Sturm und Mom

The Storm & Stress (& Joy) of Motherhood

Archive for the tag “Large Families”

Hope, Terror Haze and Old German Tourists

Guess who’s too old to make Superhero poses? (Hint: Look for the Aviators…)

We went Fall camping, which is awesome if you can get two days off work, live 3½ hours from Jasper National Park, the daytime highs are 27°C and you have a tent trailer with a furnace.  Yes, that’s right.  Not a backbacking tent which is enveloped with condensation by 4 AM, but a nice cozy tent trailer with a kick-butt furnace pumping out the BTU’s all night.  This is necessary in the Rocky Mountains because, no matter how warm it is mid-day, come breakfast time it’s going to be hovering around 5°C.  From toques, to shorts, to fleece, to toques all in 16 hour period.  Nature is not that forgiving, especially to your wardrobe.

I would say that I was tough, but that would be a lie.  Hardy, in that I can take all the frosted breath and brisk hikes to the ladies’ washroom.   Dear Husband convinced me to take all the kids — including the small ones — up the Jasper Tramway, which can best be described as a tiny, metal box which zooms up the side of a rock face attached to a tiny, metal cable, all while your children press their oblivious faces to the window screaming, “Look how far doooowwn it is!”   Now I, sans kids, had hiked up this rock face and I thought it was quite tame.  However I had never considered what a sheer drop of 2400 odd feet combined with progeny with no common sense and slow reflexes would do to my adrenaline level.  We’re talking about a 3 year old who runs to the side of a cliff, starts jumping up and down, yelling:  “If you jumped off this cliff, you would be DEEEAAAAD!!!  Right Mommy?!!”  Or nearly crashes into the sliding glass doors that open onto the tram when it isn’t there, just an elevator shaft straight into Hell, to, yet again, demonstrate what one should NOT do in the name of safety.  When we finally touched down, unharmed, on God’s sweet Earth at the bottom, Dear Husband asked me if I was okay.

“A haze of terror.  That’s all I remember.  Children running to their death and sheer, unadulterated terror.”

He agreed not to take me back up there again.

Jasper, like all the Rocky Mountains, attracts visitors from all over the world.  English, Australians, Japanese (less and less), Chinese (more and more), Americans (varies from year to year), and always, Germans.   It wouldn’t feel like you hit the mountains unless you heard “ich bin…” or “Stimmt!” at some point when walking around town.  If the Parks are open, there’s a German somewhere in it.  Including all over our campground.  Which was the weirdest part of our trip.  All the sites in this campground are extremely open, including ours which was smack-dab next to a walking path to the showers.  All the nice Commonwealth types would walk by with a friendly greeting and smile at the children.  The Germans though, would return my hello, and immediately look away.  As soon as our gaze was averted, they would then start staring at our children.  When I caught them, they would immediately look away, and pretend to be really interested in a tree.  This happened over, and over, and over again.

Our way too young to be driving a rented RV site neighbours, were the worst.  This young couple could barely mutter a word to us, but would stand there — when they thought we didn’t see them — and gawk at us.  I couldn’t understand why they just didn’t come up and ask us where the kids were from.   But then it I caught one facial expression that I was not meant to see.  Embarrassment.  They were staring because they felt it was obscene to see a family with so many children.  They were watching a freak show, and they didn’t want to admit it.  No, these folks had no shame in driving around in a Granny-mobile in their 30’s, wearing uber-expensive mountaineering clothes to walk around handicap accessible groomed trails, and leaving their empty wine bottles at the entrance to the campsites for the “forest fairies” to collect for recycling, but were ashamed for us that we had too many children for their tastes.  Huh.  Auf Wiedersehen right back at you, Sweetheart.  (Did I mention the Australians were really nice?)

I have children because I have hope.  At one point I had no hope, and I had no children.  I do not believe that life is pointless, I do not believe that God will fail, and I do not believe that things will ever get so bad that I will wish that the human race would disappear in favour of the Dominion of Slugs.  There’s a trite expression, “Children are God’s way of saying the world should go on.”  They are also people’s way of saying that they should go on.  But if you have no hope, and then why should you go on?  Waste your money and time travelling around foreign countries, trying to fill your days with some pleasure and diversion, before it all comes to its meaningless end.  Staring at big families when they’re not looking.  Like I said, Auf Wiedersehen Sweetheart.

(Sorry for the rant.  Did I mention the Australians were really, really nice?)

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.

Raising the Next Generation of Barbarian

Nothing says crazy like a tinfoil hat.

Big Boy was at the park when a gaggle of older girls came upon him.

“Hello cute little boy.  Do you want to be our friend?”

Big Boy was scared very of these big, bossy Kindergarteners, but he didn’t run back to his Mother’s skirts. Instead, he scrunched up his face, hunched his shoulders and balled his fists.

“I’m a tough guy,” he said.  “I don’t want friends.  I’m going to go fight my sister.”

He waited until they had walked away, and then directly hid behind his older sister, shielding himself with the thick denim of her pant leg, squinting his eyes at any further threats from those intimidating females.

Some blogging Moms get to brag that they are raising a new generation of leaders, or artists, or healthy eaters. I get to state that I’ve got the next generation of barbarians.

Spring has brought delightfully warm weather, and the kids begged me to let them lower the windows of our black Expedition as we tooled around the neighborhood.  Soon, three kids were cutting the wind with their snouts, their hair pushed back and eyes barely open.  It was then that I heard shouting.

“HEY!  HEY, there people.”  Art Girl hollered in her best stadium voice.  “How you all doin’?  YEEAAAHHH!!”  she called out to her audience on the sidewalks and parking lots.  The show continued as we pulled up to the curb on our busy street, just as a bus was pulling away.  Art Girl leapt out of the truck onto the boulevard, assumed the Power Stance, and pointed.

“Hey there! Mr. Bus Driver!  How’s your day on the bus?  Go drive that bus!  Oh YEEAAAHHH!!!”

“Dear God!  Stop it!  Stop it!  You sound like a crazy person!”  I screamed in horror.  But what can I expect from a kid who hums the Imperial March from Star Wars while pumping on the backyard swing set.

My face will scare you to jail!

Well, at least she’s keeping her inner Mongolian Horde somewhat under wraps.  Unlike Big Boy.  In addition to scaring off 5 year old girls, he has created a new game called Dr. Scary Face, who uses his incredibly angry face to, well, scare off bad guys.  But if that doesn’t  work, he’ll bring out the big guns.  Or big cucumbers — on Friday at Walmart he grabbed a $1 English Cuke and used it to “BANG BANG BANG!!!!” every passing shopper and toilet paper display.  Luckily us Prairie folk tend to have a sense of humour.  (I’m not sure about the toilet paper.  Its silence may have indicated extreme offence.)  I doubt they would have been as understanding of our bath night superhero:  Super Naked Boy.   Or maybe they would have been fine.  Our Church’s Sacramental Assistant thought it was funny that she had to cajole Big Boy into putting his shirt back on during Children’s Liturgy.  Since become a parent I have developed the ability to smile while slowly dying inside.

With all of this mucho-macho action, I wasn’t surprised to hear Big Boy tell Princess that in their game he was going to be Iron Man.

“Iron Man?”  I asked.  “Are you going to fight some Bad Guys?”

“No.  Today, I am going to have a tea party.  With Spider Man.   Then I’ll fight the Bad Guys.”

Maybe things are totally wild.  Yet.

Post Navigation