Friday, April 4, 2014

Teeny Tiny Little Guy

Dave Barry once wrote a book called Dave Barry's Guide to Guys. You should go to amazon and buy it. It's very funny.

My children work harder than usual to reinforce every gender stereotype,My older daughter went on a clothing strike at seventeen months because not every garment she owned was pink, whereas my sons are hit-and-miss on remembering to wear pants. In my part of the world, all of the cool kids have gender-bending kids, so it's possible that my children are so aggressively conforming to societal norms as part of an elaborate plot to embarrass me.

I was trying to potty train Lollipop today. It was a mistake; she isn't even eighteen months yet, but she kept taking her diaper off and hanging out in the bathroom. After forty minutes sitting together with her on the teeny Baby Bjorn potty, she fussed until I let her leave. She went straight to the children's room, peed on Genome's teddy bear (IT'S NOT A TEDDY BEAR IT'S A PUPPET, he would say), slipped in her own urine, smacked herself on the hard floor, and burst into tears.

Older son had a particularly Guide to Guys moment not half an hour later. He wandered up, casually, and asked, "Did Lollipop poop on the floor?"

I happened to know she hadn't. Like any sane mother, I took the peed-on-a-stuffed-animal as a cue to put the kid in a diaper and retire with a diet coke. That's important, because otherwise this story wouldn't happen; I'd have thrown everyone into the car and sped to the clinic to see if it's possible to have an ebola vaccination. Or e coli. Whichever.

Why would you ask, Genome?

"Because I ate something off of the floor, and it was yucky. I thought maybe Lollipop pooed there."

Remember. I am having a conversation with a child who is mildly curious whether he _just ate feces._

No, Lollipop didn't go on the floor, but why would you eat things off of the floor?

"I like to eat things off of the floor! Sometimes it is good and sometimes it is disgusting."

But . . . you might eat something really disgusting. Like, you know, baby poo.

"Right! So it is a surprise! And that is more fun."

My son is a tiny frat boy who lives in my house. And he's like this dead sober.

He had eaten a cake pop. Apparently not a very good one.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fights on Facebook, Swimming

I've mostly been posting quips about my kids on facebook lately. See, I was born to tweet, not blog. But I don't have any twitter followers to tweet at. So I use facebook instead. And then my husband suggests that perhaps I could tear myself away from an extremely pressing argument on the treatment of angora rabbits and do something productive, such as write stories about how and why I didn't get anything done today.

The problem with facebook is that unlike in the glory days of chat rooms, one actually knows these people. For a person like me, someone with a broken filter between my brain and my mouth (keyboard?), this leads to getting very carried away over, say, bicycle maintenance. With someone who teaches Sunday school to my kids. Identities have been altered to protect me.

So let's rejoin our cast of characters, shall we?

Munchkin has finally convinced me to take her to swimming lessons. I need to pause here for a moment. Who in all of creation came up with these ridiculous Red Cross swimming levels names? The preschool ones, I mean. Not the proper ones for five-year-olds. They're sensibly numbered 1, 2, 3, you follow. The preschool ones though. Oh, mercy. The first level is Starfish. The second is Duck. Next is Sea Turtle. For all of these, mum needs to get in the water. I'm not paying to teach my kid how to swim so that I can put on a bathing suit. I digress further. At this point children actually get to take lessons, not the type where I am instructed on how to hold my infant in water and not drown him. Sea Otter. Salamander. Sunfish. Crocodile. Whale.

Forgive me. There is absolutely no pattern discernible here. It doesn't move from invertebrates to vertebrates. We don't go from dim animals to intelligent ones. We don't move through families. We don't progress in size. And all of these animals seem to function most adeptly in the water. Exactly how am I to discern that a Sunfish is more adept a swimmer than a sea turtle, but less adept than a whale? They all look pretty damned good to me, especially in comparison than a four-year-old. Clearly this is all a plot to trick me into signing up my children for the wrong level and forfeiting $15 to the community centre when I have to change them due to my error, albeit a completely reasonable error given their ridiculous naming.

