Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What the hell am I even doing?

The morning was filled with fun activities like water balloon bursting and running through sprinklers and painting outside on tacked up paper on the fence.

It was also filled with dealing with my challenging four year old son.  With his quick no's to my requests, his laughing in my face when I raised my voice, treating his little brother badly.  Outright disrespect that just about drives me to the point of feeling like I'm going to lose my mind.  If I haven't already lost it.

After a barely touched lunch, I began to clean up the kitchen.  The boys scampered up the stairs and I could hear them in one of the  bedrooms chattering, playing, probably jumping on the beds as I put the dishes away.

Out of nowhere the overwhelming feeling of not knowing what the hell I'm doing as a Mother - let alone one that is with her children 24/7 - seized it's dark hand around my soul and tears coursed unending down my face.

Who the hell claimed me qualified enough to do the most enormous job on earth?

No one, that's who.  

The thought made my mind and body exhausted.  Does any parent know what the hell they're doing?  Anyone?

I don't know - it seems there are parents that can handle their kids far better than I - and though some days I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job at this Motherhood gig...there are just as many that make me think I'm wandering this world of Motherhood alone.  Anxiety then hits me like a brick wall and I second guess everything I say and do.

Did my yelling out of sheer frustration scar him for life?  Should I play with him more?  I know I shouldn't let him watch so much Scooby Doo.  Do I play with them too much hindering their need for independent play?  Do I do too much for them?  Not enough?  They probably eat too many cookies.  At least their homemade.  Am I too strict about things that don't really matter?  Too lenient about matters that should be important?  Should they go to bed earlier?  I shouldn't tell him so much that he's driving me bananas.  Though I suppose it's better than telling him his never ending whining is bugging the living shit out of me.

It's this never ending commentary that circles my mind day in and day out.

After finishing tidying the kitchen I trudged tiredly up the stairs to find my sons' on the floor of my bedroom with the bed completely stripped down to the bare mattress and surrounded by what seemed like one hundred dvd's.

The tears began all over again.  The mess wasn't a big deal in the grand scheme of the day - but it was enough to put me right over the edge.

"Really guys?  Really?! Clean all of those dvd's up right now!"

"No."  Always his answer as of late.

That did it.

I picked him up from the pile of chaos, walked across the hall to his room and promptly tossed him on his bed leaving the room and closing the door behind me.  I slid down the door as he banged on it, my body wracked with sobs.  My little one saw my state from his perch amongst the pile of mess across the hall and quickly crawled over and climbed into my lap, wrapping his sweet little arms around my neck, his cheek resting upon my shoulder.

And though it felt delicious and comforting, it made me cry even harder.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Day of Firsts

There are many firsts in the life of a child that parents will mark down in their child's baby book.  The first smile, their first giggle, their first tooth, the first time they roll over.

As they get older and the baby books are left dusty and half forgotten on a high shelf in a closet, other firsts begin.

Firsts that we may not mark down but which stay with us, tucked in close to our hearts and minds.


Lunch time began with plates of peanut butter and honey sandwiches, wedges of apple slices and cups of milk.  It was quiet as my boys munched away at the kitchen table on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

My husband's phone rang.  He answered it with his usual gregarious greeting of our neighbour's last name.

Except it wasn't the neighbour he thought it was.  Instead the voice was much higher and little boy like.  The voice of another 4 year old.

"Can Adrian come out a play?"

As I stood beside my husband at the kitchen counter cleaning up the dishes I heard the voice too.  We looked at each other and smiled.

Our son's first phone call.

He told Jonathan that Adrian would be out to play after lunch then hung up the phone and declared this to be a monumental moment in our eldest son's life.

He pointed to the calendar and announced that we needed to mark this day down!  Our son's first phone call!  I had no idea my husband could get so sentimental about a moment such as this, but here goes...

May 26, 2012 - Adrian's first phone call from his buddy Jonathan.

Later that early evening as an impromptu neighbourhood party somehow landed at our home, I stood in the same spot preparing a dinner feast for all.  A miniature dance party was happening in our basement.  Unbeknownst to me my son who received his first phone call from his friend earlier in the day was now having his first dance with the sister of his buddy Jonathan.  A beautiful five year old girl was showing my son the proper way to hold a female when dancing.

