Thursday, July 28, 2005

Food? What food?

As much as I try, I can't get my son to eat most real people food. Short of pinning him down and forcing it down his gullet (which I am not going EVER going to attempt for fear of getting my hand bitten off by the giant sized walrus tusks he has for teeth)I have no idea what I can do. Even the most kid loved foods (cheese, fries, McDonalds hamburgers) don't make it past my second born's frantically waving hands and looks of "get that the hell away from me".

A few weeks ago we had Nicholas' blood tested for iron levels, and surprisingly the test came back normal. I have no idea where he is getting his nutrients, but In the last week, Nicholas enthusiastically dined on a wide variety of items, NONE of them actual food. With one minor exception, fully chewed and swallowed the following:

Ants (this is what he managed to get into his mouth, but didn't chew or swallow)
dirty pine cones
blue crayon
carpet fluff
dust bunnies

One of his favourite things to eat on a regular basis are soap bubbles. When he is older I can just see my threats of washing his mouth out with soap - "yeah mom, bring it on!"

Monday, July 25, 2005

A swim in the bathroom

My little brother is getting married this weekend and so we are going to have a few visitors staying with us (if my kids are anything like they are THIS SECOND while our guests are here I am sure they will vacate the premisis within nanoseconds of stepping through the front door). Most of our guests will be relatives from New Zealand. I am pretty excited about them coming - we haven't seen them in ages, and frankly, it will be fun to have people around who talk funny (I just want to see if the kids pick up on it - yeah, I have NO life).

One very cool thing about NZ is their bathrooms. In most homes, the shower is in one room, the toilet in another, and the bathtub in another still. Why we don't do that in Canada I haven't been able to figure out. Imagine being able to take a crap while someone is having a shower IN A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ROOM (Ok, I know most people can do this already with the advent of more than one bathroom in a house, but when I was a kid and we only had one place we could do our business, it would have been a very very cool thing to have indeed).

Speaking of bathrooms, Ethan has done really well in the toilet training department. He is at the point now where he demands privacy and he can do it "ALL BY MYSELF". Too bad I got super excited about him actually peeing, and not concentrating enough on where (specifically, his aim). I figured the toilet bowl is a big thing, and he is not, so it shouldn't be that difficult. But when I stepped into the bathroom the other day and into a huge puddle that was NOWHERE NEAR the toilet bowl, my first thought was "Oh shit - what the hell is leaking?". Now, being a woman who has never HAD to pee standing up, I don't give any thought to aim at all, I obviously am going to have to change my thinking as the testosterone level in this house is overwhelming. So needless to say, nothing was leaking, but my oldest son's aim was way way way off. I have heard of using cheerios in the toilet bowl as a target, but knowing my luck, Nicholas would just discover that as a new and tasty treat, and I am just not going to go there!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

My new social life.

I was at the park the other day with a couple of girlfriends and their kiddos. The one thing that really sucks about playdates is that while it fulfills the social needs of the kids, us moms get the short end of the stick. I don't know how many times we had to halt coversation mid-sentence to chase one of the little rugrats. At least we all realize it is not rude, just a fact of life. Kinda like a night of interrupted sleep.

This park we went to was great in that it was totally fenced in. I could actually let Nicholas wander and do his thing and not worry about him getting out (or at least I didn't until Alex found a hole in the fence that he almost got through - and for once Nicholas was STANDING STILL and PAYING ATTENTION). Wouldn't you know it he tried the same thing five minutes later - unlucky for him I now move at lightning fast speed and had two extra sets of adult eyes watching. After Nicholas realized that he couldn't escape, he started his new trick - walking with his eyes closed. That was the first time I saw him do that, and he decided the best place to try out his new fantastic skill was in the path of the swings. I swear he has horseshoes up his ass, because he managed to navagate through the toddler swings (full of swinging toddlers) unscathed. True to form he was laughing and giggling all the way - even when he drives me nuts he is still pretty darned cute.

As if these kids weren't full of piss and vinegar already, Denise broke out the cookies. Not just any cookies, but cookies from a REAL bakery that are soft and chewy and just screaming to be eaten. I must admit, Ethan was a real sweetie - he came over to me and ASKED if he could have a cookie (for a three year old staring at what must seem like a mount Everest amount of chocolate bliss I was impressed). I caved and had one too (hell, it would have been so rude not too, and I am not one for offending my friends) as did Nicholas. I think the light must have gone on in his head, and we can now officially add bakery fresh chocolate chip cookies to the "oh hell ya feed me some of that" list.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Tourists in Vancouver

For the next two weeks, I am officially on holidays from work. I used to LOVE holidays, but with two kids, one of whom operates at two speeds - sleep and run - I might actually go into work for a day or two to have some holidays from home. I honestly think that my job is easier than parenting (on most days). I can have a coffee break and actually drink coffee when it is HOT. I have lunch and don't have to share any of it with anyone, or worry about greasy hands getting me all dirty (although, I must admit, they are awfully cute greasy hands).

