Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Isn't It Awfully Nice To Have a Penis?

One day, as Beege sat quietly and watched, I folded five loads of laundry. There was more, but I only bothered with five. Anyway. As she watched, she started helpfully pointing out whose laundry was who's for me - you know, in case I got confused or something.

"Those underpants are yours, mummy, they're giant." Yes. Thank you. "Those pants must be Kee's." Yep. Thanks. "Those shorts things are Daddy's," she said, pointing at a pair of boxer shorts. Why yes, they are. "Why doesn't daddy have proper underpants?" Well, daddy is a boy, and boys have penises, so they need more room in their underpants than we do. "That's true. Riley* at school showed me his penis." Uhm... WHAT?!

After some prodding, the story appeared to be that Riley forgot to pull the door closed all the way when he went to the bathroom and turned around when the door opened. So it was an accidental penis showing. Also, I have no idea when it actually occurred, so there's not much to be done about it. I pointed out that she should always always knock on bathroom doors before opening them, and that it's really not okay to show people your private parts.

There followed a discussion of why we don't show people our bums and how it's not okay to compare underwear at school even if you do happen to notice some sticking out the back of someone's pants that are the same as the ones you're wearing. During our discussion, she decided that she's glad she doesn't have a penis because her girl's underwear is nicer.

I really couldn't help but agree.

Reasons I am happy I don't have a penis:

1. Men's underwear.
1. My daughter running at me for an unexpected hug has never put me on the ground trying not to cry.
3. I don't have to worry about it when a kid jumps in my lap for story time.
4. They're just weird looking. Not that I'm a connoisseur or anything... but I'd rather have indoor plumbing.
5. I don't ever have to even think about wearing a jock strap. Ick.
6. Penises come with testicles... which cause a whole other set of problems. I don't have to worry about sitting on myself when I sit down.
7. I've never rolled over on my junk in the middle of the night and woken up in pain.
8. I don't have to worry about my pants "sawing" my testicles as I walk. Then again, I would probably wear looser pants to try and avoid this, but what do I know?

There's probably more, but I think that's enough, yeah?

Reasons it might be okay to have a penis

1. Peeing at the side of the highway in a traffic jam wouldn't be such an ordeal. I haven't had to do it, but it's come pretty darn close and I can tell you, it probably would have been less worrisome if I could have just stood there and peed nonchalantly and been done with it.

Okay... that was all I could come up with.

If you don't feel like a little Monty Python, don't click this link.

*Name has been changed, don't worry.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

On Religion and Bunnies.

Growing up, we were not a religious family. The time I did go to church, it was with my best friend's family and all I remember about it is the orange juice at Sunday school. So, my religious education has been somewhat...lacking.

Since I don't know anything about it, I don't really feel comfortable trying to explain anything about it to the kids; after all, the only thing worse than no information is mis-information. When Beege asked me "what's religion?" the other day, all I could manage was "religion, in this case, is what you call a collection of beliefs." Which, while mostly accurate, doesn't really answer her question.

It comes up whenever there's a Jewish holiday. I'm not sure why she's more interested in Jewish holidays, but she has told me numerous times that I should "write the test" to be Jewish, because then she'd be Jewish.

In the case of Judaism, I've got a guest speaker coming. You heard me. Conveniently, I've got a cousin who's Jewish, who thinks it's totally adorable that Beege is so interested and has agreed to come and talk to her about it. As for the rest, it looks as though I'm going to have to embark on a course of religious study.

During the course of our latest discussion, she also informed me that we're Christian because we celebrate Christmas and Easter and believe in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and pumpkins. Pumpkins? So... I've got my work cut out for me.

Although we weren't celebrating the resurrection of anyone when we did Easter at my house, we did celebrate. We always had an Easter hunt - that was usually more like a Treasure hunt. From pretty early on, it was pretty obvious that the Easter Bunny didn't really have much to do with anything at our house.

Among the other things that my parents were good at, they totally kicked ass at Easter hunts. We didn't have a hunt for chocolate, randomly scattered around the house, no sir. Not only did we get fun stuff instead of chocolate and candy (Usually small toys and a book or two - I distinctly remember a water whistle from the ROM gift shop) but we got clues for our hunt.

