Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's the long weekend, do you know where your ninja is?

The long weekend had its periods of sucky dampness, crying and whining children, and general exhaustion, but redeemed itself at the end.

Friday it rained, really rained, rained like people should drag out their ark plans and make a trip to the lumber store. Of course the morning started at 6am because we didn't have to get up early. I turned on the tv, a mom's snooze button, and tried to get a bit more shuteye, but sure enough, as soon as I would drift off, I heard the requests: could we have milk, could we have breakfast, could I have an apple, can we make collages, glass of water, new show, can you move the livingroom more to the left -ok, so nevermind the sleep. After the needs were met and I had coffee, I wondered what we should do. There was a break in the weather after lunch, so we put on our boots and coats and headed for the park, stopping briefly to pick up another kid to give her folks a chance to clean their house in peace. The kids didn't care that it was lightly raining, and there was a lot of running around and bickering and laughing and whining and experiments involving puddles and sand.

After a couple of hours we went back to the friend's house where we were preparing to have a BBQ. All the adults were around the BBQ or in the kitchen hanging out while the children ran up and down the hallway. One of the girls started to cry hysterically and her mom went to take care of her, then she saw Naomi, silent, blood pouring out of her mouth. They had a head on collision, head into face. Ahhhhh! I freaked out internally and got my daughter in the bathroom. Once the shock wore off she started to cry uncontrollably, she was obviously freaked out by the blood and the sharp blow to the mouth caused by the hard little skull. Wanna hear something sweet? While we were in the bathroom and she was bleeding and crying and I'm trying to figure out how bad the damage is and trying to calm her down, the first thing she said was, "I want Benny". He was playing legos, oblivious, but came right away and gave her a hug and sat next to her while we waited for the bleeding to stop. It kept bleeding and she wanted to go home, so she and I went home and Ben stayed because he wanted to eat BBQ. She cried all the way home, clutching the white face cloth to her mouth and sobbing. She is normally such a tough kid, I'm not used to her hurting herself and not shaking it off. Once we got home and I gave her some ice cream and put on a movie she calmed down and was fine. Both top front teeth are really loose though, one is SUPER loose. Good thing they have to come out anyway. Other than the teeth, she was fine the next day.

Saturday we watched cartoons and after lunch we jumped in the car to go and see Kung Fu Panda 2. It was funny and the kids are so well behaved at movies now. Then it was a few errands and McDonald's and home.

Sunday started out with a plan to go to the Redpath museum, which is small, but has one dinosaur. Ben was whiny, made more whiny because he couldn't find his ninja to play with in the car and I wasn't going to spend hours looking for it. So the ninja sorrow loop started, where he tells me how sad he is, and how he wanted to play with it in the car, and how we should go back so he could can clean his room and find it and bring it. When I tell him he can play with it some other time in the car, he wails, when I tell him that he should keep his room clean so he knows where his ninja is, he tells me I'm being mean. His sister takes this opportunity to crow about how nice she is being and tells Ben to stop crying like a baby, which of course amplifies the wailing and screaming by 300%. I admit defeat and crank up the piano concerto on the car stereo. We get to the museum, after parking and making a still sad and now sniffling son tie his own shoe (I'm such a beast!), and we find that the museum is closed.
I put on a happy face and suggested we make the best of it by walking down to the art gallery a few blocks away. Ben forgot all about the ninja and now started in on how he wanted to see the dinosaur - all the way down Sherbrooke Street. No amount of telling him that I, being a total failure as a parent by lacking the necessary lock-picking skills or having the foresight to bring a crowbar, could dessuade him of the impossibility of going to a closed museum. So I smiled and pulled him along while the dinosaur sorrow loop played on. We got to the art museum and went in to see the Jean-Paul Gauthier exhibit.

Not really all that kid-friendly, but at least the bright, outlandish outfits were interesting, as were the mannikins that talked. We whizzed through the exhibit without time to read anything, and then stopped by the Greek and Egyptian rooms below. Naomi was amused by the naked lower half of a man carved in marble. It is a truth universally acknowledged that bums and penises are very funny.

Leaving, it was Naomi's turn to have a freak out because she refused to believe we were finished. Cue girl with an attitude being very rude to her mother - man I so deserve it, but so young? We walked back to the car and headed over to Peter and Lysanne's for a book giveaway/cookie eating shindig. Lots of fun and the kids played in the backyard. The sun was out, it was hot and beautiful. Then we were invited over to a BBQ at Aaron's where the kids ran around in his backyard and we had yummy food and let the Sunday end on a relaxing note. I could be in a falling aircraft and that man's smile would make me burst into song.

