Dear Brennyn, (2.5 years)

“And I did it my way…” ~Frank Sinatra

Frank sang it and you personify it. Two and a half years old and doing it your way. Which, too often than not, is not the same way as your mom or dad. More in the general direction of your sister, though by way of bushwacking and scenic routes.

This can be an exasperating thing for parents trying to keep up with you, or plan for you. Like today I left the light on for your nap since when I don’t, you pitter patter over to turn it on anyways, but today you pitter patter to turn it off. Go figure.

Or eating. Don’t even get me started (or especially get your dad started) on your eating… It’s not that you won’t eat so we can be grateful for that, but you won’t eat in one sitting. You must graze. Bite and run, bite and watch TV, bite and somersault, bite and chase. Three hours later and your meal is done just as a new one is set to begin!

But just as often as I am exasperated, I am proud and filled with admiration too. The way you burst ahead, not really worried about consequences, just knowing that right now, this moment, it is good!This past 6 months has seen Kaya head to Kindergarten, meaning you and I have a lot of new-found one-on-one time together. This is both a gift, and a challenge. We have started parent and tot gymnastics,

done many a walk and river-side picnic,

and passed a lot of time outside riding bikes or playing ball.Lately though, the rain has come. Hard. Which probably wouldn’t stop you, but has me uninspired to get outside. As a result, there has been a lot more of “I miss Kaya” pouty lips protruding. I’ve done my best but sister-play is the best.We’ve tried arts and crafts. They work, in the very short term.

We’ve tried baking but that usually results either in no baking (you’ve poured an entire box of baking soda in the mix the millisecond I turn my back!) or flooding (as you wash the dishes or babies or any sharp object that you can get your hands on in that same millisecond I turn my back!)

You’re not really an indoor kid.

When I think of you at this, 2.5 years, I will always think of you in gumboots and tutus.

I will remember you always pushing the boundaries. (From escaping confines to trying to be a big kid to testing the limits…)

“Brennyn! NO throwing the ball at the TV. Brennyn! STOP!”

Stops. Looks at me. Looks at Kaya. Before I have a chance to intervene you respond,

“Oh. Okay. Just Kaya?”

Whereby you whip the ball straight at Kaya’s head, make contact, ball bouncing off her head, hits our insect trapper home thingy which falls crashing to the floor.

“Brennyn…” I threaten.

With a gleam in your eye, knowing you are testing me and loving every moment of it, you head towards Kaya to which I think a hug of apology is coming, but you dart towards the insect trapper instead, “Oh, Sorry bugs. You okay bugs? Sorry little bugs!” as you peer inside kissing and hugging the insects home. All I can do, Kaya too, is laugh then tickle you, our little Stinker, until you say sorry to your sister. Which you do.

I will remember the hugs and the pats and love given to your family and random inanimate objects.

I will remember the pouts,

“I’m sad.” pout, pout, whine, whine…

“Why are you sad?”

“Because I’m gwumpy!”

To which we usually read Grumpy Bird. We have read a lot of Grumpy Bird…

I will remember the contemplative moments fondly.And the ROARS just as fondly. (of Dinosaurs and Monsters who have always conveniently ate whatever it is that you have lost. “Maybe a monster ate it?” said innocently with that glimmer of mischievousness in your eye!)Musn’t forget the bankie and su-su. Never forget the bankie and su-su!Babies, dinosaur vitamins, snackies, slow, halting sentences surprisingly complete… There is so much to remember and treasure of this time. What will absolutely never be forgotten and carried on forever though, is this,With Love and Giggles and Tickly Squeezes,

Mommy

Advertisements

Yeses and Cleanses

My sister-in-law totally pissed me off yesterday when she said “Wow, you sure are starting the new year with a whole lot of ‘No’s’. Fortunately, I keep my bitchiness in check since time was all I needed to process that what she said was so totally true.

You see, too many glasses of wine for my birthday (and New Years) left me starting 2012 with nausea and a pounding headache. With the in-laws in town, there was no laying in bed for the entire day to recover (because at 36, one really needs the whole day to recover from even only a slight bit too much booze) No, we got up to go to Whistler for some skating and outdoor fun.

To which I said No to skating and playing on the snow mound. While they are ‘wowed’ at the Village and how cool it is, I begrudgingly walk along dreaming about my bed and more coffee.

Once we make it back home, I say No to Wii Just Dance 3 and playing our marble game with my nephew. I ditch out of half the movie we are watching and completely crash out in bed.

Yup, a whole lot of No’s indeed.

Not how a new year should begin for sure.

Several friends in the past few weeks have told me they are going to give something up for January. Whether it’s coffee, alcohol or sugar, I was pretty adamant in my belief that they were all INSANE.

