Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Natural Science

Last year we went camping with Molly and Jack just a few weeks before their first birthday.  All and all I would say it was a success, so we decided to try our hand at it again this year.  We were acutely aware how different our children were this year than last year and that it would be an entirely different trip for two main reasons: free will and mobility.*  I would argue that camping with an infant or in our case infants is easier than with toddlers.  Here are some fun scenarios that you might face should you choose to camp with a toddler:

Molly "Helping" set up camp.

Toddlers are attracted to bright coloured objects whether they be a big patch of glistening green poison ivy or a neighbouring complete stranger named Steve's bright yellow tent.  They will run towards that beautiful colour as often as they can with complete abandon.

They weigh 25-35% percent more than they did last year, which when combined means that you're carrying the equivalent weight of one extra infant strapped to your chest on a nature hike.

Jack in the pyjama top he insisted wearing over everything this trip.

After a dozen "incidents" where you need to run out into the nearest gravel roadway to retrieve your toddler (Jack) you decide to try out the harness that Nana and Grampa insisted you'd need.  You end up having the world's angriest, screaming marionette tethered to you who tries to escape by running as fast as they can and then bungee jumping at the end of their tether.

They know how to work zippers: whether it's opening up the kitchen tent in a rain storm so they can run into stranger Steve's big yellow tent, or open up that container filled with barbecue lighters, sharp knives and mosquito coils - they're on it.

In toddler language, "The fire is hot, don't touch or go near it." really means, "Jump into the fire yelling, Hot! Hot! Hot!"

Jack "untethered"

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here

*New nickname for Molly and Jack?

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Here Comes the Rain Again

In the 1990's there was this infamous Saturday Night Live skit with Chris Farley playing a motivational speaker that parents hired to talk to their kids about how terrible his life was because of his poor decisions.  He would go on and on about how awful everything was because he, "lived in a van down by the river."   This past weekend has me questioning how horrible this character's life really was (not that I've ever lived in a van down by the river*).   What I mean is, if he said that he lived in a compact car down by the river, say a 2001 Pontiac Sunfire, with two toddlers, then I'd be scared straight.

This weekend we went camping with the minions and a small group of friends and family at Six Mile Lake Provincial Park.  The first evening, after we had successfully gotten Molly and Jack to sleep in their pack and play playpens at either end of our tent, Chris and I high-fived each other at a job well done and sat down with the group for a warm fire, some great conversation and some cider.  After a number of camp fire inspired ghost stories the night came to an end when it started to rain on all of us, so we retreated to our tents.

An hour or two post-bed time, and a lot of rain later Chris rolled over to put his arm around me and was greeted with an expanding puddle forming on our double sleeping bag.  He waited to see how long it would take me to wake up as the roof of our tent poured buckets of water onto us.  A couple of minutes later I woke up, startled and convinced that I had wet our bed.  We checked on the kids who were quite damp.  Molly was oddly thrilled to be pulled out of her playpen and onto my lap while Chris and I strategized and the water level rose around us.

About twenty minutes later there was a slight break in the rain and I decided to make a run for the car with Molly.  Chris was determined that his side of the sleeping bag/tent was dry(ish) and that he and Jack would stay there.  Molly and I ran to the car and huddled together on the passenger seat using beach towels as ineffective blankets.  Molly was much more excited about our adventure in the car than Mommy was. 

As the rain poured down I could feel the cider weighing heavy on my bladder, but I didn't want to bring her out into the rain again, or leave her alone in the car while I ran to the outhouse.  Instead, I decided I would squat beside the car in the rain.**  As I crouched, Molly pressed her face against the window and pointed behind me yelling, "Hello, Hello.", not to me but to a mysterious presence in the dark that I could not see.  It was official, my two year old is less afraid of the dark than I am.

I climbed back into the car for another hour loop of Molly almost falling asleep on my chest and popping up to wave and greet anything that went bump in the night and yelling, "Hello!" at the top of her lungs.  Once Chris and Jack finally abandoned the idea of sleeping in the tent and joined us, we secured both Molly and Jack into their car seats and attempted to sleep.  The next morning Chris and I were both several inches shorter from contorting our bodies in semi-reclined positions around the gear shift and dashboard.  The minions were annoyingly perky.

So, you say you live in a van down by the river and your life is terrible.  At least you have space to stretch out your legs and shaded windows to keep your anonymity while you pee in a can.