As we got older, they got more difficult and specifically tailored to each kid - everything is a learning opportunity! By the time mum decided that we really were too old for that sort of thing, my older brother was getting clues in Latin, mine were in French and my little sister's were in math problems. See the example I have to follow?

My kids are only 2 (almost 3!!) and 5, so their clues have been pretty easy - and thank goodness. Easter snuck up on me this year. As a result, today I will be running out to Toys R Us so that there is actually something to hunt for and then trying to come up with clues for the kids to follow. I've settled on pictures of the hiding place for Kee and poems for Beege.

It'll take me all night to do, and probably only take them about 15 minutes to finish their hunt... but maybe in 30 years they'll be sitting down to do the same thing for their kids. Totally worth it.

Happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The "Big Girl" Dilemma.

Sometimes, getting a kid to do something is like pulling teeth. Or dragging a horse through a knothole. You know... like doing something really hard. So, parents tend to use whatever tools come to hand and seem to work.

My Keebee adores her big sister; and most other "big kids". I've mentioned that she would rather be in a diaper and slippers than anything else; she's practically a nudist. Well, I discovered that for Kee, the words "like a Big Girl" work a very special kind of magic.

She hasn't worn socks... ever. Really, ever. And I didn't push it much, because it just wasn't worth it. Recently, I had to stick my hand into her winter boot to pull out a rock that was bothering her. The funk in that boot was unbelievable. Just really... ohmygod... dead bodies... unbelievable.

I decided that the time had come to get the kid to wear socks. I pointed out that her shoes would be stinky if she didn't wear socks. I tried to tell her that her feet would be lovely and warm if she wore socks. I told her that it would make mummy "super duper happy!" if she wore some socks. Finally I said, "if you can't wear socks - like a big girl - then you won't be allowed to go to school!" (She's on a waiting list for 2 days a week at preschool)

"Like a big girl?" she asked, looking up at me. "Yes honey, big girls wear socks. Promise." While she'll still only wear the socks - and it's only the blue pair with sheep on it that she'll wear - when she's going to put shoes on, a victory was definitely won.

"Like a Big Girl" has also worked for wearing pants, brushing teeth, cleaning up after herself and holding my hand while walking.

So I figured I'd try it with potty training. We're pretty late with the potty training, I know, but it's never seemed like good timing. We're going to go at it in earnest over the summer because they really won't let her go to school if she's still in diapers.

I explained to her that big girls don't wear diapers and that they wouldn't let her go to school if she wasn't wearing proper underpants and using the potty.

Later in the day, when I told her it was time to get ready to go to school, she started taking off her diaper. A little confused, I pointed out that we'd just changed it and she didn't need a new one, so she shouldn't take it off. She just started bawling and pulling harder at her diaper.

I kept trying to keep her diaper on her and she kept trying to take it off. Soon, she was beside herself and screaming at me. Eventually, she took her diaper and threw it in the corner. After she finally calmed down, she explained that she needed underpants or she wouldn't be able to come with me when I took Beege to school.

It took about 20 minutes to talk her down. I guess I'm going to have to be more careful with my magic words.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wait... I'm What?

The other day, the girls and I sat down and watched a movie with some popcorn. A bit later, I was really annoyed to find that I had a bit of popcorn stuck in my tooth. Way back behind my top back molar. No matter how much I poked at it with my tongue, it wouldn't budge, and it was really starting to piss me off.

I started poking at it with my finger - sexy, right? - and still, couldn't get it out. It was really sharp and really annoying. I went to get the flashlight and the dental mirror so I could have a look at the darn thing.

It's not popcorn. It looks more like... a tooth. Wait... WTH?! Apparently, I'm teething.

So I Googled. You should never Google anything unless, unlike me, you're able to look at the nonsense that is likely to come up with some skepticism. Whenever there's anything weird going on with me, I always jump straight to brain tumour. Anyway, the first thing that comes up is a bunch of really disgusting pictures of bloody teeth.

