Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Whilst Carving Pumpkins with Young 'uns

"Hey let's carve some pumpkins my sweet darlings!  It's going to be SO MUCH FUN!"  Said no Mother ever.

Because in reality you know deep down in the very pit of your stomach this is actually a shitstorm of a no good, terrible, very bad idea.  

But you do it anyway.  Because children make you do insane things.

Or just make you insane.  Period.

So there we went from grocery store to grocery store on HALLOWEEN DAY trying to find pumpkins for sale.  

Turns out they are in high demand this time of year and quite possibly will be sold out everywhere on the day you actually want to display them.

The unfortunate-fortunate part is that we did eventually find some.

This whole experience is semi-new to me considering the last time I carved a pumpkin I was pregnant with my second son and Adrian had little to do with assisting me, being not even 2 years old. 

Today I came away a little enlightened (and a lot frazzled) and decided to make a short (only slight tongue in cheek) list of tips for carving pumpkins with your little ones if you've not yet dared to...


Tip #1 - When you arrive home with your sweet pumpkins and future Jack-O-Lanterns in tow you may want to crack open a bottle of wine.  Or a very large bottle of vodka.  Because though not advisable to become inebriated when dealing with children and knives and all those really bad combinations of things thrown together it might make things much more tolerable.  (I didn't do this though upon reflection I probably should have).  

Tip #2 - Ensure your floors have not been cleaned least 2 weeks so that any pumpkin guts that fall to the floor won't matter a bit.  Though you've covered every square inch in the radius of 25 feet, your floor WILL become littered with slimy pumpkins seeds and smears of raw pumpkin no matter what measures you take.  

Tip #3 - Do not freak out if your children decide to take a chunk of the pumpkin eye carving and begin to gnaw on it like mine did.  Your child will not get salmonella or botulism or e-coli as I fully believed they would. They will not keel over with food poisoning.  Though they could (if they eat too much) get a bit of a belly ache in actuality raw pumpkin and raw pumpkin seeds are actually very nutritious and a great source of Omegas.  And if you think about it this will probably be the only source of nutrition they'll actually want in the next month or so, so tell them to have at it.  

Gnaw away dear children.  Gnaw away.

Tip #4 - When brainstorming your pumpkin carvings with your children do not use a black sharpie on your white dry erase board.  However, IF you happened to be as distracted as I am (I blame this totally on my children by the way) and you do a dimwitted thing such as I, then be assured all is not destroyed!    

Tip #5 - when picking out your pumpkin(s) it's important to do an all over inspection to make sure that it is not rotting. I realize this is a very obvious tip but these things aren't always so obvious for everyone.  (ahem - see tip numero quattro...I may not be a genius but I know 2 different languages)

Tip #6 - This one is also simple so lean in close, read my words and heed my advice or you could be very, very sorry.

NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER agree to carve pumpkins with a 3 and a 4 year old.  

What happens is you end up doing everything...even the scooping out of the pumpkin guts which is ultimately the whole point of kids helping you carve pumpkins right?  Your arm will feel like it's going to fall off as you begin to sweat due to carving ridiculous looking shapes into a very HARD gourd with a very sharp knife.  Your children will have become extremely bored by the whole process (because you won't allow them to wield a knife - which hello! is the most fun part of all) and will begin running circles around you naked, playing spaceships and rockets, screaming like batshit crazy banshees while you'll be wishing you had that bottle of vodka beside you to drink straight from praying aliens would in fact abduct your spawn at that very moment as you yell, "I have a sharp knife!  Stop running!  I have a sharp knife!  Stop screaming! I have a sharp knife!  STOP!!!!!  JUST STOOOOOPPPPPP!!!"  

Eventually you just give up as the madness increases around you.  

And pause amongst the've become the eye in the middle of the (shit)storm so you might akin it to, admiring your amazing pumpkin artwork.

This was not enjoyable in the least.
In regards to tip number 5:  Closely inspect pumpkin on right.
Back left molar.
He needs to see a dentist.

 Like 2 years ago.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Deep Thoughts and a Spider-Man Serenade

I've recently come to the realization that a lot of my blog posts (especially as of lately) seem to revolve around bedtime.  This may be because it's my favourite part of the day with my boys.  Not because they're about to delve into sweet, sweet slumber and I no longer have to physically parent them for 12 hours (although...yes that is something I look forward to) but because it's when they say and do the cutest, funniest and most random things.

