

I still don’t have anything for Maggie, but two options in the works are to put her in the daycare centre that I used to oversee in my old job. I know and like everyone there and it’s only a 10 minute walk from work. The other option is to take her to our old home-based daycare provider (when it was just Lisa and Bart), who is awesome. She lives about 20 minutes out of my way, but Homer and I agree that it’s worth the drive because of her awesomeness. The problem with both of these options is that they have no available spots, but I’m at the top of the waiting list for both. If neither of those comes through in the next couple of weeks, I’m screwed. But for some reason, this does not worry me in the least.

I am so conflicted about the arrangements I’ve made for Lisa and Bart. I found a home daycare that will pick Bart up at lunch and keep him for the afternoons, then pick Lisa up at the end of the day. Two of Bart’s classmates will also be there so he’ll have kids to play with and Lisa and the lady’s son know each other, so she’ll be fine too. Sounds good, right? It will be much easier on Homer, as he now has to leave work, pick up Bart and run him home, then go back to work everyday. So why am I conflicted? I feel horrendous guilt that Bart won’t have a mom or dad picking him up at the kindergarten door. I think of all the little gaffers running out to the waiting arms of their parents and poor little Luke going to Gregory’s mom.

Seriously, this one thing has me on the ledge, telling Homer I want to quit my job, stay at home and pick up my own kid. Crazy? Before you vote, let me lay it out for you:

*Absolutely nothing will change for me; I’ll see him no more and no less than I do now.

*Bart is excited about the arrangements, as he’ll have a couple of buddies to play with in the afternoon.

*I will be saving money (about $145 a week over the nanny)

*Much easier on Homer

*Bart will be picked up by someone else’s mom.

So, why am I out here on the ledge? Is this what working mom’s guilt feels like? If it is, it sucks. Big time.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Good dip.

Hey, do you like hummus? I love it and so do my kids. It's a good source of protein and fibre, too!

I used to buy the commercially-prepared stuff, but now I just make my own - it's really easy. Here is the recipe I use:

1 14 oz. can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup tahini (this is just toasted sesame seeds that have been pureed - I find it in the ethnic aisle of the store in a large, pickle-jar-size container)
2 cloves garlic, quartered
1/4 cup water (add more if the mixture seems too thick)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp salt

Whoosh it up in the food processor or blender until smooth, creamy and spreadable.

If you like it spicy, add some red pepper flakes.
You can also add some roasted red pepper or sun-dried tomato.

Serve with raw veggies, crackers or toasted bread. I usually make my own "crackers" thusly:

Cut small, whole-wheat tortillas into wedges, arrange on baking sheet.
Spray wedges lightly with cooking spray.
Sprinkle with garlic salt or your favourite spice blend (I use McCormick's Roasted Garlic & Peppers).
Bake until crispy.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Monsters had a ball!

Halloween rundown:

Maggie as Wise Baby Owl. Here she is attempting to fly.

She was a star with all the "hoooo-hoooo"-ing she was doing.

Bart as The Friendly Dragon. This was during his

school parade. He walked "like a dragon" the whole route.

Lisa as Little Miss Muffett. Can you make out the spider,

just over there on the left? It really makes the whole costume work.

The three monsters heading out. Like their treat bags? Oops.

One little detail I forgot.

You would be scared if these creatures knocked on your

door, wouldn't you?

Maggie walked the whole way. The other two, near the end,

fought over who got to sit in the stroller we brought for the baby!

The haul. Suffice it to say, momma's got a rash this morning!