Category Archives: Parenting

Giving up the Crazy.

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It has been a crazy month.  Literally.  I have felt, at times, a bit crazy.  I am sure to others, namely my family, I have seemed more than a little crazy.  What, you ask, has made me so crazy?  The answer is simple, yet so complex.  The answer is…. me.  For as long as I can remember, I have been my biggest problem.  When I was a small child there was so much going on around me that I could not control.  The things that happened between my parents, the way that children bullied me so horribly- I could control none of it.  I think that somewhere along the way I decided that the only way to protect myself was to do whatever I could do to control what was going on around me.  I had no idea that in order to accomplish that I would sacrifice a lot of wonderful things along the way.  You see, I have always been so busy trying to control the people, places and things in my life, that I have missed out on so many of the little things that have been gifts along the way.   Now, I should clarify, that in no way is this a self-deprecating exercise during which I put myself down for being a few sandwiches short of a picnic.  In fact, it is intended to be quite the opposite.

I have come to truly understand in recent days how little control really serves me.  I have also come to see more and more how little it serves others around me.  The relationship that my sense of control has with my simply divine sense of fear, paralyzes me in a frightening way.  It also takes hostages.  Usually this includes most frequently, but is not limited to, my family.  Isn’t it a ridiculous notion that I fear that horrible things will happen, and so If I control them then surely it will all work out magically?  What is even more ridiculous is that I truly believe at times that this is the best solution.  The result, however, is exactly that which I am afraid of and attempting to prevent in the first place.

Here’s the good news.  If I am the problem, then I can be the solution.  This does not mean that I fix the problem.  After all it was my fear and control that got me into the mess to begin with.  It simply means that I can step aside and let the natural order of things transpire as they will, regardless of my attempt and failure to control them.  The results?  A Husband who wants to be around me, kids that have a happier mom and are happier as a result, and freedom.  Time…. just to enjoy each moment as it comes.  Control and Fear no longer serve me.  I am finally ready to see what my life might be like without them.  Today, I got a small taste of that freedom.

Dare I say, it was better than my Mom’s carrot cake.

Eatin’ Green and Lovin’ it!

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I have lived in Kitchener for almost three years.  When I first moved here, one of my favorite things was how close we were to St.Jacob’s Market.  It was exciting to me that if we so chose, we could purchase Ontario grown goodness in our own backyard. What I didn’t know about was The Kitchener Market.  Well boy oh boy, let me tell you… A-MAZ-ING!

I recently started eating a diet consisting of mostly raw foods.  I have been saying and have heard others say that it costs more money to eat healthy foods.   I will say “on the record” (although i’m not sure which record) that I discovered this to be very untrue yesterday. My hubby and I went to the market to see how far we could stretch 30 dollars.  I was, and still am, blown away at how much we got.

Here it is, just to illistrate the point to all of you guys and gals who may want to know just how much 30 bucks will actually get you.
2 bunches of organic Kale
1 bunch of organic beets
Organic carrots
3 pineapples
3 bunches of asparagus
1 large basket of peppers
1 basket of pears
1 basket of apples
15 tomatoes
15 mini zucchini
1 bunch of celery
4 cucumbers.

By the end of our shopping experience, our double stroller was packed with more than babies. I was also aware first hand of the benefits of supporting local farmers selling Ontario grown foods.  There were no “food like products” for sale at those tables.  Just wonderful, fresh, locally grown food.

It’s official. I want to be Mrs. Farmer Brown.

“Where do you want me to park now?”

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I am 30 years old and I am preparing for what most 16 and 17 year olds prepare for.  My G2 road test.  As to the reason why it has taken me so long to do it, a combination of anxiety and laziness have been the culprits.  Through my late teen years and early 20’s it was likely best that I not be entrusted to operate a hair straightener let alone a motor vehicle.  Now, as a mature mother of three and wife, I no longer wish to belong to the “bus pass of the month” club.  It’s time.