So today I picked probably the most touristy thing to do in Vancouver - and that is go to Stanley Park and the aquarium. I knew it was a BAD idea when I got there and had to park miles away...duh....middle of the summer, Friday afternoon, beautiful sunny day, what the HELL was I thinking? So I decided that we would go through the aquarium quickly, and then find the most non-touristy spot (yeah, right) to have a picnic. Luckily the kids were quite co-operative, I think they inherited my aversion to crowds (should be interesting to see how we do if we ever visit CHINA) and we blitzed through the aquarium quite fast. The boys loved this little fella.

After that, we took a walk around the seawall and had a picnic - I am sure we could have sat there for hours watching float planes take off and land and listening to Ethan's commentary on all the people jogging by ("mommy, that man has NO SHIRT on" and "mommy, that man has breasts").

Maybe I will survive two weeks at home without gouging my eyes out....

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I just don't get it.

I was a bit shocked today when one of my co-workers commented on my hair. He told me that it looked great (I checked to see if he had his glasses on). Usually, my hair only looks great on one of two occasions - the day before I have a hair appointment to get it all cut off or drastically changed, or a day that I know I will be stuck at home with NO chance of getting out in public and the only admirers of my perfect coif are two snotty nosed munchkins who only care if they can swing from my lid. My hair is naturally curly, and if it is a day in Vancouver when it ISN'T raining, it can look quite acceptable. Most of the time I am trying to make it straight because frizzy curls drive me nuts and I want to be sure that there isn't a family of rodents and their extended family that has taken up residence in the 'do.

Thanks to darling hubby, I was in a real rush this morning to get out the door and to work. It wasn't like I had enough time to get ready, my second born wakes up sometime between 4 am and 6 am - EVERY DAY. On the mornings that I work, I will get up with him and savor the partial peace and quiet as I drink my fully leaded coffee and attempt to pry my eyes open with the nearest blunt object. How he gets up at this hour in a fantastic mood is beyond me. He is quite happy to play with his toys as I sit at the kitchen table and read the paper. He knows that he is pushing his luck getting me up this early on a regular basis, so he lets me have some time to skim the newspaper and somewhat relax (I am about one step away from being in a COMA at that hour).

So I am taking my time, as I know that we don't have to leave the house until about 7:15 for our commute to work. At about ten to seven this morning, Ken comes into the kitchen, and this is the conversation I have with my beloved:

K - "what are you doing?"

Me - "what does it look like I am doing" (I am still in my sweats, looking like something the cat hocked up, sucking back coffee #3, and my hair is looking like a wet-mop)

K - "I thought you would be ready by now"

Me - "We still have more than 20 minutes before we have to leave" (I am not a big fan of spending alot of time getting ready for work, since I have had kids I have learned how to get ready and out the door in lightning speed if neccessary).

K - "we have to go NOW"

Me - "we do?"

K - "I have a meeting with the VP of the company this morning"

Me - "Oh, I didn't hear the phone ring"

K - "huh?"

M - "You know, the VP - did he just call to tell you to be at work a bit earlier?"

K - "No...."

Me - "oh, so you knew about this last night then eh?"

K - "uh..." (busted).

I love my hubby dearly, and if he misses this meeting with the VP and gets his ass fired, that means that he may have to stay home, and I would have to work full time. Tempting, very tempting....

Needless to say, he made his meeting, and I made it to work. Apparently I should be in such a rush everyday because the number of complements that I got on my hair today was actually pretty frightening.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Elmo...the dark side.

Ethan is a typical boy - rough and tumble, playing with all boy things and beating up his younger brother. I think the only "girl" thing he loves is Dora - and I ALMOST gave into his wanting Dora underwear (read - girls panties) while he was toilet training (thank GOD for finding Thomas underwear - I can't imagine explaining to my three year old why he is just too young to start cross dressing).

Even though he is all boy, anything motorized and moving freaks him out. If he sees batteries going into a car, he freaks out and wants them taken out right away. Funny that musical toys that DON'T move are ok, especially the really, really loud ones. What really has me shaking my head though is his reaction to this....

What you and I see is a cute fuzzing singing Elmo. When Ethan's Uncle Paul asked him to "turn on Elmo" this weekend, Ethan FLIPPED OUT and started to cry. We have to store Elmo in the closet where Ethan can't see it - we are convinced that every time we say "Elmo" he sees Chucky.

