Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Memories: Tales from the Pew (Guest Blogger!)

It's a new week, and we're all waking up with a Monday morning Oscar hangover.   Well, I have the cure!  Please welcome to Flippity Floo my long-time friend and one-time room-mate, Jeannine!  Although she and I are separated by many kilometres/provinces, she is one of those friends that makes it easy to pick right up where you left off.  She is one of the most fun people I know! 

Jeannine is here as my guest blogger today, and she is kicking off my new regular Monday feature - Monday Memories!  She was the brains behind the idea of capturing tales from the past in this blog, and so my generous reward to her was to kickstart this new feature as a guest blogger!  I gave her full creative control of her post - and I laughed out loud when I found out what she decided to write about... one of the worst and funniest mornings of my life!

So, without further delay, here's Jeannine!

So I am procrastinating many things by contributing to Monday Memories (who am I kidding, if I wasn’t do this right now I’d likely be downstairs getting sucked into trash television or mixing up a kuhlua and milk), but I could not resist the opportunity to guest blog for Flippity Floo. I know, I know- you’re wondering- who the hell is this chick and how did she get this gig? Well I guess you could say I asked for it- literally. Years ago when I was in grad school in Toronto, I met a phenomenal woman who I ended up living with for a summer. Oh what a summer it was! We had our share of laughs and adventures for sure. You’ve likely already figured out that the phenomenal woman of whom I speak is Kirsten. Make no mistake folks, she is amazing. Sneaky too! When I suggested that some of our roommate rituals and household follies would make excellent fodder for the Floo, she immediately passed the buck and suggested I make my own contribution. Well okay, if I have to -- fasten your seat belts kids, it’s going to be a wild ride!

Where to begin? I can honestly tell you that reading Kirsten’s blog is pretty much the experience I had living with her. There was never a dull moment, and I was always laughing. Hmm, well maybe not ALWAYS laughing, or at least not at the time. The tale that comes to mind begins on a cool summer’s eve. I was out for a night of fun and frolic with some friends, and Kirsten had her own plans. I was not one to make an early appearance after a night of drinking, so I arrived back at our house very late, as in early hours of the morning late. Kirsten arrived home first, and for some strange reason picked that morning as the time to become ‘responsible’ and ensure that she was safe and secure, screen door locked and all. The one problem of course is that there was no key to the screen door, thus this drunken diva found herself on the wrong side of things, very much stranded. Oh how I cursed that screen door on this particular night (or should I say morning)!

I know what you are thinking -- why didn’t I just call her on my cell phone? Well confession time, I didn’t have one (yes I am old and thank you for asking!). I suppose if I had had a phone, that might have been the end of the story -- or would it have? Kirsten has got to be the SOUNDEST sleeper ever, in the history of sound sleepers.  I knew she was in there because the screen door was locked, so I began my quest to get in with a polite knock. Who I thought I was fooling with that move, I don’t know. Next up was the slightly more forceful window tap -- again, to no avail. At this point I am starting to consider ‘breaking in’ to an open window. Oh right, Kirsten’s got the place locked up tighter than Lady Ga Ga’s pants. No dice.

Ok so I didn’t have a cell phone but pay phones did exist at the time. The trouble was that the closest one was at a gas station (or was it a donut shop?) a block or so away. This is probably a good time to mention that although the street we lived on was fine; the neighborhood itself had elements of sketch. I quickly ruled out the pay phone as an option.

Ok now it was time to get serious. Although it was summer it wasn’t as warm as I would have liked. I wanted in and I wanted it now! Thus began the banging and the yelling at the bedroom window. ‘Kirsten, Kirsten’!! She would not be moved.
So with no way in and nowhere to go (yes I had other friends but remember I was drunk and it was very late and I didn’t want to wake anyone -- oh yes EXCEPT Kirsten!), I decided to turn in for the night/morning. Turn in, you say? Yes, I turned in folks on the only option available to me -- a church pew. No, I did not seek out a church for shelter. I did not suddenly have a religious experience and find God. Kirsten and I just happened to have a church pew on our front porch. Didn’t I mention that before? 

