Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Tale of the Missing Family

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If you live in my area, do not be alarmed if something like the following appears in local news. And if they withhold our names while they contact my brother in China, be assured, it is us.

A local family met a tragic end this week when they were buried in their home’s clutter. The family of four were found by one of their neighbours and her husband three days after they were overtaken. The neighbour described finding them:

We realized we hadn’t seen them for a few days, so we went to check on them. When we got no response to our repeated knocking we opened the door. We couldn’t believe what poured out – church bulletins, school calendars, birthday party favours, take-out menus, toys, books, clothes, and the drawings and paintings. Oh my. It was just endless.

Her husband added: “The size of the dust bunnies just blew my mind. You can’t even call them ‘bunnies’. I’d say they were dust bears”.

Police officers at the scene were not suprised at this incident. They see it as a growing epidemic.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity in this ongoing investigation, one officer shared how common this scenario is, “Oh, yeah, we see this kind of thing all the time – not always with this tragic result, but it’s a real danger. This is just the normal amount of stuff generated by a household of this size”.

The officer went on to say that in a time when technology should be allowing for a paperless society, what they see is the opposite. There seems to be more and more paper clutter for a family to deal with. He also blamed the busyness of families and the pressures of modern parenting with creating a perfect storm of a lot of stuff acquired, a lot of things to do and a lack of time to do it in.

And then you have all these parenting magazines, books and websites insisting on making time with the family a priority even if it means neglecting the house a bit, and well, you can see, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. We lost another family about a year back — they were having Family Boardgame Night in the basement and were overtaken by toxic mould.

Area residents realized that this could have easily occured to them. Many at the scene commented on how close they are to experiencing the same tragedy. The local Home Hardware ran out of blue boxes as people picked up supplies on the way home, vowing to clear the clutter once and for all.

The Tale of the Fashion Wars

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The other day, my daughter chose to wear these competing polka dot patterns. Another blog I follow would suggest that wearing two different polka dot patterns is all the rage, so perhaps my daughter is on the cutting edge, but I’m not sure she’s quite got it here – or that we’re living in the right part of the world for that sort of fashion-forward thinking.

I honestly believed that my daughter and I wouldn’t wage war over clothing choices until she was at least part way through elementary school. I thought we’d be good until about Grade 5 or 6, and then it would ramp up and be at it’s worst during high school. Even then, I would be the cool Mom who ‘totally gets’ what the kids are wearing and helps her daughter keep up with trends while still looking modest and presentable (the odds of this are diminishing as I am sometimes baffled by what ‘the kids are wearing these days’. And then I feel old. And then I feel depressed. And then I eat chocolate and watch the skinny jeans slip away from being a possibility for me. Sigh).

But somewhere between age 2 and 3 it all began. Her first revolt was capris (“I don’t want those short pants”). Then she fixated on a hideous hand-me-down shirt that was too big (and not from our usual source which I will describe later). Finally, she became convinced that matching means both top and bottom are the same colour. How do you explain “matching” to a 3-year-old? It’s 2012 – weren’t we all supposed to be wearing the same coloured one piece suits by now? Have we learned nothing from sci-fi literature and movies? That would just make my life so much easier…

I greatly mourn the fabulous outfits I could make from the hand-me-downs from her cousins (my sister-in-law has such good taste in clothing, I want her to dress me). Sometimes, I can get her into an outfit of my choosing, often we compromise, and sometimes I would really like to slap an “I dressed myself today” button on her.

I suppose I should be grateful for her growing independence and respect her desire for self-expression. But, if I can’t dress her up in great clothes that proudly proclaim her unarguable cuteness, what was the point in having kids?

How do the fashion wars play out at your house?

The Tale of Career Aspirations

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Sadly, the baby’s resume hasn’t yet garnered any interest. However, we are noting a number of things that might indicate a career path for her. She is very talented and we think she’d be happy in any of the following careers:

Based on her interest in my teeth I would say that she would love to be a dentist.

Image from: thewritersmanifesto.com

She has also recently developed a pokey interest in my eyes that could point to optometrist.

Considering her frequent use of “jazz hands” and bouncing to music I’d say she has the aptitude to be a dancer.

Given her tendency to put a second bite of food into her mouth while the first is still in there, it would appear she has the instincts of a competitive eater.

Her ability to make her parents laugh indicate that stand-up comedian could be in the cards.

And of course her outstanding good looks means that model is certainly possible.

What job should we encourage?

The Tale of the Reason Why

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Young people who are considering their life’s course, people who do not have kids and don’t want them, people who have kids — all have asked the same question — Why have kids? I will tell you why with this story:

The other day I was in the shower when I heard the door open and sensed a little person had entered the bathroom. I peeked around the curtain to see my preschooler clad in a paper crown made at Sunday School and placing a fire truck, a dump truck and a turtle on the floor in a precise line. She then got herself settled onto her potty. It was at this point that I alerted her to my peeking and said “Hi”. She said, “Hey, give me my pribacy” (I thought, hey, great time to teach ‘irony’, but let it slide).

But, this, this is why you have kids. Forget things like biological clocks, leaving a legacy, continuing the species, blah, blah, blah. How much more interesting is life when you can peek out of your shower curtain to see such a delight as the above scene?

The Tale of the Reality Show Pitch

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I will be honest, I haven’t watched a single episode of any of the chef-based reality shows. From the titles and the promos, I gather they are intense and tear-inducing. But has any of these wanna-be chefs gone up against the toughest dining demographic this world has ever known?

I propose a new show — Kid’s Kitchen. Gordon Ramsey has nothing on the cranky 2-year-old whose toast is not cut properly.

Contestants on this show would have to please parents when it comes to nutritional value of the meals, and kids when it comes to taste (and smell, temperature, texture, colour, familiarity, shape, size, etc., etc.). They would face the following challenges:

-Requests for elaborate meals that, once made, are rejected outright without so much as a bite being consumed (“But you asked for macaroni and cheese…”).

Picture from: Simply Me

-Dishes that must meet demanding standards – which will vary for each diner and will depend on each diner’s mood that day (which is to say no points for creativity).

-Copious amounts of food being consumed one day, next to nothing consumed the next with no way of knowing what the desired quantity will be in advance.

Endless requests for juice, or milk, or chocolate milk (not that I give my kids chocolate milk – blasphemy!).

-Parents that demand that fruit and vegetables be consumed and new foods tried – children who won’t eat fruit and vegetables and will not be persuaded to try a new food. Ever. No matter the presentation. Or the fancy way it is made. Or the plain way it is made. Not now. Not ever.

The winner will be a Mary Poppins/Julia Childs/The Nanny combo who can miraculously inspire kids to eat mango, and eggplant and kale. We will erect statues in his/her honour and parents will come from far and wide to introduce their children to the wonders of his/her kitchen. Others will believe this unicornian creature does not even exist (of course the product lines that would pop up in grocery stores everywhere should be enough to convince those idiots). His or her greatness will be known throughout the world (which is why, I don’t really see the need for a huge prize on the show. I’d like to keep production costs low  you understand. These are difficult financial times we live in people).

Think it will work?