Monday, January 21, 2013

Parenting: Boiled Down

     There was once a time in my life when I was not a parent. During this mythical era there were many things that I took for granted- Like:

Wearing hoop earrings without fearing that my ears would suddenly be ripped off by surprisingly strong little fingers.

Wearing a necklace without ever being strangled.

Sleeping the whole night through.

Sleeping in past 7 am.

Basically, just sleeping in general.

Peeing in private. Sub category (a) Never having to scream through the bathroom door: "Mommy's just going pee!! Stop crying and screaming- no one kidnapped me: I'm. Just. Going. Pee!!"

Leisurely poops.

Never wiping someone else's boogers on my pants. Never crossed my mind. Ever.

Being blissfully unaware of who Toopy and Binou, Calliou, The Wiggles, and Yo Gabba Gabba are. 

Fishing out a floating poop from the bath water wasn't always part of my nightly routine.

My young, perky 20 year old boobs didn't require an $85 bra made from titanium, Kevlar, and Spanx to keep them in place and at attention.

I could drink coffee- an entire coffee- in one sitting. Before it got cold. Or a Lego thrown into it. While reading the newspaper that we no longer get.
*stares wistfully into the distance, smiling at the fond memory*

Sexy Time never being interrupted because someone has to kaka and can't reach the light switch and there are monsters hiding in there waiting to bite his bum.

Going out in public, looking fantastic. Talking to other adults at least once. Every day.

Stopping at the grocery store on a whim to just pick up two items. In and out in under five minutes. With no bribes being purchased.

I was never in a situation where I had to catch someone else's vomit or premature poo in my hand. Wasn't really part of my social scene...

I had energy past 8 pm.

I stayed up later than 8:22 pm every night.

We went on actual dates!! (Insert romantic instrumental music here)

I didn't consider laundry a marathon sport.

No one ever slapped me. And if they did- I punched them back. Now I put these aggrataved assult suspects on a time out. Hardly seems like justice.

If someone I loved was screaming, crying, and hyperventilating it was usually because she just caught her boyfriend cheating. Not because I said "No" to Play Doh time.

I had zero (0) Disney movies memorized.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

57 Words

Recently our daughter's speech therapist sent home a booklet for us to fill out. It contains hundreds of words that developing children typically use when starting to understand the basics of communication. We were surprised to discover that Noëlle uses, and understands, 57 words. To most parents of five year old children, 57 words would not be brag worthy. We, however, are not most parents, and Noëlle is certainly no ordinary five year old. To us, 57 words are the difference between frustration, confusion and meaningful interactions; they are the difference between being a "special child", and being a thinking, feeling, personable individual.

With these 57 words, Noëlle can express real emotions- Happy and Love -to some of the most important people in her young life who she knows loves her: Mommy, Dada, Dryden, Baby, Saku, Nana, and Poppa. If we manage to do our job as her parents well, then these will always be the foundation of her life: family, love, and happiness.

With the very few words she understands, she amazes us by expressing a healthy sense of self worth: Noëlle Good Girl, Little Star. She is mirroring the image and opinion that others have of her (which let's face it, all girls do) so we need to be diligent in ensuring that these are always positive.

Noëlle's 57 words have helped display her personality to the world, her singular individualism that we sometimes foolishly forget she possesses. She is bossy (Sit! Stay! No! C'mon! Shhhh!) She is funny (tickle tickle, Boo!) and polite (Thank you, Morning! Sorry, Hello, Bye, Night!) Noëlle is a great singer (Twinkle Twinkle, Row, row, row, Round and round) and a charmer (Love you, Gentle, Hug?)

These 57 words have given our daughter a voice, a means to communicate her basic needs and wants, the possibility to interact with those around her. These words make her understood. These words validate her intelligence, and importance. Her small pool of vocabulary encourages me to try to choose the best words to be absorbed into our kids' sponge like brains- I am the Hemingway of our house, labouring endlessly over the perfect word.
The perfect word to become #58...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Mission, Should I Choose To Accept It...

