Monday, June 29

The Bouncy Thing

Last week, I was desperate to buy the kids one of those giant inflatable things that kids bounce on at the fair. I thought that my girls would love it! In addition, it was on sale at Toys 'R' Us. I thought this was a sign from the Gods that I should rush out and buy one.

Dan did not agree. He said that the bouncy thing was too expensive and too extravagant. He thought it would lure any remaining children in the neighbourhood that are not already accustomed to hanging out in our backyard. So, I was fiscally responsible and I didn't buy the bouncy thing.

On Saturday, we were all at Sean's house to celebrate Cory's 2nd birthday. Guess what Sean had in his backyard! A huge bouncy thing (Sean always goes big)! Katie and Bethie loved it. Poor Sarah was frantic to get in but we would not allow her because there were big boys bouncing too.
Sunday morning, Dan announced that we should get a bouncy thing. I called the store. They were no longer on sale. AHHHH! Why can't he buy things the second that I want them?! Undeterred, we went to the store and bought a Little Tikes Bounce and Slide.

The kids were very excited to use it. So excited, that they couldn't wait the 90 seconds for it to inflate:

Soon enough, the bouncy thing was inflated and the race was on to get in it. Sarah almost won because she started climbing in before it was completely inflated. Katie freaked (because she always has to be first) and snuck in the "back" entrance. Bethie was last, of course. She always is.

Once in, all three kids had a blast!

Tuesday, June 23

All This Fuss For Me?

Bethie removes her glasses by pulling the arms out sideways, instead of by pulling the glasses forwards off her face. She doesn't like to have her ears get caught on the frames. I have tried to explain that she is not Dumbo and that she doesn't have giant ears to "clear". No use. Bethie does what she does, and there is very little anyone can do to change that.

Bethie broke her glasses. She snapped on of the arms right off. I returned them to the store (I had been there the week before because Katie had tied her glasses up into the shape of a pretzel. Dan "untied" the glasses, but I needed the store to fix the casing for one of the lenses). They didn't ask many questions because the glasses were under warranty and they belong to a three year old! I was told to return two days later, and to bring Bethie so the glasses could be properly fitted.

Bethie, Katie, Big Sarah, and I went to pick up Bethie's new glasses. She was a wee bit disappointed because she thought the "new" glasses would be completely different from her original glasses (and, preferably, yellow). She bounced back quickly from that emotional trauma, and we left. I led the way. Katie was close on my heels, bouncing about, and talking a mile a minute. Big Sarah was behind Katie trying to "encourage" Bethie to hurry up (we spend most of our days trying to get that slow poke to keep up, but Bethie will not be rushed...ever)!

The fire alarm goes off. Great. We had parked right in front of the building. The fire trucks would block us in and I was already late getting these kids home for dinner. I thought to myself, "MOVE!". Thankfully, Big Sarah was on the same page. I immediately try to usher Katie out of the building while dodging all the employees of the office building that are being forced to evacuate and insist on standing directly outside the front doors. Katie is standing frozen, covering her ears because the fire alarm is too loud. She was going on about something but I ignore her and push her towards the exit.

Sarah is doing exactly the same thing with Bethie. However, instead of ignoring the child, she pays attention to what Bethie is saying (I long ago gave up on being Mother of the Year, Sarah figures that she'll give it a shot). Sarah then begins to yell for me. Apparently, Bethie was the one to set the fire alarm off. Not only that, she's saying over and over and over again "Mummy! I pushed the button and made the fire alarm go off".

Crap! Crap! Crap!

I have two options:

  1. I can hang around and explain to the fire department that I failed (through negligence) to prevent my three year old from setting off the alarm. I would then have to cross my fingers that I wouldn't be fined.
  2. I can grab the kids and run.

What option do you think I would choose? Is there really any question? The grab and run. Sarah grabbed Katie and I grabbed Bethie, and we practically flew to the car. Since Bethie was announcing to everyone that she set off the alarm, I was forcefully advising her to "Be quiet! Bethie, stop saying that! BETHIE! NO MORE TALKING!!!!".