But after my day of No’s and a particularly gluttonous month of food, drink and sweets, I am feeling so very bloated and blah. Thus the motivation to begin a cleanse. Clichéd perhaps, but also needed.

No sugar, alcohol, coffee, meat, dairy or gluten for me for 21 days. Hey, if you’re gonna cleanse, go big! Part of my brain is sing/yelling

INSANE IN DA MEMBRANE

INSANE IN DA BRAIN…

But mostly I’m just excited. I’m actually craving vegetables and excited to learn how to make green juices and smoothies. So I bought myself a boxing week deal on a juicer and once it arrives, I will begin Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Adventure Cleanse.

The ‘adventure’ part more intriguing then worrisome at this point, though ask me again on Day 3…

Reading through what it entails, I’m not so worried about lunch or dinner. Quinoa, beans, wild rice, salads and soups are regular meals in our home. It’s surviving the morning without coffee and PB on toast that is going to challenge me. And the after dinner wine or chocolate (or both!)

But it’s 21 days right? A chance to cleanse and adopt new habits and discover new loves. My goal is not to lose weight or become vegan or give up coffee forever (Lord NO!) My goal is to give my body 21 days to rejuvenate and adopt healthier habits that I can carry on at a more moderate level.

Wish me luck friends. Better yet, join me!

PS. If you’re a really good friend, please note that Bal may be calling. He is already lining up where he can camp out for 21 days of me without coffee… Depending on how scary it is, he may bring along the kids and the dog too! Screening your calls is totally justified.

Bah Humbug

Phew, what a day.

It started with Brennyn half yanking off her diaper to which the sticky parts stuck to her skin and she screams. After wrestling it off, I go get a new diaper and call her, oh let’s say a conservative dozen times to come get her new diaper on. She ignores me. Irritated, I go get her. She’s sitting reading a book with a pool of pee around her. On the carpet.

Breakfast is served and I’m waiting for my coffee to brew. Brennyn knocks her yogurt on the floor. It has splattered everywhere. Already grumpy and without coffee, I yell at her then lecture her on sitting nicely at the table. She continues on with breakfast while I go pour my coffee. Before my glass is even half full, she drops that bloody yogurt again. ARG. I send her to her room which is the first time I have ever done that with either of my kids but I just did not even want to see her the mood that I was in.

Mess cleaned (well, wiped, I should be mopping right now but am here instead. Surprise, surprise…), I take a gulp of my not hot enough coffee. Which is about when Kaya spills her yogurt on the floor.

You have got to be freakin kidding me?

I say now and I yelled then. Sigh.

Both girls upstairs. I try to breathe. It’s not like they did anything crazy wrong. Just one of those bad mornings and I need to recoup. I breathe. I gulp. I go upstairs.

I do Kaya’s hair. She then wrestles Brennyn under blankets and she kind of looks like she’s put her finger in a socket. Everyday events today are compounding irritations. I’d like to take a day off please…

Which isn’t going to happen so off we go to school and I try to start new. Nope, little things still getting to me. Brennyn and I come home and I put her in front of cartoons so I can upload pictures for our Christmas cards. For the first time, Brennyn does not want to watch cartoons. She wants to hang on my legs and spin my computer chair and make me CRAZY!

Deep breathe. Calmly, I explain that mommy is grumpy and needs some time. Could B please go watch one cartoon and then we will go do something fun? Please? Pretty bleepin please??

She goes. Then comes back 2 minutes later, like this:She’s trying to make me laugh and, of course, it works! Snort laugh even.

So I scoop her up and we go to get an Americano, a muffin and a walk along the river. A change of scenery to replenish the joy.

Sunny skies and apple juice make it good for B.

Me, I need a bit more convincing. Which I am once we spot a seal playfully riding the current. Then, just to make sure the grumpiness stays away, we are also treated to a blue heron and a couple dozen eagles singing, fishing and one even soaring a mere 10 feet over our heads.

Feeling better now. But you know when a day starts off bad and you can’t quite shake it until a good nights sleep? Yah, that’s me today. Not quite shaking it. But not set off by every little thing either so that will have to do.

Until tomorrow…

Hell Yah

To tell you the truth, as I begin to write this post, I have no idea where I am going with it. As mentioned previously, I’m in total writer’s block mode and this is one of several posts I have started and stopped writing several times. This one is all jumbled in joy, authenticity, judgement, confidence and self-worth swirling in my brain trying to catch a coherent train of thought.

I was at a party the other night. A party filled with brilliant, accomplished women with wine, food and talk. As I mingled from conversation to conversation, I was struck at the underlying theme of apology drifting from each one. Sorry for not exercising enough, working enough, cleaning enough, playing enough… Sorry for my tantruming kid in the aisle or being frazzled at the pool or for having no time. Talk filled with the nots and shoulds of our lives, instead of the hell yeses and damn rights of it.

