Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In other news, we got a kitten.

I am trying to be better about blogging.  What else is new?  I'm always trying to be better about blogging.  The thing is, I have 2 kids.  One is 8 months old and one is almost 2 and a half.  So I'm a busy lady.  I spend the whole day trying to entertain them and keep them from crying, trying to make them eat vegetables and share their toys... and I always fail.  Failing all the time.  By the time I actually have time to sit and write something, I'm usually absolutely exhausted and I just want to sit on my ass, drink some wine and watch some awful reality television until I go to bed at like 8.  I need 11 hours of sleep to feel half decent the next day.  This is probably due to the stress of trying to be the world's best mother.  Or, more realistically, Hamilton's best mother, which last I heard, I was in the running for. 

I feel so guilty when my kids are being quiet and watching TV.  In the morning for an hour or so is fine, but when it's a beautiful day and Carter is watching a movie contentedly, I am consumed by guilt.  Look at me, sitting on my ass, letting my kid's brain turn to mush.  What is wrong with me?  He should know how to count to 100 by now.  I should start teaching him that right now.  Nah.  Don't feel like it.  Maybe I should try out one of those highfalutin activities for children that I saw on Pinterest....  Ugh, fuck it, he's happy doing this.  I can be a bad mother today.

And so it goes.
But I do spend a lot of time being one-on-one with the kids.  I am always trying to come up with fun and interesting ways to keep them busy.  So this is what takes up the majority of my time, and wears me down to a nub by the time Mike gets home from work.  Parenting does not come effortlessly to me.  It takes everything I have, often in expense of my beloved hobbies.  I haven't painted in God knows how long.  It takes me weeks to read a book where it used to only take a day or two at most.  And people are always asking when I am going to blog, and the truth is that sometimes I just have nothing left to give, even though my heart is yearning to write.  I will have the time again someday.

Even though I am always questioning whether or not I am doing any of this properly, I have come to learn that the most important aspect of parenting is just quality time.  What's the harm in watching a little bit of TV if that's what the kids feel like doing?  As long as we're doing it together, that's what really counts.  It isn't necessarily what you're doing, but how you're doing it.  We don't watch TV quietly.  We discuss things (as much as we can, seeing as Carter is a late-talker - another thing I torture myself about relentlessly).  We talk about colours, numbers, what's going on, our favourite things, et cetera.  And we very rarely spend the entire day in the house.  We go out and about all the time.  It completey drains me.  Carter needs to be kept busy, and he needs to explore his world every day.  So we chase the squirrels together, we play in water sprinklers, we take long walks, we play with friends, pick flowers, run errands, spend money.  We do it every day, and we do it together.  So maybe I'm not a terrible mother after all.  Maybe I can relax a little. 

We have a problem with mice.  Mike and I were talking about it when Carter was in the room, and we thought (out loud, big mistake) that maybe it's time to get a cat.  WELL.  Carter just said KITTY all day long, over and over and over again.  So last night we drove out to Ancaster and we got Carter a cat.  We named him Milo.  I probably would have been fine with just setting more traps and putting out more poison, but Carter was so giddy over the idea of getting a cat that you know I just had to get the boy a cat.  Milo is 10 weeks old and I'm not sure how he's adjusting just yet.  He hides in the kitchen a lot.  Whenever he ventures out to the livingroom, Carter will pick him up and place him in strange places all over the house.  Like inside the filing cabinet.  Or in the high chair.  Or he'll carry him around in a laundry basket, a big shit-eating grin on his face.  It has been decided that even if Milo doesn't kill all of the mice, even if he doesn't kill a single one, seeing the glee all over Carter's face when Milo is nearby is worth it to me.  And I hate cats.  HA. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

For Owen.

Everything I never got to explain to you, all of the ways that I let you down, for neither of us ever getting to the real truth of things.  I'm sorry for all of that.  There is so much I want to say to you now, and I never will.  Because you're gone, and you did this awful thing to yourself, so I shouldn't feel guilty about it.  But I do.  I feel horribly guilty.  You expected me to make your life better, to save you.  I broke your heart and made your life worse.  I know how you felt about me, and I didn't return those feelings to you because I didn't want to share your life with you.  I wanted you to change everything for me.  I wasn't patient.  When it became evident to me that you were going down and you would take me with you, I dropped you like a sack of wet potatoes instead of standing by you, the way Linda ended up doing.  I'm glad that you found a real love like that.  You deserved it.  You deserved a woman who would stand by you and have your children. 