We got the twins in the car and buckled up. Panic set in because I could hear the sirens approaching. I peeled out of the parking lot much to the surprise of the office on-lookers, and moved the vehicle to another location where the twins could see the fire trucks coming. Then I threatened to send the girls back to apologise to those angry fire fighters. The girls didn't like that too much. I explained to both of them that they are never, ever, ever allowed to set the fire alarms off again.

My babies looked at me with genuine sorrow in their eyes. Bethie felt badly for what she had done. Katie felt badly for Bethie. With earnestness and sincerity they both promised never to set off the fire alarms again. I thought to myself, "Big deal. They lie".

Tuesday, June 16


Big Sarah and I painted my powder room yesterday. I think the colour should be renamed "Holy Crap Blue!". That names seems to accurately reflect the sentiments of all those who enter the room. I've grown used to the colour. In fact, I now think it's quite lovely, especially when paired with my new towels and liquid soap dispenser (plastic, of course, as I figured that my kids would smash a ceramic one within minutes).

As it turns out, my plastic soap dispenser lasted about 12 hours. The 12 hours that the children were sleeping, to be exact. This morning, Katie was using the washroom. Everything was fine until she beckoned me to come. Sarah figured she too would respond to Katie's call, and I followed Sarah into the washroom to discover Bethie standing in a pool of liquid soap. She didn't stay stationary for very long as she was desperate to find a "dry" bit of floor that had not been contaminated. The "pool" of soap was rapidly turning into an ocean as it spread across the floor. Sarah, having had arrived first on the scene, had slipped (and I suspect, rolled) in the soap. Katie was sitting on the toilet directing the traffic.

"Nobody move!" was my first reaction. Only Katie, who was safely installed above the fray, obeyed. The soapy kids bolted towards me. I picked up the baby, did a quick clean, and tossed her out of the bathroom. I sat Bethie down on the stool and told her to keep her feet up. It wasn't until I was trying to slow down the rushing tide of the liquid soap, wipe soap off of Bethie's legs and feet, and keep the baby out of the bathroom that I transformed into my mother. The breaking point was when Katie bounced up from the toilet and announced triumphantly "I'm all done my poop". My lips were moving, but Mum's words were flying out of my mouth like a machine gun peppering the landscape in search of approaching enemy targets. I yelled "Sit down, Katie! The last thing I need is one more child tracking soap all over the floor! Bethie, what is wrong with you? What possessed you to come into my nice bathroom and dump soap all over the floor? Look at that soap dispenser! I haven't had it for 12 hours yet! Your father was right! We can't have nice things until you move out! Sarah! Stay there! Stop wiggling, Bethie, or you can stand outside and I will spray your legs with the hose! That will make you wiggle! Katie, I said wait...a...minute!".

One by one, I cleaned the children and sent them out of the bathroom. It was then that I took (I swear to God) 30 seconds in a feeble attempt to contain the soap with paper towel. Coincidentally, that was the same amount of time it took the twins to lure Sarah into the front hall closet and to lock her in it (it is still unclear if they decided to spare her baby fingers from being caught in the doors or not). I rush to the aid of my screaming baby all the while yelling at the twins. My tirade ended with a very clear order to put on their shoes and to put their stuffed animals in the bag for daycare.

I hurtled up the stairs to retrieve the twins' glasses. I didn't time how long that took. I would guess about 15 seconds. Maybe 20, considering all the toys and kiddie crap that I had to dodge getting there and back. Regardless, I think it took Sarah less than 5 seconds to find the Penaten, remove the lid, and smear it on her face. Penaten! Penaten's selling feature is that you can't get it off. It's resistant to liquid! Using up the last bit of patience I had, I cleaned the baby.

By now both twins had shoes on, but on the wrong feet. I didn't correct them. I simply ensure that there was one left shoe and one right shoe for each girl. That's good enough. I did a quick check and realised that Bethie still hadn't put her bears in the bag. I told her to do so or she wouldn't have bears at all.

My child looked at me and said "It's not fair that you make me do all the work!".

That was the tipping point. It was the exact moment in time that things shifted. I no longer was the exasperated but loving mother. I was crazed. I was possessed by self-righteous indignation. I may lose the battle, but I wasn't going down without a fight!


