Motherless on Mother’s Day

Funny how Mother’s Day, when you are at once a mom and motherless, takes on a whole new meaning.IMG_20160508_104230 (1)This isn’t the first Mother’s Day without my mom (in fact it’s the fifth) but her absence is still palpable. And yet she is still with me. In my expressions (“you attract more flies with honey”), in her recipes (Greek Easter bread–yum!) and her friends (who I still go to the casino with every year on her birthday). Though I’m sure my mom had a few secrets she kept with her to the very end, here’s what I know about my mom…

My mom was an adventurer–coming to Canada when she was just 17 to escape the poverty of post-civil war Greece to carve out a better life.

My mom was tough–she came out of a hard marriage to my dad with grace and never spoke ill of him despite his obvious shortcomings. She worked extra hard at her job as a waitress to ensure she could hang on to the house. Even though she only had a Grade 5 (?) education, all three of her kids managed to make it to university. Continue reading

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What you learn travelling with kids…

I’m back!  I could rail off 200 excuses, but suffice it to say it all started with a little trip to Japan with 3 kids! Here’s what I learned along the way:

  1. Travelling is all about the kids. Screw the nice romantic dinners out, the cultural experience of plays and “high culture” when you can hit the amusement grounds, parks and indoor playgrounds!
  2. Forget eating where you want. Fortunately, my kids aren’t really into chicken fingers and fries. We had to go to rotating sushi pretty much every other day and this is one of the reasons why…

    yes that is a “mini bullet train” delivering a custom sushi order to our crew…okay, I understand why they wanted to eat at these places every day and frankly I didn’t mind.
  3. Prepare for your kids to be instant models…especially if you happen to be travelling through Japan with mixed race kids. I was hoping to score a million dollkhar modelling contract for the boys. Instead it seemed like a lot of Chinese tourists enjoyed snapping pictures of the brood (look for Higuchi brother dolls at a dollar store near you soon).
  4. The stress is in the line-ups, not the travel.  Try going through humourless customs with three bored and exhausted kids. Invariably it’s a horror show, even if they were perfect angels on the plane!
  5. Forget the sex, no seriously–it ain’t going to happen. And if it does, chances are, one of your kids is going to be traumatized for life!

 

Oops, I did it again. My love-hate relationship with Costco…

man-909049_1280 (1)There I am on Saturday AGAIN. Every time I go, I swear “this is the last time!” More importantly, every time I go there is someone cursing the exact same thing.  Costco is one of those places I abhor, and yet, as if it had a magnetic field around it (and I’m somehow wearing a metallic suit), I keep going back.

Why? I much rather imagine myself as a “farmer’s market” kind of girl–thoughtfully perusing quaint little baskets of slightly imperfect, but 100% local, organic produce from a Mennonite farmer with an overgrown beard straw hat and horse and buggy parked out back… Continue reading

Boys and books…

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“Why won’t they read Anne of Green Gables?”

It’s family literacy day today. And while I must confess my kids have too much screen time in general, the older boys have finally gotten into the groove of reading chapter books. I was an insatiable reader from a young age (though these days books are more like Nyquil to me) so I was a little worried when they didn’t want to pick up Anne of Green Gables (go figure–stupid boys). Fortunately I’ve found some alternatives…some that still bore me to tears (but the boys love) and some that I would read with my own friends, glass of wine in hand… Continue reading

Progressing With Difficulty

Sorry son, you're never going to make it as a pop star. (photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Sorry son, you’re never going to make it as a pop star. (photo courtesy of Pixabay)

‘Tis the season to receive first term report cards! But sanitized, I mean “standardized” report cards are almost as ridiculous as the “conceptual” math kids are taught these days (forget times tables and flashcards people, it’s all about sorting and patterning–a great concept if you’re doing laundry).

The report card is basically filled with stock sentences that never reveal a speck of personal commentary or, God forbid, an opinion on your child’s development or progress.

In fact you’ll probably never read, “Jane curtailed her talking to more appropriate times until her Florida trip.” Continue reading

Top five memories about life before kids…

So it’s Remembrance Day in Canada (and my husband’s birthday). But since the closest I’ve been to combat is a relative that dropped out of Royal Military College, I’m turning this into a memorial about “the time before.” As in “the timbaby memee before I had kids.” Don’t get me wrong, I love
my kids and would never, ever wish to “undo” this. But there are certain elements of my life I do look back on fondly…sigh. I spent 6 days this summer entirely kid-free (the first time in 8 years), and it was truly a revelation…Here’s my top 5 list: Continue reading

ADHD or Mommy Overload?