Editor's note:  Not our pew, but this provides a good example of what our front porch looked like at the time - perfect sleeping conditions for our sketchy neighbourhood!

Now you can only imagine what I was thinking at the time -- yes that’s right, damn this church pew is uncomfortable (The irony is that there were many Sunday mornings from the past that I would have loved to sleep on a church pew)! However, when I woke up in the morning (which was really just an hour or two later), I starting thinking about how nice my bed was going to feel when I finally got inside.

I knew Kirsten would be up early for work so I figured once she was vertical, it would just be a quick ‘tap tap’ and I’d be in. Sadly, this was not the case. The gentle knock and tap turned into a full blast bang, but still Kirsten would not be drawn to the outer door. 

I really wanted her to see me, I really, really did. Yes I wanted to get inside, and definitely yes I needed more sleep. However, what I was even more concerned about was Kirsten’s reaction when she came outside and saw me. I knew it was going to be something, and she didn’t disappoint.

When she finally made her way out the door, blissfully unaware that her day was not going to be as smooth as she had planned, she was startled by the sight of me on the pew. In fact at first I don’t think she even believed it. It took a few more minutes for the inevitable ‘wait a minute if you are outside and in your clothes from last night that means’ -- and then it began. ‘OH my God Jeannine I am so sorry. Did you really sleep out here??’ ‘I feel SO bad!!!’, “Oh my God’, and many more minutes of the same.

For those of you who know Kirsten well, you realize that experience hurt her more than I ever suffered on that pew. She felt bad about it for ages and tried to make it up to me in many ways. Of course there was no need for that, because it’s finally all been forgiven. I got to tell the whole sordid story to the world via blog. Thanks Kirsten!

p.s. It just wouldn’t have been the same if the pew had been a bench.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kaycie Sez...

I think that Kaycie may be going through some sort of new developmental phase, as I've noticed a significant increase in her unusual commentary.  She's been a real treasure trove of wackiness this week!  I've tried to jot down as many as I can remember:

Overheard while she was showing off her baby brother to one of her classmates at school:  "Yeah... isn't he cute?  He's here to have his teeth removed."

When we went to register her for Kindergarten, she said the following to the school's principal:  "If you want, you can come to my house today for a sleepover and a campfire!"

After going potty:  "Mom, I washed my hands all by myself, so I think I'm going to go stick my fingers in my brother's mouth."

After hearing Ken mention that her Aunt Julie was his sister:  "Daaaad....  you are soooo silly.  Auntie Julie's not your sister... she's a grown up!"

When I told her that I could feel her hip bone under her skin:  "Sorry Mom, but that's my brain, not my hip bone."

Slightly long set-up required for this one.  We had one piece of leftover chicken in the fridge, and Ken heated it up to eat with our dinner.  Kaycie took one look at it and said, "I want some chicken!"  Ken, for reasons unbeknownst to me, said to her, "Oh, this isn't chicken... it's unicorn."  Kaycie doesn't miss a beat and says, "Oops... I actually meant that I want some unicorn."

When I told her I loved her:  "You should sing me a beautiful ballad!"

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Monday Memories Teaser: My Brush With the Law

My good friend and former room-mate, Jeannine, has been following this blog and recently suggested that some of our escapades from our roomie days would make entertaining blog posts.  This got me thinking about the reason that I started this blog - it's that I like the lighter side of life and the funny things that happen to me, and I've always meant to jot them down somewhere.  So, what better place than here to record some of my more 'vintage' memories!

For example, a few months ago, my daughter swiped a chocolate bar while I was paying for groceries, and I only found out once we got home and I opened her car door and found myself face to face with a mouthful of melted chocolate.  When I asked my friends and family for advice on how to handle this, my sister said, "Turn the thief in!  That's what Dad would do."  And she was absolutely and most hilariously correct.

