Friday, November 14, 2014

Not That Serious

Hi babe.

This year, the year that I am 38 years old, I have a new motto. Want to hear it? Here it is:

Life is not that serious.

Your dad doesn't share this motto. He's in his 4th year of a 5 year residency, looking down the barrel at a pretty big exam in a not-so-distant and ever-nearing future, while handling the life and death of his patients day in and day out. Life is pretty serious for him right now. And that's okay. 

But for me? I have a job I love that offers me very little in the way of stress. I have a husband I love, a daughter I am head-over-heels smitten with and a dog who's the worst but we love him anyway. Our little family has a roof over our heads in a fantastic neighbourhood with fantastic neighbours. We have food on the table and amazing shops and restaurants we can (sort of) afford to enjoy. You go to a wonderful school with wonderful teachers and are learning so much so quickly it makes my head hurt. We live in a safe city in a great country with loads of resources for families. We get to go on vacations, we get to pursue hobbies, we get to greet each other every morning and kiss each other good night every evening. For me, life is not that serious. It's seriously sweet.

Having said that, there is a reason that I needed a motto to come up with in the first place. You see, sometimes I take things too seriously. Or, to be more accurate, I take almost everything way too seriously almost all of the time. I have no perspectacles. Do you know what those are? Those are special imaginary glasses you wear that give you a beautiful view of the BIG PICTURE, so that you don't go losing your mind over things that are not worth the crazy. (A very wonderfully wise woman came up with that term. You would do well to learn as much as you can from her.) So this new motto of mine, it's an attempt to find my perspectacles, and to keep this elusive BIG PICTURE in mind as often as possible. 

Not everything is an omen of terrible things to come. Not everything is teetering on a slippery slope toward doom. Things might be just wonderful next time, even if this time they were very, very bad. THINGS ARE OKAY. I read an interesting article the other day, saying that most people who believe that they are in the middle of terrible, horrible periods of their lives are actually OKAY from moment to moment. You may be going through a divorce, but at this moment you are grocery shopping and you are doing okay. You may have a new cancer diagnosis, but you have just finished reading your kids a bedtime story and you are okay. We all have times of struggle, and sometimes those struggles are intense, but we are STILL OKAY. And we can smile. 

These ideas are so easy to type, and so hard to live. But I believe that the only true meaning of life is to find joy for yourself, and to make joy for others. We are lucky enough to begin life, lucky enough to live it, but not quite lucky enough to get out of it alive, so we might as well enjoy that luck until it runs out. 

I wish you joy, peace and lots and lots of laughter. I wish you a lifetime shared with your greatest loves. Life is not that serious, but it is beautiful.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

One Bathroom

One Bathroom
adapted from "Rude" by Magic! (

Early this morning jumped out of bed
and made me some breakfast
Then heard a rumble but you’re in the can
all the way upstairs
Knocked on the door with hand on my bum
to ask you to vacate
Cause I know that you only did #1

Will I have one bathroom for the rest of my life
(Say No say No)
This can’t be my fate
You say we can’t afford another till we leave this house
Tough luck my friend but you’ll just have to WAIT!

Why you gotta be so rude?
Don’t you know I have to POO!

Why you gotta be so rude?
I’m gonna poo in my pants someday
(Poop in my pants) Poo in my pants someday
(Poop in my pants) No matter what you say
(Poop in my pants) Now get out without delay

Why you gotta be so RUDE?

I hate to do this, you leave no choice
I’m grabbing the potty
Can you hear the panic in my voice
It’s an emergency
Think of your daughter, man
She has to go so bad now too
You know she is just a kid
She will sit anywhere and go

Will I have one bathroom for the rest of my life
(Say No say No)
This can’t be my fate
You say we can’t afford another till we leave this house
Tough luck my friend but you’ll still have to WAIT!

Why you gotta be so rude?
Don’t you know I have to POO!

Why you gotta be so rude?
I’m gonna poo in my pants someday
(Poop in my pants) Poop in my pants someday
(Poop in my pants) No matter what you say
(Poop in my pants) GET OUT! MAYDAY! MAYDAY!

Why you gotta be so RUDE?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Love you to Pieces

Today we picnicked in Hampton Park after swimming. Hampton Park has everything a kid could want in a park, with just the faintest whiff of seediness to make it feel like an adventure. There's a swimming pool, a great play structure, a wide open field and the whole thing is bordered by trailed forest.

First we laid down our towel under a pretty tree that rained purple petals on us. We forgot our cutlery, so we managed to get through our chick pea salad using specialized "food shovels" (crackers). After a dessert of oranges and Girl Guide cookies, we made our way toward the edge of the forest and waded in. Mosquitoes. Lots of them. Also maybe poison ivy. We tried to avoid the latter, and were absolutely feasted on by the former. After finding a few interesting bits of moss, an intricately holey tree, a friendly and relatively unsuspicious looking dude smoking something slightly more suspicious, and a lonely snail just begging to be relocated, our hike through the forest ended rather abruptly as Elle yelled (fresh from another mosquito assault) "I DON'T WANT TO BE IN HERE ANYMORE!!!" and bolted back out to the sunshine faster than I have ever seen those legs move. Okay. Forest time over.

The snail accompanied us for the rest of our playdate, mostly watching from a nearby beach towel and occasionally being paraded around on E's arm. Now, it was bad enough when I realized that I would have to get comfortable enough with slugs when my daughter developed an affinity for snails - their moderately less distasteful incarnation. It was almost more than I could bear today watching her lovingly "wipe its bum" with a leaf (for #2) and a soft purple petal (#1) after it chose to repeatedly use her hand as a latrine. Gah. 