With that, we were off to Emilie's. I said to her "I almost killed the kids. I hope your day goes better than mine has gone." And I left. As I walked away, Emilie asked "What happened? Why is your Mummy so angry". What was the response, you ask? With a tone of bewilderment, Bethie said "I don't know".

Sunday, June 14

Holy Bethie

Bethie loves church. Although we don't go very often, she seems to really absorb everything that is said while we are there. I guess she ponders it afterwards too. The other day, we were driving and out of the blue (as far as I could tell), she said "God is all around us". That caught me off guard. After a long pause due to my speechlessness, I was able to say "You're quite right, Bethie".

Today, I was doing up her car seat buckles, just the way she likes them done up (she's a very particular child) and I said "Bethie, what would you do if I just disappeared of the face of this Earth? Who would ever know you as well as I do?". Without missing a beat, my baby said "God". Then I started feeling guilty that I didn't take her to church today. I've decided that Bethie needs some volunteers to take her to church when I am "unable". Any offers?

Friday, June 12

Bears, Cats, and Birds

I have nicknames for all my children. They're just sweet little names that roll off my tongue. I couldn't stop calling my kids by these names even if I tried. I have a Bethie Bear, a Katie Cat, and a Sarahburra (my adaptation of Kookaburra).

The girls really identify with these names. If any article of clothing or toy has a cat on it, Katie believes that those items are for her exclusive use only. Bethie respects this "natural law". Nothing pleases Katie more than the pajamas that Mum got her that have a great big pink kitten on the shirt and tiny wee kittens on the pants (she's wearing them in the photo included with the "Dancing Queens" blog). Those are her favourite pajamas and she requests them every night. I try to have those pajamas clean at all times because it thrills my little Katie Cat.

Bethie has gone a step further. She actually believes that she is a bear. As I took her out of the bath the other night, she said to me in an incredibly melancholy voice"I wish I was a human girl". I told her that it must be her lucky day because she is a human girl! The next morning, Katie was dancing around on the deck while I was getting the other two girls dressed inside. Katie came racing inside shouting that a bee was going to get her. Bethie reassured Katie that she would get rid of that naughty bee. I asked Bethie how she planned on doing this. She replied matter of factly "Bees don't like bears because bears eat all their honey. The bee is going to think I'm going to eat his honey and he will fly away!". Bethie Bear to the rescue!

I guess it's kinda cute that Katie meows and Bethie growls in their 3 year old attempts to mimic their animal nicknames. However, Sarahburra takes it to the extreme. I think that this child is genuinely surprised when she tries to fly and is unsuccessful. I have truly and honestly seen that child soar through the air doing somersaults, then come plummeting to the ground. It's terrifying and heart wrenching to watch (heroic efforts are made to prevent this from happening in the first place, but Sarah is one fast cookie!). Just last night, Dan and I were preparing to eat dinner outside. We were running plates, and glasses, and utensils, and the highchair outside. We kept the door open because we were moving fast. Not as fast as Sarahburrah. She hurled herself from the top of the stairs to the deck. I saw her in slow motion soar head over heels through the air. It ended in an inevitable crash to the ground. We assessed her (she's one tough Chickie, not a thing wrong with her!), calmed her down, and started dinner. After a few minutes, Katie said "Gravity got Sarah". It sure did, much to Sarah's surprise!

Thursday, June 11

The Experienced Mother

When we had the twins, Dan and I new nothing about how to be parents. We were thrown into a world of sleep deprivation, endless work, and absolute confusion. Too soon after having the twins, our focus became surviving parenthood instead of mastering it. We did our best.

We had been blessed with delicate babies, at birth weighing only 5 pounds (Bethie) and 4 pounds (Katie). They were so little and so helpless. They relied on us to provide the basics: love, shelter, clothing and food.

And we did it with zest, abundance, and enthusiasm. Here are my babies at about 13 months:

The twins have taught me a lot about being a mother. They have taught me (or rather, demanded of me) patience. They have taught me to take a deep breath and relax. They have also taught me moderation.