When I was quite young, but old enough to ride a bike, one of the things that the kids in our neighbourhood loved to do was to race our bikes downhill on Leopold Street - right in the centre of the street, to be precise.  I had been warned and told many times by my father NOT to race my bike down the road.  But one day, as many kids do, I chose to ignore my dad's warning and figured that since he was at work all day, there was no way I'd get caught.

So, my friends and I raced our little bikes down that hill with gusto.  The thrill of riding so fast with the wind in my hair was too much to resist.  I loved it!

And then it happened.

As I was tearing down the hill like a maniac, who should happen to drive around the corner?  You guessed it.  My dad looked so disappointed.  He simply said, "get in the car", and he put my bike in the trunk.

And then he took me to the local police station.

Yes, you read that right.  My dad turned me into the cops.  I could see my fate flashing like a slideshow in my head as I waited beside my dad for the police officer (I think it may have been the Chief of Police, but I can't be sure) to see us.  I would almost certainly be dragging a tin cup along the bars in our little hometown jail for nights on end.  I would finally make the front page of our small town newspaper.  I could see the headlines now:

"Local Youth Gets Life in Prison - Disobeys
Father for Last Time"

There would be one of those embedded, large font quotes from a shocked neighbour that said:

"She seemed like such a sweet 
girl.  To think we just bought 
Girl Guide cookies from her - 
they just taste like cardboard 
to me now."

My face was pink from embarrassment and I couldn't bring myself to say anything as we waited.  Finally the police officer came and brought us to his office.  I was so nervous I thought I might be sick right then and there!  Then it happened - he gave me a mint.

A goodwill gesture!  Maybe I would get out of here with my freedom after all!  As he talked with me about what I'd done and why bike safety was so important, that nauseous feeling slowly melted away.  This guy was actually nice!  I couldn't believe it.  It started to dawn on me that my dad and this police officer might actually care about me, and further to that - they might actually know a thing or two about what they were talking about!

I know... you're all waiting with baited breath to find out if I spent any time in the clink.

Well, I'm happy to say that I walked out of that station about 20 minutes later a free kid.  A free kid with a new found respect for her dad and for the law... and I'm pretty sure that I also walked out of there with a brochure on bicycle safety.  :-)

That is absolutely one of my most cherished memories from my childhood, and I hope my dad knows it.

So, to come back to Jeannine's idea, starting Monday, I'll be including a regular feature called "Monday Memories".  Also, since it was Jeannine's idea, I thought it would only be fair to let her kick off this new initiative as a guest blogger.  Be sure to check back on Monday to see what she's got in store!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Please Pay Again... Roll Up the Rim is Back!

Loonies and toonies have started flying out of my wallet.  I am begging my husband to drink his coffee faster (and he has begun entertaining himself - as is his annual tradition - by purposely drinking his coffee as slow as he can).  I can feel that old familiar buzz in my veins and capillaries.  And it's only Day 1!!!

All this can only mean one thing...

It's RRRRoll up the Rim to Win time at Tim Horton's!!!

You would have thought I'd won the lottery if you'd seen my reaction when we pulled into the drive-thru at Timmy's today and I saw the signs.  "Yes!!!! Yes, yes, yes!!!!"  I was literally bouncing in my seat!  I saw driver after driver leaving the drive-thru window with RUTR cups in hand and hope in their eyes.

Having carefully studied the contest rules many times, I know that your odds of winning are better when you order a large coffee, so I immediately demanded that Kenny get us 2 large coffees.  As soon as we had those precious cups in hand, I had ripped open the tab and I... was... chugging!

Have you ever tried 'chugging' coffee?  It's only for the seriously addicted.

Ken has often said that he thinks it would be interesting if someone made a documentary about contests that involve addictive products.  Kenny always pictured the name of the documentary to be "Please Pay Again".  I think it's an excellent idea for a documentary.

You see... I used to be so naive and unsullied.  Coffee used to be something that I had only brewed once - with questionable success - to help me stay awake for my grade 13 physics exam.  I used to go to Tim Horton's only once in a blue moon for a little treat.  But then one year in university I grabbed a coffee from Timmy's when I was studying late at night and I needed a little energy boost to stay awake.  Little did I know that it was prime RUTR time, and little did I know how that one coffee would change things forever!

