Saturday, 22 February 2014

A Piece of Quiet

I spend all day listening for sounds. The sound of a crying baby that signals the end of naptime, the dull thud that tells me that my baby has not quite mastered the art of sitting up, or the pitter-patter of little feet that tells me one of my older boys are on their way to find me so I need to finish eating that double chocolate brownie super-quick. All these sounds and more require me to jump into action at a moment’s notice, stop whatever I am doing and come to the aid of my little angels. 

This listening gets even more intense after bedtime. If you don't have children you may have some sitcom-induced fantasy that bedtime simply involves turning out the lights and saying "Goodnight sweetie," and exiting stage right. If you do have kids, then you know that bedtime often requires hanging upside down in a crib, enacting some twisted version of Cirque de Soleil in an attempt to put down your sleeping baby without them knowing, and then exiting the room in slow motion, without breathing, while avoiding squeaky floor boards and musical toys. And did I mention you have to do all of this in the pitch dark? So needless to say, once those kids are finally asleep you are on high alert for any noise that may disturb them.

Now I love my husband, I really do. But he is noisy. He walks noisily. He opens doors noisily, he even sleeps noisily. And he just doesn't get it. He doesn't get why it bothers me when he empties the dishwasher minutes after my Cirque de Soleil / 007 Super-Spy Mission Impossible adventure is complete. He doesn't get why I insist on not latching our bedroom door at night because it makes too much noise when it is opened. And he certainly doesn't get why I love silence so much.

But for me, silence means that my children are safe. Silence means that everyone is feed, healthy, and comfortable. Silence means that I can finally enjoy (rather than inhale) that double fudge brownie. And most importantly, that end-of-the-day silence, to me, means that I am doing my job as a mom right.

When you are a mom, there are no compensation packages, no job evaluations, no bonuses or vacations to reward your hard work, so you are constantly trying to figure out if you are doing a good enough job. It is in the silent moments that you come to realize that while you may not be perfect, you are good enough.  You may not always be able to keep them safe and happy, but they are safe and happy now, and that is something to be proud of.

So to all the husbands/friends/parents/telemarketers and door-to-door sales people that I may have offended over the past six years, I promise that I was not screening your calls, I simply had my ringer turned off.  And that sign on the door that says “Shhh!” was not put there for anyone in particular but just as a general reminder.  I don’t need peace and quiet all the time; I just want a piece of quiet once in a while. 

That, and a good double fudge brownie. 


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Things I Love About Being a Mom

What’s not to love about being a mom?  Ok, so those diapers can be pretty nasty and I don’t get to spend as much time in my bed as I would like, but what is that compared to unlimited cuddling, sticky baby kisses and mommy parking spaces?  I rest my case.  Plus, as mom’s we even have our own holiday!  How cool is that? 

In honor of this upcoming celebration of our fertility I thought I would share with you some of the less obvious benefits of motherhood.  While the awesomeness of new baby smell and advanced boarding on airplanes are fairly highly celebrated mom-bonuses, there are other advantages of being a mom that are often overlooked. So as you plan out your menu for breakfast in bed and try to find space in your scrapbooks for the kiddie art work you are sure to be receiving shortly, take a moment to reflect on these, and all the other, awesome things about being a mom:

Once in a while it is really nice to take a break from being an adult and just act like a kid.  You know, forget about your credit card bill and play on the swings at the park.  Screw the grass stains and just roll down the hill.  Leave the dirty dishes on the table and go play hide and seek.  Yet if you don’t have kids and do these things on your own, people think you are crazy.  So how awesome is it that, as a mom you have carte blanche to act like a kid whenever the mood strikes you?   Suddenly amusement parks become much more fun, at Halloween you have an excuse to dress up and trick or treat again, and at parades you get to pick up the candy thrown your way (for your kid of course).  It’s the best of both worlds – all the fun of being a kid without the early bed time.  Being a mom rocks!

