Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Tale of the Standoff

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The night before last the baby ended up in our bed (she was in our bed last night too, but that’s not the night I want to talk about – just stay with me). When “morning” came – technically 5:45 IS morning, just not the part of morning I want to see – the baby awoke. It was at this time that the husband and I entered into The Standoff.

As baby went from parent to parent for cuddles, face slaps (from her to us) and kisses (from us to her), we each determined to be the one to stay in bed while the other got up with the child. Each of us mentally made our case for an imaginary judge, certain that our argument for extra pillow time was clearly stronger than the other. Each of us feigned sleep while the other one was being used as a jungle-gym. Each of us clung more desperately to the bed, silently wishing the other would cave first.

Finally my husband was spurred into action. He got up without the baby, forcing me to also get up (“Oh, I’ll get up, but I am taking you with me”).

Well played, Sir, well played.

I should add as a post-script, my husband claims he merely got up to have a shower and meant no ill-intent. But his handsome face and dimpled grin do not fool me, the slyness of the fox lives in him. No, I am not fooled.

The Tale of ‘Why’

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My darling daughter,

I understand that your relentless need to know ‘why’ is a significant part of your development. I am trying to answer clearly and accurately, but sometimes you make it difficult (I don’t know why that’s a spoon. Because it is not a fork? Because some molecules all got together and decided to be a spoon? Because the matter around it isn’t a spoon?).

As a reward for my REPEATED (I can’t emphasize that enough) efforts to answer your questions, I wonder if you would answer a few ‘why’ questions that I have.

Why do you ignore your baskets, shelves and buckets of toys to play with household items like washcloths (clean or dirty), wooden spoons (with requisite theoretical wonderings on their very existence), and oven mitts? And while we’re on the topic, where are the oven mitts?

Why must we communicate through your animals? Is there anything I can do to regain direct access or will I always have to answer and address only Giraffe or Bear or Piggy (it would appear you follow the Franklin convention of nomenclature)?

Why must all of your demands be met immediately (“You’re not getting me my juice!”), while my requests must be made in triplicate three days in advance before there is even a chance you will consider them (this is a formal request for Little Miss to put her Dora “crocs” on at 8:50 Friday morning in order to get to preschool on time)?

Why do you like Daddy better? Could it be because he doesn’t blog about you?

Thank you for reading my questions. I eagerly await your response. I will do my utmost to continue to answer all of your questions if you will allow me a moment here and there for Google (note: this may mean you have to wait on that juice), and if you cut them down to maybe 25 per day.

Yours lovingly,
Mama
P.S. The ‘why’ questions aren’t too bad – it is the ‘how’ questions I fear the most – How are babies made? How do you get a dinosaur out of the toilet? How do you kiss? How do you get a tattoo removed?

The Tale of Knowledge

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They say knowledge is power, and for parents, that’s true. We know where the cookies are hidden. We know how to operate the vehicle that will get the rug-rats to the park. We know about child development, manipulation, and the very best tickle spots.

But sometimes, knowledge is dangerous because, with it comes responsibility. On a regular basis parents encounter questions that we don’t actually want the answers to, such as the following (you may have your own list):

  • How did this get wet?
  • What is this and how did it get here?
  • How long has this been here?
  • What is that smell?
  • Where is the sippy cup that’s been missing for 3 days?
  • Did that sippy cup have milk in it?
  • What is that noise?
  • How much is that going to cost me?
  • How many hours of sleep did my childless friends get last night?

(Ok, seriously, what is that smell and where is it coming from?)

The Tale of Expectations

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We had friends over on Friday night. The kind that doesn’t have kids but is about to (as in she is pregnant). Our kid is still recovering from sugery, and we wanted to avoid a meltdown at all costs (that is either a rationalization, justification, or genuine explanation – I am not sure which). We now have the perfect storm – a young couple now thinking a lot about parenting, and a family who is about to display example after example of poor parenting.

I could practically hear “We’ll never do that with our kids” screaming in their heads.

I know this because I would have thought the same thing before I had kids.

You are always the best parent before you have kids.

Once you have them it is amazing what you’ll do out of exhaustion, love and sheer wimpiness. The children – they are a formidable foe. They come to you cute and precious and they get cuter, pudgy and more precious. And they cry. And they cry. And there are days when you will do anything to make the crying stop. And there are days when you or the kid or both will be so close to a complete breakdown that some of your hard and fast rules are bent, broken or obliterated. And some days the rules are bent or broken for other reasons – because they were made to be.

