Saturday, 30 April 2011

T.V. Is Slowly Going Crazy...1,2,3,4,5,6, Switch

What is it with all the crazy people on T.V?  Lately I can’t escape from Mommyland into T.V land without seeing somebody acting like an imbecile.  Don’t I already have to put up with enough of that from the employees at my cell phone provider, the baristas at Starbucks and the members of our government, without having to watch it on TV too?  From Wipeout to Survivor, Jersey Shore to the Real Housewives, Celebrity Apprentice to Dancing with the Stars (and let’s not even touch Two and a Half Men), I am pretty sure there are not any sane people left on T.V anymore – at least not in primetime.
When was it decided that crazy was in?  Was it after Britney lost her marbles and her baby daddy but got more attention than a house on fire?  Or was it a result of the writer’s strike in a Hollywood a few years back, when networks realized that sometimes reality is crazier than fiction, and hey, reality is cheaper?  I remember when I was a kid primetime TV consisted of family sitcoms like Full House, Growing Pains, Family Matters (“Did I do that???”) and the Cosby Show, and the only ‘reality’ show on was the News.   Now the only network primetime show that I could even think of watching with my kids is Dancing with the Stars, and they are only one wardrobe malfunction away from an R rating.
Let’s look at a few examples of the crazy people on TV right now:

‘Real’ Housewives:  First of all, I am amazed that they can get away with calling the people on this show ‘real.’  I am a REAL housewife - the kind who wears their pyjamas all day,  has perma-bags under her eyes, and who lies on the floor and lets their kids jump on them just so she has an excuse to lie down.   I know a lot of housewives, but none of them are former porn stars or bring bodyguards with guns to girls night.  Where do they find these people?  Ok, so watching this is probably more entertaining than watching me try to wrestle my one year old into a onesie, but could they not change the name?  I mean, it’s kind of false advertising to call these chicks ‘real’, in any sense of the word.  I think something like ‘The Effed Up Crazy Ladies of Wherever who have Way Too Much Time and Money on Their Hands’ would be more appropriate.  At least then I wouldn’t feel as if I was the one who, as a so-called housewife, am doing something wrong if I don’t start drinking at noon and get fake boobies.

Jersey Shore:  The fact that in Jersey they were able to find a girl with hair taller than she is and a guy named after his own abs pretty much explains why there needed to be a show made about this place.  Obviously there is a higher concentration of crazy there than on average.  But seriously, how long can you watch the same people drink, fight and swap bodily fluids?  You know what I would really like to see – A Jersey Shore reunion about 40 years from now (if the cast doesn’t die out from alcohol poisoning or venereal disease before then).   Couldn’t you just see it – The Jersey Shore Retirement Complex; Snooki threatening to attack some blue-haired old lady with her walker for switching her pain pills with laxatives?  Just please don’t let the show stay on the air long enough for us to see them make the transition to that.  Please.
Celebrity Apprentice:  While I admit that the original apprentice had some merit to the show, the celebrity version is just another grab at the crazy ratings.  People no longer watch to see people brandishing their awesome business skills, or even to see people crash, burn and be fired.  Instead people are totally tuning in to see what Gary Busey’s next weird acronym will be.  Honestly, since he’s been fired I haven’t watched it anymore.  Not enough crazy.
Survivor:  Again, this show originally started out reasonably sane.  Okay, so stranding yourself on a desert island and eating bugs for a chance at a million isn’t the most normal thing to do, but there was a purpose and it was an interesting social experiment.  Now that we are on season 476, it is beginning to get old.  So now they too are bringing in the crazy.  Has anyone seen this Phillip dude?  He has totally admitted that he is purposely trying to act crazy as part of his strategy.  This guy is smart.  He knows as long as he is playing the crazy card people will want to keep him around.  He knows people crave the crazy.  But I am still rooting for Boston Rob. 
Wipeout:  I don’t even know how they find the contestants for this show.  Is there an ad somewhere asking:  ‘Have you always dreamed of going on TV and acting like a douchbag?  Do you yearn to have the crap beat out of you by oversized machines?  Then apply for our show.’  I just don’t get it.  Not even for a million would I do that. 
Personally, I have had enough of the crazies.  If this trend doesn’t start to change soon I can tell you right now what the next hit show will be.  It will be called “Who’s not crazy?”  They will put some normal people in with the patients of a psyche ward and America will have to vote out the sane ones .  Then they will come out with the celebrity version with Charlie Sheen and Gary Busey.  That I might actually have to watch.  Could you imagine a conversation between those two? 
                Charlie:  “I got Tiger Blood man.”
                Gary:  “Me too – It stands for The Itchy Giant Erection Reoccurring Because Of Our Dykes.”
Hopefully, it will not come to that.  If any TV producers happen to be reading this, please, I beg you, bring back the good old family sitcom.  Even if it is only in reruns.  Because remember, you are what you watch and I for one am already too close to crazy.  I am still running on 4 hours sleep, and I am so desperate for companionship that I actually attempt to have rational conversations with a three and one year old each day.  Hey – maybe I could get my own show!  Nah – although the world is cravin’ the crazies right now, it still isn’t ready for that yet; I would probably make Kate Gosselin look sane. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

