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

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!

 

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!

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

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

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

Top 5 signs your a 40+ mom with a baby…

5) You’re relieved to discover that Retin A is okay while breastfeeding.

4) You talk about your baby’s puke, the insanity that is your life and how you want to strangle your husband via a phone conversation vs. texting.

3) You hope other people chalk up your fatigued look to the baby and not to age!

2) Regardless of how many times you throw the baby over your head your triceps are still saggy.

1) The baby pinches your neck “waddle” while feeding (and you actually know what a waddle is because you were a huge fan of Ally McBeal in the 90s!).

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!

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.