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here

*Although I'm fairly certain singer songwriter Jewel did before she made it "big".
**Because I'm a lady like that.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Since You've Been Gone

Every once in a while I find myself wondering about the impact we've made in Molly and Jack's lives so far.  I know that on a basic needs scale that we've done the hunting and the gathering, that we've nurtured them and comforted them and that we try to teach them little things like how annoying whining is (Molly) and how you shouldn't try to shove a pair of scissors into a plug outlet (Jack).*  I know they're quite fond of us by the way that they squeal and run towards us at daycare pickup or the ways in which they require baby kangaroo treatment whenever they're feeling ill.  What I'm wondering is do we have a more profound impact on our children at age two than say a mama bear with her cubs?** 

Toddler memories are complex and something which can be recalled by them at four may not be remembered by the time they're a teenager.  Essentially, little brains are always developing.  More memories wipe away old ones and at age two, the way they access their memories today is going to be very different with each year that passes.  Some of what I read talks about how language development is needed in order for people to be able to properly store and access their memories along with the development of self-concept.  This memory barrier is called childhood amnesia and refers to a child's inability to recall memories before age three or four.

Earlier this week Chris went away on a business trip leaving me solo with the minions.  Repeatedly Molly would ask me, "Where's dad?" and when I answered, "On a trip for work in Vancouver." I knew that it meant absolutely nothing to her because even though she's been to BC I'm sure that she doesn't remember it or understand beyond, "Dad's not here right now."  She also asked me the question, on loop about once every hour the entire time he was away. 

On Sunday afternoon Molly grabbed a copy of Douglas Coupland's book The Gum Thief from off of our coffee table.  She opened the book jacket to the author bio and pointed at Mr. Coupland and yelled, "Daddy!"  I explained to Miss Molly that although I am a huge Coupland fan, I'm fairly confident that he's not the father of my children.  On Tuesday night my brother came over to help wrangle the kids and read them a bed time story, also by Mr. Coupland (AKA not your daddy).  After Uncle D. finished the story I opened the book jacket and asked who the man on the cover was.  Answer: "Daddy", naturally.

I informed Chris that night that he had been replaced by a book jacket photo.  He was amused.  

Douglas Coupland - image courtesy of Wikipedia

Chris - the resemblance is uncanny, No?

I think one of the many reasons I started this blog was because I wanted some sort of record or imprint that someone could hand the kids if anything ever happened to me.   This way they could know how much I care about them.  Here's hoping we have many years of memories that stick with them, or at the very least a flattering book jacket photo to watch over them.

To get my book recommendations to stories for children and adults alike click here

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here

*It's not that we provide him with scissors to play with, it's that he's getting more and more creative and taller and can reach new things each day.
**Which for all I know is extremely complex.  Unfortunately, I didn't minor in neurology or memory imprint patterns of mammals in my Canadian literature degree.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Say My Name

Selecting a name is a really big deal, just ask anyone on the Royal Baby name watch this week.  It's huge, will they name him Spencer?  I'd say I didn't care, but baby heir has inspired a post, so I can't feign complete indifference.  We felt an equal pressure* to make sure that both children had names that we loved and could live with well into adult years, or until they were old enough to make a call on a name change if they decided they couldn't stand it any more. 

Some how the pressure of selecting two names seemed more daunting to us.  Perhaps this was because we knew that as twins, their names would be said and written side by side for years to come. 

In our quest for a name, we first spoke to any twins that we came across asking them for tips on names (what not to do), child rearing and anything that particularly grinded their gears about being twins. 

We immediately decided that we didn't want to conform to some conventional twin naming trends: no rhyming names, no names that started with the same letter or formed a word together or were of famous couples.  We also ruled out names that would point out their twinness.** We found out the genders of our in utero spawn and came up with a short list of boy and girl names, complete with backup names should our ultrasound prove wrong.  Then we tried the shortlist out with our last name, together as a collective, as well as separately.  I trolled sites to look at meanings of names, popularity, and how people with a specific name felt about their name (looking to see how or if they were teased about their name).  Here are some facts about the minions names:


 Molly Meaning - Of the Sea, Bitter*** Interesting Note - The most common names for a female dog is Molly as Molly is the "pet name" version of the name Mary.

My favourite comments we've received about the name Molly
"Oh, you're way too feisty to be a Mary aren't you?"
 "If she has a giant mole on her face you need to change her name so she isn't Moley Molly."

