Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Genetics Strikes Again!

It's always amusing for me to see what features, traits and mannerisms each of our kids get from Ken and I.  Kaycie has Ken's lips.  Knolan has my nose.  Kaycie rolls her eyes up and to the side like I do when she's thinking.  Knolan rubs his nose just like Kenny.

One thing's for sure, though.  Their accident prone genes came from their mama!

In the past 36 hours alone, Knolan has already chipped his front tooth while cruising around the only room in our house that is completely baby proofed, and Kaycie came home from school with a fat lip and the bridge of her nose swollen because she wiped out while she was walking.  Knolan has managed to infuriate himself by hitting himself in the face with a toy, and Kaycie, who has the advantage of more years under her belt, has also previously somehow run into a tree, tripped herself with her own feet many times, and - one of my favourites - come running to me in hysterics because she got her arms folded back on themselves and trapped in her shirt sleeves. 

Thank goodness that playing "Medical Centre" seems to distract Kaycie long enough to stop the tears, and fortunately, cuddling is still an effective treatment for Knolan's injuries.

I had hoped that I could pass along my love of music, or my mad spelling skills to my children - and maybe there is still time and room for those traits to take root.  But for now, I can see my clumsiness in them plain as day, and all I can do is batten down the hatches.  I'll be honest... I do fear for them a wee bit if they have truly inherited this part of me.

I've always been accident prone.  At one point I was seriously considering whether I needed to get tested for some sort of spatial perception disorder, but eventually, I settled in on believing that there was just constantly too much going on in that little ol' noggin of mine and that I needed to learn how to focus a little harder on what my arms and legs were doing when they were in motion.


I think back on my various wonky mishaps with fondness.  Ah memories...

  • There was the time I stabbed myself in the hand with a steak knife while trying to separate beef patties.  All I remember is a spurting fountain of blood and a trip to the emergency room (and a lecture on using knives to separate frozen hamburgers!).
  • In related news, there was another time that I jabbed a pencil tip into the palm of my hand and it stayed there.  And so did a little dot of graphite... for at least 8 years!
  • I also managed to flip my entire bicycle up and over myself one day when I was biking along and a plastic bag full of who knows what dangling from my handle bars got caught in the spokes of my front wheel.  As I picked myself up and dusted myself off and dragged my mangled bike home, a kid walked up to me and said, "Are you ok?"  I thought it was sweet of them to be concerned, but I was quick to reassure him that I was just fine.  And I was, until he slowly said, "Are you sure?  Because you are totally covered in blood."  Then I looked down at my shirt and saw blood everywhere and touched my face and it was coated in blood and I immediately burst into tears and went running for my mom.  (Moms make everything better!)
  • There was also the time when I jumped up in the air and landed completely splits-style (think Mary Lou Retton!) on the suspension bridge that joined two parts of  the play structure in our school yard at recess.  I am seriously surprised I didn't break a limb that day.
  • Hmm... oh yes!  We were forbidden to slide down the bannister in the house we grew up in.  Although I still maintain to this day that I was NOT going to slide down the bannister, but I was merely trying to cool off my leg by laying it along the railing because it was hot in the house (*eye roll*), I did manage to flip over one side of the U-shaped bannister, grab hold of the far railing before I fell to my untimely demise, and hold on for dear life until my parents excecuted a perfect tag team rescue.
  • I walked full tilt into a tree once on a school field trip.
  • I ended up with a face that apparently "looked exactly like Donald Duck" in university when I played on a soft ball team.  Cause of the duck face?  I was the relay player catching a ball being thrown in from outfield.  The last thing I remember before I was cracked in the teeth with the ball as it passed in front of the blinding sun was, "Wow... that looks like a solar eclipse!"
  • I was rewarded with an extensive WSIB claims process after I managed to completely wipe out at work after my sweater got tangled on a cubicle wall.
  • I fell face first on the sidewalk outside of one of my previous workplaces and tore my pants as I was walking in to meet with my old boss and my thesis advisor to propose a published study with them.  I was mortified.
  • I had to go to a job interview with a scorch mark on the palm of my hand after the end of my hair dryer kind of exploded in my hand.
  • And... my piece de resistance:  I slammed my own head in a car door.  I think it could have happened to anyone, but Kenny begs to differ.  It was all very innocent, really.  He and I were on a road trip and he didn't feel very well.  We stopped at a convenience store so I could get him some Gravol or something, and as I held the driver's side door open with my left hand, I leaned my head into the car to ask him if he wanted something to drink while I was in there, and when I was done talking to him, I slammed the door shut before I managed to pull my head out of the way.  I don't think I'll ever forget the look on his face when he realized what I had done!  By the way, about a year later, it must have been such a proud day for Ken's parents when they happened to hear their daughter-in-law describing the whole embarassing incident on a call-in show on weird self-inflicted injuries on CFRB 1010.
Now that I think on it, we might be smart to start wrapping most of our house in foam and bubble wrap.