It's Not ALL Bad

If I didn’t have a kid and had been reading our blog so far, I probably would have sent my husband out to be neutered by now.  So far you have read about Biting, Sucker Punches, Picky Eaters, potty training horror stories and babysitting disasters, just to name a few.  Despite all this evidence to the contrary, being a mom is not all drama and catastrophe.  There are good parts too. 
Let’s start at the beginning.  You survived nine months of pregnancy and too many hours of labour.   You have your baby in your arms, so cuddly and warm – and smelly.  I mean this in a good way for once.  Yes, babies in general smell nice –but that is not what I am talking about.  I don’t know what it is about your own child, but there is something about the way they smell that releases the same endorphins as sex and chocolate.  Just smelling them is orgasmic.  Okay, maybe not the second they come out of you, but give them a bath and start smelling.  
If you don’t have kids you may think I am crazy, but next time you are around a mom and baby just watch.  I bet you ten bucks you will catch the mom smelling their baby’s head.  It will be subtle – they won’t be sniffing like a coke addict -but if you watch closely you’ll see them nod their heads down in what appears to be a kiss on their baby’s head.  It is really a sniff, I promise you.  For some reason it only works with your own child though.  Please don’t go around trying to smell someone else’s baby because (a) it’s kinda creepy and (b) it’s not the same anyway.  I am not sure how long it lasts exactly, but I can tell you that at three years old I still love to smell Prince.  Okay, that does sound kind of weird, but just trust me on this one. 
Another simple pleasure for moms happens when their child is asleep.  It is often said that the best kind of baby to have is a sleeping one.  Not just because when they are sleeping they aren’t crying, trying to eat cat litter or shove pointy objects in the electrical outlets.  There is something about watching a kid sleep that just fills you with love and makes you forget all the annoying things they do when they are awake – plus it is the best time to smell them. 
At the end of a long day, you finally manage to rock your little one to sleep, and what do you do?  Plop them in the crib and go have a quicky with your significant other?  Nope.  Even though your kid is sound asleep and you are running on less sleep then a monkey on Red Bull you choose to sit in that chair and rock (and smell) your baby just a little longer.  Ok, sometimes it is because you are scared that the moment you put them down they are going to scream like they just won Oprah’s favourite things, but mostly it is because they are so adorable that it actually causes you physical pain to let them go.  And when they get older it gets worse.  The more mobile they become the less cuddles you get, so you have to steal them when they are sleeping.  Then, when they wake up at 3am and find you in their bed, they expect you to always sleep with them.  Next thing you know you are writing a blog post about how Karma bit you in the ass.  But damn, those cuddles are worth it.  
I am sure that at some point I am not going to be able to cuddle or smell my sons anymore without incurring some serious future therapy bills for them, but there are many other moments that make being a mom special.  It starts when they say ‘mama’ for the first time – and you better hope you are not in public when that happens, because if you are you will start crying and freaking out complete strangers by yelling things like ‘Did you hear that?  He said I’m his mama!’  To which people will reply ‘ok, sure thing lady’ while they are subtly dialling Child Services on their cell.  And it only gets better.    Soon they start saying I love you (although it sounds more like “by wube boo” ).  Then they turn into little Jerry Seinfeld’s, providing the comic relief in your life by pointing out all the obvious funny crap you often miss.  Like the other day at the grocery store, about five minutes after I took Prince to the potty he says “Mommy, you forgot to button my pants” and I look down to see his pants down around his ankles.  I was giggling all the way to the check out. 
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the good things about being a mom.  There are millions of little moments sprinkled through our days that, if we take time to look at them, will give us the strength and inspiration to be the best mom’s we can possibly be.  Too often we focus on the drama in our lives and we forget to enjoy the small things.   While you are still going to hear about the bad and the ugly on our blog (cause let’s face it, it’s funnier), I will try to make sure to sprinkle in some of the good stuff once in a while too.  I don’t want any men getting neutered on my account.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Please Excuse Me As I Climb Up On My Soapbox...

