Dec 31, 2009
First there was school. Though I technically started in the Fall of 2008, it was about this time of year that I got my official marks. I'm a keener, an over-achiever and very likely the most competitive person that you know. My biggest fear was failure. I was, after all, a high school drop out. I am happy, and yes, very proud, to admit (= brag) that I have a GPA of 4.0. Can't get better than that!
Then there's family. My baby turned one, began walking and talking. 2 of my 3 children are off at school (and are competitive keeners like me!). My husband was promoted. The relationship between my stepson and I deteriorated. Stepson left the house, sick of our rules. Though we see him every so often, the relationship between us all (with the exception of Stepson and Baby) is very, very strained. One day, he will see the reasons behind everything, but until then, we live as the evil, unrelenting parents.
There was the walk for Cancer. I walked all night. It was tiring, and by the time the sun rose and the closing ceremony was finished, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. But even though there were so many of my family members lost to Cancer, it was surprisingly cheerful. The time spent with my Aunt, Mother and cousins was important to me. I'm glad I did it.
I learned to knit. To some, this is an "old lady" thing, but I don't care. Knitting was something that my grandmother did, and I always wanted to learn. She died when I was in grade 6. The yearly gifts of slippers and scarves came to an end. No one picked up those needles to carry on her tradition. Years have gone by and I learned how to knit. Months of searching the internet for patterns finally yielded a pattern as close to grandma's that I could find. Slippers soon came. My family all have matching slippers - some better than others as I tweaked the pattern to my liking. I know that my husband thinks that I'm nuts. I've had many people say to me "why don't you just buy them from the dollar store". But, what they don't understand is that I feel connected to her again...I envision her in my mind...rocking in her chair, her knitting basket next to her as she watched Coronation Street and pretended to listen to my grandfather's ramblings. I miss her terribly, and it's my way to remember.
I got a new cat. Well, some would call him a mountain lion, but he's a giant, lovable fur-ball. Alviss appeared on my friend's Facebook page...needing a home. I helped out. Little did I know that the picture of the gray ball of fluff would turn out to be a 20lb cat! He's huge. He's beautiful. He's cuddly. What more can I ask for?? (okay, he could shed a little less, but beggars can't be choosers, can they?)
I had the most horrible daycare experience ever. A family who was here wasn't happy that I had terminated care. The child was fabulous, the mother was fabulous, the father....an Ass. They were happy with everything, but when I could no longer put up with the father's BS, I terminated care. They, after having had their daughter in care for over a year, accused me of neglect, claimed my home was filthy and, in general, did their best to bring me down. One thing about always doing the right thing, you know that the truth will prevail, but while the truth is busy being detected by child welfare and all the other crap that goes around that....it's stressful. I am still very bitter and very resentful of that whole situation. I genuinely love and care for all the children that are in my Daycare, and their false accusations have left scars.
I had a visit from the very first child ever to be in my dayhome! Funny, how you don't expect these children to age. Wonderful that he jumped out of that van, shouted "Heather!!" and ran to give me a huge bear hug (he's now almost as tall as I am). Sad that he had to leave.
I got a new family in dayhome. They are wonderful. They are fun, sarcastic, witty and real. I am very grateful that they came. Really good dayhome families are a rare gem. This is one of them. I also have a very good friend bringing her child to my dayhome. The fact that we are able to keep our business and friendship as two separate entities is amazing.
Fond memories were made. A rainy holiday in Drumheller. A town full of churches. A visit to Heritage Days and being trapped in a rainstorm. That is one that I never wrote about. The downpour that we went through, arriving to our car dripping as if we'd gone fully clothed into a swimming pool only to have the rain stop minutes after getting inside. It was at first, irritating, quickly overwhelming and soon hilarious. I came home that day to blog about it (once I had dried off and warmed up) only to discover that there was a woman who had died in that very same storm while at the Big Valley Jamboree. Suddenly, it wasn't something to write about.
There were the fun times the kids had with their grandmother. There were all of the great things that my daycare children have said. There were the debates with friends, and a few with strangers. Though I started this blog as a way of putting down the odd and silly thoughts that run through my head, mostly for the amusement of my friends and family to read -- I have come to the realization that there are people from all over the globe (well, so far, just North America) coming here searching for advice, or maybe just confirmation of their innermost feelings.
Everything is a lesson. Best wishes to you and yours, my readers, for a happy 2010!
I quite like it!
Dec 30, 2009
Hmm....it seems we have always labeled one another; Mechanic, Doctor, Teacher. Those are all labels. But let's get down to the heart of this. She could not see that there is a difference between a babysitter and a child care provider. She said that they both offer the same service and that by saying that I was not a babysitter, I was disrespectful to those who are.
Perhaps she's right. I don't think so, but that may be my elitist attitude showing through.
Here's how I look at it.
I am a Child Care Provider. This is not a job for me, it is a profession. I have taken studies to enhance the lives of the children that I care for, everything from program planning to childhood development. I provide care for other people's children in my home. I plan out a curriculum, write newsletters, and ensure learning in every moment. I cook meals for them, I teach them everything from potty training and colors, to manners and life skills. I love them and care for them like my own children. Day in and day out.
I used to babysit. On rare occasions, I would go into someone's home to watch their child (or children) for a few short hours. I did this for extra cash. What is involved? Playing a game, watching some tv and going to bed. That's it. Oh I know that there are a lot of babysitters who do a lot more than this, but I have yet to find one.
There is a difference to me. One is a profession, while the other is an occasional job taken for some extra cash. One requires education (which, by the way, more than qualifies me to be a teacher's aide), while the other only requires a bare minimum in safety standards.
To me this is like comparing a chef in a restaurant to a cook at McDonald's. Oh, by the way, when I made that argument, she implied that those two are the same thing too! Good God, if I found out that my stepson was cooking in a restaurant, I'd warn people to stay away! He's great at flipping those burgers, but I'm not sure that he's qualified to make french fries, let alone cook a meal!
