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

Jesus Wouldn’t Approve

I admit it. I’m a political junkie. Which is probably why I’m obsessed with the Syrian refugee crisis.

Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.

Maybe it’s because I’m a bleeding heart, maybe it’s because my parents were practically refugees who came to Canada after a brutal civil war in Greece (a war, I might add, where my grandfather was accused of being a “communist” and shot into a ditch with half his village. My mom was 7 at the time, the same age as my middle son). Okay, so kind of heavy for a “deadbeat mom” I know, but the load of crap I’ve seen on Facebook since the Paris bombings has made my blood boil.

Continue reading

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

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

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.

10 Ways Springer is Better than Dr. Phil

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Okay, so I must admit. I actually used to kinda like Dr. Phil. But that slowly started to chip away when he a) brought anti-Iraq war activists on (at the start of the war) and told them they were unpatriotic and b) apparently threatened to walk away from a sold out live presentation because (or so the story goes), he was not provided with a hair dryer (how ironic is this) as stipulated in his contract. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the “I slept with your sister” episode. Anyway, Jerry Springer is starting to look a whole lot better these days for a bunch of reasons…

  1. Dr. Phil berates his trashy guests for their horrible deeds–e.g. sleeping with their wife’s sister or stuffing a 200 pound baby with Ho Hos…Springer celebrates the shortcomings of his guests, giving a bleeped out voice to the socially and economically disenfranchised inbred citizens of the world. 
  2. Dr. Phil brazenly hounds Britney Spears to publicly humiliate her into sanity…Springer offers anonymous and infamous trailer trash everywhere the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their insanity.  
  3. Any chance he gets, Dr. Phil is shamelessly promoting a crap book by his obnoxious son or annoyingly helium-filled wife who are both authorities on nothing…while…Springer’s only request of his charming, hearing-impaired daughter is that they waltz together on “Dancing with the Stars.” 
  4.  Dr. Phil is a media slut in a psychiatrist’s clothes…Springer is a circus-freak shrink, disguised as a self-proclaimed media whore. 
  5.  Dr. Phil thinks he’s God…Springer recognizes that even God has a sense of humour. 
  6. Dr. Phil often hosts ridiculous shows about makeovers and helping people ‘transform’ their look…Jerry accepts his lovely guests just the way they are. 
  7. Dr. Phil’s annoying son Jay has been known to put on a ‘fat suit’ to show how America’s obese underbelly is treated…Springer guests often expose just how big that underbelly (amongst other private parts) really is. 
  8.  Dr. Phil loves the sound of his own voice…Jerry loves the sound of continuous bleeping when his guests get riled up…. 
  9. Dr. Phil is notorious for sucking up to George and Laura Bush on his broadcasts…Rather than sucking up to politicians, Jerry is one: he was named Ohio Democrat of the year in 2004 and has been mayor of Cincinnati not once, but twice! 
  10. The Dr. Phil show just plain sucks…So does the Jerry Springer show, but Jerry celebrates it! 

Deadbeat New Year’s Resolutions

Well I know it’s a little late for resolutions, but I swear, I’ve been thinking about writing them since December 26th!  Anyway, I’ll skip the lame excuses and get down to business. My resolutions for 2008:

  1.  I will watch less TV (truth be told: I’m currently typing this while watching American Idol and think I may have just witnessed the next Courtney Love).
  2. I will NOT compare Noa’s good looks and charm with other toddlers (though clearly he is the cutest, smartest and funniest baby in the universe).
  3. I will attempt to take showers that last longer than three minutes.
  4. I vow to make a weekly contribution to my blog even if Noa is teething and I’m living on 2 hours of sleep a night.
  5. I will write a children’s novel about Chloe–my insanely jealous cat with bladder control issues–to toilet train children everywhere.
  6. I promise to stop breastfeeding Noa before his 26th birthday (and this coming from the woman who thought she wouldn’t last six months).
  7. I will not blast my husband or be bitchy when he attempts to be ‘helpful’ (why the f%$k would anyone one think an unneeded diaper change at 2am would make things better–are your f8$^&#ng kidding me????)
  8. I will NOT use cosmetic tools such as botox despite the fact that the first year of motherhood has added 10 years (note: excluding microdermabrasion and eye lifts).
  9. I will be on time for Noa’s play dates and Gymboree classes no matter how much he poops before he gets there.
  10. I will replace cursing in front of Noa–especially when some goddamn bastard motherf*^%er cuts me off while driving–with a much more dignified and silent middle finger.  

10 Ways Studying Theatre Prepared Me for Motherhood

Was watching ‘Little Mosque on the Prarie’ this evening after putting the baby down and spotted a couple of actors I worked with on a show. You see before I became a blogger extraordinaire and a communications ‘guru’ (I’m being ironic here folks), I studied and, upon graduation, temporarily worked in theatre (as an actor, director and stage manager). Needless to say, I got really tired of the poor life and being a brutal waitress, decided to get out.

But that little TV show got me thinking about the four years of training/studying I did and how I still use these skills in relation to motherhood:

  1. All those strange breathing/finding your inner voice exercises I did in acting class really came in handy during labour for those low primal grunts.
  2. I’m able to ‘feign’ excitement when Noa puts the puzzle piece in the box for the hundreth despite the fact that I’m actually sleeping with my eyes open.
  3. I do a mean puppet show.
  4. Endless improvisation exercises have allowed me to develop new lyrics to lullabyes including extensive revisions to ‘Hush little baby…’ Examples: “and if that diamond ring don’t shine, Papa’s gonna buy you a bottle of wine. And if that bottle of wine is sour, Mama’s gonna take you to happy hour. ”
  5. Animal impersonations are my middle name.
  6. I’m prepared to make a complete ass of myself for a couple of laughs from my ‘audience’ of one.
  7. The pay is crap.
  8. Just like with the Actor’s Equity Union, once you’ve joined the motherhood gang, like it or not, you’re in it for life.
  9. Not showering for several days is truly a form of artistic expression.
  10. Motherhood is a lot like being a stage manager: you’re there to make sure everyone’s needs are catered to, the set dishes are washed, floor mopped and that everything runs on schedule and NOBODY thanks you.