But your children deserved more of you.  And I'm sure you know that.

There is so much I wish I could say to you.  The last time I saw you, I was driving past and you were on the street, yelling into your cell phone.  Typical Owen.  I said out loud, to Mike, "Well, at least he's not dead yet".
that was a couple of months ago. 
And you're dead now.
And I am filled with feelings of regret and guilt because I know I should never have been involved with you to begin with.  You were expecting too much out of me, I was 19 and very naive.  Too immature to be in that relationship and too straight edge to ever be comfortable in your world.  But I know you loved me.  I know you thought I would save you.  And I let you down.  I'm sorry that I couldn't be what you needed me to be.  I feel like had I stayed with you, you may have lived a longer life.  Or maybe you wouldn't have.  Maybe instead of Linda and her kids, it could have been me and mine.  At that funeral.  Sad and confused.  Had I stayed with you, I never would have discovered the deep and meaningful partnership that I have with Mike.  And I wouldn't have my beautiful boys, who fill my days with emotions ranging from absolute fury to pure giddy delight.  This family is all I ever wanted.  My dream came true.  My dream that was born when I was with you.  I'm sorry that you didn't end up being my prince charming.  I know you tried your best.  I did too, for a long time.  But I am glad to be here, with these kids.  I'm glad you found Linda and got to feel how wonderful being a parent can be.  I'm just so sorry it all ended for you in such a tragic way.  Your death did not befit the kind of man you really were.  You had demons, yes, but you were magnificent when you were sober.  You were funny, generous, kind, smart, patient, and loyal.  How I wish you could have kept it all together.  How I wish I could just have a conversation with you one last time.

But my heart breaks mostly because our children are around the same ages.  And I can't imagine mine losing their father right now.  I'm so sorry you don't get to see them grow up.  They'll never know you.  It's heartbreaking.  This isn't my pain, I have to keep reminding myself.  This is your family's pain now.  And I left you because I never wanted it to be my pain.  But I hurt all over anyway.  I wish you could have just stopped.  You had children, you should have just stopped what you were doing.  You never had a better reason. 

I guess there's nothing left to say.  I'll keep you in my heart.  But I have to let go of the guilt and remember that we both made choices that landed us where we are today.  You are finally at peace now.  And I'm still here, trying to raise my babies to be beautiful men. 

I have loved you, and in some way I always will.  But I am letting go of the guilt now.

Take care... I will always remember Owen the good guy.  VIII

PS. Babycakes is fine, my mother thanks you.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Oh, The Day I've Had

Bad day.  Bad bad day.

It all started last night.  I watched 20/20 and decided that I want my kids to be Buddhist-ish (that is to say, I want them to have Buddhist principles but not feel the need to label themselves with any religion unless they choose to).  I was feeling pretty good about it because we already have a big happy Buddha at the top of the stairs.  So I crossed that off my list of Buddhist-ish things I have to do before I start teaching my kids about compassion and kharma and reaching nirvana, and tucked myself in.

I couldn't sleep.  I tossed and turned and I couldn't shut my mind off.  I got up to look for some nyquil or anything else that might make me drowsy.  Found some Gravol.  Gravol didn't work.  Then, I'm guessing this was around 2 in the morning or something ridiculous like that, I hear running down the hall.  Pad pad pad pad pad, and I roll over and Carter is smiling right into my face.  "Mum!" he says.  Awesome.  So now I have the little devil who has nightmares sleeping beside me, and on the other side I have a 200 pound beast who spends all night sawing logs.  After Carter's foot ended up cutting off all blood supply to my brain at around 3 am, I moved into Carter's bed.  But I still couldn't sleep.  But I did figure out why Carter doesn't want to be in there.  Mice.  Just running around his bedroom.  Awesome.  At around 5 this morning, Mike gets up for work.  So Iask him nicely if he can pick up 3 redbull for me before he heads off, which he does and which I love him for.  I crawl back into our bed with Carter and snuggle in, but after about a 45 minute nap I am awakened by little Oliver.  Again: awesome.  So now we're up.  The weather looks miserable.  Carter takes this day to sleep in until 9:00, of course.  I chug my first redbull and feel like how I imagine crackheads must feel after a bender on the pipe. 