Then, this woman attempted to say that by calling myself a Child Care Provider, it was a way to make caring for children into a "business". I have to say, I am so greatly offended by this that I still haven't bothered to comment on it. It is very sad for me to say that the money that you pay to your Friday night Babysitter is more money than I make. I recently learned (while looking for a sitter for my kids) that the going rate for a baby sitter is $10-15/hour....If I work out my monthly wage by the hours that I work, I end up getting a shocking $4.49 for every hour worked (before taxes). That's fabulous. I also get no benefits (like health/dental) and there is no such thing as "sick days" for me. If I take a day off for illness or holidays, I, quite literally, pay for it.
No, I'm not in this for the money. I do it because I love the children. I love them as if they are my own. I miss them on weekends, I cry when it's time for them to move on. I still keep in touch with many of them. They are my extended family.
I don't work for the all mighty dollar, instead, I work for the little heart-felt hugs that I get. The smiles in the morning, the cuddles in the afternoon. The laughter in the park, or the tears over a skinned knee.
A baby sitter I am not and do not want to be. To me, there is a difference, and I am proud to be able to say that I am a Child Care Provider!
Dec 18, 2009
But...someone did a Google Search for "laundry schedule for family of 5" -- and they came to my page....AND they asked for me to break it down. So, my dear friend Lisa....I'm not abnormal!!
Growing up, my mother did laundry on Saturdays. It was an all day-long, tedious task. My job was simple. Put the laundry in the bin. She would then sort into lights, darks, denims, towels, linens.
I have, what is considered by most, a large family (2 adults, 1 step child and 3 of my own kids)...and admittedly, all but myself and my middle son are a bit diva-ish about their clothing. Layers, a couple of changes a day...you get the idea. When I tried to stick with the schedule I had growing up, I found I was spending the entire day doing laundry, and if I happened to put it off --- well, we were swimming in a sea of filthy clothes.
So, I developed a schedule. This took much time and tweaking, but I've finally found the thing that works for my family.
Here's how it goes:
Monday -- Blue clothing, middle son's bed sheets (2 separate loads)
Tuesday -- Black clothing, Toddlers bed sheets (2 separate loads)
Wednesday -- White clothing, my bed sheets (2 separate loads)
Thursday -- Yellow/greens/browns, step son's sheets (he's no longer here...but whatever)
Friday -- Pink/Red clothing, daughters sheets (2 separate loads)
Saturday -- Denim
Sunday -- Towels
To be brutally honest, I don't wash the bed sheets every week. It's ideal, but I just don't. I suffer from terminal lazyitis. ;o)
There is also a schedule to how I do this --- now I wish that I could make this into a routine, but life, kids, work --- it all tends to get in the way. But, I find that if I have the laundry sorted into the laundry basket at night, when I wake up in the morning, I can just toss it into the washing machine and get on with my day. I usually toss it into the dryer at lunch time, it's dry by nap time, when I can fold it uninterrupted. However, there are days that I don't put it in the wash until much later....then I put off folding becuase I'm tired, then I'm stuck with wrinkly clothes, then I have to *gag* Iron! *shudder*
So...I hope that this can give you some guidance as to how to deal with a large family with tons of laundry. Rather than spending an entire day folding and washing and over and over and over....spend just an hour a day...laid out this way, it looks like more work, but it really isn't! We have clean clothes all the time, and never have to dig in the hamper for clothes to put on.
Dec 10, 2009
I have to say, this is very upsetting to me. When I go and do a Google search of the same things, I come across all sorts of stories of mothers in chronic depressions, mothers who have thoughts of killing their babies, or mothers who already have.
I worry that our society places such an importance on our outward appearances. We all have to have happy families with smiling faces and clean homes. The facts are, though, many of us are far from happy.
Motherhood is an especially touchy subject when it comes to happiness. I'm sure that we all love our children, but there are times when you think "what was I thinking??" People see a frustrated woman with a cherub-like baby in her arms and automatically think "what a horrible mother" They judge instantly. They don't ask if she needs help, or if there's anything that they can do. Perhaps mom was up all night with a fussy baby. Perhaps she hasn't gotten a shower in the last 3 days. Perhaps she's suffering from Post Partum. The sad fact is that just because we're mothers doesn't always mean that we're happy and joyous every moment of the day.
That's the key that I wanted to get across to this woman. If, for some reason, she should come by this blog again, I want her to know that Motherhood isn't all sunshine and rainbows....in fact, in order to have a rainbow, you need to have some rain. Being a Mom is great, but can, at times, be infuriating. There are many times that I feel defeated or like I've lost myself, or that perhaps I wasn't cut out for this mom-gig after all. But all of those feelings are part of being a mom. Our children aren't happy little things that do good every moment of the day. They make messes, they talk back, they wake up screaming 3 and 4 times a night (and sometimes more). They break things, they spill things, sometimes it seems like they look for things to do that will make you want to scream. It's part of childhood.
So, whomever you are, I hope that you are able to talk about your feelings with someone. I hope that you realize that it's normal to not always be happy.
So far today (just in the last 4 hours) I have heard the following:
- "tinker-bell, tinker-bell, tinkles all the day" (her version of Jingle Bells)
- "I'm not a big girl yet, my mom's 14. That's REALLY big."
- When asked if she had pooped (hey, I have 3 in diapers here, it's easiest to ask the ones that can answer first!), she replies with "um, let me see my socks first." Uh...okay??
- "Heder, I don't like formers (transformers) because they don't cuddle nice and they [turns voice into robot voice] talk-like-this. That's not nice."
- I tried to get her to finish the last few bites of her soup, and said "You can't have a cookie until you finish your soup." She pouted. Then I said, "What would your mommy say if I let you eat a cookie before you finished your soup?" She replies, "yum."
Nov 24, 2009
I was able to leave the kids home with their father while I ran out to get gifts. Now, I normally shop for toys for kids under 4 (which can generally be anything, boys will play with girl stuff and vice-versa). However, my son is almost 6 and is most definitely above the "preschool" level of toys.
