Saturday, 25 February 2012

She’s Picky

Things have to be so perfect, or else she cannot work it
She’s hard to please, can’t take her ease
She’s Picky, Picky, Picky – Here we go!
Chorus: (x2)
She’s Picky ‘bout everything, ‘bout everything
She’ll drive you nuts, she’s picky
Picky, picky, picky, picky
She has to eat organic, she wants to save the planet
Don’t smoke or drink, she won’t wear mink
Her skin she will not tan it.
Her house must be the cleanest, her kids must be the keenest
They must be smart, better not fart
Or else she’ll be the meanest
Chorus (x2)

We all know her.  The crazy lady at the playground who practically bathes her kids in hand sanitizer if they so much as look at the monkey bars.  The only women not wearing sweatpants at Mommy Group who looks like she is about to have a heart attack when you mention stopping at McDonald’s on the way home.  The mother of the kids wearing matching Hugo Boss outfits at the mall.  Whatever form she takes, she is often recognizable by the vein bulging in her forehead, the beads of sweat gathering at her temples and the fake grin plastered on her face.  I should know – I am her.
Yes, I Wendy, Mommy-blogger extraordinaire, am a self-proclaimed Picker.   I must do everything perfectly, to the best of my abilities, be better than everyone else and do so in full makeup.  You think it is annoying to be in the presence of Miss. Picky for all of an hour at your library’s story hour?  Try being her – it is no piece of low-fat organic sugar reduced gluten-free cake, I’ll tell you that!
While spending my days trying to keep my two year old clean is a struggle, and spending my nights planning nutritious meals that my kids will actually eat has taken its toll on my sex life, my biggest challenge so far has been preschool.  As a teacher myself, I have very high standards for my children’s education yet I am loath to part with my appendages to pay for it. 
After our recent move back to the Real World, I discovered that the Real World has a distinct lack of pre-schooling options.  Back in Neverland, there was an over-abundance of preschools.  There were so many preschools, and so many kids went to preschool from the age of 2 onward that I felt that my kids would be missing something if they weren’t in preschool too.  However, back in the Real World, I have found only two preschools within a 20km radius and let’s just say I would have to invest in a wheelchair to move my legless-ass around if I were to send my kids there. 
So after gaining a new clump of gray hair I decided that if you can’t send ‘em, teach ‘em.  Hell, I am a certified teacher after all – if I can’t teach my own kids a thing or two what was the point of those not-yet-paid-off student loans? 
At first I wasn’t sure I would have the discipline necessary to go through with it.  An hour a day of structured learning time, planned, prepared and executed by me?  Most days it is a struggle to get my kids to get dressed and eat breakfast.  But by using a great curriculum I found online (, stealing elements from Prince’s Neverland preschool, and cutting out two hours of sleep a night I have managed to get a great system established and have kept it going for a whole month now!  Ok, so I have to start dying my hair now, but that is a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.
Here is a quick overview of my mommy-preschool set up:
Learning circle time:  Sing welcome song.  Talk about topic to be learned that day.  Play game related to topic (scavenger game, matching game, puzzles). 
Craft time:  Do a craft related to topic.  I try to alternate types of crafts to work on different skills like coloring, gluing, cutting, etc..
Final circle time:  Come back from craft table, do a dance to a children’s song related to the topic of the day to work on gross motor skills.  Have story time.  Sing goodbye song.
From this foray into schooling I have learned several things:  1) My kids really enjoy structure.  They look forward to school every day and it is during that time that we have the least disciplinary issues because they know what to expect.  I also enjoy playing school but only because I am an insufferable know-it-all and relish the opportunity to share my knowledge with others.   2) Preparing kids crafts is time consuming and dangerous.  Warning:  if you are going to make a matching game of capital and lowercase letters don’t use permanent markers, as inhaling the fumes for the 3 hours it will take to draw out the necessary 52 letters will destroy so many brain cells that you will have to get out a calculator to determine how many capital and lowercase letters there are altogether.  3)  There are good reasons preschools are so damn expensive – kids really do eat the damn glue and go through the rest of the art supplies like Charlie Sheen goes through hookers. 
Unfortunately, this experience has not helped me to be less picky – if anything, now I feel more pressure to be perfect as my performance will directly shape my kids perception of education, not to mention their intellect for years to come.  But who knows?  I could get fed up with the sleep deprivation and nursery rhymes and throw in the towel tomorrow, thereby making this at best a hazy memory laced with bad artwork that my kids will look back on in the future - if the marker fumes have not permanently damaged their long-term memory.  Or maybe Ellen will catch drift of my latest Mommy-mix and I will become famous, write Mommy-mixes for SNL and finally be able to afford a real preschool. 
Hey – even picky girls can dream!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Officially Banned

