Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Calloused Feet

The air is thick and humid and I'm sticky from my own salty sweat. The blackened asphalt beneath my feet seems - at first - to be a brilliant idea. The dirt and rocks have been replaced by a smooth and dustless road and the journey should be easier. Instead my steps are short and quick - my calloused feet - scorched from the summer sun's relentless assault on that blackened, heat absorbing asphalt; and I wonder whose idea it was - the insinuation that it's ever so easy.

There are times I find a cool patch of grass, to cool my blistered feet, to ease my weary body. I scrunch up my toes, digging them deep within the soft earth, trying my best to plant myself within the rich, forgiving soil. The respite is soothing. I enjoy the view from my little piece of greenery for I know - inevitably - that the march of life will continue on. I squint and place a hand over my eyes, a bystander now, watching those few that pass my resting place - looking at me enviously.

I want to raise a hand, summon them over, and share with them this place I have, but I know it's not truly mine to divvy up, nor theirs to accept. We all have our own roads to follow, our own aching feet to rest when it is time to do so. And I refuse to feel guilty about feeling rested, and ready for the road ahead. I deserve this little piece of Eden. I am still stung from the blisters that were raised and wept from the road I walked last year. And this grass it is my salve; and I am healing.

I place a hand over my heart and drum my fingers against my breast. The ache is gone. The fear has left. My son is safe.

Beneath my drumming fingers; however, a lump is felt. But please - I whisper - I want just a little longer upon this grass. Just a moment more to live without the journey, to walk without the scorching heat.  I close my eyes and wonder if it is time to step upon the blackened asphalt once more.

Time to journey on these calloused feet, to walk the road whose appearances are deceiving - for the journey is never that easy...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Potty Persuasion

What she would prefer to do in the bathroom - get into my makeup.
How hard is it to potty train a toddler? It's a piece of cake, simple really. When I potty trained my first baby (who is now 3 months shy of his fourth birthday) I put the potty in front of him, told him to pee and poop in it, and reminded him that diapers are for baby's not big boys. He got it. He hasn't used a diaper since. Accidents are rare for him, and he enjoyed the freedom and all the praise he received for doing his jobbies in a potty. Potty training should be called potty direction. Give the kid some directions and watch how easy it all is. Let them take the reins. Let them lead the way.

So I put the potty in front of Edie. Told her to pee and poop in it, and reminded her that diapers are for baby's not big girls. She didn't get it. I had to remind her every hour on the hour to use the potty. I had to bribe, cajole, threaten, beg, and perform goofy songs and acts to get her to even sit on the potty.

Potty training is HARD. Who the hell thinks this is easy - a piece of cake? Potty training should be called potty torture. I can't let her take the reins, or lead the way, because then I get panties full of poop, puddles of pee her brothers slip in, laughter as she runs from the accident she just left on my couch! She loves the praise I give her when she goes on the potty, but on the other hand she laughs maniacally when she pees all over herself and I have to chase her to clean her up. She's evil.

After a month of potty training - I ran to the Internet.( I needed reassurance that I wouldn't be cleaning poop off her prom dress!) I found so many tips that I wasn't sure what to do first. So I decided to cater my training towards my daughter directly. Edie loves Dora, and candy. So Scott picked her up a toilet insert (so she can pee and poop on a TOILET like her hero - me - while sitting on her favourite cartoon character - Dora!) and then I began bribing her with candy. At first I wasn't sure if this would be such a great idea, candy bribing I mean. What kind of mother would that make me? I'll tell you the kind of mother -  apparently I am the mother who will resort to obesity causing tricks to get my children to do what I want them to.

But here's the kicker! She hasn't had an accident in almost a week! I haven't had to clean up pee or poop of my hardwood floors, or off her brothers who were unfortunate enough to come upon her accident. I don't have to count to ten quietly while I change her pants, again. And I don't have to dread the morning when I pull off her nighttime diaper while preparing for the inevitable destruction of her clothes and all the fabrics in my house.

She has finally decided that going to the toilet (although more time consuming then finding a nice corner to crap in) is worth it...because she gets candy. Now I just have to find a way to slowly wean her off the reward system...

Potty training and all it implies is a lie. Toddlers will use the toilet when they feel like it. It's the one thing they have power over. You can't "train" a kid. You can only try to persuade them with whatever tools you have at your disposal! In fact that's what Potty training should be renamed.

Potty Persuasion!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

You're my Favourite

Dear Scott - My very favourite husband.

I want to say thank-you for doing the dishes TWICE on your days off. I know it takes a lot of motivation to perform such a monotonous task but I trust you were rewarded satisfactorily (even if my performance was less than stellar) ;)

I want to say REALLY! for the amount of time you have spent with your nose touching your new Itouch. If I have to watch you play anymore Facebook games while the kids desperately vie for your attention - I think I may break that thing. (Oh and please no more complaining about your aching wrist - this problem would be solved by putting down the Itouch (Carpal Tunnel!) and doing some dishes ;)

I want to say thank-you for cleaning out the car and rearranging the new car seats. I'm sure our children and their now safer lives also appreciate this. Plus I enjoy not having to play the game, "What's that smell?"

I want to say REALLY! for the toy donations that were supposed to be in a bin before Christmas. Your constant promise of "I'll do it tomorrow" is no longer sufficiently convincing.

I want to say thank-you for buying curtain rods, curtains, and installing these window dressings so that our peeping neighbours will no longer see our family in various states of undress! (You my dear husband who loves to wander around in his boxers, me who loves to strip naked to weigh herself - what woman doesn't do this? Gabe who is ALWAYS naked, Edie whose potty training and forgets to put her pants back on after a potty, and Preston whose a baby and gets his diaper changed.. frequently - does this kid ever stop pooping?!) And although I'm positive our family has already been seen naked by the neighbours (innumerable times), at least now they no longer have to avert their eyes from our humble dwelling.