And, ultimately, you will find that most situations are not as cut and dry as you perceive before the little goobers appear on the scene. Before kids (BK) you will not conceive of a situation where you will allow (or even offer) cookies for breakfast, after kids (AK), it happens. BK you are sure that you will be nothing but consistent on bedtime, snacktime and all the other ‘times’; AK you’ll find your 3-year-old up after 10pm, and feed her popsicle after popsicle (i.e. our Friday night). BK your kid is going to be polite, clean, and quiet; AK you will constantly be on edge in public working to keep the kid from climbing on tables, keep her face, hands, hair, clothes and nose clean, and keep them from screaming and carrying on at a decibel that attracts the attention of anyone in a 5K radius.

We like discipline, structure and orderliness. Children bring in the opposite and challenge our every notion of parenting.

Or, maybe, it’s just us, and our friends will find parenting a breeze and do everything right  – just as they intended. Sigh. I should say, our “former friends”.

The Tale of the Hostage Note

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It has dawned on me that I have Stockholm Syndrome. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to realize that I am being held hostage by two tiny terrorists. And instead of looking for escape, I cover them with hugs and kisses. No more. I have realized, I can walk, I would be wildly unpopular, but I can walk. So instead of constantly meeting their endless lists of demands, I have come up with a list of my own.

The (sad) reality is, you, my dear captors, can treat me however you want and I will still meet your demands. I will get up at night every time you call. I will serve you endless meals and get you countless cups of juice or milk. I will read you books, wipe your tush, and carry you all over God’s green earth. And all I really ask for in return is the privilege to keep on doing so – to always be your Mom. Maybe the occasional hug and kiss. And how about some artwork for the fridge. And maybe you could have an extraordinary talent that I could brag to my friends about. And maybe once a month I could have a hot bath…..

The Tale of the Resume

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The baby is growing so quickly.

The other day she stated that she feels she should be contributing to the household expenses and would like to get a job. Mostly because she is appalled at the conditions for babies in this house – no wipe-warmer, a stroller that was only 3 digits, hand-me-down clothes. She refuses to live like this any longer. She has been working on her resume (seen below).

She would like something in management as she feels that her experience with her parents lends itself to “giving others structured tasks and providing feedback” (note: she feels “barking orders” is not an apt description of her behaviour and takes offense at this suggestion). Should she be unable to find a place with an employer, she is willing to put her entrepreneurial spirit to the test with her own start-up.

Her top 3 ideas are:
1) Kissing Booth – provided she can find clientele who enjoy an open mouth being pressed to the cheek (with the occasional lick thrown in).
2) Human Vacuum – for a nominal fee she will crawl around your house and consume whatever she finds on the floor – edible or not.
3) Wardrobe Critic – her feedback is a simple Pass/Fail. No puking or snot smearing – you are good to go. Puke and/or snot – you might want to change.

Please respond in the comments if you’d like to contribute to the cost of one of the above start-ups: she is threatening to appear on Dragon’s Den. Or, let me know of any employers looking for the skills described here in her resume:

The Tale of the Sick Week

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This past week, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time holding a flaked out kid watching children’s programming. Here are some of my observations:
1) Dogs are not equal in the animal kingdom. In WordWorld, the only animal that doesn’t speak is the dog (oh – flashback to Sesame Street – giant talking bird, silent Barkley). In Strawberry Shortcake, Custard (the cat – and if you don’t know that, I envy you) speaks while Pupcake does not. She is given more responsibilities too while he is treated like a slow child and given token jobs. In Arthur, the family has a pet dog. That just creeps me out – animals owning other animals for companionship. What’s the message here? That dogs are lesser beings and therefore can be owned? Remind you of anything?
2) Franklin the turtle is, as the protagonist, the only character in his show with a name. His friends are Bear, Beaver, Goose, Snail, Fox, etc. Their parents Mr. and Mrs. Bear, Beaver, etc. What message does this send? Children undoubtedly identify with the protagonist and as we’ve empowered the turtle to the point that all the other characters in his world are nameless, minor players might our preschoolers do the same? Oh. Wait. I think that is the definition of a preschooler. Art imitating life. Well played Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark. Well played.
3) Where are Max and Ruby’s parents?! Why has no one alerted FACS, er, the SPCA, er, the CRTC – surely there is a governing body to oversee this abandonment.
4) Doesn’t Dora risk shattering the illusion when she asks the children what their favourite part was at the end of each show? She may end up naming the exact same part of the story when it is her turn – this after saying “I liked that part too” to the child who has shared his or her reflection out loud. That child will then realize all the shouting he did during the show did not in fact help Dora, but fell on deaf ears. Worse still, the child might share with his father that people on the TV cannot hear people outside the TV and all his helpful comments to the refs, shouts of encouragement to his team and clever taunts to opposing teams have been for naught. Now 2 lives are destroyed. Thanks Dora, thanks.

Hopefully, as my child heals I will be able to consume less mindless drivel and return to the programming I normally enjoy — because there is nothing out of step with reality in sitcoms and dramas. All completely real, believable, and morally sound.