After the forest we went on to the Feats of Strength as she scaled the rock wall a few times and engaged in random acrobatics to my motherly amazement. At some point though, she became Elsa and I became Periwinkle and we had serendipitously run into each other in a mountain after coincidentally both freezing our families and running away in self-imposed exile. So we made a magical ice palace, naturally, which happened to be a very good vantage point for a local baseball game in progress in an adjacent field. We watched that for a while, quietly leaning into each other and occasionally reminding ourselves how lucky we were to have found each other in this mountain.

Then one of us had to poop so we did five minutes on the tire swing and hightailed it out of there. 

Back at home, we did some gardening and went head to head in a gruelling game of checkers. After one "false start" (it was her first are kind of mandatory) and more than a few "oversights" on my part, she came out the victor after a nail-biting thirty minutes. 

At some point we came to the place we always get to. I need to get something done that doesn't lend itself well to being trailed by a 43 pound blocker. I explained that things become complicated and at times treacherous when every time I turn around I have to bob and weave to avoid injuring one of us. Surprisingly, she seemed happy to go upstairs and harass consult with her father for a few minutes. About ten minutes into my solitary bliss I heard the pitter patter of feet on the stairs and thought "Well, it was a good run." That's when she presented me with a piece of paper that read:

Ay luv yoo too pesus. Sew ay want too folow yoo arawnd.

And so I responded the only way you can respond to such a gesture:

Sweetheart, you can follow me around forever.

Friday, February 7, 2014

What a difference a week…doesn't make.

We're just seven days into this whole "being 5" gig, and this is the conversation that happened today:

E: Mom, I think you should start treating me like a 5 year old.
M: Oh, okay. How am I not treating you like a 5 year old?
E: Well, I don't know. But so far 4 and 5 seem p-r-e-t-t-y similar.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Another year, more reasons to smile.

I have such an amazing kid.

If I felt the need to qualify that statement, I would make sure to point out that there is no comparison or judgement intended, no thoughts of superiority or boastfulness, just an overwhelming and sincere adoration of the little person that sits across from me at the dinner table every night.

But I don't.

Lately, and often, I find myself struck by her thoughtfulness, her empathy, her eagerness to be kind and sweet and generous. And I tell her. Because if there's one parenting philosophy I subscribe to, it's that you can never say enough of the good stuff. And she loves to hear it. She gets almost shy as her eyes light up and a smile just tickles the corners of her lips. And I swoon. There is no other word. I swoon hard.

Yesterday we came across the word empathy and she asked what it meant. I explained that it had to do with trying to imagine how someone else is feeling as if you are the other person, rather than thinking about what you would do in their situation. Immediately, E responded with "Oh! I do that all the time! I do that with Noemie and Ayan, and Olivia!" It was as if being empathetic is just a natural thing you do with your friends. Because for her, it is. And I love that.

A few days ago she had an uncharacteristically long and intense meltdown in regards to the peeling of a clementine, which involved several (unsuccessful) trips to her room to calm herself down before re-entering society. Eventually, what began as a suggestion became a sentence, with the cell bedroom door closed, not to be opened except by the warden mom. I can only think of one or two times in the past when I've had to resort to outright imprisonment. There were a few moments of wailing, some pleading, and one request for Kleenex. But then all was quiet. She was in there longer than she has ever been before, and I won't pretend that I didn't relish the uninterrupted chore/shower time. But after about 30 minutes or so, I decided it was time for "the talk". I hate that part. I'm never confident that I'll get the important point across. There's so much pressure for this "moment of truth", when impacts can be made and behaviour can be molded, and more often than not I find myself yammering unintelligibly to a confused looking audience. But I went in boldly and calmly, and was…humbled, what I saw. I expected E to have found something awesome to play with, completely unconcerned about this alleged "punishment", throwing it gleefully back in my face as she announced that she was not ready to come out yet because she was having sooooo much fun. But instead I found her standing there, looking hopefully up at me, a once-pyjamad lunatic, now perfectly calm and fully dressed. All she wanted to do was tell me about the outfit she picked out because she knew I'd like it. The gold zippers on her pants that matched the gold buttons on her shirt. The shirt she knew I liked because I had bought it after noticing the little heart details in it. She was standing there so proudly, hoping for my approval. And she got it. I told her how proud I was that instead of pouting or playing, she had obviously thought about what had happened and had come up with something that would show us that she wanted to do better. That she was thinking not only of herself and her feelings, but of her place in the family and the role she could play. And we still had the talk, and I probably still talked too much, but I know she could see that she had figured out a way to make things right.

On another day, she mentioned wistfully that she couldn't wait to be a grown-up. It's not the first time she's had this ridiculous notion, and I always tell her the same thing. That while I get the frustrations of being a kid and not having a lot of control over things, most people I know would go back to being a kid in a heartbeat. And not necessarily because being a kid is so much better, but because once you're an adult, you'll never get to be a kid again. But kids are in the enviable position of having it all. They can enjoy the good parts of being kids, and look forward to the good parts of being adults. It's a win-win. I asked her why she wanted to be a grown-up on this particular occasion, and her answer was "Because then I can tell people what to do." Hm. I told her that that's one of my least favourite things about being an adult. "Really?" she asked, baffled. "Why??" And all of a sudden I got a flash of how she might see me…

…happily presiding over my minions, ordering them around freely to do my bidding.

I tried to think of a good explanation that would make sense to her. "Because it makes me feel like I'm bossing people around, and I don't like to be bossy." And, just like a good minion, she had the perfect response. "I don't feel like you boss me around, Mom." There's that swoon again. Can swoons be violent? Because mine are.

The next morning, I was presented with this lovely surprise in bed:

You never boss me
I always love you

God, I have an amazing kid.