This is the scene from last night....


The room is dark and Riley is curled up at the foot of his bed, as my eldest so often requests now.  I lay beside him in his darkened room when Finley meanders in to give me a kiss good-night after cuddles with John.  My little one makes his way into his room, my husband follows to tuck him in for the night.

All is quiet for a few minutes.

I often wonder what goes through Adrian's head at night.  He's not a chatty child.  Perhaps he has deep thoughts, I think to myself.

And then I find out about those deep thoughts, "Mummy?"

"Yes baby?"

"Why is Green Lantern bald?  Not in the movie but in the books?"

My thoughts:  Green Lantern is bald?  He's black in the books.  Is he bald and black? (I try to conjure up the image of the character from his Justice League books) Is it even PC anymore to call a black person black?  I'm white though...I'm not offended if someone calls me white.  Wait a minute...what was the question again?  Oh yeah - Green Lantern...why is he bald.  But isn't Ryan Reynolds the Green Lantern in the movie?  He's white.  But...why doesn't a black actor play the Green Lantern? Wait a minute...aren't there like a lot of different Green Lanterns?  Why are there so many?  How do I even know this??!!!

And then I answered him..."I'm not sure sweets.  Maybe he shaves his head."

Now that is some seriously profound conversation right there.

It's like he reads my mind.  "And why is his skin different in the books?"  He holds his hand up in the air like he stroking something, a face perhaps, that's not there.  "It's like a brown colour."

"You're right.  I'm not sure why.  I actually just wondered the same thing.  I think there were few different Green Lanterns."

Amazing, the things you learn when you become a parent.  Aside from not knowing anything about babies before I had one, I didn't know much about superheroes either. Now I'm like some sort of superhero expert or something.

"Maybe we can look it up on the computer in the morning."  He states and I concur.  He's four yet extremely observant.  Google, he's noticed, is Mommy's 'other brain' when my actual real one doesn't have the answer.

Which, admittedly, is quite often.

It becomes quiet again.  Until I hear the first strains of the Spider-Man theme song coming from my youngest's room.

"Spider-man, Spider-man
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a witch any time...

no,no,no... (becomes a few octaves louder as Adrian squirms in the bed and groans in annoyance about his brother being too loud)

Spider-man, Spider-man
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a witch any time
Catches thieves just like flies."

Repeat this about 6 times with each verse becoming that much more louder substituting 'web' with 'witch' just to shake things up a bit.  He's unpredictable like that.  An outside of the box thinker.

It was reminiscent of when he first began babbling and would wake up in the middle night, not crying, but babbling loudly.  My husband and I would wake up mostly amused by the adorableness of it and a tiny bit annoyed about our sleep being disrupted yet again. We were grateful that he wasn't crying of-course...but ohmygosh those babbles were LOUD.

Eventually it became quiet with the sound of just my son breathing deeply beside me.

The dog warm at my feet.

It was a good night.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why Gwyneth and I will never be BFF's

I'm just going to begin by saying that I really, really try hard to not judge others.  I truly do.  The person playing their guitar outside the liquor store.  That Mother semi losing it on her children over there.  The squigee kid on the corner.  The unfriendly supermarket cashier that barely looked at me as she scanned my groceries while I semi lost it on my boys who wouldn't stop kicking each other.  Even celebrities.  Yes.  I even try not to judge celebrities.  I was saddened by the Britney Spears fiasco.  The Charlie Sheen dramatics were disturbing to me because it was clear he was not 'winning' anything.  Maybe he really was drinking tiger blood but it sure as hell must've been spiked with a whole lotta something else. Angelina Jolie...well that was a really, really difficult period because she stole my husband and then went on to have 12 kids.  That hurt.  Then there's Gwenyth Paltrow.  Though it seemed like all the Mommy bloggers hate her for...I don't know....feeding her kids too much organic kale and quinoa?  Whatever.  I actually enjoy her cook book, though it seems she does go a  bit overboard on the agave nectar or whatever the it's called.  It's no substitute for sugar in my books so I won't be making her brownies.  Ever.

