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

Top 5 reasons I’m keeping the baby weight…

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Never mind that my baby is 3 1/2…I’m keeping the “baby” in those 10lbs! Photo by deadbeat mom copyright 2015.

Okay, I’ll admit it, I was one of those people that bounced back pretty fast after childbirth (sorry). But then I went back to work and something happened, I somehow managed to gain 10 lbs of “flashback” baby weight. Call it a sad rationalization for slowly becoming part of the obesity movement (I mean epidemic), but I’m going to embrace those 10lbs dammit and here’s why…

  1. “I rather be fat than bitchy,” notes my sage friend Crystal. Yup, me too. Both of us recognize that the soothing, emotion-numbing impact of a glass of wine (or two or three) when all you want to do is scream, “would you stop singing that f*%$#@$ song over and over again.” Wine and accompanying snacks might be bad for the waistline but, in the long run good for your own (and kids’) emotional well-being. True yoga may have the same effect, but you can’t really do yoga while chatting with your friend over the phone. And my downward dog always seems to turn into a paddywhack machine for a rambunctious toddler.
  2. I’ll stay warmer in the winter. Living in Canada, the extra padding comes in handy.
  3. If 40 is the new 30, so it goes that a size 8 is the new 6!
  4. It beats Botox injections. Gaining 10 lbs means less need for fillers and cosmetic procedures. If I have to choose between looking thinner or looking younger, I’ll go with that youthful glow only a muffin top can bring.
  5. Great excuse for a new wardrobe! I’ve started to realize that my “skinny clothes” might have to go to Syrian refugees–all for a good cause of course!

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

Continue reading

Why the Conservative Party needs to go back to primary school…

TDSB TRAITSI don’t normally write about politics, but given the stunning overthrow of the Conservative Party in Canada two days ago, I thought this might be a good day to offer up some advice to my truly “blue” friends today.

Why did they lose?

Well I’m no political pundit, but I say it came down to something my boys are learning all about in grade school: character. In fact, character is officially part of the curriculum of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).

“Character development at the TDSB is about helping students learn and practice positive character attributes. When we build good character, we build strong communities.” –TDSB website

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I know this much is true…

It’s been a whirlwind of a week for me (okay, with three boys under the age of 9 this is always the case). But a serious tornado of activity and learning. Yup, this may just be one of those serious “blue moon” kind of posts for me. To be fair, I am serious in my day job (though I have been known to create an internal campaign or two that made our CEO into a bobble head-like character).

In all seriousness though, this is what activities and events of the past few weeks have taught me: 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

The deadbeat is back!

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Please be a girl or a fussy, neat gay boy!

Yup. Preggars for a third time!  Just when I thought I’d seen the last of dirty diapers, sleepless nights and a line-backer like body I up and got knocked up!

 
Trying to pitch “40 and Pregnant” to MTV about the struggles of a 40-year-old pregnant woman who must live with the burden of pregnancy all WITHOUT the use of Botox or Retin-A.
 
Stay tuned!  If I can get over my “elderly mom” fatigue, I’ll write more soon!

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

Why clean the house when you can watch home improvement shows??

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. And for good reason:  we went from not even having cable to getting satellite. Which means hours previously spent surfing the web and writing once Noa’s asleep, have now been replaced with every home improvement show imaginable.

 While You Were Out, Trading Spaces, Flip That House, Moving Up…the list goes on. What I’ve realized is that these shows kind of make me feel the way most women do after flipping through Glamour or People magazine: fat, unkempt and just, well, not put together.

Is my house fat?? I wish. But the stuff crammed in our little 1300 square foot semi makes sometimes leaves me feeling like someone who’s 200 pounds trying to squeeze into a size 2. We started out as minimalists, but then we went and had a baby. It was like suddenly POOF out of nowhere an eighteen wheeler packed with JUNK fell out of the sky and randomly landed in our house.

I know these shows are supposed to offer inspiration–I mean with a $1000, a can of paint, some cardboard tubing and a glue gun it seems like just about anyone can convert their den into an urban oasis.  But when I watch them, I just feel kind of depressed. ‘Cause the reality is, no matter how much clutter I clear or how funky an idea I have the only way it would get done in the first place (and stay looking perfect) is to ship Noa (now 16 months old) off to toddler boot camp or a nursery school that takes baby boarders.

 The only light, within this pit of home improvement self-hatred I find myself trapped in, is How Clean is Your House? For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s about human sloth. More specifically, people who typically live in a fantastical blend of bacteria and shit. So much so, in fact, that the hosts are always marvelling at how the home owners have managed not to succumb to some deadly bacterial infection.

Now those people make me feel good!