Thursday, September 30

Cheer Up

The other day, it rained all night and then all day. It was very depressing...until I saw this:

At first, I thought, "Lucky Emilie. She lives at the end of the rainbow!". Then I realised that we were the lucky ones. We can stand in our kitchen and be amazed by Nature. Emilie actually has to go into Nature to appreciate it. Ha! I crack myself up!

Wednesday, September 29

School Photos

The twins started school this September. What does that mean for me? Well, yes, free child care. But, also, school photos!!!

In August, I had picked out the outfit that I wanted Katie and Bethie to wear for their first ever school photos. I had chosen identical little dresses. From Gymboree. From the "Smart Girls Rule Collection". The dresses were sooooo cute!

Exhibit A:

Did the twins wear these dresses on picture day? Nope. They wouldn't even try the dresses on. They chose other dresses. Lovely dresses. But not my preppy "Smart Girls Rule" dresses. Then, they chose their own hair styles. Katie wanted two pony tails. That was great. She looks cute like that. Bethie wanted to wear her hair "a little bit up, and a little bit down". This is not exactly the best look for Bethie, but I am just her mother, what do I know? To add insult to injury, Katie and Bethie insisted on choosing their own headbands. Katie chose a cheap headband from the Dollar Store. Bethie chose a lovely headband, but it didn't match the dress she had on.

Despite all these obstacles, they still managed to look cute!

Exhibits B and C:

That's my Beth.

Katie was up next, but Katie...wait for it...refused (!!!) to have her photo taken! If you recall, dear readers, that Katie is the child who routinely strikes a pose (or 17!) every time a camera comes out. Yet, she would not pose for the photographer...until Miss N told Bethie to stand beside Katie.

Exhibits D and E:

Then Katie got over her anxiety, and pushed Bethie aside.

Exhibits F and G:

Here's the best bit: the twins, apparently, go to a high tech elementary school. All these photos were shot in front of a green screen...and I get to chose from over 850 backgrounds. Yup, I have tried one or two of them out!

I have too much time on my hands.

Exhibit H:

Monday, September 27

The Fourth Child

Dan's grandmother and aunts gave the girls money for their birthdays. We took the three girls to the toy store and let them pick whatever they wanted (within reason) as a gift. It was very exciting. Amongst other things, the twins chose jewellery boxes. The kind that have the little ballerina dancing inside when the lid is lifted. The best bit? They got to paint their own boxes!

Here's Bethie's:

Here's Katie's:

Sarah got a Mickey Mouse DVD instead. She was thrilled with the DVD until she saw the dancing ballerina. She really, really wanted to watch that dancing ballerina. The twins "tried" to share with Sarah, but they quickly became worried that Sarah would take their boxes forever! Sarah only made things worse by grabbing the boxes and RUNNING away.

To prevent another war, Dan and I went back to the toy store and bought another jewellery box for Sarah. Since Dan has nothing better to do during the weekends, he decided that he would paint Sarah's box.

He was quite pleased with himself, and a little bit annoyed that the twins hadn't let him paint their jewellry boxes, too! Noting that I had taken pictures of Bethie's and Katie's boxes, he left "his" box out on the counter to ensure that I took a photo of it, too.

Ta da:

Well done, Dan. (Yes, I am rolling my eyes!)

Saturday, September 25

A Coffee and A Doughnut

Sarah was sick, and was lying down on the couch watching TV. I walked by and she said, "I need coffee and doughnut". I laughed. What a funny baby I have!

I picked her up and said, "You need a coffee and a doughnut? You're silly! Babies can't have coffee. Maybe some juice would be better. Would you like to go to Timmy's and get a doughnut and juice?". Before I could say anything else, Sarah threw up. All over me.

As I raced to the washroom, I told Sarah that she should warn me before she throws up, and that she should try to throw up in the toilet. Sarah looked at me and said, "I say I need COUGH in TOILET!".


She had warned me...and then I had prattled on about coffee and doughnuts. The baby thinks that I am an idiot. I think that she needs to enunciate!

Friday, September 24

At Last

Bethie was eating her lunch in the living room (yeah, I know, I suck. I've learned to deal with it), and I was in the kitchen. All of a sudden, she screams out "Mummy! Come quick! Bring the camera!". I did what I was told.

Bethie announced that she had lost her first tooth. Actually, she pulled it out of her mouth because it was "bugging" her, but it was awfully loose.

Here's the photo:

The gap is kinda hard to see, but it's there. Now, the "Tooth Fairy" is off to raid the piggy banks.

The Others

I walked out my front door and laughed. Not a quiet little giggle. It was a full on, laugh out loud blast!

Why? Because I have weird neighbours. I don't know if every neighbourhood has so many strange people. I just know that I have spent the last 2 1/2 years watching these people rather closely (sadly, this is not a lie or an exaggeration). And I have photographic proof that they are absolutely bizarre:

He must have been in a hurry...or drunk.