Besides Gwen's over usage of agave syrup or nectar or whateverthehellitscalled I actually liked her.  I've seen her on Oprah.  She seemed pretty cool. Amusing even. I didn't understand why (a lot) of other people didn't.

Okay.  So that cupping thing was a little alarming.

Odd.  And a lot unattractive.
Gwyneth my dear...what were you thinking?!

Oh and that crazy awful diet she did where all you eat is grass, barley and dandelions and heinous untasteful things like that?  I wouldn't last 5 minutes on that.  And neither would my marriage.  It's just not healthy to be that healthy you know what I mean?

I found myself flipping through the latest In Style magazine, in sweet sweet peace, away from my darling little spawns at the lovely lady's home that does my hair once a year or so and since I quite like G.P. (as only Mario Batali and I refer to her of-course) and since I only question some of her decisions (like naming her daughter after a fruit and her son Moses...then again I'm named after a month so who am I to judge...though technically - not my fault) I stopped flipping to read an interview with her.

There I was enjoying being able to read an entire magazine article without having to referee my children, cook dinner and let the dog out because she's barking, when she had to pause the interview (according to the article) to attend to her daughter.  She returned back and said these words"She's cross because I only let them watch TV in French or Spanish," Paltrow said of her daughter Apple "When I'm in France, I go to [Boulevard] Beaumarchais and buy all their cartoons." 

My eyes rolled so far back in my head that it actually pained me.  I totally judged her on those two extremely hoity toity sentences.  

You know where I go for my boys cartoons? 

The PBS channel.  

And Walmart.

And then I got really sad.

Because all my dreams of her and I sipping on a chilled glass of white wine while enjoying her fried zucchini pasta (which is quite delicious btw) with our adorable little ones frolicking around her palatial home in England went whooooosh out my sticky finger printed back patio door.  Clearly learning Spanish from Dora and Diego is not sophisticated enough for my former BFF, Gwen.  Though I'll have you know my boys fluently speak the basics.  

Hola, abuela, arriba, gracias and amigos.  

And they can count to three in Spanish too.  I mean, come on now.  That's pretty awesome.

So sadly, I must bid our fake friendship adieu because Gwyneth, though you may be a very nice person, you are just too good for us.  And that's really too bad. You really are missing out on what could be a most fulfilling, fun, down to earth friendship.

 I'm kind of a big deal too you know.

At least my kids believe that anyway.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Love Sandwich

I opened our red front door quietly.  It was 8 o'clock, surely the boys would be fast asleep.

Through the dim light from the kitchen stove I made out four chairs lined up in a row in the middle of the living room deducing that something major was spilled in the eating area at dinner time.

Or perhaps there was a game of musical chairs before bed time.

I'd hoped for the latter.

The thought made me smile.

It turned out my thoughts that beamed on positivity were true.

After putting the chairs back in their place I walked up the stairs towards our closed bedroom door. I could see the blue glow from beneath the door and hear the hum from the television.

My eldest and my husband were curled up in our bed watching a show that had singers competing against one the theme of music continued into the night as it always tends to.

"You look pretty." He looks at me with shy eyes and a small smile.  My hair was a brighter shade of red, shiny and blown out.

I place my hands on his cheeks and kiss his mouth.  "Thank you sweet love."  And then I added playfully, "Did Daddy tell you to say that?"

Not because he doesn't tell me himself.  He told me just yesterday that I was beautiful all on his own.   I'm not sure why I asked or even if I should have.  But I did.

His eyes opened a tad wider, "How did you know?"  Then again...maybe it's beneficial for us all that he believes I just know should keep him out of trouble for a while anyway.  Until he finds out the truth.

That I'm fumbling my way through this crazy world just as he is.

Just as we all are at times.

I left the room to check on my little one.  I kissed his sweet sleeping face half a dozen times, fixed his half a dozen blankets, settling his favourite stuffed animals around him and quietly padded out of the room returning to my other loves.

I crawled into our big bed. Adrian lay between us.  I laid my arm over my son's middle, my hand finding my husband's on the other side when Adrian made the most delicious observation, "Hey, we're a love sandwich."  And he smiled big as we laughed even bigger.

Indeed we were.

A Love Sandwich.

With our little ham in the middle.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Night Like This

I walked into our room shrouded in darkness.  I felt my way toward the bed.