First of all, I'm about 10 years too old for my stupid wisdom teeth to come in, second of all, I was just at the dentist last month - x-rays and all - and they said NOTHING.

Of course, it didn't hurt before I knew it was there, and now I've had a headache since I found it. I'm really good at freaking myself out. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have recurring dreams about giant mutant teeth exploding out the side of my face.

Since it doesn't actually hurt, there's a chance that it could just come in and be fine, right? Right? Because I really don't want to have them out. I'm not that fond of needles. Or surgery. Or being knocked out. Or waking up while they're still pulling stuff out of my face.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go breathe into a paper bag.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oh, No, You Didn't.

When I was 17, I decided that I wanted to broaden my horizons; to that end, I assigned myself the weighty task of reading "the classics". I started out wholeheartedly, borrowing stacks of books from the library at a time, nothing could stop me! I was going to read everything there was!

There was really no rhyme or reason to the books I chose. If I'd ever heard of it, I wanted to read it. I especially loved it when I read about a book in one of the books I chose and was then able to read that book. Awesome.*

I devoured the slim volumes: Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, Rebecca, 1984, The Grapes of Wrath, The Handmaid's Tale. When I got to the heavier books though, I sort of petered out; Don Quixote and War and Peace were just too much. I was determined to plow on though, so there are a lot of books that I've read the first chapter of.

I've recently decided to take up the mantle again, and continue with the goal of reading everything. I'll even admit that it was spurred on by a quiz on the BBC's Big Read Top 100 list. I had a look and I'd only read 40.

This time around, I'm not going to limit myself to "classics", although I do seem to be lacking in that category. I'm going to try to read a bit of everything. This week, I started out with "Room"** and "The Great Gatsby".

I finished off "Room" and started in on Gatsby. Don't you love opening a book you've never read before? I've never even heard much about The Great Gatsby, except for reading an excerpt in "A Prayer For Owen Meaney"*** - which is why I chose it - so I didn't even know what to expect.

What I certainly didn't expect, was for some jack-hole to have written all over the margins.

I hate that. I hate it so much that I want to find the person who did it and hit them in the face with the book. Okay, maybe not quite that much, but if they happened to look over my shoulder and say "Oh! I did that!", I'd definitely give them the stink eye. Not only is it disrespectful to write in the margins (in my opinion, anyway), but this is a LIBRARY BOOK! WTH, DUDE!?

So, I sat down to read, armed with an eraser (because at least the jack-hole had written in pencil). This person has not only written in the margins, but has also underlined things messily, and in some cases scribbled out whole paragraphs. Seriously? You're going to edit this book? Not only that, but the comments don't make any freaking sense! Really, I think that's what makes me angriest. If they were at least insightful comments on the novel, I'd be able to find a tiny bit of forgiveness.

As I was sitting on the couch, angrily erasing and mumbling to myself about idiots who shouldn't be allowed the privilege of a library card, my husband walked by and had a look at what I was doing.

"I used to do that," he said. "In university. Or sometimes I'd write the notes out in a notebook, and then bracket the paragraph and number them in the margins so they'd be easy to find."
"They were at least your own books, right?" I asked, horrified.
"Oh, yeah, they were my own books." he answered, backing away, possibly sensing that any other answer would not be okay.

He also dog-ears pages. *shudder* What kind of monster have I married?

*I still love this.
**Short listed for the Man Booker Prize 2010, and quite an engrossing read, I must say.
***I'm also going to have to read The Tin Drum.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I Don't Have Enough Room As It Is.

So. I've already admitted that I watch reality shows like "Sister Wives" and "Hoarders", I've also mentioned that I like to save where I can; of course I would have to watch a show called "Extreme Couponing".

The first woman, J'aime Kirlew is a mother of 3, who started "couponing" when her husband lost his job. I totally understand her reasoning in that case. And truly, $1,900 worth of groceries for $103 is very impressive. However, who needs 62 (and she had coupons for 77) bottles of mustard?? That would last me 35 years. 35 freaking years of mustard. (And while he was helping her clear the shelf, her husband said "I don't even eat mustard.") 60 packages of lunch meat. MEAT! Sure, freeze some, but it still doesn't keep indefinitely. Also? Apparently, she's kind of a fraud.