I rolled up that fateful rim and won.... a free coffee! I loved the suspense.  So didn't I just toodle off and wander back to that same Tim Horton's and get myself that free coffee?  Yup, I did.  I had started the cycle of addiction.  The more I rolled up the rim, the more I wanted to do it again.  The more coffee I drank, the more I craved it.  I was completely enamoured with the Timmy's ritual.  Then one day it happened... my coffee was handed to me WITHOUT THE CONTEST CUP!  My stomach sank... and it's been the same kind of heartbreak every single year when I get my first 'normal' cup handed to me after weeks of rim rolling.

So, the contest was over, but the damage was done.  Suddenly I realized that I was craving a coffee at least twice a day.  Those darn marketing types... they had me right where they wanted me!  And so, that is how I became a coffee lover and a Tim Horton's junkie.  It was that darn "Please play again" that I revealed on 90% of my cups.  "Of course I'll play again!  I'd be thrilled!"  Ugh.  Why am I so obedient?!!  :-)

So, I think Ken is right... the name of the game is definitely "please PAY again".  When I finally get to the bottom of my cup of coffee, wild horses couldn't stop me from rolling up that rim.  (Heck, the coffee barely stops me!  I tried rolling up the rim with the coffee still in the cup once... that didn't go so well.)  I roll up the rim, utterly and completely convinced that this is it.... this is the day I finally win a big prize!  My eyes quickly scan the underside of the rim for those words, "Win/Gagnez" and then hope and optimism quickly turn to bitterness and resentment as I inevitably see the words "Please play again."  I groan and curse the Tim Horton's big wigs, ...and then immediately start scanning the sides of the road for another Timmy's!  Oh how they do love to suck me in!  They manage to organize things so that I'll win at least 1 free coffee or muffin in the first few days of the contest,  and then I am powerless to resist... convinced that I'll win big!

Having said all of this, there are few things quite like a good old Roll up the Rim contest to pick you up in the last few weeks of winter.  It's like seeing a good friend after a long while.

So, as another contest gets underway, so does my annual tally.  I'll keep you posted at the top right hand side of my blog page on how many wins vs. please play agains I reveal over the next few weeks.  And if you are a fellow RUTR enthusiast.... I wish you luck!  And stay away from my Toyota Matrix!!!  :-)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

Happy Valentine's Day!  I'm just listening to the soothing sounds of silence from my son's room as he naps and making not-so-surprise (I tried, but my family is far too snoopy!) heart shaped pancakes for Ken and Kaycie while Kaycie makes a Valentine's card for her dad in the other room.  Pretty awesome morning by our standards!


Kaycie's card

My mother-in-law sent me an email yesterday with all sorts of quotes from 4-8 year olds on what they thought love meant.  She asked me in the email to let her know what Kaycie thought love means.

I was thrilled!  I thought that this would make a wonderful and touching blog post for Valentine's Day.  I could paste a few of the kids' quotes in and then end my post with a touching "awww..." moment when I revealed Kaycie's take on what love means.  It would be perfect.  Well.... read on to see how THAT plan worked out.  :-) 

Here are just a few of the quotes that I pulled from the email:

'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.'
Terri - age 4
'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before
giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.'
Danny - age 7
'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you
still want to be together and you talk more.
My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss'
Emily - age 8
'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends
even after they know each other so well.'
Tommy - age 6
'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all
the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.
He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.'
Cindy - age 8
'My mommy loves me more than anybody
You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.'
Clare - age 6
'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.'
Elaine-age 5
'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all
Mary Ann - age 4
'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come
out of you.' (what an image)
Karen - age 7

And here is the answer I got from Kaycie when I asked her to tell me what 'love' means:
'Well... love is when you go in the curtains and wrap them all around you and then you go and eat and then you poop and pee all over the place.'
Kaycie - age 3

And then she laughed her head off.  I guess she's hit that "potty humour" stage.  If you're a regular reader, you can probably guess what came next.  :-)
Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Kaycie Sez...