"I can't see a thing."  I whisper, knowing little boys were sleepy yet still awake in our bed cuddled up with their Daddy.

I blindly found my place and lay curled around my eldest.

I pictured someone looking down upon us at that moment.  A perfect picture of family happiness.

And we are.

And we aren't.

Life is full of those moments when another could pass us by and marvel at our smiles.  Our laughter.

And those moments that one would judge us in a minute of sharp tongues and dark looks.

Before we become parents we often have our romantic vision of what parenthood will entail.  For some people the dream comes to fruition - perhaps?  Maybe.  But...for many others the beginning can often be an uncomfortable jolt of reality mixed in with the occasional slit of sunshine.  It's hard.  It is that.  We often impatiently anticipate the next stage.  When will they begin to walk so that we don't have to carry them 24/7.  The next year.  When they can communicate their needs.  So that we don't have to hear them squawk every time they're hungry, thirsty or simply in need for some affection.  The next year after that.  So that perhaps those nerve fraying tantrums will come to end.  (I'm still waiting for that time to come).

And sometimes, like tonight, we sigh a happy sigh, surrounded by what is right now.

"Okay's time for bed."  I could hear my husband murmur to our little one.

"No way."  Of-course no way.  What's better than snuggling in bed with your whole family?  I'll tell you what...nothing.  I knew where he was coming from.

"Oh but I think Sleepy Sheepy and Bunny want you to come to bed.  They missed you today.  Can't you hear them calling for you?"

This was my cue.  What becomes the teamwork of marriage.  Then the unspoken teamwork of parenthood. I prepared my voice in the upper register of my already slightly high voice and began softly, trying not to awaken my other son, now warm with sleep by my side.  "Finleeeeyyy....Fiiiinleeeey."

"Oh!  Did you hear that?  Sleep Sheepy's calling you."

He giggled with delight.

"And I think I hear Bunny now too."

I prepared my voice once again.  Lower, gravelly.  "Finley!  Fiiiinley...."

He lowered himself from our high bed dropping softly to the carpet, making his way to his room until my husband scooped him up into his arms.

"Don't forget to give Mummy a kiss goodnight."

My husband lowered him down to my face, his lips puckered for mine.  He buried his face in my neck for quick hug and off he went.

As I turned toward my eldest, breathing deeply in dreamland I recalled the too short, sleepless, crying filled nights that I thought would never end.  The endless days anticipating the arrival of my husband from work.  Each minute ticking by slower than the next.  (and still living these days).

I remembered my romantical visions of parenthood before I became one.

I reminisced the collision of my far fetched vignette edged dreams with the sharpened edge of reality as my right now was filled with soft, sweet contentment.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

He Loves Me More than Cheerios

We lay underneath the simulated constellations provided by his twilight turtle, in my littlest's toddler bed.  I was as comfortable as an adult can be in a toddler bed (which is not at soon as my shoulder hit that vinyl-like hard mattress it promptly fell asleep) but Fin was as snug as a bug surrounded by about 12 blankets, 3 of his stuffed animals and of-course me.

After singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star about 50 times I told him it was time for him to close his eyes and go to sleep  .

"No way."  A simple 'no' does not suffice for him.

"I love you."

"I yuv you."  He whispered back.

"How much does Mummy love you?"

"Big Much."

"More than big much baby."  And just to prove to how much..."I love you more than coffee.  I love you more than...chocolate.  I love you more than..."


I didn't just laugh.  I guffawed.  Child knows his Mother well.

"What do you love Mummy more than?"

"Oatmeal."  Oatmeal?  Oatmeal??!!  I was only a more than a little bit outraged.  I mean doesn't everyone like anything better than oatmeal?!!

I accepted it.  But.  I had to truly find out the depth of his love for me.  So I asked him the real testing question.

"Do you love Mummy ...  more than ... Cheerios?"

I held my breath.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't sure what his answer would be.  Baby boy of mine has a serious, serious addiction love for his Cheerios and milk.

His answer was clear.



Friday, October 12, 2012

The Past: A Piece of Me

I am not one that lives in the past.  Who sits and stews in anger and regret.  I am not the type of person who holds bitterness toward people who have done me wrong.  I am not a woman that has ever felt sorry for herself.  I am not that kind person and I will never be but occasionally I see, watch or read something and it hits me right in my gut, immediately travelling painfully to my mind.  And I relive things that I would rather forget.