So I held off until I could put both older children into Swim Kids 1. This not only fills up my evening and makes dinner rather late, but also rids me of two children long enough to attend the library with a three-year-old and a one-year-old. This is exactly as much fun as it sounds.

I would put the three-year-old into otter or salamander or whatever just to keep him busy, but refer to that aforementioned naming system. Not worth the trouble.

So my oldest has been begging for swim lessons for some two years, and I haven't been able to get it together, and now I have, and she bears no grudges. She travels with an over-the-shoulder bag that she considers sufficiently pink. In it, she packs the novel she was reading (see, I did teach her to read). She carries a Play Mobil princess set. And she carries her swimsuit. You know, just in case. Might need it.

Gnome has gone for a different tack. He travels with a bear puppet (NB: puppet, NOT a teddy bear). The puppet is creatively named Beary. Gnome has decided that Beary needs a swimsuit. That way Beary will be protected in the rain.

It takes a marvelously unobservant child to think that a swimsuit is appropriate Canadian rain gear, even for a puppet.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Odds and Ends

A few miscellaneous thoughts while I wait for my husband to strip the tinfoil from the kitchen and dining area.

After a sunny few days in during Passover, it is absolutely pouring rain. My city is very wet, most of the year. Since it isn't as cold here as it is in most of Canada, we get no sympathy. On the other hand, in other parts of Canada, it rarely drops rain for weeks on end.

Today it is so damp that I keep undressing the little ones to check diapers or underpants. Their butts seem suspiciously humid.

Genome did wet his pants today. He called me and I didn't come fast enough to undo his pant button. "This," he informed me, "is why I take my pants off at the door."

I attempted to get right back into academics after Passover. I sat the boys down for a dear little reading lesson. It all went well until they got to the part where they were supposed to colour things in. They found a facepaint stick with the crayons. There was nothing for it but class had to be adjourned so they could apply war paint to each other.

Genome tired of the game once he had done his and Firefly's faces and hands, but Firefly was not satisfied. He stripped all of his clothes off and covered himself in black designs from head to toe, including (with admirable flexibility) the smll of his back. then he danced around the house.

Appropriately, I had been reading Napoleon Chagnon's new book on the Yanomami.

Today was a disaster. Firefly hid in the closet when I tried to get him ready to go to Munchkin's ballet. He fell asleep in the car and wet his pants. When I pulled him out he screamed and jerked as hard as he could. I strapped him into the Death Stroller. He nearly overturned it into a puddle.

I would not have been sorry.

As we pulled in to the community centre, Genome announced that he had no boots or shoes to wear. I told him that this was not possible, because he must have worn shoes out to the car. He replied that he had worn a single boot, and hopped.

It was true. He had.

I found a single rubber boot to go with the boot he was wearing.

I'm really, really sleepy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

StealthJew's FAQ

I've decided I need a FAQ. After all, these Qs are A'd very F. So frequently that I find it difficult to get anything else done at times. For some reason, everyone wants to know when dinner is, and no one wants to know, say, where they should put their dishes.

Q: How long until dinner?
A: Dinner is at six p.m. The time left to elapse until dinner is the time between now and the next time the clock is at six p.m. For example, if it is one p.m., dinner will be in five hours. If it is nine a.m., dinner will be in nine hours.

Q: Is dinner ready yet?
A: You will know that dinner is ready when I say something appropriate, such as, "time for dinner!" You can also consult any clock. Is it six p.m.? Rest assured that I will not forget to mention to you that dinner is being served.

Q: Can we have X for dinner?
A: No. Especially given that it's half past five and what you asked for is lamb roast.

Q: Why do _I_ have to do this?
A: Because I don't love you as much as the other children/dog. And/or you're the closest person. And/or I do 95% of the home care around here and your father does the other 5%, so stop whining about picking up your own darn socks, or about the possibility that you may put away a toy that belongs to your brother/sister.