Wednesday, September 22

When The Children Are Away

Last Saturday afternoon, Sarah had gone down for a nap and the twins were playing in their bedroom with Roxanne. I wondered where Dan had disappeared to. I found him in the living room...

...doing a Dora puzzle. I laughed and grabbed the camera. As I snapped this photo, he said "Do you want me to start taking pictures of you?". Sure. If Dan ever sees me sitting by myself on a Saturday afternoon doing a Dora puzzle, he has my full permission to take a couple of snaps! Until then, it's my turn to laugh!

Tuesday, September 21

Tennis Balls

Dan and I went to our first Meet The Teacher night. Typical of us, it wasn't easy. We had arranged for Mum to babysit. This enraged our little darlings. The twins had imagined that they would attend the Meet the Teacher night with us, and perform a song or two for all the parents. When they were informed that they weren't invited, they had a fit. Dan and I were forced to revert to our tried and true escape plan: toss mini-cupcakes at the children and then RUN to the car!

Once in Miss N's classroom, Dan and I were separated immediately. I didn't have a problem with this until I realised that we were the only parents who had been separated. I couldn't think why...until it dawned on me that the teacher knows our children. Miss N probably thought to herself "If these people are anything like their daughters, they need to be seated in opposite ends of the classroom!".

We sat through Miss N's presentation. She mentioned that the class had come up with a name for their mascot. Some children cried when the names that they had suggested hadn't been chosen. Miss N looked at Dan and then at me. I guess she meant to say that our children had cried. Oh, well. Then she asked parents to teach their children how to correct their jacket sleeves when they are inside out. Some children, apparently, just stare at their jackets and looked confused. Miss N looked at Dan and then at me. Oh, it's our children who have no clue what to do when they are faced with a jacket with one sleeve inside out. Miss N mentioned that some children struggled with opening their lunch containers, and that some children needed to practice their writing. Sigh. Can you guess which children she was referring to? This fun little game continued. Miss N didn't want to name names, but both Dan and I knew who needed some extra work and encouragement.

At one point, I had enough (so very unlike me!) and I got up, walked across the classroom, and sat next to the father of my children...just like every other mother in the class got to do. Miss N chatted on about kindergarten being a time where the children need to learn to focus and to pay attention and to listen carefully ("with their eyes, their ears, and their hearts").

Dan got distracted. The legs of every chair in the kindergarten had tennis balls on them. Dan whispered to me, "How come there are tennis balls on the chairs?". I explained that the tennis balls protect the floor from being scratched and that they prevent that awful noise chairs make when they are pushed around.

Dan then said, "How come all the chairs have tennis balls except for mine?". I didn't know, and I didn't care. I explained to Dan that I was listening with my eyes, my ears, and my heart to Miss N and he was being a nuisance.

After a moment or so, Dan leaned over and whispered, "Didn't you buy any tennis balls for the twins?". I replied, "Yes, I did. But Miss N probably put them on chairs randomly, not paying attention to who bought some tennis balls and who didn't.".

Well, this was too much for Dan! He said "If you bought tennis balls, then they should be on the chairs that that our girls use. Katie has tennis balls but Bethie doesn't!". To which I responded, "Oh my God, grow up! Are you in kindergarten? If it will make you happy, I will go out and buy some more tennis balls for Bethie! But PLEASE STOP TALKING!".

During the few moments of silence that Dan allowed before something else caught his attention, I realised that Miss N was quite right to separate us. We are exactly like the twins. If we are seated together, we don't pay attention to the teacher, we talk when we are supposed to be listening, and we fight constantly.

Finally, the evening ended. I went up to Miss N and asked how my angels were getting along in school. Were they happy? Was Bethie transitioning nicely? Was Katie making any friends? Are they alright with not being seated together? Miss N said that there have only been 12 days of school and she couldn't tell them apart yet. She has no idea which twin is which. She did say that she appreciated that they always had different head bands on. Sigh. That's all I got from the teacher.

Know what she got from me? The next day, the twins were dressed exactly alike. Even their headbands were identical. This was done on the girls' insistence, but I am sure that Miss N will simply think that I am a jerk. Sigh. I am a perfectly nice and normal person. I am kind and good-natured. I aim to please. However, I happen to live with 4 crazies who are Hell-bent on making me  look difficult. I can't win for trying.

Monday, September 20

The Old Pro

Dan, Andre, and I were in the kitchen talking about how much money the Tooth Fairy brings. Andre was shocked by the 10 quarters the twins received, especially because Bethie didn't even lose a tooth. I explained to Andre that the money from the Tooth Fairy goes back into the piggy bank under the pretense that the children have to save for their university education (yeah, I'm fun like that!), and then it gets recycled for the next go 'round.

Bethie came into the kitchen and asked if we were talking about the second tooth that Katie lost. I explained to my confused little cherub that Katie has only lost one tooth. Katie rushed into the kitchen and said that she has lost two teeth! I looked into her mouth and, sure enough, another tooth was missing.