Songs about Molly (trust me songs with your children's name in them come in handy during colic, illness or just for fun). 
Molly's Lips
Good Golly Miss Molly
Anna Molly
Obla Di Obla Da

Famous Molly's
Molly Ringwald, Molly Shannon, Molly Parker, Molly Grue, Molly Bloom, Molly Weasley 


Jack Meaning - Diminutive of John (God is gracious) Interesting Note - Jack is the 4th most common pet name for a male dog.****

 My favourite comment we've received about the name Jack
"What a nice, normal name and here I thought you were going to name him Apple, Bear or something else a hippy would."

Strangest comment we receive (and we get this one on a regular basis)
"'Hi Jack, Hi Jack!  Better not say that at the airport."......groan..

Famous Jack's
Jack Sparrow, Jack Nicholson, my grandfather, Jack Skellington, Jack and the Bean Stalk, Jack be Nimble, Jack Spratt

Songs about Jack
Jack and Dianne
Hit the Road Jack
Jumping Jack Flash

Happy naming Kate and William!  I wanted to insert a joke somewhere in this post about Rumplestiltskin and one about The Never Ending Story, but I'm guessing the Royal Child won't be named Moon Child.

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here

*That's right, I'm comparing Chris and I to "royals", although, unfortunately I didn't have a royal hairdresser to come in and make sure I had a blow out post delivery.
**No Anthony and Cleopatra, Sid and Nancy and no Quinn "the twin".
***Ironic, no?
****Clearly we should have just gotten puppies as both would cost us lots of money, terrorize the cat and ruin the furniture.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Tie a Yellow Ribbon

I came to an important conclusion recently that in terms of life skills, particularly that of a domestic crafter, people are not going to have Pinterest envy over any of my exploits.  The Huffington Post recently ran an article on the first world problems parents face keeping up with the Joneses on the arts and crafts front.
I recently succumbed to an epic craft fail when trying to create my own magnetic fridge frames to display photos of the minions. After several glue gun related injuries, a series of ruined (otherwise lovely) frames from Target and IKEA I surrendered and bought a set on line via Etsy that I'm fairly certain aren't going to slide off of my fridge and jab my foot whenever I try to take anything out of the freezer.  They cost me a third of what I spent in frames, glue gun sticks, band aids and shame.
After admitting my hopeless craftperiment, a coworker pointed me to the amazing site craft fail. These are my people!  My failures as a crafter are long as I'm still having fun while I "create" I can live with my purchased frames.
Miss Molly in a hand knit outfit - courtesy of Nana.

My failed frames brings me back to a simpler time: I was about ten years old at my great grandmother Alice's birthday party and wearing this ridiculously puffy gingham dress with a giant bow on the back.  My grandmother Alice* pulled me aside and complimented me on my dress and then added, "Tell your mother to teach you to tie a proper bow, yours looks so terrible I'm surprised you even know how to tie your shoes."**  I went back to my mom to get her to help me fix my dress and my grandmother responded with something like, "I guess it will have to do."***
I consider this to be my first taste of the proof that I'm never going to win a bow tying competition.  I can change a tire, I can bait a worm on a hook, I can cook some pretty tasty meals and I am excellent at finding the perfect gift (that may be home made, but not by me) but if you're looking for the next Domestic Goddess, move along.  Miss Molly, I have been inspired and have looked up how to tie a bow on a dress.  I'd say I did it for you, but last week my shoddy bow skills landed one of the ties of a wrap dress in the toilet.
They say it takes a children listen carefully:
If you need to have your hair done in a fancy braid - ask your Aunt E.
If you need your nails trimmed without getting cut by your mom - ask your Uncle G.
If you want to learn another language - ask your Aunt M.
If you want a gift wrapped nicely, or any origami - ask your father.
If you want to learn to knit - ask your Nana or your Aunt E.
If you want to learn how to parallel park like a champion ask your Grampa P.

You get the picture...I may not be able to complete the task myself, but I'm not afraid (or ashamed to outsource!)

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here

*Yes, everyone on my mother's side of the family was named Alice.
**My grandmother Alice was the Queen of open faced compliment sandwiches (one compliment, one or two even larger insults).
***Notice she didn't offer to help.

Thursday, 18 July 2013


Miss Molly (to date) has always been a bit of an "A" type personality.  She likes things a certain way, she tidies and fusses, she's a bit of a Bossy Bessie* and if things aren't as she likes them, well she loses her S&#t and fire rains down on our happy little home with epic tantrums that make Godzilla's attacks on Tokyo seem like a cakewalk.

Molly was a very high-strung and colicky infant with a scream that could break glass.**  As we stumbled our way though colic, spending hours to find things that would soothe her, we found a trick that still works today: If you rub the corner of her flannel blanket along her cheek, her thumb would go into her mouth, she'd settle down and most importantly chill out and calm down.  It was completely Pavlovian and we took advantage fully.