Here is a picture of Sarah at the same age:

Wednesday, June 10

The Man Behind The Purple Door

My Dad seldom believes anything I say. Not that I tell him anything "outrageous". He, for some reason unknown to me, thinks that I am trying to trick him. When I decided to marry Dan (after knowing him for 3 months or so...and I had only just turned 20), Dad thought I was kidding. When I told him I was moving to Korea, he thought that I was just trying to get a reaction from him. When I told him I was pregnant with twins, Dad refused to be "suckered" into believing me (even when presented with the ultrasound photo). The list of things that Dad doesn't believe goes on and on. The absolutely funny thing is that I always tell Dad the truth. Dad just can't bring himself to believe that I would do the things I do.

Big Sarah and I were out and about one day. I announced that I would like to paint my house yellow. Sunshine yellow. Blow your socks off yellow. Sadly, I live in a semi-detached and it would look ridiculous. Sarah and I had a good think about what we could do instead. I mentioned that there were two people on my street who had just painted their front doors. We drove by the houses and thought "Let's do it! But let's do it brighter!". Also, we would need an "accent" colour. We decided to paint the chairs that I keep on my porch. What colour, you ask? Sunshine yellow!

Prior to painting the door, I called Dad and told him what I was up to. I often consult Dad prior to doing something big. Sadly, he must feel a little like Henry Higgins ("She'll ask me for advice/ My reply will be concise/ She listens very nicely/ Then goes out and does precisely what she wants!"). Poor Dad didn't believe me. I had a perfectly good door that was a perfectly good colour. Dad felt that I was trying to get him to believe that I painted my door so when he came over on the weekend I could shout "Gotcha!" as he exited his car and saw my white door. Dad thinks that I would find this terribly funny (word to the wise, Daddy, I find it much more funny when you don't believe me).

The man who was mixing the paint saw the colour chip and exclaimed "Do you know why I have a bald spot?! Because I have to pull my hair out when people like you come in and tell me that they want to paint their doors these crazy colours!". Bingo! It was then that Sarah and I knew that we had, in fact, chosen exactly the right colour.

Here is my house prior to the improvements that Big Sarah and I made:

And here is the new and improved version:

I know, I know ... you hate it. So does everybody else. But I love it! It's a wee bit of joy that greets me every time I come home. Also, it's a big hit with the three year old crowd.
How does Dan feel about it? He hates it. Can't stand it. Doesn't understand what on Earth would compel me to paint the front door! He doesn't like the purple. He liked the white. It looked "classic". It matched everyone else. It didn't "pop" (who knew that some people think that's a benefit?). He feels that people are going to think we are LA Lakers fans. He's concerned that he will forever be known as The Man Behind the Purple Door.
I remind him of the words that I live by "It matters not what they think of me, but what I think of them".

Dancing Queens

Every morning, I have the radio on. Typically, the music plays quietly in the background. However, if a particularly good song comes on, I crank up the volume and "us girls" dance around the kitchen.

All three girls (yup, even Sarah!) have a favourite song: "It Happens" by Sugarland. They leap up and let the music fill their souls! Here are my dancing queens:

Monday, June 8

8:30 Monday Morning

I've always hated Mondays. It meant back to school or back to work. It signified the start of a new week which was always painfully similar to the weeks past. It was a day loaded with new problems or meetings or work. Mondays were always the busiest day of my week.

Sunday nights weren't great either. I would spend Sunday evenings thinking about (and dreading) the next day. When we lived in Korea, the temple next to our house would ring their gong at 6:00 Sunday evening. Completely and wholly depressing.

Things have changed. Last night, Dan was moaning about how disappointed he was that the weekend was over and he didn't want Monday to come. The twins were upset because they knew Monday meant another week of daycare. I was delighted. I now love Mondays. Everybody leaves and I'm on my own! I can do whatever I like, whenever I like and I don't have to consult or "prep" anyone. I can read my book or have a nap or (gasp) go out. All by myself.

I don't typically feel guilty about this. For the last four years I have dedicated every moment of every day to the betterment and fulfillment of my family. I have earned these "breaks" (I am hesitant to refer to grocery shopping, going to the bank, scrubbing the house etc as "breaks", but every mother knows that if you can do these things without young children grabbing your leg, fighting or running off than it is a "break").

