Tuesday, December 22, 2009

War Turkey: The Sequel

Remember War Turkey?  I think he's a few posts down...the paper Thanksgiving decoration with the penis sword?  You know.   Well, I must update you and let you know that he has a new buddy who was brought  home from school the week before Christmas Break.  This buddy is also made of paper. Your basic pre-fab toilet roll creation with a curly paper beard that apparently includes 8 appendages of some sort. And his name is Santapus.  Or "Santa of the Deep".

Mr The King, budding 7 year old artist, once again proclaimed that all the 'udder' kids just had plain Santas and that Santapus has a lot of special features. For example, that green thing behind him is a reindeer (and the things sticking out are reindeer feet of course) that he's sleeping on.  Whatever the case, Santapus has been hanging out on the mantle above the fireplace with War Turkey.  It being the dead of winter, there is a decent chance that both War Turkey and Santapus will be blown down by the fireplace fan to lay helpless in the warm dust beside it or overheat, actually facing paper decoration heaven in a fiery flurry (along with the rest of our house.  Hmm, maybe I should move them).

That's okay, because Mr The King came home with a backpack FULL of decorations for us ("Close your eyes!  Keep them closed!") and we used almost a whole roll of scotch tape affixing them to the walls.  Festive, it is.  The raggedy, sparkly tree decorations.  The three paper reindeer heads that Mr The King had cried about--having had to make so many because he couldn't get the first one right--and who are now staring down from us like dopey eyed trophies from a safety scissor hunting expedition.  Then there's the gingerbread house with the tree on the roof and the Kit Kat landscaping that makes mommy drool.  And so many more, all lining our home with love.....

As parents, don't these little creations that look like every other kid's project to the average viewer just speak volumes to us?  Don't you just dab a tear away as you finally gently lay one in the recycling bin?   Doesn't it feel Christmassy to let your little ones squirt the icing onto the cookies from the wrong end of the baggie like dollops of giant dog poop?  Ahhh, the holiday magic.  Peace on Earth.

By the way, The Duck says "You better watch out, you better not shout or I'll punch your face off!"
Isn't that sweet?  Merry Christmas and have a wonderful New Year!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

On Your Marks...Get Set...

I'm a big believer in 'breaking bread'. Mealtime is one of my family's best opportunities to kick back together, take stock and digest the day without distraction. For a lot of us parents it's our only opportunity. Freshly knocked up, I used to enjoy mulling over the mysterious unexplored universe of parenthood that lay ahead. My husband and I tried to predict what kind of parents we would be. How we'd shine and how we'd probably suck, what was important to us and what we were ready to give up. I now laugh (and cry) at the list of things I thought I could pull off. Don't we all? Among those disappointments is Mealtime. Who knew that one of the most relaxing parts of our day could become such a gong show? I suppose I should have seen it coming. Our daughter's personality was clear as an infant. Once she had control over that pencil neck and could see beyond 5 feet, our social butterfly took flight. Nursing became an annoyance for me while thoroughly entertaining for those in our midst when my daughter developed the game of repeatedly ripping off the breast to flash a saucy grin to anyone and everyone within sight. Of course, she'd always make her move after a few sucks to encourage 'let down', thus the entertainment value. (Food Fight!) Not a lot has changed. At age 7, we're looking at up to an hour for our girl to polish off a meal. That seems insane to me but really, am I in a position to judge? After all, I'm just a spazzed out parent, living life like a manic race. For example, her dad and I clean our plates in under 10 minutes. (I knew it was love when I first witnessed him scarfing.) That leaves us with a good 3/4 of an hour of torturous Consumption Coaching while we do our best to keep our daughter from enjoying this social opportunity too much. "Yes, your moonwalk is as good as Daddy's. Now sit down and eat." "How do you solve a problem like Maria? How do you think you'll enjoy your new problem of having no time for dessert!"
So where's the line? Of course, mealtime isn't playtime, but how much of a drag should I make the process by nagging, threatening and laying the hairy eyeball on her every time she drops the fork? Seriously, I'm asking.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Potty Talk, Part 2

Thought we were done with the Potty Talk?  No chance!
Dear friend J has been asking about potty training--boys, in particular. As 12 year olds,  J and I happened to do our first babysitting job together and both get our handknit sweaters weed on during the inaugural diaper change...if we'd only known we'd both birth two of our own boys and still get soaked almost 30 yrs later!!   Anyway...J's Boy In Question is 2 and she's ready to rock...What I know about the difference between boys and girls and losing the diapers is that boys seem to have less interest (could it be that, very sexist of me, they don't mind being wet and chilled as much as little girls do?) and the process can be slower.  Past Potty Parents, please comment with your advice!