Ta da:

Did I react calmly to this news? Not so much! I absolutely freaked out. One tooth falling out is fine. The twins are at that age. But two teeth within days of each other? That's too much! I was convinced that Katie had suffered some sort of trauma to her face. Or perhaps she had gum disease (although she reassured me that she didn't because she doesn't chew gum). I was desperate to call the dentist before another tooth fell out.

Dan was laughing, which I didn't find very helpful. He asked, "What are you going to say to the dentist? My five year old had a loose tooth and then it fell out?". Ummm...yeah! When I was a kid, I remember that I would get a loose tooth and would have to wiggle it forever before it came out. And they never just fell out of my mouth like leaves falling from a tree!

I called Mum. She didn't seem too concerned, which irritated me. No one seemed to understand that it was possible for the children to have their teeth fall out for entirely different reasons. No one else seemed to consider that this problem should be nipped in the bud instead of waiting for Katie to lose all of her teeth. While on the phone with Mum, Dan said, "What are you going to do? Are you going to call a thousand parents of five year old children and asked them if this is normal?". That hadn't occurred to me. But it was a good idea. I didn't need to call "a thousand" parents, just one.

I called Lisa. Who, though laughing hysterically, was very sympathetic. She asked, "Did I ever tell you about the time Trystan lost his first tooth?". No, she hadn't. Lisa has lots of helpful little stories that she keeps tucked away and doesn't tell me until after I have gone crazy. Lisa enjoys the crazy.

Anyway, the story goes that Trystan lost his first tooth one night after his bath. Lisa was slightly annoyed because she didn't have any change in her purse. She raced downstairs, called her husband, and told him to stop at the bank on his way home from work. She did a quick look around, and found enough change for the Tooth Fairy. So, she called her husband back and told him that he could skip the bank. Lisa then went back upstairs, and Trystan produced a second tooth! Did Lisa panic? Did she worry that her little angel was going to lose every tooth he had in the next 10 minutes? Did she check for gum disease or trauma? No. She was very annoyed. She didn't have enough change on hand for two teeth! She had to call her husband, once again, and instruct him to go to the bank.

Lessons learned:
  1. Dan is not very helpful in a crisis situation,
  2. No matter how upsetting a situation is, Lisa has already lived through it, and kept it a secret. She is like a vault of parenting information that only opens when asked direct questions!
Now, here's the worst bit: I checked Bethie's teeth, and she has a lose tooth. Ahhh! Why does everything happen at once?! The stress is unbelievable!

Here's a snap of Bethie with all of her teeth:

Hopefully, she will be good enough not to lose her teeth in rapid secession.

Friday, September 17

As Sarah goes... goes the toilet paper.

Toilet training is killing me.

Thursday, September 16

Care and Control

I went out the other night. Sans enfants. I do this about once a week. No special reason why, except that my husband and my children are bound and determined to drive me crazy. So, once a week, after the children have gone to bed, I go out. I have a couple of laughs, and I come home relaxed.

The last time I went out, Dan and I were talking during dinner about where I was going. The twins were very interested. I did not want to tell them what my plans were for the evening. They would demand to come, too. But they insisted on knowing. So, I told them that I was going "O-U-T". The little devils sounded that out. Thanks oh so much, Miss Kindergarten Teacher, for teaching my children that letters, once combined, spell words. Now, I am screwed.

I used to say things to Dan in French when I didn't want the children to know what I was talking about. For instance, I would say, "Would you like any creme glacee after the children are in bed?". But Emilie ruined this for me by teaching the children French. They now speak more French than I do.

Then Dan and I started to spelling out words. I find this less satisfying because Dan sucks at it. I would say, "Let's go have P-I-Z-Z-A for dinner". Dan would reply, "P-I-Z-Z-A? Pizza? You want pizza for dinner?". Way to keep it a secret, 007!  So, not only do the children know that I am contemplating having a pizza (and start begging like starving children) but now he has taught them how to spell "pizza". This is not good. Because the next time I want a pizza, I have to describe it in a way that Dan knows what I am talking about, but the children don't. I have to resort to, "Remember that place we went to for dinner 11 years ago when we lived in Korea? It had a red exterior, and we went with Gina and Paul? I want what we had that night for dinner tonight". To which Dan replies, "Pizza?". Sigh.

Anyway... I refused to tell the children where I was going. I put the twins to bed, and then I left. But that wasn't the end of the twins for the night. Dan was summoned back into their room. Bethie wanted to know where I had gone. Dan said, "I don't know. Mummy wouldn't tell me.". Bethie accepted this (although it was entirely untrue. Dan knew exactly where I was).

Bethie was concerned. She wondered who was "in charge" when I was away? Dan informed her that he was in charge. That led into her concern about her toys. You see, she and Katie had left their toys all over the floor in the living room. When I am home, I tell them that if I have to clean their toys, I will throw them out. Bethie wanted to know if Dan, like me, was going to throw their toys out. Dan smiled lovingly at Bethie, and reassured her that he was the hero who would pick up all of the toys before the wicked witch got home.

