Saturday, 15 February 2014

Often it's about getting out the door

This morning I was able to get Naveen to eat most of his scrambled eggs by promising he could wear his pajamas to the hockey rink. It was my third attempt at bribery. Candy and money were surprisingly ineffective. It’s sad when you’ve used every trick in your book before

It won’t surprise you to know that I believe parenting isn’t about achieving perfection.

Often it's about getting out the door. I think it’s also about showing our kids that we are human and just trying our best. Almost every weekday morning, I apologize to Deaglan and Naveen on the way to school. That’s because for the half hour prior, both boys lose their sense of hearing which triggers in me the opposite of good calm parenting. And I know it’s temporary, localized deafness they suffer from, because a few minutes later they hear my apology just fine.

But “Put on your socks and shoes!” at the top of my lungs 28 times? Not so much.

After three years of the same old speech, I feel that Deaglan and I understand each other, the way an old, weary, married couple might understand each other; they don’t always like each other but they know they can’t change the other person either. As soon as I say something like, “Guys, Mom’s really sorry for all the yelling this morning. You’re both really good kids and I love you very much,” he usually responds with, “we understand Mom, it’s okay, we know how hard it is for you to get us out the door every morning.”

That he says it with sincerity and sympathy, well, I think it means he’s not planning on divorcing me anytime soon.

And I don’t think this Arctic Freeze we’ve been victim to is helping me grow as a parent.

This afternoon, I peeked out from under the comforter on the couch and asked in my most excited, positive voice, “Guys, isn’t it great that we have three days off to do whatever we want? Mom can “work” on my computer (aka peruse Pinterest) while you play whatever you want.”

I wasn't afraid to proclaim this several more times over the next few hours to get them fully on board that Mommy sitting on the couch completely ignoring them was indeed great. What can I say? I will go the distance for a cause I believe in.

Oh, in case you're wondering, I look sorta like this guy today, only my hair is a little more Jack than his, my pajamas aren't as cute and I don't have a fraction of his energy.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

When did this happen?

My university roommate once told me that for a while, her younger brother was calling their mother “Old Yeller”. She, her sisters and Mom could not figure out how he knew of the movie or the main character’s name. Finally they asked him, “Tyler, why do you call Mom Old Yeller?”

“Because she’s old and she yells at me.”

He was five.

I haven’t been called anything so offensive, and frankly downright ageist, yet, but regularly hear that I’m really, really mean, or unfair, and often when no words carry the weight of the fury they’re feeling, simply, “I hate you Mom.”

Also, I’m not sure if my kids understand age. Naveen still thinks it’s all cyclical for some reason. He’s always starting conversations with, “Mom, when I’m weally, weally big and you ah a little boy…” or “Someday when you ah in my tummy and I’m the Mommy…” Deaglan on the other hand, could use a few lessons on regression; that kid can count too high for my liking. Sometimes he’ll ask me how old I am and if I’m feeling particularly girlish and extremely non-premenstrual, I throw caution to the wind and ask him to guess. It goes without saying I’ve finished the better part of a glass of wine at these times.

Lately I’ve thought about my age and mortality more than ever before. I’m trying to come to terms with the idea that I’m “middle-aged”. I mean when did this happen? And while I’m on the subject, where does the kid at the bank get off calling me Mrs. McNamara? Do they not teach simple psychology at bank telling school? Mrs. McNamara = I’m now irritated and defensive. And also? I hate your stupid tie. On the other hand, Kim, in a flirty tone that implies you think we’re close in age = unsolicited calls to your manager raving about your customer service skills.

Have a nice day my ass.

It’s not like I’m on a crusade. I don’t buy anti-aging creams or lotions. I don’t fantasize about Botox. And it’s not for the reasons you might think; it’s not because I don’t believe they work. I’m just too cheap to spend the money and too afraid of the unknown side effects.

A cheap coward.

Also, a part of me hopes to be able to just get on with it. Get old but still have the energy I’ll need to live my life. Get old but deal with it in some semblance of grace. Except when it comes to my hair. I will not deal with grey hair with grace. I will fight those greys right up until the end.

Fight them, do you hear me?

Speaking of aging, Shaune had a birthday at the end of January. He had the nerve to ask me how old I'd be this year. I didn't dignify him with a response. Seriously. How rude. Just wait till next year when he turns 40. He won't be feeling so smug.

I had a bit of time to write a second post today.

Shaune took Deaglan to a birthday party. It left me and Naveen together at home. Here's what I made him for lunch. He'll only eat "snack plates". You can put just about any combination of  his favourite things on it, just make sure you address it properly. Snack plate. Not lunch.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

This weather is making me hungry.

Yesterday after the gym, I ordered a heaping plate of deep fried potato wedges instead of green salad with my chicken breast. I doused them with vinegar and on the side plopped a good fat dollop of ketchup for dipping. I was a ninja getting back to my desk; short cuts and no eye contact.
Quiet. Stealthy.
Nothing to see here folks. As you were. Please talk amongst yourselves.

Back at my desk. It wasn’t pretty.

I ate as if I’d come off of a thirty day famine. The wedges were crisp and golden, heftier than their French fry cousins. They’d been seasoned with salt and pepper then tossed with dried rosemary; still piping hot, perfect for dunking into the ketchup. An ice cold pint of beer would have been perfect. I gulped water.

I munched and read through the emails that had piled up in my inbox over the lunch hour. When every last wedge was gone, every last bit of ketchup sopped up, I sat staring at the screen.

Full. Yes.
Complete? No.

Then, the faintest whisper.
Something very familiar.
I typed away furiously, doing my best to lalalalala.
It got louder.
Twenty minutes, I mouthed over and over, twenty minutes.
It started to shout then.
Five pounds, five pounds, five pounds I chanted desperately.
But it drowned me out: CHOCOLATE!

My fingers stopped typing. My legs automatons.
There was no drinking water till it shut up. No tricking it into submission with a rice cake and peanut butter.  
Before I knew what was happening, I was running to the escalators, bee lining it to the coffee cart, running my finger over the plastic enclosure on the platter of dessert pastries: Date square? No.
Éclair? No, no.
Oatmeal bar with raisins? Absolutely no.
And then... Yes, yes, yes: Thick chocolate cover, layers of peanuts and rice crispies, glued together with firm hardened caramel.  

Hello Dolly. How do I know your name?

I scurried scurried my ninja-self back to my desk. I sat. Looked around.
Had anyone noticed?
I cut the square in two and sliced one of the halves into thin pieces. I lay the slices out flat on a napkin.
I’ll take the other half home. Dessert for the kids.
I then responded to the emails. Popped each slice into my mouth.

Sweet, crunchy, chocolaty. Salty. Calming.

I looked down and the slices were gone. I cut a sliver off the other half.
They’re so picky, I reminded myself. They won’t like this.
Another sliver. Another slice. And another.  
I looked down and it was all gone.

The sugar was now swirling in my head.
I was dizzy.
Water. I needed water.
Ughhhhh. Oh my geeeezzzzz.
My pants are too tight.
Why? Why????
I need to lie down.
Or throw up.
Oh godddd, why?
Why did I eat the whole thing?
I need the couch.
I need my comfy pants,
To run ten miles.


This is the last time.
I swear.

I'm yearning for these kinds of days.