My attempts to become a capable driver began with our Nissan Versa about a year and a half ago.  The vehicle had been purchased a year or so prior and to my chagrin it was a manual transmission.  My wonderful husband took me around the block a few times and although I was able to get the hang of getting the car into first gear, the lesson ended in tears.  Wayne was encouraging, highlighting that I was able to get it into first which is great.  I decided though that the only thing first about it was that it was my first and last attempt at driving a standard car.  What can I say, other than I have no inner race car driver begging to get out.  I am an automatic-car-lovin’ girl.

As luck would have it, I got knocked up…. twice.  Therefore it became clear that we would not be able to fit all of our children in the vehicle, let alone double strollers and basic necessities.  So we were on the hunt for a van.  What we purchased was more than just an ordinary van.  It was written in the stars that it would soon become the mom mobile.  It was then that I decided I would take the plunge, face my fears, and get my driver’s license.  The mom mobile was crying out to be driven, and there was only one mom for the job.

Fast forward to today.  I am a capable driver in the opinion of my husband.  Parking is the next evil that I am overcoming one driving lesson at a time.  Now for those of you that know me (and even for those of you that don’t) you know that when I do things, I like to do them perfectly, or not at all.  Suffice it to say that as a result of this expectation of my ability to be perfect, I have not accomplished many things for one reason-that I have never attempted them to begin with.  I attempted to reverse park a few times and was obviously frustrated that I was not able to perfectly reverse park our Dodge Caravan.  It was only after Wayne said something to me that everything changed.  He looked at me with the look that he gives me that lets me know that he knows me better than I know myself most of the time.  He said, “You do not have to do this perfectly.”

After hearing what he said, I laid on my horn in the nearly empty parking lot and repeated out loud to myself those words, “I do not have to do this perfectly.”  It’s amazing how powerful a remedy those words were to my dilemma.  After having that moment to accept that I am not now, have never been and never will be perfect, I attempted the reverse park.  I nailed it.   Twice more and more success.  Parallel parked in downtown Kitchener on a busy Saturday afternoon at the park.  Success.  Gas station reverse park, check.  And the final test was reverse parking when I got home in the spot right next to my nemesis, the Nissan Versa.

I will tell you that the feeling that I felt when I got home was amazing.  To most, I am sure that it seems silly.  But the fulfillment that I felt from facing my fear of not being perfect in yet another area of my life was overwhelming.  In asking for help and accepting my limitations with attaining perfection, I surpassed the expectations I had of myself to fail.

I kicked parking’s ass.  Thanks Wayne.

Caution: May not play nicely with others.

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I took the babies to a play group this morning so that Isaiah can begin the age old journey of learning how to play nicely with others.  For those of you that know me, you know that our precious Isaiah is adventurous and does not often fear much of anything.  He has had to adapt in order to keep up with his 11 year old brother.  He is a bruiser for lack of better words.  Don’t get me wrong, Isaiah is a gentle and loving little boy.  He has amazed us with how gentle and loving he is with his little sister.  But if there is child holding something that he wants, or he would like to cut the line for the slide, he is not shy about it at all.

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This morning there was a set of twin boys who were 14 months old playing nicely and quietly on the mat with their mother.  Isaiah cut in between those boys like a knife and snagged one of the toys that they were playing with.  He then proceeded to trip and decided to use one of the little boys to break his fall.  We had only been at play group for 5 minutes, and already there were tears and they were not Isaiah’s.  Once Isaiah heard the tears, he went over to the little boy and gently rubbed the little boy’s arm as if to say sorry.  Wait….. that didn’t really happen.  That’s what I imagined that my kind, loving little boy would do..  Instead what he actually did was run across the gym to play with the hoola-hoop while giggling, leaving me behind to apologize and feel like the worst mom on the planet.  Thank goodness that the mom was incredibly laid back about it, because I will tell you that not all parents are.

