Monday, December 31, 2012


Today is our anniversary. Nick and I have a good marriage: nothing dramatic, full of love. I don't have any tips to offer- I have no idea what "marriage" means for other couples. I'm sure they fight differently than us, show affection differently, have fun in other ways. For us, marriage means forever; it means forgiveness; it means love. I don't mean the I-cant-wait-to-jump-your-bones kind of love {although, that is what got us into bed with each other. Literally :) }

For Nick, love means drinking your coffee black at 5:30 am so that I can have the last bit of cream when I get up at 7:00 (who am I kidding? When I get up at 8:00)

Love means taking Noëlle to the dentist every four months because it makes me sad.

Love means taking Noëlle to speech therapy every week to give me a break.

Love means buying me a Christmas gift even though we agreed only to buy for the kids.

Love means spending a small fortune on a giant book shelf to house all my books that I refuse to part with.

Love means getting up with the kids on his morning off so I can sleep in.

Love means taking the dog to the vet, because that makes me sad too.

Love is watching the movie "Serenity" again, and not complaining because its my turn to pick the movie.

Love means its almost always my turn to pick the movie.

Love is clearing the snow off my car, saving the only Pepsi for me, and ordering Canadian pizza without mushrooms.

Love means cooking supper on the BBQ when I'm tired, cleaning the toy room while I'm in the sauna, washing all the floors after I go to bed, and taking over "Time Out" duty when he gets home from work.

I love the way he loves!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

T'was The Night After Christmas

T'was the night AFTER Christmas
And all through our home,
Not a toddler was stirring
I was finally alone.

The stockings that were hung by the fire
Were depleted
The fiasco of opening them
Hopefully never to be repeated.

The children were nestled, all snug in their beds
Wearing new Christmas jammies- white, green, and red.
With me in my slippers, and Nick trying not to make noise,
Were desperately trying to organize new toys.

When out in the kitchen Saku made such a clatter
I sprang to the doorway to see what was the matter.
Away to the kitchen I flew like a pup
Before the stupid dog woke all three kids up.

There sat the dog
As pathetic as a wino,
Cornered under the island
By Dryden's new remote control Dino.

With Little People taking over the hutch,
And a billion new Hot Wheels cars proving to be too much-
My husband was frowning and starting to pout,
Growling, and threatening to throw old toys out.

More puzzles! More tractors! More crayons and dump trucks!
More play food! More movies!
More babies and foam pucks!
Hide away in some baskets
In the toy room, in the hall
Now stash away! Stash away!
Stash away all!

I stepped down and I heard "crunch" on the floor
Noelle's new stuffed bear- it let out a roar!
I whispered a curse, decided my husband could win,
I then turned around to see Nick with a grin.

"Our kids are so lucky: our families go all out,
These toys will make them happy
Of that there is no doubt."
An armful of toys he stuffed onto a shelf,
And I had to agree, in spite of myself.

Their eyes how they twinkled
As they opened their toys,
And it was the family surrounding them-
All of our siblings girls and boys.

As they grow older, these gifts they'll forget,
It's the memories of family they'll remember I bet.
They'll look forward to holidays
Of making time out to gather,
It'll be family, not toys, that they'll eventually rather.

Until then, we're happy to pick up their toys
Put them away so they don't make too much noise.
Our family is blessed, and the world feels just right-
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21st, 2012

There was a lot of hype leading up to today. In case you are not "in the know", or just waking up from an extended coma (if you ARE just waking from a coma, thank you for reading my blog! Welcome to 2012) then you know that today was, allegedly, supposed to be the end of the world. Some ancient Mayan calendar had today's date as the last day (I tried watching a documentary on it last night, to inform myself better- but it was so frigging boring. I watched Bad Boys instead.) In all honesty, if I genuinely thought today was the Beginning Of The End, I would have spent our Christmas money of food, water, guns, and medicine; traded our car and truck in for a boat, and fortified our house. I didn't. I bought Christmas gifts for our kids. Like most sane people did.