Yadda yadda yadda, some other stuff happens.  And then I put Carter down or his nap, and I expect it's going well becuse it's quiet up there for a really long time.  Buuuuuut then I hear a squeal of delight coming from my bedroom and - wouldn't you know it - the little goober is up there squirting BLACK PAINT all over my 800 thread count WHITE, EGYPTIAN COTTON BED SHEETS!


But I'm pretty cool about it, all in all.

Carter.  What did you just do?
Yes.  What did you just do.
Did you just paint mommy's bed?
Are you supposed to paint mommy and daddy's bed?
nods.  Squirts more paint.


So I make him help me wash the sheets.  He loves this.  Go figure.

My sheets are ruined, by the way.  My beautiful sheets. 

Yadda yadda yadda, some other stuff happens.  I make a delicious dinner, Carter doesn't eat it, yadda yadda yadda...
Tanya's computer has been here for a while now.  So I'm just using it, doing my thing, checking facebook, and BAM!  Carter has thrown one of his little people toys at the screen and it goes black.  Except for one little area at the top left hand corner which you can clearly discern as the point of impact.  Because it looks like shattered LCD screen.  Greeeeeeeeeeeeat.
This is also the precise moment when Mke walks in and I start to cry, because we can't afford to buy a laptop to replace Tanya's, I haven't had any sleep, I can't go back to crappy sheets again after experiencing egyptian cotton, and we REALLY can't afford to buy a laptop but obviously we have to.  So off we go.  To Future Shop.  Where we buy a laptop that we can't afford.  It has a little thumbprint scanner, which is pretty cool, and it is really shiny and nice and new but if Carter breaks it, I swear to God and all that is holy I am going to put him up for adoption.

And it is on this nice new shiny laptop (for you, Tanya!) on which I write this post.

What a day.

I'm going to bed early tonight.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Keeping Busy

Phew.  Sorry I haven't been here in a few days.  Maybe a bit longer.  I know some of you look forward to my posts.  (Hi mom!)

I wanted to share some of the awesome stuff we've been up to lately!  First, an intro.  Ahem:

So when I first had Carter, I was a little concerned about what kind of mom I would turn out to be.  I would commonly joke about how unfortunate he was to have me for a mother.  But in all seriousness, I was focusing on all of my shortcomings and thinking that there was no way I would be able to be everything he needed me to be.

I took to it all like a duck to water.  I am very loving to my children, very snuggly, and although I don't have very much patience when it comes to Carter's incessant whining (and I'm telling you - he's relentless), I am always available for I-love-you's and creative playtime.  Speaking of which..

Worrying about what a shitty mom I could possibly turn out to be, and knowing that I can't very well take the kids back to the stork because of any percieved inadequacies on my part and as is usually the best course of action: instead of worrying about everything that I cannot do, I quickly learned to capitalize on my strengths.  I am pretty crafty, after all.  AND because family members and friends are always asking me about the cool stuff I do with Carter, I decided I will start sharing my secrets with everyone via the blog...

So with the intense heat of the last couple of days, I have kept myself busy. 

This is a little charm I made for Fathers Day for Mike and my Dad and I made a few extra for the special people in our lives.  I picked up some Sculpey at Michaels and dug out a heart shaped cookie cutter from Carter's play doh accesories and made these sweet little thumb-print hearts.  I bought the irredescent sparkly stuff and followed the directions on the label.  Easy peasy!  And everyone loves them.

This is great.  I got this free printable from this place, and printed it out and put it in a dollar store frame and now Mike and I leave "I love you because" notes to each other every day.  I feel like it's going to go a long way.
And on the right is the totally awesome piggy bank that carter made at Crock-A-Doodle in Dundas.  If there was a fire in the house and I could only take one thing, this piggy bank would probably be it.  IS IT NOT FANTASTIC?  I highly recommend Crock-A-Doodle.

I made this for the boys and hung it on the wall in the stairwell across from their bedrooms. 

Carter doesn't look impressed in this photo but that is probably because I'm taking pictures of him in the bath, in all fairness.  He's not stupid and he likes his privacy.  Totally understandable, but he's all over the internet anyway.  At least I didn't put your tallywacker in the picture, kid.
So this is bathtub paint!  A HUGE HIT!
Just mix together a bunch of baby soap, quite a bit of corn starch and some food colouring.  I just kind of mixed it all together so I don't have exact measurements, but you can play with it until you get it right.

Aaaaand that's all I have for now, but we are always doing something awesome and I will definitely share more things with you shortly.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Terrible Twos.

Terrible Two's is an understatement.