I sit here with a pounding heart and shaky hands after watching the horrendously tragic video by Amanda Todd.  If you're unfamiliar with her story, this is the beautiful young girl who was bullied, harassed and beaten so relentlessly that she felt she had no other option in life than to take it away with her own hands.

While reading it I was bombarded by memories of my own tween-aged and teen-aged years.  And though I wasn't bullied horrifically like Amanda I have more than enough slides in my memory bank to make up a short sad film.  I shudder to think what would have become of me if social media existed back then.  I still don't understand why I was the occasional target of others hate - particularly one girl.  And by no means was I always a total innocent.  As young girls in public school there was a rotation of singling out one person - Mean Girl style - and it's shameful.  I said and did my own share of things that I am not proud of...haven't we all?  But here, I will tell my story, my perspective of what it feels like to be bullied, picked on, made to feel less than I should have or whatever you wish to call it.

I suppose it began when I went through puberty and developed at an early age.  I was called names by boys as they tried to snap my training bra while also running past me to cop a feel. Like my bodily developments were in my control and because I had breasts I was automatically labelled promiscuous (I was not but regardless that's certainly not the point) and deserved this treatment. In grade 8 I moved to a different school, right in the middle of the year.  If that isn't hard enough on a 13 year old girl there were rumours that a girl from my old school had 'sent' to my new school via a mutual 'friend' - completely and 100 percent false.  I can't even type what they were because they were so crude.  I lost my best friend to this girl, I lost a whole group of friends.  I also made new ones at my new school but not without having to prove myself otherwise.  Whatever that means.  I was (looking back now, not realizing then) depressed and later became borderline bulimic.  All of this was piled on top of my home life that was far from functional.  I never really felt comfortable, confident or entirely likable in high school even though I was part of what was considered the 'in crowd'.  Throughout my high school years there were times that were fun and times that were just awful.  Those were the times I was pushed, told I was scum of the earth, screamed at in front of many people on several different occasions.  For many years I just thought this was a teenage girl's right of passage.

How is that even normal to think that way?

These are feelings and events most people do not know about me.  Not even some of my closest friends.

And I'm terribly uncomfortable typing this out.  My hands can barely type at this point.  But perhaps you have a story too and you're nodding your head along with mine.  Or perhaps you cannot completely relate, possibly this could open your eyes a little bit wider.  But I imagine you've all been touched by bullying at some point in your lives.  Whether it happened to you, whether you stood by and watched or whether you were the bully.  But this should not, should never be considered okay.  Just kids being kids.  Teenagers just being teenagers.  Girls will be girls, boys will be boys and all that bullshit. Uh-uh.  No way.  Not on my watch.

The cyber-bullying that happened to Amanda is beyond cruel.  I wonder how the kids that put Amanda through this are feeling right now.  What are they going through?  Though many people believe this raises cyber-bullying awareness to a whole new level, at the same time I am afraid of the aftershocks that this could very well produce. What about the parents of these kids?  How are they dealing with this?  I'm sure they're asking themselves where they went wrong.  How they failed.  I know I would. And Amanda's family.  Well.  It's just excruciating to imagine the nightmare they're facing...that video shattered my heart into a thousand pieces.  But imagine that being your teenager?

This is not a confessional-type of blog about things of this nature, however, I have two sons.  Sons who I want to grow up in a world where people are accepted for who they are.  I want them to know that name calling, rumour milling, BELIEVING rumours, making people feel small and awful about things that are completely out of their control, bra snapping, bullying of any kind are NEVER APPROPRIATE.  And, dear sons, if you see anyone doing this to another person I would hope that your father and I have taught you well enough to be big enough, brave enough, kind enough, compassionate enough to stand up for that person.  Please.  And if you're the person being bullied, I would hope that I would 'just know' but that's not always the case.  So, I beg of you, talk to your Dad and me.  We will always listen.  We will believe what you have to say.

I am a strong person.  I am by nature a very happy, optimistic person.  I somehow had a reserve of self esteem that allowed a tiny part of me to believe I didn't really deserve the things that were said and done to me.  Fortunately I did have a couple of good friends that I could count on during these terrible times.  Amanda, unfortunately, did not.  There's always something to learn from tragic endings like hers.  It's up to us to keep these terrible events close to our hearts and fresh in our minds if only push us even more to keep the lines of communication open and flowing with our children, to talk to our children, and to ensure they are listening intently to us, about bullying.