I wander into Walmart and am faced with 6 aisles of toys for girls. There is make up, Barbies, babies of all kinds , dress up clothes, easy bake ovens, those trashy "I wanna be a hooker" Bratz things, Little Pet Shop, beading crafts, knitting crafts, nail art crafts, there is drawing stuff, painting stuff, and glitter making stuff. All packaged in various shads of pink and teal and all with an overly-happy young girl, smiling till her cheeks hurt on the front. Picking up my 4 girl gifts was nothing, I had such variety, I was able to choose a gift that didn't go against my beliefs about what little girls should and shouldn't play with.
Then...it was on to the "boy" section. What a depressing thing this was. There was literally 1 2/3 of an aisle. I guess you could call it 2 full aisles, but one aisle was literally 1/3 sports balls. I understand that boys do play sports, but considering that they put pink soccer balls and footballs with Barbie in there too, I'm not calling it a "boy" section.
The boy's aisle consisted of one full length of matchbox cars and their accessories (ie, race tracks). This aisle was opposite the trampy Barbies. On the other side of the car isle was Transformers (possibly 1 body width worth), then Starwars figures (again, 1 body-width), then some GI Joes (same amount as the first two). The rest of the aisle was for Bakugon. I have no idea how these things work, but my guy is interested in these things and Transformers. Opposite to that was the boys "dress up" section. Meaning, it held things like a Transformer Head that you could put over your own, swords and guns. Yay.
I think it's pathetic how we push these sexist things on girls. We are basically teaching our girls that they have to look pretty, be skinny and be "homey" (motherly with babies, cooking, etc). Why are we teaching them to dress up like "ladies of the night??" Why are we teaching them to set such low limits??
And boys -- no wonder there's an issue with vandalism and violence. These poor boys are bored to death with next to nothing to play with...unless....I know, let's give them fake weapons so that they can grow up beating the snot out of each other....great practice for when they're older.
Oct 22, 2009
I'll break it down into sections....
The first types of shows that I really hate are clay-mation. I don't know what it is about this art form, but I do NOT like it. Not even that one where Mel Gibson played the lead "chicken"...nope, not a fan of it at all. This means that I do not like watching ANY of the following:
Dragon and Pocoyo.
The second type of show that I really hate (and I mean to the extent that it does not come on in my house at any time for any reason) are the shows that have grown adults dressed up in costumes. This includes, but is certainly not limited to:
I also have to add a foot note to this. I used to lump Yo Gabba Gabba in with this group --- but after catching a few episodes of it on TV, it's really not that bad. The music is "cool"(and believe me, you're preschooler is able to know that Wiggles is so not cool, but that the music on Yo-Gabba is) and the messages delivered are really good. Eat well, be nice, it's okay to be scared, etc... The giant walking vibrator is still a little disturbing to me, but whatever...
There are some shows which are nice, educational and such, but for some reason or another just drive me nuts.
- Dora/Diego <-- way too much SHOUTING, SHOUTING, SHOUTING in high pitched voices!
- Toot & Puddle <-- this one is a neat show, but those pigs remind me of gremlins after they've been dumped in the pool.
- Toopy & Binoo <-- I like this one, I do. I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed that Toopy is a cross-dresser though?? (not that there's anything wrong with that!)
- Daniel Cook <-- Can you say obnoxious?!
I also don't like a lot of shows that other people would think are wonderful.
- Franklin goes here, because I think that he is a whiny little thing who is snarky and rude.
- Rolie Polie Olie goes here too, because I can't stand the gender stereotypes that they have in it.
- 4 Square also fits here -- there isn't anything about this show that I do like -- from the guys with potatoes in their tights teaching young children ballet, to the freaky wall-eyed "do-was", I haven't found a positive point in it (that I'm able to tolerate over all the negative).
However, there are some great shows. I really enjoy, really, there are!
- Backyardigans, this is a Canadian show (Yay, go Canada!), where you've got 4 little neighborhood friends who meet in the back yard and carry out fantastical imaginative adventures. What's wrong with using our imagination, folks??
- Elmo's World and/or Sesame Street. These shows teach...for real. What's wrong with that???
- Roll Play -- this show is fantastic! Not only are children learning imagination, story telling and dramatics, they are also exercising (I dare you to have a preschooler watch this show and make him sit on the couch the whole time!)
- My Friend Rabbit -- I like this one because all the characters are misfits of some form or another, yet they are all accepted for what they can (or can't) do, and there is no blame placed on anyone. Also, it's very creative how the writers have them overcome their faults.
- Emily Yeung -- the "newer" version of Daniel Cook. Only with manners that aren't forced.
So...what are your thoughts?? Am I way off base? Do you agree, disagree, think that I'm from Mars??
1. When talking about the games that I used to play when I was young, daughter looked up at me and said "Why do they call it the olden days?" (for the record, I did not say "in the olden days" -- keep in mind, she's 8 and has heard of "the olden days" from sources other than me).
Anyhow, I answered her with, "well, I guess because they happened a long time ago"
Her reply "Well, I think it should be called, 'The Youngun Days', because they happened when real old people were young."
2. I have a Toddler in Dayhome, he's adorable and loving. I thought to myself "hmmm...he's big enough to try to feed himself now." So I gave him a spoon and a bowl (barely filled) with macaroni in it. He promptly put the spoon into the bowl and .... sort of stirred it. Then, when he saw that I was sitting at the table and not feeding him, he started yelling, "HEY.....hedder! Hedder? HEDDER!?!!" After laughing (yes, I laughed at him!) I fed him his lunch!
3. I also have a little preschooler in care. She's adorable (and new to my home). First day here, and I think "I don't want to shock her too much" so I serve her relatively 'normal' snacks (usually, I have very healthy things, like asparagus and such). We ate yogurt for morning snack, had some chicken and spaghetti for lunch, and for afternoon snack, I thought I'd make ants on a log. Little did I know that I was out of raisins....so I thought that I'd add the healthy and beneficial prune to the mix. Yes folks, I said prune. They are healthy, sweet and delicious. One prune is really a healthier equivalent of a handful of raisins. Little S runs to her spot at the table when I call for snack...suddenly, she stops and starts crying...
