In The Blink of an Eye

Today is my son’s 16th birthday.

The years have flown by while the days (many of them at least) have moved more slowly. If I think really hard I can just remember that desperate need to have a child. The road to conception was not easy and when at my very lowest point I feared that it would never happen I just couldn’t believe it would be so. I remember taping up pictures of babies all around my bed and getting a pregnant girlfriend to roll around on the bed. Positive energy, all of it. I also remember the fertility treatments, the ups and downs of each cycle. My specialist looking me in the eye and telling me
that I’m a very fertile woman. I looked back at her in disbelief, four children turned
me into a believer. I remember hating every woman who complained about the appearance of her pregnant body.

Then the joy and the fear. The joy of being pregnant. Even the nausea was welcome, it meant pregnancy. It made me popular with my nieces and nephews as I always had Jolly Rancher candies in my purse – the sour seemed to ease the nausea and the candies did not bother my teeth like the lemon slices. The fear of the delivery. Why do all women need to share their horrible labour stories with pregnant women? Just don’t do it. It’s mean.

A panic attack before induction – a quick call to my sister to calm me. An epidural and an easy delivery less painful than a teeth cleaning. A wonderful, beautiful baby boy with huge feet. My first miracle baby.

A love so intense that I knew I had to have another baby so that I would divide my focus and give this child some breathing room. But oh the joy of an unconditional love like no other.

Falling in love with my husband all over again as I watched him become Daddy. Seeing that his love for this baby of ours is as intense as mine is, he just always appeared more relaxed about it than I did.

16 years of tears, fighting, imagination, laughter (a lot of laughter) and always love. A sensitive young man with a wicked sense of humor, artistic talent that I envy and
the soul of a poet. How many children love old people? He’s always got something interesting to say and I love being with him even though he drives me crazy.

Happy Birthday to my favorite artist in the world.


Bad Parenting 101

When I make a mistake I really make a mistake.

My eldest, the Artiste is one very funny kid with an eclectic taste in movies, music, books and art. Independent films, jazz and Johnny Cash (yeah that one surprised me) as well as indie bands, Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson, Vonnegut, the surrealists, Banksy and pop art. That’s my kid. I get him. While his sibs like to play their math games with Papa Bear we like to talk about his interests. When he was young he was a huge reader and then he stopped reading in junior high, so I am always thrilled if I can find something for him to read that he likes.

Here comes the problem. My memory is not the greatest and I have never been a detail person. Unless a book ranks as a personal favourite I will probably only remember the gist of it or some particularly salient passage or idea. Now I remember reading a book in high scool or maybe it was early university that was hysterical and very quirky. Just what the Artiste would like and it was on our bookshelf, so I gave it to him to read. His initial reaction was, pretty funny book.

Now here comes the bad parenting, bad memory part. Just yesterday he said to me, “You know that book is kind of a girl’s book and there’s pretty explicit sex in it too.”. My immediate reaction was “A girl’s book?” and then the rest of his sentence sunk in, “Sex? Sex? I don’t remember any sex! Are you sure? Maybe you shouldn’t finish the book.”
“I’m sure and it’s O.K. I can finish it.”
“Hah, yeah I’m sure you can.”
I know that you can’t unring a bell and that at the age of 16 he’s probably seen far more than I can imagine but sheesh I shouldn’t be the one ringing that bell.

From now on I think it’s safer if I read his recommendations.

iPad Love

O.K. I hate the name of it.  Personally I would have voted for the iSlate, but as usual nobody asked my opinion.  Goofy name aside, I am in love with my iPad.  My husband is thinking of either staging an intervention or getting his own.  My kids no longer even ask if they can borrow it.  My iPad and I are inseparable.  I leave the house with it in my hand without realizing it.  I’m spending longer on the treadmill because it’s easy to read on it and I can read longer without feeling guilty (win-win situation), I can also flip to youtube and watch stuff while I workout. I’ve stopped watching t.v. (not a bad thing) so that I can read more.  Books, books, books and more books.

