December 2010


I’m so jealous of my folks, and happy for them.  They’re doing one of those 3 month, get-in-the-camper-and-go trips that only retired folks can do.  Or i guess the independantly wealthy but i’m even less familiar with that lifestyle. 

First they’re going to head down the west coast of the States looking for sun and warmth.  Here’s what my Dad said:

Dad: and then when we’re in Southern California I want to go to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Seaworld and all those places.  Just to see them. That’ll be so fun.

I’m thinking – wow, when i grow up i want to be half as fun as my 70-something Dad …..

I heard a great story the other day.  A friend of a friend had always wanted kids.  When she dated it was always about finding a mate and a good Dad for her kids because a family was numero uno on her bucket list.

So she finally finds the right dude.  And they try to have a family and it doesn’t work.  So she goes through long difficult fertility treatments – no pregnancy.

Finally they adopt a little girl and now she’s three.  Her husband is 52 and has been diagnosed with MS.  It’s starting to afffect his mobility.

Last week my friend’s friend discovered she’s pregnant at 50.  She wasn’t using any fertility aids and she wasn’t using an birth control because she didn’t think she could get pregnant.  It just happened.  At 50.

Wow.  Oops Babies are a trip.  I know all about it.  I cried when I discovered I was pregnant with mine.  But I’m thrilled with him now.  Leo is the happiest kid to have ever graced my life.  I love him like crazy.  When he says good-bye to me and gives me that earnest look and opens and closes his chubby little hand I just want to grab him and eat him for lunch.  They grow on you like a bad fungus and then you can’t imagine life without them.

But the pregnancy part can be terrifying.  Even if you’ve planned it you have your moments of, “uh-oh what *exactly* have i done”.  Cause you don’t know.  And you haven’t met the kid.  And if you think you have babies all figured out and you’ll be in complete control, you’re *really* snowing yourself and your “uh-oh” moment will hit you later like a ton of bricks. 

But when it’s not planned?  Yikes.   So I felt for this woman who will likely be going through menopause when she’s teaching her child how to ride a bike.

I asked my friend how her friend is doing with the idea of an Oops Baby.  I understand she’s saying ‘bring it on’.  They’re over the moon.  Good for them.

Angus, who’s six, turned to me and said this:

Angus:  Mom, the teacher brought a rainbow fish into class

Me: Wow a fish, what was it like?

Angus: It was gooey and it looked like this (he makes his eyes wide and his mouth into a little “o”)

Me: You look just like a fish – where did it come from?

Angus: The ocean Mom.  All fish come from the ocean, you should know that.

A rough looking dude panhandling on Spring Garden Road this morning said this:

“Merry Christmas.

God loves me even if you don’t!

Weird eh?”

I’m someone who has rules.  Once i decide that things need to be done a certain way, from the great teacher of experience or just my own head, then it would take a freight train to get me off that track. 

So for example, running in the a.m. with an empty stomach is simply the best way to do it.  Morning, because if i wait it never seems to happen.  And I’m not really sure where the empty stomach came from.  I guess i assumed if I’d just eaten and then ran i’d explode or projectile vomit on the sidewalk.  Not the best way right?

The other Sunday morning was my sleep-in day. That’s the day where i get to lie spread eagle, alone in bed and maybe sleep, or maybe just listen to the noises of morning with two kids where I don’t need to do anything.  Absolute bliss.

By the time i got up Honeybunny was hungry, so was I and my awesome man was frying up some chicken bacon.  I’ve gotten sick of the fat in real bacon so we’re working our way around other options to find the best.  Chicken bacon isn’t so bad as long as you don’t overcook it. 

Honeybunny likes to do a Sunday fry-up and I like to participate but there was one problem – I was planning on taking advantage of the beautiful weather and get outside for a run.  Eating would break half of rule #1 of running!

But i’m trying to not be so rigid these days.  I’m trying to not need things to be a certain way.  I want to try the other ways too.  So I decided – I’m eating my fry-up and then i’m going for a run.  What’s the worst that can happen? 

Sure there’s the projectile thing, but hey, if my happy fry-up belly is bothered by the running i’ll walk for a bit.  I run for my mental health these days so it’ll still be a good one. I believe these days that the only bad run is the one I *don’t do*.