"What's wrong?" I ask her.
"I don't wanna eat poop!" she wails and points to the black, shriveled up prune, "I don't like poop!"
4. One evening, my kids are super quiet. That's usually a sign of major problems for me. I tip toe down the stairs and find that they are just watching TV. "What are you watching?" I ask.
"Scooby Doo" my son replies.
"in human!!" my daughter exclaims.
5. A few weeks ago, dayhome girl was very upset...somehow she'd gotten into her mind that her 23 yr old mother was so old that she would soon die. In attempting to reassure her that in fact, mommy was very healthy and would likely live to be very old, she asks me "well," *sniff* "how old are you?"
"why, I'm only 32" I reply.
K's eyes widen to the size of teacups "Oh my, I don't think Granny is even that old!"
There are more, but I don't have the time right now! I shall add more similar posts as I gather information (and hopefully remember it!!)
Sep 10, 2009
My mother is possibly the best grandmother ever. She takes my children on weekend sleep overs where they play hockey in the hallway, paint fingernails, and build bird houses. She does things with them that I don't like doing, like camping. She is all things grandmotherly; warm, caring, fun and kind. (yet, I must say, she hardly looks a day over...uh...30)
Yet there are times that I think "what on earth was she thinking?!"
The last great outing that my kids had with grandma was spent out at some lake (sorry, forget where). The kids got to eat hot dogs, cook marshmallows over an open fire, make smores and eat all kinds of junk that I wouldn't allow at home. She took them on a "hike" where they got to walk through mud bogs in flip flops. I think that they may have even gotten lost, but she hasn't admitted to it yet (nor have the kids).
Another great adventure of this fabulous weekend-camping-get-away was picking cat tails. They each brought home a large (like 6 inches long) cat tail to keep in their rooms. This was all very cool. I thought that I'd wait until either the novelty wore off, or they dried up to nothing and then I could chuck them.
Unfortunately, these cat tails obviously had wonderful smells of nature that was oh-so-pleasing to my real cats. The kids, when told to go to bed on Monday, ended up laughing and laughing. I was busy doing my mom-duties, and did what most typical moms do. I shouted at them. Something like "stop playing around and brush your teeth!" The giggling subsided, and then I hear whispers and clunking in the bathroom. It sounded like someone was trying to wrestle a monkey. I simply sighed and thought that, like everything else, I'd just clean it up later.
However, I forgot about it. I went in the bathroom that night, brushed my teeth in the dark and went to bed. The next morning, I nearly had a heart attack!
I sleepily toddled into my bathroom and sat down to, ahem, do my business. I happened to look at the garbage can next to the toilet and was absolutely shocked at the sight!! It looked like Ronald McDonald came into my house and shaved his unmentionables. It was horrible and terrifying. There was light orange fuzz all over my bathroom. I was sneezing. My eyes were watering. Then, I found the sticks - with about 1 inch of the dark "cat tail" part left. The rest was the torn up bits of fluff that the cat originally started tearing up, but I'm sure that my wonderful angel children finished doing.
So thanks, Mom. I have learned that I am allergic to cat tails when they release their fluff. And thanks for teaching me that they have fluff...did you know they did? Thanks for scaring the crap out of me at 5 in the morning....thinking some sick, perverted red-head had shaved his nether-regions in my bathroom is a fantastic way to fully wake up.
However, as frustrating as it all was...it was still fantastic. And the kids...they can't wait to go to her house again!
Aug 24, 2009
So, toddler is sick. He spent the night screaming and crying. There was no consolation. I'd finally get him to sleep, it would last a whopping 20 minutes, then he'd wake up and cry for an hour.
I finally gave up -- realizing that no matter what I did, nothing was helping anymore. I sat on the couch with him and searched for programs with animals (his favorite thing next to music). Switched the TV to teletoon retro....Bugs bunny was on. It was followed by Merry Melodies (with Porky Pig). For an hour I had minimal screaming (because his cry is not simply a cry, it is a blood curdling scream!)....then came Bill Cosby.
Did you know that when you've had less than an hours worth of sleep and you then see an old grainy image of Bill Cosby with an afro and a moustache, it can freak the heck out of you?? Not only that, but Toddler wasn't thrilled with the fact that the cute little homicidal animals were no longer hunting one another down...instead, we had Fat Albert and his gang of friends.
And what's the first thing that comes into my mind? "I wonder what they'd call Fat Albert in today's PC society?"
Toddler screams. Then, finally he sleeps. I think I may have gotten a whopping 2 hours of sleep that night. But when you wake up in the morning and your little angel looks at you and wraps his little arms around your neck -- you know that you'd go 1000 nights for him.
Aug 21, 2009
my son: "wow! It must have taken you a LONG time to pick all of these peas!"
Aug 2, 2009
After another morning of the continental breakfast at the hotel (which was a good breakfast), trying to scarf down food while chasing after a toddler who's biggest thrill is the giant automatic doors...we get in the car and head back to Drumheller. Problem #1, the rain did NOT stop. Probelm #2, the rain got really heavy. Big, fat, giant raindrops.
Well, we'll tour in the rain, that's fine, right? Problem #3, the Hoo Doo's, by their very nature, are slowly eroding. Rain helps that. When it rains, the Hoo Doo's are closed, you cannot walk through on the paths. They are like a sugar candy on a cake....look hard and sturdy, but touch your tongue to it, and you can feel it disolve. So, item number one on the itinerary was cancelled.
So were other ideas of taking a hike along the many walking/hiking paths. Instead, we drove. They have 2 "loops" that you can drive. We did both. We saw canyons and old mines. We walked on a suspension bridge (in the rain). We saw more canola, wheat and barley, too! There were some cool, old-style wooden bridges on one of the tours...that was kinda intersting. The kids? Oh, they didn't notice. They had long since been watching Shrek and only looked up to say "I'm hungry" or "are we there yet?"