Now that we're through my son's last bout of teething and being sick, of course it's my turn!  I have some sort of cold/sore throat and feel terrible lately, but since we all know that the degree to which a parent is not feeling well is directionally proportional to the amount of whining, craziness and madness their 3 year old dishes out, I have PLENTY of fodder from the last few days for a quick Kaycie Sez post - nice and easy to do on a day where I wished I could have pulled the covers over my head!

While drinking a glass of cranberry juice:  "Mom, does cranberry juice have sugar in it?"  Me:  "Yes it does... did you learn about sugar at school?"  Kaycie:  "Yes.  We learned it was good, but that if you put chicken on it then it tastes kind of sour."   (Editor's note:  ??!!??)

While looking at herself in the mirror:  "I FEEL like Santa Claus, but I actually LOOK like Mrs. Claus."

While writing Valentine's cards for pre-school (well... tracing her name from a dotted grid I made for her):  "Mom, I can't do this anymore.  My arm is broken... you do it."  Me: "I can help you, but the cards are from you, so you should be the one to put your name on them... they aren't from Mommy."  Kaycie:  "I have a great idea... you can write YOUR name on them and then they WILL be from you!"  (Editor's note:  I was actually not purposely torturing her by making her write out 21 cards... we'd been doing about 3 a day, which she normally can handle just fine.)

After I told her that I might try to take a nap while she's in quiet time and Knolan's sleeping:  "Yeah, and then when I want you to wake up, I can run in and hit you on the head with a pillow... or my rake!"  

Upon opening my eyes at 3am and seeing Kaycie's face right in front of mine:  "Mom, can you come help me build my campfire?  I'm having a little trouble with it."  (Editor's note:  Turns out it was a completely fake campfire made out of blankets and red socks, but she was cold and thought a fire would help.)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Greatest Husband Ever, Greatest Song Ever, Greatest Night Ever!

Seven months can pass you by pretty fast.  How I've managed to let seven months come and go without having a full night out to myself isn't so much of a mystery (I've only recently been successful in training our son to go to sleep without me as his personal assistant) as it is astonishing that I've survived without one!  Ken and I did manage to go out for coffee one night after a parents' meeting at Kaycie's pre-school thanks to my mom, but aside from that it's basically been night after night of trying to convince a baby to sleep - apparently against his "better" judgement.

But tonight... tonight I tasted freedom.  Sweet freedom!

Don't misunderstand.  I love my kids more than anything.  I would throw myself in front of a moving bus to save them.  Same goes for my husband... love him to bits and would do pretty much anything for him.  But every once in a while there is no better pick-me-up than a night to call your own. 

As far as nights out go, it was a really nice evening.  Had a fun time with some girlfriends out for my friend Tracey's birthday... dinner and a movie.  We gabbed over sushi and caught a chick flick.  We all agreed that it wasn't the greatest movie ever made, but I must say... it was soooo great to see a movie in a theatre again!  I really miss going to the movies.

One major contributing factor to this being the greatest night ever was that my husband didn't bat an eyelash when I asked him if he'd mind staying home with the kids so I could go out - even with Knolan being so irritable these days.  He seemed genuinely interested in me having a stress-free, enjoyable night out.  Greatest husband ever!  I can't tell you how much easier it is to relax when you don't feel like you're "on the clock".

But I have to say, the one thing that I did learn tonight is that it's not possible to hear the song "More Than a Feeling" by Boston too many times!  Take a listen:

The moment I hit the road and put this song on repeat and turned up the volume, I was insanely happy.  I may be getting old, but I love this song... and darn it, it was my night out!  If I wanted to hear this song 50 times in a row it was my prerogative!  I sang out loud with unbridled verve... lyrical accuracy be damned!  And that was just on the way to meeting my friends.

(Incidentally, that reminds me of the time I was living in residence in university, and my friend Irene's cute guy friend needed to borrow a computer to type an essay and came by to see if he could type it out in my room.  I happily obliged, forgetting - and apparently not noticing at all - that I had put "Beds Are Burning" by Midnight Oil on repeat.  After about an hour he turns to me and says, "I guess you really like this song, huh?"  I was mortified.)