Bethie relaxed. She said to Dan, "Okay, you can be the boss...but only until Mummy gets home". Yup, that's right. The "hero" would do in a pinch, but not on a permanent basis. The wicked witch must have some redeeming characteristics after all!

Wednesday, September 15

Code Red

The five of us went out for dinner on Saturday night. We didn't get home until about 8pm. Although, it wasn't very late, the sun had set and the children were exhausted. Getting them to bed was going to be very fast. They were already in their PJs, with their hair and teeth brushed. All we had to do was to grab their waters (already poured and waiting in the fridge) and throw them into bed.

As I pulled into the driveway, I noticed that all the lights were off in our house. I informed my husband that it drives me crazy when he follows behind me and "un-does" all my work. I had turned on the lights before we left despite it still being daylight out, because I anticipated it being dark when we got home. Dan was surprised that I had thought to turn the lights on, despite the fact that I have done that a billion times before. My forte is thinking ahead and anticipating what will happen next. For example, I thought to bring with us the children's PJs, toothbrushes, and hairbrush. I had prepared the twins' water for the night. And I had left the lights on so we wouldn't have to haul the children into the house in complete darkness. Dan's response? He said, "I like turning lights off".

Note: This is true. One evening, I was sitting in the living room reading my book. Dan decided to go to bed so he turned off the TV, crossed the room, and turned off the lights. Failing at trying to read my book in the dark (!), I said, "What are you doing?". My darling husband said, "I don't want to waste hydro". Well done, Mr. Green, but I was still using that hydro. So, I agree, he has a thing for turning off lights.

Anyway, I rush inside before the children so I can turn the exterior light on for them. I noticed that Dan had turned the upstairs bathroom light off as well. I was super annoyed. I leave that light on because if it's on, I can send the children up to bed by themselves and I don't have to go up. Ahhhh! This meant that there was more work for me! Dan seemed confused. Apparently, he thought it was very unlike him to turn the upstairs lights off. Why? I don't know. Maybe upstairs lights use less energy. Maybe he doesn't like turning off lights and having to run downstairs in darkness. Maybe he found it inconceivable that he would go up the stairs for the sole purpose of turning off a light. I don't ask questions. I just sigh loudly, roll my eyes, and carry on.

I send the twins up to bed as I follow behind them carrying Sarah. Dan was in the twins' room doing I don't know what. I flicked off the light, he yelled at me because he had wanted the light on (what goes around, comes around), and I yelled at him to get out of the twins bedroom. I said goodnight to the twins, and took Sarah to her room.

Dan was now in Sarah's room. The light was on and he was digging through her closet. Really? What on Earth could he possibly need in her closet at that moment? I told him to get out of her room. I put the baby in her toddler size Tinker bell bed. Then Dan got down on all fours and looked under her bed. I was super annoyed. I had no idea what he was doing, but I was positive that he was going to make this easy goodnight very difficult.

As I ushered him out of Sarah's room, it clicked. I knew what he was up to. I started mock yelling "Code Red! Code Red!". You see, I had been the only person over the age of five at the elementary school's assembly on Emergency Preparedness. This has given me a special insight into the mind husband! Code Red was the school's warning for a "bad stranger" in the school! Dan, figuring it was totally inconceivably that he would go up the stairs for no real reason, decided that someone must have broken into our house and was lurking in the dark spots (like under Sarah's tiny bed!) in order to get him!

I laughed and laughed and laughed. Because I'm supportive like that. And because my super tough (it's all talk) husband gets scared when the sun sets. This time, he was afraid of the "bad stranger". Sometimes, he's afraid of zombies and vampires. He has given all these situations a tremendous amount of thought, and has planned escape routes for me and the children. Yup, I have been told what to do if mummies should ever come to "get us". But he does this because he loves us. And we love him because, bless his heart, he checked the entire house to make sure we were safe. And his did this while I laughed!

Tuesday, September 14

And Then There Were 19...

Katie burst through our front door after school. She was beaming and so pleased with herself. She shouted, "Mummy! Look at me!". This is what I saw:

Here's a close-up:

Katie had lost her first tooth! She had lost it in today in the school yard, and then dropped it on the ground. Katie told her teacher, and her teacher hunted around until she found the tiny tooth. Katie then held the tooth in her hands and showed all the other children. Even the second graders, much to Katie's pleasure! Katie was then sent to the office where the secretary gave her a plastic tooth on a necklace that opens up to store real teeth. It was all very dramatic...just the way Katie likes it!

Katie was very excited because she knew that the Tooth Fairy would come and leave her a little surprise. Bethie felt left out. She, too, wanted a surprise from the Tooth Fairy. I volunteered to yank a tooth from her mouth, but Bethie declined the offer. So, being her difficult self, Bethie announced that she would not be going to sleep because she wanted to stay up and see the Tooth Fairy.