We must instill in our children qualities of kindness, acceptance, empathy and courage.

It begins with us.


It's never too early.

But it could be too late.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Will the Real Superheroes Please Stand Up?

The morning began a bit too early for everyone.  The house was still dark.  So dark that the dim light over the stove was just too much for my little one's eyes.

"Turn it off Mommy.  It too bright.  It hurt my eyes!"

Reasoning with him wasn't doing any good.  So I turned it off.  We became blanketed in complete darkness.

He got it then.

Adrian made his appearance minutes later with too much whining.  That hurt my ears.

My head.

My nerves.

I professionally juggled (as all Mothers do) making 2 different breakfasts, smoothies, brewing coffee and grinding coffee beans, soothing the kids and being a referee while the dog whined to be let out.  It really is quite a magical sight to behold.  Especially at such a painful hour in the morning.

After breakfast, children must get dressed of-course as one heads off to school.   This is no easy task as parents well know.  There was crying, more whining, protesting and sibling fights.  And I still hadn't had my morning coffee yet.  This is nothing out of the ordinary.  Just another morning in a house with children.

My husband, just getting out of the shower, was doing his best to help as he always does.  He met me in Finley's room while I was somewhat maniacally pulling out clothes from his drawers to dress him.  He leaned down to where I knelt and looked at me in the eye with a smile and said with utmost sincerity, "You really are some sort of superhero.  You know that right?"

I smiled back and said nothing.  It was very sweet what he said.


Great parents?  Are all superheroes as far as I'm concerned.

We just wear invisible capes.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

'S' for Sweet Slumber

"What are you doing in school tomorrow?"  I knew the question was futile but it hasn't stopped me from badgering asking him about school since he started just under a month ago.  It was bedtime and bedtime for Adrian means quiet. Stillness.  Darkness.  And always me at his side.

"I don't know..."  Always, always the answer to most of my questions regarding school.

A change of subject is usually required and then sometimes, if I'm lucky, something will come out. Eventually.

"How about we sing O'Canada."  His teacher told me they sing it in the morning at school everyday, the picture of which makes my heart feel like it might burst into a million tiny red and white confetti hearts.

I began singing, with him filling in the words upon my occasional pause.

As the song came to an end and the lyrics landed softly around us in the twilight he put his arm in the air and said, "S's are easy. You just start at the top and wind it around like this."  He traced a perfect S in the air above us.

Aha.  Here it was.

"Like a snake.  'S' for snake."

S.  For Smile.  He brings a hundred of those to my face daily.

S.  For Smart.  He is.  So much so.

S.  For Sassafras.  The word I love hearing him say with his most adorable four year old lisp.

And then he turned his body toward the wall.  The sign I know all too well.  It is his signal for me to wrap my arm around his middle and tenderly tuck him in towards me. Curled in together.  My capital 'S' to his small one.

I lightly tickle his belly as the wisps of his curls tickle my chin, the rise and fall of his breathing reassuring under my warm hand.

When his breathing becomes deep with slumber I lay there still, a little longer, in the gentle darkness surrounding us.

A night does not go by that I'm not grateful for these moments.  When I close my eyes and breathe in a prayer of immense gratitude.

I lean over his angel-face and kiss the softness of his cheek, whispering words so simple, so true, so often said yet words that can never, ever be said too much, "I love you baby boy."

'Angel-face' sound asleep with his 'Froggy Doggy'.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What I Wish to Teach My Sons'

Dear Adrian and Finley, (I feel the need to put a disclaimer here that I placed your names in sequence of age from oldest to youngest, not in sequence of favourite son...let the record state that I love you both the exact same amount.)

Moving on.

As your Mother I feel it's my duty in life to give you unwanted advice.   And with that I actually mean I've made a list of what I feel you should know to live your lives to it's full potential.  I don't really know what the hell I'm doing or how I'm doing at this Motherhood gig to be perfectly honest.  So this is kind of a reference for us both.  Take heed my sons'.  Take heed.  And I shall do the same. (Or just humour me.  That works too.)