My trip home still had an unending loop of "More Than a Feeling" on the agenda, but this time it was fueled by caffeine and a renewed sense of self!  After a pit-stop at Timmies to grab a coffee to warm/wake me up for the trip home, my rock-star air-clutches were 10x more passionate!  I held that high note longer and stronger than ever before ("she slipped awwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!")!  My steering wheel drumming was poetry in motion!

There is just something about a dark night, a long stretch of road, and a really great song that is completely liberating!

The by-product of listening to this song so many times in a row, however, was that I slowly realized that I have been - for many years - singing a seriously butchered version of this song.  To illustrate just how far off I was, here are just a few comparisons of my version vs. Boston's version of this rock classic:

What Boston wrote:  
"It's more than a feeling, when I hear that old song they used to play."
What Kirsten has been singing:  
"It's more than a feeling, and I'm here by my sooooomething."

What Boston wrote:  
"I see my Marianne walkin' away."
What Kirsten has been singing:  
"I see my variant walkin' away."

What Boston wrote:  
"As clear as the sun in the summer sky."
What Kirsten has been singing:  
"I clean up my eyes in the summer sky."

Don't ask me how I ended up singing lyrics that make absolutely no sense... when I'm engrossed in a song, it's got nothing to do with lyrics... it's all about the nostalgia and the melody.  Apparently most of the population strives to hear the lyrics, but as you may be starting to figure out, I sometimes find myself off the beaten path.  :-)

Anyway, this may be nerdy, but the best part was that I pulled into our driveway in perfect timing with the end of the song.  I love it when that happens!  It was a perfect night with a soundtrack-to-your-life kind of ending.  Fistpump!

Having said all this, I just got up to feed Knolan and it was sooo great to have him cuddled up in my arms again.  I think there may be something to this "going out" business, as I feel like I can tackle the world again tomorrow.  :-)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sometimes You Just Gotta Do What You Gotta Do...

Although I try to make sure that these blog posts have some variety to them and appeal to the widest audience, it is inevitable that most of the day to day things I write about relate in some way to my children.  After all, I am at home on maternity leave and therefore currently spending the majority of my waking hours parenting them. 

The reason I'm prefacing this post is that perhaps not everyone reading this entry will have experienced what it is like to spend all day every day for an extended amount of time with small children.  I don't think I appreciated how draining parenting could be before I had my kids.  And how could I?  It's one of those feelings that I think is very hard to relate to until you are right there in the moment.  Honestly, sometimes when I'm away from them even for a day I somehow forget how much full-time parenting can siphon all of your energy, and within 5 minutes of coming through the front door, it all comes back to me.

Having said that, it's not always like that, and it's hands down the best thing I've done with this life of mine.  :-)

But... sometimes you have to have a sense of humour about it.  I feel like a scene from "The Back Up Plan" (yes, yes... I watched it... so sue me!) really captured the essence of how parenting can sometimes feel.  Let's take a look....

Those magical moments are sooo wonderful, but as any parent will tell you, you sometimes just gotta do what you gotta do to get through the not-so-magical moments.

Here's the part where half my readers may write me off as a nutbar.  :-)  I do this weird thing to cope some days.  But you know what?  I figure if it helps me keep a sense of humour about it all, then it can't be a bad thing. 

If you are a fan of the Office, you will know the many "faces" of Jim Halpert.  Whenever something ridiculous happens, or someone is doing or saying something ridiculous, our protagonist Jim looks at the camera with any one of his "faces" as if he is silently saying to us, "can you believe this?!" or "here we go again..." or "just stab me."   :-)

Sooo... (maybe you see where we're going here) when I'm having one of those moments where my kids are acting up and even one more second may not be bearable and I think I'm going to explode, I just turn my head slightly to the side, pretend I'm looking at "the camera" and give one of my best "Jim" looks.  There... I've said it.  You may think I'm crazy, but I swear, it makes me laugh and then I'm in a better place and consequently am able to be a better parent.