There is no job that gets less respect than that of a stay at home mom (SAHM).  And yes, I would like to point out that being a SAHM is a job, although many people don’t even consider it that.  Sometime in the 50’s a stereotype of the SAHM emerged, labelling us as perfect little housewives who sit at home watching soaps and eating bonbon’s all day.  I have been a SAHM for 3 years now and not only do I not watch T.V of any kind during the day (except maybe Sesame Street), I can guarantee you that I hardly ever sit.
In reality, SAHM’s actually work 24/7, 365 days a year, around the clock with no vacations.  We have to not only teach kids their ABC’s and manners, but nurse them back to health when they get sick, wipe their behinds, and convince them to eat something that isn’t crap.  We spend our days desperately trying to get rid of the dirty dishes that keep magically appearing, although we swear we just finished cleaning them.  We have to play peek-a-boo for 45 minutes straight and act like we actually enjoy it.  And we often have to put aside our own dreams – and paycheques – to do it.
Now it seems to me a tad bit ridiculous that society is willing to pay daycare workers to look after other people’s kids but is unwilling to pay mothers to stay home and look after their own kids.  Do they think it is so much more pleasurable to take care of children when they’re your own that people should do it for free?   Is my time worth nothing? I am putting in more hours than Mark Zuckerburg and Bill Gates combined, yet I have nothing to show for it other than puke stained clothes and a garage full of dirty diapers.  And while being a SAHM does offer the perk of getting to spend more time with your child, it can be very frustrating in that you don’t get to interact with other adults – spending all your time conversing with a three year old would make anyone a little loopy. You also can’t easily see the result of all the hard work you do – it often feels like you are starring in your own Mommyland version of Groundhog Day, doing the same thing every day, over and over again, to no avail.    
Every other job offers compensation of some sort for a job well done.  Even Nuns have their food, shelter and clothes provided for them.  Yet SAHM’s are just supposed to be satisfied with seeing their kids grow up well – that, apparently should be enough.  This is bullshit.   I would like to see the day when doctors are willing to work just for the sheer joy of seeing their patients be healthy.  It seems obvious to me that SAHM’s provide better care for their children than a daycare provider.  They are better able to discipline their kids (in most cases) and being home with them creates a stronger bond between parent and child that can last throughout life.  So why not encourage mothers to stay home and raise their own children by offering a cash incentive instead of penalizing those who choose to do so? 
I’ll tell you why – because we have allowed it to be this way.  Yes, women’s rights have come a long way, but one thing that has been overlooked is compensation for raising productive, intelligent members of society.  Farmers get paid for growing and producing good food, we should be paid for growing and producing good people.   But the only way we are ever going to be heard is if we speak up.
Here in Canada we are in the middle of an election, and I am constantly seeing ads and hearing candidates state the importance of the Canadian family.  Well, if this truly is the case, I would love to see someone come up with a strategy to support those of us who work every day in the Canadian family.  That would get my vote.
But since I really don’t see that happening anytime soon, for now I would be satisfied if, when I tell people that I am a SAHM, they would refrain from snickering and saying things like “Yeah, but what did you used to do for an actual job?”  Why does that matter?  I am a SAHM now, and proud of it, and if you have a problem with that you can kiss my tired, peek-a-boo playing arse. 
Thank you.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.  Schewp-THUD! Damnit, who left the dinky cars on the floor right by my soapbox??  PRINCE!!!!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Karma's a Bitch