Which, I confess, I got sucked into, even though I had the best day and a wonderfully glorious moment of HELL YES that very day. But I didn’t share it.

Because it didn’t fit the theme of the chats? Because I thought the fellow mamma’s would think I was crazy? Because I thought it would seem like I was showing off? I honestly do not know, but I did not.

So here now, let me share my HELL YAH!

I was driving to the city. By myself! No kids, no plans, no agenda. Just a day away. You know? So I’m driving and the scenery is spectacular which on many days is maybe a passing thought but on this day, these days, it can not be taken for granted. So I savour it, really feel the gratitude for it, then maybe even chuckle at the hokiness with which I am feeling, in the car, on a drive done hundreds of times, in my Cheerio-laden four-door. At about this time, with all this gratitude and serenity bursting forth, it is almost a certainty that the haunting thoughts come knocking.

What if it was you? 

Shake it off. It is not me.

Another mother can not say the same thing. Guilt. Sadness. Helplessness. Fear. So much damn fear.

Then again, gratitude. Because if you can’t be grateful and live and love and be so very grateful, what is the point?

So I get back there. I summon up Strength and Love and I send it the other mother’s way then I appreciate this getaway, the sun rays passing through wispy clouds and turbulent ocean, and have infinite thanks for that which I have.

Then I blast some music. My music. And I rock out. In the car. By myself. Singing horribly bad and not caring in the least.

Soon a funny thing happens. I often rock out in the car, especially with the girls. We love our ‘girlie parties’ Raising a Glass with Pink or Waving Flags with Knaan. But when we start to hit heavy traffic, I totally tone it down.

Not on this day though. Just as I’m exiting into the city, Mat Kearney’s Hey Mama comes on and I sing (wail), bounce (jump), head bop (bang) and tap (slam) the steering wheel in the worst rhythm you can imagine. But the thing is, I do not care. At all. I don’t worry about what the car beside me is thinking. I do not try to be cool or normal or even sane.

I just be me. Which was so very freeing. And fabulous. No censoring of my moment for fear of judgement, just one small moment of complete authenticity. A moment filled with joy, fun, gratitude and a whole lot of dorkiness.

Can I get a HELL YAH on that?

Stuck

Writer’s block has struck. I am forcing these words out as a means to try to get some flow back. To no avail it seems.

Writing is usually what guides me out of a bleak situation. Energy and empathy peeking out from behind each keystroke until bursting out with prose and flow.

I recently read this quote by Joan Didion

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

 

These words sang to me. This is so me.

So often, a situation happens and I leave with words and thoughts and ideas swirling through my brain but it is not until I get out my journal and write them down do I begin to make sense of it and my thoughts on whatever ‘it’ might be.

Which is why writer’s block really bothers me. I sometimes can’t quite figure out even what I need to be figuring out. I stay stuck.

Holy shit, and there it is. Forcing myself (seriously, I have tried starting about 5 different posts in the past two weeks, none of which have gotten past a horribly boring paragraph fit for a bureaucratic pamphlet) to sit here and get something, anything written tonight has led me to this ‘it’ of being blocked.

Fear.

In the last two weeks, two 2-year-olds have died in my network of people. Neither I knew personally, one being through following online and one in my town. One was expected, one was not, both completely tragic and horrible.

Also in town, a baby is on her sixth round of chemo. At one year old.

My heart doesn’t know whether to break, grow, shatter or expand. And my brain, well it does not even want to go there so the thoughts, the words, just loom.

I think I have been waiting for my writing to make sense of the tragedies, when the thing is, this can never make sense. What I am doing right this moment as I type this, is realize that what has got me stuck is not the sadness or helplessness, but the fear.

Fear of this unimaginable thing, the loss of a child. Fear of thinking it, tempting it, jinxing it, understanding it…

Fear.

So as I see it, there are two choices.

I can live in fear

or

I can live despite the fear.

Which just made me think of a quote. Hmmm, let me go find it…

Ah yes, Ambrose Redmoon:

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”

Nothing more important than living our lives and appreciating every single moment.

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely, aware.” ~Henry Miller

And if you have made it through this whole post, welcome to a sneak-peak into the inner workings of my brain… Phew!

Another First

So, less than 2 months in to 13 years of school, my daughter gets detention.

Possibly I’m being slightly melodramatic. Perhaps it was more a ‘talking to’ and a ‘time-out’. Regardless the vocabulary, it was not something I was expecting. Not with Kaya, my sweet, shy, listening one.

Yesterday, I run back into the classroom to retrieve Kaya’s left-behind gum boots when her teacher stops me saying we need to talk. That, as we all know, is never a good thing. Still, I only expect that it is going to be about Kaya needing to speak up more.

Not that she spoke up and in doing so, lied, leading to said time-out.

