Sturm und Mom

The Storm & Stress (& Joy) of Motherhood

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

That Which Does Not Kill You, Will Stop You From Blogging

Greetings from the Infirmary!  Know what it’s feels like when a toddler does squats on your chest?  Or at least some kind of chest infection that makes you think there is an invisible one there?  We do.  By “we”, I mean my husband and myself, and for now, just one kid.   But if the Law of Something Going Around holds, soon everyone else here will be part of the Royal We of Illness.

This is to be expected, because next Tuesday we are starting a new school.  Again, by “we”, I mean the four oldest, but after 11 years of Motherhood, I am increasing unable to separate my identity from the group identity of those I feed.  You get one, you get us all.   This sickness seems to hit my eldest whenever she starts a new school.  In Grade 1 she was sent home the second day with a sick stomach.  I took her to the Doctor, and was summarily humiliated to learn she had a fever and untreated bronchitis.  Later, I could hang my head that I didn’t realize that my 5 year old couldn’t hear anything.  The Kindergarten teacher tried to make me feel better.  She told me about the son of a nurse who didn’t realize he was half-blind.  I think we could improve parents lives by installing LED displays on the back of kids’ necks that give a read out of the complete health status at all times.  At the very least, it would solve the “stomach ache in the morning, bouncing on the Tramp in the afternoon” syndrome.

For a while, it looked like I was going to be the only healthy person in house of sickness.  This always strikes me when it happens, as a foreshadowing of what it would be like to survive one those apocalypse scenarios from zombie shows, and the Prime Time line-up of the History Channel.  You sort of wander around the house, dealing with emergencies, making your own rules while everyone lies around and moans.  The only time you can eat straight peanut butter sprinkled with chocolate chips for supper while watching a Weird Weather marathon and no one’s there to bother you.  It’s all fun until loneliness sets in, and by then, everyone starts to feel better.  The take away being,

The Apocalypse:  It’s Fun Until the Chocolate Chips Run Out

The other reason I’m sure I’m sick is that I’ve finished Back to School Hell Shopping.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this pic.

This is missing the indoor shoes, pencil boxes and a few boxes of tissue.

I’m so obsessed with back to school shopping, I even wrote a little article about how to save money by acting like a Civil War Quartermaster and submitted it to the nice folks at YummyMummyClub, who actually published it!  (Thanks so much, guys!)  I realize I am writing for a niche audience in this case.  I keep trying to tell my friends all my “strategies” and I can hear their voices glaze over on the phone.  But, if you ever have a very big event/holiday/group to buy for, this approach really does work.

For now, I am going back to lying on the sectional, wondering how I could feel like I spent 12 hours last night chain smoking in a bar, when I never left the house.  (I realize that I have excluded an entire generation with that statement.)  The kids are happy because Sick Mom vacillates between Easy-Going to Grumpy to Guilty to Buy Kids Off with Ice Cream every half hour.  Luckily, there’s a full carton of Cherries Jubilee in the freezer.  At the rate I’m going, I’m on schedule to dish up in about 15 minutes.

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Does this Baby Picture Make You Sick?

How annoying is this?

I’m sure by now you’ve heard of the app that lets you replace the pictures of your Facebook friends’ kids with those of kittens, sunsets and bacon.  Unbaby.me‘s website promises to “delete…babies from your Newsfeed permantently — by replacing them with awesome stuff…Now you don’t have to look at all your friends’ annoying kids”.  Yeah, who would want to look at pictures of human beings, when you could amuse yourself with pics of stuff to own, watch or consume (and judging from some of the sample photos on the website, also lust and mock.)

I don’t think anyone who’s tried to take more than zero kids onto a Tim Horton’s Sunday around noon could be that surprised at this.  And I bet it’s not just Hipsters among the over 71,000 “Likes” — some of the dirty looks that little old ladies, (sorry, I think the term they prefer is “cougar”) shoot you when it appears that the generation that is going to be funding their twilight years of government pensions and nursing care, might disturb their weekly Maple Glazed Danish and Double-Double, could peel paint.  (By the way, this is precisely why I avoid eye contact in public places.)

I do find it bizarre that those of us who have chosen to sacrifice the present for the sake of providing everyone else with a collective future, get cast as selfish, annoying dweebs, who just want to talk on and on about our kids.  I totally agree that forgoing children for a higher purpose is a very noble and commendable sacrifice.  Getting really good at Call of Duty, or devoting more time to your dogs doesn’t even register, Folks.