That night, we went to a place in Three Hills called Athens. It's a Greek restuarant (duh), but the food was fan-freaking-tastic. Don't let the measly little front entrance of this place fool you. It was amazing.
That's it. I'm tired, but I've got another story about what happened today brewing in my head...gotta plan it out so that you stay interseted!!
Jul 14, 2009
He left our home about 3 weeks ago. There was a serious incident that occurred, and it was something that we have experienced time and again. We were continually told that it would never happen again, and yet, it did. There is only so much that one can take. You know that old saying "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." That's the situation that we're left with...but the hardest thing is, at what point do you give up on your child?? At what point do you say, "this is a problem without a solution?"
I feel like a failure. I want to be there for him. He's making such mistakes that I know are going to cause him hurt and pain and suffering. Yet, he can't see it. The guilt that his father feels is indescribable.
I think that the reason that I feel like such a failure is the fact that I've been where he is. Not exactly the same situation, but close enough to know what lies ahead for him. If he goes back to school, I'll be shocked. If he stays in school, I'll eat my words.
I don't know where to go from here, a place I've never envisioned myself being in, and a place I really don't want to be.
Jun 14, 2009
Yup, that's right, You are still wandering around looking for another person to blame. Can't you see the bridges that You've burned? It so saddens me that You are unable, or more likely unwilling, to change the path that You are on.
The reason that I'm so worried, is because I've been there myself. I've walked that precarious slope that You are clinging to. I've been too stubborn to admit defeat and ask for help. I've been too stubborn to admit that I was wrong an apologize. Eventually, I turned myself around, but at what cost?? Certainly a lot more than I care to think about. There are years gone that I'll never get back.
And now, it seems that You are teetering on this same dark fate. Sad fact is that You have hurt me and broken my trust too many times for me to forgive. It looks like I must let you walk out on Your own, watch you face the demons that I know are lingering in the shadows (or sometimes not, sometimes they are disguised as beacons of hope) and hope that eventually, You will come back to your senses and realize what You've done.
Until then, I wish You the best and truly hope that Your journey is one that You will survive. I know that you will be wounded, but I pray that You will be able to come back to reality, likely scarred, but at least here.
So, I walked the Relay for Life. What an emotional time. Thinking of the many family members lost. So glad for my father who's still with us. I was glad to have done it, and will be doing it again next year.
I wanted to thank the friends and family who donated. I wanted to thank the friends and family who wished they could donate but for whatever reason, were unable.
I also just want to say how much I miss you, Grandma and Grandpa F...and you, too, Grandma R....and how I wish I'd been able to meet Great-Grandma C, and Great-Auntie Margret.
Jun 4, 2009
That's the kind of week that I had. Not going into the reasons, let's just say that it was an emotional time. I'm hurt, I'm angry and I'm very, very bitter. I feel like I've been used as an emotional punching bag. God obviously has bigger plans for me than I do.
Then I got this link in an email. Not that it's related in any way to the trials earlier in the week, but it just made me feel good to watch it...and if, after the week I've had, it makes me feel better, than it's pretty good!
May 16, 2009
I've lost too many family members to cancer. Both of my grandmothers before I was even 12. I vividly remember the day that I found out my Grandma Nola had died. I was sitting in the office at school -- back then, one of the novelties of being in grade 6 was that you were considered mature enough to give the secretary a break during the lunch hour. I would answer the phone, page people and generally feel like a grown up. I reveled in it.
This day, I was sitting at the desk, swinging my legs and spinning the chair in half circles (because only children spun around in chairs). I saw my father come in through the main doors. "What's he doing here?" I thought to myself. He did one of those millisecond pauses when he saw me...the powerful stride that had always comforted me tensed ever so slightly and I knew. I just knew.
"Hey, sweetie," he said in an overly happy tone, "I didn't expect to see you here." He asked to speak with the principal. He went in and I could here the sounds of their discussions, but everything was a blur. There was a knot in my stomach and I didn't know what to do.
Dad came out of the office, "We need to go, hon." he said quietly, and I just nodded and got my stuff ready. Later, in the car, he started to tell me, but I just said "I know." I didn't cry, because I had to be strong. I'd seen my mother, aunts and grandfather in heart wrenching pain as they waited, knowing that there was nothing that they could do to either ease my grandmother's pain or make that black, evil Cancer go away.
I don't know how much time had passed but it seemed only months to me that my Grandma Stella passed. She'd fought, long and hard, but it seemed, to my young mind, that Cancer was a ferocious enemy that knew no defeat. Strangly, I can't remember much of the details of her passing, I just knew it was what it was, and that once again, I had to be strong.
Years went by, I grew up, got married and had chidlren. The joys of my life. My grandfather, long a widower, was now sitting with my daughter on his lap the way he used to do with me. Soon, I had a son, and not long after he was born I got the news...Grandpa's got colon cancer. He'd hidden the signs until the pain was too much for him to take anymore. I think he just wanted to see his wife again. I hoped and prayed that he'd have the chance to see his great-grandson (who had been born on the other side of the world). Unfortunately, he never got to.
Another few Cancer free years passed. Then, my dad got the flu. Horribile stomach pains that just wouldn't let up. The flu lasted from Septemeber right until December. Then he found out that it wasn't a flu bug after all. There was a tumor, greedily feeding off of his large intestine. Suddenly a whirl of surgeries, and scans and tests....and fear. All I had known of Cancer was death, and I was now facing it with my own father.
The tumor was removed, but there were still signs of Cancer in his lymph glands. Chemo was started. He lost some hair, he gained some weight, he lost the feeling in his hands. But, he didn't lose hope. He won the battle.