Note about this journey, whether your child is male or female:  Potty Training will make you late for your other kid's soccer game,  burn the cookies, delay bedtime, and make siblings rather bitter as you sit on the bath mat by the throne reading storybooks, telling knock-knock jokes...and occasionally pseudo-napping with your head on the side of the tub until you hear the sound of victory.  Or smell it.  Good lord.

One mama I know sat her boy on the potty every 20 minutes for a few days and was apparently pretty much done after that.  Sweet!  MrTheKing started gradually when he was almost 3, after being subjected to weeks of the "I'm Going to the Potty, Potty" song during a video which shall remain nameless.  We saw little interest/compliance, and so plied him with M&M's: 1 for a #1 and 2 for a #2... a few weeks of chocolate and food colouring. We had to move the jar to a high shelf since he felt some poops were worth about 17 of them. Thankfully, he forgot the candy as he got better at responding to the signals from within.  'Til that happened, we had him try every 2 hrs plus whenever we left the house, and used pull-ups when we went out until he was 3.5 yrs old.  I do remember him perusing videos at the library when he was about 3.75 and peeing straight down his leg onto the stepstool while whimpering in disappointment.   The librarian must have had kids because she brought me paper towels and a smile and he still got to take out a Bob the Builder DVD.  The Duck (aged 2.75) is way more interested in the independence part of the potty game than MrTheKing ever was.  Earlier start (shout out to Nanny L), plenty of accidents, but proud as can be and pull ups are on for anywhere but home or the playground.

I can't resist showing you this family's method of coercion--which involved either hiring Elmo or just his outfit--to acknowledge how desperate some overcaffeinated, sleep-deprived parents get when they just can't get the potty party started...may none of us need to go there...

Okay, J, here's a short list of tips that I can think of:
1. Good to own both the little potty and the Dora Seat (or whatever yours is that sits atop the toilet)
2. Make sure Jr has a step stool so he can try a stand-up pee for variety
3. For sit down pees, make sure the penis is pointed downward between the legs! 
4. Boys love to take it outside for practice--and are not so self conscious about shrinkage
5. For practice with aim, there's another great use for your stale cheerios
6.  OMG...I can't think of anything else!

Again, you vets out there, Please leave your comments for her!

Good luck and Godspeed, Mama J.   2 boyz in dipes n we R feeling U.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Here's The Siggtuation...

Remember the Bisphenal A scare? How we all tossed our plastic water bottles and sippy cups to virtuously drop silly amounts of cash on safe replacements? OK, do you also know the rest of the story? I keep meeting people who don't. Head's up! If you have a Sigg bottle that was manufactured before August 2008 then you're sucking back the very poison that you were avoiding when you dropped all that coin about a year ago! How can we possibly know when our bottle was manufactured is the next helpless thought that crosses the mind, right? Click for a visual comparison of the old ("BPA free!" but actually not) liner and the new ("BPA free! but now I don't believe you) liner. If you haven't lost all faith in Sigg, they are aiming to redeem themselves with an exchange program. You send your old bottles back and they'll replace them up until October 31st. Shipping is all yours (thumbs down), but when you have a bunch of them lying around it's still worth it. I shipped 4 bottles for $12. A Sigg rep is supposed to be in touch when they receive them but I shipped... well, over 2 weeks ago... Yes, I feel betrayed. I should really try to love another. (Water Geeks... Klean Kanteen... It's not you, it's me.) Dear Sigg, I think I love you. I know I need you. Call me.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

War Turkey

We were not going to make a big deal of Thanksgiving.  In fact, we were going to ignore it since we couldn't be in the same city as our parents.  But then MrTheKing tells us he's been working on some Decorations for the Thanksgiving Holiday!  He comes home from school with the usual trace-around-your-hand to make turkey feather ruffles out of construction paper thing...you know what I mean.   But then he pulls the Headliner out of his backpack: "I named it War Turkey!"