This reminds me of a something from woman’s magazine I saw from the 1960’s.  It was the Shocking! Emotional! tale of a mother who was going to use birth control, despite whatever her Priest said.  “What about the children I already have?  If I have more, won’t it be unfair to them?”  This seems so quaint now, considering the massive experiment in family living that would follow in the divorce happy 1970’s and 1980’s, calling a younger brother and sister in an intact family “unfair.”

However if this is unfair, with 5 siblings my kids must be first in line in the Completely Shafted Department, just itching to get their own Android compatible device, so that they can purge all those annoying pictures of their sisters in diapers.  And yes, they surely can complain when things aren’t so smooth between them.  But when the two oldest, Tall Girl and Sweetie Pie, made it home from camp, they did something that even I didn’t expect. As they piled out of the van, they ran first to me for a hug.  Total reassurance that they were home and Mom was there.  But, then they immediately started for Baby.  They picked her up, and carried her around, and almost started to fight over who got to give her a hug.  Baby, of course, lapped it up and was her super, smiley, giggly, baby perfection, waving hi with her fat little hand.  Funny, their faces didn’t look put out or annoyed.  Joyful would be more like it.

I really don’t know why people hate kids.  Maybe they hate part of themselves.  But as I’ve said before, people are awesome.  Even the noisy, inconvenient, over-photographed little ones.

Are We All a Bunch of Braggarts?

Check out this awesome article at the Wall Street Journal about bragging and social media (like, maybe, the Blogosphere would be included?)  Are We All Braggarts Now? – WSJ.com.

As Elizabeth Bernstein writes,

Changes in parenting style also play a role. Nowadays, every moment—first day of school, exhausted nap in the back seat of the car—is documented. The problem is that these shared moments can easily come off as crowing about how great Mom and Dad are to have raised such an adorable kid.

We’ve become so accustomed to boasting that we don’t even realize what we’re doing. And it’s harmful to our relationships because it turns people off.

Read the rest here.  I remember 25 years ago, being told by an older co-worker to “never say anything negative.”

People don’t like downers, she said.  If you say something, make it positive.  If someone asks how your trip was, say it was great, even if you spent the entire time indoors eating Dorritos from the vending machine and making up dialogue with the TV turned down.

As for parenting, and as a parent blogger, you have to wonder how all this “look nice Luv, I want to put this picture on Facebook” is warping our kids minds and view of the world.  But is there a corollary of “suckitude bragging”?  You know, the folks that no matter how bad you’ve got it, they’ve got it one stroke worse?

Anyways.  I’ve got to fold laundry while standing on my un-vacuumed carpet while I gaze out the window at my no-longer-weeded garden.  I told the kids to get out their pj’s but they ignored me.

There.  I hope that made you feel better.

Pursuing Failure

Remember the sunscreen!!!

I sent the kids to camp this week.  Overnight camp.  Like 4 nights and 5 days overnight camp, and for the third year in a row.  I caught my Sweetheart’s eye as Tall Girl and Sweetie Pie queued for the bus.

“Ripped right out.”  I pointed at my heart.  He nodded.

“I thought it should get easier, but it doesn’t.  The logistics do.  But this?  No.”

Why do we do this every year?  I mean they have the time of their lives and make all these friends and develop as great human beings.  But is that all worth their parents’ grey hair?  Or sleepless nights?  Come on — who wouldn’t trade a week with a Slip ‘N Slide with a bunch of cranky preschoolers, for a giggle sleepover on an island on a bug-infested lake?  I mean really.

Plus, we sent Art Girl to Taekwondo Daycamp, so I’m stuck at home auditioning next school year with the bottom three kids.  This gives me an opportunity to try out my “Why you can’t watch anymore TV” arguments.  Eventually, I know they will get bored of sitting on the couch staring at that black, matte rectangle, commanding it to light, and wander over to the kitchen table to take out their frustration on some playdough.  Until then, between that and the heat, it’s going to be a long week.

Are my children secret cave men?

Compound this with my Walk Guilt.  As I wrote last time, I’ve been trying to get back into some kind of shape after being left floundering on the carpet with back pain.  Tall Girl is now a certified babysitter, so this summer I’ve been taking the Baby in the stroller and leaving big sis in charge for 40 minutes.   Which is great for about 10 minutes, until I start feeling like the World’s Worst Mother for leaving them.  What if they are fighting?  Speaking rudely?  Just today, Big Boy demanded a pencil of me.  No, “please”, “may I”, nothing.  Is this what goes on when I’m not here?  They revert to troglodyte cave kids?  I’ll come home to grunts and people painting on the walls, eating raw meat.  It hasn’t happened yet, but maybe I’ve just been lucky.