So i had Ezekiel bread toasted and an egg and a couple strips of chicken bacon.  I got dressed, tracked down my ipod, a hat, my shades, my sneaks.  I changed a diaper.  I found the door.  I ran hills for a half hour and came back bursting with with feel-good endorphins. 

Do you know that the Japanese believe that being in the woods allows you to breath the chemicals that the trees produce to save them from bugs and rot?  It’s supposed to improve your mental and physical health.   Maybe that’s another reason I always feel good after being outside.  They call walking in the woods “forest bathing”. 

The bottom line was that I felt fine during my run.  There was no sign of my breakfast anywhere.  Another rule successfully tested and broken.

Yesterday it rained.  We were cooped up in the house and by the afternoon we had started to get on each others nerves.  What does the classic story say?  “All we could do was sit sit sit and we did not like, not one little bit.”

And then the rain stopped and the sun peaked out. Honeybunny’s nerves were frayed with the kids.  And I only noticed because mine were too and i said, “we’re going outside kids!  Get your stuff on! Let’s go!”

I told Angus that we needed to teach Leo how to jump in puddles, because Angus is 6 and he’s very experienced with these things.  Leo is 1 and 1/2 and has only been walking for a couple months.  He needs initiation into the all-important club of puddle jumpers.  So we walked up to the park and found some great practice puddles. 

And then we found The Mother Of All Puddles.  It was actually a small lake that had formed in the ball diamond.  It was only 3 inches deep at the most but it went on forever.  The pitchers mound was a little oasis in the middle and the puddle went right out to 2nd and 3rd base. 

The kids had found their nirvana of wetitude.

Leo walked through it clapping his hands and laughing.  And then he’d also trip in some mud and fall to his knees.  I’d help him up and he’d continue on, mud dripping off his bum.   He thought it was the best thing ever.  He even got a splash of mud on his nose.

I walked in the puddle trying out my new rain boots.  They worked just fine.

Angus ran through the puddle as fast as he could making big sprays of water.

I snuck peeks at how the sun was turning the edges of the clouds a deep pink as it became dusk.

We played until I could hear the boy’s boots making squishing sounds when they walked.

My neighbour’s daughter walked by pushing her 9 month old son in the stroller.  She couldn’t stop staring at us.  I’ve never talked to her but said hi because the staring was getting embarassing.  I have no idea what she was thinking but my feeling was that it was something like, “What are they doing?? You will NEVER catch me playing in the mud with my son.”

I figured that was her thought process because it’s probably what I would have thought when my first child was still small and got all his yah-yahs out by looking deeply and lovingly into my eyes.

I can relate to all-or-nothing-thinking.  And I’ve gotten to the point where i can hear myself say it, and pretty much go “uh-oh”, what now.  I can count on the fact that my NEVER or ALWAYS proclamations will get messed with sooner than I can say “life happens”. 

It’s like the Universe just conspires to make me go, yeah ok, look at that, it DOES make total sense to play with your kids in the mud rather than stay at home and kill each other.

I get reminded all the time that I don’t need to be rigid and set in my ways about things.  Because I still am about lots of things. Parenting is the best good intention killer there is. 

As it is for most.  A friend of mine said that walking on a warm day in the park before kids, if she saw a kid in a stroller without shoes she assumed that the parents didn’t have shoes for their child.  Like maybe they couldn’t afford them.  She said that when she had a kid her child was ALWAYS going to wear shoes. 

Now that she has a child she realizes her kid lives to remove her shoes.  Her wee little purpose in her wee little life is to get those things off her feet.  And if that happens in the stroller the shoes will get lost.  Mom will instantly become one of the parents who doesn’t have shoes for her kids.  So now on warm days her kid goes shoeless.  Just like those other kids. So much for ALWAYS.

I wanted to share with my neighbour’s daughter that she may not think playing in puddles is a good idea.  But her testeroned little boy sure will after a long rainy day.  Kids live for it.  It’s the cheapest entertainment around.  You can do it anywhere. And that’s why god created washers and driers.  But if she’s lucky she’ll figure it out on her own.