Friday, July 22, 2011

I usually let them hold the fork themselves, at least

I feel a little better. Although my stop at the Farm Boy deli counter didn't help -- every time I see macaroni and cheese loaf I just want to collapse on the glass and say "WHY?" beseechingly. And what in the name of encased meats is PLAIN head cheese? Less eyebrow? Cheek only?

Then there was the aggravation of trying to convince my son that he could make a sandwich by himself. When we were visiting friends in Edmonton over Easter, I suddenly froze and realized, to my total humiliation, that I was CUTTING MY TEN-YEAR-OLD'S MEAT. Not that this is in any way unusual - I didn't feed him pretzels when he was eighteen months because I was afraid he'd choke on them, and then I suddenly realized when he was six that it was probably long past the time he could have pretzels. I start doing stuff and I just keep doing the same stuff, which doesn't work that well when you have rapidly changing children, except that those children naturally find it expedient NOT to volunteer the fact that they can probably construct a simple meal, put away their own laundry and wipe their own asses (okay, that I did stop doing) when apparently I'm happy to just keep on doing it all.

Fortunately just as I was about to say "oh my goodness, what am I doing cutting Angus's meat, I must have just had a flashback to when he was four", I looked up and saw my friend cutting her ELEVEN-year-old's meat. Whew.

Part of the problem is that I'm a control freak and Angus is a perfectionist. I don't really want him spilling milk and smearing mustard everywhere, and he has a morbid fear of exactly the same thing, because the world might END. The problem is, waiting until he's seventeen isn't then going to make him magically able to pour and spread and cut without making a mess. He'll just look like an exceptionally stupid seventeen-year-old.

Also, there's the fridge. I would post a picture, but I don't want anyone fainting or hurling on my account. If I'm going to insist that he makes his own lunch, I probably need to be able to provide better instructions than "okay, open the fridge. Now hold the salsa bottle with one hand and tip it over, reach past it and grab the middle part of that leaning tower of lunch meat and wiggle it out. I think the mayo is under that upside-down jam jar. If you reach to the very back of the bottom shelf and bend your hand back towards your wrist you might be able to hook a package of cheese slices."

Farm Boy had two more containers of Eve's coconut yogurt yesterday. That's the only thing she's willing to get for herself, and she eats it six times a day so I don't have to feed her much else for the next little bit.

Right, then. I'm off to clean out the fridge and stop stunting my children's developmental advancement.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Oh where oh where has my little blog gone?

I'm stuck. Hardcore stuck. I don't know if it's BOLO letdown, or summer laziness (it is sort of too hot to sustain life today) or something in the water. Wait, it's Wednesday, I can post pictures! No, no, no, that would be bad. I have a feeling that if I don't write something today I might be done forever (yes, clearly I'm feeling reasonable and stable and not at ALL prone to ridiculous, dramatic, ultimatum-like statements). I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Eve is in tennis camp this week. Okay, one picture because she looks freaking cute:

I was ready for her to be in camp. We've had two weeks of extreme Mother-Daughter togetherness, with Angus playing baseball or practicing baseball or hiding in the basement resting up for more baseball, and it's been great, but I have an assignment due tomorrow and the coinciding of tennis camp with a couple of morning ball practices meant I could get to the gym a couple of times this week and basically, it was all going to be good. Which it is, mostly. Except I'm having this stupid little thing when I drop her off in the mornings. I'm not a morning person. I drop them off at school looking like I just rolled out of bed, because, well... I drop her off at camp looking the same, and walking past the mothers all dressed and coiffed for work is giving me some kind of mental cramp. I don't know why. There are other mothers who show up in capris and tank tops. Not one of the well-dressed moms has given me any kind of look other than a smile (lest anyone be confused about the fact that this is ALL in my diseased little brain).

I run through it all again. Last week my husband was in California. This week he's in Maryland. In the fall he'll be in Asia again. This is what works for our family. This is what works for me. If I really need a project, I can play the damn piano more, or sort through the shit-ton of baby clothes, children's art and various other detritus in my basement. I could even shower and dress up to drop off my kid at camp (yeah, that wouldn't make me feel at all stupid. Maybe I could make a fake work badge too!).