Molly and her elephant blanket.

Nowadays Miss Molly has taken the blanket to a new level, carrying it around for security.  At daycare, if she's feeling emotional, she'll go and take a blanket from the "dolly" station and carry it around herself.  Sometimes at the playground she'll wear it around her neck like some sort of nursery themed pimp scarf, at night and for naps she won't sleep without a flannel blanket (however we've very deliberately switched up the blankets on a regular basis to ensure that there isn't a regular favourite that's bound to get lost).   

According to some research, both social and inanimate object attachment is a standard coping tool used by children to deal with novel situations (although I'm not exactly sure how novel a trip to daycare is one year in). This can also be linked to separation from the parents, i.e. at night and nap time to deal with the separation from the parents and this starting up outside of nap time (which totally breaks my heart) when the kids started going to daycare and I went back to work. 

I think that there are two ways to look at this inanimate object attachment, either A) this is a healthy way of coping that she'll grow out of when she's ready*** B) We're allowing something that will have her acting like Linus well into her adult years and she'll be taking the remnants of a purple blanket covered in cartoon sheep to her therapists office every week.

So when (if at all) do we try to separate the girl from the blanket?  Or do we wait until other children start taunting her on the playground?

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here

*Perhaps I'm willing to say that this may come from her mother's side.
**This is the girl who at three months broke one of the baby monitors because of her voluminous cry.
***In future years we'll encourage her to take up running, yoga, painting or sauvignon blanc as a hobby to help her clear her mind and de-stress.  If she chooses sauvignon blanc it's a hobby she can share with her mom.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Kill Your Television

Our children still don't watch a lot of television, which for the most part makes me very happy.  They'll maybe watch 10-20 minutes of cartoons once or twice a week while we tackle some household projects.*  I sometimes wonder if we are doing a disservice to our children by not having them watch more television.  I'm not crazy, hear me out.  Twins are often slower to develop language skills than singletons.  Sometimes this is because they are born early and are catching up, other times it's because parents are so busy trouble-shooting that they have less time to interact and communicate verbally with their children.**  Enter in the twin factor, when the twin who is speaking more first starts trying to talk for their sibling (Molly) and you can run into some speech issues.

We take time to read to our children every night before bed time, sing to them, expose them to music and talk to them as much as we can, and are increasingly trying to carve away some time to spend individually with each child, but I know that my children don't get the same level of verbal interaction as a first born singleton.  Maybe, just maybe, if I had the boob tube on a little more it would fill some of the silence and possibly help them in their language development.***

Molly in her Elmo shirt after her first haircut. 

I didn't want to tackle language issues today, although this is something that I will be writing about more over the next couple of months because I really want to share our experiences with the minions and language, development and how we're coping with some speech delays.

I wanted to talk about television and choices for our children.  I recently came across this article about how Disney has become more progressive than Sesame Street.  Yeah, I couldn't believe it either, but Disney has moved leaps and bounds beyond Sesame Street by representing a more realistic display on the various types of families that people grow up in today.(Click here to read the article). 

I never really planned on relying on television as a primary resource for teaching our children about family values, but can understand how frustrating it would be to have your family not represented or acknowledged in the media.  I've always thought of television being behind the times, tied to the values that their sponsors and advertisers demand rather than progressive.  I also plan on teaching the minions about family by exposure to the many different types of families that they interact with in their lives.  This is not a lesson I want brought to them by Corn Flakes.*****  Courtney Cox was the first person on American television to use the word "period" in the 1980's in a tampon commercial and I tend to use that as a guideline on how TV is behind the times when it comes to what is taboo and what is allowed on prime time.

Congrats Disney!  You pleasantly surprised me, however I hope this type of programming becomes mainstay rather than newsworthy.

To read my thoughts on Kevin Clash and Elmo click here

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here

*Usually when we're cooking or emptying the dishwasher and don't want little hands around a hot stove or dishwasher door surfing while grabbing at steak knives.
**Here is a quote on this from a Harvard Study, "Many researchers have come to the conclusion that it is not biological but social factors that are responsible for language delays. Several studies have now found that young twins receive less directed speech from their caretaker and participate in fewer situations where their attention is jointly engaged with the caretaker. Both of these situations are thought to be necessary (to some extent) for language learning. "  To view the study summary click here
***And prevent Molly for pointing at strangers on the street to call them Mommy, Daddy or even worse Dog.
*****Not that I think that Corn Flakes has issues with any specific types of "controversial" programming.