When I was a kid I hated going to bed.  From the age of two, my poor parents had to put up with me coming into their room in the middle of the night and begging to get into bed with them.  This continued until the age of seven, and probably explains why I have no siblings.   Don’t get me wrong, my parents did try to make me stop.  My mom tried sitting outside my door until I fell asleep, taking me back to my room after I woke them up and finally, as a last resort, locking their bedroom door to keep me from coming in.  It truly shows my tenacious nature that, after being locked from the room I proceeded to sleep in the hallway outside their door rather than go back to my bed. 
Fast forward twenty-odd years and now I have a three-year-old who, for the past fortnight has been coming in to my room at night and waking me up (never his father – apparently my husband didn’t wake up his parents as a kid).  Somehow Prince knows exactly the moment when I have fallen asleep and started my hot vampire dream (you know the one), and that is when he chooses to appear and say so innocently “I just wanted to see mommy.”  How can you get mad at that? How do I tell him he is not allowed to see mommy?  I can’t.  So I wave goodbye to my vampire dream and resign myself to a good hour of lost sleep as I take my child back to his room and try, in vain, to convince him to stay there.  Unfortunately, there is no lock on our bedroom door. 
To top it all off, Prince has also finally, much to my dismay, outgrown naptime.  So not only do I wake up in the morning as a sleep deprived zombie, I don’t even get a chance to catch up on my sleep during the day.  Needless to say, I am now buying Red Bull in bulk at Costco.   
There is a reason why the gorgeous princess in the story was called Sleeping Beauty.  Up-all-night, Hopped-up-on-Caffeine Beauty just doesn’t have the same ring to it.  Plus, in that case, she probably wouldn’t be all that pretty anymore, what with the twitch and the whole no-blinking thing.  Numerous sources tell us that lack of sleep is associated with weight gain, lowered immune function and decreased productivity.  Based on this, in a few more months I am going to be fat, sick and lazy.  Lucky me.  Just another perk of mommyhood I guess. 
Yet the real kick in the balls was when I turned on the T.V last week to find that Jennifer Lopez, mother of three year old twins, had been named Most Beautiful Women in the World.  That is just wrong.  Not that J.Lo isn’t gorgeous, because she is.  But that she is able to be that gorgeous while raising three-year-old twins is just crazy.  I am pretty sure moms of twins normally spend the first five years of their kid’s lives in sweatpants and a perma-ponytail.  She is obviously getting her eight hours of sleep, while I am living off of closer to five, and consider myself lucky if I remember to put on a bra every day.
So where does all of this leave me?  Well, I will continue to fight the good fight of trying to keep my kid in bed all night.  If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them (you can comment below).  If I don’t get some more sleep soon I might end up like Charlie Sheen – I’ll grow out my eyebrows and start making weird animal analogies:  “I got possum eyes, man.”  But on the bright side, I will be sleeping through American Idol from now on so I don’t have to watch that bitch J.Lo rub her well-rested, gorgeous ass in my face.   Plus there is always the hope that Prince will one day have a kid that keeps him awake all night.  Karma may be a bitch, but revenge is a bastard.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Sucker Punch