1.  Manners.  I taught you them at a very, very early age.  Use them.  No woman can resist a man with lovely manners.  Prove to the world that chivalry is not dead.

2.  Take care of the Earth.  Please.  I also have taught you this at a very young age and there is still so much more to learn in the years to come.  DO NOT LITTER.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  And compost.  It's great for the garden.

3.  Learn how to cook and cook well.  I am your Mother and I am a very good cook.  I will teach you the basics but you must continue to experiment as you grow into adults.  Cook for your girlfriend often and not just in the early stages.  Continue to cook for her when she becomes your wife.  It comes in very, very handy.

4.  Treat every living thing with respect.  (Except when there are bees living under your front steps.  Then by all means have a bee massacre.  They are stubborn little bastards.  Oh and mosquitoes are okay to smush too.  Especially if they're sucking on your blood.  You may know by the time you're reading this how much I despise those vampiric insects)

5.  Read.  Read anything.  Read everything. Fiction, non-fiction.  Magazines, newspapers, BOOKS.  "The more you read, the more things you will know."  Dr Seuss

6.  Exercise.  And I don't mean turn into some weird bulked up freaky version of yourself.  Exercise because you enjoy being healthy.  Ride your bike, swim, play sports, run.  Work out at a gym if that's what you love to do (that's what I love to do).  Exercise for the sake of not just your body but for your mind.  Exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

7.  Have an attitude.  But make it a positive one.  A positive attitude along with great manners is a winning combination.  It's not always your aptitude in the game of life but your attitude that will work wonders.

8.  Laugh at yourself.  If you can't laugh at yourself in life you're screwed.

9.  Apologize when you're wrong.  (Admittedly this is still a hard one for your Mother to I will apologize in advance for that.)

10.  Be yourself.  Be real.  Be genuine.  People will see right through you if you're anything but your beautiful, quirky, smart, funny self.  "Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive that is youer than you."  Dr Seuss (I can't promise that won't be the last Dr Seuss quote here - he was one brilliant man)

11.  Take responsibility for your actions.  This is something I hope to ingrain in you both.  It is an exceptionally important thing to take accountability for your actions or you will never become a reliable adult.  Learn from your mistakes.

12.  Travel as much as you can (and as safely as you can) while you can.  I would definitely prefer you do this with a friend.  But please do it before day to day life and major adult responsibilities sets in.

13.  Work Hard.  Laziness will get you nowhere fast.

14.  Learn the value of a dollar.  I feel it is my responsibility to teach you this and I will do my darndest but after that it's all up to you.

15.  Marry an independent woman that challenges you.  Wait at least 2 years before you propose.  Live with her first.  (and make sure I love her too or life will just become all that more complicated)

16.  Always, always put the toilet seat down when you're done.  Just do it.

17.  DON'T DO DRUGS.  EVER.  (I will find out.)

18.  Eat healthy.

19.  You cannot control people, situations or anything in life.  You can only control yourself and how you handle what life throws at you.

20.  Be a good husband.  This means being present in her life.  This means being thoughtful.  This means being affectionate and loving.  This means allowing her to have her own life, passions and hobbies.  This means being supportive of her.  This means finding out about all of her favourite things and making note of them and doing something with that information.  Find out her favourite colour.  Her favourite smells.  Her favourite chocolate bar.  Her favourite store. As a man I know once said during a speech to his son on the day of his wedding..."Lovingly stalk her".

21.  Be empathetic and do your damndest not to judge a book by it's cover (this is a hard one).  Remember...everyone has a story.

22.  Have integrity.  Be honest and kind.

23.  There will always be people in the world that have more than you and there will always be people in the world that have less than you.  Just always have that thought in the back of your mind.

*Okay boys, brace yourselves for this one because it's about to get reeealll awkward up in here in the next couple of sentences:*

24.  Use a condom.  Make it special not necessarily for you but for her.  Don't be stupid.  Don't be rash. Make sure you truly care about her for sex will probably mean more to her than you. And it likely won't be as pleasurable an experience for her as it is for you. (whaaat?  Yes.)  Just know that.

Deep breaths.  Aaand moving forward...

25.  Come to your parents (or at the very least, me) for help.  Don't ever be afraid to talk to us.  I hope that we don't ever make you feel that way.  If you need to talk, cry, vent.  If you need advice or a shoulder to cry on.  We will always be here with open arms.