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Whole World is Our Playground: Vine Avenue Playground Review

This weekend it was hot.  Hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, only the minions aren't old enough to really appreciate that one yet, so we'll keep that trick up our sleeves for now.*  So instead we decided to hit a local playground that features a splash pad with a little help from my brother.
If you don't live in the area I hope you enjoy the pics and can use some of the ideas to inspire and explore in your own city. If you have any recommendations for great playgrounds (or new criteria I haven't thought of) please post a comment on this post or email me.

Park Name:
Vine Avenue Playground, Toronto Ontario

Vine Avenue,  just north of Dundas just west of Keele Street

Some Street Parking for free (we walked over)

Theme of Park:
No real theme there, bright primary colours on the equipment.

Ground Coverage:
Small wood chips for the actual playground, grass in the outer area and cemented around the wading pool.

Variety of Equipment for different ages:
The park had great equipment for older kids with a few prime choices for the little ones (a lot of baby swings and spinners for Jack and a sandbox for Molly).  The play area separated nicely, and far from the road, so supervision becomes more about playing with your kids than preventing Jack from playing Frogger in the road.  The main draw for the younger kids is the wading pool.   The Splash Pad is open this year from June 28 - September 1st. Most of the children here while we played ranged from age one to eight.

There were washrooms, but the doors were pad locked and there appears to be a Fry Guy guarding the place.
Special Features:
The splash pad has recently undergone a face lift and some maintenance thanks to the My Park is DiVine project that is selling T-shirts to help fund the beautification of the playground wading pool.  This pool is supervised with wading pool life guarding staff during designated hours (on Sunday they were there from 10am-6pm). 
The actual play equipment is for kids a little older than ours, so for this summer and maybe next we will only really use the park for the splash pad.

Best Part of the Park:
The parents.  Everyone was so friendly and willing to encourage** their children to share and play well with other children. 
Bring some buckets and beach balls so your kids have some fun items to play with while they wade.  Also, bring a pair of flip flops and prepare to get wet yourselves.  Oh, and don't forget to bring a towel!***

Overall Rating:

To read my review on Vermont Square Playground click here

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here

*I'm really excited to fry an egg on the sidewalk because my mom would never let us do that growing up because it was a waste of food.  Stupid, sensible mom.
**AKA Force.
***100 bonus points for anyone who picked up on that South Park reference.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Hot Legs

Strange things happen when for several consecutive days the priorities of the home shift from your kids and the running of the house to a 14 year old Tabby cat.  This week, on top of Toronto's Floodaggedon*, our cat had to go in for a second round of surgery to remove one of his back legs because of a super aggressive tumour.  This means** that we spent hours in the car and at the vet's office to ensure that our tripod cat made it home safely.  This also means that other household items get dropped, compounded with the fact that we still don't have a washer*** and we have to get creative with making due until we get time and energy again.

How Did Our Household Suffer this week?

Jack wore his alligator bathing suit to school today because all of his shorts are beyond disgusting.

We ran out of  diapers at daycare and had to troll through all of our "travel diapers" of various sizes and levels of squishedness from the trunk of the car, diaper bags and strollers so the kids can squeak by (each child was not allowed to soil more than six diapers today).  I'm also fairly certain that one of the emergency diapers I dropped off at daycare was used on a walk last week to wipe chocolate off of Jack's face after I ran out of wet wipes.  Here's hoping that they don't think I'm providing pre-defecated diapers for my children.****

We used cream sunscreen on our children instead of spray on which, on top of the added fight from the boy child, had Molly leaving a Jokeresque white face mark impression on my work clothes as I carried her to the car.

I used the last clean towel this morning, which meant that Chris had to dry off after his shower with a bath robe. 

We fell asleep on the couch at 8:30pm last night and no matter how much we wanted to spend "grown-up" time together it just wasn't as luring as that siren called sleep.

Thankfully everyone is safe and well, albeit broke, and our cat now looks like Dr. Evil and is missing a leg.  If anyone needs me I'll be at Walmart stocking up on supplies.

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here?

*Thankfully we kept power in our house and water on the outside.  Unfortunately not everyone was so lucky.
**That the cat is single-handedly (or footedly) trying to give the minions a run for their money on being the most expensive creature in our house.
***But we ordered one last night, with delivery tomorrow, so fingers crossed I'm not dragging garbage bags of dirty clothes over to my folks place next week.
****You can't call child services for that, right?