It should be called the apocolyptic two's.
Or the absolute-edge-of-sanity-two's
Or the one-more-day-like-this-and-I'm-going-to-shoot-myself-in-the-face-two's.

You catch my drift.

It's amazing how sweet and kind and bright little Carter is.  Sometimes I look at the two of us together and I have myself convinced that I am doing a great job; I am the best mom in the world.  Eat your heart out.  Sometimes I see him holding hands with Mike, walking through the parking lot into the grocery store and my heart just swells with pride and love. 


Other times, I have days like today.  The whining and nagging and screaming starts at 8 in the morning and does not relent until 8 at night.  No matter what I do.  I make every effort in the world to please my son.  Oftentimes, I go overboard and make life far too easy for him, sometimes I know I don't discipline him, sometimes I give him treats even though he's being a total brat just to shut him up.  But I also know that I am a cool mom and I am always trying something new to keep him entertained and engaged, and I always try to incorporate education into all of our activities.  I am not perfect, not by a long shot.  And on days like today, that is never more evident.

I took the short man and the baby (baby strapped to my chest, 2 year old holding my hand) to the grocery store up the street to get tomatoes and onions.  I've done this on good days and everything's gone fine.  Great, even.  But today was bad.  He insisted that we take his lightning mcqueen car, and then he insisted on pushing it on the sidewalk alllllllll the way to the grocery store.  Fine, whatever.  I guess.  Oliver is teething so he's not being an angel either, but whatever, he's pushing the car, everything's fine.  We eventually get there.  Carter is grabbing all kinds of fruit and yum yum's, as he calls every sugary thing he can find, and just dropping random shit all aver the grocery store.  I pick some things up, but having 20 pounds strapped to your chest and a 2-year old who won't hold your hand is severely limiting when you never excercise and you smoke cigarettes, so some things just stay on the ground.  And some tomatoes end up beside the baby food.  What?  I'm not super-woman.  I'm just trying to get through a grocery trip sp I can make my hard-working husband some dinner for a change.

Eventually, I wrangle the three of us to the express lane; all the while wondering what happened to the sweet little baby that I gave life to in March 2010.  Then, as Carter spots the Kinder eggs, I realize that that sweet little baby is gone.  My 2 year old terror is now asserting his own independence in a world that just doesn't agree with him.  But, remembering that we handicap our children when we make life easy for them, I choose the tantrum over giving in.  What a scene.

Dirty looks from every direction.  3 people ahead of me in line while I just pray that not every last one of them is paying with debit (which they are) while Carter throws himself on the floor kicking and screaming and embarrassing me.  Sticking to my guns.  No matter what.  He runs, I run, baby starts crying because he has smacked his head into my bonier-than-normal collarbones as I pick up Carter and now have to carry over 50 pounds, plus a full grocery bag 6 blocks home.


Carter is freaking out the entire way home and when we get there, I remember my mother's tried and true method and I carry that little bugger all the way upstairs and into his bed.  And I say to him you get all of your crying out, and when you're nice and calm you come out of your room and give mommy a kiss, okay?

Well it wasn't 40 seconds later whan he emerges from his room, red and bleary-eyed and looking for some kisses.  Nice and calm. 

For about 10 minutes.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Time The Dresser Fell On Carter

This morning was a morning like any other morning.  I woke up, dreading what lie ahead of me for the day.  The whining.  The refusing to eat.  The long walk to the park.  More whining.  Long walk home from the park.  More refusing to eat.  Begging for freezies.  Begging to help me with the laundry.  Throwing shit.  Drawing on shit.  Carter being Carter.  No day is ever easy, but I weather the storms like any other stay-at-home mother.  AND - say what you will, it is MUCH harder to be a stay-at-home mother than it is to be a mother who has a day job.  I just had to get that off my chest. 

So actually, all in all, the morning was going well.  Oliver was happy (Oliver is always happy) and Carter wasn't whining too much, and I was thinking about packing a picnic and heading to Gage Park with the kids and the dog.  I decided to mull it over in the shower.  I put Ollie in his crib to watch his Ocean Wonders aquarium, and Carter just had the run of the house as usual.  Cars was on.  So I have myself a shower.  I'm conditioning my hair and singing Psycho Killer, and then I hear screaming.  Not regular run-of-the-mill-Carter-being-a- shithead kind of screaming, but painful screaming.  I take a second to process the fact that I'm really wet and naked and I have no idea what's going on or where it's happening, and I just poke my head out and I notice that Oliver's dresser is... not upright. 