As you can see, War Turkey is another construction paper piece.  MrTheKing triumphantly informs us that everyone else in the class just made regular turkeys and that his is holding a sword (carving knife?) and it has a penis holding a Penis Sword!  That's the thing hanging between its legs.  Apparently no-one else added those things on the hips (holsters?) nor the extra beak on the belly to their boring turkeys, either.  I make encouraging noises, but don't know how far to take 'delighted' and 'proud'...though I'm impressed with his, uh, exploration of the theme...Nanny L stands by, chewing her lip, as The Duck celebrates brother's masterpiece by running in circles yelling "Penis Sword! Penis Sword! Penis Sword!"

How could we not have a (at least partial) turkey dinner after our eldest son gives us War Turkey?  Later, as he's standing on the step stool stirring his other gift (homemade cranberry sauce), I am Giving Thanks. MrTheKing points out, sagely, that it's coming along nicely and that the cranberries just "need to be absolved."

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 9, 2009

File Under: Should We Have Just One More, Maybe?

A little trend I'm noticing....seems that anyone who has more than, say, 4 kids qualifies for their own Reality Show!  I mean, when you see a large family come into a restaurant or pile out of a van/bus, don't you just hear a soundtrack with rootsy acoustic guitar, a mom and pop voiceover detailing their crazy schedule and the gratitude they feel for this full, famous life?  And  a camera crew leaving Starbucks cups all over their house.  Do people everywhere they go say (Gomer Pyle voice) "huh-hoo!  You kids should have your own tv show! Just like them Duggars!"

 I've heard people accuse moms of avoiding birth control just so they can collect more welfare,  but honey you can shoot a lot higher than that in the age of Cable.....there's not only a wicked paycheck if someone decides to tell/sell your Family's Story, but a great chance of your kids getting a hot Hollywood agent.  And more hands on the farm, I guess.  Though only a family with a TLC contract can afford to hold on to a farm in this economy, I'm thinking.  Well, them and the very competitive breeder/adopter Jolie/Pitt types...In the other corner, Octomom has taken a step back and realized it may have all been a mistake.  Notice I haven't even uttered the word Gosselin?

It's just weird.  It's now Stranger than Fiction to want, have, and afford a big family.  And maybe even weirder that I seem to know all their names...

Mia Farrow could have raked if she'd just adopted her brood 20 years later...sigh.  We've stopped at two.  Keeping a low profile.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My Kid's Fix

I'm completely alone in our big, empty house and... I'm not celebrating. What the?! Why? Because my daughter is with The Most Important Person In Her Life: Not me. Her cousin. Also known as MrTheKing. At 7 years old, is it possible for her to have an addiction? Here's a slice:

Me: “Let's have a girl's night! You pick the movie!”

Dissing Daughter: “I want MrTheKing.”

Me: “Or how 'bout we put streamers on our bikes, ride through puddles and go get ice cream!”

Dissing Daughter: “And then play with MrTheKing?”

Me: “I’ll give you my money, my car keys and have the entire school over for a sleep over!?”

Dissing Daughter: “Can MrTheKing come?”

She returns from her play dates like she's been on an all night bender. Pasty skin, dark circles, Medusa hair and the attitude to match it. I'm having some pretty freaky premonitions about the future and would really appreciate if someone could pinch me and tell me it's all a dream!

I remember when I was her drug.... Is it too late to pick up breast-feeding again?

Potty Talk

Thank you for participating in our poll, Theoretical Potty Trainers!

A mere 15% of us (and I say us because I am Part Of It) stuff our toddlers with treats for their good aim,   setting them up for bingeing on candy as adults whenever they do a number 2...sigh...a majority 62% provide hugs and praise for a job well done (hugs and praise for you, good parents!), and a respectable 23% put a star on the old chart for future rewards.

The Duck, who is 2.75 yrs old, currently receives an ice cream cone when, I mean after,  he poops on the potty.  Which is almost every day.  His biggest motivator has become his older brother, who gets a kickback in his own cone upon completion of little brother's evacuation.  Anyway you slice it,  using the Dora Seat kicks off quite a celebration!   I'd be totally ashamed if I couldn't brag that he got tired of jellybeans for 'watering' the potty and now pees for free.