It was his first dance with a girl other than his Mumma.  And I missed it.

The first phone call, a first dance...these are glimpses into the window of the future to come.

Soon it will be the first call from a girl...

...his first dance as a married man.

Now that dance?  I wouldn't miss for all the money in the world.

He'd just better be sure to save a dance for his ol' Ma.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Denied a Dance (for the first time)

His face appeared round, flushed and expectant at the back door.  His small chest bare, clad in his Green Lantern bathing suit, he had one hand against the door, the other holding up an empty blue sippy cup.

I walked over and slid open up the heavy glass door.  He stepped into the cool air of our home and I quickly shut the door to keep out the heat of the day.  It was an unseasonably warm summer-like day.

"Hi angel!"

"Mummaaa!  I need more water.  But I want to put it in myself!"

I picked up his not so small body, too big to be carried really, but I still do.  I sat him on the edge of the sink.  Music played in the back ground.  A song I wanted to dance to with my son.

I turned on the faucet and we filled his cup together.  

"I want to put the top on!"

He placed the top on, twisting it to tighten it just so, without help from me.

For the first time

A sweet song by Bruno Mars (Count on Me) was playing.  I swooped him into my arms from the kitchen counter and into the small 'dancing area' of our living room and spun around.

He protested.  His little boy hands with blue sippy cup pushing gently against my chest.  Orange-summer-scented sunscreen surrounded us.  

Even still I twirled with him to the music.  

"It's booorrrring!  I want to go play with my friends!"

With a mixed smile and a small forced laugh I reluctantly conceded lowering his bare feet down onto the cool wooden floor.

He walked to the glass sliding doors where he'd come in from as I stood rooted to the spot where we'd briefly danced.

He opened the sliding glass doors, pausing briefly before exiting.  He looked back at me his smile perfect and happy.  

"It's a beautiful day!" he declared before stepped out into the bright sunshine, running across the hot deck to jump through the sprinkler with his friends.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I walked into the kitchen to find this strategically placed on the counter by my four year old son.

He gets an A for effort - he even opened up the jar and that is not easy for little hands to do.

He does this once in a while.  Places items of food or drink on the counter when I'm not there and then a not so subtle hint. It's usually things that he thinks I might say no to.  Food or drink items that I consider a once in a while indulgence.  (I've also found him 'hiding' underneath the kitchen table with a large spoon and container of Cool Whip.  Then there was that other time that he convinced his brother to join him up on the counter to eat a bag of marshmallows while I was trying to catch the last few minutes of the Regis and Kelly finale folding laundry upstairs - but ha! caught them in the act! They think they're sooo sneaky.)

No need to point out all the fatal parenting flaws going on in this picture.
A big fat parenting FAIL all over the place here.

I'm obviously not against this chocolate spread - being that it's in my cupboards and all.  And though I'm not a big fan of it myself due to having over indulged in it by about a thousand spoonfuls 4 years ago when my Danish neighbours introduced it to me, I can understand why it's appealing for most people, especially kids. (okay, okay.  So there may have been times since when I'm feeling a bit crazy for lack of chocolate and I grab a few fingerfuls spoonful.)

I'm not saying that I don't allow him have it on toast for breakfast once in a blue moon...(I'll admit that when it's the third week of my husband being away on business and he's having a freak out about needing to have a cookie for breakfast I'll hand it over without a second thought.  Child wears me down some days.) I would just rather him choose to eat something with a bit more nutritional value.

Like the Eggo waffles doused in butter and syrup that he had instead.  (Alright - so in my defense the waffles were whole wheat and the syrup was the delicious Canadian 'real' kind - which! by the way! is loaded with antioxidants!)

Anyway...I'm not sure of my point here.  I guess I just thought it was adorable and wanted to remember this as something he often does now before I forget and before he stops doing it.

Also?  When I went to look for him after finding the Nutella on the counter, I found him upstairs with suspicious smudges around his mouth that looked a lot like chocolate.

"What's that around your mouth Aidy?"

He looked in the nearby mirror then back at me with an expression that could only be described as sheepish.