A while back, I happened to catch a Dr. Oz show. Don’t worry, I’m not a regular viewer–I tend only to watch shows that go well with wine like Madmen, or the Daily Show or the Muppets… But by the end of the show I was hurling my wine glass at the TV and cursing like a trucker.


Why?  Well, you see, Dr. Oz did an entire show on adult onset ADHD. “ADHD can cause forgetfulness, irritability and procrastination, all of which can put a healthy marriage at risk. In fact, adults with ADHD are twice as likely to get divorced.”
Dr. Oz Website

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Remember me: Why I make my kids insane Halloween costumes and cakes.

Vegimal costume and R2D2 cake

All-nighter and wine efforts…

October is a month like none other in my world. It’s the month I got married in, and the month that two of my three boys were born. Add to this Canadian Thanksgiving and Halloween (and now the American League playoffs) and you’ve got an action-packed “adventure” every weekend. And by “adventure” I mean an insane, self-inflicted schedule of party planning, cake making and costume creation that usually includes wine, at least one all-nighter and a few intense moments of panic when I think I’m not going to have something ready in time. Continue reading

Baby surfing…

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I spy with my sunglassed eye…

So while taking baby K to his first year appointment last week, I noticed a new parenting phenom–pushing iPhones to kids as a way to offload actual parenting duties.

Now, before you think I’m getting all high and mighty, let me preface this entry by saying I’m not against technology. Nor am I against kids using it from time to time. In fact when juggling three kids alone at the local fish and chip restaurant (what the f$%k was I thinking?) I did cave and put Thomas on for the older kids so that I could finish my meal in relative peace. And for a last resort, I readily admit the iPhone has been a pure and utter Godsend.

What freaked me out about last week though was hearing this: “Honey do you want me to read a book? Or play a game on the iPad?” She might as well have been asking “Do you want to go to Grandma’s in Hamilton or jet off to Disneyworld and meet Belle and Snow White?” Continue reading

Helicopter Parenting Hell!

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School is officially over. Time to kick back, relax and enjoy the summer…ahhhh

Shit!  I’m supposed to be busy stressing over my children’s placement for class next  fall and, demanding that he move classes immediately! Why? Because, according to the mom’s on council, THAT class is a split Grade 1-2 and so far, only five Grade 2 kids have been placed in it.

The fear, so the parent council brigade tells me, is that the Grade 2 kids are going to suffer socially and academically so I’d better get on the damn phone to the principal and do something about it just as Sophie’s mom had!

The funny part is for a moment I actually almost got caught up in the momentum of the hysteria. And then I thought “what the hell????” Since when is it my job to perfectly orchestrate every little detail of my kids’ lives?  Continue reading

Top 10 Advantages to Having Three Boys…

So did the ultrasound last week. A few things have changed in the last 3 and a half years. Namely, ultrasound techs are afraid to disclose ANY info, including the sex of the baby. After 30 minutes of measures and picture taking she let my husband come in to the room. “I can’t tell you the sex of the baby, but I can leave the picture on the screen so you can figure it out.”

Sigh. Right then and there I knew it was another boy (we already have two). Mother of THREE boys? And there it was, sticking out like a    pencil tip–a penis! Can’t say I was surprised, but my husband, convinced it was a girl was in utter shock.

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Why Tiger why?

Okay, I must admit it. Being married to an Asian guy, and somewhat identifying with Kate in her sad attempts to maintain control when clearly control was nowhere to be found, I was more than a little bummed about Jon and Kate’s breakup. It was sad for the kids, yes. But more importantly, it left all those people who say “yeah, we’re dysfunctional, but isn’t everyone?” a little more uncertain. Continue reading

Dumb Ass Kid Names

If Warhol was f#$ked up, what’s to be of little Matisse and Monet?

So I’m in the library today with baby Noa, sifting through the mass of board books when I hear this woman (and I kid you not, this actually happened) say to her 2-year-old, “Monet, we have to go find Matisse and then go home.”

I thought I didn’t hear her right. I mean would someone actually torture their kids in this way?  But then, clear as a bell, I heard her address her young children as Monet and Matisse. I wondered aloud to my sister-in-law what they would name a son–Pablo? Da Vinci?  Personally, I’m going with Warhol- which I think would be a stellar first name any child would love to have (and would surely never get teased about).  Is it any wonder that kids today are getting high on air from aerosole cans and cutting when there are people in this world bestowing names on their unsuspecting offspring like Monet and Matisse?

Truly some parents should be put away for their stupidity. How are these kids ever going to be anything but freaky goth kids strung out on crystal meth?  I’m willing to bet several cans of Campbell’s soup on it.