A year went by, and suddenly there were more worrying test results. This time, they showed a growth on the liver. More surgeries, more scars, more chemo. This time, the feelings in his hands and feet didn't come back. Though it put up quite a battle, the Cancer was defeated again.
I now live a life with a big question mark around me. Who's next? What kind of cancer will I get? Have I passed on some defective genes to my own children? Have I sentenced them to pain and suffering?
I want to find a cure. I think it's possible, and I can only hope and pray that it's something that is seen sooner, rather than later. WHich is why I decided to participate in The Relay for Life. I'm putting the link here, and I'd appreciate any donations, every bit helps.
So, I've mentioned before about my OCD with housework.
It's really not because I'm OCD...it's because I loathe housework. I hate it so much that I have to make myself a schedule for it. Mondays I do this, Tuesdays that...and so on. I even went and joined Flylady to help (and she does, if you stick to it!).
That's why the gift that I got from my daughter was so appropriate. They worked on them at school and she'd tell me about things that she'd done (sanding, painting) without giving away the surprise. Last year they made a flower out of wood; it was....uh...pretty.
So, this years gift I was expecting be as....fabulous. You know, that gift where you go "Oh wow, a toaster....I....uh....love it!" Meanwhile you're thinking: a *&#ing toaster??
Not this time however. She made me a little plaque-type thing...it's supposed to be me holding a bucket of cleaning supplies. But that's not the best part. What the bucket SAYS is the best part...."I hate housework"
I can't even begin to describe how perfect this gift is!! I love it, dear daughter!! Thank you so much!!!
May 14, 2009
Last night, I went out with a girlfriend for a spa night. How completely, utterly amazing! (By the way, I do these parties, if any one's interested -- but how nice to be spoiled by getting one!). A lot of pent up stress was released, and I came home a much happier woman than when I had left.
Fast forward to this morning...kids are up (and there was no fight for it to happen!), lunches were made, breakfast was eaten and homework was packed and ready to go. This, in itself is a small miracle. My day is going well. They all leave for school, and I'm left at home with an infant, two toddlers and a preschooler. Baby and one toddler crash for their morning naps...and the preschooler and other toddler are playing quietly. They are relishing in the newness of the book nook that I've created, flipping through books and lounging on pillows.
Suddenly all hell breaks loose. Apparently preschooler's head touched toddler's pillow. I'm sure that you, Dear Reader, felt the shudder as the earth came to a screeching halt. Toddler starts freaking "move, move, move!" all the while pushing (with hands and feet) on the head of preschooler. Unfortunately, she can't move her head because toddler has wound her little fingers into her hair. Preschooler tries to move and screams in pain, while toddler is still freaking out about the infraction onto her pillow territory.
Meanwhile, I'm thinking that my cup of coffee is suddenly less enjoyable. Not only do I have a disaster in progress, I have one in the making should this argument (and the sheer volume of it) wake the angels sleeping in blissful ignorance in the other room.
"Shhhh!!" I say as I rush over to extract tiny fingers from matted hair. Tears are wiped, war wounds are kissed better and egos are placated. Each child apologizes to the other and they hug and make up.
Then, they start playing tag.
Now...they'd had a taste of freedom last week when the weather was wonderful and they were able to let go of that endless energy children are equipped with. This week, however, has been a cold, rainy, windy, hailing, snowing, blowing kind of week. Not exactly something to bring out little people into without bringing on colds, ear infections and other nastiness.
I decided to let them play, but "we have to play a special game of tag," I say and their eyes fill with wonder and excitement, "we have to play silent tag"
Yes, Dear Reader, you may stop laughing now.
Needless to say, this new game lasted all of 2.5 milliseconds. They laughed and giggled and squealed. Again, I'm thinking of the blissful angles sleeping and the chaos that will come from waking the slumbering babes before they're ready for it. So, my solution -- and folks, I can hardly believe it, but this is what I said: "If you can't play quietly that you have to sit down and watch TV." And I sat them on the couch and turned on treehouse.
Only then, did the complete and total ridiculousness of the words that I'd uttered come to me. And the children themselves were thoroughly disgruntled. I could almost read their thoughts "I can't believe she's making us watch TV."
Which is so ironic! On a normal day I'm saying "We don't need to watch TV. We can have fun without TV." etc, etc, etc.
Oddly enough though, they watched for only about 20 minutes and then the TV was off (and stayed off) for the rest of the day, and no one asked for it!
May 6, 2009
I happen to have a bit of a laundry schedule. As some of my friends have noticed, I'm a bit anal about it. In fact, one friend in particular has labeled me as OCD in the laundry department. I, personally, have developed a system whereby I do a little bit of laundry every day rather than spending a full day or two doing 5 people's dirty clothing, bedding, towels and what-nots. This OCD laundry schedule ensures that everyone's clothing is washed every week. To break it down nice and simple, I have labeled certain days of the weeks as "colors"....so on Monday I was blue stuff, on Tuesday it's black, Wednesday is white, Thursdays are brown/yellow and Fridays are pink. Weekends are reserved for jeans and towels. I also stick bedding in there for each of the family members too....we each have our "day" that our bedding gets washed. Yes....I'm anal about it!!
Anyhow --- back to the point of the post. Wednesday = whites. Please tell me, how on God's green earth does ONE teenager wear 16 pairs of socks!?!
Seriously SIXTEEN!! And those were just the ones that I could match up into pairs!!! He also had 5 singles that were without a mate and 7 that I threw away because they had holes in them. All in all that becomes TWENTY TWO PAIRS of socks!!! That's more than 3 pairs of socks a day!
Apr 24, 2009
I'm not sure how long Yo Gabba Gabba has been on the air. What I do know is that I caught a bit of it a few months back...people, it has haunted me ever since. It is a show where you've got this much too happy guy, aka DJ Lance Rock. He carries around a wonderful boom box that houses his little "friends".
Personally, I think that this show was created while a bunch of someone's were smoking some pretty strong stuff. DJ Lance hops around in his 70's flashback jogging suit. He carries around these "friends", who, if you ask me are a little on the creepy side. Just look at that big red dude...doesn't he remind you of something that you found long ago hidden in your mom's bedside drawer??