Poor child of mine.

He obviously got his chocoholic tendencies from yours truly.

Excuse me while I go make my son a long overdue Nutella sandwich.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

He is Home

I felt him awaken just as the sun was rising.  It was early.

He leaned over and kissed my cheek.  The sheets crumpled and twisted between us.  

"Good morning honey."

"Mm-hm." My eyes remained shut, my limbs heavy from sleep.

He pulled on his sweatshirt as he always does before he proceeds down the stairs to the kitchen.

I was alone and awake. Still so tired.

I could hear the crinkling sound of plastic as he emptied the garbage.

The running of water and clinking of dishes being emptied from the dishwasher.

The birds chirped pleasantly in the tree just outside our bedroom window.

The cool morning breeze flapped the blinds on our window and I turned over to my other side, pulling the covers over my bare shoulders, burrowing deeper beneath my duvet.

 My face feeling the chill, my body warm.

I could smell the delicious, pungent aroma of coffee brewing.

And I drifted.

Awoken again to the sound of my 2 year old's chatter-babble and abrupt giggles from large Daddy handed tickles on little boy bellies.

An out of the blue question from my eldest to his father, "Daddy can I come to work with you tomorrow?"  And the feeling of sweet relief from my husband's baritone-tender reply, "I'm not going to work tomorrow Aidy.  Daddy's staying home again with you."

The morning sunlight peered cheerful through the crack in the blinds and fell wonderfully optimistic through the open door of our bedroom, spilling yellow onto our beige carpet.

The scent of coffee heavy, rich and close, I peeked open my eyes to find my large black mug emblazoned white with 'The Boss' filled to the brim and now cool on my nightstand.

I stretched beneath the blankets and savoured the feeling of no urgency or must do's.

The birds sang peacefully, the sound of my boys playing happy and loud.

My husband's voice clear and loving, "Okay guys, how about we go downstairs now...we don't want to wake up Mummy."

My smile sleepy and serene.

It was a perfect start to the day.

He was home.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Golden Memories

I sat on my bike at what seemed like a very steep, long hill in front of our home.  When in reality, as a grown adult now, would probably be a not so long, not at all steep pathway.

But!  As a four year old little girl?  Very steep.  Very long.

My Dad ran alongside me a few steps and let go of the back of my bicycle seat.

Away I went.

And from the blurry memories..I recall I fell.

And fell.

And fell again.

But I don't remember the physical pain.

Nope.  Not a bit.  I was determined.

After a few times of failure I was let go once again...and there I went.

My strong, sturdy little legs pumped, to keep me going.

All by myself.

A child's first taste of freedom is the first time they learn to ride a bike.

All on their own.

I truly believe that.


As my neighbour kindly pumped up the air in the tires of a bicycle I had been reunited with for the first time in 5 years I became excited.  I have so many wonderful memories of the adventurous (though not altogether safe! - helmets for bicycling did not exist - or were not enforced at all 'back then') bike rides my father would take us on.

As a teenager I often biked to school.  As an adult I once biked over 50 km.  For fun.

Once my kind neighbour had finished his neighbourly duty I strapped on my helmet and hopped on. My boys became quite enamored by the fact that I was actually on a bicycle too.  Or quite possibly I mistook their look of being enamored with amusement by how dorky I looked in my helmet.

I can't quite be sure.

I took a few spins on the road in front of our house and raced my eldest.

The exhilaration was still there.

A soul-spark was reignited.

We had decided to go for a quick ride around the block but ended up at a nearby school.  Just behind the school is a large pavemented area with spray painted games...not like the hop scotch 'back in my day' (really? did I just say that?!)...but games unfamiliar to my generation (really? again? MY generation!? Yikes) with lots of numbers and complicated patterns.  There was also a large yellow smiling face with the top of his head open like the lid on a cookie jar with symbols emerging from it and a statement that read beneath, "Fill your bucket".

I liked it.  (sounds much creepier than it looks)

It had rained that day but the sun had shone hot that afternoon so there were only a few puddles left.

Feeling like a kid again I peddled fast and furious, flying through the puddles with my legs up and out like a v-shape as the tires slashed through the water, splashing high.