Friday, July 15, 2005

House beautiful...yeah right.

Our house is small, but it wasn't always that way. When we bought this place 5 years ago it was really roomy. There was the back room that we never used, and the spare bedroom that we just used for storage. Fast forward to today - two kids, three bedrooms, and a revolving door of guests that need somewhere to sleep besides the outside garden shed (that is reserved for my mom when she stays for her weekly babysitting stints). But even with all the people, nothing compares to all the TOYS that have accumulated over the years. We have a back area of the house that is the kids' "play area" and is in a permanent state of chaos.

I bought a pretty cool storage unit awhile ago - very similar to this one.

I thought it would be a great way to organize the back area (with two boys, WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING - organized, yeah right). It worked for awhile - the boys had learned to put some stuff away - some being about 5% of their toys, I did the rest. But last week, Ethan discovered the joys of taking all the containers and tipping them out. All over the floor. Making a huge mess. So I told him that if he did it again, I was going to empty all the toys out in a big box and put them in the shed. He tipped everything out and HELPED me put the toys in the big box to go into the shed. So now he is playing with 10 big empty plastic bins and LOVING IT. Almost as much as the empty paper towel tubes and plastic cutlery. Now if he would just fall out of love with everything Thomas, I'd be set and never have to spend a dime on the kids again....

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Did I say he didn't eat?

Oops, pardon me. I think I claimed in a previous post that my son was a picky eater. I was so WRONG. When it comes to window grime and bug infested dirty pinecones, he is at the front of the line. Hell, he'll even wash it down with water from the dog dish.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The other side

On our way to work (Ken and I both work in downtown Vancouver so we carpool) we travel through one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada - the downtown east side. Today, in the span of about 30 seconds, I saw about 5 people shooting up and a man in a very nice car (with a baby carseat in the back) picking up one of the many desperate hookers on the street. It is quite sad really, I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach every time we drive through that area of town. The women who are working the streets are more often than not hooked on drugs and are working to keep up the drug habit. Drug use is rampant and out in the open - you can watch from your car at a red light a number of drug deals going down (depending on what intersection you are at).

Tonight on the way home, we were SECONDS from hitting someone. A woman who was obviously strung out stepped into traffic, and it was almost all in slow motion -I could see it coming - she was teetering on the edge of the curb just as we drove by, and she was hit by a car that had tried to avoid her at the last second. It wasn't clear if she hit the car or the car hit her, she just fell over, and then got up and continued to weave through traffic (6 lanes in total). She didn't even appear to be hurt. It amazes me that anyone could make it clear across in a clear state of mind, never mind totally strung out on drugs.

I have often wondered how someone winds up there. I can't imagine anyone wishing to live that kind of life. I am sure that there are many people with mental illness just trying to get by hour by hour, and those that felt there was no other option than being on the street (I can't even begin to think what kind of life some must have experienced to get to that point).

I am thankful that I have not fallen prey to the addiction of drugs. When I was in high school, the hardest stuff I ever saw was pot, and now with the rampant use of meth I get scared for my kids and hope that they never find themselves in a situation where they are going to get hooked. I wonder what kind of world it will be when my boys are teenagers and it scares the shit out of me.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Weekly ritual

Ken and I have had a Sunday morning ritual for the last five years. We have breakfast at this greasy spoon diner that is a five minute walk from our place. Both boys have been going to the diner since they were only days old, and it has proven to be a great training ground for them (and us) as far as eating out goes. Not that we eat out much at all, but at least the boys have learned (to some degree) that their neanderthal behaviour at home when it comes to eating should be toned down a bit for when we are eating around the public that is not family.

Each week we see the same people at the diner - which is good because they know the boys well, and they couldn't care less when they find foreign bits of kid sized pancake bits sailing across the room. We rarely see other kids at the diner, so I think the boys are treated extra special by other people in the joint (especially the dog walking ladies who eat club sandwiches at 8 am after thier Sunday morning stroll). Funny, we don't know anyone's names, but I can tell you where they all sit and what most have for breakfast. If that old crusty guy in the corner ever dies, the only way I will know it is him is if his death notice says he enjoyed extra strong coffee, and dry toast with butter on the side. Hell, I think it would kill him if he ever smiled. He is the odd one in the bunch - for the most part everyone is really friendly.

Today, my three year old was an angel at the diner (yeah, I know what I wrote in my last post, I bet he was great today ON PURPOSE just to PROVE ME WRONG). He just about got a standing ovation from the regulars when the waiter brought his breakfast - He stood up and said "Thank you Bill" then sat down to eat. Just loud enough for everyone to hear and with ZERO prompting from the parental units. I just wish I would have caught it on video...just a reminder to myself that the little monkey is great at pulling one out of the hat just when mommy is about to lose her sanity.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Two? A cakewalk.