Q: Are we there yet?
A: Is the car running? Are we still walking? Yes? Then no.

Q: Do I  _have_ to?
A: . . .

Added by request:

Q: Do I have to go to bed?
A: Child, it is in your own best interests to go to bed. You wouldn't like the person I turn into when the clock strikes eight.

Q: But whhhhhhhhhhhy?
A: The next person who whines is going to boarding school in Siberia. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Blogging like a boss

TWO ENTRIES THIS WEEK. I blog like a boss, my friends. LIKE A BOSS.

So far, all of my children delight in conforming to gender stereotypes. Yesterday Munchkin complained that Genome kept bothering her while she was in the bathroom. Why, I queried innocently, were you in the bathroom for so long? Are you feeling all right? Well yes, of course. She was experimenting with her hair. She was in the bathroom so that she could stand on the toilet seat and be able to see the back of her head in her father's shaving mirror.

My two sons are close in age. Their primary form of exercise is, like their sister, running from room to room like a craze lunatic housepet. Their secondary form of exercise is wrestling. If no one is crying and no one is injured, this seems healthy enough. My brother and his friends used to play "throw the other guy off of the trampoline. This was in the nineties, before safety was discovered. My mother used to make us sit in booster seats until we were too heavy for them, which for me was some time in second grade. No one used booster seats then, and we had to carpool with them. Nevertheless, even my mother, a woman willing to make her children deeply uncool for safety, even she did not see anything wrong with flinging children off of a backyard trampoline as a regular activity.

We also used to put the sprinkler under the trampoline to make it more exciting. I digress.

Genome and Firefly were wrestling in the community centre play area, on the padded mats. A few other children were running around behaving similarly, or playing a loose version of tag. Some nice, well-meaning motehr admonished the children to all play gently.

Why must children play gently, anyway? What's wrong with consensual, non-injurious roughness?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I am a rock star

Yesterday I was sick. I off-loaded my older children onto my ever-patient mother. I kept the baby and slept a great-deal. Every hour or so I would wake up and find the baby there, starring at me. She's only two months old, but she has absolutely nailed "disapproving." She's mere months away from a career in method acting.

I generally grocery shop on Mondays. And as I think I mentioned in my previous post, flexibility in housekeeping is not a particular virtue of mine. Either I grocery shopped today, or the children were going to be getting their servings of vegetables from a soup made of tomato paste, water, and dried herbs.

In the future I should invest in frozen vegetables.

So, off we go. I dropped Munchkin at piano and took Lollipop, Genome, and Firefly to the gigantic Discount House O'Groceries. Imagine a downscale Wal-Mart with a reasonable kosher meat and dry goods section. I stopped on the way at the baby goods store to purchase a new pacifier chain. I hate lost pacifiers. I opted for the baby goods store in the hopes that a baby-specific store would provide fewer temptations for my volatile two-year-old than a general toy store would.

That previous sentence is what we call "foreshadowing."

I selected a pacifier chain ($6 ) and two of those nifty Lamaze-TOMY toys. Remember Captain Calimari? It turns out there's a whole series of those. We got a new Captain Calimari, and also a Morris Moose. Then Firefly threw himself down on the floor and shrieked at the top of his lungs because he wanted something.

I checked out without him. It's not like anyone was about to steal him. When I went back, a small girl was pointing at him and lisping, "he on floor, on the floor." Her father was trying to lure her away from the spectacle my child was creating. I hauled my gigantic two-year-old up on my hip (left hip, since baby was in a sling on the right hip) and headed for the parking lot.

It is surprisingly difficult to wrestle a two-year-old into a carseat.

When we got to Discount House O'Groceries, Firefly was still screaming. He wasn't consoled by my attempts to put him into a wet grocery cart seat. A nice lady came by and asked if I needed any help.

Many mothers report unkind comments or glares when their children cause a scene in public. I almost always receive sympathy when they're throwing down, and compliments when they're making any semblance of behaving. Either I live in an exceptionally kind city, or I look close enough to the edge that no one is going to give me that last shove.