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Rainbow Connection

Around the time I discovered that I was expecting twins, that Talking Twin Babies video was viral. Nearly a dozen people sent it to me as part of their congratulations surrounding our impending bundles of joy!  The twin connection that my two babies would have with each other was exciting and novel to us.  Our children would have The Shining with each other and that was pretty cool.
Growing up I was told a lot of stories about my grandmother Mabel and her twin sister Madelaine and their strong twinnection*.  Some stories were about how they tricked people into thinking they were their sister, basically anything you'd see in those low budget Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movies from the nineties.  Except oddly my grandmother and her sister, who were also fraternal twins, didn't look much alike no matter how many identical haircuts or matching embroidered "M" sweaters their mother dressed them in, so I'm guessing people around were either playing along or a little slow on the uptake.   One of my favourite stories about them is from when one twin had a sore arm all weekend and later discovered that her sister had broken the same arm skiing hundreds of miles away.

Molly and Jack are 23 months old (today) and I'm a little sad to admit that I've rarely noticed their super twin powers shining through.  Maybe some of it has to do with how I've never really embraced traditional ways of celebrating their twinness.  Sure they share a birthday, toys, clothes and a nursery, but I rarely (maybe 3-4 times) dress them in matching clothes.  Molly (twin A) is and acts like the oldest and Jackie (twin B) embraces his role of the baby.  Molly and Jack both love each other's company, they've moved past parallel play and sometimes play together chasing each other around the house squealing.   The way they interact reminds me a lot of me and my younger brother.  They are both crazy about each other, love to fight and tease their sibling, but share a loyalty with their sibling akin to a mama bear.

Miss Molly & her Dollies
About two or three months ago I noticed a big shift in their relationship.  Molly will ask for milk both for her and her brother and they will actively (and a little creepily) feed one another snacks.  They hold hands more often, they'll share toys, even if sharing means passing something back and forth 20 times so someone doesn't have it too long.   This could be normal development, or the start of The Twinning**

I thought I was grasping at straws.  Then on Sunday when I was at my parent's house something funny happened.  Molly was playing with the dolls and pushing them around the house in a toy stroller.  My mother and I noticed that Miss Molly makes sure that there are ALWAYS two babies in her stroller, or by her side. Because babies always come in pairs, right?

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here?


*If no one else has claimed this term, I am right now!  Dibs!
**Defined as "twin shining" of course.  Dibs again as creator on Urban Dictionary!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Love Calls You By Your Name (Or Not)

Friday evening, after an eventful evening of taking the cat to the vet and strategizing Operation Washing Machine Replacement (completion date TBA*), it was bath time.  An almost peaceful time where the kids splash and wear off that last piece of energy before pyjamas, story and bed time.
After I had finished washing their hair and letting them brush their teeth** Molly started chatting with me. "I love my daddy!" she said.  My heart filled with parental joy and then sunk a bit.  What about me, lady?  I figured I'd give her time.  When I told Chris what she had said he was thrilled.  Over the next few days she routinely began proclaiming her love to daddy.  I started feeding her whoppers, I'd grin widely and say, "I love you Molly".  She just smiles coyly and blows me a kiss.  Are you kidding me?  She may as well have said, "Thank you." and then made excuses about why she couldn't hang out with me at story time, where she actually did insist that daddy read the story instead of me.  Later I complained to Chris and he told me that I can't force it and smiled smugly.***

Thankfully I still have the boy child who has developed a stubborn streak, specifically when it comes to Chris.  It turns out Jack would rather lay down in a puddle in the parking lot of Rona screaming than hold his dad's hand, who knew?****  I think every time Jack acts up for Chris I'm just going to blow him a kiss.

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here?
*Yes, I am doing laundry at my parents house, again.  It's like being 21 all over again, but with significantly more onesies to wash.
**AKA consume an ungodly amount of watermelon flavoured children's tooth paste.
***I hope this means that he's also going to get the first "I hate you!" from the girl, but I know now that milestone is tagged with my name all over it!
****Cause that's a healthy attitude towards competitive parenting, right, She won't say I love you to me, but at least she'd rather hold my hand than face impending death by mini van.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Queen Jane Approximately

We often joke that our Miss Molly isn't a princess, that she is in fact "The Queen" of all things.  Women in my family aren't exactly known to be weak, wilting flowers who swoon over every Prince Eric who passes by.  They're more Queen Grrl...than Princess Girl.*

A few years ago, when Chris and I started to entertain the idea of having children, we had a big talk about the commercialisation (Disneyfication, Dorafication, Princessification) of childhood today.  Chris proclaimed royally that he wasn't going to encourage the gender boxing, tweening of our kids, particularly if he were to have a daughter.  I often find myself reminding him that although I was quite girlie as a child, I come from a long line of Queen Grrls and that one Princess lunch box isn't going to transform Molly into a different person.