On the other hand, I have been wrong before. I was 0.0061% sure today was IT. So I took pains to make today extra special...just in case. I served chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate milk for breakfast. I even went whole hog and put 10% cream in my coffee. I turned the bathroom into a beach party- music, snacks, unlimited bubbles, and no time limit. I served Kraft Dinner for lunch and made nap time optional (the baby doesn't know what "optional" means yet, so she foolishly chose to go to bed.) We put on our jammies and watched cartoons, played on the couch, cheered on Philip as he cleared our driveway with the tractor, ate cheesies, split a Pepsi, and did a craft. Everyone ate their favourite meal for supper and no one had to clean up their toys before bed.

So, as the Earth keeps spinning, and the Doom Mongers unknot their panties, I wonder if any of my little ones will remember today? Probably not. But when they're older and are facing their own generation's End Of The World, I can assure them that we already survived one together...and had a pretty great time.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I don't know how other mothers manage their household and raise their kids while they themselves are sick. However they do it, I'm sure it's better than me.

How other sick moms make breakfast:
They make creamy, rich, steaming hot oatmeal so that everyone starts the day off warm.

How I make breakfast when sick:
I throw each kid a Nutrigrain bar, and add Neo Citran to my coffee.

How other sick moms entertain their kids:
They snuggle while watching cartoons, do puzzles quietly on the floor, read books.

How I entertain the kids when sick:
We compete to see who can snort the most Gravol, and then Google my various symptoms together.

How other sick moms make lunch:
Make a quick PB&J sandwich and goldfish crackers.

How I make the kids lunch when sick:
Give Dryden a box of KD and tell him not to turn the burner up past med-high (for safety reasons.)

How other sick moms spend the afternoon:
Eating homemade chicken noodle soup, reading a magazine, napping in between checking on the sleeping kids.

How I spend the afternoon when sick:
I jack up the fireplace, put on the longest Jim Carrey movie I can find, to occupy the non-nappers, and roll over on the couch. Try not to snore louder than JC's obnoxious voice.

How other sick moms complain to their partner:
"I'm not feeling my best today Hun."

How I complain to my husband when sick:
"I'm dying. I'm fucking dying! IM DYING!!!"

How other sick moms answer the phone:
"*sniff* hello?"

How I answer the phone when sick:
"HackCoughHorkCoughGagCoughCpughPitchooBlarg?" (they eventually hang up)

How other sick moms make supper when sick:
They take out a pre-made, home cooked meal from their freezer.

How I make supper when sick:
"Fend for yourselves. I suggest take out. Order me soup."

How other sick moms take care of themselves:
The make some herbal tea, take a hot, detoxing bath, smear honey and cinnamon from head to toe, and get 10-12 hours of sleep.

How I take care of myself when sick:
Chug NyQuil, smoke a pack of cigarillos, watch Netflix, smear Vicks capo rub on my feet, pass out in front of the fire.

{** Disclaimer** I am kidding- I have never given my kids Gravol ever, and they are not permitted near the stove. I do not make them watch Jim Carrey movies- that would be cruel. RMP**}

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hug 'Em Tight

A shift occurred in me the very instant I became a parent. I could no longer watch TV shows that I used to enjoy; I found it hard to be entertained by story lines of children being killed, or kidnapped, or abused. Any movie I watched that involved the black depravity of mankind being focused on a child made me sad. Just plain, deep-down-in-you-stomach sad. Images of starving, sick, or abandoned children squeezed my heart. Hard. I needed to purge my head, and my heart, of those dark scenarios if I had any hope of being a well-balanced mother.

Today's deadly shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut filled me with grief and despair. My Facebook newsfeed was flooded with condolences and outrage by family and friends who, like myself, feel a genuine, and overwhelming sense of grief, and loss.

I sometimes feel that as a society, we are poised at the edge of our seats, waiting for the world to hit rock bottom before we act, before we take action to actively swing the pendulum back the other way. Surely the mass murder of four year old children should be our breaking point- surely, I cannot be the only one saying, "This is it! We NEED to act!"