Firefly was distracted by the attention and stopped screaming. He took up babbling to Morris the Moose instead. We grocery shopped. We got back late to pick her up from piano. I fed everyone. We did home schooling. 

I insisted the lady behind me in line, go in front of me. There's no way I want some poor citizen with a few groceries to be stuck behind me, a crew of children helping me, and a week's worth of food for six people. Discount House O'Groceries is not nearly classy enough to have express lines. It turned out that this lady had been taught Hebrew by my son's great-grandfather.

You can meet the most interesting people while buying kosher meat.

In a victory-induced haze from the successful grocery procurement, I insisted the toddler go to sleep at a reasonable hour in his own bed, even though my husband was at work until past everyone's bedtime. Eight returns-to-bed later, he fell asleep. Before he fell asleep, though, he threw Morris the Moose at me.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Better Birth Story

This is the best birth story because it doesn't involve dilation or needles or any of the unpleasant part -- basically, any of the business that happens while one is half-naked. You all know that that happens in birth, and we don't need another retelling of it.

This is the best birth story because that stuff is left out. Instead, this is the story of my last day as a mother of three. Would it shock you to know I didn't pass it in an orderly fashion?

I was 37 weeks and 6 days in gestation, and I lay down next to my husband (mysteriously there were no children between us) and told him, you know what dear? I've decided I'm not ready to have a baby. I have too much going on right now. Maybe in six months, we'll have this baby. But definitely not now.

That should have been the first sign.

The next day I decided to do all of the laundry. There was plenty, since I appear to have gone on something of a laundry strike during the last three months of pregnancy. My husband had run out of socks, so I bought more. This was an intense desire not to do laundry that I had been nurturing. So I decided to wash every fabric item in our house -- probably some ten loads -- on this particular Sunday.

Sunday is my slow cooking day. Because I am, well, a touch flaky, I try to set up my life so that it requires as little planning as possible. One way I do this is by cooking the same way every week -- chicken on Tuesday, etc.

I can become very upset if I don't cook chicken on Tuesday.

On Sundays I slow-cook. Not using a slow cooker though, because I've never figured out how to use those without turning the contents to brown mush. I decided to make a complicated sauce for the first time -- coda alla vaccinara. Of course, it required a myriad of substitutions, since oxtail cannot be had kosher in most of the world, and pancetta is never kosher.

From first thing in the morning I was having contractions. I didn't, of course, take this as a sign to stop doing laundry. But I had a vague intention to pack my baby bag.

The last three times I had given birth, I'd neglected to bring spare underwear. They're very stingy with the disposable underwear at the hospital where I give birth. I'm not sure why I can use up some half million dollars of medical technology and expertise and they're going to start nickel-and-diming me over ten cents worth of pretend underwear, but they do. They also don't allow the purchase of pacifiers, which must be sneaked in. So every half hour or so I'd move haphazardly in the direction of my baby things (I keep them under the bed).

They don't allow pacifiers because the nurses believe that pacifiers interfere with successful breastfeeding. Silly hospital! I have no problem with breastfeeding. It's weaning I'm terrible at.

Around noon a friend called and asked whether our kids and her kids wanted a playdate. She had to be at an event, so she'd leave two of her children with three of my children. I thought this sounded like a great idea.

At some point around about now, my husband pulled a muscle in his back and landed himself flat on his back for the rest of the day.

Mysteriously, five kids was easier than three kids, because they formed some sort of child-critical-mass and became a completely independent entity relying on me only for snacks.

By evening I was starting to get somewhat uncomfortable. I decided to call my mother to get a ride to the hospital. I elected, apparently, to just ask for a ride -- without specifying that I wanted to go to the hospital, or that I was in labour. Then I stood on the porch wondering why my mother was being so goshdarn pokey. My mother was probably wondering why I didn't just drive myself wherever I wanted to go. When I'm not in labour, I do actually manage to drive.

A few hours later I had a baby girl. She's cute. We call her Lollipop. She's five weeks old.