"Wooooooo!"  I yelled...and of-course my boys followed.

We raced, we splashed, we woo-hooed!, we played 'bike tag' (much less risky than one would think - in fact I'm still a bit confused by the rules my four year old made up), we rode in circles, zig-zags and in straight lines.

It brought back a wonderful deluge of memories from when I was a young girl.

As the early evening white-gold warm sun shone upon us behind that school, I felt like I was looking down from above.  A huge smile on my face.

There are first moments for everything in life and this was another. For truly wonderful memories of my childhood had just come full circle.  

I didn't want to forget this one.  No.  Not at all.

This memory?  I wish to keep safely preserved.  

Beautifully golden.  

Strong, precious and untouchable.

And I wonder, as I often do when a moment with my children rings clear and authentic, if this will be one of their golden memories...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When He's Gone

"I am master of the bubbles!" my eldest declared from the tub of water and plenty of bubbles that almost reached his and his brother's neck.

"Master of the bubbles!" his little brother mimicked.

I was wiping down the bathroom counter, placing toothpaste on their brushes.  I caught a reflection of myself in the mirror.

Tomorrow would be Day Nine of my husband away.

Unsurprising that I looked more than a little pale.....completely exhausted.  But I noticed my mouth was drawn up listening to my son's chattering.

Friends often wonder how I do it.  Honestly speaking...I don't know how I do, other than the fact that I have no other choice.

When I know the day of departure is looms dark and foreboding.  But while he's gone I'm too busy to even think most days.  I just go, be, do.  Whatever must be taken care of...whoever must be taken care of.  I suppose I've gotten used to it.  The excessive travel that begins slowly in September and increasingly more frequent come the New Year.  I also suppose I should be thankful that the summer months he's here...but there are also the late nights and long days.  It's been over 6 years of this but the struggle for balance in both of our lives is constant.  Him, family over boys over myself, over marriage.  It's not a new story and it causes a strain and a stress on the best of marriages.

I begrudge him the fancy dinners as I sit home and eat the boys leftover half eaten Kraft Dinner and chicken fingers.

He would rather be with us, eating a home cooked meal (which, when he's home, does not involve Kraft Dinner or chicken fingers - not that he would care in the least).

I begrudge him the fact that he's actually hanging out and having face to face intelligent conversations  with people the same age.

But I know he would rather be with us, listening to the  Superhero stories spun by our four and two year old, however hard they are to follow.

I begrudge him having undisturbed sleep in a beautiful hotel room, with room service.   Not having to clean up after himself.

But I know in my heart that with the dark of the night comes feelings of lonliness and longing for us.  Although I'm sure he is quite content not to have to clean up after himself.

It is the constant influx of emotions....the up-down...the wow - I am supermom - I tie dyed 5 shirts with my 4 year old today and didn't lose my mind.  Then comes the wow at bath time when I realize the green dye isn't coming off of his legs...and did I check the box to see if it was toxic free...and OMG will he get ink poisoning?!

What kind of Mother doesn't check to see if the dye is toxic free?!

What kind of Mother tye dyes FIVE shirts with her FOUR YEAR old son?!!!

And why am I calmest in situations I normally would lose complete patience but then yell at my boys when they won't stop goofing off and get ready for bed?  

Will they remember these moments?  Have I scarred them for life?!

"Close your eyes Mumma".  I sit on the boy's bumpy white plastic footstool in front of the tub that contains my sons, a million bubbles and lots of bath toys.

I close my eyes.

"Okay, you can open them now!"

I open them up to see the sopping wet blue washcloth folded and lumpy at the edge of the bath tub.

"Oh!  What's this?"

"A present for you!"

I carefully peel the dripping cloth away to find my gift.

An R2D2 toy.

I thank him profusely and he beams with pride.

He arrives home at the tail end of Mother's Day.

I hope his gift to me is just as heartfelt.

Though possibly a little bit more thoughtful.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

10 Things I do Every.Single.Morning.

Listicles!!!  I love them. And so here I am again.  What do you do in one hour of your day?  Perfection.