I can imagine my child-free friends stopping by and surveying my unwashed hair, yoga pants (yet no yoga mat to be seen for 100 miles), floors covered in faint muddy paw prints, and kitchen sink overflowing with Kraft Dinner encrusted plastic bowls and thinking to themselves, "I wonder what she does all day?"

Now, I cannot speak for other stay at home moms, but my days are spent essentially preventing the accidental deaths of my three children. I have a theory: (or is it a hypothesis? I should have paid more attention in science class) my babies were born with an ingrained death wish; it is my job as their mother to beat this Dare Devil gene into submission.
Examples of their death baiting:

Dryden luring Raegan (with a cheerio) into a laundry basket poised at the top of the stairs so that he can push her down on "a ride."

Raegan attempting to swallow 28 of Saku's round dog kibbles at once.

Noëlle discovering how to climb onto a sideboard to dangle herself off the living room banister...a good 20 foot drop onto the basement stairs below.

Dryden using my curtains as a bungee cord- around his neck.

Raegan getting the cap of a shampoo bottle stuck in her mouth.

Noëlle climbing into the front loading dryer for a nap.

A sub category to my duties would be preventing the Dog's death at the hands of two toddlers and a baby. These situations include, but are not limited to:

Trying to feed him inedible objects (wash cloths, large pine cones, rocks, a wooden spoon, a beer can)

Attempting to "fix him" with a screwdriver.

Eating his tail and/or ears.

There has also been the odd occasion where I have actually contributed to their deadly mission. Last week, while carrying Noëlle out to her waiting school bus, I slipped on ice at the top of the stairs and we tumbled down together. I got up, picked her up, took a step on more ice, and promptly wiped out again. Luckily, we spent good money on a bullet proof snowsuit so she was fine (giggling in fact.) The next day my arse and back was a lovely shade of twilight. A hazard of my job. No compensation.

And so, at the end of my day, if I get to tuck three squirming, breathing children into bed then my contract to them has been fulfilled for that 24 hour period. If I have energy after that, I MIGHT tackle housework, msg/text some friends so that they know they are still important, and ready myself for tomorrow. THIS is what I do all day.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy Birthday

I started my 31st birthday today by reading an amazing letter. I would like to share it with you:

My Dearest Rachel,
Happy birthday! I can't believe that you are already 31; it seems like only yesterday that you were a precocious child- full of mischief and wonder. I remember your teenage years spent discovering who, and what, you would like to become. I loved your early 20s- having so much blind faith...always leaping in before you ever thought to look. I would like to share some advice for your third decade of life; and like most advice, it is offered out of love and a genuine desire for you to have the best, for you to be your best.
Live, Love, and Laugh. There is a reason these three words are seen everywhere: they are the key to a life well lived.


Live every day as though it were your last. Have no regrets at the end of each day (and I'm not talking about the laundry not getting done, or an email not responded to.)

Go outside and play with your adorable kids- they will remember your efforts and carefree love of "play."

Be more spontaneous. Not everything needs to be planned, budgeted, and detailed in a list. Go where the wind, and your heart, takes you.

Take some trips- make your world bigger.

Follow your passions! Become involved in that organization. Start that business. You know what I'm talking about.


I want you to love yourself this year. Take better care of your body, and of your soul. You only have one of each. They are worth the investment.

There is a reason you married Nick: he is the only person in the world you could imagine loving until you die. Treat him as such.

If there is a choice, ALWAYS choose being an amazing mom over something else.

Never miss an opportunity to tell your family and friends you love them. They are the ones who will drag you, kicking and screaming, out of every predicament, every heartache, every uncertainty.


Act silly with your kids, teach them that their little world is hilarious, and wonderful, and fun.

At all costs, keep your sense of humour. Your ability to laugh at the crap in life makes the crap in life beatable.

I hope that your birthday was fantastic; that your family showed you that they are happy you were born; that your friends let you know that their life is better with you in it; that today was the first day of a remarkable year. Happy birthday!

Your 31 Year Old Self xo