26.  Be good brothers to each other.  I hope you always stay close.

27.  Find out what you love and make your career around it.  Pursue your dreams.

28.  Go to University, pay attention and kick ass.  (That's not really an option.)

29.  Don't burp, spit, fart or scratch your man parts in public.  (that kind of goes along with number one but I just wanted to clarify).

30.  Have an open mind.  Try new things, new foods, meet new people, have new experiences.  It's good for the soul to go outside your comfort zone once in a while.

31.  Be a good Daddy (I sure am hoping to be a Grandmummy someday...though please take your time).  This will likely come naturally to you as your father is a very good Dad, so please continue the cycle.  Be present.  Be loving.  Be affectionate.  Be empathetic.  Be patient.  Teach them, play with them, listen to what they have to say.  Love them unconditionally.

32.  Visit your Mother and Father as often as you can...or at least call.  You will never realize how much we love you and how our love for you both has grown exponentially over the years until you are blessed with your own will wish the same one day.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Mother's Mind

He was curled in at my side as we watched an afternoon movie together.  Up until and still at that point he had been driving me beyond barmy.  To the point where my frustration with him had built up so much in my chest I had to walk away.  He had pushed every single button I had and if he pushed one more something like spontaneous human combustion would happen.  If that's even a thing.

So there we lay, finally, him somewhat but not entirely still, side by side when he asked me an interesting question out of the blue, "Mumma, do adults get scared sometimes?"

And all of a sudden my mind rewound to 24 hours before within less than 24 seconds...


Intensely grating delicious chunk after delicious chunk of parmesan cheese for our pasta dinner, wine glass in front of me, Drive My Soul playing in the background I marvelled to myself about it being a perfect Sunday. The late afternoon sun shining through the open back door.  A cool breeze flowing through the house, the scent of simmering tomato sauce on the stove permeating the inside of our home and wafting out towards the children playing and adults mingling just outside our house.

"Hun, is Fin in there with you?"

A casually asked question from my husband who had poked his in through the front door inquiring about our littlest whereabouts.  Our not quite 3 year old's whereabouts to be precise.

"No, he's not in here."  I stopped grating the cheese for a moment.  Took a breath.  Shook my head from thoughts that wouldn't leave.

Of-course there was nothing to worry about, I told myself.  There are plenty of kids and adults running around together - he may have ducked behind a parked car or is in between one of the houses picking up rocks to add to his ever growing rock collection.

Grate, grate, grate.  

Within seconds my cheeks were warm.  My heart began to beat faster.  My mind went to places no Mother's mind ever wants to go.  A beautiful day, a rainy day.  It could be any day.  Full of music, full of laughter.  Family Love.  

And within they say...your life can change.  Just.Like.That.  Don't they say that all the time?  

All the time.

January, get a grip.  John's out there with them.  He's fine, he's FINE. 

Mothers are such paradoxical beings.  We are filled with an all encompassing, intense Love for our family but what comes with that enormous Love is also a mind that is slapped suddenly and repeatedly with such morbidity.

Grate, grate, grate.

"When your gone...

Will I lose control...

Your the only road that I know...

You show me where to go...

Who will drive my soul?"

 And with those lyrics - less than 30 seconds from when my husband popped his head into the front door and what seemed like 5 million thoughts later I ran to the front door.

To catch a glimpse of my youngest son's green vest as he kicked a ball around with the neighbourhood kids.  Adults watching on.

Happy and Safe.

As the adrenaline left my body tingling from head to toe and smooth, thankful relief followed through.


"Yes honey.  Adults can get scared too."  I drew him in close and rubbed his belly.  "We're mostly scared of something happening to our babies.  You.  You're my baby."  I poked him in the belly gently and he giggled.  "That's why we're always telling you to look both ways before you cross the street, never to answer the door and to always be careful of who you speak to."

He was quiet.  His focus was back onto the movie.  He didn't respond except to flip his leg across my belly and say, "Tickle."  I obliged.  Of-course I did.  I always do.

I don't think he got it.  Maybe he did.  Did I answer his question right, was it too much information for his age?  I'm not sure.  Possibly.

But it was honest.

It was my real, honest answer.

My only answer.