You'd think, having just read and wholeheartedly agreed with this post, and having just had two fantastic weeks of summer vacation with my kids (and one with my best friend) that have only confirmed that I love being a stay at home Mom, that I would have some kind of immunity to this kind of bullshit. You know in the middle of that song Forget You where Gwyneth Paltrow wails 'whyyyyy' in that horrible screeching-cat voice? That sort of says it for me.

I did make it to the gym after dropping her off yesterday. I did weights and the hill workout on the treadmill, and really enjoyed it. So yeah, I might as well just face it - NOTHING's normal this week.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Paranoid much?

Eve: "I'm going to go brush my teeth"

(starts to walk into downstairs powder room)...

"...oh right, there's no toothpaste down here".

Angus: "WHAT BUG?"

Friday, July 8, 2011

BOLO -- too slow.

AGH! It's 12:02. I swore to myself I'd get my BOLO post up THE DAY AFTER. But I keep procrastinating. Because Zarah and the kids are leaving tomorrow and we're all sad, and we had to sit outside and drink grapefruit Woody's and read one last chapter of Harry Potter and the kids had to pile onto each other one last time and squirm around and scream that they were being squished and someone was farting on them, and we had to go Go-Karting and revel in how goofy we looked in our helmets. And we practically had to stage an Opening Ceremony for the coconut yogurt that Eve LOVES but I haven't been able to find at Farm Boy for MONTHS, and fortunately I bought two containers because she and Alex finished one before supper. It was so sweet how Alex, who was in the kitchen when I unpacked the grocery bags, saw the container and immediately asked if he could take it upstairs to show Eve. Followed shortly by loud, excited shrieks from upstairs (yeah, we don't get out much).

Also, I don't know what to write about BOLO. I am aces at being a smart-ass and crappy at expressing sincere emotion, and it was such a magical, warm, transformative experience that I don't even know where to start. It might actually be indescribable. Which is a pain in the ass for the purposes of this post in which I should be attempting to, you know, DESCRIBE it.

It was also a real worlds-colliding experience for me. Zarah, who I met in university (and who knows where a lot of the bodies are buried), came with me. Patti, who I've known since high school (and who is such a remarkable woman I can't even tell you, just read her blog once and then try to stop), came just to hear me read even though she hadn't seen her family for a week and they were getting home last night (well, the night before - AGH). Pam, who I met three years ago when her daughter was in my daughter's class (and who has been helping keep me sane and relatively unscathed ever since) drove, so I could placate my nerves with tequila. Julie, who I met a year and a half ago through blogging and World Trivia Night (and who took me to Montreal for a day to cure my phobia) was there, and Debbie, Sharon and Carolyn (who -- forget it for now, they really need their own post) from my book club came, because I mentioned the event, and that I would be reading, at our meeting last month. I couldn't really believe they were there - I kept pinching them until Sharon threatened to flatten me.

I often feel like an underachiever. I don't mean that in an annoying, false modesty, please-tell-me-I'm wrong way. I know I'm a pretty good mother, and a really good friend, and a not-terrible wife, and I'm reasonably intelligent and kind. But I'm also terminally anxious and self-doubting and prone to depression and maybe on the lazy side. I try not to overload myself, because I get scared that if I do I'll crash and the recovery will be harder on my family than the overloading is worth. I've made a kind of peace with this, but still, I always feel like I should be doing more. But last night (the night before - AGH) I stepped out of my comfort zone -- except I didn't, because when I looked across the room at that table full of amazing women, it would have just been stupid not to feel comfortable.

I read it. I rocked it. Those women had my back - that means I must be doing something right.

Oops, this turned into a post All About Me. Great. Another BOLO post tomorrow - well that's okay, it will still only be two days after.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How Low Can You BOLO?

That doesn't make any sense, just go with it.