I make a mad dash.  I am totally naked.  Carter is wedged between Ollive's crib and dresser, and the weight of the dresser is pretty well just resting against his forehead.  I'm being calm.  I am aware that when you make a big deal out of these things, it tends to scare kids and make things a million times worse for them.  So I'm the hero.  I lift the dresser with one hand and scoop out my baby with the other.  I check him over for any serious damage.  He has a mark across his temple and his eye, it might turn into a black eye.  But he seems okay.

I, however, am not okay.

I call everyone whose number I know by heart.  My baby just got crushed by a piece of furniture and I have to get him to the hospital!  Horrible things are running through my head!  Concussions!  Internal bleeding!  Aneurisms!  Ebola!  You name it - and no one answers the phone.  I have no money for a cab and now I'm just angry because I know that certain people I've called are deliberately ignoring my call.  So I turn to facebook and make a big, embarrassing, F-bome-ridden status update that I later deleted pleading for help.  Everything is fine at this point - Carter is eating a freezie and just being a little sooky because his new jungle gym fell on him.  Shit happens.  He's being a champ about it.

But you know what happened?  My not-as-close-as-we-should-be friend Katrina called me and offered to drive us to emerge, and just check on us to see if everything's okay.  And that meant a lot to me.  And even though I'm not extending my deepest gratitude in a traditional way, I am broadcasting it on my blog and I'm sure she'll read this and know that it meant the world.  I am going to make myself a good friend to her - even if she doesn't want me to. 

And throughout the day, an outpouring of concern and similar "bad mother" stories flooded my facebook inbox, from some rather surprising sources.  And I learned a couple of valuable lessons today.

1.  Dressers should be anchored.
2.  Some family members may not answer the phone because they have a headache, or because they have the flu for the tenth time this week, or because they're scared you want to bring your busy, loud little boy over to interrupt their TV show (I'm not talking about my parents, who are wonderful grandparents who happen to be in another province today)
3.  Freezies are a magic cure-all.
4.  Support can come from unexpected places and...
5.  It's time to be a better friend.

OH!  And also,
6.  It may be better to shower before bed rather than in the mroning, because all the bad shit goes down as soon as I turn my back for 5 seconds.  Of course.

Thanks, guys.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

mumbo jumbo

Who's the littlest little booboos?  You're the booboos!  You da booboos!  Whatcha doodins, booboos?  I wuv my wittle booboos, yes I do!  Yes I do!  Yes I do, yes I do!

I am disgusted with myself.
Years before having children, I never would have thought that I would be such an awful offender in all things baby talk.  Actually, a lot has happened to me since having children that I really can't believe, but the baby talk is at the top of the list.

And I sound just like that blurb in italics.  Say it in your stupidest baby talk voice, and times it by like, a jillion, and that's how pitiful and disgusting I sound when I do this, all.  day.  long. 

And I can't believe I'm still doing this!  My 2 year old barely says a word and I'm all like, what's going on, why doesn't he talk?  wha wha wha

Well.  I wonder what happened.  Maybe he isn't talking yet because I am setting such a terrible example of communication for him all the time.  Why hasn't this occurred to me before?!  I shame myself.  Also, I really want a cinnamon bun and Mike came home without cinnamon buns.  He should know better.  And I also told him to bring home nail polish remover.  Another fail.

Aaaaaaaaaaanyways, I keep catching myself resorting to this baby talk and I stop myself.  I am going to talk to my kids like they are people, and not baby unicorns made out of cotton candy, from now on.  I've made up my mind.  This ends here. 

Matt Logelin talks to his daughter like she is a grown up.  I think he even says fuck around her constantly, and his kid is, like, the coolest kid in the world.  You should read his blog.  I'm a big fan, except I hate the way he writes. 

he writes

his blogs in

this kind of way

and it makes

you scroll

too much, and it's annoying

and I kind of want to

kill him for that,

but his blog is awesome.

He will probably read this someday and think I'm an asshole for that.  Oh well.

So we had a very boring day today.  When I don't do something special with the kids, it feels like I failed the day.  I know Mike doesn't feel this way at all.  But I like to do fun things with the kids, and make beautiful memories for them whenever possible.  so today was a failure day.  But tomorrow will be better.  Today would have been pretty good if Mike brought home the cinnamon buns... but he let me down on that one. 

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