Today was fairly typical of my Monday mornings. At 7:30am when Sarah was banging the Hell out of her melon (which I tried to inform her was already dead so she should ease up), when Bethie was moaning because I didn't ante up a dessert for her breakfast, and when Katie was drawing pictures with her jam on the glass kitchen table, I thought to myself "an hour to go!".

At 7:45am when Sarah was putting the clean clothes into the toilet, Bethie was pretending that a mirror was a drum and banging the Hell out of it, and when Katie was asking me if I would like to inspect her green poop, I thought "45 minutes. Hang in there!".

I could barely hang on at 8:00am when Sarah was running around the house naked until Bethie "caught" her by sitting on her.

At 8:05am when Sarah ran into the island in the kitchen (how does one miss seeing that?!) and when Bethie was searching for her shoes by emptying the entire contents of the front hall closet, I knew that I wasn't going to make it to 8:30.

I deployed my secret weapon: the ever pleasing Katie. As I frantically finished getting everyone brushed, cleaned, and dressed I fired out commands to her. "Get Sarah's jacket for me, please", "Put every one's bears and blankies in the Emilie bag", "Go yell at Bethie to put her shoes on". Katie performed beautifully and even took the initiative and went above and beyond my requests (I had to stop her when I heard "1...2...3! Go in the corner, Bethie!"). Believe it or not, we were all out the door at 8:15am.

I dropped the children off at daycare, came home, had a cup of coffee with my feet up while reading my book and thought "I should feel guilty!". But I didn't.

Wednesday, June 3


When Dan puts the kids to bed he always gives them a "little visit". He lays in bed with each of them for about 5 minutes each, and each girl gets a chance to discuss their inner-most thoughts with their Daddy.

Dan put the twins to bed the other night. After their stories, each child lept into their own bed and prepared themselves for a "little visit". Dan got into bed with Bethie.

Katie had a fit! She started yelling "No! I'm always first! I go up the stairs first, I go pee first, I get in the bath first, I get out of the bath first, I get dressed first, I get to pick the first book..." The rant when on and on and on.

Bethie responded, "But I get the first visit." And she did.

Monday, June 1

A Life of Leisure

I have always had strict "call times". With three young kids, there are only certain times throughout the day when it is acceptable to call. If a poor soul telephoned during a "do not call time", they were censured. Swiftly and harshly. I am a busy lady.

Almost two months ago, I decided not to go back to my job when my maternity leave ended. That's not to say that I don't intend to work. I simply would prefer a job with hours that don't annihilate me. Since I will be going back to work (eventually, is there any harm in taking the summer off?), I need to send the children to daycare to ensure I get to keep their places (I don't want to lose the $7/day spots that are across the street in a daycare run by a woman who adores my kids). This leaves me home alone all day (before you get too hot and bothered, remember that I haven't been alone in almost four years!).

The most noticeable effect of my not working is the amount of phone calls I receive. My phone rings all the time. Morning, noon, and night. Most conversations begin the same way:

Me: Hello
Friend: Hey, how's the life of leisure going?
Me: Great (until the phone rang for the billionth time).
Friend: Well, since you're not doing anything, can you....?

Of course, I do what is asked because I don't feel inclined to answer the follow-up question to "No, I can't do that", which is "What are you doing?" (the answer is "Nothing. Not a damn thing. No plans to do anything either. Just going to read my book until 20 minutes before Dan gets home from work, then frantically clean in order to trick him into thinking that I've had a hard day too and need some pampering").

I have never been so busy in all my life! The days just fly by. I am so tired of "just pippity popping" all over the place. The "tipping point" was when Mum's retired friend told me to run back to a store I had just left (errand #1) to buy a bird bath for Mum (errand #2) because
  1. I wasn't "doing anything"
  2. Because the bird bath was freakin' heavy
  3. It was pouring rain

That made it a perfect job for moi! Ummm, thanks. I did go and buy that bird bath though because

  1. I wasn't "doing anything" (that couldn't be put off a bit)
  2. Because the bird bath was freakin' heavy
  3. It was pouring rain
  4. Mum would do it for me