I do not have the answers; I am an answerless pit of questions and doubt. I know that I cannot change gun legislations. I know that I cannot be The World's Defender in time of great need. But here's what I do know: I've had enough. As my friend Gina said, simply and profoundly: "Something has to change." We have the power to change things, right now- tonight.

We need to invest in the mental health of those around us (mentally sane people do not see the logic in shooting up a little school.) We need to find the money to recognize, treat, and support those in our communities who are battling their own personal fights from within. We can no longer afford to turn a blind eye and fein ignorance. These people are not "throw aways"; we, society, need to do better.

We need to teach our children that they have immense value. They are not the sum of their popularity (or lack thereof) at school; they are not the sexual objects that media is hell bent on turning them into; they are not the first people to feel voiceless and misunderstood. There IS life after high school. We need to arm our kids and young people with confidence: in themselves, in their ability, in their talents, in their uniqueness. We need to instil in them forgiveness, compassion, and empathy...and in the right situation, outrage. We need to repeat, endlessly, that kindness is needed; that it is never ok to stand by while others are being hurt; to defend and speak loudly about what they believe in- whatever that may be.

We need to be kinder. When did that become uncool? When did being nice to people become cliche? This notion- to just be nicer- is ridiculously simple. Try it, in small amounts if need be. But just try it.

We need to stop being so angry, so judgemental, so full of hate. It poisons your soul, weighs down your heart, changes who you are fundamentally. The relief, and rejuvenation you feel when you let these things go is all encompassing.

We need to stand up for others. We need to be brave, confident, indignant, and strong when they themselves cannot. We need to foster a greater sense of camaraderie, of unity, of community. These can make all the difference to someone.

We need to tell our family and friends that they are important to us. Hold them close, and tight, and make sure they know that they are loved, appreciated, and valued. Forgive easier, apologize sooner, make an effort to stay connected. Tell your children that they are amazing, that you love them, that they are everything you have EVER wanted. Even your teenagers...after all, they'll eventually start acting like human beings hope.

It is the small things, the values that we we ingrained with growing up, that will start pushing the pendulum back. We need to change; we simply can't continue on this path and expect goodness to be waiting at the end. Hug your children tight tonight. If you don't have kids, just hug someone, anyone. We could all use it.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nerd Turd

I hate my smile. Now, although my teeth aren't horrendous- they are imperfect enough to make me feel self-conscious. I rarely smile those open and spontaneous "toothy" smiles all the bitches in toothpaste commercials have perfected. My standard photo op smile is a cross between "Angry Duck Face" and "Shy Geisha Smirk." (Let that visual sink in.) Now understand why I am the Picture Taker and avoid being immortalized on film at all cost.

This Tuesday morning, at the ripe old age of 30, I got braces. I guess I romanticized the idea of braces, because I was a bit unprepared for how they would look and feel.

My whole mouth is throbbing. It feels like a mini dance party in there- minus the tequila shots...which might help the pain.

It hurts to eat soup.

They installed "bite guards" on my top incisors (pointy teeth) which are hard plastic nubs which prevent me from chewing properly. How am I supposed to eat with these suckin' things on?

How do you think they look? I have fucking braces and I'm 30. They look stupid.

I used a month's worth of wax covering every pointy part of these metal babies so they'd stop shredding the inside of my lips and cheeks to ribbons. So it kinda doesn't look like braces...more like I haven't brushed my teeth in...ever.

Those bite guards I mentioned on my top pointy teeth? Yeah, they make me look like a vampire. Throw some fucking glitter on me and I could be Edward Cullen's long last, fatter half-sister.

I'm only half serious. I'm happy I have them. I know the pain will go away. I know I will love my smile. And since I cannot chew- I'm bound to drop some pounds.



For those who have not read "Welcome To Holland", it compares having a special needs child (instead of a regular child) with ending up in Holland instead of your intended destination of Italy. It's a lovely poem. A bit too lovely actually...euphemisms and sandalwood scented smoke that softens the truth surrounding the endless struggles we face daily as we make it up as we go along. If I had been clever enough to pen this piece first, this is how it would read:

"Welcome To...Where The F%#k Are We?!"
By Rachel Pomainville

I am almost never asked to describe my experience of raising a developmentally challenged child- if I was, I would say it is like this...