I had thought, that once the kids were older, I would start to take some time to “do some things for myself.”  Except, I can’t seem to leave.  They’re all fine, independent, moral human beings.  But I’m a crazy woman.  I just can’t go.  I was thinking of whether I should get a job.  I can now know that unless someone is prepared to pay me to run around after my own offspring, it’s probably a no go.  Actually, it’s definitely a no go.  I always figured that some kind of worldly success was hiding inside of myself, but when I actually looked, I found someone who was happy being a failure, if it means more time with her kids.

I know that one day the girls and boy will grow up and move on and leave.  I’ll be sad/happy, but that’s part of life and that’s okay.  But I can’t rush it and still be all okay with life.  Come back soon from camp, girls.  Your Mom wants to make sure you brushed your teeth.

“How Empty is Your Life?” and Other Parenting Misses

Everything’s just peachy around here

Did you think I could stay away from the my little soap box for a whole 10 weeks?  Come on now.  You’re dealing with a woman who gets interrupted six times while screaming “FIRE!”  Plus, I went camping so there is only so much that one’s psyche can handle.

Since there is only 4 weeks left to the kids’ summer vacation, and I wouldn’t want them to have delusions that it was niceor anything, I thought I should permanently record the Mommy Misses so far of the season.  Think of this post as one of those Realty TV recap shows.   My kids will appreciate the cheat sheets for their memoirs.

“This will be perfect for the cover!”

  1. As for the title —  I didn’t actually say it that way.  Sweetie Pie came up and showed me some gross, dried-up glue in a tube, and said, “You could squirt it on some paper in a big blob.”  I assuming that, at age 9, she was a pretty much an adult in some Hunter-Gatherer cultures,  and quipped, “How empty would your life have to be to want to do that, eh?”  As I watched her eyes and then entire face fill with horror, I realized that I had made a grave mistake.  I gave her the glue and paper and a whole bunch of candy.  Things seem fine now.
  2. Look into my eyes!

    Tall Girl asked why I was staring “right there,” and pointed to a spot above her eyebrow.  I said that I was just looking at her.  Then I realized, being always crazy-run-around-busy, I never make eye contact with my kids.  They think all Moms have heart to heart talks with their heads stuck in the dryer.

  3. I got so out of shape I couldn’t get up off the floor.  Well, let’s back up on this one:  While I was pregnant with my SIXTH adorable child, I strained the ligaments in my back, which caused me an amazing amount of pain.  Being, like, not un-pregnant, I took it easy for a while.  A while being 18 months.  This rest period was abruptly terminated the day I lay down to retrieve a binky from under the kids’ bed and couldn’t get up.  I pacified the little ones by grinning furiously and telling them I was “playing whale.”  Daily walks have since ensued, and the call to “bring it here to Mommy” is slowly disappearing.
  4. Mommy is soooo distracted. Plus this tastes healthy.

    Today, my kids ate Chocolate Chip Cookies and a little piece of cheese for lunch.  I gave them buttered bread, cheese and peaches for lunch, with a cookie for dessert, and they just ignored all the real food and went straight to the sugar.  I was trying to fix my email and didn’t notice until I went to clean up and found all this perfectly good foodruined by sitting in sun outside for too long (they were having a picnic.)  Luckily, chocolate is a good source for Vitamin K.

  5. I told the kids the Ice Cream Man was “just a jerk in a truck.”  They retaliated by lying that he was riding a bike and wearing a FREE ICE CREAM hat .  I knew better — that’s too many letters for a hat, and those jerks avoid all physical activity.  Mom 1 Kids 0
  6. Big Boy reads Green Eggs and Hamto himself by stabbing the the picky guy with his finger and shouting, “I hate you.  I hate you.  I HATE YOU.”

    Come back here Sam-Not-I-Am! We’ve got a score to settle!

Yeah, lots to be proud of around here.   People sometimes says nice things to me like, “You have lovely family,” or “What good children,” or “Could you please go ahead of me in line because I can’t stand the noise” and I just have to laugh if they knew what a zoo I have.  Oh, well.  Four more weeks to screw up improve.

If you feel it would be helpful, feel free to share your parenting missteps in the comments.  Remember, it’s harder to catch a whole herd, than a single Bison.

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