The second woman made more sense to me. She was the mother of a whole bunch (seven?) children and was buying things that the family would actually consume at some point. She even had these custom shelves made to hold cans that would automatically rotate the stock. Having hundreds of rolls of toilet paper seems like a bit much to me, but then again, I only have two kids. She also had stockpiles of things throughout her entire house; toilet paper under the baby's bed, laundry detergent shelved in the bedroom... is all the stocking up worth it when it takes over your home?

As I was watching, I could feel the frugal side of me perking up. Geez, I could do that! I'm fully capable of looking through the paper and finding websites that offer deals. However. When it comes right down to it, I just don't have the discipline; or the closet space. It's all well and good to buy 200 rolls of toilet paper for $2.00, but it's not worth it if I have to keep it on the kitchen counter.

Besides that, it seems that it's not even possible to save quite this extremely in Canada, for all kinds of reasons.

So, for now, I'll stick to feeling a little thrill when I get a good deal, buying certain things only when they're on sale and trying to make as many things myself as I can.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Movie Madness

Last night was movie night at Beege's school, and we had tickets for the first time. They had movie nights last year, but we never made it out. They start at 6:30, and our girls were going to bed about then; which makes people look at me like I'm nuts any time I mention it, but it totally worked for us.

Anyway. Since we've been putting the girls to bed at separate times, Beege ends up getting to bed at about 8:30. Movie night it is!

The only hitch being that I woke up in the morning feeling like someone had dragged me backwards behind a horse all night, and blowing a tonne of snot/blood out my nose. Lovely. I took drugs all day (non-drowsy, my ass, Buckley's!) and willed myself to feel better by movie time.

Beege, after getting over the fact that daddy wasn't coming, was pretty excited about our "mommy daughter date". I really didn't want to let her down, but just in case, I warned my husband that he might have to take her. Then I gently broke the news to her; she was unexpectedly accepting. Really, I was almost insulted.

When my husband got home, he slumped into the room and fell asleep on the couch. As we started getting ready to go, he was sitting in the bathroom with his head hanging over the toilet.O-kaaaay, I guess I'm taking her, no matter what's coming out my nose.

Movie night was... chaotic. They put chairs at the back for the adults and mats on the floor for the kids; apparently, the big people were only there in case the little people needed to go to the bathroom.

Having laid down the rules for Beege -- no running, no jumping, no yelling, and try not to spill your water -- I sat down with the other parents to watch "Despicable Me", a movie I totally love. (Kee is so Agnes, it's scary.) Or rather, to try and watch it, while ending up mostly watching everyone else not watch it.

There was running, there was yelling, there was random dancing, at one point someone tripped on the power cord for the DVD system and it had to be re-started. Back in the parental unit section, there was Emailing, cell-phoning and even someone watching a different movie on their iPad.

I'm pleased to say that Beege did an excellent job. She stayed sitting and watched the movie. At no point did she get up in the front and wiggle her bum at everyone or try to do hand puppets in front of the projector or steal someone else's popcorn, or run back and forth for no apparent reason; which are things that some of the other kids felt compelled to do.

Around halfway through, Beege came back and sat on my lap. We - okay, I - spilled her water all over the two of us, and my butt fell asleep. My drugs wore off partway through and I started feeling less floaty and more hurty again. I could hardly hear the movie, and once she came and sat on me, couldn't really see it either.

However, seeing the big grin on her face all night and hearing her tell her teacher today that she had a "super awesome time at movie night!" made it totally worth it.

Plus, I didn't have to clean up any husband vomit. Win!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

For Lack of Better Words.

I have, since before she was born, felt guilty about the fact that I wouldn't have as much one on one time with my second child. Kee and I wouldn't have that kind of one on one bonding opportunity until Beege started school; and even then, Beege ended up in afternoons so Kee slept the whole time.

Now that Kee has given up napping and we have a couple of hours to hang out together each afternoon, it's time to get that bonding ball rolling.

This afternoon, I sat down with Kee, my almost three year old and asked a few questions to find out what makes her tick.

An Interview With a Toddler.