Katie was infuriated. She knew that the Tooth Fairy doesn't come unless everyone is sleeping. But Bethie was determined to see the Tooth Fairy, and determined to upset Katie. So, I came up with a solution. We would trick the Tooth Fairy into believing that Bethie had lost a tooth, too. Katie warned me that the Tooth Fairy was very clever and not so easily tricked. I told Bethie that I was smarter than the Tooth Fairy, and then I got to work. I hunted down some white foamy thingy, and cut it into the shape of a tiny wee tooth. Bethie was delighted, and Katie agreed that it would definitely fool the Tooth Fairy.

Both girls went happily to bed: one with a tooth under her pillow and the other with a piece of white foam under her pillow. Tomorrow, both will wake up with a quarter (okay, ten quarters) under their pillows. Because when you're five years old, the world is a magical place.

The Tooth

Katie got off the school bus yesterday and started crying. She said that she had broken her tooth on the bus. I panicked, as I am known to do, and demanded to know what had happened. She said that she had flicked her tooth with her finger nail, and now it was going to fall out. Sure enough, the tooth was very wiggly. It was all I could do not to race inside and call the dentist. I thought that I should at least get some more information before making the call.

I asked Katie to flick my tooth just like she had flicked her own. She did. It wasn't very hard. Needless to say, my tooth did not go flying out of my mouth! I asked her if she had been punched, or had something bang her in the face. Katie reassured me that nothing of the sort had occurred.

That left only one reason why this tooth was so wiggly: she's starting to lose her baby teeth! I explained this to my little girl who was devastated by the upcoming loss of her tooth. She sobbed, "But that was my favourite tooth!". Then she announced that she would never, ever be able to eat again.

Both twins went next door to break the news to Roxanne, their 5 year old friend. Roxanne didn't particularly care because she has already lost some teeth... a couple were prematurely lost as she ripped them out of her mouth in her eagerness to see the Tooth Fairy. However, Roxanne did hand out some cookies. Turns out Katie can eat. But only cookies.At dinner time, she announced that she cannot eat chicken. I announced that she didn't have a hope of eating ice cream.

Bethie was a bit sad. She now wants to lose a tooth, too! She is really upset that the Tooth Fairy is going to leave "a little treasure" for Katie but not for her. I tried to console her, but really I was worried about what they were expecting from the Tooth Fairy. I thought a quarter would be lovely. Nope. They are quite sure that the Tooth Fairy will leave a treasure of sorts. Sigh. Why do the twins have to be sooooooo particular????

Anyway, I felt the need to mark the occasion. I took a photo of my baby with all of her baby teeth. Soon, there will be a gap in this pretty smile.

And I am sad. I understand that my babies have to grow up. I just don't know why all the growing up is happening all at once!

Monday, September 13

Her Father's Daughter

I wonder where Sarah learned this neat trick...?

Biaxin Blues

I was a determined child. I was blessed with the ability to decide upon a course of action, and pursue that course with an unyielding focus. I was tenacious, persistent, and unrelenting. All my life, my parents said that I was "stubborn". They were wrong. They had no idea what "stubborn" was. They hadn't met Beth.

All three of my children are on Biaxin. Biaxin is awful tasting. I've tried it. It's absolutely horrendous. But it works. Twice a day, I give Katie and Sarah their Biaxin. They take it quickly, without any fuss, and with a shot of juice afterwards. No problems.

Biaxin will not go down Bethie's precious throat unless she is first chased around the house. I have to catch her, sit on her, and hold her protesting limbs down. I then try to pry her jaw open and get the syringe far enough down her throat that she is compelled to swallow the medicine. Once, I didn't get the syringe far enough down her throat, and she spat the medicine back in my face! Yeah, that went over well.

I have tried bribing the child, promising her all sorts of wonderful things if she takes her medicine. I have tried mixing it with juice. I have tried mixing it with chocolate sauce. I have taken the child to the neighbour's house in the hope that the neighbour could convince my little angel to take her medicine. Nothing prevented the eventual "throw down". Until I mixed the medicine with cream soda. If the stars align and the moon is in the right phase, Bethie will drink the Biaxin if it is mixed with a whole lot of cream soda.

The stars didn't align this morning.

I had been up until 3am dealing with Sarah. Then at 3:30am, I started dealing with Bethie. She wasn't sick. She just wanted to sleep with me. I tried to get her to sleep in her bed, but I lost that battle. We slept together. At 6:15am, I was wicked tired and I had to consciously try not to take it out on the twins. And I did a pretty good job. I was proud of myself...until I gave the children their Biaxin. Bethie refused to take her medicine.

I tried to bribe her. I offered her extra love and cuddles. I threatened her. I yelled at her. I told her that she couldn't go on the bus unless she had taken her medicine. If she missed her bus, she would have to walk by herself to school. She called my bluff. She stood outside our house, completely ready for school, and waved as Katie left on the bus. And didn't take her medicine. I was livid! She can't really walk to school. I knew that I had to get the sick baby, load everyone into the car, and drive Bethie to school. To make things worse, it was raining.