So far we've managed to navigate play time away from branded princesses and pop culture letting both children play with whatever the heck they want to.  As a result Jack's favourite toys are The Magic Cooking Pot, Duplo Blocks, The Talking Pink Purse and his rock and roll pickup truck.  Molly's are anyone else's shoes, balls of any kind**, Bob the Builder and her baby doll who she routinely bites in the face. 

Enter the pink aisle...the not so new way that advertisers at toy stores are targeting the girl demographic.  I first noticed a resurgence of it with the girl themed Kinder Eggs, or maybe I'm just paying closer attention now that I have a daughter.  I don't know.

Then yesterday I saw this great article on Bunch about  Girls Revolt Against the Pink Aisle, an attempt at breaking some of the gender barriers put forward.  Check out the ad in the link above...what do you think?

I think it's a great ad, however I know that I played with Barbies, Cabbage Patch Kids, My Little Ponies and Strawberry Shortcake, but so did my brother and some of my other male friends and I would probably still make similar choices if I was a child today.

We need to face the facts that the media and other kids on the playground are going to influence her eventually, or that she might choose to be a princess...however, that is her choice and we can't be making her decisions for her.

My name is SaraBeth and:

I'm a Veronica, not a Betty...
I'm a Maleficent, not a Sleeping Beauty....
I'm a Misfit, not a Hologram....
I'm The Red Queen, not an Alice...

And I chose it...

Okay, now to think of it, I'm a villain in most of these situations...maybe some revolt against the pink aisle won't hurt.

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here?

*Unfortunately I don't know how to dot the i on my "girl" and "princess" with little hearts, but I would if I could.
**The joke about the balls start and stop here.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Horror Business

It started off slowly, but I'm fairly certain that someone in my house has been chanting incantations from the Necronomicon because objects and people in (and around) my house are slowly becoming possessed and hellbent on destroying us.  Needless to say, this week was rough.....

On Saturday our washer broke and Chris has had to hand spin our clothes while we look for a replacement.  Hardly demonic, however, we run 10-12 loads of laundry a week so this is kinda a big deal.

On Tuesday night at 10pm Molly was infected: started puking, everywhere (the Exorcist has nothing on this girl)....While I was cleaning her up in the bathtub (for the second time that night) Jack got jealous and threw a giant tantrum (think Chucky meets the Leprechaun) while Chris was scrubbing vomit off of the wall.  Molly kept asking me, "Why is Jack crying?"

Three sets of sheets and baby pyjamas later...did I mention that our washer is broken?

At midnight, Molly was thirsty, so I gave her a neon pedialite freezie, which she loved...

At 12:30 she expelled it all over our couch...(Slimer)

At 1:01AM - Chris started vomiting all over the upstairs bathroom, repeat for four hours. 

On Wednesday afternoon we discovered that Chris had clogged our kitchen sink with his vomit because he couldn't make it to the bathroom over the baby gates in time.  When we finally got it unclogged it emanated the smell of the Bog of Eternal Stench and brought it to our kitchen.

Today I learned that someone had cashed a post dated cheque several days early and I had an NSF on our bank account.  Okay, that's not something out of a horror movie, but it's still very annoying.

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here?

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Master of Puppets

A few years ago I purchased the movie Up for a friend's child as a Christmas gift.  A few weeks later, Chris and I watched Up for the first time and cried all the way through it.  The next time I saw my friend, I apologised profusely. He told me not to worry and that he and his wife pre-screen any movies or books for their children before they give anything the green light.*  I commented that this was a good idea and asked if they had always done this.  He said no, that they had started it after reading the original Pinocchio to their child and discovering some unpleasant surprises about "The Real Pinocchio".

Fast forward a few years.  Chris and I acquired an Disney-free version of the book Pinocchio, I heeded my warning to Chris, but we eventually decide to read it to the minions anyway at bedtime over several days because although the minions love story time, they aren't exactly the most attentive audience. Essentially, they are still a little too young to absorb the full Hunter S. Thompson nature of this puppet's journey and we decided to figure out why this classic story had my friend on amber alert for inappropriate bed time stories.

You can purchase your own copy of Pinocchio at Amazon
SPOILER ALERT - If you want to find out how utterly bizarre Pinocchio is without my sarcasm, don't read on, just grab a copy of the book.