Mommy: So, Kee, my little love...
Kee: *interrupting* I'm not love! I'm just KEE! And you're just Mummy.
M: Duly noted. So... where should we start? Did you have a good morning?
K: *grunt*
M: Good?
K: Yes.
M: Uhm. Well, what do you think you'd like to do when you're a grownup?
K: I'm not gonna go to the moon like the kid in the Gru movie.
M: *shrug* Okay then. What would you say is your favourite book?
K: *incredulous* Are you asking me what's my favourite book?
M: Uhm.. yes?
K: *frowning* Don't ask me what's my favourite book.
M: Okay then. How about your favourite toy?
K: *becoming agitated* Don't ASK ME my favourite TOY!
M: Favourite colour?
K: *calming down* Pink. And blue. Beege likes her favourite colour. That's her favourite colour that she likes. It's purple.
M: Do you like having a big sister?
K: *scowling* I LOVE Beege. Why are you asking me questions? Don't ask me QUESTIONS!

At this point, the interviewee stripped down to her diaper, grabbed her blankie and left. Then she sat across the room with her blankie over her head, glaring balefully at me with her one visible eye.

If I've discovered nothing else, I think I'm pretty safe in saying this: she interviews like a rock star. Or maybe Charlie Sheen.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Things That Go Bump in the Night.

Today, the topic at hand is what a big, whiny, scaredy cat I am. I'm really a complete chicken. But only in the dark. The second the lights go out, the darkness presses in on me and I'm convinced I hear things that shouldn't be there. In the dark, I swear I see things out of the corner of my eye that skitter away as I try to focus on them.

I can't really think of any really good reasons for this, but I have several theories:

1. When I was a kid, I was very adventurous. I loved camping, I loved scary stories and movies, I loved trying new things. Then, one time while camping, we went spelunking*. Which was great. Until I was crawling through a very narrow cave and knelt** on a snake. Yes really.

Imagine me, a 13 year old girl, not very fond of snakes to begin with, in a small enclosed space, in the dark kneeling on a snake. I was trapped. I couldn't go ahead, because there was a freaking terrifying, half dead snake. I couldn't go back because there were other kids coming through. Someone finally had to come back through to me and move the snake so I could continue.

I'm sure it was actually a small snake, but I remember it as a freaking anaconda. From that time on, I was unhappy in the dark, uncomfortable in enclosed spaces and terrified of snakes. No more spelunking. Or sleeping in the back of a PT Cruiser, but that's another story.

2. My husband has a very science-y sounding theory about primal fear of the unknown combined with the fact that my eyes are so bad I can't see an inch in front of me without glasses.

3. I've been more of a chicken since my kids were born. Now that it's imperative that I'm alive to protect them, it seems that I'm more of a wimp than ever.

I've already mentioned a few times that I'm pretty sure someone is going to break into my house and kill me while I'm sleeping. Maybe this guy:

So when there really was a noise in the living room while we were drifting off to sleep the other night, it freaked me right out. You know how some horror movies use a soundtrack of children singing because there is really nothing creepier than possessed children?*** And the more innocent the song, the worse it is. I forget which movie it's in, but "One, Two, Buckle my shoe" is now one of the songs I'm most creeped out by.

Imagine you're off to sleep, there's no one in the other room and then suddenly, you hear a tinny little "Jesus love me" playing. We quietly got up and went into the living room. My husband, partially because he's brave and partially because I was pushing him, went in front. We turned all the lights on... nothing.

Then it started again.

It turned out to be a little toy angel that plays several different songs when you push buttons on her wings. I made him look everywhere, just to make sure, because I'm totally neurotic and worried about this kind of thing, but there was no one anywhere. So after making him stand outside the door while I used the bathroom, we went back to bed.

As for the toy, she has been relieved of her batteries and is on her way to Goodwill. Here's hoping she doesn't show up at the door with an axe.

*Fancy word for caving .
**Total side note: is "knelt" one of weirdest looking words ever, or is that just me?
***When Beege was a baby, she giggled in her sleep; but not a cute little baby giggle, a deep throaty chuckle. Creeeeeeeeeepy.