A neighbour saw that Bethie's short life was about to come to an end, and offered to drive Beth to school. My little darling accepted the offer and calmly drank her medicine. And I raged...inside. Bethie should thank God that there are 7.5 hours before she comes home this afternoon. I need that much time to calm down! Tonight, her father can give her the medicine!

Thursday, September 9

Even The Birds Are Against Me

I try not to antagonize the children. Really. They would disagree with that statement, but I swear that my Life's ambition is to keep everybody happy. So, when it's time to throw out old toys, I wait until the girls are at school or asleep, and then I get to work. I have a system. If the toy is big, I first hide it in the basement. After it has been "out of commission" for a  couple of weeks without anyone noticing, I feel comfortable throwing it out. Sometimes, the children have gone into the basement and rescued their toys. Very frustrating!  The smaller toys are thrown out right away. And since we own everything in triplicate, I have to make sure I throw out the entire "set". A lot of thought goes into the chucking of toys. I do this because I don't want to antagonize the children.

Most of the time, this has gone off without a hitch. There was that one time that the girls were playing outside and their toys (that were in garbage bags by the shed) started singing and playing music. Dan, very cleverly, made a lot of noise by dancing about to muffle the sound of their treasures being tossed. The girls were amused by his antics and never caught on. I thought that he had lost his mind!

Yesterday, there were crows out my side door. I could hear them, and I knew that they were getting into the garbage. I raced over to the door, threw open the blinds, and scared the birds away. Then, I inspected the mess they made, and then I saw this:

The crows had separated the toys from the garbage, and then placed the toys on top of the shed! Wow. The crows were antagonizing my children. Maybe it's payback. The girls do like to chase crows and other birds away from our house. Whatever the reason, I envisioned the twins coming home from school. As the bus passed by the side of our house, the twins would look out their window and see their toys on top of the shed. And then they, like their father, would wonder what I did all day.

Wednesday, September 8

How I Have Failed My Children...Today

At 11:15am, my children nominated me for "The Crappiest Mother of the Day" award. I was honoured. Although the nomination is fairly routine, it typically doesn't occur until about 5pm. I must confess, I did try extra special hard today to deserve this award. And I am super pleased that my efforts have been recognized!

I couldn't have done this all by myself. I would first like to thank Huggies for making Pull Ups that leak throughout the night. It's a joy to start the day off with a urine soaked bed and child. Sarah - thank you for punching me, it really did help me focus on finding your Uppsy Daisy Doll. Bethie - thank you for screaming at me for waking you up, and again for asking you to get dressed, and again when I tried to brush your hair. Thank you for spitting the cough medicine back in my face, thereby giving me an "excuse" to start getting angry. Katie - this award wouldn't be possible without you, thank you for chastising me for giving you fruit juice instead of vegetable juice (weird, eh?). Thank you for calling me an idiot because I spelled your name "Katie" instead of "KD". Thank you for throwing your umbrella at me and DEMANDING that I "erase" your name written with permanent marker because I spelled it incorrectly.

However, my biggest thanks must go to the school. Thank you ever so much for inviting the parents to the assembly (I was the only parent there). Thank you for dreaming up a Summer Reading Contest for the entire school, and not mentioning that the new kindergarten students are meant to participate despite 1) not being able to read, and 2) not being students of the school yet. Thank you for handing out prizes to all of the students who had parents smart enough to participate in this contest. Thank you for excluding those children whose parents didn't realise the contest was applicable to their non-reading, non-student children (ie. my twins). Thank you for the looks of annoyance when my children sobbed because they didn't get a prize, despite having read during the summer. And a special thanks to that teacher who reassured me that maybe I could participate next summer. That was perfect.

And thank you, Mum. For laughing. For making me laugh at myself. For the warning. For the "heads up" that my children are going to think that I am a complete failure. For your stubborn refusal to believe that I am "The Crappiest Mother of The Day" despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary!

That Mother

I'm normal. Not average. Normal. Sure, I have my own special little "nuances", but nothing that's very dramatic or "out there". I am definitely not a Type A or a psycho control freak. I'm pretty normal. Except for my "Mama Bear Syndrome" (don't come between me and my cubs or I will attack, whether an attack is warranted or not) and my small issue with authority.

Keeping these "nuances" in mind, can you think of one situation that would antagonize my Mama Bear Syndrome and my issues with authority? Yup, sending my children to school. Four days in, I have turned into that mother. You know the one, we all hate her. We all think that she should relax and get a life. Clearly, she has nothing better to do than to irritate the teacher, the principal, and every other parent of a child attending the same school as her little angels.