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning your dream vacation- to Vegas. You buy some guide books, pack some naughty clothes, detox your liver. It's all very exciting.

After months if meticulous planning, you finally get to board the plane and take off. Sitting there next to your husband, you notice that everyone else on the plane is as nervous and as anxious as you are. Suddenly, the plane hits some turbulence and instantly, you start falling from the sky. Everyone is screaming and crying out in fear and panic. The pungent scent of wet shit hangs heavy in the air...and did someone just barf in your lap?! The dangling oxygen masks keep smacking you in the face and your heart is vibrating in your chest- threatening to explode at any moment. As quickly as it started- it is over; the plane is slowly descending and landing safely. You are dazed. You are also loudly demanding for a refund, or at least some more free stale peanuts, god damn it!

The haggard flight attendant opens the door. You look out, squinting into the sunlight and exclaim, "Where the fuck are we? This isn't Vegas!"
"I don't know where we are; I just know that this is your stop" the flight attendant says sympathetically.

So there you are- stranded in a strange place, with no idea where you are, how you got there, or what you should do next. You and your husband wander around blindly, looking for anyone who can help you navigate and find your way. Everyone you ask is giving you different directions, everyone is offering unsolicited advice, everyone is looking at you funny...some of them, with pity. You and your husband are no longer talking- apparently wandering aimlessly frays on one's nerves. Now you feel even more alone and lost and isolated.

With some luck, and a healthy dose of perseverance, you manage to find a hostel: a safe haven where like minded, tired soul have congregated to rest their weary heads. That night, as you look out your window at the city below, you realize that this- wherever the hell you are- is now home base. Sure, you'll get to visit and experience Vegas eventually (we cannot talk about it though. That shit stays in Vegas) but you'll always have to return here. You'll adapt and find your place here- you'll make a home and love it.

But there will be times, sometime when you least expect it, when you secretly yearn for the excitement and bright lights of Vegas now and then. And that's ok. Just don't let that yearning define you. You'll miss the beauty, joy, and fun right under your nose if your eyes are always focused on exotic places beyond.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Noëlle

Five years ago this morning, I gave birth to my first child. Noëlle made her grand entrance amidst a fierce and furious snowstorm; appropriate foreshadowing of our future journey with her.

These last five years (or 1,821 days to be exact) have been the hardest of my life. I have been exhausted, and sleep deprived beyond what I thought was my physical limit; I found it tremendously difficult to transition from making a vey good living to relying on my husband to provide for us. Relinquishing financial control made me resentful. It took 10 long months before I started to honestly, and genuinely enjoy being a stay-at-home mom; I finally truly understood what "frustration" and "monotony" meant. I experienced heartache, and devastation like my soul was never meant to know. I discovered the necessity of fighting with every ounce for the tools my daughter needed; I had to finally break down and ask for help. I have known doubt, worry, uncertainty, anger, and disappointment that no one ever bothered to prepare me for. I have reached the end of my rope...and taught myself how to make that rope longer. These last five years have been hard.

These last five years (1,821 hard earned days) have been the most rewarding, and prosperous years I have ever had. I believe in how strong I am, as a person, as a mother. No one in the world will ever love me as unconditionally as Noëlle does. My marriage and relationship with Nick gets stronger every day, with every new hurdle we launch over. I finally truly understand what "selflessness" and "sacrifice" means. I realize how fortunate we are that I can stay at home with the kids- they are the funniest, most shockingly clever little humans I know. I appreciate the simple things that I used to overlook: a sunny afternoon spent in the sandbox, a new word uttered spontaneously, an unexpected hug, a soundly sleeping child. I find that patience, compassion, and empathy come easier to me now. I have known love, joy, excitement, gratitude, and satisfaction that only another parent can understand. I have changed and become a different person- the kind of person I had always wanted to be. These last five years, 1,821 blessed days, have been worth it.

Happy 5th birthday Noëlle...and thank you.
Love, Mommy