The show goes on, with the characters singing songs like "We are the germs that make you sick" or "Try it, and you'll like it"
Creepy. That's the only word that I can describe for this show.
So...could someone please tell me why, in the name of God do the children enjoy it so much??
That was mistake #1.
It's just two nights that he's gone. I'm thinking maybe a bath, reading in bed, being able to spread out in all the vastness. It means making the coffee to the strength that I like. It means sleeping through the night without having to wake up to snores. It means getting up in the morning and not having to shuffle and stubmle through the darkness while he still sleeps.
Funny....reading back over this makes me sound like I'm complaining about him. I want to make it perfectly clear that I'm not. Love the man to bits! All these things that I was looking forward to, I quickly begin to miss if he's gone for too long!
Anyhow. Night number one comes around. Yay...fresh sheets, sleeping children. I plan on relishing the moments. "Why go to bed right now?" I think "Let's open a book."
That, apparently was mistake #2. Because when I finally put the light out and snuggled into bed, Baby wakes up and won't go back to bed. 12:30 rolls around (I have to get up at 5:30, this isn't funny!)...he's finally asleep. "Finally" I think, "now I can at least get 5 hours."
That, was mistake #3. Baby woke up another 4 times that night. And guess who he was calling for?? Let's just say it was the parent who doesn't rhyme with mommy.
The next day rolls around, and I begin to think that I'll get some studying in...or at the very least, start of my homework.
That was mistake #4. Between my own children squabbling, the dayhome girl bored out of her mind and creating something to do, and the dayhome toddler who's going through the "I want ____" and whining stage; I about nearly exploded.
Thought that I'd wait till they went home, and my own went to bed....mistake #5 -- that's when the less-than-three-hours-sleep from the night before caught up with me. I was zonked by 830.
Apr 1, 2009
In my own defense, I didn't think that the diploma that I am going for was going to be all that hard. Boy, was I wrong! This course is detailed and in-depth! I'm talking about "explain how playing with play dough helps the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children". Yowzers, it's play dough for heaven's sake!
However, already 3 courses into it (with something like a bazillion more to go!), I'm happy to say that not only do I find the work interesting, I'm reveling in the challenge of it (and getting A's while I'm at it!). The rest of my family is not so thrilled.
The laundry is neglected. There is dust on the furniture. There have been many nights of "cereal for supper". And the worst possible thing of all, they actually have to do some things....themselves!!
Oh, the horror!!
"Sort my own laundry?" daughter whines, "but I don't know how!" Well hon, you're 8, I'll help you learn.
Hubby grumbled at the thought of making his own lunch. He actually balked at being told that he'd need to watch baby while I was away at school (I go for 1 Saturday a month). "What if he poops?" I tell him he'll have to deal with it the same way that I do, and secretly feed the baby things that I know are going to stink the next day, like mashed potatoes and gravy! (hey, I've been changing diapers for 8 years.....let me have my fun!)
Middle son is so independent that he was just like "whatever". Why can't they all be like that??
Step son --- well....he's got his own issues. Besides, he won't be happy today when I hand him a stack of assignments the teacher emailed me, then I'm dropping him off at the library...oh no...the Library on Spring Break! I am an evil, evil, step mother!!
Mar 29, 2009
Anyhow, the lies go on. Funny how he thinks that he can lie without being caught. Saturday was my mother-in-law's birthday. We have a gathering of her children and grandchildren...all of whom are there with one exception...Step Son can't make it. According to him, it's his half-brother's birthday, and if we had only given him "advance notice" he might have been able to make it. Interesting...because last time I looked, we live in a house, not an office, however, I will keep in mind to send him a CC next time an event is planned.
As I was busy preparing the meal (salmon, rice and asparagus, YUM!), I just shook my head and sighed, figuring I'd deal with the issues later. It wasn't until my brother-in-laws started popping in that I thought...."hey, why is this the first year that I've heard about Step Son's brother's birthday being on the same day as my mother-in-law's?"
The proverbial light bulb went off.
Hubby texts the ex. Nope, no party over there, she's not feeling well and wouldn't have him over that night anyhow.
And so, the texting craze begins.
- Let me begin a side note to this story --- back in the day (you know you're old when you begin a story with those words)...back in the day when I was a child, there was no such thing as cell phones. Well...yes, there were...but they were for business men and presidents only. No child carried around a cell phone. Oh, and we actually used those things sticking out of the bottom of our body to get places...they are called your own two feet! I also know that I probably said like, a lot of like, annoying things to like, my parents --- but there is nothing worse then getting a message that says "I went 2 C a mooV. B back l8tr" That was an honest-to-God note that step son left me once.
Back to the texting....Hubby sends him a text, Brother-in-law sends him a text...and I'm sure his mother was too. He replies back with something real smart like "why can't you just let me be with my friends? You've already ruined my life!!"
Now, I realize that sitting and having cake with your grandmother isn't exactly a teenager's top choice of things to do on the weekend. However, couldn't he have just said "hey, I'd rather hang out with my friends"? I mean, why the Big lie? What advantage does such a thing do? It's not like we would have forced him to stay home....Likely we would have said "okay, but could you at least wait until she gets here to say happy birthday?"
So....since we've all done such a good job of "ruining his life" ... he doesn't come home. Instead he calls the next morning to say "uh...sorry, I just fell asleep."
Problem was, it was too late. I'd already had enough and decided to do a little housecleaning. Since I'd already cleaned the rest of my house (okay, not the toilets, but I'm getting to them), I decided to work on his room. Little did I know what I was in for.