In my defence, the school is antagonizing me. Here are my grievances:
  1. On the first day of school, my children were kidnapped and relocated to an undisclosed location (Dan gets annoyed when I say this, considering they were only sent to daycare instead of home on the bus, but Dan married me knowing full well that I do go on a bit!)
  2. The teacher wouldn't call the twins "Bethie" and "Katie" because she preferred "Elizabeth" and "Katherine". This drove me wild!!! (However, I must give credit where credit is due, and the teacher did see the wisdom in the little note I sent her, and has started referring to the twins as Katie and Bethie)
  3. The school holds a fund-raising Pizza Day every second Friday. I have been given a list of healthy foods that I am not permitted to send to school because other children are allergic to them (which I respect and strictly adhere to because I know that those parents are as desperate as I would be in that same situation, and I would never dream of doing something that could hurt a child!). I have been told which containers to bring lunches in are acceptable and which ones are not. The school has also been kind enough (rolling my eyes) to send home a Canada Food Guide so I can learn which foods are appropriate to help them learn and grow. Yet, every second Friday, they have decided that serving pizza to children ages 5-8 (it's a small school) is a perfectly acceptable way to raise funds. I disagree.
  4. The school is having an assembly about "Emergency Preparedness". Sound perfectly okay? Wrong! They will instruct the children what to do during a "Lock Out" (don't go into the school), a "Lock In" (don't go out of the school), and a "Lock Down" (quick, there's a gunman wandering the halls of the school, and the last one into a hiding spot loses!). Really? Is this necessary? Have Wandering Gunmen been a problem in our community? In our country? In kindergarten????? I believe that we should educate our children about what to do in scary situations. I do not believe that every scary situation should be discussed with small children, especially since it's not very probable.
So, I am that mother who freaks out when her children aren't on the bus. I am that mother who sends not one, but two notes to school within the first four days. I am that mother who sees the "evil-doing" in Pizza Day. And I am that mother who will be attending the kindergarten assembly on Emergency Preparedness. Sigh.

The worst bit? I just talked to Lisa, and she suggested that I let this "slide" because it's only going to get worse for me. She informed me that, at some point, the school is going to expect my little girls to go door to door selling stuff in order to raise funds for the school. I hung my head and said to Lisa, "I'm going to have to join the PTA, aren't I?". Lisa just laughed. She delights in my "nuances" because it makes her feel normal!

Tuesday, September 7


I start each day like a piece of bacon. I am woken up abruptly, and thrown onto the frying pan. Throughout the course of each day, the heat may be cranked up or turned down, depending of the whims of my little cherubs. By the end of most days, I am perfectly cooked. Sometimes a little bit burnt around the edges, but still pretty good.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been under an enormous amount of stress. Some of it real, and some of it blown way out of proportion because I am a perfectionist/control freak when it comes to my daughters. Regardless, the heat has been on!

I had hoped that once the girls started school, I would take a deep breath and go back to normal. That was not the case. By their first day of school, I had lost all perspective and control. To make matters worse, the first day of school ended badly. And then things went down hill from there.

I realised that I had a problem when I freaked out at the twins' daycare, cried when Katie told me that she didn't eat lunch because she couldn't open the Tupperware that I had sent to school with her, and yelled at Dan the he was the "Killer of All Things Fun". I was wound up!

In an effort to make Dan understand why I have lost my everlovin' mind, I told him my bacon analogy. Except I wasn't starting of the day as a raw piece of bacon. I was starting off as already cooked. The slightest problem was like cranking the heat up on the element, and causing me to burn. By the end of the day, I was so badly burnt that the figurative pan would have to be scraped clean. I was done.

Dan agreed to take me to the movies on Saturday night. I even got to choose the movie. We hardly ever go out, and I can only think of 2 times I have been to the movies since we were married 12 years ago.

We left about 6:15, and only missed about 45 minutes of the goodnight Hell that we normally go through with the children. But it was lovely. By the time we got back home, we actually missed the girls. I know, I was shocked, too!

But the next day, I was a raw piece of bacon again. Because of my sanity being restored, I decided that we would spend Sunday morning exploring Strathcona Park. That evening, the children made us take them to the Hot Air Balloon Festival. But that wasn't enough for me! Monday morning, we went to Mud Lake. I took a couple of photos. And I was happy.

Saturday, September 4

Stop Saying That!

Sarah is talking so much. Better still, she is communicating fairly complex things. This brings me an enormous amount of pride. However, she has also started to argue with me. This brings me an enormous amount of frustration...with the exception of one argument. This one cracks me up!

Me: I love you, Sarah.
Sarah: No, I love you!
Me: No, I love you!

And we go back and forth until Sarah gets mad and shouts, "Stop. Saying. That!". Sometimes, when I get bored, I initiate this argument just so I can have a giggle. I have also expanded on our repertoire to include "I miss you". I'm fun like that!

Friday, September 3

Let's Try That Again

The first day of school ended badly when my children were whisked away to daycare instead of sent home on the bus. I spoke with the head of the daycare, and I sent a letter to the teacher. Then we tried it again.

Here are the results:

Perfection! I was thrilled! The best bit was that the girls came in and told me what a wonderful day they had, and even mentioned a name of a couple of students in their class. They had a terrific time during recess and liked their new teachers.