So far only a couple turds on the floor (thank you, hardwoood), at which point we RUN for the pull ups again just in case it's a sign of the Apoopcolypse.  Whereas, MrTheKing was trained in an apartment with light grey carpet and would call us from the other room with an "I'm peeing in my wagon!" or "I pooped the floor again!" Those of you who are done with this...aren't you glad it's over?  How are you spending all those extra diaper dollars?  Those who are about to board the potty train....enjoy that ride wherever it takes you.   Anecdotally speaking, s^&t happens.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Back to School Freakshow

Is anybody else experiencing a particularly cantankerous back-to-schooler this last couple of weeks? It's the beginning of Second Grade and we're witnessing a mixture of terror, anger, helplessness, toddler-envy (brother's 2 and stays home), defiance, meltdowns and Mood Indigo every day. "School sucks the whole six hours!! I'm gonna get the swine flu on PURPOSE! Wraggghhhhhh!! "
He has one of the softest, nicest teachers in the whole school and is still scared. He thinks he's going to get separated from the herd, wind up lost on the way to music class and get his ass kicked for it. Thinks the mean teacher in the next class is going to burst through the connecting door and traumatize them. The other day he admitted he spent the whole morning crying and didn't get his printing done because he couldn't remember whether he was going to be picked up at lunch. Has this kid got an anxiety disorder or what? Whatever the label, I want to wave a wand and disappear it. Instead I'm reading books, calling meetings within the school, giving hubby reflux, losing some hair myself. We're even going to try ditching dairy (noooo........mama and her babies loves cheese!) for three weeks. Maybe he'll be transformed.
It's hard to relate to this freaked out little critter because I was SO excited to go to school. Every year. I was thrilled being part of a group of karmically bound peers and teachers, and as much as some subjects baffled me there was always a sense of being carried along by the collective, gaining confidence through what I did know, what was easy to win at (til it came time to pick teams in PE). Maybe it's harder for little boys...they do say...
Now what? Home schooling ain't an option. You can tell that just by my grammar. O Parenting Gods, Please Guide Us.
Keep it together,

Pretty In Pink

I like to think of myself as a feminist. Not a Birks & socks extremist (because that combination IS extreme, no?), but a modern day egalitarian. So, I was pretty excited to give birth to a little girl. It was ages ago, but I remembered my college Womens Studies course like it was yesterday and here was my opportunity to make some herstory! To rock the next generation!! This little girl would have everything the boys would have plus a pair of boobs! (And minus the penis.) Those lectures left an impact and I was not about to start socializing her into a corner by dressing her in pink. Uh-uh. No way. I would do my instructor proud. So her nursery was Rubber Ducky themed with yellow and white. Totally Neutral. (Granted, her sex was undetermined before birth... but still! The room was Totally Neutral.) We gladly gathered hand-me-downs in preparation. Scraping in a one bedroom rental apartment, we certainly weren't about to turn anything down. And thankfully, our bases were covered. Blues for a girl and pinks for a boy! Ha! Our little girl arrived and she was beautiful... I mean, handsome. S#*t! She was... glorious! Once I could walk (and I mean that), I couldn't wait to take her for her first stroller ride to show her off to the neighbourhood. I chose her green sleeper with stars and it's matching cap along with a brown fleece teddy bear blanket. She cooed away animatedly expressing the thrill of fresh air and open skies. It was exhilarating for both of us to come to this point. And then came the comments. "Awww! He looks just like his daddy!", "What a cutie! What's his name?", "Look at those pipes! He's gonna be a brute!"... It would be one thing if these freaking looky-loos had 50% accuracy! I couldn't stand it! Everybody thought she was a boy. And the question was, why did I care? I have no idea. Call me a lesser womyn, but I just needed some people to see my girl as she was: a girl. I attempted to walk the line. Let her wear puffed sleeves... in blue. Accessorize the jean jacket with a hot pink soother, etc... But it's a slippery slope. I couldn't help it. She looked really GOOD in pink! She's a Spring for crying out loud! It's her colour!! My bar continued to lower. I resisted the Disney Princess Brainwash in a Box-set until it felt like we were running a dictatorship. I so tried to keep a Barbie-free home but those damn dolls, they find their way. And do they ever make her HAPPY! Long story short, it turned out we had a girly-girl on our hands despite my half-assed attempts for otherwise. As all you parents know, we've got to choose our battles and this just seemed like one that wasn't worth fighting. Surely the colours that we wear don't define us. Surely we can't blame Barbie for gatewaying our preschoolers to anorexia. These days as I watch my daughter joyfully flitting around her ballet class, the biggest fruitcake in the room, I breathe a sigh of relief that I gave up the fight years ago. After all, she looks pretty in pink.
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