You are having a great day.  No one has pooped, peed or puked on you so far.  You have actually managed to put a dent in the mountain of dirty laundry and, miraculously there are no dirty dishes in the kitchen (visible).  You have a free hour of time before supper, so you figure why not get bath time done early? 
You wrangle the 1 and 3 year old upstairs, start running water for the bath, and go get the towels from the linen cupboard.  Then it happens.  It gets quiet.  Too quiet.  The hairs on the back of your neck start to rise.  You return to the bathroom to find the door closed – but you are sure you left it open.  You can hear the baby playing inside.  You try the knob.  Locked.  You look for the three year old and find him hiding behind the bed – guilty as charged.  Now panic sets in.  The baby is locked in the bathroom with the tub filing, you are pretty sure you neglected to secure the safety lock on the cabinet after setting out the shampoo, so your little one has access to numerable poisons.  And worst of all – this door has no key.  Your stomach is now officially trying to climb up your esophagus.  The cold sweat has arrived.   WHAT THE F**K DO I DO NOW!!???  You have just been Sucker Punched.
As mom’s, we often have the most gut-wrenching, mind-blowing, heart-wrenching, terrifyingly stressful situations thrown at us out of nowhere. I call this getting Sucker Punched.  No matter how much you try and prepare for all eventualities, your kids, and this crazy Mommyland we live in can always come up with something new to knock the crap out of you.  And somehow it always happens just when you think you got it all under control.  
Just last week I finally managed to arrange for a babysitter to watch my kids for me for an hour and not 20 minutes after I leave does my kid throw up on the babysitter (who was Alice by the way).  Then, when Alice is trying to put the baby to sleep, my puking three year old climbs on a chair to get a snack in the kitchen and falls off, hitting his head and resulting in my frantic return to nurse him back to health for the next four days. 
In nature it is said that when animals are faced with a stressful situation like this they have one of two possible reactions – Fight or Flight.  This evolutionary instinct is supposed to have passed on to humans as well.  However, I think us Mom’s only got the Fight part.  No matter how awful the situation, if our kids are involved we never run away or give up.  Yes, when things are calm, or if our husbands are around to watch the kids, we may occasionally ‘escape Mommyland’ to read a book or meet with friends but when our kids really need us, when that sucker punch arrives, we are ALWAYS there – we never run away. 
Eight days after my son was born, after one day of being home with him, I had my first experience with this.  Although I had only been a mom for a little over a week my Momstinct was already up and running.  I just knew something was off with my little one.  After taking his temperature and getting a high reading we took him back to the hospital we had so recently vacated.  While his temp ended up being fine, during the examination the doctors discovered another problem, and informed us that my new baby was going to need surgery.  I have never in my life been more devastated. 
Yet, while I admit to indulging in a lot of tears, I never gave up hope.  My husband and I began frantically researching the condition, evaluating options, rating hospitals, and doing anything we could think of to help our baby.  The hardest moment came when I had to hand my little three-month-old baby over to a nurse to take him to be cut him open.  But I would not let myself cry then because I did not want my son to be scared. 
My point is, us Mom’s are made of some tough stuff.  When life tries to knock the crap out of us, we don’t just lay down and take it – we fight back.   We fight for our kids because they deserve the best, whether that means we swallow our tears and find our courage for their sake or whether we cancel our plans to provide comfort and get puked on, we will do what we must.  So what do you do when the baby is locked in the bathroom?  Well, personally I (who had taken one too many kickboxing classes) decided the best course of action was to kick in the door.  So three kicks and one broken door later the baby was rescued, unharmed from the bathroom (though I had lost three years off my life).   But my point is, somehow you survive, you fight for your kids and make it through to be sucker punched again another day.