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!

 

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

Third Times a Charm!

So here’s a smart way to ensure you keep up with your mommy blog–take a continuing ed. course in social media where you have to blog for credit!

Yup, I actually had to pay over $700 to get that kick in the pants to start writing “for fun” again. And in my 2-year absence what’s changed?  Scary Mommy, that’s what! Now Scary Mommy doesn’t actually scare me–I’m really just jealous. Because while I was toiling away at my not-for-profit communications gig, juggling three boys and their Pigpen-like cloud of dust surrounding them, she was busy getting over a MILLION followers–wtf?  I’m not sure which blog was first but I think I could take her in a WWF-style blogging smackdown!

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This is what I was apparently doing with my time…

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

Signs you’re on your third boy…

ImageI’ve always considered myself a pretty relaxed mom in that I’ve let my boys explore the world fairly uninhibited (only leashed them for about 2 weeks during the height of the “bolting for the street phase.”). But as my third boy approaches the “into everything in sight” stage, I’ve noticed I’m starting to really let my standards slide–how else is he going to learn??? You’re probably on your third boy if:

  1. Cords are a valid distraction so long as they’re unplugged from the wall (they can still be plugged into the computer though–a small shock could possibly have a Pavlovian effect).
  2. You’re fine with your 6-year-old spinning the baby around provided said baby is still giggling (even though you’re well aware that it could all end in tears and a visit to the hospital).
  3. You’ve “lost” your baby in the backyard only to discover him stuck, lying on his back in  a bush like an overturned turtle (true story).
  4. You’ve started telling people that the semi-permanent bruise on your baby’s forehead is, in fact, a birthmark, despite the fact that it seems to move from one side of his head to another.
  5. Day four of his life was spent in the emergency room because you literally dropped him on his head (to be fair, it hurt me way more than him).
  6. Crumbs on the floor are a legitimate form of nutrition.
  7. Dirt and rocks also count as food.
  8. 2 days in the same sleeper is the norm…(I’m an environmentalist trying to conserve water!)
  9. You’re grateful that the baby inherited his dad’s dark skin because you frequently forget to apply sunscreen.
  10. You’re relieved you forget to apply sunscreen because, although you bought the stuff, the Vitamin D remains unopened.

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!

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.