I'll show you how it works with some real life examples that have all happened in the last 72 hours:

Example #1:
It's been a loooong day.  Rushed home from pre-school, finally got Knolan to take a nap and I need to get supper going.  I set Kaycie up in the dining room with some newspapers, blank paper, paints, a paintbrush and a cup of water to clean her brush.  In a rare moment of responsible mothering, I even remembered to put an art smock on her - go me!  I head to the kitchen, and start multitasking - cooking AND cleaning (again... go me!).  Kaycie comes around the corner and says "look Mommy - I made an apron!".  I can see that she's pulled on a long-sleeved shirt by putting her legs through the neck and tying the sleeves in knot behind her back.  Great.  But... in another moment of excellent parenting, I encourage her imaginative play and say "how cute! I love it!" and send her back to painting.  Lost in the world of dishes and potatoes, I reach for a tea towel and suddenly realize that all of my tea towels have disappeared from the oven.  I stop and listen for a moment, and hear Kaycie talking to herself in the dining room, but I can't quite make out what she's saying.  I slowly peek around the corner to see what she's doing as I hear her saying things like: "Yes, step-mother", "right away Anastasia", and "Jacques... Gus... come along!"  I realize that she is pretending she is Cinderella mere nanoseconds before I see that she has poured all of her paint water on to the floor, and is on her knees singing away, wearing her "apron" and pretending to be Cinderella scrubbing the floor with all of my tea towels.  That's when I look off-scene to the camera and make this face:

Example #2:
Knolan has been sick and teething for days.  I've been doing my best to function with him waking at all hours and being irritable and restless most of the time.  One day - unbeknownst to me it was mere hours before a tooth finally broke through - I had FINALLY sang and read and cuddled enough to coax Knolan to sleep.  I left his room and quietly told Kaycie that he was finally asleep and that she could have some quiet time in her room... and that it was very important to not wake up her brother.  I tiptoed down the hall to try for the 4th time that day to tidy up the municipal dump front room, when I hear banging and slamming and running and maniacal laughter and jingle bells (!?!?!).  I bolt for Knolan's room and catch Kaycie running out of his room with a fist full of bells and the wildest look in her eye.  I look into Knolan's room, and by some miracle he is asleep in his crib amidst the wreckage Kaycie left behind.  Every drawer was open, the door was swinging on its hinges, the rocking chair was a rockin', and there were stuffed animals everywhere.  Now... I could have easily shot the camera my best "Jim" at this point, but I was still somehow managing to keep my composure.  I marched Kaycie out to her bedroom and said to her, "This isn't like you, what's going on!?  Why did you do that?", to which she replies, "because I don't like Knolan."  So I ask her why she doesn't like him, and she screams, "because he doesn't like me WAKING HIM UPPPPP!"  Then of course Knolan starts wailing away over the monitor, and I look at my "camera" and shoot it one of these:

Example #3:
It's bedtime for the kids, I'm on my own with the kids on this particular night, and I'm elbow-deep in a prune-triggered dirty diaper.  I've just hit that point where I'm dangling my little guy by his feet half in the air and I've pulled away the offending diaper when BAM... I'm in total darkness and I turn to see the silhouette of Kaycie quickly walking away.  I call out and barely manage to stop her.  I ask her to turn the light back on, only to have her inform me that, "Daddy says we need to save electricity" and march away leaving me in the dark holding a poop-coated, squirming baby dangling from my grasp like a fish out of water.  All I can do is give the camera one of these:

But then, magical moments do happen that make all of my less sane moments seem completely bearable. 

...Like when Knolan looked at me with smiling eyes today and said, "mamama". 
...And when Kaycie came running over with overflowing pride yesterday to show me that she wrote a "K" and an "A" all by herself. 

And I cried happy, happy tears both times.  :-)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

16 Items Or Less: My Lesson in Humility

Ok.... hopefully today's post will make sense to you all because you are going to have to put on your Marty McFly puffy vest and join me as I go back in time and then back to the future.