My friend Zarah is in town for the week with her two kids and I'm blogging lazily with sun-addled senses and usually after a drink or two. We've decided to eschew cultural events this year, not because the kids don't like them - they're chomping at the bit to hit some museums - just because this week we DON'T FEEL LIKE IT. So we convinced the kids that this year we'll just eat ice cream every day. And walk around the market. And eat fistfuls of baby carrots. And play in the sandbox. And get pedicures (we gave Alex Eve's ipod touch to make the wait less arduous). And watch Angus hit home runs over the fence (in his first game of the season, thank you very much). And drive go karts.

The kids have retaliated against our museum moratorium by making a truly dreadful horror/comedy film, consisting of Alex shooting both girls with a nerf gun and Eve saying "oh my gosh" a lot - Quentin Tarantino it ain't. Angus vacillates between remaining slightly aloof by virtue of his slight age difference - Alex is only seven months older than Eve and Sophie is a bit less than two years younger - and joining wholeheartedly in the goofy, nerf-dart, video-game-playing, fake-crying festivities.

Zarah being here this week means that, unexpectedly, she gets to come to BOLO with me. The inestimable Turtlehead has organized a night of blog-reading, photo-viewing, carousing and general merriment for the - well, I don't know for how many years, I only started going last year, check the website, what do you want from me, I'm drunk. This year, because of the increased demand for performance time, half of the entries were juried and the other half were picked by lottery. I waffled on whether I was going to submit something, because I didn't read last year and I was happy to just listen, but despite how I struggle against it, this stupid voice in my head keeps telling me I have to PUSH THE ENVELOPE and TRY NEW THINGS and STEP OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE and EXPERIENCE PERSONAL GROWTH. Mostly I try to drown that annoying little prat of a voice with carbs and hour-long tv dramas with a supernatural bent, but every now and then I throw it a bone. So I emailed something to Lynn on the last evening. I had my gracious response for when she told me I was rejected all ready: I was going to say it was a win-win because hey, I tried, it wasn't my fault I wasn't selected - credit for personal growth without actually having to risk public humiliation.

I still think I was probably safe from the jury. Because I never win anything, I hadn't reckoned on the bloody lottery.

It's all good. I have a peerless group of people who will be there to supply me with a wide selection of sincere support and false courage. I reread my post tonight and I don't hate it. Lynn's letting me go first, partly because she's nice and partly because she's afraid that if she makes me wait too long I'll drink too much beforehand and barf on the microphone. If nothing else, it will be an interesting experience in how well tequila mixes with ativan.

Personal growth, here I come.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Family Traditions

Since we moved to Ottawa, my husband and I, and then the kids when we had them, have usually spent Canada Day out at his grandparents' place in Smiths' Falls (about an hour from us), with whatever segments of his side of the family showed up. They had a house on an acre, across the street from a farm - lots of room for the kids to run around, or tents to be set up for spillover sleepers, or baseball or horseshoes. When it got dark, two or three of the men would brave the mosquitoes to set off a wheelbarrow full of fireworks at the bottom of the long, sloping front lawn while the rest of us huddled by the house, periodically running inside to escape the mosquitoes (or comfort a child who didn't understand why fireworks have to be so jesus god LOUD). In recent years, when it got a little too much for Nana and Grandpa to have everyone at the house, my mother-in-law rented a cottage nearby and we would bring them out for the afternoon and/or the fireworks.

Last fall, we moved Nana and Grandpa to a retirement home in Brockville (still about an hour from us). It's been hard for everyone - for them most of all, of course. I still forget that the house and the beautiful gardens and the enormous oak tree that we would sit under in the back yard belong to some other family now. Getting old, not to put too fine a point on it, sucks donkey balls -- although I guess it's preferable to the alternative.

So on Canada Day, we packed the kids up and drove to Brockville. We met Matt's Aunt Kate, who I adore, and her husband Fraser, who I adore equally, at their hotel, and then went over to Nana and Grandpa's apartment. We visited them, then walked down the street to the downtown Brockville Canada Day festivities while they napped, then brought them to the hotel to sit around the pool while the kids swam. They went back to the home for dinner, then we went to their apartment and had a perfect view of the fireworks over the water from their window. They got to have family with them, on their terms, for Canada Day. I felt like we had all been given an amazing gift.

And there were no mosquitoes.