Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tiny Pink Shoes

Someone needs to explain to me what it is about little girls and shoes.

When I was a little girl, back in the dark days of the eighties and nineties, gender neutrality was the thing. The impression I had was that successful mothering involved raising a child who eschewed the doll aisle and demanded an Erector set.

I think it's safe to say that the pendulum has swung on that one. Apparently I could, if I wanted to, purchase every last item for my daughters' entire childhoods in some shade of pink. Pink stacking rings? Check. Find me the bright light in corporate America who decided stacking rings needed to be recast in a pink version. Please. Because I want his job.

Both my daughters like to work those stereotypes. My oldest, for example, requested that I knit her a sweater. It is the pinkest pink that ever pinked. This sweater is visible from space, it is that pink -- gradients of pink. Younger daughter thinks that all activities should be tackled while wearing a tutu. She's got two: her primary light pink tutu, and her emergency back-up neon pink tutu. Because you don't want to be without a tutu when there's a mud puddle to sit in, right? Right.

But I do not get this shoe thing. Recently I was attempting to drive down a large, very busy, very fast street. I was chugging along marginally over the speed limit in the slow lane while cabs ran up behind my bumper to indicate that they were trying to pass in this slow lane, and who was I to insist on going so _slowly_ in it? So it was a mildly stressful situation, even before my one-year-old started making a sound that I'd describe as a combination between a car alarm, an air raid siren, and the sound a nursing mother makes the first time the little nursling takes a bite (don't tell me it never happens. I've nursed four.)

I did not spend a lot of time wondering why she was making that sound, because I was reasonably sure she wasn't being sucked out the window and I needed every last pregnant brain cell to keep us out of a fender-bender with an angry cabbie. So we got to just listen to this ruckus for a good fifteen minutes until I was able to pull over and dislodge the shark/coyote/sewer rat that must surely have  hold of my infant. So which was it?

It was her right shoe. Her right shoe had become un-velcroed. And she was screaming to indicate to me that I must reattach it.

Had we been in an accident and jammed the entire road system, it would have been the fault of the velcro on a sparkly Hello Kitty shoe.

Dearest, dearest child. If you ever make that sound again, I hope for your sake that you are at least under attack by a large stinging insect. It is fine to wear tutus. Rock that tutu. Wear the pinkest sweater that ever minced down the runway. Play with pink stacking rings (you'll have to find someone else to buy them). But please. We need to put tiny pink shoes in the proper perspective.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Epic Zinc Cream

My fourth-born is a grubby child. I'm not sure why, and she certainly doesn't let that stand in the way of dressing entirely in tutus, but she's the sort of child who goes into the bath one colour and comes out another. Every night she goes in a brunette and comes out a blonde. Also, whenever I put the laundry away, the pile for her is the size of all the other laundry put together. I could, and may, write an entire book on Lolly-related stain removal.

When she wandered by with a suspicious white substance in her hair, I assumed that someone had doused her in flour again. It's happened before. Giant bags of flour are like play sand to a certain age of child.

It was not flour. It was diaper cream. Zinc-based, oil product, impenetrable diaper cream. Brand name Desitin; you can get your own.

Do you have any idea how vile that stuff is to get off of anything? Anything! I can't get it off my hands effectively! I struggle to get it off of the change table! The change table has many aspects that make it easier to clean than a one-year-old. For example, it doesn't move. And it doesn't have hair. And it doesn't move. Or scream.

So I stood in the middle of the room, and asked the children calmly -- you could tell I was calm because I preceded my speech with "I'm staying very calm" -- who decided that the baby needed a head full of diaper cream. No one confessed.

On to bigger problems. It was time to dump the entire contents of the pantry on my one-year-old's head. I used shampoo, dawn, baking powder, lemon juice, joke, and Sunlight soap in various combinations. Since you're wondering, the magic combination is a paste of baking soda and coke, leave it in for at least twenty minutes, then lather with dawn detergent and rinse. This will turn a terrible zinc situation into a toddler who looks like she could really use her hair washed.

Hold tight to the child while you're doing this. She won't be impressed.

My husband didn't feel my pain on this. He asked whether I had to use the extra-fine comb to get the cream out. Clearly this is not a man who has spend a vast amount of time thinking about toddler-stain-removal, because no, of course I can't comb oil-based cream out of baby hair.

Later in the day I solved the mystery of the baby-dousing. The baby doused herself in diaper cream. I know this because she, in a failed attempt at stealth, screwed the top back on the Desitin. And when she did that, she was covered in diaper cream. So she left a perfect Lolly-shaped handprint on it. More fool you, baby! This is why cat burglars rarely douse themselves in zinc cream before going out of an evening.

On the plus side, the entire incident nearly erased the traumatic memory of having melted plasticine in the oven yesterday.

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?