(Yeah I know I should have a picture of him smiling here, but he is notoriously awful about smiling for photos, so just look at the tree fort. I'll put in a random picture of him smiling when I'm talking about something completely different.)

Then we got home and I realised that my house key had fallen out of my pocket on Aaron's sofa.
Luckily this was remedied quickly and then it was a flurry of bathing and pyjamas and slightly more attitude to get the kids into bed and then another couple of hours preparing everything for first day of daycamp and daycare and lunches and laundry. Cue collapsed but happy.

Way to holiday St Jean Baptiste!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Things I'm thankful for this week

Yeah, I know the title sounds too self-help Oprah-esque...

  • Finally seeing the end of this damn cold! It has caused more problems than it was worth and now I have a mountain of work and things to catch up on and not a single run in more than a week!
  • Short week because of the holiday!
  • Ben's last day of school today!
  • Naomi had her daycare graduation ceremony and she did great! She wore her flower girl dress and was the prettiest thing in the whole entire world.
  • My girlfriends who always bring laughter, honesty, and a good dose of perspective to any situation.
  • The two steps forward, three steps back dance of a very beautiful and frustratingly timid bird. It can be maddening to wait with your hand outstretched with breadcrumbs watching the war between wanting the offering and fearing the hand, but patience seems to be the only solution that will make both parties happy. So, we wait.
  • Cereal. I ate a lot of it this week when I was too sick and tired to cook.
  • The lady behind the counter at the tea store who gave me a free tea because it was my birthday last week.

Oprah moment over! I must find a better title for this - suggestions?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm sick. One of my office mates was sick last week and came into work anyway coughing his germs all over the room and Wednesday night I started to feel a tickle in my throat. I thought it might have been because I turned the a/c on in the car for the first time this year, but by Thursday morning I couldn't swallow without the help of tylenol. I soldiered through the day, but Friday I decided not to work, but had to take Naomi to an afternoon appointment and then errands and that evening wasn't restful. Saturday morning Ben was awake before 6 and came in to cuddle with me, which ended in him being restless and me not getting back to sleep. I took them to the townships for the day to celebrate my birthday and father's day with the folks. We got stuck in two hours of traffic just getting off the island. Fever, shakey, stuck in immovable traffic, it was cruel. I've decided I'm not leaving the island again unless absolutely necessary.
But once we finally got there it was nice and my fever went away and the kids had a great time running around.
But back to the sick. I cannot remember the last time I was this sick. Throat, fever, chills, cement headed, coughing, aching - it's like a god-damned nyquil commercial.
Sunday after the kids left, I collapsed on the sofa and watched netflix, but everything was making me cry. Obviously being sick makes people emotional, and I can understand when I cried when I watched the documentary, "God Grew Tired of Us" about the lost boys of Sudan, sure, that's going to break your heart, but I cried during "The Nanny Diaries", what kinda twisted flu is this? After that happened, I turned the tv off...safer than seeing if I was going to cry through Spice World.

Monday I called in sick, but I felt bad about not working, so I tried to log in to work, but the Internet connection didn't cooperate and the room was spinning, so I read with my book all sideways until I fell asleep, then woke up, read some more, then fell asleep again. Then it was dark. I hadn't spoken to a soul.

Today I was able to stand up without falling over, coughing still sounds disgusting, but hack is mostly gone. Still can't smell or taste anything, which means I've been eating anything because it doesn't matter. Managed to get downstairs to do some laundry so the baskets aren't overflowing. Sleep is winning out over guilt by mere exhaustion. And yet, the guilt is making me think I should be up, working, cleaning, baking, instead to curled up in bed like a pathetic, sniffling sicko. Why is it so hard to give yourself permission to be sick? I sat down to write hoping it would cheer me up a bit - hahahaha, oh yes, much better now.

This better be over tomorrow....

p.s.: Just remembered that I did talk to a couple of people yesterday - Ben was picked on again at school, grrrrr....... the claws are out.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy birthday to me!!

I have the best friends on the planet! I love you more than the awesome cake :-)

Perfect moments: Laughter, good food, lots of wine, thoughtful gifts, word play, cleaning up to Billy Idol, a wonderful man to kiss goodnight ..... bliss!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

mini life lesson

Two children doing their homework at the dining room table must be at least three feet apart at all times. This would have prevented the crayola/glue stick massacre of 2011.

and speaking of signs....