Here are the highlights of a puppet's journey to become a real boy that Walt Disney didn't want included in the movie (according to Wikipedia because Walt decided that the Real Slim Shady is an unlikable jerk and that they needed to nice him up for audiences):
  • Pinocchio isn't just a liar, he's a dirty liar, with a sanctimonious demeanour. (Whoa is me, I believed there was a money tree and got tricked by robbers!)
  • Pinocchio kills the little cricket who tries to warn him of the dangers of being a selfish moron by throwing a hammer at him.**
  • The puppet boy is later haunted by the ghost of the above-mentioned cricket.
  • When Pinocchio lies to his Fairy and his nose grows big, it doesn't just shrink down after he's come clean, it's pecked down to size by a flock of wood peckers.
  • The Land of Toys (or Pleasure Island in the Disney version) are both fairly equally terrible, where bad boys literally turn them selves into donkeys for slave labour.
  • After the puppet has been donkified, he turns back into a puppet when cannibalistic fish eat his donkey flesh.
  • The whale that Geppetto and Pinocchio are eaten by in the Disney movie is actually a ferocious mile long shark with three layers of teeth.
  • Little boy Lampwick randomly dies as a donkey with no real explanation.
  • At one point Pinocchio is hung in a tree to die.***

Suddenly letting your five year old watch Team America doesn't seem so bad!

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here?

*For the record they also cried like crazy during Up.
**Jiminy Squish it.
***Unfortunately the little monster keeps coming back to life, like some sort of evil marionette zombie.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Enter Sandman

When we signed up for this whole parenthood thing we understood that their would be sleepless nights peppered with gas, croup and fever:  essentially the complete gauntlet of red eye shifts.  For the most part, save for sickness, teething and growth spurts, our children are great sleepers.*  We have fairly successfully used modified ferberization to get our kids to sleep at night and arming them with self soothing tools so everyone sleeps better, however there are three things that will shift the sleep power position from our hands into that of the toddlers.

 The boy sleeping at 1 month old

Disturbing Other People
When we have house guests, are at a hotel, camp site or staying with family or friends, anywhere public, our children's Spidey senses tell them that usual house rules don't apply and they take advantage of every chance they get to party at 3AM.  This is bad enough when it happens, unfortunately after a night or two with a mid-night cuddle break it quickly becomes "sleep recess" or a bad habit that we're trying to break when we get back to normal protocol.

The boy sleeping at 4 months old

When one of the minions is getting over an illness we know they need rest and we do whatever we can to get them a good block of uninterrupted sleep.  The other "well" twin decides that this means that the middle of the night is the perfect opportunity to get back some of the attention they missed while we were doting on their sick sibling.  So the non-sickie child screams bloody murder at 4AM and we scoop them up out of their room so they don't disturb the other child.  At this point Chris and I already so exhausted from the sleepless nights with the diseased child that we'll do just about anything to get the other child to shut the eff up.  Last week during Chris's shift on the "night train" he pulled his back because the boy would only sleep with the crook of dad's neck as his pillow.  On Sunday, after a double night shift, I found myself perched on the edge of the bed the boy decided that he could only sleep horizontally across our bed, 75% of the area of our bed was taken up by a 29lb toddler and his cat.**

The boy at 10 months - taking up an entire King sized bed solo
After a few days with a house guest, the boy had grown accustomed to a late night "visit" with mom or dad.  After our friend headed off we decided that it was time to drop the hammer on the boy and his Gremlin need to feed after midnight, so when he cried (after we verified that despite his epic cries he was not in fact being torn apart by a pack of wild dogs) we let him cry it out.  So Jack freaked out, A LOT, but we stood strong and would not fetch him from his room despite the heart breaking whimpers of, "Mum, Mum, Mum".  The next morning I discovered that he had cried so much that he threw up all over his bed and then slept in it without complaint.  And this is why I will never be nominated for The Walmart Mother of the year award, because I let my son sleep in his own vomit.***  You know that for the next week or two the smallest cry is going to have us running.

Want Multiple Momstrosity updates on Facebook click here?

*Correction, Molly is a great sleeper, I'm fairly certain the boy is part raccoon, owl and vampire.
**All of the creatures in Munchkinland are evil and they never want us to sleep again.
***If you don't think that I've been punished enough by the insane guilt I've been plagued with since I discovered my puke covered son in his crib, know that while I gave the children a bath and scrubbed them furiously that morning one of them "rewarded me" for my efforts by taking a giant crap in the bath tub and yelling "Mommy Poop!  Mommy Poop!"  I spent 10 minutes fishing out little turds with a Styrofoam cup.