I want to say REALLY! for the one blind I wish you would put up - the one for the shower room! I no longer wish to crawl to the shower...my knees are now more bruised than my ego.

I want to say thank-you for constantly reassuring me with our new secret code talk that you have not been replaced by an intruder from a separate dimension. That dark shadow I've seen in our house clearly has nefarious intentions, which may or may not be the plot to kidnap my husband and take his place (I probably shouldn't watch shows like "Weird or What"). I suppose I should also thank you for believing me when I say I have seen a dark shadow haunting the house - by now most would assume I was crazy - I myself am beginning to doubt my own eyes...

I want to say REALLY! when you do stuff to your paranoid wife - like pretending to be a ghost. I also want to apologize for punching you in the face - but I've seen dark shadows in our house, who want to replace you...so really...what did you expect?

Finally I want to say I love you and thank-you for being my very favourite husband; no REALLY, you are!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Death becomes her

As I sit here waiting patiently for the phone call that will arrange an appointment for a biopsy on Ouch (annoying and painful breast tumour), I can't help but think that if it's cancer...all this waiting around can't be very productive. And being a person who can't help but imagine the worst, my brain has conjured up a lot of death related images to torture me during this time of patient waiting. To bide my time I went in search of blogs, and the women who have faced breast cancer at my age. I ran across one fantastic blog called "The Big C and Me" written by Renn. She wrote a post that commented on a online friend's statement to her, "Just because I have cancer doesn't mean I'm going to die, and just because you don't doesn't mean you're going to live".  This got me thinking about life and death and how its inextricably linked. We all have expiry dates. We are all going to die. And we all do a damn good job of forgetting this fact.

A lot of people tell you to live everyday as if it is your last. Man have I tried, and boy have I failed. It's exhausting! Who lives like that? I don't want to sit there watching America's Next Top Model and think, "Is this the best way to spend an hour of my life I may never get back", especially when the answer is obvious...  No one wants live like their dying every damn day - least of which are the people dying every damn day. It's a cute thought but it's not very practical. So I got to thinking about my life and asked the question I think we should all be asking. If my life ended abruptly tomorrow what is it about my life that would have been worth the whole trip, bad times, good times, abrupt end and all?

The answer for me was immediate. My kids of course. And it's not because my DNA will live through them (although that is a pretty nifty bonus). The answer is 'my kids' because of things I could never adequately explain unless you are a parent yourself. Imagine your whole life being lived in 2d, and then one day, inexplicably everything is 3d. There is a depth to my life now that there wasn't before, a true love, an unwavering constant, and the one thing we all look for, some sort of assurance, some sort of guarantee ... Here's mine, here's the one thing that will never change, that will always be the same. I won't ever stop loving them. Even if they leave me. Even if they hate me. Even if they become vile, pathetic, humans that are murdering psychopaths, and Even if they die. I will never stop loving them; for as long as I live (and perhaps beyond).

Death is inevitable, and it's scary, and everyone would like to avoid it, but it's just another event in a normal life. To find love though, a love that cannot be rendered obsolete, that's what makes it all worth it.

Renn's cited blog http://thebigcandme.blogspot.com/2011/06/death-support.html

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I'm starting to question whether I should be the one influencing my children during playtime. No matter how hard I try I always seem to say something questionable that then gets repeated a million times over. Today for example, my normally tom boyish, little girl, Edie, insisted on playing Barbie's with me. I admit I was THRILLED! I started brushing their hair, and talking about the wonderful Ball we could attend, but before Rapunzel's horse could come and pick us up... Edie pulled off all their clothes and was casually conversing about "being naked" and "having a gina (vagina) too". Well this kind of conversation is not really my cup of tea, so I hung quietly in the background brushing Rapunzel's horses hair. Despite her conversation about "Gina's" I remained happy she decided to play with a doll instead of her brother's batman cave.

Now yes, I admit to teaching my kids the names for their body parts - and the proper names at that...as well as all the nicknames...but I digress. Soon Gabe was fascinated by the barbies and their lack of clothing, and he loudly announced that they all had "Barbie Boobies". Well anyone who doesn't find it hilarious -a three year old making an awesome alliteration like that - is just prudish. So I chuckled to myself and agreed with Gabe, they do indeed have Barbie Boobies. Our weird and slightly awkward Barbie play continued a little while longer, but soon it was time to clean up and I started to put all the Barbie's clothes back on - Edie was long gone, coloring somewhere in the corner by then, and Gabe picked up one of the dresses and asked which Barbie it went to. Well now out of my mouth pops an expression I should have probably kept to myself because the next thing I know he has named...NAMED...the Barbie this.

I told him the dress belonged to "Skanky" the Barbie.  I think I'm all clever and hilarious until he takes the doll to his batman and says, "Hi, my name is Skanky - what's your name?" (Inner groan commences). And I mean...come on! This Barbie has black, four inch (Scaled to size of course) high heels, a short dress that has only one strap, and eye makeup any proud corner owner would do justice with! Now was it smart to tell my son that she was Skanky the Barbie...in retrospect...not so much. But I think the bigger offence here is the fact the Barbie could be named Skanky and no one would think twice about it...and people would probably still buy the doll for their daughters!

....FYI...I was not the purchaser of this particular doll...that unfortunate choice lays at the feet of my oblivious husband!

Oh Barbie...what have they done to you....

And sorry Gabriel...for your new and unfortunate word - or name - as you now know it to be.