Conversations with a three year old (what he says):

"you go away"
"I do it myself"
"I do it myself"
"NO Nicky"
"I want (insert food item here)" and on a good day, "please"
"I no share"
"I don't like it"
"I not eat THAT!"
"I don't want a nap"

Whoever said the twos were terrible were lying. Three is much, much worse.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

An extra big hug today

This morning Ken phoned me soon after he left the house for work. It was early, but thanks to the second born who regularly gets up before anything else in this neighbourhood (including the birds) I was already wide awake since about 5ish. He told me to turn on the tv, there had been bombings in London.

I am sure I would have heard about it all by tonight. I was enjoying my morning, loving the fact that I didn't have to work today and could just stay home and hang out with the boys. Nicholas and I were playing with cars in the play room, Ethan was still sleeping. On mornings like this, the TV doesn't go on until about mid afternoon, so I find out about all the news when I turn on the computer.

I don't know what it is when you become a parent, but I have found that news like this hits me alot harder than it used to in my young and single days. I think about my family, and the protective mode sets in. I think about the families that have been touched by awful things that go on, and feel for them - what it is like to lose a husband, a child or a close family memeber in such a tragic event I cannot begin to comprehend. It makes me want to wrap my arms around my family and never, ever let them out of my sight. But I also know that our job as a parents is to love our kids with all our hearts, and help them to become wonderful, independent people.

I am noticing at Ethan gets older that he is getting more and more independent, and depending on me less and less. I have such mixed feelings when I see him at the park, able to conquer the playground equipement with such relative ease, whereas a year ago, I had to constantly help him. "I do it myself" is a constant reminder to me that I am not needed as much as I used to be. It makes me proud and scared all at the same time.

I am thankful every day that I have my family, and in particular, Nicholas. Looking at him, I often forget everything that he has been through in his short little life. He had heart surgery at three days old, and I have never felt so scared and helpless in my entire life. He is doing really well, and to look at him you would never know that he has had issues with his little ticker. Both Ken and I hope that is the most stressful thing we will ever have to deal with as far as our kids are concerned.

Extra big hugs today to all those who are near and dear to me.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Summertime in the city

I had to double check the calendar today - it said JULY but being outside I swear it is February. It isn't too cold, but it is raining non-stop. I have pretty much lived on the west coast for most of my life, so it isn't like I don't expect any different, but DAMN I wish it would get sunny!

All the rain is causing havoc on our lawn. It is growing way too fast, and all the weeds in the garden are out of control. I suck at anything garden related - I buy plants, I plant them and they DIE. One would figure that since I have a biology degree and can manage to feed and water my kids I would somehow know how NOT to kill plants. I kinda feel like the Darla (the fish killer from the movie Nemo) of the plant world. Plants see me coming and they know that death is only a couple of weeks away.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Hi ho, hi ho, the mullet didn't go.

Canada day was going to be a celebration of sorts in this household. We had decided that we were going to celebrate Canada day in the most un-Canadian way we could think of. Beer, none in the house. Hockey? None for the last year. Mullets - yes, only one and something HAD to be done about it. My baby, in his 15 months of life has grown just about THE CUTEST mullet you will ever lay eyes on. The funny thing is, the rest of his head is always perfectly coiffed and many a time people have asked if my baby has yet had a haircut. Only the back seems to grow - and it is the softest, cutest baby mullet EVER.

We often joke about our boys' hair - Nicholas has the soft silky locks, while Ethan's hair is much thicker. But when Ethan was a baby, had hair that stood on end all the time - and that too was just too cute for words (is anyone barfing yet?).

So the plans were set to go to the hairdressers to get the mullet removed. But I couldn't go through with it. I remember Ethan's first haircut, and I just about cried when it was done because it looked so good and he didn't look like my baby anymore, he looked like a big boy. And I am just not ready for that yet.

It is nice to know that if Nicholas keeps the mullet, he doesn't limit his career choices. According to this ad, the Canadian government is looking for corrections officers (hmmmm....mullets guarding mullets, a most Canadian way of doing things indeed!).

Friday, July 01, 2005

Close up

This is about all the energy I have to do today - here are some west coast pics I took a couple of weeks ago when visiting my parents on their little wee island. Oh yeah, Happy Canada Day.

Just hanging out for some sugar...

Why do all the male hummingbirds look so pretty and colourful?

Hey mom, this isn't too far from a MOTH!