For the safety of the children, of course!  LOL

Thursday, November 3, 2011


They say that certain amounts of stress are good for you - that there is good stress that drives you to succeed and good stress that is a crucial component of the fight or flight stress response.

I think I definitely have a fight or flight response.  I would also argue, however, that I have a third response.  I think my response 'toolbox' contains a fight response, a flight response, and a fashion-a-new-alternate-reality response.

I think my husband would back me when I say that night waking hallucinations, talking in my sleep and what my mom would probably call "extreme open mindedness"  play a key part in how I process stress.

Poor Kenny has awoken to me sitting on the edge of our bed, halfway between the worlds of wakefulness and slumber, doing things like chairing work meetings, talking about lasagna, pointing out insect infestations, grabbing at falling babies... the list goes on and on.  He's even had early morning chats with me when he thought I was awake and engaged until he heard me give some sort of ridiculous answer to his question like, "Yeah, my bonus is going to be at least $500 thousand, so our mortgage payment should be fine on Friday."  Umm... I work for a nonprofit organization.  :-)

I really freaked him out one night when I kept pointing in the corner saying there was a man standing there.  Poor guy.  Once he's freaked out, there is no sleep in sight for him.  Meanwhile, I generally drift right back to Sleepytown and don't even realize what's happened.

Recently stress and I have become reacquainted.  In the last month I have gone through a laundry list of stressors:

Annual large scale nationwide fundraising event at work?  Check.
Separate health scares for me, my mom, my dad and my grandmother?  Check.
Everyone in our household gets a cold?  Check.
Mom gets pneumonia?  Check.
Son screaming, coughing, teething for 3 nights straight?  Check.
Daughter diagnosed with asthma?  Check.
Daughter gets ear infection?  Check.
Son driven by a frantic me to hospital gasping for air at 3am?  Check.  (Croup, thank goodness!)

Needless to say, I'm starting to wonder if there is an end in sight! 

But, I will say that I have been entertaining myself by observing my reaction to all of this stress.  For example, I would say that I responded with the "fight" response when Knolan recently started wheezing and gasping for air.  Poor Kenny had to just do his best to do exactly as I said or risk me freaking out.  When your kid is in peril, it's amazing how the most mild mannered of us can turn into momma bears!

I observed a "flight" response when we were all sick and I just couldn't handle it all anymore and sent my kids to daycare and just hid under the covers with a box of Kleenex, my precious, precious Tylenol Cold tablets and a bowl of chocolate ice cream.

My "fashion-a-new-alternate-reality" response finally reared its strange head a few times during the last 2 weeks of this insane month.  Kenny has reported a few odd conversations he's had with me during the night, and I have noticed that I've had to literally shake my head and wake myself up a few times over the last few weeks when I caught myself sitting bedside re-setting my alarm clock for crazy waking times like 3:11am.  I vaguely recollect that one of those times I thought I had a conference call at 4am.  Um yeah... I do a lot for my employer, but I think I'd draw the line there!

But fashioning alternate realities isn't limited to my sleeping hours, and I guess I can say that it isn't limited to times of stress either - it's just exacerbated when I'm stressed!  I was a bit of an odd kid, and I think some of that has lasted well into my adult years.  I recall one span of a few months where I had myself basically convinced that I was the only person with a tongue.  I kept trying to sneak glimpses into people's mouths to reassure myself that yes... other people had tongues too.  So weird!  I went through another phase where I was uncertain about mirrors - I basically kept trying to catch my reflection not doing what I was doing.  Likely a result of too many episodes of Twilight Zone or something like that (and at the risk of opening myself up to ridicule, I'll confess that I was at least 16 when this was going on!).