Which brings me to a bad thing.  My last two Visa bills.  Papa Bear now calls my iPad the gift that keeps on giving.  I try to buy the cheap and free books $5.00 and less.  but that adds up.  Cheap books are really fast reads.  Free books – the classics are slower reads.  For various reasons my head is not in there right now.  I keep hoping that each day will be the one that I get my quality reading brain back.  I do have a new appreciation for romantic comedies.  If the author can manage witty dialogue I’m sold.  Although formulaic just like the screwball comedies of the 40’s they can be very entertaining.

Another bad thing, I want to formally apologize to my sisters and to my niece for playing a game on my iPad while we were all sitting around together watching t.v.  I hate when the kids do that, I can’t believe that I did it.  What would Emily Post say?

I’ve downloaded the Economist and am now considering a newspaper or two and switching from fiction to news.  Not enough time in the day for both.  Or is there?  We just don’t eat out enough and I probably spend too much time at the store grocery shopping and doing other stuff for my family.  It’s already the cure to my sleep issues.  Instead of lying there at night counting sheep (or backwards from 1000, my personal favourite sleep inducing exercise)  I read until I get sleepy.  When my iPad bashes me on the nose I know that it’s time to turn it off and I’ll drift back into sleep, watering eyes and sore nose blissfully forgotten as I snore away with my beautiful little iPad charging beside me on my pillow.

I can also post from my iPad, but to be honest it’s a little awkward when it comes to editing.  So I can do a middle of the night post, keep it as a draft and then quickly correct it in the morning on a household computer.  Very satisfying.

I borrowed my sister’s Kindle last weekend, we were thinking of getting one as reading is my main iPad activity but I just did not like it as much. Sorry, Kindle.  The reading light casts a glare on the page, I like reading in bed with a black background and white print and worst of all the Kindle makes a noise every time you turn the page.  This is not a good thing if you share your bed and read at 3a.m.  I know it would wake me up, not unlike the clicking of my husband’s Blackberry does.

I can check my email at 3a.m. – no new commenters (I have great hopes for those of you who live in Europe, it might be the middle of the night where I am but isn’t there some European somewhere on a coffee break who has some comment to make on my blog?).  No one told me that having a Blog would give me something new to obsess about – my stats. Please just let me have a good 10 readers in one day.  My sisters and my nieces make 4 is it not possible that there are 6 people in this entire world who want to read me?  I am a needy Blogger, I am ashamed to say. It’s the iPad’s fault, there’s no way that I would go downstairs, turn on a computer and check my stats in the middle of the night.  Well, let’s just say that it’s not very likely that I would do that.

I love having all of our photos loaded.  At anytime I can flip back in time to baby pictures of my children and I’m transported to those halcyon days before my children started talking back and life was all about the idealism of a new family.  Just like Dr. Frankenstein I created life and as much as I love my own little monsters they do take away from my reading time which reminds me…I bet there’s a free Mary Shelley download, I should go check it out.

I Miss Mike…Douglas

Another nostalgic post.

Born in the early 60’s I am a member of the t.v. generation.  When I’m home alone and I want background noise I turn on the t.v. not the radio. However, I really do not watch much t.v.  For the most part my kids rule the t.v. in our house.  I’m surprised to discover that not unlike my parents there are shows that I have declared off limits.  Unlike my parents these shows do not showcase comedic mixed marriages (Bridget loves Bernie was forbidden in my home),  the shows I disapprove of encourage a level of skanky and entitled behaviour that scares me.  If the show has the word Tequila in the title you may not watch it, the same for the words Jersey and Wives of.  Parental Control, is not about parental control it’s about parents and their children’s girl/boyfriends being nasty to one another.  I hate it when kids disrespect adults but I equally hate seeing adults dropping to the same level.

I also dislike the shows where the uberwealthy kids show off the houses that their parents have built to fulfil their every whim.  We can’t forget the over the top sweet sixteens that are bigger than royal weddings. What values are we giving our kids?