I first had a taste of life with a bruiser when Thomas was a youngin.  I was in my second year of college and was in a midterm exam. Thomas was 2 1/2 at the time.  My cell phone rang repeatedly and finally I excused myself, explaining to my professor that it was my son’s daycare calling and I was worried that it might be an emergency.  I checked my voicemail and this is what I heard.  “Hi this is so and so calling.  We just wanted to let you know that there was a fight over a bike with a couple of the kids today, and Thomas appears to have lost.”  When I arrived, I was shocked at what I saw.  Thomas had a bruise under his eye, a bite mark on his cheek and a cut on his lower lip.  What took the cake was that the following day was picture day.  I will never forget that incident because I have his daycare photo as a fond reminder of my rough and tough Thomas going after what he really wanted without consideration of the other child’s feelings or the potential for injury.

So I suppose that it is fair to say that my boys will definitely be boys.  Wayne and I will continue to attempt to teach them how to play nicely with others, while they learn how to be loving and gentle with women from me and life with a little sister.  Thomas is 11 and he is still learning to play well with others.  Isaiah will have lots of opportunities to learn how to play with others at the weekly playgroup down the street on Wednesdays, while I perfect the art of apologizing on his behalf.  At the end of the day, no bones were broken, no self-esteem damaged and everyone made it out alive and home for nap time.

There’s always next week.

“Can I just get a minute?……”

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So it’s 4:01 pm.  My 2 month old Elizabeth is chugging her bottle, and my 16 month old Isaiah is up in his crib staging a nap-time coo.  My hubby Wayne and 11 year son old Thomas are currently embarking on a paintball extravaganza, no doubt running around like ninjas avoiding the potential for “getting taken out”.  I on the other hand can’t help but think about the extra load of laundry that will follow.  All the while, I sit here and ask myself, “Can I just get a minute?”.

It’s amazing what I can accomplish in one minute.  It doesn’t seem like much time to the average Joe, but to me it’s an eternity… when it’s uninterrupted of course.  For example, it may seem like I wrote the above in just a few moments, after all I have written less than a paragraph.  However I have made a bottle, changed a diaper, made several trips upstairs to soothe the coo-leader, and changed another diaper.  All the while, silently asking myself yet again “Can I just get a minute?”.  I think it would be fair to say that most mothers I have spoken to also tend to wage the war of parenthood vs. solitude.  The moments when my children look lovingly at me, or do something silly to make me laugh are the moments that reaffirm the incredible gift that I have been given to be a parent.  However, I must say, that the moments of fingers under the door trying to get in the bathroom, the screaming for just one more cracker, and the calls home from the principal’s office, leave me longing to re-live my teen years.  I remember when deciding what to wear to the mall was my biggest problem.  These days getting to the mall requires 1 hour of planning, 1 hour of prepping the kids, possibly getting an opportunity to shower, and then loading everyone up and hoping that nothing was forgotten at home that will cause a future meltdown.

Yet alas, here I am at 4:21 p.m. in silence.  The crib prisoner upstairs finally succumbed to sleep, and the bottle chugger is slow-blinking.  The house is quiet just for a moment, and upon me is the minute I have been wondering about since this morning.

My mother was recently visiting us from Texas and her and I were talking a lot about marriage and parenting.  My sister and I are 1 year and 11 months apart.  I like to say 2 years, but my sister enjoys pointing out that I am not a full two years older than her.  Anyways, my mother used to nurse us both, make our baby food (including yogurt), wash our cloth diapers and hang them to dry, and work the night shift as a nurse.  I don’t know how she did it.  And I am sure that there are many times that she too asked herself “Can I just get a minute?”.  I do know though, that like my mother, we just do what we have to do.  I may not make my own baby food, or wash out the cloth diapers.

I may not always have the opportunity for a moment to myself.  What I do have though, are children that know that I will always put them and their needs before the dishes getting done, or the laundry getting folded.  They know that I will stop and laugh at their silly faces and soothe them to sleep.  One thing is for sure.  One day I will have so many uninterrupted moments that I won’t know what to do with them, and I will be wishing that someone was here for me to fawn after.  I guess I have many minutes, they just aren’t spent alone wishing that I had more love in my life.

So I have gotten my minute.  I guess my mother has gotten hers too.  I’m off to enjoy it.