Did they eat their Princess Pasta? No. Despite the fact that this time, I was careful to put the Thermos in their lunch bags. Apparently, they couldn't open their Thermoses by themselves. I asked them why they didn't ask their teacher for help. They told me that the teacher wasn't in the classroom during lunch time. I felt rage rising within me at the thought of the students being alone while they ate. I said, "There were no adults while you ate?!". Bethie responded that there were no teachers, but there were helpers. Relieved, I asked her why she didn't ask the helpers for help. The idea hadn't occurred to her. Sigh.

Thursday, September 2

The First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of school for Katie and Bethie. They were very excited about taking the bus to school. Dan and I had them ready early and had time to take plenty of pictures.

Sarah was very upset about being left behind. She loves buses. To have a bus come to her house, open it's doors, and the twins get on while she watches was agony. Then, to add insult to injury, she had to go to daycare...alone!

Dan and I were very excited all day. We couldn't wait to see the twins get off the school bus. We were certain that they would rush over to us and tell us all the wonderful things they had done throughout the day. We were so excited to see them that Sarah, Dan, and I were waiting outside before 3pm, and the bus wasn't even expected until 3:15.

When the bus arrived, I rushed to take pictures. I wanted to have photos of my little darlings coming off the bus on their first day. I also wanted to take pictures of Roxanne coming off the bus because I knew her mother would appreciate it.

Here's the first photo:

That's Roxanne getting off the school bus. I did not take any photos after I took this one. Why? Let me show you a close up of the bus driver.

That's him telling me that my 5 year old twins are NOT on the school bus. At first, I honestly thought that he was joking. I thought that this was a stupid prank. Of course my children were on the school bus! I had told the head of daycare that they were supposed to take the bus home this week. I had reinforced this with their teacher on Monday. I had even told the bus driver in the morning! I got very stern and told him to produce my children. But they really were not on the bus.

I went crazy! I ran into the house to get my keys (while the bus driver was still talking to me!). My neighbour was saying that the twins were probably at daycare and I should call the school. I wasn't listening. I hopped into my little red car and I was ready to go. Dan called out, "Wait! Sarah and I are coming, too!". Oops. I completely forgot about the two of them!

As I drove to the daycare, I thought about how upset the twins would be. They were so looking forward to being on the bus with Roxanne. They knew that I was going to be standing on my driveway waiting for them. Instead, they had to go to daycare. Then I thought that something may have happened to them. If they got hurt at the bus stop, the school would not have had time to call me by that point. They would have been too busy calling 911. Then I thought of my children been squashed by a school bus, using their last weak breaths to call for their Mummy, and I didn't even know where they were!

I was pretty primed (to say the least) by the time we pulled into the parking lot. I got out of the car and headed straight for the daycare. Dan called out to my backside, "Don't worry about Sarah, I'll bring her in!". I had forgotten about Dan and Sarah again!

I was beside myself. Everything seemed to be slowing me down. The doors to the daycare were locked and I had to be buzzed in! I rushed to the office. I didn't know anyone. I didn't know which people worked there and which people were other parents picking up there kids. I opened the door, and said to all "Are my children here?". Then I sobbed. Thankfully, Dan had caught up and he was able to provide the children's names and other relevant info.

After an excruciating amount of time, the daycare was able to confirm that my children were there. Relief swept over me, and I sobbed again. I think the daycare ladies were going to have the children finish their snack and collect their bags, and then the children would be sent to me. WRONG! My children, in my opinion, had been kidnapped by "Big Brother" (Dan has asked me not to refer to the children's educational institutions as "Big Brother" but I can't help myself!). I wanted to see their little face RIGHT NOW. And so I did.

While collecting the bags, we ran into the head of daycare. She didn't seem fazed by the whole situation. She acknowledged that I had told her that my kids would be on the bus this week, but she had forgotten to write it down. Knowing that sometimes (okay, often) I speak before I think about the consequences, and knowing that we anticipate dealing with this daycare for many years, Dan jumped in and took over talking to the head of the daycare. I don't know what was said, but I was seething. All I wanted to do was to get my babies home and hear about their wonderful day.

We walked outside the daycare, and the twins broke down. They complained that they were soooo tired and they had to walk to daycare and it was hot out and they didn't get to go on the bus and some little boy knocked down the castle they made out of wooden blocks and I didn't put "Princess Pasta" in their lunches as promised (I had. In fact, when I checked their bags when we got home, the Princess Pasta was the only thing in there!). The list went on and on. It ended with them shouting at me "It's all your fault!".

My fault? I had done everything perfectly. I had spoken to all involved about the twins taking the bus home. I had made them Princess Pasta. I even went to two different grocery stores in search of the Pillsbury School Bus cookies to delight my little girls. I ran from store to store to store searching for all the perfect school supplies. I spent hours labelling everything just right. I had agonized over this day until I had made myself physically ill. But it was "my fault". And I sobbed.