Anyway, while I was at my parents' house recently I think that the stress in my life lately created the perfect foundation for another one of my weirdo moments.  I was at my parents' house to help them out after my dad had been rushed to the hospital with chest pains (he's fine, phew!) on the same day that my mom was still suffering from pneumonia AND had a medical appointment at a hospital in a different city that she needed to find a way to get to.  I did my part to help them get through that day and stayed overnight to make sure they had someone to count on if things got worse overnight.  I woke up much earlier than Mom and Dad the next morning, and I didn't know what else to do besides cook.  So, when my parents eventually woke up after their tour of southwestern Ontario hospitals, they found me in the kitchen with their counters covered in muffins, coffee brewing, and soup ingredients everywhere.  I kind of feel like it looked like I'd snapped, but I was honestly just trying to use my time there wisely and do something that would help them get through the next few days while they were both recovering from different things.

What they didn't know, though, was that I had just had the strangest moment!  I would argue that it was because I was feeling so stressed out and not thinking straight, but anyone who knows me well might counter-argue that I'd have a moment like this on the best of days.  This is where my mom's "extreme open mindedness" theory comes into play.

When I went to the basement to look for soup ingredients, I opened the chest freezer and was face to face with the weirdest looking bag.  It was kind of frozen/stuck to some other stuff in the freezer and I wrestled with it until it came loose and set it aside while I looked for chicken and frozen corn.  Once I found what I needed, I went to put the bag back and I noticed another weird looking bag.  They were white bags, so you couldn't see what was in them, but they were long and kind of weirdly bent.  I found myself trying to figure out what on earth was in these bags.  They were too big to be pork tenderloin... what were they?!  Art projects?  no.  Paint rollers?  no.  Frozen compost?  no.  Cookie dough?  Please, please, please be cookie dough!  no.

Then, before I realized what was going on in that poor, vulnerable little brain of mine, a thought drifted into my head 2 seconds before I realized what was in the bags.  I wasn't really seriously considering this option, but there is no denying that this thought fleetingly popped into my head.  It was kind of like a stream of dozens of options were scrolling through my head, and this just happened to be one of them.

For an instant I thought:  serial killers? 

Yup... that's right... I went there.  What kind of daughter lets that thought cross her mind!?

Thankfully, I suddenly realized they were fish from my dad's fishing weekend up north.  I quickly abandoned my plan to sneak out the basement window into the backyard, grabbed the chicken and the corn and headed upstairs.

I didn't feel relief because I wasn't seriously considering the serial killer option, but I did have a big nerdy laugh all by myself about it.  I probably needed one at that point!

I, of course, couldn't resist telling my parents, and although I caught a glimpse of shock pass over my mom's face before she broke out laughing, they fortunately thought this was pretty funny, and figured it would be a good story to share with Dad's fishing buddies.

So, I really, really hope that my son's trip to the ER is the grand finale to this latest string of events - it will feel good to get back to a normal routine and normal thought patterns.  :-)

I have to wonder, though... am I the only one whose brain works like this?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Kaycie Sez... The Halloween Edition

Happy Belated Halloween!  I've been on a wee bit of a hiatus, but thought I could ease back into my regular blogging.  Hope you get a kick out of these little quips we heard Monday evening as she and her brother enjoyed a beautiful Halloween night:

Upon hearing the doorbell - "Oh my! More customers!"

When we rang the neighbour's doorbell and the dog came to the door along with our neighbour - "Ooooooh!  That's a lovely wolf you have there!"

After a little girl dressed as a rooster walked away from our door and down the street, Kaycie shouted out after her at the top of her lungs - "I sure do like your shoes!"  (the girl had great chicken feet on!)

As we walked past a fake graveyard - "If you are a witch and you go in there, I hope you know that you will turn into the slimiest goo you ever saw." (it's worth mentioning that Kaycie and I went out as witches. LOL)

And, I may be risking future embarassment for my little noodle, but it was pretty funny when she grinned widely and declared - "I just had a witch toot!"

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween! 

My extremely talented nephew, Ben, carved this awesome Batman pumpkin!