I found seven, yes SEVEN full packages of gum. One was in his shoe, another behind a book, some in a bag.....How can one person have seven unopened packs of gum and not know where they are?? I also discovered that the kid has an Axe Deodorant in every drawer that he has. I found homework from grade 7 (he's in grade 10), I found lyrics to songs and raps. I found clean and dirty clothing, I found pictures, I found awards. I found nearly a dozen empty bottles of pop/water/juice, and an entire 2L bottle of Orange juice under his bed. I found the headphone and speaker set for my computer (which I was frantically looking for when i was supposed to participate in my Audio class for school, damn kid!). I found 1/2 package of cookies, a half eaten package of Ichiban noodles, and some molding banana bread that my step mother gave him. I found three unopened containers of applesauce.
But...the "big" find was in a gift bag under his bed. I found a sparkly blue gift bag (that I recall my mother giving him his birthday gift in)...except, it was devoid of any birthday gift. Instead it had all variety of condoms...ribbed, thin, sensitive...uh...can't recall the rest. Now...on one hand, this scares the crap out of me....and you do that silent prayer that I think any parent of a teen in such angst seems to say "please, don't let them be having sex!!!" On the other hand, I'm thinking....well, if he is, at least it's safe.
This is not a dilemma that I want to be in.
The great room clean went on, if a little more cautious about the things that we'd find. In the end, we had 4 large garbage bags of garbage, 2 recycle bags, and 1 large bag full of old clothes. His room is now stripped of it's posters and memorabilia, he'll get it back when he deserves it.
He came home not long after we'd finished hauling the last of the bags to the trash. He was shocked, but knew he deserved it.
Truth is, if he acts up again, I don't know what to do next! There are no more tricks up these sleeves!!
Mar 26, 2009
Let me say this - DO NOT GIVE UP.
Teenagers are a finicky bunch. Too old to be a child, but too young to be an adult. They are stuck in a life of awkwardness, misunderstandings and backstabbing. They turn on one another as quickly as they turn their backs on you. As a parent, you are the ultimate "uncool" thing around.
Here's a newsflash for all you teens out there (or, at least my Stepson and future teens)....I am not here to be your friend. Moreover, I do not care if you think I'm cool.
It surprises me the number of people who want to be friends with their kids. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I don't want to be on friendly terms with my kids, that's far from it. I want my kids to trust me, I'd like for them to confide in me, but they also have to know that I am their mother. You'd better believe that I'll give them hell if they deserve it. I will embarrass, I will punish, I will take away privileges -- and I will not be ashamed to do so.
The thing is, they are looking for love and acceptance, and as a parent, that's the best we can give -- however, this love and acceptance that they're seeking isn't from us. This, I think, is another mistake that many parents make. Believe me when I say that I love and accept my step son. The kid has sure given me a hard time, but I still love him! The point is, they are looking for this love and acceptance from their peers....even the popular kids are worried about it. We all went through teenage-hood...why are we so quick to forget??
I guess that what I'm saying is don't let your kids drag you down. Pick your fights...let some of their moodiness pass as if it didn't even exist. They will eventually out grow it.
In saving the best for last, this is a tidbit of one of the messages that I got in the last 24 hours...boy, did this ever resonate with me: "Try to keep in mind that the person they are at this age usually has nothing in common with the adult they will become!"
Mar 25, 2009
First, I had a baby (I think I may have posted that)....he's a year old now. So, I am now the mother to 4. These children include a 16 yr old step son (the reason for this post), an 8 yr old daughter, a 5 yr old son, and the 1 yr old baby. Sometimes I wonder about myself!
Anyhow, as if having a baby and running an in-home daycare wasn't enough of a challenge, I also decided to register for school (again, another possible blog post there!). I'm now in Red Deer College studying for my Early Learning and Child Care Diploma. I'm about 6 months into a 4 year course. Again...sometimes I wonder about myself.
Anyhow...onto the reason for this post. My step son and I have had a rocky relationship from the start. We are both Scorpios, and though, in my faith we are not supposed to believe in these things....each of us has the traits of a Scorpio....stubborn, quick temper, and a long, long memory! Not necessarily the best thing when the two of us are put together. We tend to either get along really well...or tolerate each other for the sake of the rest of the family.
Well, he's now reached the ripe old age of 16...you know, the age when they know everything?!? Well, apparently he's so brilliant, that he no longer needs to attend the first period in school. That's right, the kid who never had to try to get good marks in math, figured he could continue to slide and continue to breeze through the class.
Yes, we hassled him. Yes, we tried everything....spraying him with water (sounds bad, but it woke him up), Taking the phone away, setting an alarm and hiding it in his room.....all of these things and many more....and none of them worked. Wait, let me rephrase that. They worked....he would wake up....he just wouldn't go to class.
Then, when we'd ask "why weren't you at school on time?"...the wonderful reply that we'd receive was, "I was at school, I just didn't go to class." *insert the patience of Moses here*
By this time, I have given up. I decided that it wasn't worth the stress and the effort. I'd talked to him, I'd tried to reason with him, I'd tried to be his friend, I'd tried being a female dog about it.....nothing worked. I decided it's for his mother and father to work out, and I would just keep my mouth shut and my opinions to myself (and, if you know me, keeping opinions to myself is not an easy task!!).
Well....it all came to a head this week. Schools are much more savvy than they were when I went.....they now send report cards to the parents via e-mail in a PDF file. Fabulous. We got his report card on Monday....the class which he's been "too smart" to attend he got an average of 21%. No, that is not a typo. My stepson...the one who regularly got in the 80% has a whopping 21% average in math. Needless to say, we weren't impressed. However, I stuck to my promise to keep it zipped. And I did.
The next morning, when it was blatantly obvious that he would be late again, hubby get's serious. This usually means shouting that leads to nothing but resentment. This, however, was a different case. Instead of going and shouting, he went to the tool room and grabbed a drill. He took the room darkening shades off of step son's window. Then, he got a hammer, and proceeded to take the door off it's hinges. The whole time, he did not say one word.
"What about my privacy?!" shrieks step son.
Hubby turns around and says "You'll have privacy when your marks are acceptable" and walked away.
Step son got ready and left for school....brooding the whole way. But, guess what?? Today, he was out of the door on time.