Funny thing is, I was just thinking about this today as I was doing about 4 things at the same time. Folding laundry, cooking dinner, scolding my children and drinking wine.

It's a well known fact that women are born master multi-taskers.

That is why we make such great Mothers.

Here is my typical morning between the hours of 7am - 8am.  I stay at home with my boys so I have the luxury of not having to really 'be' anywhere which is nice, I will admit.  But that doesn't make my mornings any easier.

7am (this can vary between the 6 - 6:30...7 am is being extraordinarily optimistic here!) - awake to my 4 year old climbing into my bed, snuggling all warm and cozy with me under the covers and giving me the false impression that I can do the same...before he demands asks for juice.  I tell him Mummy just woke up and he needs to give me a few minutes.  He falls silent for about 1 minute...and then whines for juice again.

7:05 - stumble to the kitchen for said juice.  While I'm in the kitchen I figure I should probably start up some coffee so that I can begin to feel somewhat human.  (that's 2 things there right?)

7:10 - bring eldest juice, climb back into bed and pray to God that littlest doesn't start yelling for 'MUUMMMY' for at least another 20 minutes.

7:15 - littlest starts yelling for 'MUUUUMMMY!!!!'  I retrieve smallest child from crib and fail to change diaper as he screams, squirms and completely LOSES HIS SHIT when I even attempt to bring him near the change table.

7:20 - bring him into my bed, lie between him and his brother so as not to cause any disturbance and turn on Scooby Doo.  Try to fall back asleep but all I can smell is pee and little elbows and knees are jabbing me in places that should never see nor feel elbow or knees.

7:30 - Littlest says he's 'Hummy'.  In other words he's hungry and must have his morning dose of Cheerios with milk.  Stat.

7:35 - Descend the stairs with Mr Stinky Pee Pants on hip - pray that his diaper isn't so full he leaks onto my pj's, retrieve cereal box, pour cereal and milk into a bowl and bring to Master Finley who awaits on chubby kneecaps at his usual chair.

7:36 - Pour myself a massive cup of coffee with milk and sit with youngest at table.

7:40 - Youngest demands more milk.  Trudge over to fridge, retrieve milk, bring to table and pour more milk into bowl.

7:50 - Eldest yells from upstairs that the PVR'd Scooby Doo is done and he wants another - trudge upstairs to do as told.  Or else risk the wrath of Master Adrian.

7:52 - Rush back down the stairs to ensure smallest child does not choke on Cheerios.  Notice that he's finished his Cheerios and is now on his way to undressing himself right down to his stinkin' saggy diaper.  Which promptly I ignore.  I can't handle the hysterics of attempting that diaper change again.  I have yet to finish my coffee.

8:00 - Feed the dog.  Feed the plants.  Feed myself.

Oh wait.

That was more than 10 wasn't it?

The Stitches of my Heart

After a couple of story books and a Chapter from Charlotte's Web I tucked Adrian in on the top bunk, asked for a kiss which was deliciously and promptly given (as always). We said our 'I love you's'.

"To the moon and back, forever and ever and always...don't you forget it!"

As I climbed (mercifully) down the ladder (I don't remember those rungs hurting my feet so much as a child) I saw my littlest snug as a bug in the duvet on the bottom bunk.

Would tonight be the night?  For both of them to share the room, the bunk beds and all?

"Fin, do you want to sleep here or in your crib in your own room?"  He is, after all, an independent soul who craves his own space and doles out his affection at his own accord.  Do not push or invade into his personal territory.  You will be shunned.  Mercilessly so.  Not even a fake pout or cry will get you sympathy.  Not any more.  Not even to his own Mother.  This is not to say he is as prickly as a cactus, for he is not at all.  He loves giving hugs and gives the most scrumptious and juiciest of smooches.  But on his own time.  At his own free will.

Clingy girls of his warned.  I fear for your broken hearts.

"Sleep here."  The decision was made.

I laid my head down beside his to ensure no after dark parties would be taking place whilst Mother's not around.

I hadn't lain beside my youngest for naps or bed time since he was a newborn babe.  I wondered how long it would take for him to settle.

After a couple "Hellooo down there's!" from Adrian on the top bunk calling through the crack where the bed and wall meet I heard some rustling and settling in.  Then quiet from above.