Liar, liar, pants on fire…

While the teacher tells me the story, my jaw drops and my mind reels. I’m pretty sure my face turns flushed and panic-stricken all while trying to play it cool.

My kid? In trouble?

The offense itself is not that bad. An earlier incident that I don’t fully understand about lying about library time and then, with her friend, lying about washing their hands after going to the bathroom. Busted by the teacher’s assistant!

The more dire situation for us is not the lying so much as Kaya’s inclination to follow along with whatever her friends say or do instead of speaking up for herself. Part of it is that she is just like her daddy in that she’s more than happy to ‘go with the flow’. She is easy-going and not bothered by needing to have her way. A good trait.

But then she needs to learn to stand on her own two feet too. She should have opinions and convictions. Be independent and confident.

Where is the line between easy-going and pushover? Agreeable and complaisant? Flexible and submissive?

The thing is, I know Kaya can speak up. It’s just a matter of comfort, and this Kindergarten stuff is still pretty new to her (to us!) In our neighborhood, there are some kids that do stuff we do not always approve of. Kaya knows this and several times over the summer I heard her taking a stand. Things like not going where she’s not allowed and not destroying trees. I was so proud of her in those moments because she didn’t just say “No, I’m not allowed.” she taught them why she wasn’t doing it. “No, it’s not safe” or “I love trees and don’t want to wreck nature.”

While talking with Kaya about the lying at school, I tell her that I was the same when I was young. That I was shy and didn’t often speak up for myself even when I wanted to but as I learned and grew, I got better and better at it. “Mom, were you scared to talk to people you didn’t know?”

“Yes”

“When it was the first day of school and I was scared to talk to lots of people, this girl (the co-liar friend) was on the bench with me and I wasn’t scared to talk to her like the others.”

My girls way of telling me she feels safe with this girl. Both of them sweet and shy and giggly, they bonded immediately. Bosom buddies if you will.

And as we continue our chat, Kaya informs me very clearly and without hesitation that they did not lie, they did wash their hands. Another mother dilemma then. Do I believe my kid or the teacher’s assistant? After probing a bit more (probing without being pushy- a delicate balance too…) it would seem Kaya put her hands under water, but no soap.

So my kid is not so much a liar as a cheater then. So much better…

Today, instead of working on ways to guide my girl, I’m just pissy at the World, the Universe, the great Creator of all things. Because why oh Brilliant one, do you have us learn and grow and just as we’re starting to figure out our own shit, we have kids and realize our shit becomes their shit and then we have to keep on working on our shit while also helping with our kids shit which is kinda our shit but not entirely, kind of a mix-bag o’ shit, making it all the more shit SHIT.

Thanks for that Oh Wise One. Thanks a shitload.

Spooky Princess Picnic

Did you know googling Spooky Princess Picnic yields no relevant results? Travesty I tell you! So it is that with no help from the Internet, I make our own Spoooooky Princess Picnic.Complete with castles, monsters, pink, dinosaurs, tea, Halloween music, cookies, ghosts, fairies and spider webs (purple ones!) We eat eyeball soup with ice cream. We have coffee because mommies and monsters and princesses love coffee don’t ya know! We dance like fairies, then monsters. We roar like dinos and giggle like fairies.

Then we craft. Which is both fun and monstrous. Because painting marshmellows and popcorn with a food dye/milk combo is hilarious but also, as Kaya tells me, STINKY (she hates milk) plus we have no binding agent, plus keeping the eating bowl seperate from the monster building bowl can try a mothers patience…

So in the end, this is the only creature we come up with (horrid isn’t it?) but we also want to do it again, next time with icing and pretzel sticks to be able to hold everything together!Next up, shaving cream with food dye. Had I lost my mind?!

My goal was this pumpkin craft. Which is the only one we got since there was so much of this going on. Plain ol’ goopy fun!And if you’re thinking about losing your mind and attempting this craft, do yourself a favour and splurge on a decent bottle of shaving cream. I bought the cheapest there was since its sole purpose was crafts but oh, that smell, Halloween horrific I tell you!

While the girls play Happy Monsters and Dinos meet Happy Fairies and Princesses, I whip up some ghost pumpkin pancakes. Yummers!

Absolutely exhausted by this point, I force a nap for both girls. Kaya pouts, rightly pointing out that I told her when she was 5 and in Kindergarten she didn’t have to nap anymore. I make up some excuse about her being sick and having a big week at school and needing this nap to get her energy back which she scoffs at but goes and literally one minute after I close the door, I hear not a peep and so it turns out I am a brilliant and wise mother, not one who needed to close that door on her girls for her sanity sake.

Sanity saved with quiet, a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and free time to peruse blogs and facebook while completely ignoring the Spooky Princess Picnic turned horror show that was my downstairs.