Being a mom is like taking a crash course in, well, everything.  From learning new languages (baby talk counts as a language right?) to learning how to get a ketchup stain out of white carpet, everyday is an adventure.  Our kids constantly challenge us to be the best we can be, whether they are trying our patience by taking 40 minutes to eat their dinner, or teaching us generosity by asking us to share the last brownie.  But above all they teach us what love really is – getting up at 3am to sooth a crying baby when you only went to sleep at 1:30, spending 3 hours searching for a missing blankie without complaint, and holding someone’s hand while they have a poop.  This is my favourite part of being a mom – no, not the holding hand while they poop part – the part where our kids teach us what love really is.  It is through being a mom that I have learned to be more compassionate, more patient, and more kind then I ever knew I could be.  That, and I learned that I am a halfway decent blog writer.  Who knew?
From the moment your belly starts announcing to the world that you are preggers you automatically become a part of this amazing network of moms.  No matter where you are or what you are doing, other moms will have your back.  Have a cranky baby on an airplane?  The mom behind you plays peek-a-boo with your little one to try and help out.  Waiting longer than expected at the doctor’s office?  A fellow mom shares her snack of goldfish crackers and apple slices to keep your little one happy.  Bored with watching your kid go up and down the same slide five million times at the park?  Strike up a conversation with a fellow mom about the best time to start potty training and you have a new best friend.  My point is, as a mom you are never alone.  Not because you have a two year old permanently attached to your hip, but because there are millions of other moms out there going through exactly the same thing as you.  Ok, maybe not exactly, but pretty close.  We are all in this together ladies, so when you see me give you the smile-with-a-head-nod in the parking lot of the grocery store when you are wheeling out your load of groceries in ridiculous car-shaped shopping cart, know that I am saying “I know what you are going through – stay strong, and be proud because you are a mom, and moms rule!”


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Keep Your Nuts to Yourself

I love nuts.  I mean I love to eat nuts.  They’re yummy and salty.   Ok, that doesn’t sound right either.  Let me start over.  There is nothing wrong with a good peanut.  Nothing that is, except for the fact that their mere presence can send many a kid into anaphylactic shock – my son included, apparently.

At a recent birthday party, Prince was given his first Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  How is it possible that my kid was able to reach the age of 3 without having one of these?  Well, the kid is smart.  Anytime he was offered peanut butter in the past he always told me that he didn’t like it.  I certainly never forced the issue and hence, we arrive at a birthday party where all the other kids are eating these yummy-looking treats and Prince decided to try one.  Before he even finished biting into it he was gagging and coughing and tuning red.  I quickly took it away from him and get him some water but the coughing went on long enough to force an early exit from the party.

In a nutshell, while he did recover that day without intervention (thankfully he hadn’t ingested any of the candy – only bit into it) we decided to get him tested and, low and behold, he is severely allergic to peanuts and fairly allergic to tree nuts.  Awww, nuts is right.
At first I thought this was no big deal.  I had been eating peanut butter in the same house as him for years and he had been fine.  But after a long talk with the doctor and a large investment in EpiPens I began to get a little stressed out. 
Fact #1 – If we suspect Prince is having a reaction and administer the EpiPen we HAVE to call 911 immediately.  Not just proceed to your nearest hospital in an orderly fashion.  Call 911 and get a professional on the scene ASAP.   I thought that as long as you had an EpiPen handy you could just shove it in and get on with your day.  Apparently not.  Something about how the drug in the pen can affect heart rate or something.  Long story short, one un-read label can really screw up a Saturday.
Fact #2 – Nuts are everywhere!  They are in things you would never think of, like dried cranberries, ice cream, anything at a bakery or Tim Horton’s (so long Timbits!), rice crackers and almost everything made by Mr. Christie.  Nothing is safe anymore.  And forget about eating out.  What with the use of peanut oils in cooking and the fact that many chain restaurants just reheat food that was processed elsewhere it is impossible to know if the food is safe. 
Fact #3 – Apparently the more times Prince is exposed to nuts the stronger his reaction will be.  So although we managed to get through the birthday party incident relatively unscathed, the next time we will probably not be so lucky. 
All of these facts have combined to give me a new clump of gray hair.  While at the outset of this whole ordeal I thought that, since we had never had a problem before, we could just keep going on as per usual.  I was wrong.  Ignorance really was bliss.  Now that I know that there is even the slightest chance that eating an Oreo could harm my child (in ways other than childhood obesity that is) I can’t take that risk. 
Now I am the freaky lady at the park who has to rush her kids out of the playground because somebody else has let their two year old run around with a sticky PB & J sandwich smooched up in her tiny fist.   Previously I would have thought the same thing as you right now – what is the big deal?  It’s not like she’s going to try to force feed it to Prince.  But when Prince goes to climb the slide and gets peanut butter on his hands, which he proceeds to rub in his eye, which causes it to swell shut and requires a trip to the hospital, it is a big deal.  (This is a true story by the way, although it didn’t happen to Prince, thank goodness). 
So please people, keep your nuts to yourself.  There are plenty of other options out there for a quick snack that will not potentially incapacitate other children.  And please be patient with us parents of kids with allergies, no matter what kind of allergy they may have.  Knowing that there is some substance out there that is trying to hurt our kids makes us a little nutty, as I am sure you can imagine. 
So please, don’t make me go nuts.  Go nut-free.