I laid on my side facing my little one.  Despite the black out blinds in the room the light from the evening sun spilled through the window of our foyer into the upstairs hallway and made it's way into the bedroom.

I closed my eyes and every now and then would peek out of one eye to see if he'd fallen asleep yet.

Every time I would meet his big blue eyes staring at mine, his zazzy (his own made up word for soother) making the adorable rhythmic up and down motion in his mouth.

I quickly shut my eye again.  I felt his fingers trace my face and tickle my lips.  I kissed his sweet fingertips.  Then pretending to munch on them.

Nom, nom, nom.

Belly giggles.  The best kind.



Just as I thought sleep had descended and I could make a break for it, a shadow crossed my closed eyes.  I opened them up to find myself eye to eye with Sleepy Sheepy, Finley's impish face peeking out behind his off white fluffy ear.  I laid Sleepy Sheepy between us and we said good night again.

The shadow moved across my shut eyes once more.  And there they were again.

So this was what it was like to try and fall asleep with my little one.

Silly, sweet and a little restless.

Eventually Mr Sandman entered and all I could hear was the beautiful sound of deep, even breathing.

The sky was now darkened. I gave his soft warm cheek one last kiss good night and quietly made my way to the door.

I paused at the doorway giving one last wistful glance from the doorway at my sound sleeping sons.

In bunk beds.

My heart swelled until I felt it split open - just a tiny a seam on a well loved toy.

An unravelling in the stitches of my heart.

There would be more.

This was just the beginning.

My babies.

They were growing up.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Wisdom of a Four Year Old

I surveyed my kitchen which looked like every cupboard including random food items from the refrigerator were strewn across my small counter space trailing into a pile in the sink.

Sighing with the thought of not knowing where to start I donned my pink rubber dish washing gloves.

I really hate the colour pink.

My boys ran into the kitchen and began rummaging through the drawer that housed the utensils they're allowed to play with and came up brandishing wooden spoons.

"Mumma!  Come play Harry Potter with us!  I will be Harry Potter and Finley can be the other boy and you can be the girl."

"Bud I just need to get these dishes done and then I can's okay.  You guys go on ahead and play together."

I'll admit right now...playing imaginary games with my boys is not my forte.  Give me a hockey stick or a soccer ball.  A puzzle or a colouring book. A walk in the woods or even the park.  But imaginary play?  I suck at.  And truth be told...I would rather wash dishes than play imaginary Harry Potter.  Especially cast as the frizzy haired bossy curmudgeon with the unfortunate name of Hermione.  Why couldn't I be Ron?  He's funny!  And likable!  And I can pronounce his name!

"Pleeeease Mumma!  Come play!"

"C'mon Mummy!"  Even my 2 year old was in on it.

"I will play with you.  I promise.  Just give me 15 minutes to clean up the kitchen."  Quite possibly the game of Harry Potter might be done by then.  My fingers were crossed.

"What's gonna happen if you don't clean the kitchen?"

I stopped.  I looked at my 4 year old and my 2 year old's adorable faces.  Tilted up.  Staring at me expectantly.  With magical enthusiasm.  Their 'wands' held tightly in their little fists.

Ding.    Ding.   Ding.   


I pulled off my dreadful pink latex gloves one by one.

"What will happen Mumma?  Will the police come?"

Alright, alright kid.  You got me.  

I laughed and told him, "Nothing honey.  Nothing will happen if I don't clean up the kitchen right now.  Let me get my wand out..." as I reached into the drawer and retrieved the last available wooden spoon.

They say your children will teach you more than you will ever teach them.  How true that is. I learned some  very important lessons that day.

1.  Nothing actually does happen when you don't get the dishes done.  

2.  Imaginary play I may still be terrible at...but my sons' will cut me some serious slack.

3.  I can make a mean pair of Harry Potter glasses with cardboard, black electrical tape and an elastic.  Clearly I am much craftier and innovative than I've ever given myself credit for.

So he's missing some clothing.  But how can you not be impressed with that magical stance!??
(he even made me draw the scar on his forehead...except I put it on the wrong side)