I would like a sign that I can wear telling people that I ran 19k Sunday, ran 10 this morning, and did exercise classes Monday and Wednesday so I am not judged taking the elevator to the second floor....

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

I would walk around with this on a big sign if I could

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Howard Thurman

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Life lessons

I am interested in what everyone else is doing and thinking about life and personal happiness. I like reading other peoples' life lessons, secondhand self help. I don't always agree with them, but I am fascinated and curious to learn others' observations and often I learn something that I can apply to myself (or remember when I do something disastrous) and my little meander. In the spirit of this, even though I don't think that I have any new insights to pass on, I'm going to start writing down my own life lessons. Don't expect any brilliant novel thoughts here, it could be that the only thing they accomplish is to get me thinking more coherently.
I have no idea how many lessons I have in me, and the order has no importance, just have to start somewhere.

Life Lesson: Don't be a grown up.

In general, I think that acting like an adult, conforming to social rules, caring about what others think, and being so preoccupied with all the serious grown up problems to the point that we cannot be in the moment (generally because we are busy staring at our smart phones, oh I'm so guilty of that) crushes our creativity, strangles our belief in our deepest desires, and limits our thoughts and our ability to notice all of the beautiful, interesting things happening around us.

I have two beautiful, interesting, creative children. They whine about my rule of not watching tv during the week, but when I leave them alone for a few minutes, the complaining stops and they invent and act out stories and dialog and immerse themselves in make believe, and they love it.

The more I watch my kids, the more I realise that yes, they are woefully unprepared for retirement and they are a bit too obsessed with Spongebob Squarepants, but they also have a natural desire to imagine themselves in the things they enjoy the most, and they have a clear and certain sense of self. As they get older, that will deteriorate, but right now all doors are open to them, every dream is possible, every aspiration is a reality. My daughter told me at the table yesterday that she is going to be a dentist, a dancer, a teacher, and a singer, then threw in scientist when she heard her brother say that's what he is going to be. Why not?

When I was a kid, my belief in my talents was infinite just like my kids - what happened? I was going to be an Egyptologist and a musician and have adventures and travel and play piano and discover new mummies. When did I start being "realistic" about my abilities and goals and limiting myself? Why can't I take the advice I give the kids about believing in yourself and doing the things you love even if you are not the best at them? It is harder to define yourself as your knowledge of choices and options expands, but at some point I let myself settle for something that was less than my dream. It's so easy to just keep plodding when you have bills and debt and people to support and a future to plan ahead for, but where is the joy?

I think of all the people in my life who I admire, and one of the things that most of them seem to have done was given themselves permission to believe in their dreams. It doesn't mean that they are super confident people, but more that they know their hopes and desires and know that they can pursue them. I'm trying to learn that.

When I think about how my kids answer the what do you want to be question, I also realise that their decisions, while based on movies or maybe characters in books, are chosen out of enthusiasm and excitement and passion. It doesn't matter whether the decisions don't take into account all the hard work and effort it takes to get there, it's important that they get excited about the non-monetary result of the job - helping people, teaching people, making an audience cheer, doing something that gives them joy.

So, what do I do with this lesson? Well, I didn't quit my job and move to Egypt. So far, I have started taking piano lessons, I try to write a lot more and seek out the things I love, I let myself believe in my secret hopes and desires for myself, and yes, I go to my less-than-perfect job, but I try to be more creative there as well.
And I get excited and jump up and down about the things that make me happy because life is too short to be grown up.

Friday, June 03, 2011

perfect moments

Being the first one up in the morning and sitting with coffee and thinking while watching the sun pour in through the windows.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

when all else fails, make a list

A few tiny thoughts before I fall asleep:

  • I have got to stop sitting down to write and then feeling like I have nothing to say, and then when I get up to do something useful suddenly get ideas, but then be too busy doing the useful thing to go and write, and then when I sit down and write forget what the hell I wanted to write and and feel like I have nothing to say.
    That just must stop.
  • My daughter has not started school yet, but she already has a crush on the floppy-haired young music teacher. Her father is already counting the white hairs. He is cute though...
  • I have no idea why I can never remember how long it takes to cook a hard-boiled egg. Seriously, why must I look it up on the internet every single time?
  • There are a few things happening now that I don't think I'm ready for. I shall try to bluff my way through until I am.
  • Universe, I think I am close on this one, so give me a break and I'll try to be less neurotic so I don't wreck it.
  • I got a great haircut.