I wish we could turn on the t.v. after school and find the Mike Douglas Show, The Addams Family, The Munsters, The Twilight Zone and the After School Money Movies.  Just for one hour every day and then we can return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Before you start writing in your complaints, I know that there is also a lot of good stuff on too.  Yeah for Discovery and National Geographic and Teletoon  and the History Channel and the Food Network as well as Modern Family, Glee and Ellen.  I’m just ranting about the shows that turn my stomach.




My Son the Monkey

Just a random kind of thought.
I ate a banana today and as I was eating it I remembered my son telling me that he peels his bananas from the bottom up like monkeys do. This caused me to wonder a couple of things. I know that when you peel a banana that way you don’t have to deal with the banana strings. I don’t know exactly why it just works out that way. I wonder if this is why monkeys peel their bananas this way. Why else? It seems easier to open a banana up from the top down. Do monkeys dislike the stringy bits? Is this learned or innate behaviour? Is this further proof that we (my family to be precise) have evolved from monkeys?
But then again, sometimes a banana is just a banana. ; )

Is My Snoring Disturbing You?

Admission time.

I snore, loudly, very loudly. My entire family snores, husband, kids, everyone. It seems that I out snore them all. In general this is not a problem. My family is accustomed to the noise, we have no problems sleeping when in one another’s company.

There are times that it does stress me out. When in New York with my sisters I took a separate room so as not to disturb their sleep. A situation like this does not occur often. There is however a weekly event that causes me great embarrassment. I’m talking about my children’s piano lessons.

What does this have to do with my snoring, you might ask? It seems that I am unable to sit through their lessons without falling asleep.   Now what does this say about me as a supportive mother?   I love you and support you so much that I’m going to prove it by sleeping through your lesson.  When your teacher talks to me at the end of the lesson about your progress I can only nod and trust her because I actually didn’t hear the lesson.  Sometimes, through my snores, I hear my daughter giggle from the piano bench which always manages to wake me with the knowledge that she heard me snoring from across the room.   Sorry, my snoring is actually disturbing your lesson.

Don’t think that I haven’t tried to do anything about it. I always try to go to bed early the night before. I bring something along to read or to do. All to no avail. The piano teacher is so kind, assuring me that she does the same thing the minute she sits down.  She also has four children.  Still, I don’t believe her.

My biggest fear is that I’m going to develop a Pavlovian response to the piano and one day fall asleep right in the middle of my child’s performance  during our yearly music festival.

At least I’m not drooling.

It’s a Frickin’ Marshmallow World

There’s just no pleasing me.

I woke up in the middle of the night to use the washroom and heard the wind howling like crazy.  The rain was coming down and all I could think was; great a cold, rainy, nasty day is in store for us.  Then when I really woke up and went downstairs to make the kids’ lunches (the bane of my existence) I saw snow outside.  A light dusting  coming down steadily and all I could think was; Oh no, not snow, not yet.  Over the next half hour it got heavier and the flakes got bigger.  I told the kids to dress warmly when they headed out.  The boys, of course, will not wear boots but if I can get them to put on the proper weight jacket and possibly a hat and/or mitts I’m pretty happy.  My daughter donned her ski jacket, new boots, new hat and serious gloves but could not face snow pants which was fine.  I warmed up the car, could not find the snow scraper so I cleaned my windows with an umbrella.  Pathetic.

By now the flakes were huge and all of the trees looked like they belong on a brochure for a ski resort.  I groaned in despair and my daughter said, “What’s wrong, I thought you love winter?”  She’s right, I do love winter I especially love the first snowfall of the season.  I love when the ugly grey and brown of late fall are covered with the crisp, fresh, promising white of fresh snow.  In winter I feel proud of mankind, we are so smart, we managed to invent goretex, central heating, hot chocolate, snow shoeing, skiing, winter tires and to learn from the birds and stuff our jackets with warm down.  We are invincible, we can survive anything.

But today, all I could think was, not yet.  I’m not ready to be a frozen challah again I still want to be a warm rising in the heat challah.