Today I learned another lesson - I need to be less judgy. 

Now, I don't think many people think of me as judgy, but I must confess that from time to time I catch myself.  Hey, what can I say... I'm human.

Anyway, the universe has a funny way to it and the universe presented me with a valuable "teachable moment" today.  Come with me to a few months ago when I was trying to come up with ideas for blog posts that people would enjoy.  The following is a draft post that I never finished/published, but was JUST thinking yesterday about polishing it up and posting it:

16 Items Or Less
Grocery shopping is like a getaway for me.  Ever since I became responsible for my own groceries, that little thrill of knowing that I could buy anything I want without having to ask my mom has never worn off.  I am the one wandering the aisles smiling at the shelves, daydreaming of meals-to-be, happy as can be.

So.... when somebody messes with my feel-good-vibe at the store, I get mad (except no one would ever know... I'm a seether, not a fighter).  Today, I ran in to grab a few things, and headed for the grocery store's answer to the VIP lounge - the express checkout.  I was feeling Very Important, indeed, until this woman strolls right up to the checkout in front of me with at least 20 items!  I could feel myself hulking out.

I just quietly waited... and fumed... and tried to give this lady my very best stinkeye face ever.  If only I could catch her glance, she'd surely be shamed into leaving the line with her tail between her legs!  But no, she and her gaggle of items remained at the checkout, with the stench of entitlement heavy in the air.  I quietly seethed and judged her groceries.  Oh, you know you do it too.  Admit it!  She had bought chips... AND chip dip... AND bacon!  At least my groceries were superior to hers... I clung to that smug thought as she took the air out of my happy bubble.

The cashier happily rang up her items and sent her on her way and then turned to me with a smile... and I smiled back, quietly paid for my 4 items, and headed home.  I let my seething slowly dissipate.  At least I don't hold a grudge too long though...  I'll still look forward to my next tour of the aisles.

All this seething got me wondering, though:  Shouldn't cashiers politely direct people like this lady to a different check out?  My vote has to go with 'yes'!  I understand that there are sometimes lulls at the store where no one is checking out, and the express cashier can ring up your 20 items just as a nice favour... because no one is in line behind you!  I see people getting into the express lane all the time with waaayyy more items than they are supposed to have, and I have never seen a cashier redirect a single person.  Why is that?  I can't be the only one who gets all riled up about this... or maybe I am!  Eek!

Ok... back we go to present day - Tuesday February 1st.  I am at the grocery store, happy as a clam, waiting in line at the checkout while feigning modesty and humbleness as the nice man behind me in line goes on and on and ON about how cute Knolan is (I totally think he's the cutest, but I figure it's not very flattering to also go on and on and ON about how cute he is).  I am in my happy place and feeling great about life when...

"Maam, just so you know, this line is for 16 items or less"

Isn't there a word or phrase for this exact kind of scenario?  Wait... I think it's "poetic justice".  Why did I keep thinking of "schadenfreude"?

Anyway, my face must have turned 16 shades of purple - one for each of the items that were allowed in this line!  I had NO idea I was in the express lane.  Then I turned and looked at the line up behind me... I wish so badly that I had a picture of this to share with you, but there were at least 5 people standing there, each of them holding no more than 3 items - no one had even so much as a basket! - standing there giving me the ol' stinkeye.  The only one not trying to kill me with laser vision was the nice man who was still baby talking to my son.  Thank goodness for him - he was the buffer between me and the angry mob.  :-)

I immediately started to pack up my many, many, many items to move to another checkout, but the cashier insisted it was fine to ring me through... that she just wanted me to know for the next time.  I must have apologized at least 4 times... and you've never seen anyone high-tail it out of a grocery store so fast in your life! 

So, there you have it.  My lesson in humility.  You just never know whether the person with the cart full of groceries in front of you is a self-entitled jerk or just a daydreamer.  Either way, this lesson in humility is sure to prevent me from making any further snap judgements for at least a good 3 days.   :-)

Happy Groundhog Day!