I probably should have seen it coming.  What with getting banned from Boston Pizza, Tim Horton’s, and the Park, it should have been no surprise when I got banned from Neverland*.  Ok, so it’s not like I will be arrested at the border if I try to sneak back to visit, but due to circumstances beyond my control Edward, myself and the boys have been forced to leave Neverland, most likely for good.  
For once, however, my children’s copious amounts of poop and/or my own big mouth had nothing to do with us getting banned.  But being banned has been the reason for my prolonged absence from the blogosphere, for which I apologize.   But now that the boxes have been unpacked and the kids are firmly ensconced at grandma’s I have time to take a breath, nurse my moving- related bruises (that ironically resemble a map of Neverland), and reflect on some of the differences between Neverland and the Real World where I now find myself:
1.  There is a much higher percentage of crazy people in Neverland.
Fortune-obsessed pirates, jealous beauty-crazed mermaids and all the other party-loving natives make for an interesting social scene in Neverland.   And while this certainly made for some interesting blog posts, it also created a very competitive, cut-throat, hold-on-to-your-family-jewels type of atmosphere.  Which probably explains why I kept getting banned from places.  And which also probably explains why everyone there drives like they are in the Indy 500.  So my first week back in the Real World was quite a shock what with the Friendly-to-the-Point-of-Almost-Creepy strangers and the motorists who will literally stop traffic if a pedestrian so much as glances at the street – regardless of the fact that there’s no crosswalk anywhere in the vicinity.  However, I have recently discovered that the Real World has its own special brand of crazy people who, while not as rampant as those found in Neverland, are just as annoying.  Particularly, the Sunday Driver, which is found in abundance in the Real World, mainly due to the increased number of elderly people present, who insist of driving at least 20km/hour under the speed limit while gawking about and braking for no apparent reason at random intervals.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some.  At least I don’t have to wear an eye patch anymore. 
2.  The weather in the Real World sucks.
Since I have returned from Neverland I think I have seen the sun for a total of ten minutes.  And for some reason during the few moments the sun does deign to shine I am always driving uphill directly into said blazing inferno and am temporarily forced to squint, swear, randomly brake for no reason and peek through my fingers while driving 20km/hour under the speed limit in order to ensure I don’t hit one of the crazy pedestrians who jump out in front of you and expect you to lay on your brakes yet avoid being rear-ended at the same time.  During the other 1430 minutes in the day it is so damn foggy that you don’t have to worry about hitting anything with your car – the fog makes a nice soft barrier between you and whatever you run into.  What with this, and all the friendly people it’s kind of like driving around in Care-a-lot. 
3.  There is a distinct lack of Mommies. Maybe the fog creates a barrier that is stronger than any condom, or maybe it just makes everyone here too damn depressed to have sex, but as of yet I have not met any mommy-friends in the Real World.  Yes, I have amazing friends here who I missed dearly while I was away, but none have yet experienced the pleasure that is procreation.  All of which is leaving a big Alice-sized hole in my life.  Now I have no one to commiserate with after spending 3 hours sleep training my child.  My friends don’t understand why I get so excited when my child eats turnip (or rutabagas as those of you in Neverland call it).  So Alice, before Mommybrain renders me forgetful I require your advice on the following subjects:
 a)  When I find Simba asleep in the hallway at 4am do I move him and risk waking him up or do I let sleeping boys lie?
 b)  When asked ‘Can you say (Insert word of your choice here)?’, instead of repeating said word, my child will simply say “Yes.”  Is this a purposeful attempt to drive me crazy or is my child just too damn smart?
c)  Is it normal for a two-year-old to shit 15 times a day or should I be worried?
These are just a few of the topics I miss discussing with you – others include discussing what Thumper won’t eat this week, whose husband is more helpless and why breasts are annoying.  My point is, while I may have left Neverland I am now, and always will be, your neighbour in Mommyland.  So don’t think just because I am now residing in a different time zone that you have heard your last poop story from Wendy.  You are however off the hook from babysitting, which given our track record is probably a good thing.
Don’t worry - unlike my namesake, leaving Neverland and heading home will not be the end of our story.  It’s just one of the unexpected twists that will make it all the more interesting.
*In case you are new to our blog or have not yet visited our Dictionary or About us page, Neverland is our pseudonym for the major Canadian metropolis that I moved to not quite 2 years ago, met Alice in and have been living in until last month when I got officially banned.